Still feeling blue over Sunday's loss? So is The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy. He can't resist so he gives you some of the story lines that would have played out, should the Pats have won and advanced to the Super Bowl.
Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports on the Patriots need for depth at the linebacker position. With a Super Bowl berth on the line, the Patriots considered their defensive options and decided they needed more speed on the field at inside linebacker. So they turned to Eric Alexander in last Sunday's AFC Championship game. A standout special teamer, it was his first career start.
Bob Holer of The Boston Globe offers a piece on former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, now the HC at Notre Dame. He nearly died undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2002, and will go to court next month in a medical malpractice suit against two Mass. General physicians.
Boston Herald writer John Tomase reports that the Patriots will need to bolster their offense before the start of next season. Tomase takes a position-by-position look at what they have and what they'll need.
John Tomase of the* Boston Herald* explains that beating the Chargers left the Patriots thinking they were a team of destiny. "When we won that game, we had something special going," cornerback Ellis Hobbs said. "That's what (coach) Bill (Belichick) told us. We had something special going." Also included are notes.
The Boston Herald's Gerry Callahan discusses a few players that you may not know, including Alexander and safeties Rashad Baker and Artrell Hawkins. Callahan blames the Pats patchwork defense for Sunday's loss to the Colts.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald reports that coach Bill Belichick must be a genius to accomplish as much as he did this year with a patchwork defense. "Had we told you before the season that the Pats would go into the second half of that game at the RCA Dome with a defensive lineup featuring Alexander, Mike Wright, Tully Banta-Cain, Ray Mickens, Hawkins and Baker, you'd have told us we must be mistaken. Surely, that must be the lineup for the Pats third preseason game, not their third playoff contest," writes Felger. He offers his thoughts on what the Pats have and what they'll need.
Alan Lupo offers an Op-Ed piece in the Boston Herald, challenging you to remember what's really heartbreaking. It's not football, says Lupo. "If somebody in your neighborhood or family is being sent back to Iraq for the second or third time, that's heartbreaking," he writes.
Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal explains that the face of the Patriots is bound to change. "One of the amazing things about New England's run since the turn of the millennium has been Belichick's and Scott Pioli's ability to keep things going despite a high rate of turnover. Only 10 players on the roster this morning were there the day the team won its first Super Bowl title on Feb. 3, 2002, yet they were arguably one play away from getting back to the big game on Sunday," she pens.
*The Providence Journal* reports that the Pats-Colts game drew a record 46.7 million viewers on CBS, becoming the most-watch American Football Conference championship game in 21 years.
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant reports on free agent cornerback Asante Samuel. Samuel, a fourth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2003, had his best season in 2006, a season that Belichick acknowledged was "great, outstanding." He tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (10) in the regular season. He added two more in the postseason, returning both for touchdowns.
Eric McHugh of The Patriot Ledger remains optimistic, despite the loss. "To the extent that we can be certain about anything in the topsy-turvy NFL, we can be certain of this: The Patriots as a team aren't going anywhere," he writes. McHugh explains that the future is still bright for these Patriots, even though it's too soon to look past the Colts.
The Patriot Ledger's Eric McHugh reports that the last official word on Belichick's contract came in 2003 when the team announced he had signed an extension that would carry through the 2006 season. Despite the grind, Belichick, 54, said he is not headed for coaching burnout, even though he just completed his 32nd consecutive NFL season. "I'm here," he said recently.
Albert Breer of The MetroWest Daily News reports that Sunday's loss to the Colts "wasn't about the X's and O's. It was the Jimmys and Joes." Breer offers his thoughts on what will remedy the team's ailments.
Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle reports on the retirement of former Patriots HC Bill Parcells. Farinella isn't entirely convinced the Tuna will stay retired after leaving the Cowboys.
Don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant on the Patriots, updated yesterday.