Patriots Prune Branch

Michael Felger has his first regular season report card of the year. The passing attack gets low marks, but otherwise it appeared to be a good game for the Patriots. Ian Clark also offers up a report card, with similar marks and thoughts. Greg Doyle has a film review of Sunday’s Patriots/Bills game over on the Patriots Game Day page.

The aftermath of the Deion Branch trade is the focal point of the newspapers this morning, as you might expect. Mike Reiss has a twist to the saga, not only have the Patriots traded Branch, but he says they have gone ahead and filed tampering charges against the New York Jets, arguing that the Jets told Branch and his agent what they were offering the Patriots, thus compromising the Patriots bargaining position.

John Tomase reports on the trade and how things got to this point. Joe McDonald explains that both sides got what they were looking for in this exchange. Alan Greenberg notes that emotions were high because of this deal. Albert Breer writes that the deal leaves the team with a clear void on offense, and teams will soon just start to stack it up against the running game. Rich Garven says this turned out like youth soccer – no losers. He does feel that it should’ve been handled differently however. Michael Parente looks at the end of a bizarre holdout that has been going on since June mini-camp.

Gerry Callahan says that Bill Belichick was caught by surprise with this situation and clearly did not see it coming. He says that the Patriots are a poorer team for it. Ron Borges writes that Branch stood up to the Patriots, and came away handsomely rewarded for his stand. Jim Donaldson says that while the Patriots may have been in the right in this fight, they probably hurt themselves in the short term. Dan Pires has an extensive look at the situation, which seems to have ended with both sides getting what they wanted. Christopher Price looks at the end of the Deion Branch era in Foxboro.

Tomase goes around the Patriots locker room for reaction, (a little misleading since there were only three players there and available for comment) and encounters a some sad faces. Christopher L. Gasper has Richard Seymour particularly stung by the departure of Branch. Shalise Manza Young talks to Seymour and Mike Vrabel about the situation, each having a slightly different take on matters. Breer looks at who’s left at receiver for New England with Branch out of town. David Brown notes that the Patriots are left to gamble with some unproven players at receiver.

Tomase says that the the Seahawks are happy with the trade. For more reaction from out west, you can check the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Tacoma News Tribune for more stories and coverage.

Bill Reynolds wonders how in the world the Patriots could’ve gotten booed at home on Sunday.

With the Jets on the schedule for Sunday, it should be an interesting week should the tampering issue have legs. Keep up with the Jets side of things on the New York Sports Pages. This morning there is an article in the Daily News about the Mangini/Belichick relationship heading into this weekend’s matchup.

Tomase’s notebook has more on the Patriots charges against the Jets. Gasper’s notebook says that Doug Gabriel and Chad Jackson will each be given the chance to step up to attempt to fill the void left by Branch.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes has a nice feature on Red Sox legend Jimmie Foxx, who is likely to have his team home run record broken by David Ortiz sometime this week. Paul Doyle looks at Ortiz’s pursuit of Foxx’s record. David Borges wonders if Ortiz is still the AL MVP.

Steven Krasner has a look at Wily Mo Pena, as the young slugger is going to get full opportunity the rest of the season to show that he should be the Red Sox right fielder in 2007. Joe Haggerty also has an article on Pena, known as “Manimal” among his teammates for his incredible power. Tony Massarotti says that just about the only thing worth watching with the Red Sox in the remaining games is the opportunities that younger players are going to have to show their stuff on the big stage. Garry Brown says that for players like Kason Gabbard, their chance to shine is now. Bill Ballou says that trading prospects that turn out to be stars is certainly nothing new for this franchise.

Massarotti’s notebook has Derek Jeter dismissing MVP talk brought up by David Ortiz. M. Charles Bakst, the Providence Journal’s political columnist traveled to Seattle to watch the Red Sox take on the Mariners, and while the games weren’t much, (the Red Sox were swept) he provides a look a the food available at the park.

Celtics/Bruins/Misc

Steve Bulpett had the news yesterday afternoon that the Celtics and center Kendrick Perkins have agreed to a four year contract extension. Shira Springer also has news of the signing, which appears to be a good deal for all sides.

Steve Conroy has 19-year-old left wing Petr Kalus catching the eye of new Bruins coach Dave Lewis in rookie workouts this week. Kevin Paul Dupont has a number of young Bruins hoping to make the leap from junior hockey to the NHL this season. Douglas Flynn looks at Dusty Demianiuk, a defenseman trying to make the Bruins as part of NESN’s “Be A Bruin” reality show. Conroy’s notebook looks at the friendly competition between Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen in net.

Conroy has BC coach Tom O’Brien praising freshman kick returner Jeff Smith’s 213 yard performance against Clemson. Mark Blaudschun says that BC could be making a leap in the ACC standings this season.

An interesting bit at The Big Lead looks at changes at ESPN which might signify the end of the “boo-yah” era at the sports leader.

NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00.