It’s game day, and there are plenty of great stories available in today’s edition, so let’s get to the headlines:
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has a great “On Football” column for this morning, and writes that heading into this season Bill Belichick’s plan for this year are “championships or nothing” based on the personnel changes we’ve seen.
Mike Reiss takes a look at some areas of interest heading into tonight’s game.
Reiss also expects someone from the practice squad to get promoted after both Sebastian Vollmer and Ryan Wendell were downgraded to “Out” last night.
Ron Borges of the Boston Herald writes that the Patriots hopes for tonight rest upon the shoulders of “aging quarterback” Tom Brady.
Jim McBride of the Boston Globe has a scouting report for tonight’s match-up.
Greg Bedard has a good article “Inside the Match-up” for tonight’s game.
Jeff Howe of NESN writes that Brady talked recently about the inconsistencies they had offensively during the preseason, and hopes they play better tonight.
“I think we’ve been a little bit inconsistent over the course of the preseason, and we’re trying to get a lot of things straightened out,” Brady said. “We’re trying to do the things that we’ve consistently done well, whether it’s in training camp, in practices or in games. We haven’t had a ton of practices, so that’s where the inconsistencies come up. That’s why we’re going out to work on these things. We’re a long way from figuring out where we’re going to be. I’m sure every week we’re going to improve and keep working hard at it, but we’ve only been together for five or six weeks. I’m sure things are going to be good, and [there are] going to be things we need to correct. Hopefully, we do enough to win.”
Nick Underhill of Mass Live.com writes that he believes tight end Rob Gronkowski will lead the team in touchdowns this season, along with nine other predicitons for this season.
Underhill also has his “What to Watch For” tonight in this entry.
Shalise Manza Young has her “notebook” for this morning, which leads off with defensive lineman Shaun Ellis – who played for the Jets back in 2001 – recalling what it was like in New York during September 11th.
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram writes that Brady has a winning percentage of just .444 in Miami, and that it’s been a tough place to play for the Patriots.
Garven also notes the “spy” game that went on between these two teams over the past week, with Miami first claiming tight end Will Yeatman off of waivers, followed by New England countering by grabbing Dolphins linebacker A.J. Edds.
Monique Walker has a good article on the fact that it’s tough for teams to win titles, with Brady noting that just because some of the new guys joined this team it doesn’t guarantee them a championship.
“Look, it’s hard to win games,’’ said Brady, who has led New England to four Super Bowls, including three wins. “You can’t come here and think, ‘Oh just because now I’m on this team we’re going to [win]. Boy, it’s going to be easy.’ Everyone starts at the same point every year. We’ve added new guys and other teams have added new guys.
“We have new coaches and some other teams have new coaches. You win games and you put yourself in a good position. That’s what we’re trying to do out here; we’re trying to win these games. The game that we have coming up [tonight] against a division opponent, there’s nothing more that you could ask for to start the year. We’re all excited. We’re excited to be out there playing in a big game after a long layoff, and we’ll see where we measure up.’’
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle writes that 28-of-32 teams played yesterday, and Dolphins coach Tony Sparano almost wasn’t a part of it after watching his job get shopped around during the offseason.
Bill Burt of the Lawrence Eagle Tribune crunches some numbers for this season, and predicts that Brady will have 10 or less interceptions this year.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that fans will finally get a look at this new defensive linemen group in real game action tonight.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has his “5 Things to Watch For”, one of which includes the fact he wonders if the offense can find the right gear out of the gate.
Rapoport also has an article on Nate Solder, who finds himself thrust into the spotlight as Vollmer continues battling a back injury.
Some thoughts from our own guys:
Derek Havens has his pregame thoughts, and expects the match-up between Cameron Wake and Solder to be an interesting one. He also believes that Miami will definitely put up a fight tonight.
Russ Goldman has his “5 Keys to a Win”, one of which is the fact that New England needs to exploit the middle of the field against the Dolphins. He also leads off with a scouting report on Miami.
Diana Gaffny has her 5 Thoughts for tonight, and wonders who will play better, Dolphins QB Chad Henne or Tom Brady?
As we close this out, the girls at the inside track note that apparently Belichick has told Chad Ochocinco to cool it on Twitter, which is apparently why fans haven’t heard much from him there recently.
And finally we’ll end with Patriots cheerleader news – which is always a great way to end these. The Metrowest Daily News has an article on the fact that the Patriots cheerleaders will take part in the upcoming Maynard road race, and will sign posters and chat with residents before the event. If you live in the area or want to participate, here’s more information.
That’s it for this morning. We’ll have a couple of additional entries later on, so be sure and check the front page of PatsFans.com to see when they become available.