Here are a few items of note from the national media this week leading up to the Patriots season debut. We got some quotes from former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, an exclusive interview with Tom Brady by ESPN’s Chris Berman, and a preview of what to expect on the ESPN programs this weekend, and before the game on Monday night.
First, a couple of quotes from old friend Rodney Harrison, on an NBC conference call previewing the 2009 season:
HARRISON ON REX RYAN’S COMMENTS ABOUT BILL BELICHICK: “When people make comments like that towards individual coaches or players, everyone takes offense. I don’t care what anyone says, you keep that quote in your mind and you put it up on a bulletin board. I don’t think that is going to make Belichick even more mad at him or make him hate the Jets more or for them to play harder, but the point of emphasis will be on that. He’s absolutely right that he shouldn’t go in there kissing Bill Belichick’s rings or anything like that, but I thought that was understood and really doesn’t need to be said out in public. I’m excited about this showdown, but I really don’t think they have what it takes to overtake Belichick and the Patriots.”
HARRISON ON NEW ENGLAND: “It comes down to number 12. It comes down to Tom Brady. If you look at what happened last year, Brady goes down and the Patriots are 11-5. They had a pretty good season in terms of everyone else in the league and they didn’t make the playoffs. If number 12 can stay healthy, the offense will put up 27, 28 points a game, the defense will give up 17, 18 points a game and the Patriots can end up being 12-4, maybe 13-3. If Tom Brady isn’t well and he’s not playing well coming off this knee injury then I think the Patriots will struggle.”
Chris Berman’s Exclusive Interview With Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady
Coming off a record-setting season in 2007 with 50 touchdown passes, Tom Brady’s 2008 season lasted barely nine minutes due to a season-ending knee injury. Following knee surgery and year-long rehab, the three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback is back at the helm of the Patriots offense. Brady sat down with Berman for an exclusive interview, his first one-on-one television interview since his injury, to be featured on Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m.), SportsCenter “Sunday Conversation” at 11 p.m., Monday Night Countdown (5 p.m.), and available on ESPN.com.
NFL MATCHUP, SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 7:30 A.M. ON ESPN
Bills @ Patriots – Ron Jaworski reveals how New England uses formation and alignment to create mismatches in its passing game.
Tom Brady’s Knee – Jaworski points out how quarterback Tom Brady, though back after a season-ending injury, has looked a bit uncomfortable and protective of his knee at times this preseason.
From the ESPN Pregame Show leading up to Monday Night Football, you can look for these features:
ESPN The Magazine’s “For Love or the Game:” Sammy Morris
Patriots running back Sammy Morris will featured in the season-opening edition of “For Love or the Game,” a Countdown segment that pairs a player with his significant other and a teammate to find out which of them knows more about the NFL athlete. Morris’ wife, Leslie, and his teammate Laurence Maroney battle to see who really knows Morris better.
EA Sports Virtual Playbook: Brady to Moss
Countdown’s Jackson takes viewers on the field to show how the return of Tom Brady will once again make him and Randy Moss the most feared passing combination in the NFL.
Did you know that Randy Moss has made his mark in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series?
A pair of former Boston sports anchors will be reporting from Gillette on the Patriots this weekend. Former WHDH sports anchor Wendi Nix will report for ESPN, while former Fox Sports Net New England reporter Kara Henderson will report for the NFL Network.
Monday Night Broadcast Outlets
TELEVISION: This week’s game will be nationally televised by ESPN and can be seen in Boston on WCVB-TV Channel 5. Mike Tirico will handle play-by-play duties with Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden providing color. Suzy Kolber will be the sideline reporter.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One. Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason will call the game with Steve Tasker handling the sideline reporting.