Michael Vega of The Boston Globe leads off with a feature on wide receiver turned defensive back Troy Brown. Brown has done it all for the Patriots this year, catching 15 balls as a wideout, returning nine punts for the special teams unit, and making a team-leading three interceptions in the defensive backfield. There are very few players in the NFL who can do what Brown is doing and, as Vega points out, he is one to treasure.
In his Patriots Insider, Michael Felger of The Boston Herald discusses Rodney Harrison's perennial snub from the Pro Bowl. Felger suggests Harrison, who has made only two Pro Bowls in his stellar 11-year career, is often left off the Pro Bowl roster because other players don't vote for him. The players who leave Harrison off their ballots are likely the offensive players that Harrison has made his name brutalizing week after week.
Jim Donaldson of The Providence Journal attempts to tackle two topics at once, likening the dual distractions of Charlie Weis' acceptance of the Notre Dame job and Pedro Martinez' departure to the New York Mets to the double-duty that awaits Weis as he finishes the season with the Pats.
Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News reports the signing of defensive lineman Rodney Bailey to a contract extension. Bailey, 24, has spent the season on injured reserve after being injured in training camp, but represents an integral part of the Pats young nucleus of D-linemen. With Bailey, Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and Marquise Hill all 25 years old or younger, and all signed through at least 2006, the Patriots have an unusual combination of youth and depth at a position that favors both qualities.
Aaron Nicodemus of The Standard Times recounts a youthful thrill, as Pats running back Corey Dillon visited a middle school in New Bedford yesterday. Dillon addressed the seventh grade class, and signed autographs for everyone after receiving a very warm welcome.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call reports from the Pats locker room that Weis' new duties for the Irish do not look like they will be a distraction for the players. After all, as Parente points out, there is almost nothing that can distract this team. The Patriots have a remarkable ability to calmly handle any difficulty that crosses the team's path.
ESPN.com has its weekly Power Rankings out, and after one week at the top, the Patriots have slipped back behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, with whom they race for home-field advantage.
Pete Prisco and Clark Judge, of CBS.Sportsline.com, debate the Weis hiring, and whether it will be a distraction for the Patriots. Prisco also provides his Power Rankings, in which the Pats are number two.