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Patriots Playbook Wed May 31 | 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM News Blitz - 11/3/2006

In today's News Blitz... The debate over who's the better quarterback, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady heats up in the press.

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaugnessy reports on the rivalry between the Patriots and the Colts, but not among players. Shaugnessy recaps disputes between Colts president Bill Polian and a number of people around the league, and talks Polian's history with the Patriots. Both teams have packed their injury reports with one-third of their rosters, as well.

Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe reports from Indianapolis on the Colts running game. They no longer have Edgerrin James, who's moved on the Arizona, but they still have some horsepower in the backfield. This season, rookie Joseph Addai, a first-rounder from LSU, and undrafted veteran Dominic Rhodes are splitting carries for the Colts. The duo has gotten the job done in James' stead. "It's like every offense, man. If you can't run the football, it's going to be tough to throw," Colts center Jeff Saturday said.

Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports that the Patriots rookie running back, Laurence Maroney enters the Pats-Colts showdown as the league's leading kick returner, averaging 30.4 yards per return. Also included is a story on the Colts effective no-huddle offense. Pats linebacker Junior Seau predicted that the Colts won't huddle during the whole game. Indy's quarterback, Peyton Manning is known for taking his time reading the defense and barking adjustments before the snap.

Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal reports on the Colts no-huddle offense, focusing on Manning's undecipherable adjustments at the line of scrimmage. "It's not a rushed no-huddle like the Jets ran on us the first time we played them," said safety Rodney Harrison. "It's more controlled. [Manning's] going to take his time, he's going to look over the defense, he's going to call out his checks, he's going to make his pass alerts."

The Boston Herald's John Tomase reports on the friendship shared between quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. "We've been together quite a bit the last few years," Brady said. "He's a good guy and a fun guy to hang around with, and he's obviously a great player. We hang out quite a bit." Brady's father also weighs in on the friendship. "They're both competitors, and they've both shared the same journey," said Brady's father, Tom Sr. "While they compete on the field, in many ways, they're like soul brothers off it."

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald explains that Pats rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski is still untested in a high pressure situation. No team in the NFL this season has attempted fewer field goals than the Pats. Among active kickers, Gostkowski is the only one without a field goal of longer than 35 yards.

Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe offers a feature on linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, who had perhaps the best game of his career against Minnesota last weekend. What had him so amped for the game? Banta-Cains first child, a boy - Tavian - was born right before the game. In addition to being upgraded to the Pats third-down package from his usual backup role, Banta-Cain recorded 2.5 sacks.

Boston Herald columnist Tony Massarotti reports on the birth of Banta-Cain's son. Banta-Cain received a photo of his new son via his cell phone just before taking the field to warm up on Monday night in Minnesota.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald takes a quick look at a number of subplots underscoring the rivalry between the Patriots and the Colts, including "Brady vs. Manning," "Belichick vs. Polian" and "Laurence Maroney vs. Joseph Addai."

The* Boston Herald's* Patriots Notebook includes a feature on Pats safety Artrell Hawkins, who was without a team and rehabbing a hamstring injury when Indy stomped the Pats, 40-21, a year ago. Also included is a short piece on Brady, who was named the FedEx Air Player of the Week for his 371-yard, four touchdown game against the Vikings.

Michael Salfino of the Boston Herald reports on the Brady vs. Manning matchup, noting that both quarterbacks are coming off dominating road performances against highly ranked defenses.

The Providence Journal's Jim Donaldson reports that this Sunday's Colts-Pats matchup is the best showcase scenario possible at this point in the season. He recaps the rivalry.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant reports that the only starting member of the Patriots secondary healthy enough to play the Colts last season was Asante Samuel. The Pats have a much healthier team this season.

Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that the Patriots strong running game is favorably matched against a Colts defense that's dead last in the league. The Pats faced the best run defense in the NFL last week.

Ron Hobson of The Patriot Ledger reports on kicker Adam Vinatieri's return to Gillette Stadium as a member of the Colts. Vinatieri is expected to receive a warm welcome prior to the game, though Hobson reports that Vinatieri's relationship with coach Belichick has deteriorated a bit.

Eric McHugh of The Patriot Ledger takes a look at the Pats last meeting with the Colts. Peyton Manning had never won in New England until last season.

Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle offers a feature on Richard Seymour, who is eager to get after Manning and the Colts.

Hector Longo of The Eagle-Tribune reports on similarities and differences between Manning and Brady. Longo compares the quarterbacks' resumes, but the debate between who's better rages on.

Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call reports on the Pats style of game-planning, suggesting that the Pats will likely try to pound the ball down the field against the league's worst rushing defense.

Don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant on the Patriots, which was updated recently.

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