Taylor Fitting In
RB Fred Taylor looked right at home in his first action in a Patriots uniform Aug. 20 at Gillette Stadium. After sitting out the previous week's opener, Taylor slid into the starting lineup against the Bengals, part of the team's no-huddle spread attack that marched down the field to a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
"I'm getting more comfortable in my role and my assignments," Taylor said after the dismal 7-6 loss. "Of course I can improve and get better. But it felt good to get out there and kind of see things flying around a little bit. I didn't have a whole lot of mental busts, but I did have my share and kind of contributed to the loss. So I need to improve, definitely."
Ocho The Kicker?
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows how good Chad Ochocinco is and he's raved about the Bengals' receiver in the past. But Belichick probably never thought he'd lose a game, even in the preseason, thanks to Ochocinco's kicking ability. That was the case last week when the wideout filled in for injured Bengals kicker Shane Graham and hit his only PAT attempt in the 7-6 victory over New England.
"It was the difference in the game," Belichick said of the PAT. "It reminded me of when (Wes) Welker kicked against us (for) Miami. It doesn't surprise me, really. Chad is a great athlete and he has a lot of confidence. He's a guy that pretty much you could challenge him at anything and he'd compete in it and do his best. I thought he stepped up there and obviously made the kick. And he kicked the ball off pretty well."
Not surprisingly Ochocinco impressed himself.
"'Esteban' Ochocinco is back," he said at halftime. "The most interesting footballer in the world. Everyone has to remember, I've always said that soccer is my No. 1 sport. I think Ronaldinho would be proud of me right now."
Feeling The Heat
--As the story goes, it's NFL training and it's supposed to be hot. But on Aug. 16 the heat got to be a bit too much. Offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Rich Ohrnberger were carted off the practice field behind Gillette Stadium under the duress of the extreme heat that hit town in the tail end of training camp.
Mankins returned to action for full participation in a full pads practice the following day, while Ohrnberger returned later in the week.
"I'm alive and well," Mankins said with a smile upon his return. "It was just a little cramping. It was nothing serious. Just the legs locked up. The knees weren't working."
While Mankins never thought the worst when he went down on the field, he's well aware of the heat-related tragedy that hit former Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer back in 2001.
"That never entered my mind, but when you think about it that is a scary situation," Mankins observed. "But we need to get used to it. Teams all through the league are probably practicing in hotter weather than this down in the south. So we have to get prepared for that kind of weather."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He got up, so that's good." -- DE Richard Seymour on Tom Brady taking his first real hit since last season's knee injury, a 7-yard sack by Robert Geathers in New England's 7-6 preseason loss.
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