|Are the Patriots Still Legitimate Super Bowl Contenders Without TE Rob Gronkowski?||Notes and Observations Week 14: Patriots Mount Another Improbable Comeback; Beat Browns 27-26||Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots Stink but Exciting; Poor Gronk||Patriots Lose Gronk But Complete Miraculous Comeback to Beat Browns, 27-26|
This week’s 2-point conversion column will focus on the Patriots California dreaming and the Al Davis claim of Randy Moss tampering by Bill Belichick.
A long bye week for the 2-1 Patriots leaves the team plenty of time to stew over the embarrassing loss to the Dolphins. As bad as things were it’s now time to focus on the future which is a two game road trip in California. Back-to-back games against the 49ers and Chargers will see the Patriots stay in California through the second game instead of bringing the team back across the country two more times. The 49ers will not be an easy rebound for the Pats as QB J.T. O’Sullivan isn’t as inept as many thought. The ‘niners are 2-2 and O’Sullivan has nearly 1,000 yards and four TD passes thus far. Frank Gore is an elite running back and has – dare I say – Ronnie Brown like skills.
Matt Cassel needs to have a good game this week. With a running game hobbled by injuries it’s important for Cassel to take advantage of the weapons he has in Moss and Welker. The defenses are creeping up more and more and are letting the blitzes fly, knowing the inexperienced QB will not be able to make the big throw. Prove them wrong, Matt. Moss has spoken this week on the growing relationship between the two and fans realize that it will take time. You can’t look at Moss’ performance early last year as a good sample because Tom Brady is in a class all his own. Moss is a team leader and needs to get the ball early to stay involved. Without using their superstar wide receiver, Cassel doesn’t have a chance to succeed at a high rate without the defense pitching a near shutout, and we know that’s not gonna happen.
This Sunday will show us who the real Patriots are, a team who is still in the drivers seat to win the AFC East, or a team headed for a mediocre record. I sure hope it’s the former.
You gotta feel for Raiders fans. As bad as the Super Bowl loss and Brady’s injury feels, could you imagine having Al Davis as the leader of your organization? ….Okay you can come back to Earth. Davis – after firing the young coach he selected and everyone thought was a reach to begin with – has now accused Bill Belichick of tampering with Randy Moss before the Pats traded for him. From the AP story:
Davis said former Raiders senior personnel executive Michael Lombardi, who was fired 10 days after the Moss trade, spoke to Belichick about Moss.
“What’s his name knew he could run, he’s a friend of Belichick’s. Mike Lombardi,” Davis said Tuesday. “Mike sold what’s his name, Belichick, on the idea that he could run. They tampered with him. I remember [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft saying that he had to look him in the eye and all that. They went down and worked him out, he could run. He’s their team, of course, with the quarterback.”
Ohhhhhhh Al. The man is clinging to his hopes that his beloved silver and black will return to glory, the days of Marcus Allen and most recently, Rich Gannon (ha!). The truth is the Raiders have had five head coaches in seven years and have regressed tremendously despite a good fan base. Moss simply declined to comment on Davis’ accusations and Belichick denies any wrongdoing (quote from Boston.com):
“I’ve told the story a hundred times. The first time I talked to Randy was after I talked to Mr. Davis, Saturday night/Sunday morning before the [draft in April 2007], the second day of the draft. I don’t know what this workout is. No idea.
This is piling on by an old, desperate man. Why would he wait two years to bring these accusations up? You know it and I know it: to take the heat off of him because of his embarrassing mismanagement of a once proud franchise.
Man is he ugly too.