Patriots/Colts Show Proper Respect

The media was buzzing around the Patriots and Colts yesterday, looking for fresh angles of this continuing rivalry between the two clubs. Here’s the results of their work:

John Tomase says that the Patriots are better equipped to take on the Colts than they were in November. A big part of that is the development of receivers Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. Mike Reiss says there won’t be any respect issues between these two teams this week, especially between the two quarterbacks. He also has Brady talking about his weekly meetings with Bill Belichick and what takes place in those meetings. David Brown has more on those meetings between the coach and QB on Tuesdays. Karen Guregian has more on the bond between Belichick and Brady. Joe McDonald has Belichick with all nice things to say about the Colts, as the two sides show “unrestrained adulation” towards each other this week.

Mark Farinella has Mike Vrabel talking about the Patriots/Colts rivalry, noting that it is similar to Michigan/Ohio State in a lot of ways. Marc Thaler has a number of pundits proving Gerry Callahan’s claim earlier this week wrong that no one could pick the Colts this weekend. David Brown says that Tom Brady’s excellence in domed stadiums will face its toughest test yet on Sunday. Mike Lowe notes that this is just another big week for the Patriots. Tom King has Richard Seymour looking forward to playing in the AFC Championship game after having had to sit out the last time the Patriots played in this game, against Pittsburgh two years ago.

Jackie MacMullan has a piece on cornerback Ellis Hobbs, one of the younger and less experienced Patriots starters, but not one lacking in confidence. Karen Guregian also has a look at the second year cornerback and the challenges he faces on the field Sunday. Rich Garven examines the impact the Rodney Harrison and Bob Sanders have on their respective teams, and with Harrison likely out and Sanders in on Sunday, what that could mean for the game. Christopher Price has Matt Cassel spending the week playing the part of Peyton Manning in practice. Price also has the Patriots responding to LT’s “class” blast.

Eric McHugh has a report on the pair of Florida Gators that have helped make the Patriots receivers a group to be noticed. Ian Clark has a look at Caldwell and Gaffney coming out of nowhere to form a solid one-two combination for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy has more on the Patriots receivers stepping up their game as the season went on.

Reiss’ notebook has Rodney Harrison being upgraded to doubtful for Sunday’s game. However, the NFL Network reported last night that even with the upgrade, they’ve “learned” that Harrison will not play on Sunday. Tomase’s notebook has Brady saying that the celebration after the Chargers win perhaps went a little too far. McDonald’s notebook looks at the kickers on each side, and has Laurence Maroney picking up a $40,000 dinner tab after the team had it’s annual Rookie Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Providence. $40,000? I know this is a football team, but wow. Farinella’s notebook looks at the value of Daniel Graham to the Patriots offense. Greenberg’s notebook has more on Harrison. Dan Pires’ notebook has more on the health of Harrison, as does Michael Parente’s notebook.

Colts

Christopher L Gasper has a look at the Colts version of Rodney Harrison – safety Bob Sanders, who makes a huge difference every time he steps onto the field for Indianapolis. Shalise Manza Young has more on the suddenly potent Colts defense. Michael Parente also addresses the Colts change from unbearable to unstoppable in just a few weeks. Alan Greenberg looks at the new, mobile Peyton Manning, who will be a challenge for the Patriots defense to get to. Steve Buckley has Adam Vinatieri taking a position of leadership with the Colts special teams, advising the unit on the need to step up their game.

Albert Breer says that the Colts are a different team inside the RCA Dome, and this game will have a different feel than the ones played at Gillette. Bill Reynolds tabs this as a chance for vindication for Peyton Manning. Jeff Howe reports on the late surge by the Indy defense. John Tomase has Bill Polian getting his whining in early in an article published on the Colts web site.

Gasper’s notebook has the Colts feeling confident going up against Tom Brady. Buckley’s notebook has Dwight Freeney talking about hating the Patriots since his childhood in Connecticut.

Links from Colts Land:

Bill Burt just found out about LaDainian Tomlinson’s comments after the game Sunday. He’s apparently still waiting to hear who the Patriots play this Sunday.

Bill Doyle profiles Steve DeOssie, talking to the former NFL long snapper about his media gigs, and thoughts on the game Sunday.

Boston College

Basketball coach Al Skinner took some strong action last night, dismissing junior starting center Sean Williams and junior reserve forward Akida McLain from the team permanently. Michael Vega has the story in the Globe. (Scott’s Shots had a report on this last night.) Jeff Goodman and Lenny Megliola also report on the dismissals, and what they mean for the players and the team.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Steve Conroy report on the Bruins 6-3 loss to the Sabres last night. Rookie Phil Kessel scored two goals in the loss.

Shinzawa’s notebook and Conroy’s notebook each look at Bobby Allen’s debut for the Bruins. The former has a bit on Hannu Toivonen’s new mask paying tribute to Boston’s four pro sports teams and legends of each.

Celtics/Other

Peter May and Mark Murphy report on Delonte West returning to practice yesterday, giving Doc Rivers 10 players to scrimmage with, meaning the coach didn’t have to suit up again. The Globe also has a piece on Sabastian Telfair’s wardrobe.

Jeff Goldberg talks to Bobby Valentine about the mixed emotions the Japanese have about their stars such as Daisuke Matsuzaka coming to America.

Frank Dell’Apa reports on the sudden death of former Revolution goalkeepers coach David Vanole from a heart attack.

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