Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe leads off with Matt Light's contract extension. People around the Patriots organization are happy to see a player of Light's caliber take arguably less money than he would have received on the open market to stay with the Super Bowl champions. "He's not into big cities and big settings," Cafardo writes of Light. "He likes barbecued food, telling a few jokes, and trading barbs with Tom Brady and his fellow offensive linemen. He believes in a good day's work for fair pay."
Cafardo also points out that this week's transactions by the team- Shawn Mayer's release and the signings of Kevin Chapman and Je'Rod Cherry- share an obvious theme. "All signs point to plenty of emphasis on special teams this week in Patriotland after a shoddy performance against the Bills last Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y," writes Cafardo.
Jackie MacMullen of the Globe intertwines the town's two most popular teams in devising a way to keep the Red Sox from getting ahead of their 2-0 series lead against the Anaheim Angels in the ALDS. "There's only one surefire way to keep the resurgent Boston Red Sox from jumping to that same conclusion [that the series is over] as they head back to Boston with a 2-0 first-round division series lead over the Anaheim Angels: Get Bill Belichick in here," writes MacMullen.
In The Boston Herald, Michael Felger examines the pattern of players signing for less to stay in New England, pointing particularly to Light and special teams captain Larry Izzo, who signed a two-year contract extension yesterday. "Both followed the lead of several teammates who decided that playing for a championship organization was more valuable than a higher number on their contract," writes Felger.
In his notebook, Felger rehashes last year's back-and-forth between Rodney Harrison and Miami tight end Randy McMichael, and also updates the Pats injury situation.
In The Providence Journal, Tom Curranwrites that the Patriots and Dolphins are two teams headed in opposite directions. "It's an interesting juxtaposition. During all the seasons of disarray in New England, the Patriots were an object of bemusement to the self-important Fins," writes Curran. "Now that the Patriots are the reigning kings of the NFL, the Dolphins are experiencing a taste of disarray."
Curran details the string of bad moves and bad luck that have struck the Dolphins since the end of last season, contributing to their downfall.
Curran's notebook features Light, Zack Thomas' views on the Patriots, the smoldering Ricky Williams debacle, and an award for Tedy Bruschi.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant spotlights the Patriots elder statesman, linebacker Roman Phifer, who, at 36, is still leading by example. "To Belichick, Phifer is a prideful, hardworking, versatile player with an easygoing personality who leads by example as well as words," writes Greenberg. "As befits a guy who never needs to be the center of attention, Phifer dresses in the corner nearest the door to the Patriots dressing room, but he's rarely there when the media enters, more often pumping iron in the weight room."
The Courant also runs an AP article reporting that two Buffalo Bills players, Jonas Jennings and Chris Villarrial have accused Patriots rookie Vince Wilfork of taking cheap shots at them during last Sunday's game.
In the wake of Light's and Izzo's contract extensions, Reiss hypothesizes which players might be next to re-up.
Reiss also spotlights Patriots high school coach of the week, Bill Maver of Acton-Boxboro, whose team set a state record with its 41st consecutive win last weekend.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call looks into the special teams situation, asserting: "the Patriots always stress the importance of getting younger and faster on defense, but by keeping players such as rookie safetyDexter Reid, running back Rabih Abdullah, and linebackers Dan Klecko and Tully Banta-Cain, theyâ??ve become inexperienced on special teams."
Parente's notebook includes Light's extension, injuries to both the Patriots and Dolphins, and a familiar end to Adrian Klemm's season.