Midweek Reports

John Molori’s Media Blitz features a wide-ranging interview with NESN President Sean McGrail, who talks about the direction of the station, the programs, the competition and the team approach.

Patriots

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider covers a number of topics this week, beginning with the assertion that he league protects quarterbacks too much, and that allowed Tom Brady to fake out Brian Urlacher this past Sunday. He moves on to Junior Seau’s impact on the Patriots this season, to Pepper Johnson’s fiery personality, and closes with some speculation from FOX sports’ John Czarnecki, who asserts that Bill Parcells had a wink-wink agreement with the Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli not to make the first free agent offer on Adam Vinatieri this offseason. Mike Reiss chimes in with his midweek report, and he features Bill Belichick talking about the art of kick blocking. Christopher Price has Belichick hoping that his club has learned their lesson when it comes to taking care of the ball.

Eric McHugh notes that the injury to Junior Seau will force the Patriots to circle the wagons on defense as they try to fill his spot. Glen Farley also examines the impact that the loss of Seau will have on the Patriots defense.

Michael Parente looks at the sad state of this weekend’s opponent, the Detroit Lions, since Matt Millen became president of the club. Farley says that Millen has turned the Lions into an absolute joke.

Reiss’ notebook observes that the Patriots have a chance to set a franchise record this season for fewest points allowed.

Bruins

The Bruins made it a two game sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 4-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre. Fluto Shinzawa points to a killed five-on-three power play by the Bruins as the key to win for Boston. Stephen Harris points to the defense as the key to this win as the Bend-Don’t-Break style works once again.

Shinzawa’s notebook observes that when healthy, Brad Stuart has been very handy to have around for Dave Lewis’ club. Harris’ notebook looks at Zdeno Chara’s immense presence in the defensive end making things much easier for Tim Thomas.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox and J.D. Drew are very close on a deal for the free agent outfielder. It could be a potential five year deal worth up to $70 million. He also updates the Manny trade talks and the Matsuzaka negotiations. Tony Massarotti, turning more and more into a shrieking panic monger with each column he writes, regardless of sport, says that he feels the Red Sox are “very very worried” about the Matsuzaka talks. Jeff Goldberg reports on Larry Lucchino’s trip to the far east.

Michael Silverman says that the Manny trade talks are a very complication, many sided affair. Jon Couture says that this time, the Manny trade talk feels real. Jeff Horrigan has Jonathan Papelbon coming out and saying that he hopes the club does not trade Manny Ramirez.

David Borges has a look at Jim Rice’s great 1974 season with the Pawtucket Red Sox, where he won the Triple Crown despite being called up to the majors in August.

Celtics

Peter May looks at the early struggles of the New Jersey Nets and has Doc Rivers hoping that they take awhile to sort themselves out, especially since they’re in town to face the Celtics tonight. Mark Murphy looks at why Rajon Rondo has found himself on the bench, and why he’s likely to stay there for the near future as Delonte West takes over the backup point guard duties. Mike Fine has a look at Brian Scalabrine, who is only concerned with having his teammates’ respect – which he does – and tries not to be affected by the boos he hears when he steps on the court. Murphy’s notebook has more on the Nets, and has a couple of Celtics having to postpone a showdown with a pair of Patriots.

FSN has Celtics/Nets at 7:30. ESPN has Michigan St./Boston College hoops at 7:00 and Ohio State/North Carolina at 9:00. Versus has Sharks/Wild at 8:00.

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