By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
September 29, 2002

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SAN DIEGO, CA -- Patriots fans will find out a lot about their team today.

After seeing many of New England's starters get banged up last weekend, including wide receiver Troy Brown who has been the biggest part of the Patriots success after the first three games, fans will get a look at just how well their team is able to overcome adversity when the team takes the field against the Chargers at 4:15 on Sunday.

Tedy Bruschi and Roman Phifer will be back in the line-up, which will be a big lift for a Patriots defense that let Priest Holmes run wild, gaining 180-yards against them last weekend.  Brown is still questionable for the game, although he did make the trip and will be a game time decision.

On the offensive line Joe Andruzzi will spend today watching the game from home while he recovers from a knee injury he suffered last weekend.  With Andruzzi out of the line-up Adrian Klemm will likely get the call, with Grey Ruegamer there if needed.

With the weather forecast predicting a comfortable high of 68-degrees with 84% humidity, that bodes well for New England who won't have to face difficult weather conditions.

Deion Branch looked fantastic during preseason and has shown signs during the first three games that he can be an impact player, but in the event Brown is unable to go he'll need to be the one to step up and take some of the pressure off of David Patten who will likely be receiving a lot of attention if #80 isn't in the line-up.

Donald Hayes also needs to step up and have a big day.  Hayes is 4th on the team in receptions with just 6-catches thus far this season, with Brown (31-catches, 292-yards), Patten (15-catches, 243-yards), and Cam Cleeland (10-catches, 56-yards) receiving the majority of attention.  There's probably a pretty good chance that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will also have the Patriots trio of tight ends even more involved with the offense on Sunday.

The Chargers defense is first in the NFL, and have allowed just 132-yards passing per game, and 74-yards rushing per game during their 3-0 start.  They've also held opposing teams to just 8-points per game, which will be a good measuring point against a Patriots team that is averaging 38-points per game.

With injuries, a west coast game, and an opposing defense that isn't going to make it easy, today's game against San Diego will be a big challenge.  The better teams are able to overcome adversity, and when the game is over fans will have a pretty good idea of what kind of team they have.

Hopefully it will be one that is 4-0.


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