By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
August 11, 2006

Colleagues take to Twitter to praise ‘perfect’ play-by-play man
Year after year, Gil Santos delivered
Bill Belichick pays tribute to Patriots Hall of Fame broadcaster Gil Santos
Bill Belichick pays tribute to the late Gil Santos
Tight end Troy Niklas’ “crazy” story makes him a Patriot and a father, too

Every year, I want to just kick myself.

I get so excited for the first Patriots pre-season game. I call up my Grandfather and all of my pals. I run out to the store to buy a box of frozen onion rings and some ice cream. Then I sit down and watch the first pre-season game.

Within an hour, my Patriots buzz has worn off and I'm left uttering to the dog "I don't know any of these guys.”

Maybe it's my stubborn French-Canadian heritage. Or perhaps it's just being duped into watching complete strangers running around in the Patriots uniform. Or it could be the fear that if I don't watch, this would be the game that Tom Brady gets a season-ending injury.

Whatever the reason, they once again had me at hello on Friday night. While the Patriots graveyard is filled with pre-season heroes like Michael Bishop and Rohan Davey, it still won't stop me from forming some opinions on the action in the first half. The three guys that we learned a little bit about after Friday night's game against the Falcons are Laurence Maroney, Matt Cassel and Stephen Gostkowski.

Maroney delivered as advertised, bursting into the secondary against the Falcons first-string defense and showing that he is indeed very difficult to bring down. Most impressive was his rush on 3rd and 18 that gained a first down and lead to an early field goal. Unfortunately a few plays later, the new #87 (Reche Caldwell) couldn't hold onto a touchdown that the old #87 (David Givens) seemed to always pull in.

After seeing the underwhelming performance of Matt Cassel against the Falcons first half defense, it there any question as to whether Scott Pioli will be on the phone to see if Earl Morrall or Steve Grogan would like to earn a little bit of extra money as a backup quarterback this season? This is not to say that Cassel won't be a solid quarterback in this League but let's face facts: lightning usually doesn't strike twice with the same franchise in such a short amount of time. The emergence of Tom Brady in 2001 was a once in a lifetime experience.

I gulped pretty hard when I opened my sports page this morning and read the recap of the Colts game from Thursday night and saw "A. Vinatieri FG (53 yards).” As I sipped some coffee, I muttered "Geez, I sure hope they know what the hell they are doing when it comes to the kicking game.” Gostkowski acquitted himself early on against the Falcons with a field goal conversion and a kickoff that went seven yards deep into the end zone (I forgot what that looked like). But like you, I no longer will be halfway to the bathroom or the fridge when the Patriots line up for a field goal. Let the kicking game adventure begin.

One last thing. I would like to thank the good folks at Comdoctor for resurrecting my computer after a hard drive crash last week. If it wasn't for the magicians that also are silly enough to sponsor this column on, there wouldn't have been any profound analysis for this game.

Some folks might have found it a refreshing change.

Idle Zinger thoughts while wondering if you have caught onto the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FX:

News Item: The Patriots recently announced that they will be coming out with their own line of meat products. Given the question marks at kicker, wide receiver and linebacker, maybe the team will be considering branding aspirin by November.

How maddening is it when the TV and radio feed aren't synched up as was the case on Friday night? It still is a sore subject when thinking back to the Sox run in 2004 when the unbearable Fox TV broadcast was behind the hometown radio broadcast.

I have decided to start a pool at work regarding which week the first T.O./ Drew Bledsoe meltdown will take place. Stop by my cubicle if you would like to get in on the action.

This will amaze you: In their five Super Bowls, the Patriots have scored 107 points and given up 148 total points.

Is it wrong to be treasonous about picking up an Eric Moulds Buffalo Bills throwback jersey on clearance? If you are a regular of this space, you will recall my weakness for buying football jerseys.