Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe discusses Tom Brady's season, one that some suggest has been below average for the QB. Some of his numbers are down, but as Cafardo points out, that is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, Brady's completion percentage is the lowest it has ever been at this point in a season. However, this has a lot to do with the fact that Brady has been free to throw the ball long more often, as Corey Dillon's runs make up for the short passes Brady used to throw.
In his notebook, Cafardo reports on Adam Vinatieri's potential contract extension, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, and the injuries.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald reminisces on the Bengals 31-3 preseason clinic held at the expense of the Patriots in August.
In his notebook, Felger suggests the possibility Tyrone Poole will not reclaim his spot in the starting lineup when he returns from a knee injury. Felger cites the Bledsoe-Brady scenario, and notes the team's coaches are very impressed with Poole's replacement, "Big Play" Randall Gay.
Karen Guregian of the Herald takes on the Dillon story, one that is not providing many notable quotes. Dillon refuses to talk about this weekend's showdown with his former team, and most of his teammates are choosing the same route. Nonetheless, it is clearly going to be an explosive meeting when Dillon, the AFC's third-leading rusher, goes up against the NFL's second-worst run defense.
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal looks ahead to the Bengals game, and insists Belichick was not merely blowing smoke when lauding this week's opponent. While it has often been difficult to take Belichick serious when offering his weekly doom report, Curran points out this week the coach is right to be wary of the Pats opposition.
In his notebook, Curran discusses the influence of Bengals founder Paul Brown on Belichick.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant lauds the play of defensive lineman Ty Warren. Warren, in his second year out of Texas A&M, has shown steady improvement during his time with the Patriots, and has really wreaked havoc on opposing offenses over the last several games.
Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News also reports on Paul Brown, whom Belichick met by virtue of his father's relationship with the legendary coach.
In his notebook, Reiss highlights the two differing views on the preseason rout, as the Bengals have chosen to downplay it while Belichick is using it to light a fire under the defending champs.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call chronicles the Patriots preparation for the Bengals, noting the team has spent hours breaking down film from the preseason disaster.
In his notebook, Parente addresses Brady's season statistically and makes a point of the Bengals ability to cause fumbles. Parente also offers up the interesting perspective of newly signed offensive tackle Marques Sullivan, who, as a former Bills lineman, saw the champs up close long before becoming a member of the team.