As the team gets ready to head off to Buffalo today, we’re just a little less than 24 hours away from kickoff. Â Here are this morning’s top stories.
Patriots vs. Bills: Five Questions with Dan Goldman Of The Daily Messenger In Canandaigua, N.Y. – Russ Goldman
Goldman has a great Q&A with Bills Beat writer Dan Goldman of the Daily Messneger.
Patsâ€™ depth takes a hit – Dan Duggan
Dan Duggan of the Herald files his “Notebook” and takes a look at the team’s lack of depth, and notes that with Sebastian Vollmer ruled “Out” for Sunday – along with Aaron Hernandez also being ruled “Out” and Dan Gronkowski getting cut yesterday – that leaves just Rob Gronkowski as the only healthy tight end heading into Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
Anyone for punt duty? – Ian Rapoport
Rapoport writes that Zoltan Mesko’s status for tomorrow remains up in the air, but he’s done all he can to try and make his way back onto the field. Â â€śI feel like Iâ€™ve put in all Iâ€™ve got as far as rehab,â€ť said Mesko, whoâ€™s listed as questionable.
Shaun Ellis had up-close look at history – Dan Duggan
Duggan has comments from Shaun Ellis, who saw Drew Bledsoe’s hit from Mo Lewis up close – as he played with the Jets that season back in 2001 and was chasing Bledsoe on that play. Â â€śThat particular play, I was chasing (Bledsoe). We got to the sideline and I dove to try to knock the ball out,â€ť Ellis said. â€śI guess he reached back to get the ball and thatâ€™s when (Jets linebacker) Mo Lewis hit him. I remember .â€‰.â€‰. you know how when someone gets the wind knocked out of them? I didnâ€™t know the extent of the injury until after the game.â€ť
He has special knack – Julian Benbow
Benbow has a story this morning on Tracy White, who always seems to be one of the first guys down the field covering kickoffs. Â â€śThe desire is I want to be the first guy,â€™â€™ White said. â€śPut it like this, I want everything. I want it all. If I can get that tackle, Iâ€™m going to try to get there before you.â€™â€™
Hernandez, Wright, Vollmer out vs. Bills – Julian Benbow & Shalise Manza Young
They file their “notebook” this morning, which leads off with a report aboutÂ Hernandez,Â Vollmer, and defensive linemanÂ Mike Wright all being listed as “out” for Sunday.
Inside the matchup: Patriots at Bills – Greg Bedard
Bedard has a great in depth breakdown of New England’s defense in this entry, complete with plenty of X’s & O’s to diagram exactly what he’s talking about. Â So be sure and check it out.
Patriots areas of interest vs. Bills – Mike Reiss
Reiss writes that the Patriots sub defense will be tested both on the ground and in the air against the Bills tomorrow, and also has some thoughts heading into this AFC East showdown.
Football journey: Antwaun Molden – Mike Reiss
Reiss has an up close look at Molden, along with some quotes in this entry.
SOURCE: Edds to the Practice Squad – Mike Reiss
Reiss reports that linebacker A.J. Edds cleared waivers and has agreed to return to the Patriots on the team’s practice squad.
Making Sense of the Roster Moves – Mike Reiss
Reiss has an entry trying to make sense of yesterday’s transactions.
Mesko to Test Injured Knee – Mike Reiss
Reiss writes that Friday was the decision day for Mesko’s availablity for Sunday, and the punter sounds like he wants to play. Â “I feel like I’ve been here 24/7, but I feel like it’s been paying off. We’ll go out there today and see how I handle it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping the team out. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get out there, and give it all I got. Ultimately it’s the coaches’ decision whether they want to take me to Buffalo. I’d be excited if they would choose so.”
Sergio Brown Steps Into the Spotlight – Jennifer Toland
Toland writes that the safety is coming off of a game where he made a big interception against San Diego, and could see more action vs. Buffalo.
What to Watch For: Pats/Bills – Nick Underhill
Underhill has his key areas for Sunday, and feels there’s no excuse for them not being able to create a pass rush against Buffalo.
Can the Patriots keep it going with tight end Aaron Hernandez injured? – Nick Underhill
Underhill wonders if the team will be able to continue their success with Hernandez out of the lineup, with Belichick saying yesterday that they’ll have to make some adjustments. Â “I mean, we have a lot of different skill players in our offense,” coach Bill Belichick said. “We have a lot of different formations and things. As you’ve seen, we use multiple personnel groups, multiple formations so whatever we have to do, we’ll use some combination of those.”
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Patriots Notebook: Injuries Piling Up – Glen Farley
Farley files his notebook which leads off with the team’s current injury situation, along with the fact Andre Carter was fined $15,000 by the league after his hit on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers last Sunday.
Why Fred Jackson Puts a lot of Fear In the Patriots – Mike Petraglia
Petraglia writes that the team knows the type of threat Bills runningback Fred Jackson is, and knows they face a tough challenge in slowing him down tomorrow. Â â€śHeâ€™s been doing it his whole career,â€ť Belichick said. â€śThereâ€™s really no weak points with that guy, he does everything well. [He] runs hard, breaks tackles, good vision, good balance, catches the ball well, outstanding as a blocker, exceptional, blitz pickup, even when they ask him to run block which occasionally they do with their different personnel groupings.â€ť
Pats’ Brady in the midst of historic run of QB effectiveness – Kerry Byrne
Kerry Byrne of Cold Hard Football Facts has an article on SI.com that looks at Tom Brady’s historic start to this 2011 season, with a great breakdown that points out some amazing numbers by the Pats QB.
NFL Players: Brady’s the Guy to Build Around – MJD
In this entry MJD points out a survey done by Sports Illustrated, who asked 272 NFL players who they’d pick first if they were building a team from scratch. Â Brady was their guy.
Patriots Mailbag: Looking at New England’s Depth at Safety, Key to Slowing Buffalo Offense – Jeff Howe
Howe discusses a plethora of interesting topics in this week’s edition of his mailbag, including the fact he feels that the fact they haven’t signed Darren Sharper at the safety spot is because the Patriots just don’t think he’s got enough left in the tank.
That’s it for this morning. Â In the meantime keep an eye on the front page of PatsFans.com for the latest updates, with our newsfeed updated automatically from all the top news sources – located just below the main headline area.
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