Monday, September 10, 2007


In 2001, it was the Raiders who bitched about the tuck rule. Then their fans, and overnight radio loser JT the Brick concocted a conspiracy theory involving the NFL, Homeland Security, and the Kennedy assassins. They ignored the fact that their team still allowed two field goal scoring drives after the tuck rule play, and since that year, their team has been a joke that gets funnier and funnier.

Also in 2001, the Steelers complained that the "best team" didn't win the game between them and the Patriots. Because Bill Cowher was focused too much on his hard pounding run game, and impenetrable defense to give any attention to his special teams play, he proceeded to whine like a baby.

Then there the Colts in 2003 and 2004. This bunch of sissies whined that Patriots players hit them during plays. Eventually, the Colts whined so much that an entirely new set of rules for pass coverage were written by the NFL. Now the Colts could get 5 yard penalties and automatic first downs if anyone even looked at Marvin Harrison in a mean way.

Then last year the Chargers joined the whining. Tomlinson threw a tantrum when the Patriots mimicked Merrimen's Lights Out dance on the Chargers logo. Ladanian even went so far as to accuse Coach Belichick of being classless. Meanwhile, LT ignored the steroid use of his teammate who was mocked, as well as the DUI his other teammate picked up in the off-season.

And now it's time for the Jets to join the circus of bad losers.

Eric Mangini, who has connived, plotted, and schemed in a vein effort to surpass the Patriots in the AFC East, now has a new ploy. He has accused the Patriots of stealing signs. He's borrowed a page from baseball and applied it to football.

Before every defensive play, the defense on the field receives the play call from the sideline. But they get their play in the form of hand signals from the sidelines. In an effort to prevent these signals from being decoded, teams often employ three or more signalers, with only one man giving the true signs.

In this weekend's 38-14 demolition of the Jets, a Patriot employee was noticed on the sidelines with a video camera. The Jets have alleged that this man was taping the Jets signalers in an effort to figure out which plays the Jets would be running on defense. The NFL has since confiscated the tape and the camera, and will be investigating the matter.

First of all, in order to decipher the Jets signals, the Patriots would have to find all of the signalers, record every play, compare it to the signals, and hope to find a pattern with one of the signalers. Then they could apply it to gameplay, and maybe be able to tell when the Jets were blitzing, when they weren't, and things like that.

If this happened, then it's a form of cheating, and the Patriots should be punished. But I have my doubts. It seems like it would be too difficult to do this within a game. But I haven't seen any of the tapes or anything, so who knows?

This whole thing stinks like dirty diapers. Mangina and the Jets are crying because they got spanked. And they try to pull this mind game crap all the time. This and the whole business with Reche Caldwell after he got released is just another vein attempt by Mangina to overcome the fact that the Patriots are much superior to the Jets. It isn't the first time another team has acted like children after we beat them. And it won't be the last.

The Jets can join the Raiders, Steelers, Colts, and Chargers in the ever growing list of teams that need to grow up.


I think the only Patriot that didn't have a good day was Matt Cassel, who fumbled a perfect snap during a field goal attempt. Cassel didn't even get to do the kneel down to end the game.

We just rolled all over New York. Maroney had a solid day, Brady was great, Moss was monstrous, the defense was impressive against the run and rushing the QB, and Ellis Hobbs tied an NFL record for longest play ever.

We started off with a surprisingly run heavy drive that was textbook. We had pretty bad field position, which I was worried about, because for the past 4 or 5 years, we've been a team that wins by winning the field position battle, and gradually wearing down an opponent. Not anymore, it looks like. We started at the 9 and went 91 yards on 11 plays for the touchdown.

We sputtered a bit for the rest of the 1st quarter. We also used up all our timeouts. We played some sloppy football at times, which cost us a few opportunities. We could have put this game away earlier than we did.

Cassel had a fumbled snap, we used up our timeouts thanks to the Jets' no huddle offense, Welker dropped a ball that would have been a drive continuing first down, and so on.

The Jets tied it up after the fumbled snap, but we did something that we seemed to always do a few seasons ago: score right before the 2nd quarter ends. Moss accounted for 55 yards out of the 73 total yards on the TD drive.

We exploded in the 3rd quarter. Hobbs returned the kickoff for a 108 yard touchdown. Then Pennington got hurt (which seemed to please some Jets fans. you stay classy, New York). Then we had a 4 play, 85 yard drive, with Moss catching a 19 yard pass to begin it, and a 51 yard pass to end it. Moss outran three Jets to catch the 51 yard bomb and score the touchdown. The way New York was playing, the game was over at 28-7.

The Jets responded with a touchdown drive that made the game 28-14, but their drive took nearly 5 minutes. We got the ball back and proceeded to drain the life out of the clock.

"Clock Killin" Sammy Morris just doesn't have the same ring as "Clock Killin" Corey Dillon, but Morris did to New York what Dillon had been doing for us. The Pats drove for 10:28, draining over one sixth of the game's length off the clock, kicking a field goal, and leaving 6:44 for New York to score three times.

Heath Evans got the game sealing TD behind Seau's blocking. Seau basically threw himself into the Jet linebackers. He missed everyone, but prevented Vilma from jumping at Heath, who was leaping behind Seau, over the goal line.

The story of the game was the Patriots offensive line. Brady had all day to pass, and the zone blocking seemed to work well for Maroney and Morriss. We ran for 137 yards, and Brady was only hurried once.

Part of Brady having so much time was due to our receivers. In order for the Jets to blitz, they would have to cover Moss, Stallworth, Welker, and so on, man-to-man. Covering Randy Moss man-to-man just doesn't work. So the Jets didn't blitz us very often. And when they did, we made them pay.

Brady looked good, but he also had about 20 seconds to find open receivers, and when he didn't find anyone open, he'd toss the ball in Moss's general direction, and Randy would jump 7 or 8 feet, and come down with the ball.

I was really impressed with our defensive play. We held New York to 60 yards on the ground. We stuffed a lot of plays early on and broke up a lot of those long scoring drives Pennington and the Jets like to put together. We also did a great job of pressuring Pennington. We sacked him 5 times, and kept him busy in the pocket all day.

We made some mistakes, and very easily we could have won this game 41-7, or even 48-0. We're going to have to work those kinks out when we play teams like San Diego and Indianapolis. However, we're 1-0, and we're already a game up on everyone in the AFC East, because they all lost yesterday.

And by the way, Belichick and Mangini had a short handshake after the game. And who friggin cares?

No photographers were harmed by Coach Belichick.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I remember when we traded for Randy Moss, people would come up to me and ask: "What do you think of the Moss deal?" My simple reply:


We had just acquired one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, along with two other very good receivers, and an amazing and versatile defensive player in Adalius Thomas. We went 14-5 without these guys, and came a few dropped passes away from making it to the Super Bowl.

Obviously, my projection of 19-0 was not a serious prediction. But I did feel supremely confident in the Patriots, and felt as though they were the favorites to win the Super Bowl. And I still feel that way. But with the beginning of the season looming on Sunday, I'm starting to have doubts.

Maybe doubts isn't the right way to describe it. I think we will win the Super Bowl, and go 17-2 or 16-3 overall. BUT, if we don't, if we fall on our faces and go 9-7 and miss the playoffs, or go 10-6 and lose in the 2nd round, I can easily see how it will happen. The margin of error for this and any other NFL team is so slim, that almost any team could go 17-2, or 7-9.

So if we fail this year, here are some of the reasons why:

Missing players:
You expect to be injured and missing players in the middle or end of the season. But the Patriots will be starting with Richard Seymour out for 6 weeks, and Rodney Harrison suspended for 4 games. These are two keystones to our defense. Thomas can step up and rush off the outside, but there is no replacement for Harrison's presence in the defensive backfield. We play the Jets and the Chargers to start the season, a pair of playoff teams, and we'll be missing two of our best defenders.

Samuel Holdout:
Asante Samuel has rejoined the team, but he missed most of training camp during his holdout. The Patriots are better with him than without him, but for the first few games, he will not be at top form. We have two divisional games in the beginning of the season, and winning them will be huge for our playoff drive. But what are we going to get out of Samuel?

Laurence has been wearing the red shirt for most of training camp, and he will be our only main option in the backfield this season. He's never been a runningback for a full 16 (and up to 20) game season He was very good last year, for a rookie. But he had a lot of help from Corey Dillon, which he won't be getting this season.

We ran for about 1,800 yards last year, with Maroney accounting for 745 of those. Dillon got a lot of hard yards, wearing down opposing defensive lines, which allowed Maroney to slip tackles, run to the outside, and get his kind of yardage. Maroney now has Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk supporting him, but Faulk is not a power back like Dillon was. Morris isn't half bad, he's actually a solid back, but he is no Corey Dillon. I think it's safe to say that our running game will not be as good this season as it was last year.

Moss + Stallworth + Welker
We really have no idea what to expect from this combination of guys. Brady has never had a WR as talented as Moss. Nor have we ever had as many deep threats as we do now. I've never been a big fan of the deep ball. I think it's important for the deep pass to be a threat, but I prefer the medium routes that guys like Branch and Givens used to run to perfection, spreading out the defense horizontally, as well as vertically. I think Welker and Watson will be able to do this, and we could potentially have a really dynamic passing offensive, but it could all collapse just as easily. It's an unknown. Also, Moss just started to participate in full practices.

Loss of Daniel Graham
Ben Watson has shown some potential to be a very good TE. He was one of our best deep threats last year. But Graham was a leader, an excellent blocker, and a very good complimentary tight end to Watson. I like David Thomas, though, but we've only seen him for a few plays. I think having multiple tight-ends will be key to our offense, ensuring that linebackers don't rush Brady and have to cover TEs, creating mismatches, and blocking for Maroney. How David Thomas performs will be a big part of how we perform as a team.

Tom Brady just had a baby, Rodney Harrison just got suspended for HGH, and Randy Moss is a potential distraction bomb waiting to detonate. The Patriots are just as vulnerable as any other team to being distracted by all this off field crap. In the past, we've been able to remain focused no matter what, but that could all change easily.

I still think we're the top team in the NFL because of who the coach is, who the QB is, who the team leaders are, and how our talent performs. My prediction is a 13-3 regular season, and a Super Bowl victory.

I can't wait for Sunday.