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Patriots.com News Blitz 8/12/04

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As the Patriots gear up for tomorrow night's exhibition opener against Philadelphia, Michael Smith of The Boston Globe reports that the defense is pushing itself hard to be ready. "Among the nearly 85,000 fans who have attended Patriots training camp, some probably have noticed defensive players running -- voluntarily -- back and forth across the adjacent practice field during the team segment of the workouts. They aren't doing so as punishment, but rather punishing their bodies in preparation for those key moments during the season when they need to dig deep for something extra," writes Smith.

Smith also diagrams the anatomy of a Patriots field goal, examining the relationship between long-snapper Lonie Paxton, kicker Adam Vinatieri, and new holder Josh Miller. "To be successful, they need more harmony than a Southern Baptist church choir," Smith says.

While it seemed on Tuesday that the Patriots were getting close to reaching an agreement with holdout Ben Watson, Kevin Mannix of The Boston Herald tells us today that no such union is near. The dispute in the negotiations surrounds the number of years involved in the deal - Watson wants five, the Patriots want six. "The Patriots have flexed their Super Bowl muscles and arbitrarily set a six-year deal as imperative in the negotiations and refuse to make the final year voidable by the tight end reaching certain incentives," reports Mannix.

Mannix also takes a look at Troy Brown, the 12th year receiver who has been taking reps with the defense during training camp. "The fun stopped when Brown pulled the blue mesh vest over his uniform. From then on it was all business," writes Mannix. "The veteran receiver was on defense for about a half-dozen plays, giving up one reception in two passes thrown his way."

Tom Curran has a nice feature on the relationship between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in today's Providence Journal. "Belichick needs players who can execute his football philosophy. Without that player at the most important position on the field, his defensive brilliance, his organizational skills, his work ethic, and all his other coaching strengths could otherwise go for naught in an avalanche of bad quarterback decisions," says Curran.

While we are on the subject of Tom Brady, [Tom Danyluk](http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL/AFC/AFC East/New England/Features/2004/danyluk081104.htm) has an article on the young quarterback in Pro Football Weekly. Danyluk is not a fan of the Brady-Joe Montana comparisons that have become so widely used since Brady notched his second Super Bowl win. "In terms of their styles of play, watching them work the field, Montana and Brady are cracked from different molds. The former - a fleet-footed artisan, a glider in the pocket, master of delivering on the run. That persistent flair for the dramatic," says Danyluk. "Brady beats you on brains and reaction time. No unnecessary hitches in this operation - snap, drop, focus, zing! Nothing there? Throw it away and reset the table."

In today's MetroWest Daily News, Mike Reiss writes about the importance of Brady's backup Rohan Davey. "In a telling statistic that would cost any coach sleep and fingernails, only 13 NFL quarterbacks started every game last season. Two years ago, it was 14," Reiss reports. "The moral of the story: When 18 and 19 teams are forced to go to the bench in two separate seasons, a solid No. 2 gunslinger is imperative."

While Davey will see a great deal of action in tomorrow night's game at Gillette Stadium, so too will his backup, Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury currently sits behind Davey on the quarterback depth chart, and according to Chris Kennedy of The Republican, "The field should feel good under Kingsbury's feet. He has had a year to learn New England's offense, which should only help."

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