Yesterday was media day at All-Tel Stadium, and the big topics coming out surround the coaching changes looming over the Patriots staff. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe discusses the general paradox of having quality assistants.
It is expected that as early as Sunday night, Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will be offered the head-coaching job by the Cleveland Browns. Bob Ryanof the Globe highlights Crennel's merits and the respect he has from his players, contending he is most deserving of a head job. Ron Borgesof the Globe conjectures who some of Crennel's assistants might be in Cleveland, while Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call looks at Crennel's final task with the Patriots: grounding the Eagles offense.
Then, of course, there is Charlie Weis. The Patriots offensive coordinator has already accepted his next job, and will depart to be the head coach at Notre Dame after he finishes up his New England duties Sunday night. Jackie MacMullenand Mark Blaudschunof the Globe and Karen Guregianof The Boston Herald discuss the offensive innovator's last ride with Tom Brady and company.
Knowing the Patriots will be losing one, likely both coordinators, the next job for pundits is hypothesizing who will next fill those vacated roles. Michael Felgerof the Herald and Mike Reissof The MetroWest Daily News look at the top Patriots assistants expected to receive consideration for the coordinator positions.
A top candidate for the defensive coordinator job will undoubtedly be defensive backs coach Eric Mangini. Even before this season, Mangini was considered a very talented assistant, but his stock has soared with the job he has done this year holding together a unit riddled with key injuries and plagued by inexperience. It was also Mangini's brainchild to test out Troy Brown at defensive back after being a wide receiver his entire career. Bob Hohlerof the Globe and Rich Thompsonof the Herald look at Mangini's coaching resume.
On the offensive side of the ball, assistant offensive line and tight ends coach Jeff Davidson is expected to garner some attention in the search for Weis' replacement. Blaudschun of the Globe and Dan Ventura of the Herald examine Davidson's credentials.
On the players' front, the only real question mark hanging over the team is the health of Richard Seymour. Seymour, who acknowledged yesterday that he would not be 100% by Sunday, is expected to take the field against the Eagles. For more on Seymour's condition, check out Hohler in the Globe, Stephen Harris* in the *Herald, *Shalize Manza Young* in The Providence Journal, andAlan Greenberg *in *The Hartford Courant.
In the other camp, the Eagles main health-watch surrounds Terrell Owens. The vibrant wideout told the media yesterday that he would indeed play in Super Bowl XXXIX, and that he would be effective. Kevin Paul Dupontof the Globe, Harris of the Herald, and Stephen Krasnerof the Journal have more.
Naturally, the media kept a close eye on Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell during yesterday's free-for-all. Mitchell did not back down from last week's comments, in which he challenged Pats safety Rodney Harrison, but did express his surprise at the magnitude with which the comments have been scrutinized. Dan Shaughnesseyof the Globe, Guregianof the Herald, and Krasner of the Journal are on the Mitchell beat.
Once again receiving attention is the unique story of Patriots starting guard Stephen Neal. Neal, who, as we all know by now, did not play college football because he was an NCAA wrestling champion at Cal-State Bakersfield. After his college days ended, Neal gave football a try, making the Patriots in 2001. After missing 2003 with an injury, Neal returned in 2004 and eventually worked his way into the starting lineup, where he has been very solid. Cafardo of the Globe, Gary Mihocesof USA Today, and Manza Young of the Journal have Neal's story.
Nancy Marapese-Burrell of the Globe features Troy Brown as he prepares for his fourth Super Bowl with the Patriots, but first as a defensive player.
Frank Dell'Apa of the Globe reports on Eagles defensive lineman Hugh Douglas, who left the Eagles two years ago before returning after a sub par stint with Jacksonville.
Dell'Apa also takes a look at Corey Simon, the Eagles defensive lineman who hails from Florida.
Felger reports Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, considered one of the more flagrant Pro-Bowl snubs when the teams were announced, will be headed to Hawaii after all. Bruschi will replace Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and play in his first Pro Bowl.
Jarret Bell of USA Today discusses race at the quarterback position. Donovan McNabb, who will be the third African-American to start a Super Bowl at QB, has fielded a slew of questions regarding race. Bell traces the evolution of the quarterback position.
On ESPN.com, Len Pasquarelli looks at the infrastructure of the Patriots roster, and believes the team is one built to stay competitive for the next several years.
Also on ESPN.com, John Clayton looks back at the Eagles offseason signings, a series of moves that helped catapult the organization to the Super Bowl.