Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe features Browns interim head coach, Terry Robiskie, who hopes to get off to a good start this weekend hosting the defending champions. "Robiskie would like to do what Joe Morgan did for the 1988 Red Sox: rattle off a bunch of wins and shed his interim coach label with the Cleveland Browns," writes Cafardo.
In his notebook, Cafardo reports on yesterday's conference call with Browns kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson expressed his admiration for Pats booter Adam Vinatieri, from whom Dawson says he has learned a great deal.
Frank Dell'Apa of the Globe details a potential venture for the Kraft family, who are reportedly looking into purchasing a share of the British soccer club, Liverpool. "Liverpool FC, founded in 1892, is among the most storied of English clubs, but has declined since the 1980s, struggling to match standards set in the pre-Premiership years and to overcome major stadium tragedies," Dell'Apa reports.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald goes inside the numbers, and provides some staggering statistics in regards to the Patriots second-half defense. The defense, which Felger asserts wears teams down by the second half, has allowed an average of 5.7 points per game in the second half. "Here are some others: The Pats have given up just six second-half offensive touchdowns, and have outscored teams by a collective 125-63 in the second half, basically doubling the output of the opponent on a weekly basis. They have been outscored in the final 30 minutes just once, 14-10, by Seattle Oct. 17," writes Felger.
Felger also checks in alongthe offensive line, where he maintains the players are worthy or more than the average reviews they have received from coach Bill Belichick. "The Patriots have given up just 19 sacks, which ranks sixth in the NFL. They are 12th in the league in rushing. The Pats are just one of seven teams with a 1,000-yard rusher (Corey Dillon, 1,121)," writes Felger.
Rich Thompson of the Herald looks at linebacker-safety extraordinaire Don Davis, who has given a big lift to the depleted secondary by playing at the safety position.
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal also takes on the O-line, agreeing they are a unit deserving of more praise. "Maybe it's natural to sniff around the offensive line's ability because (as we've mentioned before) they don't have the greatest pedigrees. Matt Light was a second-rounder, Dan Koppen was a fifth-rounder, Brandon Gorin was a seventh-rounder, Stephen Neal and Joe Andruzzi weren't drafted," writes Curran. "How good can they be? Well, apparently they're pretty good."
In his notebook, Curran recounts Dawson's praise for Vinatieri, and reports on some much-needed maintenance work happening at Gillette Stadium this week. "The Patriots' field, which was torn to shreds during Sunday's rain-soaked win over the Ravens, was being renovated yesterday," writes Curran.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call recalls the crossroads presented to Vinatieri after the 1998 season. "Adam Vinatieri made an important decision five years ago that not only changed the rest of his life, but ultimately affected the way two franchises have operated ever since," writes Parente. "Following the 1998 season, Vinatieri - a 26-year-old restricted free-agent kicker who had spent the first three years of his NFL career with the Patriots - received a three-year offer worth $2.5 million from the expansion Cleveland Browns."
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant spotlights linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, one of the best guys in the Pats locker room. Colvin, the kind of guy you want to root for, seems to be making his biggest strides yet in his return from last season' near career-ending hip injury. "After having just 11/2 sacks in the Patriots' first eight games - one of them largely bogus because Drew Bledsoe had already tripped and fallen - Colvin has 21/2 in the past three," writes Greenberg. "That's four sacks, second on the team to Willie McGinest (61/2). Colvin is starting to move with the grace and fluidity the Patriots had seen before signing him as an unrestricted free agent in March 2003."