Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that safety Guss Scott could develop into a nice player if he can stay healthy in 2006. Yesterday, the Patriots signed the third-year safety to a one-year deal. Scott injured his knee in training camp of his rookie season in '04 and missed the entire season. Last season, he suffered another season-ending knee injury after appearing in five games, making two starts. In his last game, he started against Atlanta and finished the game with six solo tackles, including a drive-stopping hit on tight end Alge Crumpler in the third quarter of the Patriots' 31-28 victory. Scott was placed on injured reserve Oct. 19.
Ron Borges of the Boston Globe writes that among the 15 new rule proposals passed yesterday by the league's 32 clubs was the banishment of "prolonged or excessive celebrations" as well as celebrating while a player is on the ground. This is an attempt to forestall the antics of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, all of whom have used what were called "props" by Competition Committee co-chairman Jeff Fisher. Props, among other things, are now banned and will result in a 15-yard penalty. In addition, any dance deemed too long by game officials will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a warning. How a celebration will be deemed too long was not defined but Fisher and co-chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons, said it will center around interfering in lining up for the next play, especially after a touchdown.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that New England's offseason thus far defined more by who left than who's been acquired, the Patriots have drawn the interest of their rivals, who wonder how long they can remain among the league's elite, even with a solid base that includes owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, personnel man Scott Pioli and quarterback Tom Brady. "The (NFL) system is not designed for dynasties," said Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green. The system is designed to gain and then lose. At some point everyone's going to lose, and then you get better and do it again. I think the Patriots understand that. They've got the four major pieces in place, Brady and Bill and Scott and of course their owner. They just have to understand the system is stacked against them."
Leading up to the NFL Draft, the Providence Journal's Tom Curran will profile a player at a "need" position for the Patriots each day. New England has 10 picks in the draft, six in the first four rounds. Their first-round pick is the 21st overall. Today's Curran profiles running back Lendale White from USC.
Mark Farinella of the Sun Chroncicle writes that the NFL announced its schedule of nationally televised preseason games on Wednesday, and two of the Patriots' four tuneups will be broadcast to a national audience - although one will get relatively limited exposure on the league's own cable network. The complete schedule will be released later this spring.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald offers an article on former Patriots defensive coordinator and current head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Romeo Crennel. Crennel installed the same 3-4 system in Cleveland, so it comes as no surprise that he has filled two key spots on the Browns defense with ex-Patriots. First, Crennel signed nose tackle Ted Washington to anchor the middle. Then he added linebacker Willie McGinest to rush the passer and make plays at the sidelines. "We have a team that's up and coming," Crennel said at the owners meetings. "We needed some veteran leadership."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.