Foxborough, Mass. - As the New England Patriots prepare for their upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs on "Monday Night Football," many of those involved with the league are still buzzing about the network's pre-game intro into last week's game featuring Philadelphia and Dallas.
Three days after ABC chose to air a segment featuring Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and actress Nicollette Sheridan to promote the show "Desperate Housewives," coaches and players around the league are offering their opinions. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked Thursday if the coaching staff or the organization in any way monitors players' cooperation with television partners.
"Let's put it this way: I think each individual - all of us on the football team, coaches and players - are responsible and accountable for what we do," Belichick said. "There is some guidance at times. You can't legislate or monitor every single second of every person's day. So we all have to make decisions and judgements. Sometimes we make good ones, sometimes we make not so good ones. But we try to make the best ones we can for ourselves, our team, and our organization."
The NFL released a statement Tuesday, saying "ABC's opening was inappropriate and unsuitable for our Monday Night Football audience. While ABC may have gained attention for one of its other shows, the NFL and its fans lost."
Reaction to the piece has been widespread. Patriots safety Rodney Harrison wondered about the message it sent to the NFL's younger viewers.
"What message are you really sending?" Harrison said. "Okay, adults can deal with it, but what about kids? It's not right. I think it's tasteless. So many kids are watching. That's what I'm thinking. The first time I time I saw it, I thought 'So many kids are watching.'"
Include Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel among those who feel linebacker Rosevelt Colvin is still making progress from a broken hip that forced him to miss nearly all of last season. Colvin has 24 tackles and two sacks this season while playing in a rotation behind starters Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel.
"I think Rosevelt is still making progress," Crennel said. "He is not where he wants to be, but he is making progress and he is getting better to the point where we were able to play him more in the game and he is showing up more. But, he is not where he wants to be yet."
Tully Tully Tully
Second-year linebacker Tully Banta-Cain had his most productive day as a Patriot last week, registering three tackles, 1.5 sacks and his first career interception against Buffalo. Banta-Cain has seen increased snaps at outside linebacker in nickel and dime packages the last two games.
"He's had some production for us the last couple of weeks," Belichick said. "We have some pretty good players at that position, so it's competitive for playing time. He's earned his way onto the field. That's to his credit."
The Patriots injury report remained unchanged from Wednesday. Cornerback Ty Law (foot) is out, while cornerback Tyrone Poole (knee) is doubtful. Wide receiver Deion Branch (knee) and linebacker Matt Chatham (hamstring) are both questionable, while quarterbacks Tom Brady (shoulder) and Jim Miller (shoulder) are both listed as "probable." The team reported that Poole, Branch and Chatham all missed portions of team practice Thursday. ... Belichick was asked about the progress of Poole, who has missed five of the last six games. "Closer. He's doing better. We haven't been out on the field since Friday [or] Saturday of last week, so I'm sure that the extra time has benefited him. We'll see what it looks like today." ... Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was asked about fake field goal play in which kicker Adam Vinatieri threw his first career touchdown pass. "That is not the last one if that is what you are asking." ... Crennel appears happy with the progress of rookies Randall Gay and Vince Wilfork. "I think that they have developed very nicely. When you look at where they were when training camp started and where they are now, playing in the NFL and lining up against some pretty good talent and are still able to hold their own. Hopefully that will continue because every Sunday is a different day and you never know. We are pleasantly pleased with what has happened so far."