After carefully choosing through the options available to them, Tom Brady and the Patriots have decided to once again go with the “disrespect” theme for their postseason run. Jerome Solomon reports on Patriots QB flipping the disrespect card which the Jaguars tried to play and applying it to his own team. Chris Kennedy looks at how both teams are trying to run with this angle. The AP’s Howard Ulman analyzes which team is really getting the least respect. Christopher Price notes that no team plays the respect card better than the Patriots.
Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has Titans GM Floyd Reese noting that the Patriots are in for a stern test this week against the Jaguars. There is also a Bruschi update and a look at Terry Glenn’s season in Dallas. Eric McHugh takes a look back at the last time these two teams played, back in 2003 and if there is anything that can be learned from that encounter. Bill Burt lists out five keys for the Patriots if they hope for a three-peat. Dan Pires has a look at Rodney Harrison, who made an appearance in the locker room yesterday. Pires also looks at rookies who are not really rookies any longer, and the injury report. Albert Breer has more on Harrison, who is keeping the faith and thankful for the support of his family and teammates. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) has Harrison referencing the recovery and return of Rosevelt Colvin as inspiration for his own future.
Alan Greenberg has a nice mini-feature on rookie offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, who has fit right in with the Patriots and filled a hole on the line as needed. Steve Britt looks at how Kaczur and Russ Hochstein filled right in for the injured Matt Light and Dan Koppen this season, with the line seemingly not missing a beat. Steve Buckley has Mike Vrabel speaking about the contributions the players wives and their families make to the weekly preparation for the Patriots.
Nick Cafardo has a look at Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich, who insists that he will be ready to go on Sunday and that the time off will have actually helped him make his game stronger and better. John Tomase looks at the Jags dominant duo at defensive tackle, a pair that has made their name know around the league. Tom E Curran says that Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio is leaving himself open for a second guess with his decision to bring Leftwich back for this week. Michael Parente notes that Del Rio has had to deal with a rash of injuries similar to that which Bill Belichick faced this year. He also looks at Jags roster and their style of play. Tomase has more on Byron Leftwich, who insists he’ll be ready and this his teammates want him out on the field. You can get more coverage on the Jaguars from Jacksonville.com.
Solomon’s notebook has more on Rodney Harrison’s session in the locker room yesterday. Cafardo’s notebook has Tom Brady’s claims of disrespect being met with laughter by the Jaguars. Tomase’s notebook says that the weather should not be a problem for the Jags, even if it is cold. Curran’s notebook and Parente’s notebook have more on the disrespect theme.
Steve Bulpett has a feature this morning on former Celtics coach Rick Pitino, who talks at length about his time in Boston, the mistakes he made, and how he is so much more well suited for the college game. This is a good article and perhaps in lieu of that final press conference which never took place, offers some closure on the situation, some five years after he left Boston for the final time. Shira Springer has the Celtics hoping to remedy their issues on defense, and get themselves back on track. Bulpett looks at the Celtics offense, which while it may seem to be a strength of the team, hurts the club with costly turnovers. Bulpett advocates giving the younger players minutes, and points to Delonte West’s development as a good example of what happens to a young player who gets playing time.
Gordon Edes reports that no progress is being made on a Manny/Tejada trade. David Heuschkel notes that there are plenty of obstacles out there to any blockbuster trade being made. Tony Massarotti reports that the Red Sox are still in talks with Tampa Bay regarding shortstop Julio Lugo. If you have an ESPN Insider logon, the Peter Gammons article from yesterday is a worthy read. He looks at the Red Sox as a team that may have lost a lot of players, but still has a strong core to build around this season.
Stephen Harris has Andrew Raycroft working his way through a difficult season with the Bruins. Frank Dell-Apa has coach Mike Sullivan saying that his team needs to do better with second-chance opportunities.
Michael Vega and Rich Thompson report on Boston College rolling over UMass in last night’s 11th edition of the Commonwealth Classic. Lenny Megliola and Ron Chimelis also have accounts of the game. Chimelis’ notebook says that the rivalry between the two schools will continue. Thompson looks at the defensive presence of Sean Williams as a factor for the Eagles last night.
Bob Ryan looks ahead to tonight’s matchup of USC and Texas for the National Championship in the Rose Bowl. Jon Couture thinks that Texas is poised to break through and beat Southern Cal tonight. Mark Blaudschun notes that this matchup has plenty to offer for the viewer. Jeff Jacobs says that Pete Carroll always has fun.
John Molori has his 2005 BLITZY winners in this week’s edition of Media Blitz.
FSN has Celtics/Bobcats at 7:30. ABC has Texas/USC in the Rose Bowl at 8:00.