Bill Belichick says playing late into season creates workload decisions

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not provide further information on a Boston Globe report that quarterback Tom Brady is dealing with a sore back that has affected his workload, but acknowledged the team is balancing multiple factors in scaling back the work of some players.

Brady did not play in the preseason opener Thursday, as the team also held out top veterans such as tight end Rob Gronkowski and safety Devin McCourty. Brady has not played in four of the past six preseason openers.

Asked Friday morning if he had further information on Brady's reported sore back limiting his repetitions on the field, Belichick said, "No, sorry, I don't."

Prior to that, Belichick had been asked about a perceived slower pace of training camp, with Brady, in particular, having more days of less competitive work.

Belichick acknowledged that playing deep into the postseason last year is one consideration he takes into account when making those decisions.

"Playing late into the season the year before is definitely what we want to do, so we're not complaining about that, but it does affect the following season, there's no question about that," he said.

"In the end, we try to take everything into consideration that we have, what our opportunities are, where we are as a football team collectively and individually with certain players that may need a modification of their workload ... and try to do the best we can with that time and those opportunities for our players and the team development as a whole. That's a balance we talk about every day."

Specific to Brady, Belichick said, "We have a number of players who are in various [situations]; their workload is affected by other factors."

Brady spent part of Thursday working out on the team's practice field and went through warm-ups with his teammates prior to the preseason opener, throwing lightly. He watched the game, a 26-17 victory over Washington, from the sideline.