May 1, 2007

So, how’d your team do in this past weekend’s NFL draft? Me, I’m cautiously excited about what the New England Patriots did, both in the draft and via the trade route. And, I’m not alone. Tell you this, they definitely had a way of snatching the headlines away from the Red Sox, who were doing pretty well all by themselves against the Yankees for the second time in a week – no mean feat there!

While – somewhat predictably – the Pats drafting of Miami safety Brandon Meriweather and their next-day acquisition of Randy Moss are being slammed by the sanctimonious blowhards at both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, there’s no question the Pats have completed a major upgrade in a variety of areas this off-season. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports gives them a rousing A+ for their weekend work – this on top of a number of significant free-agent signings over the past few months.

Did the Pats take a bonafide risk in adding these two players of checkered history and questionable character to their roster, especially given NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s crackdown on general misbehavior and thuggery, as evidenced by the recent suspension of Titans’ cornerback and general, all-around bad-ass Adam “Pacman” Jones? Afore-mentioned Boston Herald blowhard Michael “Felgie” Felger thinks so, at least when it comes to the drafting of Meriweather:

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a CIA agent to discover why such a talented player dropped to the Pats. Just go to and call up clips from the hideous Miami-Florida International brawl last October, where No. 19 (Meriweather) can be seen running from the sidelines and attempting to kick a fallen FIU player not once, not twice, not three but four times.

As does the Globe’s Dan “CHB” Shaughnessy:

Maybe Moss will morph into Troy Brown. But the public perception of the Patriots — something very dear to Kraft — is forever changed. His football men successfully bounced the Red Sox-Yankees off the landscape for a couple of days (which Kraft is obsessed with) and made his team better, but back in March he was still bragging about a locker room stuffed with “the kind of people . . . who fit the profile of what we want.”

Brandon Meriweather doesn’t fit that profile. Moss doesn’t fit that profile. Which makes one wonder if this wild spree represents any split at the top of the Foxborough masthead.

Methinks this is much ado about nothing. Clearly, the Pats know exactly what they’re getting in acquiring both Meriweather and Moss, and have obviously decided that the risk on both ends is well worth it. After all, this is no up-and-coming team filled with impressionable youngsters having nothing but potential; this is a veteran team who has been to the mountain several times, and a team not likely to put up with any shenanigans from players attempting to check their past baggage into the friendly confines of the Foxboro Athletic Club. If anything, what the Patriots’ veterans have done and stand for provides a climate for the Meriweathers and Mosses of the world to excel, as it did for Corey Dillon. And if they can’t shake their pasts, see ya.

In short, the Pats have done everything they had to do going into the offseason and, at least in my view, have to be considered the early favorites to take the AFC crown away from the Colts at a minimum. Forget the naysayers and doom-and-gloomers out there. In Bill We Trust.

A couple of other points:

* About Miami picking Ted Ginn Jr. at #9 – what the heck were they thinking? I can’t imagine the language being bleeped on the South Florida sports talk stations today. Not that the guy doesn’t have talent, or is even not a 1st round draft choice, it’s just that when you’re picking at #9, you gotta draft smarter than that.

* I like the Browns taking Brady Quinn at #22. It’s a good spot for him to go as well; he won’t make nearly as much money, but he won’t be under as much pressure to produce, either.

* Rob at CrabAppleLane Blog will be pleased to know that Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports thinks his Saints did OK in their own draft. Now he’ll really be chomping at the bit waiting for training camp to open!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments (4)
  1. Corey Dillon before Foxboro – troublemaking malcontent.

    Corey Dillon at Foxboro – 1 Super Bowl ring and model citizen.

    ‘Nuff said.

    The only reason I don’t want to just call off the season and simply mail the Lombardi Trophy to Bob Kraft is the expectation of watching Tom Brady throw to a first-class receiving corps for the first time in his storied career.

    Ought to be something special.

    Comment by Dave Richard — May 1, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  2. Absolutely, bro – thanks for the comment. So why doesn’t an “expert” like Dan Shaughnessy see it that way? (Hint, hint at tomorrow’s post!)

    Comment by The Great White Shank — May 1, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  3. I think the Pats had a great offseason. For my money, they are the team to beat. Moss might work out in New England. He’s OK in smooth sailing and the Pats should have plenty of that this season. I caution Dave on putting too much faith in the calming influence of that organization. True, Corey Dillon became a model teammate in New England but Jonathan Sullivan tanked there just as he had in New Orleans. External motivation is never as good as internal motivation. If the fire’s not in the belly already, I don’t think anyone can light it.

    Comment by Rob — May 2, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  4. Jonathan Sullavan was a stiff – I remember your cautioning tone on him. Boy, you called that one right Rob!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — May 2, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

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