No Brady against the Birds

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will reportedly not play in tonight's preseason game, an unfortunate turn for an Eagles defense looking for a stiff test after a lackluster performance in the preseason opener ten days ago.

Brady and a number of other New England starters will get the night off, according to a Boston Herald report. Brian Hoyer will start in Brady's place.

The Eagles are expected to play their starters on both sides of the ball into the third quarter. While the defense surrendered two long drives to the Steelers on Aug. 9, the offense played only six unproductive snaps. Tonight's game was billed as an opportunity for defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's unit and Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to erase sloppy efforts against Pittsburgh.

Andy Reid typically has his starters play three quarters in the third preseason game, but the unusual schedule -- the Eagles travel to Cleveland in four days -- prompted the coach to move his plan up a game.

The Patriots also play in four days, but coach Bill Belichick has apparently decided to give his stars a rest.