Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe offers a feature on cornerback Ellis Hobbs. "He was a little guy, but he was always a leader," said Hobbs' high school track and football coach. "I remember he was on the track team and he was a sophomore and Tatum Bell, who is now with the Denver Broncos, was a senior or a junior and he didn't want Ellis to run on the relay. Ellis had to throw down the gloves and say, 'C'mon.' He's always been a great example and leader."
John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports on Corey Dillon, who's reportedly content to split carries with rookie Laurence Maroney, though Dillon hasn't addressed the media lately. "We're around this man every day," fullback Heath Evans said. "I know there are times he gets frustrated as heck when a particular play in the running game might not be as productive as he wants it to be, but he has not said one word to a player or a coach, even a mumble or a grumble, about being unhappy with his role."
Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe takes a look the Pats losses and major wins. After New England lost to Denver and Indy, Ryan puts them in the same category as "the Chargers, Ravens, and lately, Chiefs (if you want to include the Jaguars, I won't stop you). You know, the next tier." He also previews the Jets game.
Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald reports on Chad Jackson, who's had seven receptions in eight games. Belichick spoke yesterday about his lack of expectations from young players. "You can't put a timetable on young players," said the coach. "You just can't do it. A lot of it is based on opportunity, and a lot of it is based on their progression, and there's no set formula for any player at any position on any team."
The Boston Globe's Patriots Notebook offers coach Belichick's thoughts on Chad Jackson. Also included are short pieces on Patrick Pass, Nick Kaczur and Reche Caldwell.
The Boston Herald's Patriots Notebook offers a story on Patrick Pass, who is still on the PUP list. However, he returned to practice this week, giving the Patriots 21 days to take him off PUP. Also included is a story on Reche Caldwell.
The Providence Journal's Shalise Manza Young offers a feature on Pass, who has 49 special-teams tackles in his career. The Patriots backfield is a bit crowded in Foxboro right now, so if Pass is activated he'll likely see most of his time as a special-teams player.
The Boston Herald offers an *Associated Press* piece on the Jets defense. Mangini said yesterday that the Men in Green need be more consistent with tackling.
Michael Salfino of the Boston Herald reports on the correlation between a team's three-and-out percentage and its relative success in the league. The Pats, 30th in dispatching opposing offenses most quickly, are a sort of outlier in this analysis, allowing a paltry 14 points per game.
Hartford Courant writer Alan Greenberg offers a story on Tom Brady's ability to bounce back from tough games. He has started 86 regular season games and 11 postseason games. In 50 of those 97 games, he did not throw an interception. In five of those games, however, he threw his career-high four interceptions. One of those five games was last week against the Colts, but he's never followed up a four-interception game with a single interception in the next game.
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that many NFL teams strive to have a balanced offense. The Patriots prefer an offense that keeps teams off balance. The Pats like to strategize their offensive attacks in hopes of isolating weaknesses.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette's Rich Garven explains that Reche Caldwell has been playing the role of Jets multi-man Brad Smith on scout team. Smith was a quarterback in college, but has made starts at running back and receiver in addition to filling special teams roles. Caldwell was a quarterback in high school.
The Patriot Ledger's Eric McHugh offers a feature on Chad Scott, who will likely be taking over the strong safety position this weekend with Rodney Harrison out. Scott filled in for Harrison last weekend against the Colts, grabbing his second interception in as many weeks.
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News reports on lineman Nick Kaczur, who played last week after nursing a shoulder injury through training camp and into the season. "I know it's been frustrating for Nick and for us," coach Belichick said. "He was out for a while, then he came back and he was out, and he was kind of back and forth there."
Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle reports on Chad Pennington and the Jets. They're hoping to improve their 4-4 record this weekend under new head coach Eric Mangini, rather than falling below .500. "I have enjoyed playing under Eric, I really have," Pennington said. "He has taught me a lot of situational football and really shed some light as far as understanding defenses better and how people want to attack you and those types of things."
Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call reports that the Patriots are concerned about the Jets big-play ability. They had two lengthy passes in the second half of their last meeting. "They have those in every game," Belichick said Thursday. "You can go right down the line. Those plays show up in every game. That's who they are. They have an explosive group of players in all three phases of the game."