by Scott Benson
This most anticipated of Game Days has finally arrived, so let’s take a look at the morning papers.
Over at the Globe, Ron Borges says in his Football Notes column that Tony Dungy’s Cover 2 defense hasn’t worked as well in Indy as it did in Tampa, thanks to cut back power runners like Corey Dillon. Borges also has news of (gasp) an NFL coach lying to a player. A Belichick disciple, no doubt. Quite frankly!
Mike Reiss writes about the suddenly unpredictable Patriots offense, which gave defenses another element to worry about with its performance last Monday night. Mike says it’s anybody’s guess how the Pats will choose to go at the Colts tonight. Reiss also has empties his notebook with news that Corey Mays – not Patrick Pass – has been given the 53rd roster spot for the Patriots, as insurance against Don Davis’s leg injury.
I didn’t feel like reading this Auerbach/Belichick comparison from the highly creative Dan Shaughnessy, but maybe you will. I just figure I’ve read this same column a million times before. Let me guess – “Red had his checkered sport coat, Laughing Bill has his Homeless Hoodie.” I’ll pass.
Mike Felger leads the Herald’s coverage, noting the Pats balanced offense gives them options for tonight. Felger looks at Tony Dungy’s career with predictable results, but he weaves in a reminder of Bill Belichick’s recent slam at Bill Polian’s record in Buffalo. Not so coincidentally, Dungy also cites Polian’s Buffalo run, in – amusingly – a much different way.
Albert Breer reminds us we’ll be watching two of the best quarterbacks in league history tonight.
For some reason, the Herald also runs a two-day old column from Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star. Kravitz – any relation to Lenny? Gladys and Abner, maybe? – takes Brady over Manning and Belichick over Dungy. If you’re trying to get a gig in Boston, Bob, you’re going about it entirely the wrong way.
That’s it for the morning majors. For the rest, you’re on your own. Or maybe not. If you haven’t tried Bruce Allen’s latest brainchild, the Patriots News Mashup, you need to do so, now. It’s a one-stop links machine to the four corners of the Internet. You get the locals (Globe, Herald and Projo), you get the nationals (through Topix), you get the networks (ESPN, FOX), and you even get the bloggers. The little pop ups that appear when you scroll over the listings (giving you the first few lines of the story) may be the greatest thing ever invented.
You even get the latest updates to Reiss’s Pieces, and there has to be a way to bring Tom E. Curran into the BSMW Patriots mash-up fold. TEC will no doubt be blogging live from his home field tonight, along with rest of the NBC Sunday Night crew.
Cold Hard Football Facts is always a must-read before any Pats-Colts game. More ‘tastes great, less filling’ stuff on Brady and Manning (a CHFF specialty), and some foreboding news (for the Colts) on the status of their run defense, which is currently allowing its opponents 5.4 yards a carry. By the way, Kerry, next time John Gonzalez comes calling, don’t answer.
Thoughts for the day….the media was natually all over the Pats and Colts injury reports this week, as both teams listed as many players as Red’s Celtics listed championships (and then some). The Conventional Wisdom says these shenanigans most vex the gaming industry, but I would suggest only shitty gamblers have been affected. I have to think the savvy guys have adjusted to these gamesmanship theatrics by now. Even the league itself was laughing it off, but not the local media, which reacted with typical pre-fab outrage. Did Nick Cafardo really leave the Pats beat because he could not abide all the ‘lying’ that goes on in Foxboro? If true, that alone tells you all you need to know about our self-important press corps….Dan Graham is again out for the Pats, and we’ll have to keep an eye on the Colts’ Bob Sanders, who missed practice on Friday with knee problems….Troy Brown is just two catches away from setting the Patriots all-time career high, and you have to expect he’ll do that in front of the home crowd tonight. All the talk this week has been about what kind of reception Adam Vinatieri will get; the biggest ovation will probably go to Brown….prior to Monday night there were plenty of questions (legitimate and otherwise) about the Patriots passing game, but here’s a fun fact: both Ben Watson (catches) and Reche Caldwell (catches and yards) are already nearing career-best seasons at the midway point of the campaign….I cannot wait for tonight. So much to gain. With a win, the Pats – after an off-season of tempest and turmoil – would push all the way to the front of the AFC with eight weeks to play….either way, I’ll be back after the game.