Patriot Report

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Former BallBoy Gets Boot

When you are statistically 32nd in a 32 team league in punting average, the axe is only waiting to fall as it did on former Cleveland Brown ballboy Ken Walter.

Walter was given ample opportunities the last two weeks kicking in indoor stadiums, but he continued his season long struggle. The struggle unbelievably led to Walter's Internet addiction to the website Kicking.com Reports from Indianapolis indicate Walter spent the early hours of Sunday morning debating the tradeoffs of hang time versus net punting distance on the website in a restricted chat room for "Kickers and Punters Only".

Patriot Report has also learned that Walter led a chat Topic titled "I get little hang time and shitty punts of 35-40 yards ?

Patriot Report is trying to confirm that Walter went ballistic on the Patriots Video staff when they displaced the DVD edition of the "Punt-N-It" Instructional video

Walter had been spending extra practice time in the "Leg Swing" aspect of his game to generate the optimal "Leg Motion" without effecting his "Hip Rotation" all while without losing any "Leg Speed".

Ken Walter will be remembered for his fine job during the 2001 SuperBowl Championship Season. He is noted as a fine "holder" as witnessed from that little kick in New Orleans to your right. Walter also renowned around the NFL for keeping the pigskins dry for then Cleveland Coach Bill Belichick despite the lake effect Rain/Snow from Lake Erie.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Fools Rush In



A couple of interesting articles on Coach Belichick today in the Boston press. Kicking off, Ron Borges looks at how the SuperBowl Coach suffers fools gladly.

Belichick is a smart man who learns from his mistakes the few times he makes them, and he learned in Cleveland that a stupid question does not always require an equally inane response. So when someone asked him yesterday about his thoughts on his team being one of the "dominant" ones in the NFL, he took a deep breath, waited a moment, then succinctly educated the media on such matters.

"The ball is inside the 1-yard line on the last play of the game," said Belichick. "Who is dominating who?" He didn't have to urge the questioner to pursue another line of reasoning or another line of work. He didn't have to upbraid him, browbeat him, or ask him if he'd actually watched Sunday's 38-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Three sentences and the thought of using such a word to describe his 10-2 Patriots had been dismissed without anyone having to be dissed. That is called growing in the job.


Borges goes on to take a shot at his inane colleagues line of questioning.

As the questions kept coming, some questioners edged ever closer to the abyss of overstatement until someone finally tumbled into it head-first, asking how the coach might combat the very human thought by his players that they "can walk on water" after so many close victories this season.

He looked at his questioner as if he were considering whether a CAT scan should be ordered before smiling and saying, "If they just watch themselves play, they'll be easily convinced they can't walk on water. Easily. They've all given up their share of plays and they know it. There's room for improvement. A lot of room for improvement."


Click here to listen to an audio archive of yesterday's Belichick press conference. The unintentional comedy from the football writers is priceless.


Lenny Megliola catches up with Belichick's father Steve after Sunday's victory over the Colts.
Bill Belichick doesn't forget. Who else would compare the Patriots heart-stopping 38-34 win over the Colts Sunday to a college game 40 years ago?

"He called me from the airport Sunday night and said, 'Gee Dad, this game was just like the Army-Navy game in 1963,' '' said Belichick's dad, Steve, from his Annapolis, Md., home yesterday.

Steve was a Navy assistant coach at the time. Bill, 11 years old, was in the stands.


"He remembered Army was on the 1-yard line when the game ended and we won, 21-15,'' said Steve.

Getting back to suffering fools, Kevin Mannix declares "concern" over the play of SuperBowl MVP Tom Brady in his little Report Card gimmick.

There has to be a concern about Brady's ill-advised throws in the past two games even though the Pats were able to beat the Texans and Colts - you only can dodge so many bullets.

If Tom Brady is a concern, what is Ken Walter? Just for the record, Brady is 30-12 as a starting QB in the NFL. This is the highest winning percentage among active quarterbacks. And he is 7-0 in overtime games.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Patriots Corral Colts in 38-34 Thriller



The Patriots won their eighth straight game with a last minute goal line stand that held off the Indianapolis Colts in a wild 38-34 road victory.

Michael Felger names the Patriots the "Answer Team".

Is it possible to be a championship-caliber team without a running back you can trust and a punter you can rely on? Ask the Patriots. They're the Answer Team. That's the nickname the coaches have given the kickoff return unit, but it really applies to the whole team. And once again, the Pats had an answer yesterday.

Not quite as catchy as the LA Rams Fearsome Foursome or the Vikings Purple People Eaters, but Michael Smith continues the nickname route by calling the 2003 Patriots the "Palpitation Pats" after the hearty victory over the Colts.

...the Patriots nearly lost their starting left guard in the final fast-and-furious moments of a 38-34 victory yesterday at the RCA Dome in which they denied the Colts the winning touchdown three times from the 1-yard line. "I was about to have a heart attack out there," Damien Woody said. He didn't, obviously, although Colts fans are suffering from a severe case of heartache after their team's rally from a 21-point second-half deficit fell short.

Tom Curran looks at the "teeth" of the Patriots.

Another week, another gut-wrenching, mind-bending, tied-to-the-track-with-the-train-bearing-down win over an upper-crusty AFC opponent.
After yesterday's throbbing, 38-34, Patriots win over the Colts, the overarching question that remains is this: How many layers of skin do the Patriots have on their teeth, anyway?


How many layers of teeth skin is desired or necessary?

Now that New England's vanquished the AFC elite (in order: Tennessee, Miami, Denver, Indianapolis), they finds themselves winners of eight straight games and are a franchise-best 10-2 at this point in the season. Of the last 38 teams to finish a season with 10 wins, 36 have made the playoffs.

"That's the luckiest team in America," said an AFC personnel man after the game.

Perhaps they are. But it's better to be lucky than good and better still to be both, which the Patriots again proved to be yesterday.

Lucky doesn't allow you to stop an offensive as explosive as the Colts' the way the Patriots did in the final three minutes. In that span, Indianapolis ran 12 plays inside the Patriots' 30. They ran nine plays from inside the 12. The Colts managed just three points.


Ron Borges has an entertaining column on the game-winning goal line stand.

The final play of a goal-line stand summed up why the New England Patriots are 10-2 this morning. They are 10-2 because they out-thought the Indianapolis Colts on fourth down at their 1-yard line, and because they out-hit them, too.

Football is about much more than schemes and plans that account for every possibility, even though some might like you to think that's all it is. It is chess, but only if you believe chess comes with concussions and torn muscles, and mind-numbing exhaustion.

Former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks knew better than that. That's why he used to say, "It's not about X's and O's. It's about Jimmys and Joes."

What he meant is that the game is decided by the players most of the time, and yesterday's stirring 38-34 victory at the RCA Dome certainly was decided by Willies and Teds. Mikes and Bobbys. Romans and Rodneys and Richards. It was decided a little bit by a Peyton, too, but in the end that was the Colts' problem, not the Patriots'.

The Patriots' defensive line beat back the Colts' offensive line on three running plays with only a yard of real estate between victory and defeat. With no more margin for error, they gave up nothing.

At that point, there was no scheme involved. No X's and no O's. There was thinking, as McGinest proved, but it was done by the Jimmys and Joes Fairbanks always acknowledged were the true deciders of games. Then comes the clash. Two tons of bodies slam into each other. One side surges forward, the other meets it like a seawall against a storm crest. Yesterday, the seawall held, and behind it McGinest came like his own flood, and drowned the hopes of the Colts by out-thinking Manning and out-hitting James.


Kevin Mannix has Jonathan Kraft getting jiggy with Willie McGinest.

As Willie McGinest reached the door of the Patriots locker room after yesterday's unexpectedly pulsating 38-34 victory over the Colts, there was a one-man greeting party waiting for him.

"You are the (expletive) man,'' shouted Patriots vice president Jonathan Kraft as he reached out and up and hugged McGinest.

The "duplicitous pond scum" scribe's sensibilities were stretched by Kraft's language.

You could quibble about the adjective, but there was no question about the sentiment. Willie McGinest was the man yesterday. As he did in overtime in Houston a week ago, the veteran linebacker came up with the defensive play of the game, preserving yet another last-second Patriots victory.

Nick Cafardo has a look at rookie Bethel Johnson's big day in the return game.

Seizing the moment. Making the big play when it counts most. A lot of Patriots could claim such distinction following yesterday's 38-34 victory over the Colts at the RCA Dome. If they did, however, they would have to stand behind Bethel Johnson, the speedy rookie receiver/kick returner who turned momentum in the Patriots' favor on two occasions.

Johnson returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown just before halftime, after Indianapolis had scored its first touchdown moments before. Then he made a 67-yard kick return late in the fourth quarter that led to excellent field position for Tom Brady and Co.

Jim Donaldson looks at gift bearing Coach Tony Dungy.

"That was really not a smart play on my part at the end of the half," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said of his decision to kick deep after the Colts had trimmed a 17-0 New England lead to 17-10 with 12 seconds left in the first half.

The difference in the game turned out to be the huge, goal-line stand by the Patriots at the end.
"We called the plays that we like to call down there," said Dungy, "and got the ball to the 1-yard line, but we just couldn't get it in."


This was not the first time Dungy has "run the plays we like" at the goal line. In Coach Belichick's post game press conference, he was asked if the Colts 4th down play call came down to a guessing game, pass or run. Belichick replied that the Colts had ran the same play three other times this year in similar goal line stands. Click here for the Belichick audio.


Over on the other side of scrimmage, the Colts fans are crying foul on Willie McGinest's time saving "knee" injury during the last series. Philip B. Wilson of the Indy Star reports on the "mystery" injury.

Asked which knee he hurt in the final plays of New England's latest heart-stopping victory Sunday, McGinest said it was his left. But then the veteran outside linebacker hollered back, "I'm not a faker, dog. Don't worry about that."

The Colts (9-3) were facing second-and-1 at the Patriots 9 with 1:09 left. The Patriots (10-2) were out of timeouts, so McGinest's injury, real or an Oscar performance, provided a breather for his teammates against the Colts' no-huddle attack. Teams are granted an extra timeout for an injury. If it happens again, they get penalized.

It was, at the very least, suspicious if you're a Colts fan. If you're celebrating the Patriots' eighth consecutive victory today, then perhaps it's more fortuitous. But the winners didn't have their story straight about what happened.

"He cramped up there at the end and couldn't get off the field," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, unaware that McGinest would tell a different tale, that the defender's knee got caught in the AstroTurf.

When asked about being able to put McGinest back out there so soon, Belichick said, "Sometimes, those things loosen up, yeah."


Then came a wry smile from a low-key coach known for grumbling, not grins. It was as if even he knew the Patriots got away with one.


Colts coach Tony Dungy didn't buy it at the time, nor did most in a sellout crowd. Dungy walked about 10 yards onto the field to get the official explanation, then returned to the sideline shaking his head.


Thanks to the Patriots crack medical team, McGinest was back on the field in an Indy minute.

After returning for a third-down incomplete pass, McGinest blitzed around the right side of the Colts' line on the deciding play. He hit running back Edgerrin James high and, with the help of diving nose tackle Ted Washington, James was stymied for a 1-yard loss.

McGinest was so ecstatic, he ran down the middle of the field, his right arm raised with an index finger signifying "No. 1." He didn't favor the knee.



Finally today, an update on Colt's Cover Boy QB Peyton Manning. Looks like the media lovefest decided to bypass the "pressed ham" charges against Peyton. The AP has the story.

A female athletic trainer's defamation lawsuit can proceed against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his father, a judge ruled.

Judge Harvey Kornstein said Monday there is enough evidence for a jury to hear the case, which stems from a 1996 encounter during which Manning dropped his pants in front of former University of Tennessee trainer Jamie Ann Naughright.

The quarterback, without using Naughright's name, talks about the encounter in the book he wrote with his father, "Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy."

Manning says in the book that he pulled down his pants while the trainer was examining his feet in the Volunteers' locker room. He said the trainer had a "vulgar mouth," but concedes his behavior was "inappropriate."

"Crude, maybe, but harmless," he wrote.

Naughright alleges Manning placed his "naked butt" on her face. She filed the lawsuit in Polk County, Fla., in 2002, two years after the book was published, saying it disparaged her and seeking at least $15,000.



Patriot Report has not confirmed whether CourtTV will be covering the "butt face" allegations against Manning.


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    One man's take on the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and a look at the lighter side of media coverage on the team and the NFL. Parody is not intended as grounds for libel

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