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Shots Heard 'Round the Web: New England Patriots Links 9/12/08

Legends of the Game: In Trading Places, Jim McCabe takes a longer look at the many greats who refused to fade away on the team where they made their name and took the show on the road. Favre certainly isn't the first.

Uncomfortably intimate:

"It's a different feel with different quarterbacks," said the Patriots' Pro Bowl center. "It's kind of hard to explain. It definitely feels different when you're rotating guys in there, but if you work enough with a guy, ... you just get comfortable."

Too much?

Chris Gasper notes the importance of the running game this week--especially considering that the Jets picked up big ol' Kris Jenkins from Carolina in the off season.  At 6-4, 350, he's going to absorb some pounding and pose a big challenge to the Patriots still-struggling offensive line.

Phil Simms chimes in on Pats v. Jets, while in the locker-room it's Jeff Hostetler with a relevant take for Matt Cassel, who gives the first extended interview of his career. Both in Reiss' Pieces.

ProJo's Shalise Manza Young has put that interview with Cassel into a nicely digestible column.

Former and current teammates step up to the plate to assure Chris Gasper that Randy Moss will continue to be a positive force on the field and in the locker room. Still, the piece has a "definite-maybe" feel to it.

"You know, they just don't stop having the mafia down in Providence." They've come up with a thumbnail game preview, which I'm "compelled" to say is worth checking out. We'll have our own "what to watch for" segment later. Karen Guregian paints a rosy picture of Matt Cassel's reception by the team.

Adalius Thomas has a lot in common with Bret Favre:

"We went to the same school, had the same agent (James ‘Bus’ Cook), yeah, I know Brett pretty good," said Thomas. "I saw him in the offseason a couple of times. We were actually at Disney World with our kids at the same time and I saw him, about the time he announced his retirement."

I hope they get a lot of time together on Sunday.

Newsday's Bob Glauber has his own rehash of the "Cassel is ok" meme.

Peter King picks your Patriots to win this weekend--barely.  Dr. Z drops them only one slot in his power rankings--from1 to 2.  He's big on the proof of head-to-head matchups.  And Don Banks believes Brady will continue to have a significant impact as Cassel's study partner.  How long before the question, "Is the continuing tizzy about Brady starting to piss you off?" is asked and answered by Cassel, "Yes, I've been out of diapers for some time, and can actually wash and dress myself in the morning--all by my big self."

Ross Tucker, basing his knowledge of Matt Cassel on one 2 minute drill, thinks the Patriots will win about half of their games. You have to some people get paid.  It's not just that I disagree with him; it's that his column is basically mental diarreha, recorded.  There are lots of ex-players out there writing.  Not many of them are working at becoming writers, though.

News from New Jersey:

Mike Lombardi at the National Football Post claims the Jets are locked in, moneywise:

The Jets are win at all costs this year -— all costs.  If this team does well, they will all be back.  If the Jets don’t do well, guess what?  They will all still be back.  They are in cap hell based on the guarantees.

Laveraneus Coles is still moping about having a Bret instead of a Chad.  The Bergen Record sings along, with a similar story.

Justin Terranova with a throwaway piece on raised expectations in greenland.

Ian O'Connor of the Bergen Record takes what is sadly becoming a broken record and plays it well, with a column on the physical travails of former Jet standout Wesley Walker:

Wide awake at 3 a.m., his battered 53-year-old body raging against the hits taken and the needles absorbed over 13 years with the Jets, Walker often asks his maker for relief that never comes. Devastating NFL injuries were all over the news this week, from Tom Brady’s to Shawne Merriman’s, reminding that generations of predecessors are out there suffering in relative silence, men who played a game packaged and promoted as a simulated exercise in war.

I remember watching WW as a kid.  How many of our childhood heroes are out there right now, like this?  It's like Superman has gone homeless, huddled on a park bench somewhere, wrapping himself in a road-stained cape.  The League and the PA need to step up and fix this.  The money's there--it's the will that's lacking.  Shame.

The Pats will be sure to challenge rookie corner Dwight Lowery on Sunday.  After reading this article, it sounds to me like the serious, studious Lowery might've made a decent New Englander. 

Oh well, maybe we'll pick him up when he's ready to win a championship.