The Patriots get back into action tonight, taking on the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason opener. Not a minute too soon, either, as the Red Sox are clearly going “scuffers up” (an expression my Dad uses quite a bit.) and don’t appear to be on track for playing past October 1st.

The Patriots GDRV Roundtable crew spent some time this week tossing around a few issues regarding the team, including the media’s claim that this Patriots squad is woefully lacking in depth.

I wasn’t that hard on Shaughnessy for that “Dinner at John Henry’s” column from yesterday, (The worst Shaughnessy columns are always about himself.) as no writer would turn down the invitation that he received. The criticism should go to Henry…what the hell was he thinking inviting that guy to his house…of all the writers in Boston? They’re trying to convince us that the Globe doesn’t get special access/information because of the 17% solution? I ignored the inference that the Patriots were somehow jealous of the Red Sox. Today’s Shaughnessy column adds to the shots at the Patriots, referring to the “paranoia/self-importance” of the franchise. Are you kidding me? He talks about preseason games being ripoffs for consumers. Baseball exhibition games are free, of course, with free beer and food at the concession stands. Wait, they’re not? I’m confused. The whole point of the article seems to be tell us that the Patriots only exist as a minor diversion from the Red Sox. Who is being paranoid and showing signs of self importance now?

Gotta love Shaughnessy pointing to the Patriots “500 page” media guide as THE example of their paranoia/self importance. Hey Dan, the Red Sox media guide is 663 pages.

John Tomase examines the new-look Patriots. No, scratch that, he’s telling us about who won’t be there. Tom E Curran gives us eight things to look for from the players who will actually be on the field tonight. Alan Greenberg says you won’t be seeing too much of the top Patriots players tonight. Nothing goes with football like a good six pack. Albert Breer gives us one, with six players to keep an eye on as far as their play and development tonight. Jennifer Toland has the Patriots looking forward to lining up against someone in a different colored jersey tonight. Michael Parente looks at what experiments the Patriots might try tonight, and which fringe players they’re be evaluating.

Jerome Solomon looks at a guy we’ll be seeing a whole lot of over the next four weeks, backup quarterback Matt Cassel, who is looking to solidify the number two QB slot behind Tom Brady. Michael Felger also looks at Cassel, as well as Rodney Harrison, who he says has a long ways to go still in his recovery, and Matt Light, who has looked good in camp thus far. Dan Pires and Christopher Price each have interesting columns talking to players about what they remember from their first NFL action in the preseason.

Chris Kennedy looks at the two young quarterbacks trying to make a name for themselves with the Patriots this summer. Quick…can you name them? (Todd Mortensen and Corey Bramlet.) Eric McHugh says that we’ll also see plenty of Reche Caldwell this preseason.

Even Susan Bickelhaupt‘s media column seems to indicate that the Patriots are just a diversion. Tomase’s notebook has receiver Eddie Berlin thinking he made the right decision to sign with New England. McHugh’s notebook has the linebackers once again adjusting to life without Tedy Bruschi.

The Red Sox? You really don’t want to read about their 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals which resulted in a series sweep, do you? I didn’t think so. For those of you interested in self flagellation, you can read the Red Sox Daily Links page for the stories on the rapidly sinking Sox.

David Scott examines the lack of color on the Boston sports pages in this week’s edition of Scott’s Shots.

Mike Loftus says that Harry Sinden’s abdication of the Boston Bruins’ presidency shows how much he does care about the welfare of the franchise.

Jordan Raanan talked to rookie guard Allan Ray who opened some eyes in the Las Vegas summer league for the Celtics, and was rewarded with a partially guaranteed contract from the team.