Patriots Still Licking Their Wounds

The grades are in this Tuesday morning, and they’re not pretty.

The best grade Ron Borges can hand out is a “B” to the running backs, while the linebackers get a “F.” He lists Chad O’Shea under the “Back of the Pack” with the comment “His special teams weren’t.” One problem there, Scott O’Brien is the special teams coach. O’Shea is the wide receivers coach.

It’s funny how people see things differently. Where Borges gave the linebackers the “F”, Michael Felger gives them a “C+”. He gives the receivers an “F” and the defensive line a “B”, while Borges had given that unit a “D”. Follow that? Jeremy Gottlieb has the Patriots Daily report card. Steve DeOssie saves his harshest grade for the special teams.

Mike Reiss offers some ups and downs from yesterday. Scott Benson gives the PD Game Ball to Rex Ryan and has Tom Brady Take a Lap.

Coach Bill Burt has ten things the Patriots need to do to improve, and the first thing is that that bum Brady needs to show some life. Jonathan Comey says that the Jets will win a minimum of 11 games this season. Glen Farley says forget circling November 22 on their calendar for the Jets rematch, the Patriots need to be circling the wagons right now. Lenny Megliola says that the Patriots have some deep problems. Michael Hurley says that the loss might not have been quite as bad as we all think.

Ian R. Rapoport says that red zone woes were a major factor for the Patriots on Sunday. Monique Walker says that the Patriots need to make some adjustments this week while recovering from the Jets loss. Robert Lee also looks at the Patriots woes in the red zone. Christopher Price has more on the red zone troubles. Much of the preseason worry was focused at the defense, but Rich Garven notes that it is the offense that is struggling now.

Rapoport checks in with rookie Brandon Tate, who continues to work his way back from a knee injury. Brian MacPherson has a look at the impressive debut of Julian Edelman.

Rapoport’s notebook looks at the small role of the running game on Sunday. The Globe notebook discusses offensive and defensive communication. Lee’s Patriots journal has Vince Wilfork giving the Jets credit for backing up their words. Garven’s notebook has the Patriots failing to take out the trash on Sunday.

Red Sox

The Red Sox were shocked in KC last night, leading 6-1 at one point, Manny Delcarmen was hit hard again out of the bullpen, and it snowballed from there, with the Royal eventually recording a 12-9 win in very wet conditions.

Amalie Benjamin has the Sox turning a win into a loss right when they’re playing their best ball of the season. Michael Silverman says that one soggy night shouldn’t derail the Red Sox march to the playoffs, but it sure was ugly. Daniel Barbarisi has Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox giving this one away.

Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox can still catch the Yankees for the division, and should try to do so. Bill Reynolds says that the Red Sox may be peaking at just the right time. Adam Kilgore has weary Tim Wakefield not really looking like he’s going to be able to take the mound again in five days. Barbarisi looks at how far Junichi Tazawa has come in just a single season.

Amy Nelson wonders how much Tim Wakefield has left this season. Rob Bradford says that it wasn’t all bad for Wakefield last night. McAdam looks at the miserable weather last night in Kansas City and why the game was played despite it. David Willis gives a hesitant vote for Curt Schilling as US Senator. Joe Haggerty checks in with Billy Wagner. Alex Speier looks at how Red Sox assistant GM Allard Baird will find it hard to root against the Royals’ Zack Greinke tonight.

The Globe notebook looks at yet another shuffle at the shortstop position.  Silverman’s notebook has the Sox bringing Chris Woodward back as a reserve infielder with Nick Green out. Barbarisi’s Red Sox journal has PawSox manager Ron Johnson joining the big club and watching over his “kids.”

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa has a look at Andrew Ference as he returns from groin surgery. Rich Thompson has Tim Thomas getting up to speed. Mick Colageo says that the Bruins are better after the Phil Kessel trade. Mike Loftus has former first round pick Zach Hamill giving the Bruins a tough decision.

Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins taking a long look at 19-year-old forward Jamie Arniel.

Jets Can Walk The Talk, Too

You know, it’s hard to put together morning links when I have absolutely no interest in reading anything written about yesterday’s Patriots loss to the New York Jets. I have no interest in revisiting that game.

I know some of you do, though.  

Chris Warner has the Gut Check on Patriots Daily, while Jeremy Gottlieb already has the report card posted.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots unable to slow down the all-out attack put on by the Jets. Christopher L. Gasper has the Jets backing up all their talk from earlier in the week. Andy Vogt has the Patriots happy to bid farewell to Giants Stadium after a horrible second half. Dom Amore has the Jets making good on all their talk. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots offense sputtering for the second straight week. Mark Farinella has the Patriots unable to get anything working yesterday.

Ron Borges is troubled by what he sees from the Patriots. (Who are we kidding…he’s thrilled!) Dan Shaughnessy is elated that he can take a whack at the “Kool Aid crowd” today. Jim Donaldson has the Jets making a statement with all their talk. Bill Burt talks to former Patriots Larry Izzo and Damien Woody, who enjoyed all the talk and the win yesterday.

Mike Reiss says Tom Brady was uncomfortable and inaccurate all afternoon. Karen Guregian says that the Jets could see that Brady was completely confused by their defense. Chris Forsberg has Brady unable to lead the comeback in the end this week. Hector Longo says that the Patriots lack playmakers on offense right now. Farinella says that the timing was off for Brady all day. He also has the tight ends trying to find their niche in this offense.

Monique Walker has the Patriots defense OK, but not good enough. Donaldson says that Bill Belichick had no answers after the game. Christopher Price examines the 10 Things We Learned yesterday. Rapoport has Julian Edelman filling in for Wes Welker.Young has Edelman catching on on Welker’s fill in yesterday. Guregian has Randy Moss being shut down by the Jets.

Mark Lelinwalla has the Jets getting the last laugh. Farinella has Mark Sanchez earning the Patriots respect. Ben Seal has Sanchez looking good in the second half yesterday. Brian MacPherson says that the Jets defense is relentless. Farinella has the Patriots Feeling swamped in the Meadowlands.

Borges gives us the Best and worst from yesterday. Lelinwalla has the Play of the game. Young gives us some Analysis of the game. Longo gives us his Two-Minute Drill.

Rapoport’s notebook says that delay of game penalties were costly to the Patriots. Gasper’s notebook has Moss refuting Revis’ claims on shutting down the Patriots star by himself. Young’s Patriots journal has more on Revis and Moss. Vogt’s notebook looks at Edelman’s impressive debut.

The Red Sox continue their late-season roll to the playoffs. Check all the details of their 9-3 win in Baltimore over at Red Sox Links.

Doing the Friday Megalinks

Ok. After hardly doing links this week, it’s time to make up for it today. And I hope to finish this during the day. Let’s get to it.

First, the Weekend Viewing Picks.

College Football has good matchups this weekend including USC at Washington on ABC, Michigan State at Notre Dame on NBC, and Texas Tech at Texas in primetime on ABC. ESPN College Gameday is in Austin, TX to preview the Aggies-Longhorns game. Locally, BC takes on Clemson and that will be seen at noon (WSBK and CW28). The College Football Viewing Picks in full are right here.

To the NFL where we have some intriguing games in Week 2. CBS has the doubleheader this week and a good early game with the Patriots at the Jets especially in the wake of coach Rex Ryan’s trash talking. The showcase late game for CBS will be Pittsburgh at Chicago. For Fox, it’s regional coverage and New Orleans at the Eagles will be called by Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver. On Sunday night, it’s the regular season debut of the new Cowboys Stadium on NBC with the Giants and the Cowboys facing off. The entire Sunday schedule along with announcer assignments, DirecTV channels, satellite radio channels and anything else I wanted to add are in the NFL Viewing Picks.

For baseball, Cubs-Cards and Angels-Rangers will be featured on the national networks this weekend. NESN has the Red Sox at Baltimore series throughout the weekend. You can see what’s being covered in Baseball Viewing This Weekend.

Other programming notes of interest include Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Miguel Marquez on HBO pay per view called by Jim Lampley, Emanuel Steward and boxing charlatan Max Kellerman and UFC 103 on pay per view.

NASCAR is in New Hampshire for the Sprint Cup Series on ABC at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Weekend Viewing Picks in full not only have your sports picks, but primetime viewing as well.

Let’s get to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes about Fox Sports unveiling new programming online and from what I hear, some nudity in the weekly “Cubed” series.

Sports Business Daily looks into the beginning of Fox Sports’ online initiative and the nudity on “Cubed”.

Brian Helfrich of SBD writes about Fox Sports not only cutting out the nudity in “Cubed” but also cutting down the web show from 16 minutes to under 2.

Eric Fisher in Sports Business Daily writes that the NFL has brought increased traffic to various sports news websites.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated reviews the Week 1 performances of several new NFL TV analysts.

The Nielsen ratings Wire blog says the early returns show ratings success for both college and pro football.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek says ESPN, Fox and NBC all saw ratings jumps for their first offerings of the NFL regular season.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell notes that the Cubs are feeling the effects of the recession.

Darren looks at how MillerCoors is getting notice for its brand at the new Cowboys Stadium.

Nick Saint of the Silicon Valley Insider notes that CBS Sports will stream its entire 15 game SEC football schedule online.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog reports that DirecTV and Versus are talking to bring the sports channel back, but it appears it won’t be in time for the NHL season openers.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News also writes about the DirecTV/Versus negotiations.

R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel says Spike is seeing excellent ratings for “The Ultimate Fighter” season premiere.

Michael Malone of Broadcasting & Cable says Bright House Sports will be picking up a slate of SEC games thanks to a new deal with ESPN Regional Television.

Ben Grossman of B&C writes that CBS is back in the Mixed Martial Arts business signing a deal to air Strikeforce bouts starting in November.

Steve Schwankert of the Hollywood Reporter notes that the NFL is expanding its broadcasts into Communist China and into democratic Taiwan.

Diego Vasquez of Media Life Magazine writes about a successful opening to the NFL season on the league’s TV partners.

Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media notes that ESPN is already releasing the opener to next year’s college football season.

Chris has the video of former Detroit Tigers voice Ernie Harwell saying thanks to his fans. Ernie was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and there has been a huge outpouring of support from all over baseball for Ernie.

The Big Lead talks with ESPN.com college football reporter Joe Schad.

The Sports Media Watch looks at the ratings of the recently completed US Open.

SMW tells us that of the NFL TV partners, only CBS saw a decrease in ratings for Week 1.

Here’s the first edition of a podcast I did with Sports Media Journal’s Keith Thibeault.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes about some of the latest developments in new media in Boston.

Amanda Bruno of the Batter-up with Bruno blog notes that the Boston Globe has made a new hire to cover the Red Sox.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talks with Ron Jaworski of ESPN’s Monday Night Football about the Patriots’ performance against the Bills.

Newsday’s Neil Best writes that YES is not producing a postgame for the entire Yankees schedule.

Neil writes a feature on Newsday’s owner, Cablevision, increasing its commitment to high school sports.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News writes that CBS’ Phil Simms seems to be the only one not jumping on the Jets’ bandwagon.

Phil Mushnick in the New York Post rips the NFL replay rule.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks with ESPN Radio’s Freddie Coleman who got his sports radio start in New York’s Capital Region.

Pete also has five questions with Freddie.

In Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com talks with WNST’s Nestor “Nasty” Apricio.

South

To the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson says the Dolphins are excited about having their home opener on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Gary Smits in the Florida Times-Union says the DirecTV/Versus dispute is preventing Florida State fans from seeing Saturday’s game against BYU.

Jeff Caplan in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that NBC will be ready to cover the punts and the now-infamous video board at the new Cowboys Stadium.

Ray Buck of the Star-Telegram says NBC will showcase the new stadium this weekend.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News says Michael Irvin will be all over the place on Sunday and Monday.

Barry writes that a local sports radio station will talk with former President George W. Bush next week.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says College Gameday is back in Texas on Saturday.

In his blog, David looks at the football segments on local radio this weekend.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says a Fox Sports Net college football analyst can feel Oklahoma University QB Sam Bradford’s pain.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press feels there are too many retired NFL players on his television.

Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that you won’t be seeing the Packers on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

Bob Wolfley in the Journal Sentinel says Milwaukee viewers will see up to 8 Minnesota Vikings games with former Packer Brett Favre this season.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers.

In the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin, Paul Christian writes about the return of MMA to CBS.

Paul says a popular Twin Cities sports radio show makes a local appearance this weekend.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Joe Buck’s second HBO show has been retooled.

Dan writes that the ratings for the Rams’ season opener were up from last year.

Tom Timmerman of the Post-Dispatch reports that the Big 12 Conference is looking to expand its TV footprint similar to what the SEC did this year.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News feels ESPN’s Bob Griese is a BCS lackey.

Jay Posner in the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the US Open fireworks helped to prepare CBS’ Dick Enberg for the new NFL season.

Jay says Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton returns to the local airwaves in October.

John Maffei of the North County Times pays tribute to a colleague who recently passed away.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star writes that football brings in the ratings.

Jim says the new Cowboys Stadium gets a real public Open House this Sunday.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says fans are truly ready for some football.

Tom Hoffarth in the Los Angeles Daily News says don’t count out newspapers yet.

As usual, Tom has his extensive media notes in his blog.

And that’s going to conclude this edition of the megalinks. Coming this weekend on the Fang’s Bites on BSMW page, look for an interview with an ESPN official about this week’s launch of the ESPN Boston website.

Jets Continue Brash Talk About Patriots

The Rex Ryan-led New York Jets continue to use every opportunity they can to talk about what they’re going to do to the Patriots on Sunday. Yesterday, safety Kerry Rhodes talked about how the Jets will “try to embarass” the Patriots on Sunday, and to “make them feel bad.” Rhodes says “enough is enough” when it comes to the Patriots dominating the Jets.

Um, didn’t the Jets win at Foxborough last season, and wasn’t that victory supposed to be the “statement” win for them? How many do they need?

Yesterday on Patriots Daily, we were Trading Places with Brian Bassett of TheJetsBlog, to swap some thoughts on Sunday’s game.

Mike Reiss says that the Patriots and Jets are each a reflection of their coaches. Gerry Callahan says that Rhodes wasn’t very smart with his comments yesterday.

Monique Walker has Adalius Thomas used to having many uses on the Patriots defense. Shalise Manza Young looks at the challenge Mark Sanchez faces the first time he plays against a Bill Belichick defense. Jennifer Toland looks at Sanchez’s impressive debut last week. Christopher Price says that the Patriots have faced this Jets defense before…in Baltimore.

Bill Burt has Rex Ryan giving Patriots fans a whole new reason to hate the Jets. Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots need to find an offensive balance that will keep Tom Brady protected. MARK FARINELLA says that the border war has always been mouthy. Matt Tempesta notes that the Patriots aren’t taking the bait coming from the Jets. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots not worrying about the trash talk.

Rapoport thinks the running game will be the key on Sunday.

Young’s Patriots journal has more on the anti-Patriots vitriol coming from Rhodes. Toland’s notebook has Laurence Maroney ready to handle more kickoff returns. Rapoport’s notebook has Jerod Mayo making a brief appearance in the locker room.

Scott Souza says KG should be good to go for camp.

Angels Get One, Salvage Dignity

Josh Beckett held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning last night with two outs and runners on second and third. With two strikes on Chone Figgins, Beckett unleashed his offering towards home plate. Figgins swung and missed for strike three, inning over.

Except the inning wasn’t over. The ball went between the legs of Jason Varitek and to the backstop. Figgins scampered safely to the first, and the tying run came in from third. The Angels took the lead in the top of the ninth with a run off Billy Wagner, giving the Angels a 4-3 win and letting them feel good that they were able to win a game in Boston.

Amalie Benjamin has the Angels proving that they can occasionally beat the Red Sox. John Tomase has the Sox running into some Tek-nical difficulty last night. Jeff Goldberg has Varitek and the Sox letting one get away. Paul Kenyon has the Angels getting a Fenway win using their style. Ron Chimelis says that you can’t win them all, especially against a quality team like the Angels. Bill Ballou has the tables being turned on the Red Sox. Jim Fenton says that since these team know each other so well, there was little to be learned in this series.

Bob Ryan grumbles that it makes no sense to expand the rosters for the most important games of the season. Michael Silverman says you’re nuts if you think the Angels have no chance against the Red Sox in the postseason. Joe McDonald has Josh Beckett continuing his resurgence. Brian MacPherson says that Victor Martinez has made everything about the Sox better.

Chimelis says that death, taxes and the Red Sox meeting the Angels in the postseason are life’s certainties these days. Sarah Green says that the Red Sox never needed Roy Halladay. Amy K. Nelson says that the Red Sox are now hitting the road with something to prove. Mike Fine says that the Red Sox are still learning about themselves every day.

Silverman has umpire Rick Reed’s thoughts on the verbal abuse they received from Mike Scioscia and the Angels coaches in this series. He also reports that the crew has filed a complaint against the Angels. McDonald says that Wednesday wasn’t a perfect night for either the teams or the umpires.

Benjamin’s notebook looks at the debate other whether the Red Sox get more favorable calls at home. Tomase’s notebook has Wagner critical of his own performance last night. The ProJo Red Sox journal has Kevin Youkilis saying that he’ll be back in the lineup tonight. Chimelis’ notebook has Martinez returning to the lineup last night. Ballou’s notebook has the Angels getting some revenge last night. Fenton’s notebook has Beckett putting his rough patch behind him.

Chad Finn checks in on a few sports media notes beyond the sports radio wars. Bill Doyle has ESPN’s Ron Jaworski praising Tom Brady, but not the Patriots defense.

More Links Coming.

Peter Abraham Joining The Boston Globe

pabrahamPeter Abraham, who covers the Yankees and writes a very good blog for The Journal News of the Lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam) in New York, announced today on his blog that he is leaving to come join The Boston Globe:

So here it is: I’m leaving The Journal News after nearly 10 years and going to work for The Boston Globe.

I’ll be covering baseball — yes, the Red Sox — and blogging for Boston.com. The Globe approached me in August, right around the time my newspaper was going through some painful restructuring that you all heard about.

Abraham is a native of New Bedford, MA, and went to UMass-Amherst. He’s covered the Yankees for The Journal News since 2005, and spent four years prior to that covering the Mets. Before coming to New York in 1999, He covered the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team for the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin.

In an old blog entry, he tells a story of his first experience covering a Major League baseball game:

My first job in journalism was as a part-time writer for the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times. As a reward for taking phone calls and covering high school swim meets, I got to cover a Red Sox game. They lost, as they often did in those days, and I asked manager John McNamara why he didn’t use Dwight Evans as a pinch hitter.

McNamara asked where I was from then told me to get the (bad word) out of his office. Being a kid, I walked out.

I went on to cover mostly college sports and didn’t get back into baseball until I started at The Journal News in 1999 and got the Mets beat a few years later.

Other publications Abraham has written for include Baseball America, Slam, Basketball Digest, Sports Illustrated, Sports Nippon, Metropolitan Golfer, Basketball Times and Backstreets.

Week Log: One Good Turn Deserves Another

It’s been a week of comebacks, as the Patriots turned an 11-point deficit into a one-point victory in the final 2:06 on Monday and the Red Sox followed with three hits, two walks, and two runs – all with two outs in the ninth – to win last night. Let’s go to the gridiron first.

Patriots

Pats Fans watched the Gillette crowd around him throw back to Schaeffer Stadium days and empty out before the final five minutes of Monday night’s comeback. Kathryn Tappen says better luck next time to fans who missed the drama.

Blaug is handing out game balls to Brandon Meriweather and Ben Watson for this one. Pats Chowder says Watson is finally the tight end the Pats were waiting for. The Patriot Act holds LB Gary Guyton accountable for the bad D-Line play Monday. It Is What It Is looks at how the Brady Rule almost spoiled Tom Brady’s big return.

One thing Mass Hysteria learned on Monday is that Brady can say no to a chick. Boston Sports Blog calls Brady lame for dissing Suzy Kolber, but Kissing Suzy Kolber is more concerned about Leodis McKelvin’s lawn ornaments after vandals paid him a visit. Chicks In The Huddle gives McKelvin a ‘Quit It.’

Wicked Good Sports looks at how Jerod Mayo’s injury may affect the team. PatriotsBlog has the Pats with a steady diet of 4-3 until Mayo returns. Charles Robinson thinks Mayo’s injury, along with the trade of Richard Seymour, has put the Pats’ D in an awkward state.

Got a big one against the Jets in New York this Sunday. Pats Pulpit hates everything about New York, while John Carchedi would love to spend Thanksgiving with Uncle Rex Ryan. The Rap Sheet has Tom Brady on the threshhold of another record at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

Red Sox

At Fenway, Surviving Grady has Juan Rivera finishing with a clean uniform after a nonplussed effort in chasing Alex Gonzalez’s blooper last night. Fenway West has the Sox inside the Angels heads and it’s not even October yet. The Bottom Line says Gonzo’s game-winner was made possible by the Fenway-cursed Angels.

Full Count has pinch-hitter Nick Green, recipient of a key ninth inning base on balls, almost collapsing on the walk to first. Big League Stew has Angels closer Brian Fuentes calling out the umps at Fenway after Green got some favorable calls on that walk. Life is good for Green off the field these days too, and SoxSpace News is rooting for him.

SawxBlog has always rooted for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and his blind faith was finally rewarded on Tuesday night. Touching All The Bases says it looked like Dice-K in physical appearance, but everything else of that guy on the mound was totally unfamiliar. On The Soxaholix, fictional Al wonders if Daisuke’s outing was a hahbingah of a fruitful Indian summah.

Utility Lou puts Beckett-Lester-Buchholz as the best top-three of any rotation in the A.L. Having a pitching staff loaded with “stuff guys” makes Mazz giddy about the Boston autumn. Throw in the Dice-K that debuted this week and Toeing The Rubber is hurting with happiness. But Evans Clinchy wants more as he speculates about throwing Felix Hernandez into the rotation next year.

Red Sox Diaries serves up a parody with Curt Schilling and Jay Leno. The real 38 Pitches tips his cap to Derek Jeter, a Yankee we dyed-in-the-woolers can’t bring ourselves to hate. An Outlander In The Scenic City went from shout-out to screw-you in her sentiments over the Yankee captain’s milestone hit this week.

Bruins

On the eve of a new season, Here Come The Bruins! remembers his first taste of a real NHL game. Stanley Cup of Chowder offers their season preview. The Old Bruins Fan says the bar will be raised for the B’s in 2009-2010.

The B’s preseason opened on Tuesday, and so may have the Tuukka Rask era as he held back the NY Rangers, 2-1. The Bear Cave notes that Rask has not yet been appointed Tim Thomas’ backup. The Hockey Blog Adventure says Patrice Bergeron looked really, really pretty in last night’s 3-2 win over Toronto. Big Bad Blog calls defenseman Mark Stuart “caveman strong” while the Hockey Journal calls out defenseman Andrew Ference and gets humbled for doing so.

Puck Daddy conjures memories of adjusting the rabbit ears on our sad little TVs to catch Fred Cusick, who passed away this week. Rink Rap says none of the many B’s voices that have come since can live up to the man who brought hockey into the living rooms of our youth. And Another Thing . . . recalls the joy of integrating Cusick into his package.

Have a great last official weekend of summer and we’ll see you back here come autumn next week.

Patriots Prepping Without Mayo

The Patriots are making their preparations for their game against the New York Jets on Sunday, and doing so without middle linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Greg Doyle gives us his first impressions of the Jets, and looks at a few Jets who could figure big in this game.

Christopher L. Gasper has Jets coach Rex Ryan doing all he can to ratchet up the rivalry between the Patriots and Jets. Karen Guregian says that Ryan speaks from his heart, and isn’t going to stop. Glen Farley has one Jets player describing Ryan’s style as “blunt force trauma.” Shalise Manza Young has Ryan and the Jets not backing down at all.

Kerry Byrne has a look at why Tom Brady is able to do what he does. Julian Benbow says that Brady is going to have his hands full with the aggressive Jets defense this week. Ian R. Rapoport notes that the Jets are almost a mirror of the Baltimore defense at this point. Rapoport has Brady saying that talk is cheap, and that the Patriots are preparing and not talking.

Mike Reiss examines how the Patriots will adjust without Mayo. Brian MacPherson says that the Patriots defense is like a big doughnut without Mayo. Soft with a giant hole in the middle? Andy Vogt says that there are no easy answers in trying to replace Mayo. The Metro also looks at life minus Mayo for the Patriots. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots are once again forced to find plan B in a hurry. Rich Garven says that the Patriots are going to miss Mayo on every single defensive play. Christopher Price has the Patriots linebackers moving on.

Jeremy Gottlieb has a look around the NFL this week.

Guregian has Mark Sanchez aware that he faces a challenge in a Belichick defense.

Gasper’s notebook says that the defensive signal-calling responsibility will go to second-year linebacker Gary Guyton this Sunday. Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots trying to move on without Mayo for now. Farley’s notebook has the Patriots holding Mayo out of practice yesterday. Young’s Patriots journal says that Randy Moss vs Darelle Revis will be a key matchup on Sunday. Vogt’s notebook says that Ryan is the king of talk. Farinella’s notebook has Tom Brady praising Joey Galloway even though the stat sheet would seem not to merit it. Garven’s notebook has more on the nonstop talk from Ryan and the Jets.

Bruins/Misc

Mike Loftus and Stephen Harris have Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask believing this is his year to stick in the NHL. Fluto Shinzawa says that Dany Sabourin is going to have a tough task unseating Rask as the #2 goalie behind Tim Thomas. Harris’ notebook says that a trade of Phil Kessel seems very likely at this point.

Frank Dell’Apa has Kevin Garnett progressing in his recovery, and Rajon Rondo trying to get better. Dan Duggan has more on Rondo, who says he isn’t optimistic about getting a contract extension from the Celtics.

Michael Felger has his first CSNNE.com mailbag.

Ron Chimelis says that Michael Jordan’s trash talking during his Hall of Fame speech shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Steve Conroy has a look at Boston College wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr.

Michael Whitmer has Kasey Kahne ready to start the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup this Sunday in Loudon.

Another Comeback For the Sox

The Sox made a few comebacks last night, culminating in an unlikely ninth inning rally in which shortstops Nick Green and Alex Gonzalez both played key roles. The Red Sox beat the Angels 9-8 at Fenway, and coupled with another Rangers loss, now sit 6 ½ games ahead in the wild card.

John Tomase says that the Angels might want to just consider surrendering the first round of the playoffs to the Red Sox right now. Amalie Benjamin has a gimpy Nick Green able to work the (controversial) walk with the bases loaded to tie the game in the ninth. Jeff Goldberg has the Angels once again unable to put the Red Sox away. Amy K. Nelson has another October preview on display last night.  Paul Kenyon has the Sox enjoying another wild ending in their favor. Eric Avidon has a slow start making way for a fantastic finish for the Red Sox. Bill Ballou says last night’s Red Sox win was unearned. Jim Fenton has the cool weather making people think about fall baseball after another Red Sox win.

Steve Buckley has a look at Tim Wakefield’s situation, both for now and the postseason. Dan Shaughnessy says that things are falling into place for the Red Sox right now. Joe Haggerty says that the Sox still own the Angels.

Joe McDonald has the Red Sox shortstops playing a big role in the win last night. Mike Fine says it isn’t being (Nick) Green (on one leg). Rob Bradford says Green barely had a leg to stand on last night.  Buckley also looks at how Alex Gonzalez has come in and been the answer at shortstop for the Sox, both at the plate and in the field. Silverman looks at how Gonzalez’s value to the Sox has been huge since they brought him in.

Michael Silverman has Torii Hunter calling out his Angel teammates. Adam Kilgore has the Angels pointing plenty of fingers after another loss to the Red Sox.  McDonald has this series as another prequel for AL Division Series next month. Bill Burt has Hunter speaking to the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club. Pedro Gomez has the Angels feeling shortchanged last night.

Tomase’s notebook has a look at Jonathan Papelbon’s night off because of his tweaked back. Benjamin’s notebook says that it looks like Wakefield will pitch on Monday. Goldberg’s notebook has a hobbled Wakefield determined to get back out on the mound. The Projo Red Sox journal reports that the Sox and Wakefield had a closed-door meeting yesterday. Ballou’s notebook has the Red Sox hoping to wrap up another perfect homestand tonight.

More Links Coming.

Dice is Snake Eyes in Return

Daisuke Matsuzaka made his return to the Red Sox rotation last night, and had easily his best start of the season. He pitched into the seventh inning, allowing only three hits and no runs. The Red Sox beat the Angels 4-1 at Fenway Park last night. David Ortiz set the career home run mark for a DH, with the 270th of his career at that spot.

Amalie Benjamin has Matsuzaka getting a big weight off his shoulders with his outing last night. Amy K. Nelson has Dice-K coming out with something to prove. Michael Silverman has Matsuzaka earning a full tank of goodwill with his performance. Ron Chimelis has Dice-K back and in top form for the Red Sox. Daniel Barbarisi has Matsuzaka leaving to a standing ovation – a stark contrast to the boos he left Fenway to the last time he was there. Jeff Goldberg says that Dice-K was worth the wait. Bill Ballou has the performance beyond the Red Sox wildest dreams.

Bob Ryan looks at the performance by Dice-K and credits it to the Red Sox knowing what they’re doing. Sean McAdam recaps the road back to Fenway for Matsuzaka, which was paved with a lot of hard work. Brian MacPherson has  more  on Dice-K’s hard work the last two months paying off. Joe McDonald has Dice-K providing a boost to the rotation with his return. Jon Couture notes the “culture war” that has gone on between the club and pitcher. Lenny Megliola has Matsuzaka putting together a big performance on a night in which he needed to paste together his shrinking reputation. Bill Burt has Matsuzaka exceeding expectations last night. Mike Fine has Dice-K magic after a shaky first couple batters.

Adam Kilgore points out that the Red Sox winning rally had an unusual look – small ball. McDonald has the Red Sox trying to do the right thing with Tim Wakefield and his sore back, but Joe Haggerty says that a playoff roster spot is likely slipping away from Wakefield. Haggerty also has Ramon Ramirez regaining the magic touch he had earlier in the season. Burt says that everything is in order for the Red Sox.

Ryan looks ahead to a playoff matchup between the new-look Angels and the Sox. McAdam says that the difference for the Angels is a high-powered offense and a deep starting rotation this season.

Benjamin peruses the 2010 schedule, which was released yesterday and has the Red Sox starting and finishing their season at Fenway Park against the Yankees. In the Herald though, Silverman and McAdam report that the Red Sox might flip that opening series for one later in the season.

Benjamin’s notebook has the Sox winning without their two biggest bats, Kevin Youkilis (back) and Victor Martinez (personal issue). Silverman’s notebook has more on the sluggers sitting out last night. Chimelis’ notebook also reports on this situation. The ProJo Red Sox Journal has more on the back spasms suffered by Youkilis. Ballou’s notebook has David Ortiz’s average creeping up.

Patriots

Monique Walker and Christopher L. Gasper report that Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has a sprained MCL. They have differing reports on how long he’ll be out, however. One source says 6-8 weeks, while another says less than that. Robert Lee says that Mayo’s season is not over, but we don’t know when he’ll be back, either.

It’s Report Card day for the Patriots. On Patriots Daily, Jeremy Gottlieb grades out the team. Ron Borges has the report card in the Herald. Michael Felger has his first report card for Comcast SportsNet. Replacing Felger on the report card at WEEI.com is Steve DeOssie.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots/Jets rivalry rising up again this offseason with New York’s hiring of Rex Ryan. Christopher Price has the Jets ready to treat this one like the Super Bowl. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots have issues to deal with beyond the border war with the Jets. Rich Garven says that the Patriots are in trouble without Mayo.

Rapoport has the Patriots crying foul at roughing calls against them. Joseph Gravellese has Troy Brown praising the Patriots receiving depth. At Patriots Daily, Scott Benson gives Ben Watson the game ball for Monday night.

Cranky Mark Farinella says that there is nothing nostalgic about the old Patriots teams. Bill Reynolds says that the old Patriots endured plenty of growing pains.

Gasper’s notebook has Bill Belichick choosing not to engage Rex Ryan on his comments about kissing rings. Rapoport’s notebook has more on Mayo’s injury. The ProJo Patriots Journal has the Patriots in no rush to sign a veteran backup QB.

Bryan Marquard and Dick Trust remember Fred Cusick.