A look at some national articles that mention the Patriots:
From Jeffri Chadiha on SI.com, in an article on the pressures young quarterbacks face:
The only quarterback I’ve seen who has managed his early success without facing any criticism is New England’s Tom Brady. Granted, he has more hardware in his house than you’ll find in your local Home Depot, but he has also managed his career in a way that young quarterbacks should emulate. He hasn’t written any books. He didn’t do many endorsements early in his career, Even his current ads downplay his personality. Brady has carefully manipulated his image so that it doesn’t conflict with his team’s perception of him. Today he’s as close to being “one of the guys” as a rich, handsome, three-time Super Bowl champion with a hot actress girlfriend can be.
From Sports Illustrated, Lisa Altobelli has a “First Person” look at Rodney Harrison.
On his Super Bowl XXXVIII win and the photo of him under a hail of confetti with his arm in a sling:
I had it blown up, and it’s hanging in my basement. Tears are flowing down my face, and my arm is broken: It signifies my career and life. There was so much pain and hard work. I remember days [growing up] it was 100 degrees. I would be running up and down the street in the neighborhood, and people would laugh at me, saying, ‘Are you crazy? You’re not going anywhere.’ That motivated me. You’re not going to outwork me. You may be faster, you may be bigger, you may be stronger, but you won’t outwork me. And I’m not afraid. I don’t care if you’re 6’6″ and 300 pounds, I’m going to try to make you pay.
From Vic Carucci’s Tuesday Huddle on NFL.com:
— I never saw how the New England Patriots would be a good fit for Randy Moss, if they had ever pulled off the much-speculated trade with the Raiders for his services. Yes, the Patriots need a receiver and Moss is talented, but his poor attitude simply doesn’t seem to have a place on a team built with players who don’t bring the divisiveness that Moss brings. Bill Belichick is a great coach, but I don’t think even he could get Moss to buy into his team-first approach.
From Pete Prisco’s Blog Quick Hits:
The New England Patriots amaze me at how they constantly plug in guys to their offensive line and never seem to miss a beat.
This season they have tackle Ryan O’Callaghan starting at right tackle and the line has played well.
A year ago, they started rookie Logan Mankins at left guard all season and also started rookie tackle Nick Kazcur at times. They also played most of the season without starting center Dan Koppn, yet still won the division and won a playoff game.
Why are they able to do this? Line coach Dante Scarnecchia is one of the best in the NFL.
“Dante gets guys ready to play,” Koppen said. “He’s not afraid to put the young guys out there and just let them play.”
O’Callaghan, a second-round pick from Cal, has been a pleasant surprise. He’s done a good job in the run game and in pass protection.
No matter who the Patriots seem to put in the lineup, they always have a good line. They lose players like Damien Woody, Joe Andruzzi and others, yet they keep playing well.
It’s time Dante Scarnecchia gets the due he deserves as a great line coach.
From John Clayton on ESPN.com:
Nothing doing on Moss, Porter fronts: The chances of Raiders receivers Randy Moss or Jerry Porter being traded to the Patriots were a longshot at best. The Patriots weren’t really interested in Porter, and his suspension due to insubordination in practice last week scared off a lot of teams that might have been interested. Moss was another story. There really wasn’t much talking going on between the two teams. Oakland was in a tough spot. If the Raiders received a first-round pick for Moss, they would be perceived to be taking a discount. It would be hard for the Patriots to give up the No. 1, so a deal was not imminent.
From Len Pasquarelli’s Tip Sheet on ESPN.com, talking about players eligible to come off the PUP list:
• RB Patrick Pass, New England (toe): The kind of experienced, utilitarian guy you don’t miss until he’s absent, Pass does a little of everything for the Patriots and is a valued veteran. Pass can play fullback or tailback, is a solid pass protector on third down, returns kickoffs and also plays on all of the special teams coverage units. A seventh-year veteran, Pass, 28, has just 1,161 yards total offense from scrimmage, but New England coaches will feel a lot better about their depth when he returns.
From Andrea Kremer’s Blog on NBCSports.com:
On the Raiders Handling of Jerry Porter:
A final thought, mercifully, on the Porter fiasco.
Remember, the Patriots who always find a way to win. Well, when they reached an impasse with Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch, they didn’t make it personal because as one team president told me, when a situation becomes a ‘stare down,’ no one wins. You have to make a business decision, not an ‘I’ll show this guy ‘personal one.”
So the Patriots cut their losses and parted with Branch for a hefty number one pick next year — masterful negotiating, although the price Tom Brady “pays” is a whole other story.
Similarly, the Broncos didn’t make it personal with disgruntled receiver Ashley Lelie, (why is it always the receivers?!) rather they shipped him off to Atlanta in a three team deal.
That’s why the Patriots and Broncos, and not the Raiders, are winners on the field and in the front office.
Carucci’s Power Poll on NFL.com:
4. New England (4-1; unchanged): Maybe an extra week of practice has allowed the Patriots to improve the timing of their passing game.
Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings on Sportsline.com:
4 Coming out of the bye, they are on cruise control to the AFC East title. They get another chance this week to tighten the grip at Buffalo.
From the ESPN Power Rankings:
6 (7 last week) Patriots 4-1-0 Unless they trade for a WR before the deadline, the Patriots really need rookie Chad Jackson to become more of a contributor.
From Charles Robinson’s Yahoo! Sports Power Rankings:
5. New England Patriots (4-1) – Say goodbye to that awful field at Gillette Stadium now that the Patriots have been told by the NFL to revamp their surface. Field Turf should be in place by December. Coach Bill Belichick should shed a tear because in December and January, that torn up field used to be an advantage.
Dr Z’s Power Rankings on SI.com:
4) New England Patriots (4-1)
Still true to last week’s rankings. Bye week, leisurely relaxing, occasional TV viewing while watching the other poor devils getting the hell knocked out of them. Folks, this will get more interesting, I promise.
Peter Schrager’s Power Rankings on FoxSports.com:
6) (Last week, 7) Before the season, the Miami Dolphins were the chic pick to not only win the AFC East in 2006 — but to win the Super Bowl come January. Six weeks into the season, New England already holds a two-game lead in the division, is riding high after big wins over Cincinnati and the Dolphins, and are well on their way to a first round bye in the playoffs. Writing off Bill Belichick? Yeah, probably not the smartest idea.