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In The Boston Globe's Patriots notebook, Shira Springer addresses the Arizona heat, Ty Law's leg, and the uncertain status of running back Kevin Faulk.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald goes in-depth on the Law injury, noting that Law played through injuries most of last year, in a season that turned out to be one of his finest. "[Coach Bill] Belichick let Law play through the pain in 2003. What will be the course of action this year? Time will tell. But in the opener against the Colts, Belichick had a much quicker hook, pulling Law from the field during several key junctures," writes Felger.
In his notebook, Felger delves into the Faulk situation, Belichick's views on Cardinals running back Emmitt Smith, and the overall injury picture. "The Patriots practiced in full pads yesterday, although three players participated in shoulder pads only and were not wearing full pants: Ty Law, Rodney Harrison and [Patrick] Pass."
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal spotlights offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi. "His story is a little different than those other guys for two reasons," writes Curran. "First, he had virtually no résumé when he came to New England. Second, four years after signing Andruzzi, the Patriots now have an offensive line full of guys similar to him. This Regular Joe has become the model for what the Pats look for in a lineman."
Among other topics in his notebook, Curran reports on the return game. Bethel Johnson, who led the AFC in return yardage last season, often tried to do too much with his returns last Thursday night. "Early returns on the New England Patriots' return game? Not good, said head coach Bill Belichick. Stretching back into the preseason, Belichick said yesterday, the Patriots are not getting enough positive plays in the kicking game," writes Curran.
In The Hartford Courant, Alan Greenberg updates the continuing progress of Rosevelt Colvin, who is returning from last season's career-threatening hip injury. "Colvin played about half the defensive plays in Thursday night's opener," writes Greenberg. "He was not on the field when outside linebacker Willie McGinest made the Patriots' only sack to nail Peyton Manning for a 12-yard loss and force Mike Vanderjagt to attempt the would-be tying field goal from 48 yards rather than 36."
The Courant also runs the Tribune Company NFL Rankings, a weekly poll compiled by eight NFL writers. No surprise, the Pats remain at the top.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call looks ahead to Sunday's desert showdown, noting that historical precedence favors teams accustomed to such hot weather. "For more evidence, look at New England's lack of success in Miami in September and October," writes Parente. "Before last year's win, the Patriots had never beaten the Dolphins on the road in the first two months of the season - a stretch covering 32 years and 13 games."