Michael Vega of The Boston Globe leads off with a feature on Tedy Bruschi. Bruschi is the ideal Patriots player, valuing winning over money, and making big play after big play. "In his ninth year with the Patriots, Tedy Bruschi has continued to defy description. Is he a defensive lineman in a linebacker's body? Or is he a linebacker with a defensive lineman's demeanor?" muses Vega.
Also in the Globe, Nick Cafardoreports that the Patriots signed left tackle Matt Light to a potentially lucrative six-year contract extension. "Light, 26, surely would have received a bigger contract if he had hit free agency, but the 2001 second-round draft choice out of Purdue had already indicated his desire to stay in New England," writes Cafardo.
Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News also reports on the Light signing, explaining, "it's likely the negotiations picked up after the team cleared salary cap space early last month by shuffling the numbers of quarterback Tom Brady's contract. Prior to that, the Patriots didn't have the cap space to accommodate a new deal for Light."
Steve Conroy of the Herald speaks with former Dolphin, and the newest Patriot, tight end Jed Weaver, about why the Dolphins are unable to put together a playoff team despite its vaunted defense. "Weaver believes the revolving door of players is what has made it difficult for the Dolphins offense to match the highly touted effectiveness of Miami's defense," writes Conroy.
Jim Donaldsonof The Providence Journal reports on yesterday's media conference call with former Dolphins coach Don Shula, who led the 1972 Dolphins to an undefeated season. "Don Shula is very quick to say that the New England Patriots are a pretty darn good football team -- without question, in his mind, the best in the National Football League," writes Donaldson. "But he also points out that they're not perfect."
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant also reports on Shula's views. "Shula, an NFL head coach for 33 years (1963-69 Baltimore Colts, 1970-95 Dolphins), didn't hesitate when asked if the Patriots can go unbeaten," writes Greenberg. "'They've got a real shot at it,' he said. 'They are a legitimate threat to do it.'"
Chris Kennedy of The Republican notes that Shula's admission of the Patriots ability to go undefeated does not exactly jive with coach Bill Belichick's one-game-at-a-time philosophy. "Think Bill Belichick will be thrilled when he hears the old coach has started the unbeaten season rhetoric less than a month into the season?"
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call looks ahead to this Sunday's game with the dismal Dolphins, whose season was arguably crippled most by the loss of Pro-Bowl running back Ricky Williams. "Since then, things have gone from bad to worse, and the Dolphins are curled up in the fetal position as they prepare to play the undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium," writes Parente.
Jonathan Comey of The Standard Times has crafted an entertaining what-if scenario, hypothesizing the progress of the Patriots and Tom Brady under the pretense that Drew Bledsoe ducked out of bounds before being hit by Mo Lewis in the fall of 2001. "A world where Drew Bledsoe would still be quarterbacking the New England Patriots isn't that far from being a reality," writes Comey.
Duane Cross of SportsIllustrated.com takes on the topic of the winning streak, and where it will stand in history should the Patriots win again on Sunday. "On Sunday, the Patriots deserve all the accolades and kudos that come with winning 19 consecutive games," writes Cross. "After that, it'll be a footnote in history unless New England wins out."