Ever since yesterday's Hayden Panettierre's 18th birthdayapalooza, I've been getting emails from some chick who I think might be a Dateline NBC staffer, so I better go with someone north of 40, just to call off the dogs. And when I'm looking for older heat, my default settin is Monica Bellucci. Monica was lighting up Italy back when Hayden was just an itch in her daddy's pants.
And if Monica was paying attention to the Patriots, she'd see the depth chart in the secondary beginning to take shape. Bill Belichick was asked about the play of Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson at Safety, and he went out of his way to throw James Sanders into the praiseworthy mix as well. "I think we're at the point now that whichever two of those three [players] are in there together, all the communication is pretty good," he said.
And probably the best, most underrated story of the preseason so far is the fact that Rodney is not only playing like his old self, he's coming back all sorts of pissed off. Real vintage Rodney Wrath of God stuff: "We don't care what you think or what the public thinks. In 2001, [the team] won the Super Bowl but came back the next year and didn't have a great season. You guys were calling them bums. I heard all the names. Then I came in 2003 and we won the Super Bowl, so we were great again. So we went from great to bums to great again. So who cares what you guys think?" And Monica's knees turn to butter...
If Bellucci was a football writer (and wouldn't life be better if she was), she'd probably be thinking that a deal with Asante Samuel will get done at some point. Every beat writer in Boston seems to be offering that conventional wisdom, though offering no specifics or a timetable. Still, with or without him, the CB position looks serviceable as both Ellis Hobbs and Randall Gay have been healthy and productive. And the Tennessee coaching staff doesn't think the Pats have much to worry about. Jeff Fisher said "They're going to apply a lot of pressure with their front seven and they're going to score a lot of points," and DC Jim Schwartz added "You're not asking them to cover for that long when you can do the things that New England does."
Moncia: "Breaking news: The Pats have just released P Tom Malone, which means Danny Baugher will be handling the punting and probably the FG holder duties. The only thing we need to know about him is that the nitwits in your office who love to talk about kickers will spend the year butchering his name like they did Gostkowski's all last year. It's pronounced 'bog-ger.' I know that I'm freaking Italian."
Monica is encouraged that Laurence Maroney is finally out of the red non-contact jersey. Kool Aid has sort of hinted around since the start of camp that he feels good enough to start hitting, but the coaches have played it safe. On a related topic, Belichick talked about the need to balance keeping guys from getting hurt with the need to get the team ready. He also described Maroney's situation this way: "He's taking another step, he's a step closer. He's closer to being able to play than he was a week ago, he was closer a week ago than he was two weeks ago," and nothing turns Bellucci, or us, on as much as good Belichick injury-talk avoidance.
Ty Warren is back at practice, which is big news. Tom Brady was not at practice, which could be huge news. He could just be resting a tired arm. No ones speculating he's seriously hurt. But he talked about taking a few days off when his baby is born. And the birth of that kid will be Front-page, Above-the-fold, 50-point type caliber news along the lines of "Bellucci Kills Bin Laden, Declares Love for Thornton."
More Monica: "Is it me, or has Bridget been pregnant for two years now? What, is she gonna give birth to a fifth grader?"