by Scott Benson
The Pats continued to wheel and deal after Saturday’s 53-man cutdown, making four moves yesterday and leaving many with the impression that the last shoes have yet to drop on New England’s final roster. Let’s run down the latest:
Veteran John Lynch was let go just a day after he appeared to make the team. The word is it’s simply a money move to excuse the Pats from guaranteeing the veteran’s salary for the full season – Lynch is waived now and re-signed next week when no such requirement exists. Even the press release issued by the team (and Lynch too, seemingly) strongly hinted that the former Buc ‘n Bronco safety would return to Foxborough in short order.
Will he? At his own request, Lynch played long into the evening Thursday night. There may not be much of a market for the veteran; the Pats didn’t exactly have to fight through a crowd to sign him a few weeks ago. But it’s not out of the realm that somebody somewhere saw something during Lynch’s extended face time on Thursday night. It only takes one of thirty-one. Sure, if there’s an arrangement in place with Bill Belichick, Lynch can certainly screen his calls this week and lay low. But what if this tacit agreement isn’t nearly as firm as we’ve already assumed it to be?
I hadn’t quite figured out yet where Lynch was going to help the Pats this year. He looked to be an early down player there to stuff the run – you could have tied him and Tedy Bruschi together with a piece of string. One goes out, both go out. The concept that Lynch was going to be helpful in coverage was less easy to visualize. And what he did to the median age and 40 time of a group that is supposed to be getting younger and faster – oy.
Lynch may very well be back in the fold before this post is a week old. What that will mean to the Patriots on-field fortunes is beyond me.
Who The **** Are These Guys?
Cutting Chad Jackson and Lynch yesterday allowed the Pats two open roster spots, and after losing out on a couple of waiver claims, they signed Jet tight end Jason Pociask and Ram tackle Mark LeVoir to get back to 53 (54, actually, when you include Kevin Faulk).
If you knew of either of these players before yesterday you’re doing better than me.
LeVoir comes at a time when the Pats interior line is beyond banged up – two reserves who made the team (Russ Hochstein and center Dan Connolly) will evidently not be ready to play this Sunday, meaning New England will be down to two guards (starters Logan Mankins and Billy Yates) when they line up against the Chiefs.
Hey, they’re not exactly loaded at tackle either. How many linemen practiced yesterday – five? Six? Dire times for the Men of Dante.
Pociask is here to – oh, the hell with it. Why does it seem like Ben Watson is always hurt? Not to go off on a rant here, but he plays fewer games every year. Will he be down to single digits by the time his contract ends in 2009? Well, at least he has Durable Dave Thomas backing him up.
In all seriousness, I’ve got full confidence that Watson and Thomas can hold up the tight end position for the Pats. But they have to be on the field to do so. I think it was Bill Parcells who said, “you can’t keep everybody,” but one of the things I wonder about the most is if the Patriots have armed themselves adequately at tight end, given the dubious attendance records of their top two guys. Prepare for hundreds of Jason Pociasks to stream through Foxborough over the next seventeen weeks.
The Rats Are Deserting The Ship, And It Isn’t Even Sinking
I fully realize that this will not interest some (or most) of you, and that’s okay. This part isn’t for you.
I don’t know why I spend the time I do at the PatsFans.com message board. Any message board, really. It’s not good for you. Your back hunches, your eyes go, and somehow you end up pissed off most of the time. For every person who amuses or enlightens you with a well placed post, there’s legions more who will, to be charitable, try your goddammed patience.
Yet still I go, when anything of the slightest import is going on with the Pats. I guess it’s because I’m looking for the headline or the link that I missed, or the point of view that I hadn’t thought of yet. Sometimes I find it.
Most of the time I don’t. Like this weekend, as the Pats dared challenge the most sacred possession of the football message board poster: their 53-man roster.
I’ll be damned if I can understand what ever gave some people the impression that they have a recognized vote in this process. Look, we all build our little rosters, but I sense that most of us acknowledge they’re for entertainment purposes only, not even worth the keys that were pecked to put it together. But a few of us seem to really own the damn things. If so and so is on our roster but not Bill Belichick’s, well, then Bill Belichick has screwed something up. Are they pissed these moves weren’t run by them first? There’s not even the slighest hint of self awareness in their rants; they rail on about Belichick’s failings (hubris, or incompetence, or both) as if their dog-eared Street and Smith‘s and their subscription to Scout.com (and their unhealthy obsession with names, or measureables, or college games they once saw on ESPN) makes them a personnel man worthy of consultation. “You cut Chad Jackson and kept C. J. Jones? Are you NUTS?”
By now, those people have already proclaimed Deltha O’Neal to be useless and yet another example of the haughty Belichick refusing to acknowledge that the way you build an NFL champion is to throw a bunch of money at Scout.com’s updated list of the top twenty-five free agents.
For others, it’s simply confusion. “WHAT is BB doing????” they cry, as if nothing short of a baby monitor on the head coach will assure us he’s not destroying the Patriots behind our backs. For emphasis, they add in a little blue emoticon guy with a sad face and several question marks over his head to their post. Oh, at first I thought you were only mildly confused, but now that I see this emoticon, I see we have a real problem. You’re really seriously confused!
I actually saw a post this morning that suggested that the real problem is that Belichick refuses to explain to them what he’s doing. Yes, that seems like a good idea. “Well, the truth is, we’re hoping to sneak Vince Redd through to the practice squad before anybody gets wise to him. And by the way, remember David Herron last year? I only did that to get back at Brad Childress, that prick.” ALL WE WANT IS AN EXPLANATION! Who are you, Larry Johnson? We’re eight years into this thing and people are expecting Belichick to establish a Fan Advisory Council?
Anyway, between the guys angrily bitching about their now useless Chad Jackson avatars and the others who can’t bring themselves to give the benefit of the doubt – even for a day – to the guy who’s 105-38 with four Super Bowl appearances in eight seasons as Patriots coach, the rats are deserting the ship before it’s taken on even a thimbleful of water.
Oh, I know what you’re going to say. “He’s NOT perfect! Stop drinking the KOOL AID!”
On your first point: No shit, Sherlock. By my calculator, 105 divided by 143 isn’t 100%; it’s 73.4%. So you’re right; Bill Belichick isn’t perfect. He’s only correct 73.4% of the time. Thanks for clearing that up. Now tell me who’s right more often.
On your second point: Kool Aid? Ha! You mean, like those people in that cult’s mass suicide thirty years ago? And Belichick is Jim Jones? Ouch! I hadn’t heard that before!
See, the thing is I always figured those people couldn’t have been thinking clearly to do something like that. There had to have been panic, and misinformation, and there had to have been at least a few who tried to convince the rest that the end of the world was coming. Drink up, before it’s too late!
Wait a minute. Which one of us does that really sound like?