John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that minus defensive leaders Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour the Patriots have lost their swagger. They've yet to hold an opponent below 20 points through six games, and their past three foes have scored at least 28 points. The Patriots teams of the past few years brought an intimidation factor that seems to be lacking this season. "It's not like it used to be," cornerback Asante Samuel said. "Teams don't fear us."
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald reports that cornerback Tyrone Poole was seen in the locker room yesterday sporting a hard cast on his right ankle. Belichick said last night that Poole hasn't necessarily suffered a setback, but has been one of those players who has been "unable to get over the hump." Belichick said the casting of the ankle was done during the bye week because it was an opportunity for the injury to "quiet down." He said it represented the quickest way to get Poole back on the field.
Tedy Bruschi participated in his second day of practice reports Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The two team practices that Bruschi has participated in have been non-contact. Belichick was asked if he was concerned about getting Bruschi into enough contact situations before making the decision to activate him. "We'll do what we need to do. We're trying to balance a couple of things. One is the team, and the other is some individual players,'' he said. "A lot of individual players are in different categories, Bruschi being one, and there are others. We'll do what we think is best for the team, best for the individual players, and try to balance all those things together to the best of our ability. That's a normal situation. It's not anything new. It's like every week."
Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal writes that Bill Belichick had positive things to say about the play of safety Arturo Freeman in his first game as a Patriot. "For the short amount of time he was here he worked hard and picked up things pretty well, assignments and all that," he said. "It's tough to bring a guy in here off the street who's not familiar with your system and then put him in the game for a significant amount of plays. To his credit, I thought he was competitive."
JIm Lazar of the Boston Herald previews all of this weeks NFL matchups.
Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal writes that Patriots players will have this weekend off with no practice or meetings scheduled. For many players it's a chance to return home. Defensive lineman Jarvis Green plans to return to his native Louisiana for the first time since Hurricane Katrina razed New Orleans' 9th Ward, where many of his family members lived.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.