It’s¬†the final week of the Patriots preseason,¬†with the team getting set for one last exhibition game Thursday night¬†at the Meadowlands against the New York Giants.¬†¬† Frankly I’m not going to be able to handle the fact¬†that we’ll likely hear about the “revenge factor” at some point for¬†this week’s game – because clearly an exhibition game (especially the fourth one) is always a great way to get even for a championship loss.¬† I’ll never understand how the media can compare a glorified scrimmage as a chance to get even -¬†but I digress….

Speaking of rivals, Bob George writes that while the Red Sox have the Yankees, and the Celtics have the Lakers, but while the Patriots have several teams that fans can’t stand, they don’t really¬†have a “biggest rival”.¬† George makes a case for each one in what’s a pretty entertaining read.

Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram has an article on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who she writes is too tough to take down and after watching him drag his guy into the endzone, even quarterback Tom Brady was impressed.

Glen Farley has a more in-depth article on the rookie,¬†with Gronkowski¬†talking about the progress he’s made so far since coming to the Patriots and learning about life in the NFL.

Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle takes a look at where the Patriots are roster-wise as the first mandatory cut down date approaches tomorrow.

Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com has a good article this morning on Ross Ventrone, who continues to battle for a roster spot here in New England.

Karen Guregian takes a look at the relationship between the veterans and the rookies in New England’s secondary, with Leigh Bodden understanding the frustration that Devin McCourty dealt with after the rookie had frustrating evening during last Thursday night’s loss to the Rams.

Guregian also notes yesterday’s transaction where the team cut OL Brian Simmons, while re-signing Terrence Johnson.

Russ Goldman takes a look at Laurence Maroney, who he feels considering how Maroney’s numbers measure up with other past Patriots runningbacks, it’s a bit too early to completely give up on him.

Tom Curran looks past this Thursday’s final preseason game against the New York Giants and takes a look at Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who will need to have a good year for the Bengals to have any success.

Mike Reiss takes a look at how the team stands at this point and writes that the team still has some work to do before their home opener in two weeks.

Wide receiver Bryan Anderson, who was cut by the Patriots back on June 11th, dealt with his second round of disappointment after being cut by the Omaha Nighthawks on Friday.  Pro football is a tough business, so hopefully he catches on somewhere else.

And finally an interesting note in the Boston Globe this morning on Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, who prefers to wear a hooded sweat shirt during outdoor games.¬† This apparently is something that Major League Baseball tried to stop him from doing earlier this season.¬† ¬†Maddon fought the ruling and eventually¬†won the right to wear his sweatshirt.¬† Interestingly enough Belichick heard of the dispute and sent¬†him a Patriots sweat shirt with¬†Maddon’s initials. According to the newspaper he included a note that read, “From one hoodie wearer to another, I thought I‚Äôd pass along my complete support with something to wear.”¬†¬† Instead Maddon doesn’t it wear it, he had the sweat shirt and note framed and has it hanging in his office at Tropicana Field.

OTHER NFL HEADLINES:

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t the only coach questioning his team’s effort these days.¬† Following their 28-10 loss to the Ravens last week Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was disappointed in the loss and tells the New York Times that he expected a lot more from his team in what’s considered to be the most important preseason game of the exhibition season.

Former Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas is apparently on the radar for the New York Jets, who are looking for a replacement after losing Calvin Pace for six weeks. 

Another story on another former Patriot, with kicker Adam Vinatieri¬†starting over this year in Indianapolis.¬† The 37-year old Vinatieri is¬†coming off a frustrating ’09¬†season where he underwent¬†surgery on his¬†right knee, which kept him out of what would have been his sixth Super Bowl.

And finally NBC Sports has an interesting article regarding the looming labor dispute, listing out all the different factors that will come into play as both sides try and reach an agreement in order to circumvent a potential work stoppage.

That’s it for this morning.¬† Hope all of you have a good day and we’ll have updates later on – so be sure to keep an eye on the front page of PatsFans.com throughout the day.