By: Ian Logue
It’s game day once again in New England, with the team facing off against the St. Louis Rams tonight at Gillette Stadium. There are plenty of stories this morning relating to tonight’s game, so here are today’s headlines.
Russ Goldman has his “Five Reasons to Watch Tonight’s Game“, with a mention on just what type of performance we’ll see from New England’s secondary against the Rams.
Our friends at NEPatriotsDraft.com also have a quick look at tonight’s game, and mentions the offensive line and linebacker position as things to watch.
Nick Underhill of MassLive.com also has a “What to Watch for” blog entry, and wonders what Gary Guyton’s return to the line-up will mean to the depth chart at the linebacker position.
Albert Breer of the Boston Globe has his “Five Players to Watch” in tonight’s game, including Laurence Maroney who is starting to see some pressure to perform and Breer feels that whether or not he sees time with the first unit tonight could be telling.
Breer also takes an in-depth look at what the coaches will likely be looking for tonight, including how they handle the halftime meeting in the locker room along with second half adjustments, as it’s expected that the starters will play into the third quarter.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald also offers up his “Five Things to Look For”, and wonders if the team’s makeshift defensive line can slow down Rams runningback Stephen Jackson.
Rapoport also feels that New England will have their game faces on tonight, as this game is obviously considered to be the “dress rehearsal” heading into the regular season.
Tom King of the Nashua Telegraph wonders what tonight’s plan will be, and feels that head coach Bill Belichick knows what he’s expecting from his players and King mentions some guys he feels should up their game tonight.
Karen Guregian of the Herald has a terrific article this morning on the Patriots safety position, which Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather have solidified and provide what she feels is a great 1-2 punch that even former Patriot Rodney Harrison is impressed with.
Glen Farley of the Patriot Ledger writes that with the return of Leigh Bodden to the defense, thankfully the Patriots have one less question to answer heading into the season.
BND.com out of St. Louis has an article on tonight’s game, with most fans in that region excited to see Rams QB Sam Bradford play with the first unit tonight against the Patriots. They’re viewing it as a barometer to see how good they are, especially taking on a team like New England.
The St. Louis Dispatch also has their “Five Things to Watch”, if you want to get an opposing view of what they’ll be looking for.
Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe takes a look at the signing of kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who received a four year contract extension from the Patriots last night.
Rapoport also feels that the fact that New England gave him an extension speaks well of the Patriots kicker, who has performed well since taking over for Adam Vinatieri.
Tom Curran of NECN feels that Gostkowski’s deal should send a message to Mankins, and feels that Mankins and his agent may have seen a different outcome had they handled things better. Curran also points out that Jonathan Kraft told him he’s mystified over the way things have gone during the negotiations.
In another entry Curran, like many of his colleagues have, offers up his own “Five Things To Watch” tonight, and hopes that the Patriots defense doesn’t let Sam Bradford have a good game tonight.
Young also looks at the progress we’ve seen from offensive lineman Dan Conolloy, who has done a servicable job in the absence of Logan Mankins, and appears ready to anchor the left guard spot this season.
In other news Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes that commissioner Roger Goodell that they’re moving ahead with their plans for an 18-game season in 2012, and will be presenting their proposal to the players union as part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Price also has an article on long-snapper Jake Ingram, who loves the new rule put in place by the league to protect long-snappers and says, “it’s an awesome rule.”
Price also appeared in the latest “PatsCast” podcast episode, so be sure to download it for free from ITunes by searching “PatsCast”, or listen to it online here.
That’s it for this morning. Hope everyone has a good day and we’ll have more later on, along with coverage of tonight’s game here as well.