Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that Bill Belichick mentioned during training camp that he would know more about his team four weeks into the season. But after Sunday's 41-17 loss at home to San Diego, the Patriots are 2-2 and still looking for an identity. '"Well, I think the last couple of weeks, really all four weeks, we're a little bit of a team in transition," Belichick said. "I wish I had a better answer to that question right now, but I'm not sure that I have one or there is one. There are a number of transitory things going on, or that have gone on, within the first four weeks of the season, and so that's put things in a little bit of a state of flux." Tom Curran of the Providence Journal also offers a similar report.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers his report card for the Patriots performance against the San Diego Chargers. He gives the defensive line and secondary a failing grade(F), but on the positive side Felger grades the Pats special teams play with a B-.
Even with so many injuries plaging the Patriots, players are still showing their "Patriot" pride by not making excuses for poor play and are not looking for anyones pity writes Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. "I don't really care who says it. There's no room for you to sit back and say, 'OK, just because this guy's hurt, or that guy's hurt, you can't perform at a high level.' Or, 'we can't win games,' " Colvin said. "If (Schottenheimer) wants to use that as a reason for why he may not have won, or he may not win in the future . . . I don't think that's something we're looking for around here. If you're in there playing, then you need to play, and you need to play at a high level, regardless if it's on special teams or offense or defense." Michael Parente of the* Pawtucket Times* also offers a similar report.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick is expected to play after an MRI on his injured knee revealed only a sprain. With Vick most likely in the mix, he will present a most formidable problem for the Patriots defense. However, it's not clear how the sprained knee will impact his ability to run. "He presents a lot of problems," linebacker Monty Beisel said of Vick, who sprained his right knee after being hit by a Vikings defender. "He's definitely a big part of the running game. You don't want to leave too much room for him to run, but at the same time, you've got to realize there's a lot of other guys in the field to cover and take care of. "
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots are finding it difficult to explain the problems with their running game. So difficult, that running back Corey Dillon said he doesn't plan to talk to the media the rest of the season.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that most of the Patriots running game woes can be pointed to the poor run blocking on the offensive line. Is it a lack of ability, fundamentals, good calls by the defense? "It's a combination of things, not just on those plays, but if you go back to other plays this year, it's a combination of things," said Belichick. "Some plays are better than others. Some plays aren't very good against a particular look that they were run against in that situation. Sometimes we missed blocks. Sometimes we missed an assignment and didn't block a guy that we should have blocked. It can come in different forms. You try to eliminate all of those that you can."
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that the new England ground attack continues to be a cause for concern. Though the running game improved against the Chargers, the Patriots were well short of a 100 yard game finishing with a mear 73 yards. So far this season, Corey Dillon has 73 carries this season with 20 that have gone for no gain or negative yardage. He's been stopped for losses nine times, which ties him with Seattle's Shaun Alexander for ninth-worst in the league in that category. "There were plenty of positive plays out there in the running game, but any time you have a negative play in the running game, that's like getting a penalty," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said yesterday. "They're hard to overcome. They're drive-stoppers."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.