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Thursday, April 5, 2012
Preseason: 3 games in 10 days

By Mike Reiss

One follow-up thought to the Patriots' preseason schedule and how it might affect Bill Belichick's approach with the team:

The Patriots are looking at a stretch in which they play their final three preseason games in a span of 10 days. That's compact.

Belichick often says nothing is more important than the health of players and this will be something he'll have to work around. Having three games so close together could potentially lead to more injuries if the situation is not managed carefully.

The breakdown looks like this:

Week 2 -- Monday, Aug. 20 vs. Eagles (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
Week 3 -- TBA at Buccaneers
Week 4 -- Wednesday, Aug. 29 at Giants

The Giants' finale will be played on a Wednesday, as announced by the Giants, as they open the regular season the next week on a Wednesday.

This could also affect the possibility of joint practices with the Buccaneers, assuming there was interest. Belichick might view the schedule as too compact to see value in that with Tampa Bay. The better fit looks like New Orleans or Philadelphia, assuming there is interest.

The first roster cutdown, to 80 players, is Aug. 28 (per ESPN.com calendar).

The final roster cutdown, to 53 players, is Sept. 2.