Bill Barnwell has The Case For – And Against – Adam Vinatieri, Part II posted over on the Patriots Game Day page. Barnwell looks at whether Vinatieri will put the Colts over the top and if the Patriots made a mistake by not signing him.

Speaking of kickers, the Patriots made their decision yesterday on who is going to hold down that position this season as they released veteran Martin Gramatica, leaving rookie Stephen Gostkowski as the winner of the competition. Mike Reiss looks at Gostkowski, who welcomes the challenge of kicking in New England. John Tomase says that this decision was more an affirmation of Gostkowski than an indictment of Gramatica. Kevin McNamara has more on the Patriots settling on Adam Vinatieri’s replacement. Alan Greenberg looks at the decision and says there are still questions to be answered about whether the rookie will be able to kick in cold weather. Chris Kennedy says there was no puff of white smoke, but the Patriots still named a successor yesterday. Rich Garven and Christopher Price round out the coverage of the kicking decision.

Albert Breer has Vince Wilfork trading in the Miami way for the Foxboro way and poised to have a big year in this, his third NFL season. Michael Parente also focuses on Wilfork and his development in learning the Patriots defense and techniques. Tomase has Johnathan Sullivan attempting to set the record straight on his arrest in June and on characterizations being made of him in the media. Kennedy has a look at the tight ends looking to be a huge part of the offense. Ian Clark has a look at the kicking situation and Madden football 2007. Eric McHugh looks at Junior Seau getting his feet wet with the Patriots. Gary Dzen has Ellis Hobbs looking to make a big leap in his second year. Hector Longo has Rodney Harrison hoping to win this year for Seau.

Reiss’ notebook has more on Sullivan pleading his case before the media. Tomase’s notebook looks at an up and down camp for Monty Beisel. The Projo notebook says that the depth at tight end indicates that this is going to be a key position for the team this season. Garven’s notebook looks at whether the team might go with just two quarterbacks even though now they’re not going to carry two kickers. Parente’s notebook has more on Gramatica getting the boot from the Patriots. McHugh’s notebook has Dan Klecko focusing solely on the defensive line this summer.

Sox Snap Streak

The Red Sox managed to snap their six game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Angels. Jon Lester improved to 7-2, Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 33rd save and David Ortiz and Wily Mo Pena homered in the win.

Gordon Edes has the game story, tempered by the news that the Sox might be without Manny Ramirez for a while, as the slugger had to leave the game in the fourth inning because of soreness in his right knee – the same knee that caused so much mocking from the media over the All Star break. David Heuschkel however, suggests that perhaps Manny has simply quit on the team. Jeff Horrigan has more on the losing streak finally coming to an end for the Red Sox. Steven Krasner says manager Terry Francona is satisfied that last night’s win shows that his club hasn’t thrown in the towel.

Tony Massarotti writes a column…*gasp*…defending Manny. He makes some very good points, noting that every week, someone complains about a scorers decision. Why do we only hear about when Manny does it? He notes that perhaps the Red Sox should be accused of “dogging it” for not getting the necessary players around him to win another World Series. He concludes his piece by saying:

Unfortunately, Ramirez won’t cooperate enough to let us find out for sure, and shame on us for taking the easy way and thinking of him solely as a dope.

Wow. I’m stunned. A media member actually acknowledging this? When I wrote my Manny – Perception vs. Reality column, the whole point was that the media and fans largely overlook Manny’s greatness by just focusing on his shortcomings. It seems almost every day since I posted that, talk show hosts and media people seem to indirectly reference the accusations in that column by the way they preface their Manny comments by saying that they’re “not bashing Manny, but….” and then proceed to bash him. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. He won’t be truly appreciated until he’s gone. All course, Massarotti might’ve written that column just to be different from all other writers in town and to get some attention today. (If so, it worked.) Who knows whether he believes the things he wrote in there or not. I really hate to be cynical about this, but I’ve seen it too many times not to be.

Dan Shaughnessy treats one and all to another sarcastic and embarrassing column written prior to last night’s game. Hope the red wine from the hotel bar was good last night Dan, after all, you are in California. Krasner’s Inside the Game looks at Jon Lester piling up a high pitch count early once again.

Kevin Gray talks to Fisher Cats manager Doug Davis, who was on the Marlins with Josh Beckett. David has some theories about Beckett’s struggles, and it’s not surprise to him that Beckett has done especially bad without Jason Varitek behind the plate. Horrigan has a look at Dustin Pedroia attempting to settle in at the big league level. Massarotti has Keith Foulke coming through for the Sox again last night. Art Davidson reports that 1999 Red Sox draft pick Greg Montalbano is once again battling cancer.

Horrigan’s notebook has more on Manny’s injury, which could be tied to the hamstring tightness and might keep him out of the lineup for an extended period of time. Krasner’s notebook has more on Manny’s injury. Edes’ notebook has Jonathan Papelbon interested in a post-season trip to Japan with a group of MLB players, but the Red Sox aren’t so keen on their young closer making the trip. Heuschkel’s notebook has Doug Mirabelli talking about whether this Red Sox team can rally back into the playoff race.

Bruins and Misc.

Joe McDonald has newly signed Patrice Bergeron ready to be a leader with the Bruins. Mike Loftus says that the Bergeron deal truly spells a new era for the Bruins. Douglas Flynn agrees that this shows how much things really have changed in the Bruins front office this summer. Fluto Shinzawa has more on Bergeron and what he means to the Bruins.

The BSMW Power Play takes a look at the Bruins’ salary cap situation. Flynn’s notebook has Cam Neely impressed with the offseason overhaul done by the Bruins.

Lenny Megliola issued a thoughts column, while Buddy Thomas answers more made up questions from fictional readers.

ESPN has Portsmouth, NH taking on Georgia in the Little League World Series tonight at 7:30. ESPN2 has Cardinals/Mets at 7:00. FOX has Dolphins/Panthers preseason football at 8:00. NESN has Red Sox/Angels at 10:0.