by Scott Benson
The New England Patriots will try to go 7-0 for the first time in franchise history this afternoon as they travel to Miami for a divisional matchup with the winless Dolphins. Let’s take a spin through the morning papers to see what they think.
In his Pats notebook, the Globe’s Christopher Gasper says Ben Watson and Sammy Morris will miss the game today. Morris is sidelined after having a house fall on him last week, and Watson is on the dole after he was tackled from behind by Dallas’s Roy Williams, an awful little shit who specializes in injuring players far more talented than him by tackling them from behind. Special teams ace Mel Mitchell will also miss another game. Gasper also has a brief visit with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who’s been admiring the Pats from afar.
Chris continues by looking at Tom Brady’s many struggles in South Florida, pointing out that the Fins are one of the few teams that have been able to combine physical coverage with a strong pass rush when facing the Pats. In his weekly scouting report, Jim McBride says the Pats have it all over Miami today.
Mike Reiss looks at how teams are getting off to a fast start with scripted offenses, including the Patriots, the only team this season to score on every one of its opening drives. Mike, without even cracking a smile, adds comments from Norv “Secret Agent Man” Turner, who knows a little something about scripting plays. Or so he claims. Elsewhere, Reiss considers whether Jason Taylor will continue to be part of the Dolphins’ perpetual rebuilding program as he bears down on some considerable cap numbers next season.
In the Herald, Karen Gurgeian has more on the offensive scripting in her Pats notebook. John Tomase lists five things to look for in today’s game, including which running backs the Pats will use against Miami’s lousy run defense. Speaking of running backs, Tomase has some quick hits on why the Pats are unlikely to call on Corey Dillon if the injury bug continues to tax the New England running backs.
John adds a short, tsk-tsk bit at the end on the Patriots leaving popcorn all over the Texas Stadium carpet last week. This double standard continues to kill me. The rest of the league has been lining up since September to take their shots at the Pats, and the media generally accepts this as amusing filler for their Thursday notes columns. But if New England ever tries to give a little back, even after earning that right on the field, someone will be there to offer a stern lecture about “character” and “class” and roll their eyes about some alleged hypocracy on the part of the Patriots. It’s exhausting.
Tomase wonders if Jason Taylor would consider New England, of all classless places, if he’s ever forced to separate from the Dolpins. John has NFL notes as well, and of course, that means a visit with Lenny Clarke. Natural progression there. Lenny says sports radio is always trying to tear him apart from his pal Bill Belichick, which makes me really glad I don’t listen to sports radio anymore.
Shalise Manza Young of the ProJo says the Pats have gone from the NFL’s most vilified team to its most watchable. SMY agrees with Jim McBride that the Pats have all the advantages today, and closes out the morning by going up close with the typically quiet Kevin Faulk. The fertile imagination of Jim Donaldson somehow cooks up an imaginary debate between Belichick and Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote. Topic: Do the Dolphins suck? Answer: Yes! Winner? Media!
In Hartford, Courant writer David Heuschkel has Heath Evans saying that if the Pats think too much about 0-6, they’ll be 6-1 when they leave Miami today. Get that, Jim? In Portland, Maine Sunday Telegram beat man Mike Lowe looks at fast learner Wes Welker, who only seems like a career Patriot.
For more news, check patriotslinks.com, and as always, we’ll be around with post-game reaction. Have a good Sunday.