- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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One question that piqued the interest after the Patriots' 28-20 win over the Giants in the preseason finale was why this year was different than 2011 in terms of personnel approach.
In 2011, the Patriots had been smoked by the Lions in the third week of the preseason. The next week, coach Bill Belichick played quarterback Tom Brady and the first-unit offense for four series (the first series was just one play).
This year, it was set up in a similar fashion as the Patriots had been smoked by the Lions in the third week of the preseason. But in Thursday's preseason finale against the Giants, Belichick sat Brady and most first-unit players (23 players dressed but did not play).
Belichick was asked about the differences in approach and explained there was some longer-range thinking in play, as the Patriots have their first two regular-season games within five days of each other -- Sept. 8 at Buffalo and then Sept. 12 versus the Jets.
"We pushed the players pretty hard this week in practice and felt like it was a chance for us to maybe catch our breath with a few of those guys and be ready to go into Buffalo, but understanding that it's a real quick turnaround after that game, too," Belichick said.
Belichick also added that he feels the team is "overall in good condition, has worked hard, and has had a good competitive camp on a lot of levels." He also sees the team's installation, relative to the playbook, in a good place.