FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Little more than two weeks remain until Tom Brady and the Patriots open the season against the Houston Texans’ daunting pass rush, which in recent years has rattled New England’s offense.

On Friday night, Brady gets what will likely be his final tuneup for the opener, facing off with the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“They have a really dominant front seven, probably as good as any front seven in the league,” said Patriots Coach Bill Belichick.

For Brady, there’s lots to accomplish. He was given a light workload at points during training camp, and skipped the majority of spring practices, showing up only for mandatory minicamp. The live game reps are essential.

“You don’t get hit for six or seven months,” Brady said. “You know, a lot of the times the way to prepare for it is to actually do it, and just not having the chance to do it, you get rusty. I think you’ve got to figure out how to get that stuff and shake that off and then be as prepared as possible for when they count for real.”

If past seasons are an indication, Brady should see extended action against the Panthers. From 2009-14, he averaged 21.3 pass attempts in the third preseason game. His workload changed in 2015 as the Pats dealt with the uncertainty of a Deflategate suspension (and again in 2016 when his suspension became official). In the third preseason game against the Lions last year, Brady played the entire first half and completed 12 of 15 passes for 174 yards and two TDs.

“I think the thing when you get in the games is just the timing is different because they can actually hit you, and in practice, rushers come and they stop,” Brady said. “So you get a false sense of security of how long you can hold onto the ball, and when they don’t stop, you’ve got to get rid of the ball quicker, you’ve got to make faster decisions, your footwork has to be better, your presnap reads have to be better.”

Barring an unexpected appearance in the preseason finale, Friday will serve as the final time this summer Brady will see game reps with his receivers, a group that seems to be dwindling by the day.

The Pats released Kenny Britt on Wednesday, leaving Julian Edelman (four-game suspension to start the season), Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson as the top options.

Brady relied heavily on Edelman and Hogan in last Thursday’s preseason win against the Eagles. This matchup with the Panthers provides an opportunity to further connect with Dorsett and Patterson.

In the Eagles game, Brady severely underthrew Dorsett on a deep ball and couldn’t connect with Patterson on a skinny post midway through the first quarter. The timing didn’t seem right on the play.

As Brady indicated, the chemistry between he and the receivers “doesn’t magically happen.”

It’s a long process that continues all season.

“The experience you’ve got with certain players I think is very helpful, but at the same time, I don’t think you take it for granted,” Brady said. “You’ve got to get out there and practice it. You’ve got to see and gain that daily trust, and a big part of it is things change over the course of an offseason, they change over the course of a season – game plan, new routes, new schemes, new matchups. You’ve got to go out there and show it on the practice field so that we can all gain trust in each other.”

Brady likely will begin the year with Hogan, Dorsett and Patterson as his top receivers. The Carolina game should serve as a gauge for where the trio and passing game stands.

“I feel like we’re kind of all going to accomplish something,” Brady said. “We’re really focused, there’s no distractions and it’s all about playing football and trying to take another step that we need in order for us to be prepared for the opener.”