Lost in his famous "The Bears are who we thought they were" rant, the late, great Dennis Green passed on one coach's thoughts on the third game of the NFL preseason.
"...We played them in preseason, who the hell takes the third game of the preseason like it's bull----? Bull----," Green fumed at the time. "We played them in the third game, everybody played three quarters. The Bears are who we thought they were..."
The third game of the preseason is viewed as somewhat of a dry run for NFL starters. For most first-teamers it's the only time they'll see action deep into the second and third quarters.
While not directly rebutting Green's famous rant, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn't believe you can glean a ton from the third preseason game. When asked Monday on WEEI Radio about the third game of the preseason being a "dress rehearsal" for the regular season, Belichick pointed out there is still little to no game planning involved.
"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.
"One-on-one matchups, letting the players play, yeah, I would say you have a better matchup of guys like that, but it's nothing compared to what we're going to see in the regular season from a total scheme situation standpoint."
The dress rehearsal might not be about game planning, but it will highlight a few things the starters need to clean up before the games start to count. Getting extended playing time in the third preseason game is the best chance for starters to regain their rapport heading into the season.
So, while calling it a "dress rehearsal" might be a stretch for Belichick, he's certainly not taking the third game of the preseason as "bull----".