You’ll Have To Pay To Read Shaughnessy Starting in 2011 (Perhaps Not)

The Boston Globe announced today that starting next year, they will break the content of the Globe and Boston.com into two separate sites. BostonGlobe.com will require a paid subscription to access, while Boston.com will remain free.

Globe to offer two websites: one free, one pay

So soon you’ll need to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy. On the other hand, apparently you’ll get all the Tony Massarotti and Chris Gasper you want for absolutely free!

Update…

The following was posted on Twitter by a Boston.com sports producer:

The good news about all of this two websites business is that all of sports will be free. Sports fans have nothing to worry about.Thu Sep 30 20:13:32 via Seesmic Desktop

Now I have to say, if true, that is extremely smart on the part of the Globe. Sports articles are among the most visited on the website, (some people only visit the sports articles) and to continue to offer them from free would be a win for many consumers.

I can’t help but think that the amount of competition out there in this market for sports coverage lead to the decision to keep it free. Who would pay just for the Globe’s take on sports when they can choose from dozens of other outlets?

Patriots Look To Avoid Miami’s Vise

(Yes, that’s “vise” not “vice.”)

Playing in Miami has always been a challenge for the Patriots; witness the 11-33 all-time mark for the Patriots playing in Miami. The heat and humidity, not to mention the Dolphins perennially tough defense, have had a vise-like grip on the Patriots. That challenge is even more daunting this week with the Patriots struggling on the road, and on their own defense.

Who are the 2010 Patriots? - Mike Reiss says that Monday night should give us a good idea of what this team is.

Pats set to visit haunted house - Glen Farley has more on the Patriots struggles in South Florida, even in the Brady/Belichick era.

Worry Wart – Game Four At Dolphins - Chris Warner has a lot of concerns over this one.

Moss’ impact on Patriots’ offense goes beyond the numbers - Christopher Price looks at how important Randy Moss really is to the Patriots offense.

Breaking down the Patriots’ road woes - Jeremy Lundblad looks at just how badly the Patriots have struggled on the road.

Tom Brady has everyone involved - Ian Rapoport looks at how Brady has spread the ball around much more this season.

Ends could provide means - With the Dolphins struggling against tight ends the last two weeks, Monique Walker thinks the Patriots rookies could be a big part on Monday night.

Heat’s hotshot moves aren’t lighting a fire under Celtics - Gary Washburn says that the Celtics aren’t intimidated by the Heat.

Shaq, Celtics take aim at Heat target - Adrian Wojnarowski with a similar piece, and I want to run through a wall after reading it, it has me so fired up for the season to begin.

Only one team for Paul Pierce - Steve Bulpett looks at how the Celtics captain is  an anomaly in his peer group.

The redemption of Delonte West - Paul Flannery has the guard eager to redeem himself.

Celtics already on the defensive - A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics putting in plenty of work on the defensive end. He also has Marquis Daniels looking to be a bigger piece this season.

Contract not worrying Perkins - The Globe has an extensive notebook wrapping up a number of other items.

The Perfect Slump: How Jon Lester ended up with the Red Sox - Alex Speier look at how Jon Lester was available to the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 draft.

Winds of change stir - Michael Silverman has the Red Sox entering a state of serious flux

Varitek’s time with Sox seemingly near its end - Daniel Barbarisi has the veteran coming to grips with reality.

Ten sweet Red Sox moments - Gordon Edes says that this season still had its moments.

Irish ice - Kevin Paul Dupont says that the city of Belfast is excited for the Bruins arrival.

Boston College mum, but signs point to phenom QB - Steve Conroy says that it looks like true freshman Chase Rettig might get a shot with the Eagles.

The fact that Dennis and Callahan were ripping The Tenth Inningthis morning made me feel much better about enjoying it last night. Yeah, I could’ve done with a little less Doris Kearns Goodwin, but what I was most surprised about was that I didn’t mind Mike Barnicle. He was OK, because mostly it was about his kids. It would have been nice, however, to have heard from some of the Yankees (Joe Torre?) after the 2004 ALCS.

Howard Bryant was prominent – and excellent – which is likely a big reason that Dennis and Callahan hated the show so much.

The 9/11 stuff, the 2003 and 2004 postseasons, all of it was good to review. Surprisingly, I had the impression that they tried to paint Barry Bonds as a somewhat sympathetic character…basically all his timing was incredibly terrible, but overall, it was worth the time spent viewing it the last two nights.

Turn Off The Lights, The Party Is Over (for the Sox)

The inevitable finally happened last night. Somehow they managed to stretch it to the final week of the regular season, but the Red Sox were elimanated last night when Tampa and the Yankees won (and Boston lost).

Time to look to 2011.

Even before the Red Sox lost to the White Sox last night 5-4, they had been eliminated. David Ortiz hit his 32nd home run of the season in the loss. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Taking a moment to recognize how these Red Sox made it as far as they did - Rob Bradford hands out some credit for keeping the Red Sox alive for so long.

Season ends early for Red Sox - Gordon Edes says that this season was doomed from the start.

Splendid memories of a genuine giant - Dan Shaughnessy remembers Ted Williams on the 50th anniversary of his final game at Fenway Park.

Official end of chase tough to take - Michael Silverman looks at a disappointed club still able to hold their heads high.

Papelbon will probably get a raise, but he shouldn’t - Jim Donaldson says that common sense plays no role in salary arbitration.

One may catch Varitek being emotional - Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Captain realizing that his days with the Red Sox are numbered.

The Celtics had their first practice of training camp yesterday. Check out the complete links at CelticsLinks.com. Gotta love Peter May already looking for the negative after one practice.

Fresh legs - Gary Washburn has Kevin Garnett feeling as good as he has since leading the Celtics to the championship in 2008.

Jermaine O’Neal fits right in - Scott Souza has the “other” O’Neal already enjoying himself. A. Sherrod Blakley has Shaquille O’Neal saying he’ll get his share of shots this year.

Refreshed Doc Rivers returns with Celtics - Mark Murphy has the head coach talking about his return for the final year of his contract.

What’s with this Baby talk? - Rich Levine looks at Glen Davis running his mouth on the first day of camp.

The Patriots are getting ready for a Monday night battle with the Miami Dolphins. Check the coverage at Patriotslinks.com.

Nothing little about Danny Woodhead’s impact - Karen Guregian has a mini-feature on the newest Patriot.

What about this defense? - Mark Farinella takes a fair and balanced look at the struggles of the defense.

Long journey to Foxboro for Hernandez - Christopher Price talks to those who knew the rookie tight end as a high schooler in Connecticut.

Pats opponents finding that left is right - Tom E Curran with a quick look at how opponents are targeting the Patriots.

Hey Tom, shouldn’t you follow the example of your colleagues in Miami:

I’m all about providing Dolphins fans the information they crave, but we need to be smarter about not giving away a competitive advantage.Wed Sep 29 12:46:59 via web

And not give the opposition a “competitive advantage?”

Aside: Is this guy serious?

Belichick is not expecting that wild a game - Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has the Patriots coach not expecting a lot of wildcat formations from the Dolphins on Monday.

Bruins Find Reliable Center Option in Blake Wheeler During Preseason Loss to Capitals - Douglas Flynn has Wheeler showing he might be able to play some center for the Bruins.

I caught most of last night’s The Tenth Inning on PBS. At one point they mentioned “a Boston Globe columnist” who, in 1998 said the media was making too much of Mark McGwire having a bottle of androstenedione in his locker, saying that “There’s nothing sold at drugstores that would help any of us hit a home run in the big leagues” and comparing andro to aspirin, prime rib and coffee.

I looked it up, and sure enough, it was Shaughnessy – August 26th, 1998. I encourage a visit to the Globe’s archives to check it out. You’ll have to pay for it, but it’s worth it.

Patriots Grade Well On One Side, Patience Needed On Other

The Tuesday report cards are out, and as you might imagine, the Patriots offense scored quite well, while their defensive teammates were handed flunking grades for the most part – which they deserve for their performance.

However, a problem I do have with this type of assessment involves expectations. What are the expectations for this defense? For many people it apparently is Super Bowl- caliber, which simply isn’t realistic. This is a young group that is just learning to play in the NFL, let alone function together as a cohesive unit. They’re being graded on a scale of whether they are an elite defense. They’re not at that level. They have a long way to go to just be good.

This, along with leadership takes time to develop. It’s not in fashion for the media to point this out, as they seem ultra-focused on the week-to-week view of things. An Albert Breer blog post yesterday is a perfect example. He starts out by basically insisting that after three weeks, this defense should be so much more developed by now. Three weeks! He moans that ”roughly one-fifth of the season” is gone now. That’s 18.75% of the season! That’s ridiculous.

Does anyone remember the 1999 and 2000 Patriots? 8-8 and 5-11 records? Who was on that defense? Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Willie McGinest, Lawyer Milloy…all guys who would become stalwarts on Super Bowl winners. At that point however, what was the view of those guys? Underachievers? For the most part, yes. Were they viewed as potential team leaders on a Super Bowl winner? I certainly don’t recall that being the case, even though most of them had been to a Super Bowl under Bill Parcells just a few seasons prior. Johnson and McGinest were perpetually injured and making big bucks, and many people questioned whether Bruschi was an every-down linebacker.

By the time 2001 came around, most of these guys had been playing together for five or more seasons. I am NOT suggesting that the talent level of the current Patriots defense is on the level of those guys, but there is talent here. It’s going to need time to come together. Expectations need to be lowered. This is not a Super Bowl caliber defense, or even a good defense right now. No one is suggesting that, least of all me. So rather that fully focusing on the stats (like Breer does) perhaps its time to look at little closer at individual performance to guage whether improvement is being made.

An example to me is the game on Sunday and the interceptions made by the defense in the fourth quarter. I saw and heard multiple times yesterday those interceptions being dismissed as “easy interceptions” and “poor throws” by Fitzpatrick. However, ESPN Boston’s Mike Rodak made more thorough examination of the Pat Chung interception and breaks it down this way:

Patriots safety Patrick Chung’s end-zone interception to start the fourth quarter was set up when OLB Jermaine Cunningham met blocking RB C.J. Spiller in the backfield with a blow to the chest, pushing Spiller aside and hitting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick as he threw. The pass sailed well over his intended receiver and was snagged out of the air by Chung.

So Rodak, after examining the play in detail, comes away with a more encouraging view of the play. Rookie linebacker Jermaine Cunningham generated a pass rush on the Bills QB, actually getting to him and forcing the poor throw from Fitzpatrick.

While others just dismissed the play as a poor throw, Rodak puts the work it to determine that the poor throw was actually forced, and this play shouldn’t just be dismissed as “lucky” as some have described it.

I’m looking for more of that type of analysis. When you have a team that’s being built before your eyes, you need to see the small things before the big results are going to follow. Trotting out stats that show that after three games this defense has given up the most of any team in the Bill Belichick era is way too simplistic.

So ideally, I’d like to rachet down the expectations for this defense, and take a more pragmatic look at their progress. Some are saying there are no signs of progress. I disagree.

OK. Rant over. Here are the links, starting with the report cards:

Jeremy Gottlieb, Patriots Daily | Ron Borges, Boston Herald | Kirk Minihane, WEEI.com | Mike Felger, CSNNE.com

Without Mankins and Kaczur, Patriots line has held its ground - Christopher Price has the Patriots once again successfully plugging holes in the offensive line.

It may be early, but next Monday’s Patriots-Dolphins game is crucial - Tom E Curran explains why the fourth game of the season in 2010 is so important.

Patriots journal: Key pick helps Meriweather bounce back - Robert Lee has the safety getting back to basics in practice last week, and seeing it pay off.

O’Neal inspired to be with C’s - Scott Souza has the big fella on a mission this year.

Livin’ large with Shaquille O’Neal – Steve Bulpett has more from the legend.

Hollywood comes to Boston - Michael Muldoon notes that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill media day for the Celtics.

Five things we learned from Celtics media day - Paul Flannery has some things to take away from yesterday.

West may be going in a new direction - Gary Washburn has Delonte West putting forth a new lease on life, and not taking the bait on a question from Rich Shertenlieb of 98.5 FM about LeBron James’ mom.

Celtics journal: Garnett good to go after ‘painful’ summer - Kevin McNamara has KG feeling good physically, but still recovering from the wound of game 7.

Making pitch for Saltalamacchia’s future - Amalie Benjamin’s notebook looks at the future with the Red Sox for the catcher, who will have thumb surgery today.

More from Ken Burns - Adam Smartschan of the Metro has the director talking about the newest installation of Baseball, premiering tonight on PBS. I’m looking forward to it, though like Charles P. Pierce I’m dreading the notion that Mike Barnicle was selected to represent the voice of the Red Sox fan.

Bruins have decisions to make before leaving for Europe - Mike Loftus has the Bruins with some things to sort out before heading to Europe.

After covering the Celtics for the last two seasons at WEEI.com, Jessica Camerato is taking her talents to CSNNE.com to cover the team for that outlet. WEEI.com has hired Ben Rohrbach and added him to the Celtics beat.

Who Will The Globe Hire To Replace Albert Breer?

This is Albert Breer’s last week with the Boston Globe before he joins the NFL Network next week. In his weekly chat on Friday, Chad Finn answered the following question from a reader:

What’s the Globe’s plan that Bert is leaving? 
 
Chad Finn:
Not my place to divulge names, but I know of at least one pretty well-known NFL writer who interviewed this week. I know Bert took a lot of heat from readers for his occasional contrarianism, but I’ll miss him. The only person I’ve met in this business who exudes a genuine passion for football like Bert does is Mike Reiss. He did get a very sweet gig at the NFL Network. He’ll be making 150 TV appearances over the course of a year as well as writing for NFL.com as one of their eastern correspondents.

It is a great gig for Breer, no question about it.

So who has interviewed at the Globe, and who might they consider hiring as a replacement for Breer has the top NFL writer?

Here is my very short list.

1) Todd Archer, Dallas Morning News  (@toddarcher )

A source tells me that Archer (right), Breer’s former coworker at the DMN, was actually very seriously considered when the Globe hired Breer. In fact, they may have preferred him over Breer, but couldn’t get the details worked out.

I don’t know if they would still have the same level of interest this time around, but Archer, who I believe does have Boston ties, would have to be considered a serious candidate.

2) Greg A Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel(@Greg_A_Bedard )

I believe strongly that Bedard (right) is the “pretty well-known NFL writer” cited by Finn in his above chat. Ultimately, I think he is the one who may well end up with the job. In fact, my source says he’s been offered the job. He’s also got local ties, as Breer himself pointed out in a training camp blog post that Bedard did for Boston.com on the Packers, noting that like Breer, Bedard is a “Lincoln-Sudbury guy.” Prior to covering the Packers, Bedard covered the Miami Dolphins for the Palm Beach Post.

Bedard is prolific on Twitter, which is where I first came across him. This interview with Cheesehead TV gives you some more of his background, and that he cites the Boston Globe as  big influence on his career. (Uh oh, a slight slam at Shaughnessy in there.) This more recent interview with a Rutgers blog (Bedard is an alum) has Bedard weighing in on Devin McCourty, also a Rutgers product: “I like Devin McCourty but don’t think he’ll be any better than a pretty good player (not elite).”

In the end, I think Bedard is the one that they want, the questions will be a) whether he wants to move his family, and b) if the job, as offered is going to be appealing to him. How much support will he get from management…will he feel comfortable with the beat writers already in place at the Globe? Is the Boston Globe still an appealing destination for writers to come to?

I think we’ll find out relatively soon. I believe the position will be filled rather quickly, one way or the other.

Not Pretty, But Patriots Will Take Win Over Bills

In what is likely to be a recurring theme this season for the Patriots, the offense led the way for New England in yesterday’s 38-30 win over the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. The young defense once again gave up large chunks of yardage, but made a couple key interceptions late in the game to salt this one away.

Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

Patriots’ win doesn’t mask issues - Mike Reiss says that while this win wasn’t convincing, it was much-needed.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Right now, it’s all on the offense - Chris Price counts down what we learned.

Running attack key for Patriots - Andy Vogt notes that having a running attack helped out Tom Brady yesterday.

They got some mileage out of new-look group - Monique Walker has the Patriots mixing things up with the running attack.

Replacing Kevin Faulk a group effort - Karen Guregian has the Patriots using several players in the third down role.

Danny Woodhead a spark for Patriots  – Chris Forsberg looks at the big debut for the newest Patriot.

Small guy, big impression - Mike Lowe has Woodhead already well-versed in Belichickian.

These Pats are defenseless - Mike Felger says that the defense stinks and there is no hope for the future.

Schedule may be Pats biggest foe - Bill Burt has a sobering look at the upcomign schedule for the Patriots.

Defense reaches for positives — interceptions - Walker’s notebook sews up many of the remaining storylines.

The Red Sox were on the cusp of sweeping the Yankees in New York last night, but Jonathan Papelbon blew his league-leading eighth save as the Yankees won, 4-3 in 10 innings. Get the stories at RedSoxLinks.com.

How one game encompassed a Red Sox season that came up short - Alex Speier says that last night was the entire season in microcosm.

Glimmer of hope goes out for Red Sox - Joe McDonald has the last hopes of the 2010 season put out last night.

Red Sox still playing with pride - Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox played to the end.

Yankee outfielders could open door for Sox on Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford - Speier says that the play of Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner might cool the Yankees interest in free agent outfielders.

Papelbon walks a fine line with ump - Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has the Sox closer unhappy with the strike zone.

Shaq ready to leave mark in Boston - Jackie MacMullan has the big man talking about teammates past and present.

Celtics hope a vertical jump gets them back on track - Julian Benbow has the Celtics hoping to use their newfound size to an advantage this season.

Doing Your Friday Megalinks

Let’s do your megalinks today. Lots to get to.

There’s the Weekend Viewing Picks which contains the sports and entertainment choices for Saturday and Sunday.

Now let’s get to the linkage. Lots of of it today.

National

From USA Today’s Game On blog, Mike McCarthy talks with the producer of new Lombardi Broadway play on the ten things we did not know about the late Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

Michael Hiestand from USA Today talks about HBO’s foray into the NHL for the latest edition of its critically acclaimed “24/7″ series.

Completing a USA Today trifecta, NHL writer Kevin Allen says bringing HBO into the fold is a big feather in the NHL’s cap.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated breaks news on Twitter that ESPN has hired World Cup announcer Ian Darke to be its signature voice for soccer replacing JP Dellacamera. That will include English Premier Games as well as MLS.

Stephen Wilson of the Associated Press writes that the International Olympic Committee expects to begin the bidding process for the US TV rights to the 2014/2016 Games early next year.

Forbes Magazine says ESPN is driving the Disney engine to profits. 

Noah Davis at SportsNewser talk about NASCAR.com launching a new daily show.

Etan Vlesing at the Hollywood Reporter also has a story on the HBO 24/7 NHL series.

R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News says NBA TV will cover the league’s first-ever “Midnight Madness” preseason practice next week.

John Consoli of Mediaweek says it’s hoped that the new HBO series on the NHL will bring new fans to the league.

Stuart Levine of Variety writes that the 24/7 series deal was done as the NHL looks ahead to signing a new TV rights deal.

All Access says a former producer with the Mike & Mike in the Morning radio show has been named program director at ESPN Radio in New York. 

Kelly Dwyer at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie blog profiles TNT’s Marv Albert.

Milton Kent of Fanhouse tells Ines Sainz to be a little more grateful.

CNBC’s Sports business producer Tom Rotunno lists the Top 5 Best Selling Playoff Gimmicks.

Sports Media Watch says the Philadelphia Phillies continue to set ratings records for Comcast SportsNet.

At Puck The Media, Steve Lepore provides his thoughts on HBO’s entrance into the NHL.

To Yahoo’s Puck Daddy and Greg Wyshynski who looks at what the Washington Capitals can expect to get from the HBO 24/7 series. 

Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog talks with “Baseball” director Ken Burns in the latest edition of its podcast. 

Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball is intrigued by MLB’s At Bat mobile app upgrade which now allows you to order food at the ballpark.

East and Mid-Atlantic

The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn says NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman could not hide his glee after signing with HBO.

At the Springfield (MA) Republican, Amanda Bruno gets on NESN for not airing Wednesday’s Bruins debut of rookie Tyler Seguin (scroll down).

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has a fascinating article on the discovery of long lost TV footage of the 1960 World Series Game 7 between the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. Expect MLB Network to air during the offseason.

Newsday’s Neil Best notes that New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudamire becomes the first team member to be featured in a new ESPN NBA promo.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says the Jets will be under NBC’s scrutiny on Sunday night. Whatever, Bob. Make more stuff up.

Phil Mushnick at the New York Post isn’t a fan of the standard press release apology.

Pete Doughety at the Albany Times Union has the MLB Network schedule through Saturday.

Laura Nachman says the Phillies are cleaning up in Philadelphia.

Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Penguins are happy to be on HBO.

Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette says rumors are swirling about the demise of the ESPN Radio affiliate in the Steel City.  

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog looks at the HBO 24/7 NHL series from the Capitals point of view.

Dan has video of a new NFL apparel ad featuring DC NFL team owner Daniel Snyder and actress Alyssa Milano.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks about the new HBO series on the Penguins and Capitals.

Jim says the Wizards will be the focus of NBA TV’s coverage of the first practices of the season.

Jim says the NFL is trying to enhance the fan experience at games.

South

Tom Jones from the St. Petersburg Times has NBC’s Tony Dungy listing his three favorite TV shows.

Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes that the Miami Dolphins are going all out to attract fans to come to the game.

Sarah says Miami Heat game tickets go on sale next week.

Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel wonders if Ines Sainz should have brought up her issue with the Jets to begin with.

Dave Williams of the Atlanta Business Journal says Chik-fil-A has signed an extension with ESPN keeping its football games on the Alleged Worldwide Leader. 

Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune says ESPN will catch up with a former Saints special teams player for Sunday NFL Countdown.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle has Fox’s Joe Buck waxing poetic on the old Oilers.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht says the Oklahoma City Thunder will be featured NBA TV’s training camp coverage.

Midwest

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter has info for those who want to watch the World Equestrian Games being held in Lexington, KY.

Michael Rothstein of AnnArbor.com chronicles the visit of ESPN2′s SportsNation to the University of Michigan this week. 

The Muncie (IN) Star Press says Ball State students will be producing content for Fox College Sports.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a closer look at ESPN’s high powered goal line cameras that will be used in Monday’s Packers-Bears game.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Jack Clark will not work for Fox Sports Midwest for the rest of the Cardinals season.

Dan also looks at the new addition to Ken Burns’ PBS Baseball documentary.

West

Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman talks with ESPN/ABC’s Brent Musburger about the Oregon State-Boise State matchup which he will call on Saturday. 

The Statesman is excited about College Gameday’s visit to Boise on Saturday. 

John Maffei from the North County Times says with local blackout looming in San Diego, it might be wise to invest in NFL Network’s RedZone.

Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times notes that long-time Kings announcer Bob Miller is looking forward to his 38th season with the team.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has Dick Enberg being excited over his first season calling the San Diego Padres.

Tom has his news and notes in his blog. 

And that will conclude the megalinks for today.

Patriots Look To Avoid Surprise From Bills

It’s week three of the NFL season. You’ve got an 0-2 AFC East team that finished last in the division the year before coming into Gillette Stadium. Mid-week, an emotional leader of the opposite team speaks of being tired of having the Patriots laugh at his team, and vows that they can’t keep letting that happen.

Welcome to the 2008 season when an 0-2 Miami Dolphins team that finished last in the AFC East the year prior came into town, after Joey Porter spouted off during the week, and proceded to unleash the wildcat formation upon the NFL and smoked the Patriots, 38-13 at Gillette.

You thought I was talking about the Bills this week? You wonder why the Pats are making Bills sound like contenders? That’s why. Nothing can be taken for granted in the NFL, even when you’ve beaten the opposite team 13 times in the row.

Wait, are Ron Borges and I on the same page with this? I may need to rethink things…

Gerard Warren seeing stars - Ian Rapoport has the big defensive lineman settling in nicely with the Patriots.

Nuggetpalooza’s Patriots-Bills Preview! - Gary Marbry has every factoid and number you could possibly want in this matchup.

Pats’ D must pick up slack for depleted backfield - Danny Picard has the Patriots defense knowing they’ve got to get off the field quickly.

Around The League – Week Two Recap - Jeremy Gottlieb goes around the league for Patriots Daily.

Patriots Journal: Welker offers Faulk encouragement - Robert Lee has the WR giving the RB advice on what to expect with his rehab.

NHL, HBO have capital idea - Chad Finn’s media column has a look at the NHL getting a version of “Hard Knocks” and ratings success for the Thursday night football lineup at CSNNE.

Media Roundup: Opportunity Lost For NESN - What would you have rather watched, a meaningless late season Red Sox game, or Tyler Seguin’s first preseason game with the Bruins?

Real game to come for Red Sox-Yankees - Gordon Edes says that the two clubs are expected to battle for free agents this winter.

Offseason could produce an entirely different team in 2011 - Daniel Barbarisi thinks the Red Sox could look much different come next spring.

McDonald takes advantage of opportunity with Red Sox - Mike Fine has Terry Francona and others happy for the success Darnell McDonald has had this season.

2010 has been a major thrill for McDonald and Atchison - Maureen Mullen includes Scott Atchinson as a feel-good story of the season.

Five reasons to keep your Sox on - Scott Lauber gives you some reasons to keep watching the final 10 games of the season.

Sorting through the Savard saga - D.J. Bean tries to get things straight on the Marc Savard situation.

Current Celts ready for one last run - Scott Souza has Doc Rivers’ team gearing up for another push.

O’Neal shows his drive - Julian Benbow’s notebook has Shaq already making his presence felt.

Herzlich refocused - Mark Blaudschun has the BC Linebacker happy to just focus on football.

Anyone else looking forward to this:

Ortiz Helps Sox Avoid Sweep At Hands Of O’s

David Ortiz hit his 31st homer of the season, and had four RBI as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-1at Fenway Park last night. John Lackey got his 13th win of the season, and Josh Reddick added his first home run of the season in the win as well. Get all the stories at RedSoxLinks.com.

Ortiz leads Red Sox to victory, then talks about the possibility of leaving town - Daniel Barbarisi has a look at the big night from Ortiz, followed by talk of wanting a new deal, one without a home town discount.

Jonathan Papelbon won’t be leaving - John Tomase says you can count out a trade involving the Red Sox closer this offseason.

Ken Burns proud to present 10th inning - Michael Silverman with a look at the latest installment of “Baseball.”

Red Sox Notes: Red-hot Victor Martinez playing his way into a rich contract - Barbarisi has the Red sox catcher once again putting up big numbers.

Patriots’ second-half surety is gone - Jeremy Lundblad looks at the Patriots inability to hold second-half leads.

Brady’s not quite dialed in yet - Tom E Curran says that the QB isn’t quite himself yet.

Bagging Buffalo is a key in hunt for division title - Albert R Breer explains why this is such a big game for the Patriots.

Kevin Faulk has not left the building - Ian Rapoport has the injured running back saying that he will remain with the team, helping out in any way that he can while he rehabs his knee.

Without Faulk, this could get ugly - Hector Longo thinks this team could implode without Faulk.

Adjustments coming for Patriots - Mike Reiss says that the entire offense may need to be adjusted without Faulk.

Patriots Notes: Morris, Woodhead say they’re ready to help pick up the slack - Robert Lee has a pair of backs looking to fill Faulk’s shoes.

Worry Wart – Game Three vs. Bills - Chris Warner is still wary of this week’s opponent.

Bruins beat Canadiens in exhibition opener, 4-2 - Joe Haggerty has the Bruins looking good in their preseason opener.

Boston Bruins rookie candidate Joe Colborne can’t wait for his first NHL exhibition game. - While Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron got to play last night, the 2008 first round pick get his chance tonight. Mike Loftus has that story and a few other notes.

Concussion cases hard to figure - Joe McDonald says that aftereffects can vary greatly from case to case.

Julien impressed by Caron - Fluto Shinzawa’a notebook has the coach impressed with the 2009 first round pick.

Random observation of the morning:

Bill Simmons has been hosting PTI on ESPN this week, and was a guest of Dennis and Callahan this morning. Simmons talked about the experience of hosting PTI, and weighed in on the Patriots and Celtics. At the end, John Dennis told Simmons that his fly was down on the show yesterday. It was a curious comment, but typical of a bully-type trying to make someone else feel foolish and himself appear like the veteran TV guy. Simmons’ fly wasn’t down, and Dennis’ comment was pretty transparent in its objective.

Without Kevin, Patriots Could Be Faulked

On many teams, having the third down back getting injured isn’t the end of the world. Reading the articles this morning, you get the sense that when Kevin Faulk was injured on Sunday, the Patriots lost their most important offensive player behind Tom Brady.

The Boston Globe reported first yesterday that Faulk suffered a torn ACL in the fourth quarter of the Jets game, and is done for the season. No official move has been made yet, but it seems inevitable.

Kevin Faulk a huge loss for Patriots - Mike Reiss points out that Faulk was really a starter – playing more than any other back the last three seasons.

Protective measures needed in his absence - Albert R Breer notes that the Patriot may miss Faulk most in blitz protection.

Danny Woodhead may come in handy - Karen Guregian says that the newest Patriot might fill some of Faulk’s role.

Pats have been market leaders in the QB business - Jim Donaldson notes the stability the Patriots have had at the QB position since 1993, compared to teams like the Bills.

First Impressions – Buffalo Bills - Greg Doyle on Patriots Daily has a peek at some key performers for the Bills.

Hard hit; no hard feelings - Monique Walker’s notebook has Wes Welker with no ill will towards Eric Smith.

Pap’s here in name only - Bill Ballou says that Jonathan Papelbon has already checked out of the 2010 season.

Red Sox may be losing interest - Mike Fine has the whole team (and fans) checking out.

Buchholz an ace in the hole - Lenny Megliola looks at Clay Buchholz coming into his own this season.

Phillies OF Jayson Werth a look - Scott Lauber wonders if the free agent-to-be could be a Red Sox target.

Too early to make a call on Savard - Joe Haggerty says the center’s immediate future is still uncertain.

Savard situation is a headache - Kevin Paul Dupont also weighs in on Savard.

I’m generally not a huge fan of Deadspin.com these days, but today is worth checking out as it is another Fire Joe Morgan reunion day on the site.