As the preseason draws to a close, the reality of the regular season begins to take hold across the NFL.
Teams will play their final preseason game this week leading up to the cut down to 53-man rosters on Saturday evening.
Then the page is turned toward game preparations for the opening weekend of regular season action.
It's about as busy a time of year as teams will face with many layers of roster building and preparations coming together all at once.
As the Patriots get close to putting together the team that will take on the Texans on opening day, one of the prevalent storylines is the lack of depth at the receiver position.
The Boston Globe writes about that depth growing even thinner with veteran Eric Decker announcing his retirement on Sunday afternoon. The Globe takes a shot at projecting the Patriots 53-man roster a week before the actual cutdown takes place. The Globe notes that Tom Brady cut his weekly interview with WEEI short on Monday morning after questions regarding his body coach and business partner, Alex Guerrero. The Globe reviews a new NFL-related book from Mark Leibovich that includes a look at Brady and the Patriots. The Globe takes a look at how Matt Patricia and Mike Vrabel might embrace the Belichick Way in their new jobs as head coaches in Detroit and Tennessee, respectively.
The Globe takes a closer look at some individual performances in Friday night's preseason loss to the Panthers in Carolina. The Globe thinks Bill Belichick may have to negotiate an active trade market this week. The Globe also looks at some receivers the Patriots could target at this point in the process.
The Boston Herald also has a story on Brady ending his WEEI interview due to Guerrero questions. TheHeraldnotes that Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft were among those congratulating Kenny Chesney on selling 1 million tickets to concerts at Gillette Stadium over the years. TheHeraldwrites about Decker's retirement. The Herald also details Phillip Dorsett's budding connection with Brady.
The Providence Journal writes that Rob Gronkowski was feeling good after his preseason debut in Carolina. The ProJo notes that Jason McCourty made a surprising appearance at safety against the Panthers.
ESPNBoston.com says the Patriots wide receiving corps is depleted to an unusually thin level. ESPNBoston.com has the transcript of the questions and answers that led to Brady cutting his WEEI interview short. ESPNBoston.com's Sunday notes includes Cordarrelle Patterson recalling his first meeting with Brady.
WEEI.com has its own roster projection after Decker's retirement. WEEI.com also has a preview of Leibovich's book, "Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times," including writing that "it wouldn't kill Brady if the Patriots were to release him into free agency." WEEI.com notes that the Patriots are reportedly releasing veteran safety Eddie Pleasant. WEEI.com has Belichick explaining why McCourty played safety on Friday night.
NBC Sports Boston writes that Brady is "just not hung up on what people say anymore," as it relates to his ending the Monday morning WEEI interview. NBC Sports Boston says the Patriots can survive with just three receiver, but other injuries complicate things. NBC Sports Boston has its latest roster projection in the form of an annoying slideshow.
NESN.com passes on word that the Patriots had discussions about trading Decker before the veteran announced his retirement.
MassLive.com has its latest roster projection for New England.