I’ve come back to Bill Reynolds column in the Providence Journal several times over the course of today. Has Reynolds actually spent any time around the Patriots? I’m guessing very little, if any. He insists that what he says about the team is not meant as criticism. OK. So what exactly is it, if not meant to be critical? The underlying theme of the piece seems to be that this tight lipped approach is only acceptable because the team is winning.

Do any of these guys actually consider WHY the Patriots are so tight with information? Do they ever address those matters? I’ve tried to point out examples of why the Patriots don’t give out a lot of information, and I’ve got another one today. This is from this weekend’s opponent, the Miami Dolphins. In today’s Miami Herald, there is an article from Armando Salguero, who reports that the Dolphins are right up against the league’s new salary cap. Salguero points out that this situation might make it hard for the Dolphins to offer contract extensions to players on the roster.

Then there is a quote from head coach Nick Saban, who says: ”We’ve had conversations with some people, I’m not going to be specific with who,” regarding contract extensions. Seems innocent enough. Seems like Saban is just making a general statement without giving specifics.

But it was enough.

Apparently the reporter then went around the Dolphins locker room and polled players as to whether they’d been approached about a contract extension yet. All the players he talked to expressed that they would like to talk about an extension but have not yet been contacted. One player, David Bowens says:

“But I don’t know what they’re saying upstairs. I don’t know if I’m expendable. Maybe I’m on my way out. I don’t want it to be that way at all, but again this is a business. We haven’t been talking, so the only other option is to go to free agency.”

Do you think this might’ve been a distraction, or caused some hurt feelings that they hadn’t been approached yet? At the very least it might’ve planted some seeds about how much the organization wants them if they haven’t yet been contacted. All things that a team already struggling through a disappointing season doesn’t need right now.

Would this have happened here? We’ve already seen how some members of the Boston sports media are obsessed with contracts. Yet, the Patriots simply don’t say anything about the matter. We’ve got Asante Samuel and Daniel Graham getting set to hit free agency, but you don’t have Belichick or the players mentioning it.

I’m a little surprise that the Belichick-like Saban even said that much, but it just shows the need that they simply must be on their guard at all times in order to not have something cause a problem or distraction. No wonder Belichick is so guarded with his comments all the time. There’s a reason for it.

But people like Reynolds just assume that it is because the team just wants to be difficult and control information for no good reason. It’s also clear that Reynolds and many others have not been around the team on a many Fridays when the atmosphere is a bit lighter, and oftentimes Belichick can be urged into deeper discussions or even reflections on an experience from a time in his lengthy career in the league.

Some quick links from today:

  • Chris Colston in USA Today has a piece on the Patriots, noting how, despite an abundance of roster turnover, the winning attitude remains at Foxboro. This article also builds a little on the above section when it relates that the team shows players clips each week from other teams around the league about what NOT to say.
  • Asante Samuel told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that catching a Nerf ball in the offseason really improved his hands and is partly responsible for his increased interception total.
  • Tom Brady sues Yahoo! for using his photo in an ad for their Fantasy Football game.
  • Former Celtics executive vice president of Marketing and Sales Stuart Layne has been named Publisher of the Boston Metro.
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