Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports on the Patriots depleted secondary, one that will be without its two starting cornerbacks this Sunday in St. Louis. "Tyrone Poole, who revealed yesterday he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee three weeks ago, said he will be on the sideline, along with Ty Law, when the Patriots face the St. Louis," writes Cafardo.
In his notebook, Cafardo says to expect a shootout with the Rams, a team known for its high-powered offense and average-at-best defense. "With or without running back Corey Dillon, Tom Brady will have to be ready for a barnburner Sunday against the high-powered St. Louis Rams," writes Cafardo. "That means the Patriots' quarterback likely will have to take some risks down the field."
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald is surprised with the team's forthright demeanor in addressing the injuries to Law and Poole, an approach that is not usually in the team's playbook. "For a team that strives so hard to conceal its lineup, it's remarkable how clear the Patriots have made their intentions to the Rams. After all, Poole was listed as questionable on the injury report the last two weeks and could very well have been again this week. Instead, he's out," Felger writes.
In his notebook, Felger tackles the history between Bill Belichick and Rams coach Mike Martz, the addition of David Givens to the injury report, and the progress of Poole.
In The Providence Journal, Tom Curran previews the game, which is sure to be a thriller, regardless of the outcome. "It's the first meeting between the teams since Super Bowl 36, which was a pretty exciting game," writes Curran. "And Bill Belichick and Mike Martz are simply the best in the business on their respective sides of the ball."
In his notebook, Curran assesses the secondary as well as the Patriots chances this weekend. "The notion is out there that the Patriots are currently cooked," writes Curran. "There's some basis for that because of the way Sunday's game against Pittsburgh went without Poole, Law, running back Corey Dillon and both offensive tackles." Curran also peruses the injury report and points out some connections between the Rams and Pats.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call reviews the Patriots possible next moves, and also indicates the Rams are not taking the Patriots defense as lightly as many in this area seem to be. "Anyone looking for a bright side should listen to Rams quarterback Marc Bulger," writes Parente. "Believe it or not, the Rams aren't salivating at the thought of attacking Randall Gay and Asante Samuel. They have too much respect for Belichick and New England's defense."
Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News previews the game, noting the Patriots have just as good a chance as the Rams to put up serious offensive numbers. "Yes, the Rams' offense is explosive, but don't forget that the St. Louis defense is equally as volatile in the self-destruction department. It gave up 160 yards and three touchdowns on three plays in the loss to the Dolphins," writes Reiss. "That's why the New England offense has the chance to be the "Greatest Show on Turf" this Sunday."
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant also covers the holes in the secondary and examines some of the adjustments that can, and will, be made. "One thing seems clear: The Patriots will be forced to revisit their brief training camp experiment and use 33-year-old receiver Troy Brown, who has just recovered from a shoulder injury, as an extra defensive back in obvious passing situations," writes Greenberg. "Given that the Rams like to throw the ball anytime, anywhere, and the Patriots are crippled at cornerback, won't everything Sunday be an obvious passing situation?"
Mike Lowe of The Portland Press Herald is aware of the difficulties plaguing the Patriots, but points out Belichick does not seem overly concerned. "When you hear the head coach speak, when you enter the locker room, you hear no hint of concern, no trepidation of the task ahead," writes Lowe. "In other words, the New England Patriots are treating Sunday's game against the Rams just like any other game. What else would you expect?"