by Scott Benson
The coffee’s on, the browsers are open, and that means it’s time for another season of the Sunday Links.
Each week, I’ll run through New England’s Sunday papers for the latest on the Patriots and the rest of the NFL, and add a few thoughts when the mood strikes. And don’t forget – you can always do the same by hitting the ‘leave a comment’ link above.
Let’s get started.
Wait…..one thought. How the print media landscape has changed since we were last together in this space. Young, industrious reporters like Mike Reiss, John Tomase and Albert Breer (and now the Globe’s Christopher Gaspar) have redefined – finally – the coverage surrounding the team. Gone are the sideshow antics of attention-craving hatchet men, bent on furthering their own bizarre celebrity at the expense of the job and of the consumer. In it’s place, thorough news accounts and oft-illuminating commentary. And a steady electronic presence that allows fans instant access to the latest developments in Foxboro. All crafted by men who clearly love the game of football and maintain a healthy curiousity about it. Imagine – enthusiasm in place of calculation. Diligence in place of perverted vigilence. That’s made all the difference at this address. I’ve said it before, and I will again – we’ve never had it better.
Speaking of oft-illuminating, there’s a good example of the new ethic in today’s Globe. Christopher Gaspar tooks at zone blocking schemes and how the Patriots’ offensive line is preparing to maximize the talents of Laurence Maroney this season. Gaspar walks through the demanding assignments and approach, which will require the Pats’ linemen to be agile, athletic and in sync with the constant adjustments. Helpful commentary from John Hannah and former Packers assistant Jeff Jagodzinski is weaved in. Great piece. Would it have been easier and potentially more lucrative to write some bitter diatribe against the head coach, and call it a day? My father had a saying – yes. But for some reason, young Christopher was content to teach his readers a little something they might not have known.
Just astounding. How soon before the pigs start flying?
Elsewhere at the Broadsheet, Mike Reiss has the always interesting Corey Dillon saying he will not return to the NFL, despite interest from the Bills and Titans. Despite (rightly) grousing a bit about not seeing the ball in the second half of the Indy game, he offers warm words to the Patriots and says that playing with Tom Brady was “the best experience of my life.” Then he plays the OJ Simpson card when talking about his own chances for the Hall of Fame. Hilarious. I miss Dillon already. Good news – if the Pats get to fourth and goal in the Super Bowl, he’s available to pound it in.
And we thought Vinny Testaverde was smart to wait for two-a-days to be over before rejoining the team.
Reiss and Gaspar tag-team the Patriots notebook, which has Nick Kaczur and Ryan O’Callaghan locked in a struggle for the starting right tackle berth. Barry Wilner of AP has yesterday’s inductions at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thurman Thomas, Michael Irvin and Bruce Matthews were the big names going in, but I was touched by the remarks by unheralded Lions receiver Charlie Sanders.
Over at the Herald, Albert Breer looks at the Patriots’ passing attack and says that the players may be new, but the system is the same. Breer has a real eye for the technical aspects of the game, and like Gaspar, he expertly explains a complicated game in an uncomplicated way.
Rich Thompson has a look at the big fan turnouts for training camp, which veteran Junior Seau calls “overwhelming.” Karen Guregian looks at a nuturing Rodney Harrison, taking tentative rookies under his wing. Steve Conroy checks in with Bam Childress, the all-but-forgotten two-way practice squader.
At the ProJo, Shalise Manza Young says Ben Watson is also being forgotten in all the hype about the Patriots’ new receivers. You know, Watson always sounds like a terrific kid in these pieces; level headed, thoughtful, humble. I get the sense he’s been working to get better. I would really like to like Ben Watson. Why do all those passes land at his feet, though?
In Hartford, Courant writer David Heuschkel has a look at the thirty somethings in the Pats’ linebacking group. If you didn’t read this story when it ran on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday, I guess you can read it today. Getting the sense this will be a (relentless) theme this season? We GET it. They’re freaking old.
Old, young……..weigh in with your own Sunday morning thoughts here.