One Patriots goal for third preseason game: Get Tom Brady going

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In preparing for some TV-based work on SportsCenter and ESPN's NFL shows on Wednesday, I was focusing on some of the top storylines surrounding the New England Patriots this week. One of them at the top of the list is getting quarterback Tom Brady going a bit in Friday's preseason game against the Panthers in Charlotte.

Here are the key Brady-based stats through two preseason games:

Snaps played: 16

Drives: 5

Three-and-outs: 4

Completions: 3

Attempts: 9

Yards: 23

The Patriots have recorded one first down while Brady was on the field, via a 10-yard completion to receiver Brandon Gibson in the preseason opener. But they simply haven't been able to sustain a drive and thus Brady hasn't been able to get into any type of rhythm.

That hasn't been all Brady's fault.

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, for example, had a chance to make a catch Saturday against the Saints that could have extended a drive, but couldn't come up with it. Two negative running plays on first downs, also against the Saints, put the offense in a tougher-than-desired spot. Furthermore, Brady has been playing without top receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, as well as top tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler.

Still, with coach Bill Belichick saying this will be as close to a regular-season week as possible from a game-planning perspective, it makes sense to think we'll see a bit more of Brady on Friday night, which will give him more of a chance to carry some of the momentum we've seen on the practice field to the game field.