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Patriots' gains linked to Glenn

By Compiled by ERNEST HOOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000

Much has been made about how defenses have to adjust for Bucs receiver Keyshawn Johnson, but coach Tony Dungy said Tampa Bay has to account for the Patriots' prolific receiver, Terry Glenn.

"He's a guy you know they're going to try and get the ball to during the course of the game," Dungy said. "He's capable of making big plays. They move him around a little bit and you have to be aware of where he is."

Glenn is a different receiver than Johnson, with a style more predicated on speed while Johnson is a combination of speed and physical play. Still, the results were impressive: 69 receptions for 1,147 yards in 1999. Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe said it's imperative he and Glenn start connecting again in today's season opener.

"When I'm on and when we're working well together, we can be very, very dangerous," Bledsoe said. "Terry is an explosive guy with great speed, has a great feel for the game about where to be and when to be there. It's really fun working with a guy who's that good and that talented. We've had times when we haven't hooked up as well, and that's frustrating.

"Terry poses problems for defenses. When defenses make adjustments when they try to take him away, that's when other guys have to step up and carry more of the load. But I think a defense's first concern is they have to do something to take Terry Glenn out of the game."

SAFETIES FIRST: Today's game features two All-Pro strong safeties in New England's Lawyer Milloy and Tampa Bay's John Lynch.

Milloy won't spend any time taking notes about Lynch's approach because he's well aware of how the veteran plays. Both played in the Pac 10 Conference at the same time, Milloy at Washington and Lynch at Stanford.

"He played hard," Milloy said. "I remember thinking, "Who is that white boy out there hitting like that.' It was always John."

Both were drafted by baseball teams, Lynch by the Florida Marlins and Milloy by the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers.

DOUBTING THOMAS?: Defensive tackle Henry Thomas has not played a down in the preseason but he would love to get back on the field and showcase his skills. Not only would Thomas get a chance to show Bill Belichick what he can do in the 3-4 system as a backup to nose guard Chad Eaton, but it would give him a chance to play against Randall McDaniel and Jeff Christy, his teammates from 1992-94.

"How do you enjoy playing against somebody?" Thomas said. "As long as the two of them been working together, they make a great team and they work so well together. It's quite obvious when you look at them on film."

LINING UP: Questions abound about the Patriots' offensive line, which has been a work in progress throughout the preseason. The team has six or seven possible starters but has settled on a combination it hopes can be effective against Warren Sapp and company.

Second-year pro Damien Woody is set at center. The tackles also appear set with Bruce Armstrong returning for his 14th season at left tackle and rookie Greg Robinson-Randall on the right. Max Lane will be at right guard, and Jason Andersen likely will start at left guard, although Derrick Fletcher could get the nod.

Lane is one of several linemen troubled with injuries in the preseason.

"Everybody knows all the injuries we've had on the offensive line," Woody said. "Now it's time for us to get that chemistry going. That's the biggest thing for us as a unit. Everybody has to know what the other person is doing. Without that, you struggle.

"So the quicker we get the chemistry going, the better off we're going to be."

Although the lineup is nearly set, there still is a recognition about the group's limitations. The Patriots seem to be conceding they will have their hands full with the Bucs.

"As a coaching staff, one of the things that we're in the middle of in this game is not so much what we want to do, as what we can do," Belichick said. "We have to, as a staff, take a good look at things going into the game, contrast what we'd like to do with what can we actually get executed based on the different things we'll see from Tampa."

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