A rough night for the locals as the Patriots drop an exhibition game at home to the New Orleans Saints (Though we can claim that the Patriots first team beat the Saints first team) and the Red Sox got thumped by the Angels out in Anaheim. Or is it Los Angeles?

The Patriots fell to the Saints 37-27 at Gillette,in a game which clearly meant a whole lot more to New Orleans than it did to the Patriots. Michael Felger reports that it was a struggle for the Patriots, who were inconsistent on both sides of the ball. Jerome Solomon says that at the very least, Tom Brady looked ok. Tom E Curran focuses on Doug Flutie’s effort last night, which sparked the Patriots to a touchdown drive. Alan Greenberg also focuses on Flutie and has observations about many of the first team players and how they looked last night. Tim Weisberg says that the Patriots quarterbacks looked ok last night, but the rest of the squad struggled in the loss. Michael Parente says that Brady and Doug Flutie were the focus of the night at Gillette. Scott Souza, who may be stepping up into Patriots coverage on the Metrowest Daily News with the departure of Mike Reiss reports on the evening at Gillette, and points out those who helped themselves last night.

Ron Borges writes that Doug Flutie showed that he still has that magic, and that should the Patriots need him this season, he’ll be ready to go. What’s interesting to me is how in print, Borges says that Brady’s arm is “allegedly” hurt, while in the pregame show on WBCN, he was stating it as if it were fact, stating that why else would Brady’s “throwing guru” have made an appearance in camp this week to check out his mechanics? He also said that if Charlie Weis was still around, there’s no way that guy would’ve been allowed near Gillette. Tony Massarotti muses about how far things have come in 15 years for Flutie. Jim Donaldson waxes on about Flutie’s love of the game, and how should the unthinkable happen and Tom Brady get hurt, that Flutie is the guy Patriots fans should want out on the field in his place. Lenny Megliola says that for starters, last night’s appearance by Flutie certain wasn’t dull.

Dan Pires says that Tom Brady was a little shaky last night, but he and his arm looked fine for a first preseason appearance. Christopher Price lists out 10 things that we learned last night. Ian M Clark looks at fullback Kyle Eckel, who continues to impress. Ron Indrisano looks at Rodney Harrison taking the loss hard last night, preseason or not. Howard Bryant (subscription only) also looks at Harrison and the Patriots taking losses, any losses, hard. He notes that the Pats are all business, not once last night was there any mention in the stadium about the team being the two-time defending world champions.

Mike Reiss makes his Globe debut with a look at rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who also showed some spark as a kick returner last night. Robert Lee observes that Hobbs is making an impression during the preseason, showing there is likely a spot for him on this team. Adam Kilgore has a look at Tim Dwight, who looked good both as a receiver and punt returner. Adam Kurkjian and Reiss each look at Norwood’s Alfred Fincher, who enjoyed playing in Gillette against the Patriots last night. Kilgore also has a piece on Christian Fauria, and Lee submits another on Deion Branch, who didn’t play again last night, but is feeling good and rarin’ to go. Nick Tavares has a number of NFL thoughts, but most of all he just wishes TO would go away.

Solomon’s notebook leads with a mention of Mike Vrabel though no real information beyond the fact that he didn’t play and was wearing shorts and appeared to have no wrap on his ankle or leg. Felger’s notebook focuses on Tim Dwight and his night catching passes and returning punts. Curran’s notebook also looks at Dwight. While Dwight will likely handle the punt return duties, the Patriots would like to see what Chad Morton can do, that is the lead subject of Parente’s notebook.

Red Sox Thumped in California

I went to bed around 11:30 with the Red Sox/Angels score still at 1-0. I get up at 5:30 this morning, check the papers and see a 13-4 loss for the locals. Apparently a lot happened, most of it bad, after I retired for the night. David Heuschkel says that the Red Sox and Tim Wakefield were caught in harm’s way last night as the Angels put up those 13 runs, and Wakefield had to leave the game after getting whacked on the shin by a line drive off the bat of Casey Kotchman – which I think must’ve happened right after I turned off the game, because I believe Kotchman was on deck. Gordon Edes says that it’s usually good vibrations for the Red Sox when they visit southern California, but last night it was a hard knock life. Michael Silverman says that while the Red Sox might’ve taken a hard one last night, they usually bounce back from losses of that type pretty well. Steven Krasner says that at this point it is not known if Wakefield is going to miss any time with this injury.

Dan Shaughnessy notes that sometimes we forget that last year’s playoffs began with a series against the Angels. It’s usually all just Yankees and Cardinals. Karen Guregian gets an early start on the “give David Ortiz a new contract now” bandwagon as she talks to the Red Sox slugger about his contract, and if he’d like to finish his career in Boston. Guregian also looks at the line drive which felled Tim Wakefield. Silverman has Johnny Damon issuing a flat denial of a rumor that floated around internet chat rooms yesterday about steroids. Theo Epstein is quoted in the article and is correct about speculation of positive tests being a serious thing. I’ve gotten a number of emails from people who say they heard…usually from some unnamed person at a media outlet that so-and-so have test positive and that MLB is waiting another day or two to make the formal announcement. One said that the source was “someone who worked at ESPN” and that the network was simply gathering tape on the players so they could run the report. I haven’t put stock in any of them, and without the name of the originating source, I wouldn’t dream of publishing them anywhere, even on a message board. I almost wish that reporters would NOT take these internet rumors and ask a player to address them and then put it in the paper. It gives the people who start these things exactly what they want. Their “rumor” gets out there and becomes news, and they can sit back and enjoy the ruckus they caused. But, that is the age in which we live, where the line between internet rumors and reporting is sometimes blurred. I realize that the reporters job is to also shoot down false information like this, and I’m glad it’s been addressed and dismissed.

Heuschkel’s notebook also reports on Damon dismissing the steroid rumors. Krasner’s notebook looks at more shaky defense for the Red Sox out West. Silverman’s notebook says that Craig Hansen could be on the fast track to the majors, possibly before September 1st. Edes’ notebook looks at Trot Nixon making rapid progress and almost ready to go play on a rehab assignment.

Chris Snow’s Minor League notebook looks at AA pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who appears to be another terrific young power arm in the Red Sox system. There are a number of other notes in the article as well. Jeff Horrigan’s Minor League notebook leads with a look at Lenny DiNardo.

John Connolly looks at BC center and captain Patrick Ross, who hopes to continue the tradition of strong offensive lines at Boston College. Connolly’s notebook reports that the battle for starting tailback appears to have been won by sophomore L.V. Whitworth.

Fluto Shinzawa reports on NHL games that will be aired on Outdoor Life Network this winter.

David Scott looks at Tim Wakefield going down last night, he has a look at the bloggers from the mainstream media who are stumbling out of the gate…a dissection of the Globe’s insistence that we care about track and field and kayakking…and tons more in his weekly installment of Scott’s Shots.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Angels at 10:00. CBS has Vikings/Jets preseason at 8:00.

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