Nick Cafardo strikes again. All I can say is WOW. Nick’s slanted coverage of the Patriots was never more evident than this monstrosity of an article in this morning’s Globe. Taking comments from “Patriot Reign”, Cafardo twists things as only he can on the Patriot beat. He talks of “disparaging remarks” all through the book about the Buffalo Bills franchise. Um, Nick….Where? Let’s look at this paragraph to start:
Among his comments, Belichick used a barnyard profanity in describing Buffalo's offensive line; called former Patriot/current Bill Lawyer Milloy, who won't be playing Sunday because of a broken forearm, a "negative leader" and "selfish" and an "unsure tackler"; and also is critical of quarterback Drew Bledsoe and cornerback Nate Clements.
Keep in mind that most of these quotes and ideas are two or more years old. Belichick made the statement about the Bills offensive line to emphasize how badly his defense played. (By the way, the Bills offensive line wasn’t very good, and I’m pretty sure Nick himself wrote that at some point in a defense of Bledsoe.) The supposed comments about Lawyer Milloy? As Tom Jackson would say, Let me be very clear about this: Belichick never directly said those words in the book. They appear as part of a team self-assessment. While Milloy was still with the Patriots. That assessment also includes the positives about Milloy. Cafardo makes it look like Belichick said the negatives directly, and out of the blue. The only reference I can find about Nate Clements in the book is a benign section from a scouting report which says not to throw 10-12 yard patterns against him, throw “deep or deeper”. The criticism about Drew Bledsoe…later in his piece Nick says that Belichick makes a comment about the “Cover 5” defense that Drew “can’t beat”. Again. Belichick never says that in the book. That section is a reference to how the JETS when Belichick and Romeo Crennel were there, used to plan to beat Bledsoe and the PATRIOTS. The actual passage in the book:
Belichick...would play the educated odds, going with scientific and anecdotal research that revealed that Bledsoe would not be accurate enough or patient enough to make the throws that would defeat an effective "Cover 5".
Again, this was with the Jets. So I ask…how are critical comments about his defense, excerpts from a self-scouting report on his own players, and strategy from years ago in anyway “disparaging remarks” about the Buffalo franchise? Clearly it’s not. Cafardo claims that “Belichick has knowingly created” bulletin board material for a division rival. That’s ridiculous. Plus, Michael Holley has stated that nobody asked for editorial control over any section of the book. So how did Belichick “knowingly” do anything besides go about the business of football?
What’s obvious about this article is that Cafardo was clearly fed this stuff from within the Buffalo organization. Any casual fan reading the book would not find any of the stuff that is mentioned here material that would make them sit up and take notice. I have the book right here, I went to the passages mentioned. This article is twisted, big time. It’s hard to believe Nick even read the book if he can in good conscience write an article like this. This is sensationalism at it’s worst.
As for the Buffalo columnist who claims Belichick just wanted publicity…if he wanted it, there are plenty of other ways to get it. Network pregame shows, Commercials, he could do those…Belichick runs away from that stuff. Rather the motivation for agreeing to the book was to have an accurate, if not entirely comfortable for him, account of what happens day to day in the offices of an NFL franchise. Not the flimsy stuff you might see in a book like, oh, The Impossible Team….
The rest of the Patriots links today…Michael Parente has a look at the struggling Drew Bledsoe, who defies any suggestion that his job could be in danger. Michael Felger says that with Deion Branch, Benjamin Watson and Kevin Faulk all out, Troy Brown could be playing a bigger role in the Patriots offense, especially on third down situations. Chris Kennedy says the Patriots run defense could get themselves quite a test this Sunday. Tom E Curran looks at the newest Patriot, tight end Jed Weaver, who hasn’t quite learned the Patriot way as of yet, as indicated in his remarks to the press yesterday. Steve Conroy also has a look at Weaver. Christopher Price looks at men of faith of the Patriots. Jim Donaldson looks at the Patriots one-game-at-a-time mantra. Conroy also looks at Eugene Wilson being named AFC defensive player of the month, the first time a Patriot has gotten that honor since 1997. Not bad for a guy who has only been at his position for a year.
Ian M Clark’s Patriots notebook looks at how punter Josh Miller is fitting in with his new team. Parente’s notebook has more on the addition of Weaver. Curran’s notebook says Weaver will add depth to an increasingly depleted offense. Felger’s notebook has Vince Wilfork looking forward to seeing former Miami teammate Willis McGahee. Mike Reiss reports that Weaver got a two year deal, interesting for a midseason pickup. Cafardo’s notebook has more on Weaver.
Looks like I’m not getting to the Red Sox links this morning…
A few sports media links though. Bill Griffith looks at the high tech Patriots and the revamping of Patriots.com. Jim Baker looks at record TV ratings for the Red Sox. John Howell looks at some weird comments from Tony Siragusa during last Sunday’s Lions/Eagles game and wonders just what the Goose contributes to the broadcasts. David Scott has a Friday edition of Scott’s Shots, where he bounces across several sports media topics.