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Coming off Friday night's 24-6 victory over Philadelphia in their first exhibition game, it is now time for the Patriots to look ahead to this weekend's showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals. One player who is very familiar with Cincinnati is new running back Corey Dillon. Dillon played the first seven years of his career with the Bengals before being traded to the Pats this past winter. According to Michael Smith of The Boston Globe, Dillon is doing all that he can to downplay the significance of taking on his former mates. "It's another preseason game," Dillon told Smith. "I'm not going to make a big deal out of it because it's really not a big deal. It's just another opponent, and I've got to go play ball."
The Patriots received good news yesterday, as practice saw the return of Matt Light. "The Patriots starting left tackle returned to practice yesterday for the first time since June 11 surgery to remove his appendix," writes Michael Felger of The Boston Herald. "After the workout, Light shot down media estimates that he had lost in the neighborhood of 15-20 pounds."
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal also reports on Light, who, though unheralded, has been dependable and steady for New England the last few years. "When the lists of the best offensive linemen of the game come out, Light is usually a long way down them (he was listed as the 22nd best lineman this summer by Pro Football Weekly)," writes Curran. "No matter. He's got two Super Bowl rings."
Alan Siegel of The Eagle Tribune writes about the Patriots newest jack-of-all-trades, Troy Brown, who saw action in all three phases of the game Friday night. "His performance during New England's 24-6 pre-season win over the Philadelphia Eagles [Friday] night at Gillette Stadium says it all," writes Siegel. "He saw time at wideout (his normal position), punt returner (his second job) and defensive back (his new hobby?)."
In today's Woonsocket Call, Michael Parente examines one of the few areas of the game in which the Patriots struggled last season, the red zone. "For a team that won 14 regular-season games and shattered numerous franchise records, they were surprisingly dreadful inside the 20-yard line," Parente writes. "Not surprisingly, Bill Belichick and his coaching staff have worked hard to fix the problem."
Parente also covers Dillon, Light, and others in today's notebook.
Finally, in breaking news, our own Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly is reporting that the Patriots have at long last come to terms with first round draft pick Ben Watson. Watson, who hired a new agent last week, is expected to be at training camp today.