Thursday's New England Patriots Links 9/15

Ian Logue
September 15, 2011 at 09:17am ET

NFL Notes: Julian Edelman makes presence felt with Patriots
Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower returning to practice field an encouraging sign
Why was Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy doing pushups at a bowling alley?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns no concerns that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are missing OTAs
New NFL policy lets players who don’t want to stand for anthem stay in locker room

It's the day that most fans have been waiting for, with tonight set to mark the debut of "A Football Life", which is a feature on NFL Network on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram writes that tonight's debut is "must see television", and that fans definitely don't want to miss this.  He also writes that producer Ken Rodgers may be the first person 'to ever get Bill to cry on camera'.

Michael Hurley of NESN also has his take on the feature, and writes that it shows a completely different side of the Patriots coach.

The "Obnoxious Boston Fan" has an entertaining entry this morning on the fact he's apprehensive about seeing the Belichick documentary tonight because he doesn't want to know Belichick as anything other than the 'evil genius that he is.

Meanwhile getting back to football news, Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has an article this morning on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Chargers QB Philip Rivers, and writes that we could see another shootout this weekend.

Glen Farley of the Taunton Gazette agrees, and feels that this weekend's game will likely feature a good offensive showing from the Chargers as well, with NFL Network analyst Mike Mayok pointing out that watching San Diego is like watching "basketball on grass".
"This is basketball on grass," Mayock said during last Sunday’s edition of ‘NFL GameDay Morning,’ hours before the Chargers’ regular-season opener against the Minnesota Vikings at Qualcomm Stadium.

"This is Magic Johnson distributing the football. They’ve got playmakers at every position."

Rapoport also has his "notebook" for this morning, which leads off on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who joins Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowksi as another talented tight end to watch this weekend.

Jeff Howe of has an article on the fact that safety Josh Barrett isgetting fired up about having the chance to defend Gates.

Kevin McNamara has an article on the tight ends, which he feels give Brady a couple of key weapons heading into this season.

Rapoport also has yesterday's injury report, which saw Sebastian Vollmer return to the field, while Lee Bodden was absent with a back injury, and Mike Wright was out as he deals with yet another concussion.

Karen Guregian of the Herald has a good article on Albert Haynesworth, who said yesterday that the defense still has room to improve despite holding Miami to 2-of-14 on 3rd down Monday night.

Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram also has an article on the defense, which he felt wasn't all bad in their showing against Miami.  The article also has quite a close-up shot of Haynesworth.

Guregian also has a good article on the fact that the 7842 passing yards in the NFL for week 1 was the most in league history, and she expects more of the same this weekend.

Rich Thompson of the Herald has an article on Dan Connolly, whose versatility ended up playing a big role in Monday night's win after he moved over to center following Dan Koppen's ankle injury and played well.

Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle writes that Connolly is now the 'center of attention' here in Foxboro now that Koppen is out.

Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe also as an article on Connolly, who is expected to get the starting nod on Sunday at center against the Chargers.  Connolly admitted during the piece that it was his versatility that's helped him keep a job with the team.
“That’s why I’m here,’’ Connolly said. “I showed versatility early on, and I feel like that’s why I was kept around, because I can play multiple positions. I prepare myself for any position. Even if I’m starting at guard, I need to have that versatility to play any position, so I’m always prepared to play anything.’’

Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram also has a notebook which leads off with Connolly, and there's a good photo of the new Patriots center at the top of the piece.  Garven also mentions the fact that they signed Donald Thomas yesterday to bolster some depth at right guard behind Brian Waters now that Connolly has moved over.

Mike Reiss has a closer look at Thomas, who is glad to be here in New England.

Thompson also has an article on Shaun Ellis, who is looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd for the first time during the regular season on Sunday against San Diego.

Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has his "On Football" article for this morning which takes a look at the rivalry between the Patriots and the Chargers, who New England has gotten to know quite well over the years after knocking them out of the playoffs on more than one occasion.

Michael Whitmer also has a notebook that leads off with a bit Chad Ochocinco, who drew the ire of former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi following a recent Tweet where he said he was in "awe" of the offense.

Ian Rapoport takes a closer look at Bruschi's comments, and feels he's 'dead wrong' in his assessment of Ochocinco at this point.

Mike Reiss also has his article on Bruschi's comments, although this is more of a report than an opinion - and has some additional comments from Brady.

However, in this article Reiss wonders if Ochocinco will be able to tune out the noise in front of the home crowd this Sunday after the recent criticism.

Steve Silva of has an entry yesterday on Brady, who told the fans to "start drinking early" and make sure to be good and fired up to be loud Sunday when they take on San Diego.  He later mentioned that he meant "water" so they wouldn't get "dehydrated".

Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle has more on Brady's comments, which he feels were ill-advised considering Foxboro's struggle to deal with rowdy fans thanks to alcohol over the years.

Chris Forsberg writes that Brady is ranked third in total QBR (the new quarterback rating by ESPN) after his week one performance.

And finally, as we get closer to Drew Bledsoe's enshrinement into the Patriots Hall of Fame this weekend, Jeff Howe of has a great unbiased and balanced article on why Bledsoe deserves to be recognized among the best in the game during his era with the team.  It's a fantastic piece - and it's safe to say that he brought the fun and excitement back to Foxboro when he came to town and helped the Patriots take the first step in making the Patriots a perennial contender.

It just so happened that Brady came along and helped them take the next one and lead them to three titles.  But fans should still be able to look back and appreciate everything Bledsoe did to help make Sundays a lot more fun for Patriots fans before he got here, and Howe's breakdown proves that he did a more than respectable job during that span.

That's it for this morning.  We'll have more later on so be sure and check back for updates.