I ask again, is it Sunday yet?
The condition of the Gillette Stadium playing field is one of the topics for debate today. Michael Felger looks at the Patriots leaving the field open and exposed to the varying and wet elements of this week. Alan Greenberg also reports on the playing surface, which should be a cold, muddy slop by kickoff time on Sunday. Gerry Callahan on WEEI this morning labels the field conditions “cheating” by Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Another big concern and topic of conversation is the playing status of Richard Seymour. It seems that more and more media types are leaning towards the idea that the big defensive lineman will not be ready to play on Sunday. Nick Cafardo writes that whether Seymour plays or not, the Patriots need to be able to stop the running attack of the Colts. Tom E Curran looks at the added pressure on the rest of the defensive line if Seymour is unable to play. Lenny Megliola looks at the Patriots crew of veteran linebackers and the impact that they will have in the game on Sunday. This is a tight knit crew who support and respect each other’s roles and value to the team.
Jackie MacMullan has a piece on punter Josh Miller, who has been a popular addition to the Patriots clubhouse. Miller is friends with the man he replaced, Ken Walter, who even gave him advice during this season on kicking at Gillette. Bill Reynolds writes about Bill Belichick, saying that many do not see his brilliance because he says the same thing each week in his press conferences. I disagree, and say that Belichick usually responds the same way to the same questions that are asked each week. Ask him to talk about a particular play, a philosophy of football or player from the past, and you will get an answer that shows you just how much this guy knows about football and the NFL. Chris Kennedy says that every champion needs a foil, and the Colts provide a perfect one for the Patriots. Eric McHugh notes that with all the attention being given to the Colts offense, the explosiveness of the Patriots offense is being somewhat overlooked. Tom King says that you can’t really compare Patriots defenses across years, even from last year to this year. Brian Fleming looks at Willie McGinest, who has broken the hearts of the Colts and their fans on more than one occasion. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that both teams can claim to be treated unfairly and “dissed” by the media, it’s all how you look at it. Buckley teased this column during his Big Show appearance yesterday. Jim Donaldson asserts that Mike Vanderjagt’s comments from the other day were pretty much right on the mark, but that Patriots fans can’t handle that fact.
Cafardo’s notebook looks at offseason surgery in store for Ty Law. Felger’s notebook says that outside of Law and Tyrone Poole, the Patriots secondary is as healthy as it has been in some time. Curran’s notebook has more on the field conditions at Gillette. Greenberg’s notebook looks at Seymour’s chances of playing Sunday. Kennedy’s notebook has Tony Dungy saying that Rodney Harrison could’ve been a strong candidate for league MVP.
George Kimball looks at Peyton Manning seeking that elusive first win at Foxboro, and paying proper respect to the Patriot defense. John Altavilla also looks at Manning attempting to end his 0-6 streak in New England. Buddy Thomas continues his Manning fan-boy routine, continuing his act of trying to exult Manning while putting down Tom Brady at the same time. Mark Blaudschun looks at the understated importance of Edgerrin James to the Colts offense. Glen Farley believes that THIS time is the Colts time. Kimball’s notebook looks at the Colts likely playing without Robert Mathis this Sunday. Blaudschun’s notebook looks at the Colts trying to get back to work after distancing themselves from Mike Vanderjagt’s remarks.
From the Indy Star
Phil Richards looks at two longtime Colts assistants who are widely respected around the league, offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd. Phillip B Wilson looks at Rodney Harrison embracing his reputation, but not the fines he gets for it. The Colts notebook says that the team is not distracted by Vanderjagt’s comments, and says that Robert Mathis is definitely out this Sunday. The Patriots notebook says the team is very careful not to put any labels on opponents that could be considered degrading to the other team.
Another road loss for the Celtics
Peter May and Mark Murphy report on the Celtics losing once again on the road, this time to the Raptors. Morris Peterson put up 37 on the green, who surrendered over 100 points for the 24th time this season. The message sent by coach Doc Rivers over the weekend is still being felt, Jim Fenton has a look at the effects of the move by the coach. Murphy says that Pierce and Rivers are fine, and notes Pierce’s playful and relaxed attitude at practice yesterday. May’s notebook looks at former Celtic Eric Williams getting used to another NBA city. Murphy’s notebook has a similar theme.
Tony Massarotti looks at Derek Lowe being introduced as a Dodger. Chris Snow has a look at plans to expand City of Palms Park. Jeff Jacobs says the Yankees made a mistake by not clearing room on their payroll for Carlos Beltran.
NESN has game 7 of the 1975 World Series at 7:00. TNT has Nets/Rockets at 8:00 and Cavs/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN debuts “Tilt” tonight at 9:00, Matthew Gilbert has a preview of ESPN’s second foray into scripted television. ESPN also has Duke/NC State at 7:00. ESPN2 has Marquette/Memphis at 9:00.