by Scott Benson
Two men who played essential roles in bringing three world championships to Foxboro return to Gillette Stadium this afternoon as Romeo Crennel and Willie McGinest lead their 2-2 Cleveland Browns into a conference battle with the undefeated Patriots.
Let’s see what the home team papers have to say about the homecoming:
The 17 Percenters are kind of distracted with other business today, but they manage to free up a few bodies from the Jeffrey Maier beat for a cursory look at the Pats. The always estimable Mike Reiss leads the coverage with his weekly notes column, a hilarious rebuttal to Bloggin’ Borges’s famous Bed and Breakfast hatchet job on Randy Moss from earlier this spring. Reiss talks with two of Moss’s old coaches, including his Marshall coach Bob Pruett, who minces no words when it comes to Art Shell and Tom Walsh. He gets off two beauties:
“In Oakland, that was the worst offense in the country,” says Pruett, adding “the problem in Oakland was that they couldn’t get the ball to anybody.”
Shell and Walsh were apparently unavailable for comment – Walsh was special ordering a case of apricot jelly for some finicky guests, and Shell was off telling anybody who would listen (hello again, Ron) that, from 1989-1994, he was 54-38 as Raiders head coach BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Reiss also checks in with former Pats Roman Phifer (the Documentarian), Andre Davis (the Deep Threat) and Daniel Graham (the Dependable One).
Elsewhere, Christopher Gasper looks at how the quick actions of the Patriots personnel team brought leading rusher Sammy Morris to New England. In his weekly scouting report, Jim McBride likes the high scoring Pats over the Browns by two touchdowns. Reiss and Gasper team up on a notebook entry that has Rodney Harrison returning to action today.
John Tomase of the Herald also got me laughing this morning by crank calling the 1972 Dolphins and getting them all wound up with talk of an undefeated season for the Patriots. We learn that Jim Kiick is probably a decent guy and that Bob Kuechenberg is probably yelling at some kids to get off his lawn right now.
I’ll agree with the surly Kuechenberg that it’s too early to talk about such foolishness, but I’ll give credit to Tomase for having the stones to wake the old bastard up from his nap. He probably also asked him if his refrigerator was running, because Kuechenberg then launches into a diatribe about Charlie Weis, calling him an “ogre” for not kissing the asses of some blazer-wearing hanger-on friends of the former Notre Damer.
I have no idea what’s going on under the Golden Dome, but when Bob Kuechenberg, the world’s reigning Mr. Miserable, questions your people skills, some change might be in order.
Or maybe not. Turns out Kuechenberg has never met Weis. But he’s hearing very bad things. YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!
Tomase turns his attention back to this afternoon’s game, and says Romeo Crennel will try to defend an offense that the coach compares to the Colts with a unit that ranks in the bottom three of nearly every meaningful defensive statistic. In her notebook, Karen Guregian talks with Harrison about how to stop Browns threat Kellen Winslow Jr. I think he means besides putting curbing around your parking lot.
Down in Providence, Jim Donaldson of the ProJo looks at Crennel’s challenge of putting the Browns on the right track. I laughed yet again when Crennel talked about all the responsibilities that go with the head coaching position, and you know the first thing he listed off?
Video. Hoo boy!
Anyway, Shalise Manza Young writes up the scout team players that help the Pats regulars prepare for their next opponent. Kelley Washington and Ray Ventrone talk about the coveted black jerseys that denote the Pats practice players of the week. SMY also goes up close with Tedy Bruschi, and gives the Pats the decided edge in her weekly game analysis.
Up in Portland, we welcome the Press Herald to the Sunday Links. Mike Lowe has Crennel and McGinest returning to the scene of their Glory Days, as well as a brief Q&A with kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who would like to be an invisible superhero. I don’t know what the point of being a superhero is when nobody can see you. There’s no “Look…..up in the sky!” when you’re toiling in that sort of anonymity.
A couple of nice 4 PM games today, with Denver hosting San Diego on CBS and Tampa visiting Indy on Fox, that is if you’re not watching something else. For now, you can get more Pats news at patriotslinks.com, and visit Boston Sports Media Watch for news of the Red Sox 2-0 ALDS lead, and wins by both the Bruins and Celtics.
See you after the game.