I hate the first snow of the year. Why the heck does everyone suddenly get so extremely overcautious and go 25 miles an hour on the highways? Off ramps are a joke, people stopping a mile before the exit and one or two people slow everyone down by going 5MPH on the (clear) ramps. It’s only a dusting…

Another Tuesday after a Patriots win. Another edition of the Patriots report card from Kevin Mannix. The most common grade in the mix are “C’s”. The only A’s passed out went to special teams (despite Ken Walter) and the linebackers. Ron Borges has a very interesting piece about Belichick, and how he corrected a media member yesterday who used the term “dominant” to describe the Patriots. Borges even throws in a bit about ones who don’t know any better but than to ask dumb questions.

Many might dispute that, arguing that, at 10-2, how much more can you ask for? That would be either the fan, the media, or the untutored mind (which is often the same thing) speaking, and Belichick understands that. Although such questions still irk him, he seems to realize now that they are seldom mean-spirited. They are simply conclusions arrived at by people who are either utterly addled, haven't been around long enough to know better, or don't really understand that the difference between 10-2 and 8-4 and 6-6 and 4-8 isn't much wider than the edge of a good Wilkinson sword.

Alan Greenberg has more on the new guy asking the dumb question and how Belichick handled it. Shalise Manza Young says this team isn’t dominant, they just win. Lenny Megliola has an interesting article with Belichick’s father, Steve. After the game Sunday, Bill called his father and told him that game was just an Army/Navy game from 40 years ago. Bill Belichick’s memory is a source of constant amazement. Read his press conference transcripts, from midweek sessions mostly when the veteran reporters are there, and you’ll be amazed at his recall of seemingly obscure players and events from over the years. He’ll speak at length about a 49ers 6th round draft pick in 1996, and make a connection to something else probably no one remembers. He’ll talk about something with the Giants 20 years ago, or a little event that happened in a game 5 years back.

Mike Reiss explores just what the Patriots options are with the punting situation and why no move has been made yet. Michael Smith looks at the Patriots goal line defensive stand, (not stance, Pete) play-by-play. Rich Thompson looks ahead to the Dolphins, who have the benefit of a few extra days of preparation for Sunday’s game in Foxboro. The Herald has a pair of pay columns on the Pats, one by George Kimball and another by Gerry Callahan. Kimball tries to make the point that the Patriots might be feeling invincible about now, and the toughest job Bill Belichick might have is convincing them that it is possible for them to lose a game. The implication seems that a loss might even be a good thing for this team. Callahan dismisses this idea:

Now some people actually think the Patriots have won too much and might be better served over the long run if they didn't get it done. There's an idea that's so dumb it belongs in Lawrence Taylor's book. A loss can only help a team that doesn't know how it feels to fight, to struggle, to earn each victory. The Patriots do that just about every week, sometimes three or four times in one Sunday. All a loss will do now is put them on the road in the AFC playoffs. A loss would only serve to give back all they fought for on the goal line in the final minute Sunday.

Smith’s notebook looks at the confidence the last second goal line stand can bring to the team. Thompson’s notebook has a look at Willie McGinest, and also has Miami tight end Randy McMichael doing a little talking. The ProJo notebook says Ken Walter isn’t going anywhere. Mike Reiss’ notebook looks at the Patriots finally getting some Red Zone offense. Dan Pires has a brief look at the Pats earning a day off. Ian M. Clark’s notebook looks at Mike Cloud getting an increased role.

Celtics links from their 96-89 home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies are available at Fox Sports Net New England.

Michael Silverman looks at the plans of the Sox to meet with Pedro Martinez regarding a contract extension. Gordon Edes says the Sox hope to close up the deal with Keith Foulke sometime in the next week or so. Bill Reynolds looks at the Hot Stove feeding frenzy like none other this offseason. David Heuschkel says the announcement on Terry Francona is not expected to be far off. Jon Couture says Curt Schilling already has his first win for the Sox.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins relaxing late in games, and how it’s costing them. Steve Conroy says the Bruins have an identity crisis.

Jim Baker’s pay column looks at the Boomer Esiason-Deion Sanders spat on the CBS “NFL Today” pregame show. Bill Griffith looks at the root of that spat, which was Lawrence Taylor’s “60 Minutes” interview. He also looks at some glitches during Saturday nights Celtics/Bucks game and at Kip Lewis taking on a New York weekend job.

ESPN and ESPN2 have the ACC/Big Ten challenge tonight.

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