Titans pose tough challenge
Nothing much has changed in my thinking since last week. I never rule out a Patriots win against a tough team, injuries or no injuries, but I just don't see the matchups working out against a Tennessee team that's about as physical as you can get. They bring a great pas rush with Jevon Kearse and Albert Haynesworth, Carlos Hall and Kevin Carter. It's likely Damien Woody will be back in there to solidify the offensive line and that's a good thing, but enough to offset the Titans' advantage?. Probably not.
Certainly, the Patriots are home and that is a plus on any Sunday. (Will anyone be watching with the Red Sox taking on Oakland?) Wednesday's injury list was 13 deep. New ones like Willie McGinest (neck), Daniel Graham (shoulder), David Givens (chest), and Kevin Faulk (leg) were all listed as questionable. Last week Woody and David Patten were questionable and didn't play.
If Faulk's injury is more severe than we first thought, and if Mike Cloud shows anything in practice this week, he might be in there. Cloud feels if he had a consistent opportunity he'd surprise some people. "I haven't had a consistent chance," Cloud said. "When I have had an opportunity in high school and college (Boston College) I've been very successful. That's what I've been waiting for."
Cloud, per order of his suspension for testing positive for a banned supplement last season in Kansas City, said he had no face-to-face contact with team officials during his suspension, only phone conversations.
"Certainly nothing on the site (Foxborough)," said Cloud who said he did rehab on his surgically repaired right calf out of Boston. "I watched the games on TV and kept up with things that way. I had been sitting on the meetings in training camp, so I have knowledge of what they've been doing. Today (Wednesday) I got a feeling for where we are."
Cloud who carries a one-week roster exemption until he can get himself ready, hasn't been told when he might be out there.
"I hope I can make some type of contribution after this week. I'm not sure what they have in mind yet. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and practice hard," he said.
Cloud said his surgery in training camp required immediate attention because there was pressure on the nerve in his calf that was making an area from the knee down numb. "That's pretty much how I knew what was wrong. Because I wasn't getting proper blood supply, it might have gotten worse if they hadn't caught it at that point."
Cloud, who learned so much backing up Priest Holmes, should make the running-by-committee situation a bit more competitive.
Lot of baseball fans on the Patriots. Richard Seymour, Patrick Pass and Antowain Smith are huge Braves fans, obviously rooting against the Cubs. Pass, of course, played in the Florida Marlins system for a while as an outfielder. Tom Brady, drafted by the Expos as a catcher, grew up a San Francisco Giants fan.
Asked if he hated the A's, Brady said, "I do hate the A's. There is no mistake about that. I never have liked them and I never will like them. The Bay Bridge Series in 1989, I had all my Giants gear on. It is going to be exciting."...
We've certainly dwelled a lot on the major injuries to Rosevelt Colvin, Ted Johnson and Ted Washington, but one loss that has gone under the radar screen is that of Mike Compton, the veteran guard who meant a lot to his fellow offensive linemen.
"He was a guy who's seen so many things that he could tell you what to look for and give you a little advantage," said Patriots left tackle Matt Light. "Sure, it's a big loss. He's the kind of guy who kept things loose around here. He made a big contribution. We miss him."...
If you missed it, Bill Belichick has been thinking about his All-Consistent team, a team of players he's coached over the last 29 years. On the team so far are kicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Dave Jennings, linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Pepper Johnson....
It's probably not the case here in New England, but the most recent Harris poll had pro football widening its margin as the most popular sport in the country. Twenty-nine percent named pro football as their favorite sport over major league baseball (13 percent). Harris said the first time pro football moved ahead of baseball as the fans' favorite was in 1965. Harris cites several reasons for the NFL's current popularity: the greater exposure it receives through higher profile TV coverage?the heightened excitement and festival atmosphere it creates each week?the greater importance of every week's games?and the labor peace that has existed since 1987. Rounding out the top five most favorite sports were men's pro basketball (10 percent), college football (9) and auto racing (9). My guess is that the Red Sox would be No. 1 here in New England with the Patriots a close second....
Celebrity restaurant review
Drew Bledsoe, Buffalo Bills: Capital Grille, any location. The often mentioned restaurant establishment has great steak.
Ken Powers, Worcester Telegram, names two Worcester establishments, one "Sole Provider" where you can get the famous "kettle meals" and 111 Chop House, where you can dig into the "tapas" and select from an impressive wine list.