By: Ian Logue
We’re now just one day from the start of the regular season, as the Patriots get set to kick things off against the Bengals tomorrow at Gillette Stadium. In a press release from ESPN, one of the things to look for tomorrow for those of you watching “ESPN’s NFL Countdown” will be a piece by Kenny Mayne in this week’s “Mayne Event”, where he’s convinced Wes Welker “made a deal with the devil” – as he thinks that can be the only way Welker made it back onto the field so fast after tearing his ACL earlier this year. Welker is expected to be in the piece, so it should be entertaining.
Now it’s on to today’s headlines:
Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe has an article on Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who couldn’t be happier after giving Tom Brady one of the richest contracts in NFL history this week. Kraft emphasized that since he took over the team there have only been two quarterbacks in the 17-years he’s been here, which he feels is one of the reasons they’ve been so successful.
“Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ve been saying to people, this is our 17th season [owning the Patriots] and in that period I’ve had one wife and two quarterbacks [Brady and Drew Bledsoe] who have started the season and it should be over 20 years where we have only two quarterbacks who start the season,’’ by the time Brady’s extension expires, Kraft said.
“I think stability and continuity are important if you want to have a winning situation,’’ said the owner. “You always have to upgrade and bring in young talent, but you also have to have seasoned veterans and we’re lucky to have one of the greatest players in the history of the game, in my opinion.’’
Kraft also said in this piece from ESPNBoston.com that it’s a miracle that Brady wasn’t injured in Thursday’s crash, and one of the reasons is also because he was wearing his seatbelt.
One of the questions that was surprisingly uttered by a few people following the accident was, “Why was Brady driving an Audi?” For those who actually care why Brady had it, the Boston Globe reports that it’s a loaner and a perk that he receives for being a part of “Best Buddies International”, a non-profit organization which benefits people with mental disabilities since 2007.
Meanwhile MyFoxBoston.com has an article on Ludgero Rodrigues, who is the driver who hit Brady on Thursday, as he finally spoke out for the first time since the incident and claims the light was green – not red.
As for his teammates, they’re all glad he’s under contract – although Wes Welker told the Boston Herald that they still expect him to pick up the check when they go out to dinner together.
Randy Moss may no longer be a captain after not being named among the four who are this season, but Ron Borges of the Herald writes that all the negative criticism among fans over Moss is unwarranted, and he feels it’s time to stop the hysteria.
The Boston Herald takes a look at the matchup problems facing New England tomorrow, one of which includes guard Stephen Neal, who is going to be facing Bengals defensive lineman Domata Peko. Peko is 6’3″ and 320 pounds, and is one of their better interior defensive players.
Mike Reiss and Tedy Bruschi break down tomorrow’s game and take a look at some of the other matchups, and both feel that it’s going to be a tough first test for the Patriots this season.
Christopher Price has a good piece this morning on what to watch for in tomorrow’s game, one of which is obviously how the Patriots secondary will deal with the Bengals challenging group of receivers.
Jeff Howe of NESN.com also takes a deeper look into what problems the Patriots are going to face, looking at the matchups in the secondary, along with how Bengals runningback Cedric Benson and receiver Jordan Shipley may impact the game.
Howe also expects rookies Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Brandon Spikes to play big factors in tomorrow’s game.
Out in Cincinnati, they take a look at their own keys to the game, with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com offering up a terrific piece that looks at many different matchups. Bengals co-captain Bobbie Williams saying that they’re incredibly focused, and that this is a different team this season.
“The one thing about this team is everyone is on the same page,” he said. “I’m not saying that team didn’t work, but there is more focus on detail. Guys are putting in the work. There is no sense of entitlement. You work for it and earn it…This is a different team.”
That’s it for this morning. Hope all of you have a good day, and there are a couple of other articles that are completed and will be released later today on the site, so be sure to keep your eye on the front page of PatsFans.com for more later on.