Erik Scalavino takes the pulse of the players as anticipation grows for Sunday's season opener in Tennessee.
"As soon as you know preseason's over, you get excited," observed tight end Aaron Hernandez. "And you went through all that hard training in camp, offseason workouts and everything to do what we're doing on Sunday, so I'm excited for it."
"Super excited," added fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski, "and sometimes I get nervous going out to practice, just thinking that it's almost game time. I know when game time comes around, and I'm super excited, which I am right now for it, and also definitely nervous. Basically nervous almost every single game. Especially the season-opener."
"Yeah, there’s certainly a lot of excitement from everybody in the locker room," quarterback Tom Brady pointed out. "It’s been a long training camp and I think every is excited to get to this point. It’s very good team that we’re playing [Sunday in Tennessee]… there’s just a different sense of urgency. I think all the players recognize that and we’ve got to go out and have a good three days of preparation and then try to go out and put together a good game on Sunday."
"Football’s back in the air. It’s exciting," declared cornerback Kyle Arrington. "We’re all looking forward to putting it all together, what we’ve been doing since spring ball… just anxious to get out there."
"It definitely gets more serious. It counts now, those wins and losses… we’re focused. It gets more intense," added safety Steve Gregory, one of the new players the Patriots acquired via free agency.
"Establish confidence… It’s aggressiveness. Just want to be as aggressive as possible. That’s why we play defense: to impose our will on an offense."
"I think so. It’s kind of that first day of school, that excitement in the air, everyone’s 0-0 and dreaming of going to the Super Bowl," remarked receiver Matthew Slater. "Every game I get nervous before. If I’m not nervous before a game, I know I’m not ready for it. There’s a lot of nerves involved. Part of that’s excitement, part of it’s knowing you’re getting ready to compete. That’s just part of the game, having those butterflies come game day."
"I think there’s really an excitement of what we’re doing and you really are excited to see how the team’s going to come together," Brady continued. "You put in all the practice in the springtime and then the practice in the summer time, and now after Labor Day is when the football season kicks off. So there’s just definitely a progression of really what’s next."
"There’s always that excitement," Gregory concluded. "But once that first ball is kicked off, you get that first hit in, all that goes away and now you’re just playing football."
- Patriots sign TE Michael Hoomanawanui; Place TE Visanthe Shiancoe on IR.
- Patriots-Titans Wednesday Injury Report.
- Zach Groen reports the NE Patriots Alumni Club helped a deaf Pop Warner player who wanted to play football but needed an interpreter.
- Conference Call Transcripts with Tennessee media: Bill Belichick - Devin McCourty - Tom Brady.
- Player Interviews: Tom Brady.
- Patriots Today - Unknowns mark Week 1. (2.50 min. video)
- Patriots Today - McCourty twins set to face-off. (2.39 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Hilliard debuts at practice. (1.19 min. video)
- Patriots Playbook - John Rooke and Erik Scalavino break down all the news leading up to Patriots-Titans. (2 hour program)
- Kerry J. Byrne Cold Hard Football Facts Radio. (2 hour program)
- Field Yates notes that even with new contracts, the new season still brings the same excitement for Gronkowski and Hernandez.
- Christopher Price notes the vets have been preparing the rookies for their first regular-season test.
- Karen Guregian says Josh McDaniels still has an impressive toy chest at his disposal, even after tossing out old favorites Branch, Gaffney and Stallworth.
- Mark Daniels sees another prolific year for the Patriots consistently productive offense.
- Steve Buckley takes the Brady-window-closing angle, and says the Patriots should take advantage of him while he's here.
- Mike Reiss tells us what the Patriots are thinking with all these tight ends.
- Mike Reiss revisits all the TE moves for the Patriots this offseason. (still less than Ross Ventrone)
- Christopher Price shares some thoughts on Michael Hoomanawanui, the Patriots' no-huddle and the first Injury report of the season.
- Mike Reiss notes Bill Belichick appeared puzzled by a reporter's question yesterday, wondering if practice would be inside or out in the rain. Outside. Obviously.
- Karen Guregian points out how Belichick decided it was time to build a defense more suited to stifling all the pass-happy offenses around the league.
- Ron Borges offers a strong defense of the need for a strong Patriots defense.
- Jeff Howe observes the Patriots have one of the more talented defenses in the league. On paper.
- Jeff Howe believes it's still all about the defense, and this young, talented crew is critical to getting the Patriots over the hump.
- Jeff Howe posts some stats to highlight some strengths of the Patriots new-look defense.
- Jeff Howe says stopping RB Chris Johnson will be a titanic challenge for the Pats defense.
- Mark Daniels reports rookie Alfonzo Dennard has done a lot of learning and he leans on the veterans to learn the Patriot Way.
- Michael Whitmer reports the McCourty twins will be facing each other for the first time in the NFL.
- Field Yates evaluates each player on the roster as it stands: Defensive Tackles and Defensive End.
- Mike Reiss, Mike Rodak and Field Yates forecast the individual performances for the passing game and how the yards, completions and TDs will be distributed.
- Jimmy Toscano focuses on the roles of the undrafted players on the 2012 Patriots.
- Darin Gantt (ProFootballTalk) Patriots bringing in, you guessed it, another TE.
- Matt Becker, AP (Yahoo! Sports) Patriots-Titans preview.
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Chris Johnson feels he'll prove 2011 was just a bad year.
- James Walker (ESPN) Walker's AFC East predictions. Patriots 28, Titans 17.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) NFL Week 1 picks: Patriots 34, Titans 17.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB Tuesday Edition - Chargers' Rivers has perspective on chase for championship; Mail.
- Mike Pereira (Fox Sports) Replacements put best foot forward.
- Dan Hanzus (NFL.com) Replacement refs get the job done is season opener.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFLRA responds to league's effort to create "bench" of officials.
- James Walker (ESPN) 'Hard Knocks' report: Episode 5.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) The 5 worst things about being an NFL sports agent.
VIEW FROM TENNESSEE
- John Glennon (The Tennessean) Titans hope to pressure Patriots' changed line.
- David Boclair (Nashville City Paper) By the numbers: Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots.
- Jim Wyatt (The Tennessean) Jake Locker has 'a lot of respect' for Tom Brady.
- Teresa M. Walker (Titansonline.com) Identical twins face off as Pats open at Titans.
- John Glennon & Jim Wyatt (The Tennessean) Twins Jason and Devin McCourty increase trash talking.
- Gary Glenn (Titansonline.com) Titans have youngest roster since 2006.