The New England Patriots will kick off the preseason against the New York Giants for the third consecutive year. This week's game is the first of four dates on the Patriots' exhibition slate and will come 15 days after the team opened training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 23.
In 2003, the Patriots return 20 of 22 starters and welcome 38 new players at training camp — 14 veteran free agents, 10 draft picks and 14 rookie free agents. With their focus on a return to the playoffs, the Patriots have fierce competition for a number of roster slots and look forward to putting their progress on display.
"It's an exciting time of year for me," said Head Coach Bill Belichick upon the opening of camp. "We put in a lot of hours, time, effort, energy and thought in how we can improve the football team and now is really our first opportunity to get on the field in full pads and have contact and start to see those things manifest themselves."
Two weeks after opening camp, Belichick will see his squad make its next step by opening the preseason. This week's matchup against the Giants will complete the Patriots' offseason journey from the weight room to the practice fields to being back under the lights in front of a packed Gillette Stadium crowd on national television. With the season opener in Buffalo exactly a month away, the Patriots will look to keep their focus firm with a solid effort against New York.
The Patriots' preseason will continue with games at Washington (Sat., Aug. 16) and at Philadelphia (Fri., Aug. 22), before the Patriots return to Gillette Stadium to conclude their exhibition slate against the Chicago Bears (Wed., Aug. 27).
This week's game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN (locally in Boston on WCVB Channel 5). The play-by-play duties will be handled by Mike Patrick, who will be joined in the booth by Paul Maguire and Joe Theismann. Suzy Kolber will provide sideline reports throughout the game.
WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos begins his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots, and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.