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Friday, August 15, 2014
Observation Deck: New England Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the more intriguing subplots from the New England Patriots' 42-35 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles was how the team employed its quarterbacks.

Tom Brady started and played the first two series for a total of 23 snaps (including penalties), before rookie Jimmy Garoppolo relieved him and played the final five drives of the first half (30 snaps, including penalties). Four-year veteran Ryan Mallett then played the entire second half.

The insertion of Garoppolo over Mallett figures to spark speculation as to the depth chart behind Brady. Could Garoppolo really be threatening Mallett for the No. 2 role? Or was this just a case of the Patriots wanting to see Garoppolo against better competition?

Our educated guess is the latter, and Garoppolo passed the test from this view. Brady, as one would expect, also played well. So did Mallett.

Overall, this was a good night for Patriots quarterbacks.

Here are some other thoughts on the game: