The Patriots and Giants meet tonight at Gillette Stadium as both teams finalize their preparations for the 2005 campaign. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will use this week's game to get one final look at his personnel before the 53-man roster limit goes into effect on Sunday, September 4, and also to fine-tune every aspect of the team to ensure that it is as ready to go for the season opener. Based on last years preseason finale, expect Patriots starters to see limited play if any at all. Michael Felger of the Boston Herald and *Tom Curran of the *Providence Journal both offer a preview of tonight's game.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that Patriots backup quarterback Doug Flutie could have well been a Giant instead of a Patriot. Flutie was very close to signing with the Giants in the offseason. "It could have happened very easily," Flutie said -- before the Patriots made a late offer for his services.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the last preseason game is often seen as a meaningless, but to players on the bubble this game has meaning. It is the players last chance to showcase their talent to both the team and to NFL scouts of other clubs who may be monitoring their progress. "I'm sure that we'll look at some of the players that didn't play as much in the Green Bay game a little bit more against the Giants, and try to get the best evaluation that we can as we make our final decisions at the end of the week," said Belichick.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald is reporting that the wide receiver Bethel Johnson was moved from PUP to the active roster earlier this week. Johnson now joins a crowded field at his position, which includes Deion Branch, David Givens, Troy Brown, Tim Dwight, David Terrell, P.K. Sam and Andre' Davis.
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant writes that wide receiver Deion Branch will probably not play tonight against the Giants. Branch has been participating in all practices but has yet to play a down in preseason. Branch reports that he has been ready to play, but it's been a coach's decision that he has not. "We practice so hard. But every player wants to play in the games. You see all the guys having fun in the games. ... I can't worry about things I can't control. It's a coach's decision," said Branch.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers a story on Patriots linebackers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel. Felger writes that Brown and Beisel admit that learning the terminology and technical nuances of Bill Belichick's defense has been the most challenging part of their early Patriots careers. Bost players come from attack style schemes where they were expected to run to the ball. In Belichick's defense they are asked to be more patient and keep their position on the field. "That's one of the things when we began banging at the beginning of training camp, Chad and I both, we were over-running everything,'' Beisel said. "We wanted to get outside, get downhill and make the play. And the (coaches) just kept telling us to slow down. So I think over the last couple of weeks we've kind of slowed it down. And after that it's sort of smoothed out. "
USA Today offers it's "Inside Slant" which discusses the major changes with the Patriots this season. With Offensive and defensive coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel gone to be head coaches, starting inside linebackers Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi gone for medical reasons and Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law gone because of financial considerations, the Patriots entered camp with major questions. None of which have really been answered yet.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes.