The Patriots released their injury report yesterday, one surprise was running back Kevin Faulk who is listed as having a foot injury. Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe cites a team source as saying that Faulk has a broken bone in his left foot and could miss 6-8 weeks. To fill in as the third running back the Patriots yesterday announced the signing of free agent running back Amos Zereoue. The Patriots injury report also listed Matt Light as being out with a broken bone in his right leg. Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald also reports on the signing of Zereoue.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe also reports that the Patriots signed safety Michael Stone to a one year deal and brought back offense lineman Gene Mruczkowski. Both players look to add depth to their respective positions. "Mike's been a real good special teams player for Arizona," Belichick said. "He also has some versatility -- played corner in college and also played some safety, and some dime position in sub defenses. He's a smart guy with some position versatility on defense and four years production in the kicking game."
With Rodney Harrison gone for the season, safety Eugene Wilson will need to come out of the shadows and prove that he can be the star player that he has been on the verge of becoming. Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that Wilson showed his talent immediately after his emergency position switch in Week 2 of the 2003 season, and he's been so good that Bill Belichick never moved him back. Wilson has the instincts to find the ball and read coverages. He has hands and cover skills befitting a corner. And after just a few months playing next to Harrison, it was obvious he relished the physical part of the game. "He has the speed and cover skills of a corner, but he's playing safety. And he can hit like a safety. Eugene has been under Rodney for a couple of years now - so he'll step up. He played big for us last year and he'll be big for us this year," said linebacker/safety Don Davis. Does Wilson have the ability to play exactly as Harrison did? We'll soon find out.
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News writes that during yesterday's conference call with the New England media, Chargers head coach Marty Schottemheimer expressed the value of what QB Doug Flutie had meant to his team this past season. "We really enjoyed him, he did a terrific job for us, particularly last year,'' Schottenheimer said. "He was just in the middle of this whole thing and did a terrific job. I've got great respect for him."
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald offers a story on San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The Patriots will have a huge challenge in defending against one of the elite running backs in the game. Against the Giants last Sunday, Tomlinson amassed 192 yards on 21 carries, hitting the end zone three times, and advancing his NFL record to 15 consecutive games with a rushing touchdown. He also caught six passes for 28 yards. And, for good measure, he threw a 26-yard touchdown pass. "He possesses all the talents you want in a running back, speed, power, hands. I haven't had the opportunity to face him yet, but what you see on film, he presents a very tough challenge for any defense, whether you have 11 guys, or one guy," Said Rosevelt Colvin.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that Rodney Harrison brings so much to a football team, it's hard to pinpoint what element of his game will be missed most during the remainder of the season. One intangible he brings to the table the Patriots absolutely cannot replace: Fear. Harrison has always been one of the most intimidating players on the field.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that without Rodney Harrison, Bill Belichick is only interested in what Guss Scott and the rest of his defense can do against Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates. "He has outstanding hands, great hand-eye coordination, makes a lot of very difficult catches, but he makes them look easy. It seems like the ball is never at a place where it's a struggle for him to catch it," said Belichick of Gates.
Tom Curran also offers an additional article on Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. Harrison was injured the week before he was to face his former team the Chargers. "I was looking forward to playing against Rodney and being out there with him again," said Tomlinson, who played his first two seasons with Harrison. "I learned so much from the guy. I really appreciate everything he has done in helping my career. I was really looking forward to it." Curran also offers Patriots notes in his article.
Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger writes that overall the Patriots special teams play improved in week 3. "The special teams unit, we looked at it as if our backs were against the wall," linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said. "We definitely had to come out and put together a good effort and make some plays. Overall, we did that. We came out with a win, and we definitely feel we played our part."
Eric McHugh also offers an additional article in which he writes that one area to keep an eye on over the next few weeks is how the loss of strong safety Rodney Harrison affects the New England Patriots' run defense. The Patriots run defense will be tested right off the bat on Sunday by San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson. McHugh also offers Patriots notes in his article.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.