by Scott Benson
In a world where pulses quicken and minds race, muscles tense and eyes dart, where will you be when the mayhem erupts? It’s Opening Weekend, from Orion Pictures.
Rest in peace, movie announcer guy.
The Brady Punch
To me, the big question tomorrow is to what extent Tom Brady can right the Patriots offense that listed so badly this August. It better be like the most potent B-12 shot ever, or Brady could be back on the sidelines again soon.
The idea is that Brady’s return alone will snap the funk, which is not a bad bet. Few quarterbacks in our lifetime have been more purposeful with the ball in their hands. Brady made his bones on knowing precisely where and when he and his men had to go, and the most efficient way to get them there. The men playing quarterback for the Patriots last month had no such idea, and as a result, the whole unit stumbled its way pointlessly (literally, almost) into September.
So with Brady back at the controls, that’s over, right? Hope so, or he’ll disappear under an avalanche of Metaphorical missed assignments. I’ll be looking first to the Former Five Layers of VISA Security, now known as the pourous New England line, for the first positive indicators that Brady is, in fact, Batman. If the o-line suddenly springs to life after sucking so thoroughly for the last month (don’t blame it all on the so-called grocery clerks; there were a few starters getting rolled there too), then I have no problem believing that Brady has a butler named Alfred and a really bitching atomic-powered car in his secret lair.
I’m Your Captain
I think we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddies, and big toes…the Patriots’ eight captains for 2008.
Mostly the usual suspects like Brady, Bruschi and Harrison, but one name jumped out; our water-squirting, playoff-quitting, metermaid-running, Cheesehead-mooning, Joe-Buck-disgusting, I-play-when-I-want-to-play-and-I-don’t-want-to-play-in-Oakland homey Randy Moss. Talk about a transformation (say that in your best Jim Nantz voice)! What a moment!
Seriously, chances are good that we’ll be sick from all the “Randy Moss has turned his career around in New England, the malcontent has become a captain, an example!” storylines by November 1st.
Good for Moss, though. Even with the unseemly Florida business during last year’s playoffs, he’s practically become a statesman in New England. His on-field credentials are once again impeccable, a rehab that began in the spring of 2007 when card-carrying superstar Moss easily adapted himself into the organization without any of the ‘TO’-like bullshit we’ve come to expect from thoroughbread receivers without rings, especially ones as notorious as Moss. By that fall, the results were undeniable; he was once again a dominant NFL player.
Off the field, he was anything but domineering; Moss bought in and reaped the rewards, a record-setting season and his first Super Bowl. After factoring minimally into the team’s three playoff victories, he reemerged to score the go-ahead touchdown with just under three minutes left in the final game.
In case you hadn’t heard, he and his teammates were ultimately denied the biggest prize. So it makes sense that they would now choose to follow someone who – ahem – knows a little something about redemption.
Sey No More
I noticed Richard Seymour wasn’t among the captains, as he had been in years prior. I don’t know if there’s an “Oooooo, he didn’t make captain” inference here, but I’m sure I’ll not be the last to mention it. Captain or not, if Richard Seymour isn’t very good this year, then I don’t expect the rest of the defense will be either.
Friday Injury Report
Best indication so far as to the current health of these Pats. Sam Aiken, hurt almost immediately after starting his Pats career as a key special teamer, is the only member of the 53 to be ruled out for the Chiefs. He isn’t hurt bad enough to go on IR, evidently, but we haven’t seen Aiken in weeks and this is no indication we will soon.
I wonder how many times in his career Ben Watson has been listed as ‘doubtful’. This can’t be the first, or fifth, or tenth, can it?
Russ Hochstein, who apparently practiced this week, and backup center Dan Connolly are listed as questionable along with DL LeKevin Smith, meaning the Pats will have to dispatch the Chiefs without some measure of depth along the front lines.
Everybody else – including Tom Brady and his chronic shoulder and his walking cast – is clean as a whistle. Breathe this moment in. We may never pass this way again.
This Place Is Lousy With Punters
Do you think Chris Hanson has been sleeping with one eye open this week? Every flight to Logan or Green seemed to have a new punter on it. What’s next, a mall tour? Hosted by Puck from those super-aborbant Shamwow ads? What….that’s not Puck? Are you sure?
Anyway, to what lengths will these Patriots go to toy with Chris Hanson’s emotions? He’s had enough of your macho head games!
Chad Jackson got a look see in Miami at least, but so far no permanent bites for the former second-round pick. One will certinly come, in time, but I wonder what kind of impression his current employment situation is making on him. The pure talent Jackson too infrequently flashed made clear he was – ability-wise – in a different league than the rest of the backup receivers in New England. Now he’s really in a different league – the No Football League. It wasn’t any physical deficiency that put him there.