It was a busy day on Wednesday, with the Patriots finally agreeing to terms on a contract extension for Logan Mankins, along with the team restructuring some other deals. Factor in that tonight is their first preseason game against the Jacksoville Jaguars, and there’s a lot going on this morning.
Ian Rapoport has more on the signing, and writes that the contract will make Mankins the highest paid interior offensive lineman in the league.
Along with Mankins’ new contract, the team restructured Albert Haynesworth’s contract, with Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports providing the details on the big pay cut the veteran accepted to play here.
Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes that guys like Dan Koppen, and Wes Welker, could also be players who may be next to get contract extensions.
Mike Reiss is scheduled to hold his weekly chat at noon today, and will answer questions along with helping preview tonight’s exhibition game.
Yahoo! Sports writes that former Patriot Tony Carter is scheduled to meet with the Vikings today.
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram takes a look at tonight’s game against the Jaguars and writes that with a shortened preseason, this first exhibition game is important for the players who are on the bubble and trying to earn a spot on the roster.
Jennifer Toland of the Telegram has an article focusing on Brian Hoyer, who is excited to get some reps in a live game tonight.
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle writes that tonight is Hoyer’s time to shine, and he’s looking forward to getting out there.
“There’s no substitute for game experience and game reality,” the Patriots’ backup QB said Tuesday. “You can try to simulate it as much as you want, but until those bullets are flying live at you, there’s nothing like it. We’re excited to get out there and play.”
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe writes that tonight’s game will give fans a “peek” at the new defense, although Haynesworth and a few other pieces may not make an appearance in this one tonight.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes that the team will try and take some of the lessons they’ve learned onto the field tonight against the Jaguars.
Rapoport also looks at the battle for the third cornerback position, focusing on Jonathan Wilhite, Darius Butler, and Kyle Arrington.
He also offers up “Five things to watch for tonight”, and wonders if the offense will find some rhythm tonight, which is something they haven’t been able to do so far in practice.
The Globe has “5 Things to Watch For Tonight”, one of which is to watch for where Jerod Mayo lines up tonight as the Patriots begin transitioning their defensive scheme.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft met with the media yesterday, and talked about a variety of topics, and Mark Farinella has of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle has a good article this morning on Kraft acknowledging the work his wife did in the community. There are also some other good quotes in this piece as well.
Shalise Manza Young has a touching article about how much her loss affects her husband, who talked fairly candidly about her yesterday.
Karen Guregian also has a similar article, and writes there will be an empty seat next Kraft tonight for the first time since he bought the team.
Shalise Manza Young has another good article on the Patriots owner, who said yesterday he spoke to Haynesworth prior to the trade and felt comfortable enough to bring him in.
“I met with him. And you know, I’ve learned in life and in business that people sometimes have different agendas . . . I met with him and I like the guy,’’ he said. “He didn’t come here for the money, he came here to be part of a team and win and I think in some ways improve his reputation. So like a lot of meetings I have with these guys, I found him to be genuine and sincere so now I hope he gets out on the field and does his thing.’’
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has an interesting entry this morning, focusing on some of the “one on one” battles from camp. It features a chart with a ‘win/loss’ percentage, and is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.
Glen Farley of The Enterprise has a good breakdown of the positional battles, along with details on each one in this article.
Mike Reiss also has his ‘points of interest’ for tonight’s game, inlcuding the fact he’ll be keeping an eye on the defensive line spot that will be vacated by Haynesworth tonight. Reiss says that Kade Weston should be a player to watch, and expects him to get plenty of playing time.
If you’re looking for a national perspective on the new defense, Matt Williamson of ESPN writes that the arrow “is pointing up” for the Patriots defensive unit.
And finally, former Minnesota coach Brad Childress took a shot at Randy Moss yesterday, telling the NFL Network that Moss walked into the Vikings locker room “and vomited on it”. That’s certainly a colorful description you generally don’t hear from an NFL coach when talking about a player.
That’s it for this morning. We’ll have more in a bit, including a couple of entries from Russ Goldman, along with a few from me as well.