FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the Patriots notebook:
Blakeman gets the call: Clete Blakeman has been assigned to referee Monday night’s game between the Patriots and Panthers. This is Blakeman’s first Patriots game of the 2013 regular season.
Rivera’s view of the Patriots: The opposing perspective of the Patriots is often interesting, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera seemed to reflect the opinion of many analysts when looking at Bill Belichick’s club. “The hard thing about watching this team is that there are a lot of guys that have been hurt or are coming back from being hurt, so it’s hard to really get a good gauge as to who they are or what they are going to be as we get ready for this football game,” he said.
Kuechly on the conference call: Former Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly spoke with Patriots-based reporters on the weekly opponents conference call Thursday. He relayed that he has three classes left before he earns his marketing degree after taking five classes on campus this past spring.
Making a connection between Newton and Roethlisberger: Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich noted the different styles of the Panthers’ rushing attack, with players who can hit the edge and run inside, in addition to a big quarterback in Cam Newton who can also pull it down and run. Specific to Newton, that makes the Patriots’ approach similar to their most recent game, Nov. 3, against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. “As a defensive lineman, it’s your responsibility to stop the quarterback from scrambling and making those plays … being under control and not running past him to open up a big running lane for him to scramble.” Ninkovich said one difference between Newton and Roethlisberger is that Newton doesn't weigh as much.