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Patriots.com News Blitz - 02/22/06

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe and Lenny Megliola of the MetroWest Daily News both report that Patriots QB Tom Brady had hernia surgery in Boston last week. Brady's injury, according to doctors, could have occurred by lifting weights or on the playing field. A hernia is usually taken care of in one of two ways, one involving a three-inch incision, the other by making three small holes in the groin area. He can expect a 6-8 week healing period.

Larry Weisman of *USA Today * takes a look at the pros and cons of teams using the franchise tag. Weisman also takes a look at which teams have already designated a franchise player and also which players are likely to be tagged before the February 23rd deadline.

USA Today's "Inside Slant" takes a look at the Patriots strategy heading into the offseason. After falling short of an unprecedented Super Bowl three-peat, the Patriots head into the offseason needing more tweaking than overhauling. They will be on their third defensive coordinator in as many years, having lost Romeo Crennel (Browns, 2005) and Eric Mangini (Jets, 2006) to head coaching jobs. But the plan on that side of the ball will remain the same. The Patriots also seem unlikely to alter their approach to free agency, which centers around avoiding big-ticket purchases (LB Rosevelt Colvin was an exception in 2003) and instead focuses on unearthing more cost-effective options (LB Mike Vrabel in 2001, TE Christian Fauria in 2002, CB Tyrone Poole in 2003, P Josh Miller in 2004).

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe also offers his latest Patriots mailbag. The focus of this edition of Patriots mailbag is on new contracts for wideout David Givens and kicker Adam Vinatieri.

[Mike Holbrook](http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL/AFC/AFC East/New England/Features/2006/holbrook022106.htm) of ProFootballWeekly.com offers a Q&A with Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest. In his 12th season in the NFL, McGinest played all 16 games for the third time in the past four seasons. He finished second on the team in sacks with six and added four passes defended. But his greatest moment came in the Pats' 28-3 romp over the Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs. McGinest registered a playoff single-game record 4 1/2 sacks in that contest. Holbrook talks with McGinest about his pride in getting through a difficult 2005 season, the empty feeling that he had after the championship run ended in a playoff loss to Denver and his belief that ex-Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini will be a success in New York.

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