Newswire: Branch, Belichick and Maroney

News from around the web includes: More observations from the New England Patriot's first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons; Laurence Maroney is silent in speaking, but loud in running; Holdout wide receiver Deion Branch is firmly resolved to be treated fairly;and the Patriots are becoming more convinced that Matt Cassel is their backup quarterback.

Newswire Items 8/14/06 -updated

-- The New England Patriots' plane ride into Atlanta was met with some bumpy weather. Perhaps this was an omen as the Patriots lost a bumpy game 26-23. Head coach Bill Belichick summed the game up this way; "It's just one preseason game, we all have a long way to go." The Boston Globe explores some of the areas that need to be addressed before the start of the season which is less than a month away.

-- Patriots fans feel that the team's crop of young players have lived up to the hype, at those that played on Friday night in Atlanta. Fullback Garrett Mills, who missed most of training camp, stepped in and showed why the team was so excited to acquire the former Tulsa tight end. Running back LAurence Maroney displayed the kind of speed and elusiveness that the Patriots value, and tight end David Thomas looks to be a rising star. Follow what other fans are talking about from the Falcons game in the Patriots Insider forums.

-- After the game against the Falcons, Patriot's rookie running back Laurence Maroney was not available to the media. As history has shown, that is the way head coach Bill Belichick likes to have his players, especially rookies, conduct themselves after a game. Maroney's performance spoke for itself. In a report by the Hartford Courant, Maroney had an outstanding game amassing 66 yards on 9 carries. He accomplished that while playing only the first half.

-- Patriot holdout wide receiver Deion Branch has now accumulated close to $250,000 in fines. That is nearly one quarter of the salary Branch is scheduled to make in the last year of his rookie contract. With this kind of monetary pressure, there is some speculation that Branch will give in and return to the team. Yahoo Sports is reporting that a source close to Branch has said; "People don't understand how committed he [Branch] is to this, he's not going to come in until he gets something he feels that is fair."

-- The Patriots are becoming more confident in the ability of second year quarterback Matt Cassel to be starter Tom Brady's backup. Head coach Bill Belichick says of Cassel; "He has all the talent. "What he lacks is experience and that's what we're trying to get him whenever we can."

-- San Diego Charger and Miami Dolphin linebacker Junior Seau will announce his retirement Monday. Seau was a 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker during his 16 year career in the NFL. ESPN reports that Seau has been plagued with injuries during the past two seasons with the Dolphins and was released in March.


These articles and more can be found in Today's Newswire


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