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As if the Cinncinatti catastrophe did not do enough to dampen spirits in New England, the Patriots received more bad news yesterday, learning that rookie Guss Scott will miss the entire season with a knee injury. "In the third quarter against the Bengals, Scott blocked on a punt return and seemed to catch his left cleat on the Paul Brown Stadium turf. He fell and clutched his left knee before limping off," reports Adam Kilgore of The Boston Globe.
On the brighter side of the injury world, Kilgore reports that Rosevelt Colvin is coming along well in his attempt to return from last year's horrific hip injury. "The ample action Colvin saw Saturday night encouraged the Patriots. Belichick hopes to give Colvin another large chunk of playing time when the Patriots are at Carolina Saturday night," writes Kilgore.
Looking back at Saturday night's defeat, Dan Shaughnessey of the Globe explains that losing the exhibition game can be turned into a positive. "It gives coach Bill Belichick a bigger hammer. Any time the fellas get full of themselves, admiring those Super Bowl rings, the coach can dig out the Bengals films. Instant humble pie. Sort of like Ben Affleck throwing a tape of "Gigli" into the VCR every time he finds himself admiring the Oscar on his mantel," writes Shaughnessey.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call reviews the Patriots run defense, which showed itself Saturday night to be a work in progress. "Even though there are two more exhibition games and roughly two and a half weeks before the season-opener against Indianapolis, the porous run defense is an issue because the Patriots' ability to stuff opposing running backs last year was the reason their defense ranked among the best in the NFL," writes Parente. "Conversely, their inability to stop it in 2002 was the reason they got exposed and missed the playoffs."
According to Michael Felger of The Boston Herald, the injury to Scott means that more will be expected of the Patriots' other rookie safety, fourth-round draft pick Dexter Reid. "Reid has already made a big impact on kick coverage and has started to make a mark with the regular defense. Reid's four preseason special teams tackles are second only to captain Larry Izzo," says Felger.
Felger also reports that the Patriots are going back to basics this week, looking to drill fundamentals like tackling and filling gaps. Yesterday, they "geared up for a full-pad, full-contact practice at Gillette Stadium. The players donned their equipment knowing Belichick would turn up the heat after an embarrassing 31-3 preseason loss in Cincinnati last Saturday," writes Felger.
Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal echoes Felger, writing "Belichick said the team will have to focus on fundamentals as it prepares for Saturday's nationally televised Super Bowl rematch at Carolina." Young also quotes Tedy Bruschi as saying "It's going to be physical (in practice) this week. Bill talked about getting back to basics and fundamentals; that means we're going to hit."
The Providence Journal's main Patriots beat writer, Tom Curran, participated in a chat with fans last night. Here are some of the highlights.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant discusses the Patriots other roster move yesterday, the release of fullback Fred McCrary.
The Nashua Telegraph is running a Los Angeles Times article by Sam Farmer on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Farmer writes about Brady's desire to stay humble despite his celebrity-status. "Before visiting the White House with teammates this off-season, Brady got up at 5 a.m. to lift weights, even though players were credited with a free workout day for making the trip. He's determined not to jostle his schedule, no matter what the occasion," writes Farmer.
Writing for NFL.com, Phil Simms takes a look at the Patriots chances to repeat as champions. "It is somewhat easy to say the Patriots will repeat because of the coach and the quarterback and the talent all around. But history tells us, especially in this day and age, that it's almost impossible," writes Simms.