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News Blitz 8/21: Player profiles, position battles

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We're getting down to the nitty-gritty of preseason, with Game No. 3 on the horizon this Friday and roster cuts coming a week from Saturday. As a result, media outlets are focusing more intently on specific players and competition at various positions.

We'll start with the offensive line, where the season-long loss of versatile rookie Isaiah Wynn had several of his teammates talking to reporters Monday.

The Providence Journal and Boston.com each examine the impact of Wynn's loss on the Patriots' o-line.

"The guys who rise to the occasion and make the most of the opportunities are the guys who are out there on the field... You never really know what's going to happen as far as injuries," tackle LaAdrian Waddle is quoted in one of the stories.

"I'm just going in and trying to remember my fundamentals on every down," said veteran free agent Ulrick John. "That's what gives me the best chance I have to make this team at the end of preseason."

On the other side of the ball, d-line is also under the microscope. The Boston Globe offers a feature on under-the-radar defensive end Keionta Davis. He was injured all of last season and only was able to observe practices.

"The time off definitely helped me out a lot. Learning the defense [and] learning from the other guys in the film room," said Davis.

Meanwhile, the Boston Herald checks in on d-tackle Vincent Valentine as that veteran tries to maintain a roster spot this summer. He, too, suffered with injuries for much of 2017.

"It was hard; a tough time in my life, a dark time, but I was able to press through... My faith pushed me through," Valentine explained in part.

CB Eric Rowe has known injuries during his young NFL career, but he's healthy now and vying for a significant role on this year's defense, as the Worcester Telegram reports.

"I know that's my thing this year, just staying healthy," Rowe admitted to that outlet. "After being out last year you notice kind of how invaluable you are if you're hurt. You obviously can't do anything, so really being out there is half the battle."

An Eagle-Tribune scribe offers five thoughts on the Patriots preseason so far.

And WEEI.com quotes head coach Bill Belichick from an appearance on that radio station's airwaves as he discusses the new NFL helmet rule.

"It's not a change for us, for our coaching staff," he declared, "We've always tackled with our head up, eyes open, head back, so we can see what we hit. That's the only way I've ever coached. If we do it that way, we'll be within the rules."

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