Morning links while still sleeping in the back of the Red Sox bandwagon…Pats play the third preseason game tonight, which is, as we’ve been told many times, the closest to a “real” game of all the preseason contests. Tom Curran says that while it is the closest, it not in the same universe as a real game. He says the Pats will be more concerned with themselves than anything the Eagles are doing, and gives us some things to look for. Alan Greenberg looks at tonight through the eyes of guys like Mike Compton, who just want to get through without injury. Not playing on that old Veteran’s stadium turf will help some in that regard. Nick Cafardo says the game will be a good test for the team and opportunity to see what Ted Washington can do. Christopher Price has a preview of tonight. Michael Parente says that both teams tonight have some things to work on, the Pats with their offense, and the Eagles trying to break in five new starters on defense. Michael Felger says that Bill Belichick and his staff will have some tough roster decisions to make in the coming week. Mike Reiss thinks that Seahawks holdout offensive lineman Walter Jones would be a good target for the Patriots to pursue a trade for. Bill Reynolds looks at former Brown standout Michael Malan, a longshot to make the team as he is listed as the fourth string fullback. Greenberg also gives us five Patriots to watch tonight. Felger’s notebook looks at the new digs in Philly. Parente’s notebook says the Eagles running game is in worse shape than the Patriots.

Pedro calls in sick, Sox win anyway. Jeff Horrigan looks at the night at Fenway. Bob Hohler looks at the Sox bats coming alive for fill-in Fossum. Paul Kenyon says it was just another wild & crazy day at Fenway. Tom Yantz focuses on Fossum’s effort replacing Pedro. Kevin Gray says Johnny Pesky has never heard of a player calling in sick before. Lenny Megliola recalls getting into it with Mike Greenwell back in the day. Alex Speier attempting to inject some optimism into the coverage of the Sox, says that the Sox had a very similar stretch back in ’99. Tony Massarotti says the Sox will take last night, things could be a lot worst being 3 games out instead of 1. Gordon Edes says criticism of Pedro for missing last night’s start is way out of line. Jon Couture disagrees, saying plenty of athletes have played sick. (Apparently NL MVP candidate Albert Pujols isn’t one of them. He’s been out of the lineup all week because of a high fever and flu-like symptoms. ) Kenyon and Hohler provide more information on Pedro’s condition. Michael Silverman weighs in as well. Sean McAdam says last night was a step in the right direction. Michael Vega says the A’s were pretty happy when they found out they wouldn’t be facing Pedro. Steve Conroy looks at the fill-in job done by Fossum. Mark Blaudschun also examines Fossum. Silverman also looks at the video of an 18 year old Kevin Millar performing Karaoke on the big screen. Could it be the Sox new rally tool? Bob Halloran says that Millar made a mistake lumping the media and the fans together as being overly negative. Howard Bryant’s pay column today appears to be shifting the burden of the negative vibes off the media and onto the fans. The media is reporting the truth when they report on losses, but as for the fans:

Still, the Boston Way did not impress A's second baseman Frank Menechino, who along with center fielder Terrence Long was shocked by how the hungry Sox crowd turned on its heroes.

"Over these past days in Boston, the aura here has been negative. The crowd wasn't electric the way they should have been,'' he said.

Menechino is from New York City - Staten Island - and is used to the East Coast vibe. He senses this current group of Red Sox possibly responding poorly to the city's attitudes.

"The players sense that the fans are only waiting for something bad to happen,'' Menechino said. "One of two things is going to happen. Either the team is going to put even more pressure on itself, or they will start to say they don't (care).

I realize it wasn’t Howard’s intention to turn things onto the fans, he was making the point that the fans here and on all the east coast are consumed by their teams, which is a stark contrast to places like San Diego. Most players want to play in front of fans who care, but the trade off is that if you don’t deliver, they’re going to get on you. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Todd Walker back in the # 2 spot. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Walker. McAdam’s notebook has Damian Jackson defending his head first slide which resulted in injury. Yantz’s notebook looks at Pedro’s illness.

Art Martone remembers Ken Coleman. Tom Yantz and Steve Buckley also look at career of the great broadcaster. I remember Coleman very well, summer nights spent sleeping outdoors in the 80’s, with his voice coming over the radio, keeping my mind off the Fisher cat screaming in the woods aways off. Always hated when the game ended.

Bob Ryan is covering Team USA at the Tournament of the Americas. but looks at an shocking upset loss by Argentina to Mexico.

John Howell looks at ESPN’s new “Playmakers” show. Bill Griffith looks ahead to the college football TV schedule. Out on the west coast, the Sacramento Bee has fired a reporter for filing a Giants story after watching the game on TV, and pretending he was actually in attendance at Pac Bell Park.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Mariners at 7:00. WCVB has Patriots/Eagles at 7:30. WBZ (CBS) has Dolphins/Falcons at 8:00. TBS has Braves/Rockies at 9:00.