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Bill Belichick: Third preseason game not in “same universe” as regular season

Chicago Bears v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 18: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the action during a preseason game with the Chicago Bears in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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NFL teams are playing their third preseason game of the summer this week and that usually means they’ll be giving more playing time to the players set to play sizable roles during the regular season before essentially giving them the day off in the final exhibition contest.

That has led to many people referring to the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t one of those people.

During an appearance on “Dale & Holley” on WEEI on Monday, Belichick explained that playing time and “1-on-1 matchups” may bear some resemblance to what happens down the road but that little else about the games can compare.

“I don’t. I don’t know what that means,” Belichick said. “In terms of playing time it might be a little different, but in terms of game-planning and strategy, what we see in the regular season compared to what we see the in third preseason game I don’t even think you’re in the same universe. We’re still running our basic plays and we’d expect our opponents would run their basic plays. You get to the opener and start to get to game-planning and scheme, I mean you’re in a totally different ballpark, in my opinion. I don’t see any comparison at all. It’s too far away, I don’t see how you could compare them, from that standpoint.”

With their offensive line in flux and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo preparing for his first regular season starts, the Patriots have given plenty of playing time to players who will be on the field in September. This week’s game with the Panthers will give those players an idea of things that need to be cleaned up before Week One, which may be akin to a dress rehearsal but the lack of full stage directions does make it less of a simulation of what’s to come.