Tom Brady to start Patriots' preseason finale

With Patriots Week 1 starter Jimmy Garoppolo sitting for the team's preseason finale as a precautionary measure, New England will use its final tuneup to give Tom Brady some much needed rehearsal time.

Brady will start Thursday night against the Giants, NFL Media's Courtney Fallon reported Thursday, citing a source informed of the situation. The news was first reported by Comcast SportsNet New England.

Playing starters in the fourth preseason game is not as egregious a concept as some around the NFL make it out to be. Former Giants coach Tom Coughlin was a major proponent of sending Eli Manning to work for the preseason finale during his tenure in New York. Browns coach Hue Jackson also will be playing starters tonight.

For Brady, it will be his second appearance this preseason after missing one week and sitting out another following a sliced thumb injury. Belichick has taken great care in managing his star quarterback this offseason, but likely wants to give him one last chance to work with a live offense before Brady's four-game suspension begins.

It will be the last time we see Brady until a Week 5 game against the Browns in Cleveland.

The news energizes what can sometimes be a dull ending to the NFL's preseason slate. Quite often, teams distance their starters from the final preseason game to preserve health and give their better players a night off to relax.

For Brady, the night will be far from meaningless. As one of the league's most meticulous minds, he'll have plenty on the docket to work on Thursday evening.

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