Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle writes that Patriots safety Rodney Harrison expects this Sunday's tilt with the Carolina Panthers to be a slugfest. Harrison refers to Super Bowl XXXVII as being one of the most physical games he's ever played and expects no less in this weeks matchup. "I broke my arm in that game," the Patriots' veteran safety said earlier this week of the play that removed him from Super Bowl XXXVIII in its fourth quarter. "That's how physical it was. I've never broken a bone in my body in a game before. I played one other play. I pushed Muhsin Muhammad out of bounds on a corner route and it broke a little more and I had to come out." Dan Pires of the Standard Times also offers a similar report.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that defensive lineman Richard Seymour was listed on the Patriots injury report with a thigh injury, but was seen practicing and did not seem hampered by the injury. Seymour's status for the game was listed as questionable.
Could we see Troy Brown back on defense? Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle writes that according to head coach Bill Belichick, he has not ruled out putting Troy Brown on defense again. With four defensive backs listed as questionable on the injury report, there remains the possibility that Brown may be asked to pull double duty again. "He's done it in the past, and if we needed him to do it again and we called upon him, I'm sure he would do it," said Belichick.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers a story on Troy Brown. Felger writes that among his many roles with the team (offense, defense and special teams) Brown has shown that his best role is on offense at wide receiver. The Patriots had been searching throughout the offseason for a solid third wide receiver and throughout the many options Troy Brown is still the guy. The 34-year-old Brown showed just how much he has left in the tank with a productive, six-catch, 51-yard performance against the Raiders in last weeks season opener. Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe also writes a similar article.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald and Ian Clark of the Union Leader both write that the Patriots will need to prove they can get their running game going against the Panthers. In the season opener against the Raiders the Pats running attack stuggled finishing with a total of 73 yards. Patriots running back Corey Dillon finished the game with 63 yards on 23 carries (2.7 yard average) which was his lowest output during a Patriots regular-season game. "Obviously, we need to improve on what happened last week. We didn't run the ball effectively. So yeah, we've been working on that all week," Pats tackle Matt Light said. "We'll go into this game with a lot of things up, and we'll just try to make them work instead of what happened last week. We didn't get off to a good start with the running game. We had too many negative plays. You can't do that, especially on the road."
Tom Pedulla of *USA Today *writes that the Patriots versatile defense brings an element of surprise for opponents. The Patriots have shown the ability to switch defensive fronts mid-game from 3-4 to 4-3 which creates confusion for opponents as both fronts offer a unique set of opportunities for the defensive line.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers an update on former Patriots full back Kyle Eckel. Eckel had been released from the Patriots during the final set of roster cuts and was signed by the Miami Dolphins where he made the 53-man roster. Due to his military commitments Eckel is to report to the naval base in Newport, RI. To retain the rights to Eckel, the Miami Dolphins have placed him on the rarely used reserve/military list.
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.