1. When the Saints arrive in town next week to scrimmage with the Pats prior to their preseason game, I think this will be the start of a trend that will increase as time goes on during preseason. I know a number of teams have done this in the past including the Pats, but now I see it as an increasing necessity if teams are going to get in their work, avoid injuries, and increase the number of quality competitive snaps. These types of controlled scrimmages are much more helpful to coaches than the actual preseason games. They can be on the field, coaching play to play. They can get quality competitive snaps for their players in group work and individual work as well. The results of these drills during the scrimmage will give the coaches a lot better indication of where the Pats are in relationship with the rest of the better teams, than the actual "game" itself. It seems to me that the most important thing the coaches get out of preseason game is the practice they get in making substitutions and getting in their sub packages on time. It also allows the coaches to practice their game time communications between themselves and the players. But other than that, a couple of days of joint practices with another team is a MUCH better method of evaluating, coaching and improving your players. While at the same time minimizing injuries. I'd love to see 2 days of scheduled joint practices during a week, replace a couple of preseason games. BTW - I'd much rather watch a scrimmage than a preseason game. 2. Speaking of watching practices, I've come to a conclusion. Its really hard for a fan to reach any valid conclusions based on what we see from the stands while watching practice. Now I read every camp report religiously...and enjoy them all, but really folks what can we really see. Did anyone ever have a worse preseason in 2008 than Matt Cassel. By all reports he was horrid during the practices and was even worse in the games. IIRC, he didn't lead the Pats to a single TD, and the number of first downs the 1st offense attained while he was in there could be counted on a single hand. Last season, Ron Brace was impressing people (myself included) and Terrance Nunn wasthe player everyone was talking about. I enjoy the 6-8 sessions I go to each year, and sometimes I even fool myself that I am actually gaining some insight into something. But when I reflect and I'm honest with myself, we really can't judge anything until we see the final product on the field 9.12. And even then we are all aware how teams grow or collapse from September to December. 3. Is it me or are the media outrages growing every year. Not just here in Boston, but across the country. Silver writes a speculative story, and within a week all his speculations are being reported as facts. It seems at some point we fans have allowed the media to create the stories, rather than report what is found. In the past every paper had a columnist or two who was paid to give their opinions on things, but the vast majority of the writers where reporters. Guys who dug for stories and just told us what they found and let US make up our minds on what it means. Today EVERY guy has an opinion, and they don't care if its right or wrong. No accountability, no consequence. If I get it right I make sure EVERYONE knows about it, and if I get it wrong....so what. It's like the media has turned into a message board. 4. I think I'm getting tired of all the panic over where our pass rush is going to come from. Yes its a concern. Yes there are question mark, but I sometimes get the feeling that if the Pats somehow don't get a recognizable guy in camp, the league isn't going to allow them to play out the regular season. I think we all can agree that the Jets had an excellent defense last season. Can anyone name me a Jet player who was more effective rushing the passer than TBC? Believe me people aren't wringing their hands over at JI wondering who is going to rush the passer. They're trying to figure out how anyone will score on them. I keep hearing the mediots decrying the fact the guys like Vrabel and McGinest aren't out there. Well do these idiots know that Vrabel only had 9+ sacks only TWICE in his career, and that other than those to 2 seasons he never had more than 5. Do they know that Willie never had a 10 sack season with BB, and only ONE in his career. I know that the Pats need to create more pressure on the QB this season, but claiming that the Pats have to have a "name" guy or they might as well just pack it in, just isn't so. 5. BTW - will those practices with NO be open to the public? If they are they will be can't miss events. 6. If you haven't read the story on the history behind the creation of Madden Football, I can't recommend it highly enough. Well I have to run. I'm looking forward watching this team develop. I think we are going to be very happy with this season's edition. Its actually kind of nice NOT to have the Target on your back at the start of the season. Some Pats fans might not remember, but there was a time when we weren't one of few preseaons favorites to win the superbowl. You can't help but love the lower expectations.