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Cards bring speed to defensive table; Notes

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            **Rodney Harrison** has developed a unique way of dressing for practice these days -- call it locker shopping. The All-Pro safety got ready for Thursday morning's practice by grabbing a pair of sweatpants out of **Rohan Davey's** unattended locker and then got at sweatshirt showing the number of safety **Shawn Mayer** and a blue pullover courtesy of practice squad running back **Kory Chapman.** … As has been reported all week, the team will depart from Gillette Stadium late this afternoon to travel to Arizona a few days early in preparation for Sunday's kickoff against the Cardinals. … Asked about the uniforms of this week's opponent in Thursday's somewhat light-hearted press conference Belichick gave the thumbs up to the Cardinals duds. He went on to list the Browns, Giants, Packers and Bears as some of his favorite NFL uniforms based somewhat on his traditional taste, while pointing to North Carolina and Tennessee as favorite college uniforms based on their unique colors. The understated uniforms of Navy and Notre Dame also got positive marks from the head coach. … Asked about running back **Kevin Faulk**, who is listed on the injury report for Sunday as 'Out' for personal reasons, Belichick said the back had returned to the team early in the week but that the team "listed him as out because he is out.

Much of the talk surrounding New England's opponent heading into this week's matchup in Arizona has revolved around the Cardinals offense under first-year coach Dennis Green. But while the offense has the big names like Emmitt Smith and first-round pick Larry Fitzgerald, the defense in the home locker room at Sun Devil Stadium brings its own concerns for any opponent.

"I think there are a lot of similarities between their defense and the Colts," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday morning. "They have a lot of speed on defense, a lot of up-field guys that can run.

"I'd say that overall their front seven is very athletic and quick. They pursue. They make a lot of chase plays. They get a lot of turnovers. I'd say overall they have a lot of team speed on defense."

That speed helped the Cardinals, a team that was minus-13 despite 23 takeaways a year ago, force three turnovers in the opener against at St. Louis. The team did give up almost 450 yards of total offense against the Rams, but as is always the case turnovers can negate a lot of that.

With all that speed and athleticism on the other side of the ball, does that mean New England will try to out-physical the Cardinals on Sunday? Even though you can beat speed with physical play, Arizona is also susceptible to some bigger plays as shown by the fact that the team's corners, Duane Starks and David Macklin, led the team with nine and seven tackles respectively against the Rams.

"That's what everybody says, [being more physical] is the way to beat them," Patriots second-year Dan Koppen said. "It's also about playing smart football and mistake-free football. So I wouldn't say that [being more physical] is going to get the job done automatically.

"Our main goal is just to have no mistakes and be physical with them. That's the same tone every week that we try to bring into the game."

Run test

Just a week after allowing more than 200 yards on the ground to Edgerrin James and the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots face another ground challenge this week against the NFL's all-time leading rusher and an oversized offensive line.

Running behind guys like 6-6, 381-pound left tackle Leonard Davis and 6-8, 337-pound right tackle Anthony Clement future Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith picked up 87 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown last week in St. Louis.

And Belichick thinks Smith still has production left his playing tank.

"I think pound for pound he's probably one of the strongest players in the league," Belichick said. "I think there are some differences but certainly some similarities to a runner like Curtis [Martin]. He has great vision. He really lowers his pads well. He plays with a lot of power and explosion. He's a hard guy to tackle, but he sees things very well. He finds the seams in the defense, and he runs with power and can get through those arm tackles because of his exceptional body lean and lower body playing strength."

Notes

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            **Rodney Harrison** has developed a unique way of dressing for practice these days -- call it locker shopping. The All-Pro safety got ready for Thursday morning's practice by grabbing a pair of sweatpants out of **Rohan Davey's** unattended locker and then got at sweatshirt showing the number of safety **Shawn Mayer** and a blue pullover courtesy of practice squad running back **Kory Chapman.** … As has been reported all week, the team will depart from Gillette Stadium late this afternoon to travel to Arizona a few days early in preparation for Sunday's kickoff against the Cardinals. … Asked about the uniforms of this week's opponent in Thursday's somewhat light-hearted press conference Belichick gave the thumbs up to the Cardinals duds. He went on to list the Browns, Giants, Packers and Bears as some of his favorite NFL uniforms based somewhat on his traditional taste, while pointing to North Carolina and Tennessee as favorite college uniforms based on their unique colors. The understated uniforms of Navy and Notre Dame also got positive marks from the head coach. … Asked about running back **Kevin Faulk**, who is listed on the injury report for Sunday as 'Out' for personal reasons, Belichick said the back had returned to the team early in the week but that the team "listed him as out because he is out.
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