Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that tight end Benjamin Watson has turned some heads with the only thing most recognize -- numbers. He has 13 receptions in the last four games (at least three catches in each), compared with just eight catches in the first seven games. Watson has cranked it up, but that does not mean the tight end had been coasting, teammate and fellow tight end Daniel Graham says."Receptions are just the things people see," Graham said. ''They make judgments on whether you're good or bad, based on whether you make catches. There's more to it than that when you play tight end. We block and we catch, contributing in both aspects of the game." Tom Curran of the Providence Journal also offers a similar article on Watson.
Jerome Solomon and Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe pose the question - Is Matt Light done for the season? A source close to Matt Light said it is unlikely the starting left tackle will return this season. Light broke his right fibula when teammate Dan Koppen fell on it in a game against Pittsburgh Sept. 25. Rehabilitation was going well, and Light had hoped to be back at practice this week or next, but his leg needed to be drained last week, the source said, because of ''blood pooling." The source said Light has no infection and the bone is healing as expected, but the draining could cause a delay that might end Light's season.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald offers a story on Jets running back Curtis Martin. Tomase writes that by the end of next season, Curtis Martin will have spent three times as many seasons with the New York Jets as the Patriots. But even though his New England career ended eight years ago after just three seasons, Martin is still strongly associated with the team that selected him from Pitt in the third round of the 1995 draft. Martin will play against the Pats for the 15th time Sunday, when the Jets arrive at Gillette Stadium for the teams' first meeting of the season. They're one of four teams he has rushed for more than 1,000 yards against — Miami, Indianapolis and Buffalo are the others — and his former teammates know what they'll be up against. "He had so many great games here," said kicker Adam Vinatieri, one of four Pats who played with Martin. "You could make an hour-long highlight film of the things he did here."
Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald offers a story on Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi. Bruschi now has played five games since making a miraculous return to the Patriots, and his play has been, in a word, decent. Bruschi is getting better week by week, according to the player and his coach, but it might still be some time before we see the Bruschi of old. At some point, beyond the hype and drama of Bruschi's incredible story, that is the understandable end result. He needs time. "He's getting better every week," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said yesterday. "When you go through training camp, you usually have in the neighborhood of 40 practices, not counting walk-throughs and stuff like that. . . . During the season, it's really 2 1/2 (a week). It's Wednesday and Thursday. "You take a guy in the regular season, let's say he plays for five weeks, like Bruschi has. That's 10, 13, 14 practices. That's a third of training camp. It's just not the same. You have some games in there, too, and that's good experience, but it's just not the same as having 30, 35 training camp practices. When you allocate that kind of time during the regular season, it just takes longer. "
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that wide receiver David Givens practiced for the second straight day yesterday. Givens was in the midst of a career season before being injured against the Colts on Nov. 7. In eight games, he caught 42 passes for 477 yards, appearing to be well on his way to shattering last year's career highs in receptions (56) and yards (874). "It's always good to have him out there," said head coach Bill Belichick. "You like to have all of your players out there every week. David was very productive when he was in there." Tom Curran of the Providence Journal also offers a similar report on Givens.
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant offers a story on rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Greenberg writes that the humbling life of a rookie cornerback resumed against the Chiefs, when Hobbs complained to an official about a 12-yard pass interference penalty against him on one play, then was badly beaten by Dante Hall on a 52-yard touchdown pass the next. That play propelled the Chiefs into a 26-3 lead with 10:28 left in the third quarter. That play made the Patriots' comeback chances almost impossible, and they lost 26-16, falling to 6-5 entering Sunday's home game against the last-place Jets.
Chris Kennedy of The Republican writes that Tedy Bruschi played less last weekend in Kansas City than he had in previous weeks, something that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said was a product of how the rotation at inside linebacker worked. Belichick, of course, would never say whether things will remain the same Sunday against the New York Jets or beyond. Bruschi has certainly not been the playmaker he has been in past seasons, but Belichick indicated yesterday he felt the linebacker's progress was good considering that he joined the team in Week 7 of the regular season.
Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger writes that Ty Law will face-off against his old team for the first time this Sunday when the Patriots take on the Jets. The game within the game (Brady vs. Law) will start as soon as the Patriots get the ball on offense for the first time. That alone could be worth the price of admission. ''If there is anyone who knows what Ty is capable of it's me,'' Brady said. ''He is a terrific player and he's a great teammate and he has really proven to be the best in the league for many years. Unfortunately, I have to play him now. That was never the case, but I am looking forward to it.''
Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe takes a look that this weeks games and offers his picks.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.