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Gameday Preview: New England Patriots

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Today we preview the New England Patriots who will take on the Giants tomorrow night in the final preseason game for both teams

(That is one scary looking Patriot)

2007 Record: 18-1 (won AFC East Title, AFC Championship)

Head Coach: Bill Belichick

Last time they met: Dynasty Derailed!

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Josh McDaniels

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Dean Pees

OFFENSIVE TEAM RANKS: 13th rushing, 1st passing, 1st scoring

DEFENSIVE TEAM RANKS: 10th rushing, 6th passing, 4th scoring

KEY ADDITIONS: QB Kevin O'Connell (3rd Round, San Diego State), WR Sam Aiken (from Bills), TE Marcus Pollard (from Seahawks), OL Oliver Ross (from Cardinals), OL Mike Flynn (from Ravens), LB Victor Hobson (from Jets), LB Jerod Mayo (1st Round, Tennessee), LB T.J. Slaughter (free agent), OLB Shawn Crable (3rd Round, Michigan), CB Fernando Bryant (from Lions), CB Lewis Sanders (from Falcons), CB Terrence Wheatley (2nd Round, Colorado), CB Jason Webster (from Bills), S Tank Williams (from Vikings), P Scott Player (from Browns)

KEY DEPARTURES: WR Donte' Stallworth (to Browns), WR Troy Brown (not tendered), TE Kyle Brady (released), LB Rosevelt Colvin (to Texans), ILB Larry Izzo (not tendered), LB Junior Seau (not tendered), CB Randall Gay (to Saints), CB Asante Samuel (to Eagles), CB Chad Scott (not tendered), DB Eugene Wilson (to Buccaneers), DB Willie Andrews (released), S Mel Mitchell (not tendered)

Patriots Notes and Quotes:

  • Quarterback Tom Brady created a minor stir last week as a sore foot kept him from traveling with the Patriots to Tampa Bay for Sunday night's second preseason game, and he sat out the following game against Philadelphia. It's not clear which foot is bothering the NFL MVP. Brady created a similar stir in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLII last winter when he was photographed wearing a boot on his right foot/ankle to deal with an injury heading into the big game. He declared himself injury-free during the offseason until the foot issue crept up last week. Brady did not play in the preseason opener and has missed a handful of practices during training camp while apparently monitoring his throwing reps.
  • For some reason, Tom Brady's contract became a talking point during training camp last week. The reigning NFL MVP's current deal runs through 2010. His base salaries are reportedly in the $5 million range, but bonus dollars from the contract push his yearly cap numbers up around $14 million. At some point, the sides may talk extension or work to reconfigure Brady's cap numbers; there would seem to be no pressing need to do so at this time.
  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent some time discussing balls being tipped at the line of scrimmage last week. New England's defensive linemen and linebackers have gotten their hands on a high number of passes in practice action this summer. In going over what the factors are that lead to batted passes -- something that occurs in practice action more often thanks to the fact that offensive linemen aren't cut-blocking their trench counterparts -- Belichick had some high praise for DL Richard Seymour. "I think Richard has gotten as much as anybody gets. Year in and year out, he has tipped more balls than anybody around here and more than anyone I have coached," Belichick said. "He is tall and has long arms. He is athletic, can jump and has a good sense of timing of when to try and get in the throwing lane, when to keep rushing the quarterback and attack the blocker."
  • Not every current Patriot missed out on a chance to take home a ring last February, not with the team's addition of veteran CB and former Giants practice squad player Jeff Shoate on Aug. 9. The 5-10, 180-pounder spent the bulk of his previous four NFL seasons, and all of his 14 career games, with the Broncos. But after getting released in Denver last December, he hooked on with New York's practice squad in early January. For a month's work behind the scenes, Shoate got what all players work for -- a Super Bowl ring. "I was able to get a nice ring out of it," Shoate said with a laugh after his first day of practice in New England. "A lot of guys here don't appreciate it. I didn't bring it with me. It's back home." In fact his chance to pursue another ring in New England came up before he even got his little bit of history. "I haven't even seen it yet. My wife (Ronisa) just got it in the mail, so she's at home walking around wearing it and I haven't even seen it." Out of Shoate's sight is out of his new teammates' mind. Best kept that way.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The most important thing is to rush the passer, not to stand there and play volleyball at the net." -- Bill Belichick, on watching defensive linemen bat down a lot of passes at the line of scrimmage in training camp.