by Scott Benson
The Pats are busying themselves with the final stack of their draft board so the hard news has slowed to a crawl. Nevertheless, I offer the following.
The Fall Schedule
As I mentioned earlier, the Pats web staff started yesterday by populating some databases or some such shit and ended up posting what looked like the schedule for the 2009 season.
It was all denied in the name of form fields, of course, but by then everybody had already roughed out their third and fourth quarter itineraries. The Pats later switched it up by re-listing eight home games and eight away games in that order, claiming a staffer had randomly picked the games to “complete a grid“.
Yeah, that makes sense.
I’m sick of this already. Since when do these things happen through the papers? Get a room, fun boys.
I’m not convinced this isn’t about Jason Taylor getting himself a better deal in Miami anyway. Look, no matter where on the East Coast we happen to be, we all agree that Taylor has been an elite player over his career. Even if he’s on the way out, he still presents a threat until he proves otherwise. Anybody – if it was that easy – would gladly find Taylor a spot on their team and take their chances it would pay off.
The Patriots are said to covet Taylor to replace Mike Vrabel as a stand up, hybrid DE-OLB in their 3-4 defense, at least for a year. Incidentally, Taylor’s former team, the Miami Dolphins, also run a 3-4 defense. So why wouldn’t Miami be as interested in Taylor as the Patriots are?
The way I read it, everything Jason Taylor owns and cares about is in South Florida. That may be a line, but if it isn’t, why wouldn’t he consider one more multi-million dollar run in his hometown sun? Has anybody ruled it out?
Don’t give me the BB-Super Bowl angle – last time it meant anything, the 11-5 Miami Dolphins were closer to the Super Bowl than the Patriots.
Great fun this week as a panel of….panelists selected the all-decade teams for our beloved home eleven, set to celebrate their fiftieth year as New England’s professional football team.
First it was the underrated 70’s, the roller-coaster 80’s (which featured the franchise’s first Super Bowl team), and the, well, maddening 90’s (which featured more myths than the Greeks). Later, by popular demand, Mike Reiss recalled the 60’s pioneers who were immortalized in 1971.
Minor quibbles here and there (Richard Bishop as 80’s nose tackle when he was at his best as a 70’s fill-in, no Steve ‘Big House’ Moore on the 80’s team) but really overall I’m just thankful for the exercise. This type of thing would have not been straight-faced twenty years ago.
Doing the Right Thing
I’ve said this elsewhere but I just want to put it here, so I can say I told you so.
Josh McDaniels is going to be a damn formidable head coach some day.
Needless to say, I am completely in his corner in this Denver soap opera. Once Jay Cutler and Bus “Agent to Overrated Fusspots” Cook started their pathetically transparent ploy, McDaniels had no choice but to rid himself of what is tantamount to poison when it comes to a head coach’s ultimate success.
‘Franchise Quarterback”. Yeah. You’re going to sell that in New England, of all places? We’ve seen how it works. You can draft a “franchise” guy first overall and never get the pay off. You can draft an almost-nobody in the sixth round and an entire organization is transcended. So all this about Cutler as an indispensible “Franchise Quarterback”? Hooey.
Still, this is Josh McDaniels’ ass, make no mistake about it.
His resolve to stay true to it – even in the face of a media shitstorm that could last years – makes him a greater threat to the Patriots in the long term, not a lesser one.
Rule Changes Rile
I usually reserve my complaining for the games. This is all too abstract for me now.
I’m referring to the recent clarifications or changes or whatever they just did to the rules that protect the quarterbacks and receivers from undue harm.
I never realized the American football-viewing public cared so much for those low-diving quarterback hits. In my fan’s mind, I’ve always envisioned Deacon Jones or Bruce Smith coming off the blind side and just enveloping Milt Plum or Marc Wilson so that he practically disappears. Or Merlin Olsen or Joe Klecko bulling through a double team to jackknife Jack Concannon or Tony Eason with a hit to the midsection. That’s what I thought brought us to our feet. Nope. It was the crawling, sprawling sack. Lee Flowers or some other mother****er who got blocked on his ass, struggling to get back on all fours, with that last futile lunge towards the quarterback’s knees as the ball leaves the pocket. That’s what gets us lovers of defensive football off.
As far as the receivers, yeah, it seems like a good idea that since you have all your chips laid on this being a wide-open, high-scoring, thrill-a-minute television show, you make a rule saying you can’t try to kill a defenseless player on a tipped ball. At least I think that’s what they intended to do.
You never can tell until it gets in Jeff Triplette’s hands, I guess.
The one change that gave me pause was the no-wedge-of three-or-more ‘adjustment’ (or whatever) on kick returns. First of all, if you can’t get three guys, you can’t have a wedge. Anything less than three is a freaking straight line.
It would be one thing if the league said, “hey, these four-man wedges are killing us. That’s 1200 lbs. blocking a bunch of defensive backs. Somebody’s going to get killed.” But three? You can’t defend a simple triangle for crissakes? YOU STILL HAVE EIGHT OTHER PLAYERS! Figure it out!
Thanks for indulging me. We hope to have some more draft stuff up soon. See you then.