Albert Breer reports Brandon Meriweather seemed more impressed with Rodney Harrison's words of praise, than for the NFL award.
What he was a bit more willing to talk about was Rodney Harrison, the man who mentored Meriweather in his first two years in the league. Harrison was asked who the Patriots' defensive leader is on NBC's Football Night in America, and quickly responded, ""Brandon Meriweather. He's a playmaker. Not only is he a defensive leader but right now he's the MVP of that team. ... I think he and Brian Dawkins are probably playing the best of any safety in the AFC right now."
So how did that feel? "It means a lot," Meriweather said. "But you always gotta take things with a grain of salt. I can’t look at it too hard, because when you start to look at things too hard, then you start to play like it, you fall off, your head gets big. I’m trying to stay humble, and just continue doing what I been doing."
Adam Kilgore catches up with rookie WR Brandon Tate, who made his NFL debut on Sunday.
In Tate, the Patriots may have a draft steal. At North Carolina, he set an NCAA record for combined kickoff and punt-return yards with 3,523. He played alongside Giants first-round pick Hakeem Nicks and gained 23.5 yards per catch his senior season.
"When he got injured last year, he might have been, conceivably, the most exciting, electrifying player in college football,’’ said North Carolina coach Butch Davis.
"Had Brandon not gotten hurt, Brandon would have been a first-rounder, in my opinion,’’ said UNC wide receivers coach Charlie Williams. "He was tearing it up - tearing it up - early in the season.’’
- Erik Scalavino notes there was only a light workout for New England yesterday as they stare down a bye week.
- The New England Patriots head into the bye week with a 5-2 record. Since 2001, New England has done a remarkable job of finishing the season strong, compiling a 70-17 (.821) record after Nov. 1, including playoff games.
- Patriots Today: Back to practice, look ahead to Bye. (8.35 min. video)
Locker Room Uncut: Bodden, Tate and more. (3.34 min. video)
- Jeff Howe looks at the 10 biggest story lines that surrounded the team through its first seven games.
- Shalise Manza Young says with the Patriots back to being beasts of the AFC East, it's a good time to take a look around the division and take stock of where the Pats’ foes are.
- Ian Rapoport focuses on Tully Banta-Cain, the versatile LB/DE who has been earning his way to full time play.
- Ian Rapoport notes we may see more of T Mark LeVoir who, after coming off PUP, has his sights set on a fast track to productivity.
- Mike Reiss talks with former Patriots defensive coordinator Steve Sidwell to get some insight on why it would help Dean Pees to call plays from the press box.
- Mike Reiss points out the Patriots lead the league in YAC, and looks at how they have improved in other key statistical categories through week 7.
- Mike Reiss notes the Patriots have been flagged for 44 accepted penalties through seven games, and lists the weekly breakdown of their infractions.
- Mike Reiss reports the Patriots are one of the NFL's more pressure-oriented defenses, according to data tracked by ESPN's Stats & Analysis group.
- Barry Scanlon asks, "Hey, Oakland, does Moss still look old?"
- Mark Farinella offers an interview with WBZ-TV sports reporter Alice Cook. Part I, and Part II.
- Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Meriweather deflects praise for earning the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week honors. Rodney Harrison predicted he'll be the Patriots MVP this season; Brandon Tate wants to make the most of every opportunity he gets to play; Terrence Nunn wasn't too disappointed at not being activated Sunday.
- ProJo Patriots Journal: Meriweather staying humble; Rookie Brandon Tate was all smiles after his first NFL game and the first time he’s played in over a year; It was a light practice yesterday at Gillette with the veterans off, nursing their bumps and bruises.
Frank Mortimer reports the Sun Chronicle front page story of the Foxborough selectmen being locked in a battle with the Kraft Group over the number of police details needed to safely run a major stadium event. [Typical small town politics - nothing to do with police details, everything to do with power struggles and pride.]
- Tim Graham (ESPN) In an attempt to measure how well AFC East receivers are handling the ball, Matt Lyon of ESPN Stats & Information crew crunched the numbers.
- Kerry J. Byrne, CHFF (SI) Six signs parity is dead in NFL. What the NFL has done, actually, is create a system that ends up rewarding well managed teams and punishing poorly managed teams.
- Aaron Schatz (Football Outsiders 2005) Guts and Stomps: Championship teams are generally defined by their ability to easily win games over inferior teams. [Props to Cassieper for alerting me to this one.]
Jimmy Traina (SI) Q&A with Jon Bon Jovi. Sooooo... Hoodie was a closet drummer?
Alan Schwarz (NY Times) Commissioner Roger Goodell faced heated criticism before a House committee, with lawmakers, former players and even a former team executive accusing the league of neglect.
- George Vecsey (NY Times) Hearings reveal the true price of football.
- Yahoo! Sports NFL defends itself over head injuries. (2 min. video)
Frederic J. Frommer and Howard Fendrich (AP) Goodell defends NFL's handling of head injuries.