Tedy Bruschi spoke with the media yesterday during a press conference at Gillette Stadium. Bruschi made it official that he intends to start practicing this week for the first time since suffering a stroke eight months ago. "It's been a long way back and here I am," the Pats' linebacker declared yesterday. "I totally anticipate practicing Wednesday. I want to help the team in any way I can." He elaborated on how difficult the process was during the road to recovery. "It was a traumatic experience. It's a long road back," Bruschi said "So I'm not going to jump back unless I'm 100-percent positive I'm ready. And I am." Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, Mike Shalin of the Boston Globe, Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal and Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald report on Bruschi.
Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald writes that when it came to Tedy Bruschi's return to football, New England fans are in two camps. Fans either wanted him to return if he was able to play or they wanted him to remain on the sideline as the risk of further injury was perceived as life threatening. "I'd just say thank you, because it's obvious that they care for me, and they're just worried about me. I can't express to them enough how we've had the same concerns. We've had the same questions – myself, (my wife) Heidi – we've gone through everything. That's why we've seen so many people." Bruschi said Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave him this advice: "Measure nine times and cut once. He's told me this throughout this process. We've measured a lot of times. . . . We've made sure. We checked and checked and checked . . . So I would hope that would help (people) realize that I have been cleared to play."
Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald also offers a story on Tedy Bruschi's decision to return to football. Bruschi cited his love of the game of football as a reason for returning. "I think I just miss the game of football,'' Bruschi said. "It's what I do, I play football. I'm a football player. There are meetings and practices and training sessions that you have to go through, but playing football and being part of the team, this New England Patriot team, is something that I feel special about. The game. The game is what I missed.''
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the play of the Patriots defense this season has been consistantly substandard. New England (3-3) has surrendered pass plays of 85, 73, 53, 49, and 28 yards in its three wins. In the losses, defensive backs have been seen chasing receivers on plays of 72, 55, 41, and 38 yards. The Patriots are 30th in the league in yards allowed per pass play (not including last night's Indianapolis-St. Louis game). "Anytime that things don't go right, it's a certain degree of disappointment," Belichick said. "In my case, not necessarily with any one individual, just collectively and with myself and the coaching staff and the team, that collectively we weren't able to do it better than what we did. The expectation is that it will be better and it should be better, but it wasn't, so that brings with it disappointment."
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers his Patriots report card. Felger writes that the Patriots quarterback, running back and special teams get high grades, virtually all of the other aspects of the team get a below average(D) or failing grade(F).
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News writes that the Pats have developed a maddeningly uneven pattern - win one game, lose one game, repeat - in which they're great one minute and horrific the next. "If I could tell you what the switch was on that, I'd go over and flip it and that would take care of it,'' Belichick said. "But that's certainly not the way we want to play."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that the next 12 days will determine the direction of the Patriots season. Despite the brutal nature of the Patriots' early schedule, their bye comes at the perfect juncture. They've played 10 games (four preseason and six regular season) and have 10 left (at least). The Patriots will use this time to heal, work on fundamentals and evaluate the performance of their players.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.