Ron Borges of The Boston Globe leads off with a look at Ty Law, who tied Raymond Clayborn's franchise record last Sunday with his 36th career interception. "Clayborn needed 13 years (1977-89) to establish the mark Law tied in his 10th season and Law made clear that being at the top of that list is meaningful," writes Borges.
Borges also features Randall Gay, the undrafted rookie from LSU who, one day, may become Law's successor here in New England. "He has played in every game on special teams and as a dime defensive back, and made his first interception against the Dolphins' Jay Fiedler Oct. 10," writes Borges.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald looks ahead to this weekend's game with the Jets, and asserts the Patriots are wary of New York quarterback Chad Pennington. "More than the downfield game, the Pats know that keeping the mobile Pennington contained in the pocket and disrupting the timing of the West Coast offense near the line of scrimmage is the key," writes Felger.
In his notebook, Felger quotes some of the Jets regarding the Patriots. He also updates Law's pursuit of history, the injury report for the week, and the progress of the players on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.
The Providence Journal reports on Patriots owner Robert Kraft'svisit to Roger Williams College, where he addressed the Barrington, Rhode Island high school football team. "Throughout his brief presentation, the Patriots' owner used the words "team" and "teamwork" too many times to count," writes Steve Peoples. "He lauded the Patriots' efforts last year, which ultimately led to a Super Bowl victory -- the second in three years -- despite suffering injuries to several key starting players."
Tom Curran of the Journal points out coach Bill Belichick's habit of giving Patriots opponents all the available credit in the world. "For most of this season, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been pointing at Pintos and calling them Porsches," writes Curran. "Arizona, Buffalo, Miami . . . the Patriots have played and buried every pitiful one of them despite Belichick's protestations that they were really powerhouses playing possum until they got their crack at the Pats."
In his notebook, Curran puts this weekend's game into perspective historically. "Oct. 28, 1973 was the last time a pair of NFL teams with records of 5-0 or better met. That day, the 6-0 Vikings beat the 5-0 Rams, 10-9," writes Curran. Curran also looks at Law, the injuries, and the Patriots league-high sack differential.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant looks at the recent rivalry between the Patriots and Jets, as they stole Curtis Martin and Bill Parcells from New England before the Patriots wooed Belichick out of New York.
In The Woonsocket Call, Michael Parente spotlights the play of Gay, who under Nick Saban at LSU, played in a system closely related to Belichick's. "Gay impressed the Patriots coaching staff with his speed and fundamentals during training camp, so they kept him over veteran Terrell Buckley, who got released and eventually signed with the Jets," writes Parente.
Parente also features Jets running back Curtis Martin, who, at 31, is running surprisingly well for his age. "Last season, right around this time of year, the Jets were coming to town and the talk around the NFL was that Curtis Martin was finished," writes Parente.
Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News reports a potentially costly injury on the Patriots offensive line. "Tom Ashworth, an unheralded, consistent performer at right tackle who rarely makes mistakes, was sidelined due to back pain and is listed as questionable (50-50) for Sunday's game against the Jets," Reiss reports. "The 6-foot-6, 305-pound third-year pro started all five games this season after missing the beginning of training camp due to his back."
Reiss also checks in on Tyrone Poole'shealth, mapping out the Patriots contingency plan should Poole be unavailable. "If Poole can't go, second-year player Asante Samuel would likely earn the start, only the third of his career. Rookie free agent Randall Gay would also assume more responsibility. That's what happened against Miami two weeks ago, when Poole was inactive due to the knee, and the Patriots didn't break stride," writes Reiss.
The Cape Cod Times runs a Howard Ulmanfeature on defensive end-turned-linebacker Willie McGinest. "In his 11th NFL season, all with the New England Patriots, he still makes big plays on a team that won its last 20 games," writes Ulman.
On SI.com, Frank Deford writes about Belichick and his model for a successful franchise. "And just as crucial, Belichick has developed a system to deal with the bureaucratic intricacies of the business of football today, where the salary cap and free agency force complicated decisions on all franchises," writes Deford.