Saturday's New England Patriots Links 9/17

Ian Logue
September 17, 2011 at 09:29am ET

Quick mind, release of Tom Brady weigh heavily on Chiefs
Tom Brady ‘still here plugging around’ at age 41
Patriots notebook: Bill Belichick credits players for team’s good health
Jason McCourty, Patriots defense on alert against Chiefs offense
The Bet Box: Golden oldies headed for Super matchup

*A quick note - the links from the Boston Herald were erratic this morning as it seems they're having some sort of a technical issue.  So it may take you a couple of tries to get them to work.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has an article on wide receiver Deion Branch, who answered his critics in Monday night's game by coming out and finishing with seven catches for 93-yards against Miami.
“I told you I’m cool,” Branch said. “We won the game. Looking forward to this weekend. Hopefully, we can put up the same performance.”

Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram has a similar article on Branch, who recalled last year's match-up against San Diego - his second game back - and said they'll need to play better against them this time around.
“They have a great team, a great defense,” Branch said. “Last year, we didn’t execute like we wanted to. Hopefully, this week will be a different outcome. We’ve got to execute, convert on third down, score in the red zone — things we didn’t do last year.” has an Associated Press article on New England's receivers, and writes that in their last meeting San Diego held them to their lowest total yardage number in 134 previous games.

Bill Williamson of ESPN has some interesting numbers on this match-up.

Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has a great breakdown this morning of tomorrow's game, including a closer look at San Diego's offense with a snapshot of their "Gun Split Backs" - so you'll definitely want to read this one.

Glen Farley of takes a look back at the history of this match-up, which has seen some good battles over the years.

He also files his notebook, and writes that the Patriots face some big problems tomorrow when they face off against them.

As many of you are obviously aware, the Patriots gave linebacker Rob Ninkovich a 2-year contract extension yesterday.  Monique Walker of the Boston Globe has her "notebook" for this morning, which leads off on Ninkovich.  She writes that his versatility is one of the main reasons he's been so valuable to this football team.
“Rob has done a good job for us,’’ coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s done a lot of different things - kicking game, defensively, running game, passing game, pass rush, he’s had some interceptions, had some quarterback pressures. He’s a smart guy, works hard [and] has good versatility.’’

Rapoport also files his "notebook" this morning which leads off with defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who acknowledged that he expects quite a test tomorrow from San Diego.

Mark Daniels of the Herald writes that Sebastian Vollmer is expected to rotate in at guard on Sunday as he continues working his way back from a back injury that's had him limited in practice this week.
“It feels good getting back out there and doing what I can,” Vollmer said. “I guess we’ll have to see about (playing), what they say. So far I’m limited at practice, I do what I can and try to get better. When it feels right, it feels right.”

Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe writes that Vollmer doesn't know how much he'll play, and acknowledged yesterday that his status would be left up to the Patriots medical staff.

Mike Rodak of reports that the Patriots worked out five interior linemen this week as they continue trying to build depth at that position due to injuries.

Mike Reiss has an in-depth look at safety Josh Barrett, who has settled into Brandon Meriweather's old locker at Gillette Stadium.

Mike Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle has an article this morning on Shaun Ellis, who he writes has settled right into his role with the Patriots here in Foxboro.

Mike Reiss has an article this morning on the fact that Chad Ochocinco didn't fight back about the comments this week from Tedy Bruschi, who criticized his "WOW" tweet from earlier in the week.  Instead Ochocinco had his head buried in the playbook, and said he wasn't talking again until he had the offense down.

Tom Curran talked to him yesterday and Ochocinco offered up an "I love Tedy" when asked about the comments, and as mentioned above said he's not talking until he's comfortable with the offense.

Tonight Drew Bledsoe will go into the Patriots Hall of Fame, and Scott Barboza of ESPN has a great article on the former number one pick, who also acknowledged just how much the draft has changed.  Bledsoe joked that he may have been one of the last first round selections to show up in a button down shirt and sneakers, and also talked about the fact he always knew Brady would be a great player in this league.

Jeff Howe of has his mailbag, which was full of all kinds of debate about the type of player Bledsoe was, as fans still go on debating it even now.

And finally, WEEI's Jim Doubleday has quotes from yesterday's interview with Bledsoe on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan in what was a great interview.  You can read more via this link.

That's it for now.  We'll have an update or two later on, so keep an eye on the front page of not just for our stuff, but you can also find all the latest local media coverage there as well in the "Latest News Section" underneath the main window area.