The Patriots take on the New Orleans Saints tonight at Gillette Stadium in what should be a glimpse of the regular season matchup between the two teams which takes place on November 20th. Both teams are expected to give their starters extended play in tonghts preseason matchup. In last weeks win over the Cincinnati Bengals, veterans got limited playing time as it was all about auditioning the younger players. "The more you play your units together, the less you're looking at younger players," Belichick said. "The more you look at younger players, the less you're able to really build the cohesiveness of a unit going into the season." Michael Felger of the Boston Herald, Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe *and Tom Curran of the *Providence Journal *all offer a preview of tonights preseason game.*
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald reports that the price of success is finally catching up with the New England Patriots. The team shelled out more than $30 million in signing bonuses and gave raises to at least a half-dozen veterans. The Patriots are expected to have a payroll (actual cash spent, not salary cap dollars) of more than $105 million this year, a figure which could make the Patriots the highest spending team in the NFL in 2005.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that there is a long list of players who are not expected to play in tonights preseason matchup with the New Orleans Saints. Bill Belichick referred to all injuries as in the day-to-day category and also noted that the injuries have not hurt the team's preparation. "If you have 10 guys out, and they're all at different positions, it's probably not going to affect the overall quality of practice," Belichick said. "I don't think we're at that point yet. I think that whenever the numbers get depleted to the point that it really overworks those players so much relative to the rest of the team, you're either going to probably end up losing them or you cut it back so that you manage that position." Veterans such as Mike Vrabel, Ty Warren, Randall Gay, Duane Starks, Brandon Gorin and Chad Morton are not expected to play.
Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle reports that quarterbacks Tom Brady and Doug Flutie should see significant playing time in tonights preseason matchup with the Saints. "It's been a while since I played a game. So hopefully we can go out there and just improve. I think at this time of year you're just trying to really improve a lot of the things you've been struggling on," said Brady.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily Patriots blog with notes and commentary.