The Patriots face a huge challenge this week as they meet up with the Carolina Panthers this Sunday for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVIII. Eric McHugh of the Patriots Ledger takes a look at some of the issues the Patriots will face as they prepare to tangle with the Panthers.
Michael Parente of the Woonsockett Call writes that the Panthers secondary may give the Patriots offense their biggest test. The Panthers led the NFL last season with 26 interceptions and finished first in the NFC with a plus-12 giveaway/takeaway ratio. Three of their defensive backs finished among the top 25 in the NFC in interceptions, including Chris Gamble with six and Ricky Manning and Will Witherspoon with four apiece.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that the Patriots cornerback position is starting to have a familiar look to it. Asante Samuel and Randall Gay, last year's starters look to again be your starting cornerbacks for Sunday's matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Starting cornerback Tyrone Poole was injured in last weeks season opener when he left the game with an unspecified leg injury.
Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal takes a look at the Patriots defensive line which is widely considered the most talented group in the NFL. Donaldson writes that New England has three first-round draft picks along its defensive front with Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork and another guy who plays like one in Jarvis Green.
Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle writes that the Patriots special teams have been far from special so far this season. With a blocked extra point, blocked punt and poor coverage on kickoffs the Patriots have alot to correct on the special teams front. Bill Belichick responded to questions on the special teams play with, "There's a lot of high school teams that can snap the ball and punt it without getting it blocked. There really are."
Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe writes that Bill Belichick is widely regarded as the top coach in the NFL and clearly out-coaches each opponent on a regular basis. But could that coaching gap be closing? Nick Saban(Dolphins) and Mike Nolan(49ers) showed some out of the box, creative approaches to coaching NFL teams this week.
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.