Today begins a long journey as the Patriots prepare to tackle a 10-day odyssey to the West Coast, where they'll play San Francisco and San Diego in back-to-back weeks.
The *Boston Globe *checks in with Arizona general manager Rod Graves, who helped put together his team's recent trip to the East Coast in which the Cardinals lost consecutive games to the Redskins and Jets.
“Without sufficient planning, a trip like that can turn into a logistical nightmare,” Graves told the Globe.
The *Boston Herald *takes a look at Bill Belichick's passion for breaking down game film, citing an exhibit at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon in which the coach opens up his playbook and allows fans to take a peek at what goes through his mind on game days.
“When you talk football, that’s his deal,” safety Rodney Harrisontold the Herald.
On the field, Matt Casselis looking to bounce back from a tough loss to Miami and hopefully get Randy Mossmore involved in the passing game.
“We’re continuing to grow and continuing to build and get better,” Cassel told the Herald.
Although the New Orleans Saints hit on a number of big plays in their victory over San Francisco last week, Cassel vows not to force the issue and instead take what the defense gives him.
“While [Saints quarterback Drew Brees] hit a bunch of long passes, that doesn't mean we are going to,” Cassel told the New Bedford Standard Times.
One of the reasons they need to be careful is because San Francisco has a talented secondary capable of disrupting the Patriots' passing game.
“We’ve got our work cut out,” wide receiver Jabar Gaffneytold the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
The *MetroWest Daily News *also looks at the 49ers secondary, pointing out their starters have combined to play 38 NFL seasons.
“It's a pretty veteran group they have,” Belichick told the Daily News.
As for stopping San Francisco's offense, the Patriots will focus on tight end Vernon Davis, who may present problems for New England's secondary.
“He’s a tough guy to match up against,” Belichick told the Providence Journal.
The *Journal *also takes a look at two of the young linebackers who'll be on the field Sunday – New England's Jerod Mayoand San Francisco's Patrick Willis, who are comparable in many ways.
“They are both athletic for that position,” Belichick told the Journal.
Out West, the 49ers are also trying to get their quarterback back on track after J.T. O'Sullivan struggled in last week's loss to New Orleans.
“I felt like we moved the ball, but to have a chance to win against a good team, you've got to score touchdowns and you can't turn the ball over,” O'Sullivan told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The *San Jose Mercury News *takes a look at 49ers rookie defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer, who is one of only eight first-round picks from 2008 yet to start a game.
“When your number is called, you just want to go out there and help your team win,” Balmer told the Mercury News.