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Roche: Observations As Patriots-Redskins Wrap Up Joint Practices

RICHMOND (CBS) -- The joint practices between the Patriots and Redskins are in the books, and now both teams can focus on their preseason opener Thursday night.

Wednesday's third joint practice was much different than the first two, only lasting about 90 minutes, and was only a walk through.

Here are some observations as we get ready for Thursday night's game:

-- The factoid of the day came from rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who told us that Thursday night's game will be the first NFL game that he's ever attended. That makes you wonder how many other NFL rookies have had that same experience.

-- It's expected that Ryan Mallett will get a majority of the snaps in the opener. It's a big preseason for the fourth-year veteran, who will be a free agent following this season.

-- Tight end depth has to be a concern on the Patriots roster. Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui lead the way, but won't be playing Thursday, and veteran DJ Williams got dinged up in practice here on Tuesday. So that means rookies Justin Jones and Asa Watson are the two healthy tight ends on the Pats depth chart right now.

-- The players seemed to like the joint practices, as they broke up the boredom of going against each other and gives them another opportunity to showcase their skills. Players also talked about the intensity and speed of these practices compared to normal ones.

-- Watching the Redskins for the past three days makes you appreciate Bill Belichick and Tom Brady even more. The way practices are run, from the energy to the consistency, everything they do is done professionally.

-- There were great fans here in Richmond for all three days. They love their Redskins, that's for sure.

-- I'd like to end with a big thanks to the Patriots PR and Redskins PR staffs for making things easy these last few days.

Follow WBZ-TV's Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.

Tune in to Patriots-Redskins Thursday night at 7:30pm on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins on 98.5FM at 4:30pm, with three hours of postgame analysis following the game. WBZ-TV gets things started with a special edition of Patriots GameDay at 7pm, following by Patriots 5th Quarter after the game.


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