Patriots

Conspiracies don't bother Belichick

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Conspiracies don't bother Belichick

Were officially 10 days into the Patriots season, and over those 10 days, weve been inundated with no fewer than 10 times as many theories on whats going on with Wes Welker.

Yes. Thats 100 theories. And yes, thats probably a low estimate.

The best part? No one has a clue. No one has the slightest clue. Its left us all utterly confused, angry and desperate for answers. In turn, its led to a level of wildly creative, conspiracy-fueled speculation usually reserved for the likes of JFK, Jimmy Hoffa, Jamie Lee Curtiss gender, John Claytons ponytail and Marilyn Manson's true identity.

Did you hear the one about the Pats benching Welker on Sunday so that he wouldnt break Troy Browns record before the halftime HOF ceremony?

Did you hear the one about how this entire controversy is a Trojan Horse designed to blindside the Ravens on Sunday night?

Did you hear that Wes slept with LeBron James mom?

On one hand, its so frustrating to not know the truth. We not just as football fans, but also as human beings hate not knowing the truth. And every season, on at least a few occasions, Bill Belichick becomes that proverbial annoying kid on the playground: I know something you dont know and Im not gonna tellllll you. (Only if that kid was hopped up on enough depressants to paralyze a rhino). Every season, it drives us nuts. And every season, we eventually fall back into the same desperate routine.

OK, this has gone too far. Belichick NEEDS to speak up. He NEEDS to explain himself. Hes making it worse. Hes only fueling speculation. Hes making this a bigger deal than it needs to be and its hurting the team.

Most of the time, we can even convince ourselves that this is true.

But its not. No matter how we try to rationalize Belichick's need to break the silence, he doesn't need to do anything. More importantly, he wont do anything. Has Belichick ever cared about speculation? Has he ever worried about public perception? Has he ever felt that whats going on out here has any effect on whats going on in there?

IGNORE THE NOISE.

Thats the sign that stares every member of that organization in the face every time they walk in and out the Patriots facility. And it's not just a suggestion. It's an order, a mantra, a way of life and the only way that Belichick cares to go about his business.

Bottom Line: He knows what's going on with Welker. Josh McDaniels knows whats going on with Welker. Welker knows whats going on with Welker (or at least he finds out a few minutes before kickoff). As far as Belichick's concerned, the people who need to know already know. Everything else? Just noise. So, they're going to ignore it. Regardless of how twisted our collective panties become over the issue.

But of course, in situations like this, there are conspiracies and there are realities. And as the Patriots prepare for this weekend's trip to Baltimore, and do so looking to avoid their first 1-2 start in more than a decade, there are a few realities that Belichick and McDaniels need to, and, we can only assume, will come to grips with.

Namely, this one: Julian Edelman is not Wes Welker.

Has Edelman made significant strides as a receiver? Sure, though it wouldn't have taken much. Did he have the most impressive and productive summer this side of Miguel Cabrera? Sure, if they say so. Does he have a future as a legitimate NFL receiver? We'll see.

But for now, there's no conspiracy or speculation necessary to explain the undeniable fact that in terms of this Sunday night, on the road against the Ravens, with Aaron Hernandez on the sidelines in a sweat suit or at home on his couch the more we see of Wes Welker, the more likely the Pats are to come out on top.

The less we see of him, the less convinced we'll be that all this commotion is in the name what's best for the team.

And the conspiracies will live to see another week.

Might as well start working on some good ones in advance.

Did you hear that Belichick took a flyer on Edelman in the last round of his Wesleyan alum fantasy draft?

Did you hear that Welker's actually Paul from The Wonder Years?!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Indy columnist rips Colts for Josh McDaniels hire

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Indy columnist rips Colts for Josh McDaniels hire

Gregg Doyel hates Josh McDaniels. 

That's the only takeaway one can have after reading Doyel's latest column in the Indy Star, anyway. In it, Doyel writes that McDaniels, who is expected to be hired as Colts head coach, already got his chance to prove his chops as a head coach in Denver and showed he stinks. 

Writes Doyel: 

We get a clean slate just once, same as Josh McDaniels, and his came in 2009 when he was hired to coach the Denver Broncos. And in less than two years he spray-painted so much graffiti on there that the Broncos fired him for a variety of reasons, so take your pick: his abrasive personality, his horrific judgment of talent, his team’s penchant for losing games, or those broken NFL rules.

Here in Indianapolis, where Josh McDaniels is about to be entrusted with our city’s crown jewel – he’s expected to be the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts – are we to pretend Denver didn’t happen?

Doyel also refers to a 2013 quote from former Broncos punter Mitch Berger, who compared playing for McDaniels to playing for an "equipment manager" and called him a "punk." Then there's this from Doyel, who likes where Berger's going with the "punk" talk: 

I still can’t believe this is happening. Can’t believe McDaniels will soon be hired by the Colts, and entrusted with Andrew Luck. Can’t believe he was the hottest commodity on the coaching market this fall. McDaniels is Lane Kiffin to me, an arrogant young punk who ascended rapidly after Daddy got him a cherry first job in coaching – McDaniels’ father, Ohio high school legend Thom McDaniels, was friends with Nick Saban, who hired Josh as a grad assistant at Michigan State in 1999 – and who kept getting promoted to the point of failure.

This isn't the first time Doyel has had a take critical of the Patriots, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised. But he for sure hates Josh McDaniels. 
 

Brady in a stew over Jags-just-another-tomato-can talk

Brady in a stew over Jags-just-another-tomato-can talk

Don’t let Tom Brady hear your nonsensical takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars. This “tomato can” is packed with all the essential elements to give the Pats QB fits.

“This is the biggest challenge we've faced all year,” Brady said Tuesday during his weekly interview with Kirk and Callahan on WEEI. “We've had a good offense. They've had the best defense. And that's always a challenge when you go up against those guys. When you watch them play over the course of the whole season, you can see why. There is not a lot of time for the quarterback to throw, and I think the whole secondary knows it. The linebackers know it. And they're aggressive. They take chances. They get a lot of turnovers. They got a really good scheme, and the quarterback is just under pressure all day. Unless you get opened very quickly, there’s a lot of sacks and sacks turns into long yardage and long yardage turns into punts . . . "

Brady spent hours on Monday pouring over film to familiarize himself with a Jags team that he last saw in the preseason.

“There’s a reason why they’re in this game,” he said. “They’re the best team we’ve faced all season and if we don’t play our best, we’re not going to advance.”

That’s why Brady won’t allow himself to be distracted by all that comes with advancing to this point, or even the lingering stench of that ESPN/Seth Wickersham article. Who’s got time for that when there is so much on the line?

“This is a long time we’ve committed to each other since we came back together in April,” he said. “April, May, all those months committed to training and walkthroughs and practices and games and injuries and the emotion -- I don’t think we’re going to let anything get in the way of this week. I think the coach -- Coach [Bill] Belichick -- he does so many great things. One thing is he sets the best tone for the players because he knows what it takes to compete at this level without -- there’s more hype surrounding the game, there’s more distractions, there’s more people, there’s more people covering the game, there’s more to talk about it but we’re focused on our job . . . The hype only gets bigger from here so we just gotta stay focused on what we need to do.”

The Jags have obviously done a good job on that front as well. There is no way they’d be at this point, on this stage, without not only talent but that singular focus. Of course with some youth comes some exuberance and Jalen Ramsey’s comments to about 10,000 fans Sunday night has been a topic of conversation on sports radio and television and even in the Patriots’ locker room.

Brady doesn’t believe that’s something that would ever come out of Foxboro, but he’s not publicly shaming Ramsey either.

“What i’ve learned over a long time is it’s how you play, it’s not what you say," Brady said. "Everyone has different ways of handling things. We do what works for us.”

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