Nick Cafardo writes about the struggling Donald Hayes. Hayes claims to have a hard time picking up the plays, and understanding the complicated offense. This was the first topic on WEEI this morning with Dennis & Callahan mocking Hayes. Callahan said if it was him, he’d be spending 24 hours a day learning the playbook. Dennis lumps Hayes in with the Patriots long line of troubled receivers. Irving Fryar, Terry Glenn, Tony Simmons, Hart Lee Dykes, etc. They also took captions from callers for the picture of Bill Belichick on the front page of the sports section. Tom Curran writes about the Patriots big guy on offense who got hurt in week three and has only played a few snaps since. Jim Donaldson helps us understand what a square is. Thanks Jim. Alan Greenberg analyzes the decline of the offense. Curran’s notebook has Belichick talking about the Patriots getting beat one-on-one. Cafardo’s interesting notebook has a look at Brady and injury updates on several players. The Herald and Metrowest Daily News web sites are once again down this morning…

Plenty of Red Sox articles today. Gordon Edes and David Heuschkel report on the Red Sox asking permission to talk to the Yankees Gene Michael. Both articles have quotes from the obligatory unnamed MLB sources with ringing endorsements. Heuschkel’s source tells him that Michael is very interested in the Red Sox position. The same article also has Lucchino dismissing the Lou Pinella interest rumors, and says that Grady Little has permission to assemble his coaching staff. (The NY Post identifies the Red Sox as the third team) D&C didn’t like Michael as a candidate either. They think he’s too old and that he is too entrenched as a Yankee for this to work. They compared it to getting hand-me-downs from your big brother. They endorse Brian Sabean of the Giants. They think the timing is right for a move back home for him. Edes has a close look at Sabean today as well. I know Edes didn’t write the headline to his story on the circumstances leading to the loss of David Eckstein, I don’t recall any great and hue and cry going up among the media when Eckstein was lost. A quick look through the Globe’s archives confirms that. Bob Hohler reports on Sox prospects who will be playing winter ball this offseason. Bill Reynolds gives a synopsis of Howard Bryant’s book on race and baseball in Boston. I’m almost done with the book and plan a more detailed review soon. As a teaser, I’ll say that the Globe and certain writers there don’t come off so well. Jackie MacMullan writes on the sponsorless Babe Ruth Home Run award. A pretty interesting piece.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on the Bruins 6-3 win last night. Peter May has details on the Celtics four “practice players”, guys who have no shot at making the club. Not because of talent, though that is a factor, but because Gaston won’t allow the team to have more than 12 players. Jim Fennell looks at the Celtics preseason game in Manchester NH tonight.

FSNE has New England tailgate at 7:00 and Celtics/Nets at 7:30. NESN has Bruins/Flames at 9:00. ESPN Classic has game four of the 1981 NBA Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and 76ers at 9:00. ESPN has Georgia Tech/Maryland College football at 7:30. ESPN2 has Red Wings/Canadiens at 8:00. HBO has inside the NFL at 8:00.