Back to the bag.
It's been a while, but Patriots season means you'll be getting another weekly installment of the Minihane mailbag. Unless no one reads the stuff, then I'll just stick to writing report cards and trying to find more ideas for top 10 lists. The choice is yours.
This week I'm told I suck, I'm a douche and that I eat bowls of nails for breakfast. Also there are a couple of football questions tossed in, as we try and figure out how Kevin Faulk still does it, what to expect from Wes Welker for the rest of the year and how much stock do we put into Week 1.
Oh, and 592. That's how many words Randy Moss spoke in Sunday's postgame press conference before the first question was asked. Think he got his agenda across? But everyone loves Randy, it seems, and hates the media (and here that means me). We'll find out why.
To the bag we go (as always, fire away at email@example.com with anything you’ve got) ...
Umm, how does Welker win Comeback Player of the Year when he had 120 catches last year?
A: Don't be a dope. You know exactly how he wins it. Take a look at the winners of the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Almost all guys coming back from injury, not from a down statistical season. I am not equating the reasons why the two were on the shelf or anything, but did you complain when Tedy Bruschi won the award in 2005? Of course not. And he was a Pro Bowler in 2004, just as Welker was last year. It's about the road back. What Welker has already done is a marvel (though I know some people wonder how exactly he got back so quickly) and whatever he does the rest of the season only adds to a runaway win for the award.
Liked the report card, best in Boston! Hope it's a weekly feature. I agree with you on Welker, it looks like he was never hurt. What a great story!
A: OK, Neil violates the little-known man rule that states "never use more than one exclamation point a year," but I'll take the Best in Boston love. Really, I will!
Yep, Welker looked like Welker. Same speed, still shifty, got out in front and blocked, all the stuff that made him the best in the NFL at what he does. Barring another injury to the knee (far from impossible, of course. After the Kris Jenkins injury here's hoping Wes sticks with the knee brace all season) is anyone going to bet against Welker leading the league in catches again in 2010?
Let me get this straight … the special teams score a touchdown, do a great job in coverage and Mesko's one punt is net 43 yards and you don't give them at least 'A-'? Why, because Gostkowski missed a 56-yarder into the wind? I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass, I'm legitimately curious.
A: I'm not gonna fight over the difference between a B-plus and A-minus, Jeff. If I lived to be 680 years old life would be too short for that kind of battle. No problem if you thought the special teams deserved a higher grade, I guess. But don't forget -- Gostkowski also missed a 47-yarder. Also no gimme, but I felt it justified a slight hit on the grade.
Listen, you have to be pretty damn near close to perfect to get an A from this guy. Ines Sainz? B-plus, tops -- not a fun of the mug. "Thriller?" A-minus at best -- can't give an A to any album with "The Lady in My Life" as a track. I get that "The Shawshank Redemption" is "It's a Wonderful Life" for our generation, but are you telling me Tim Robbins really is able to dig every night for 19 years and never get caught? A-minus.
Have to disagree on Faulk, he should have caught that ball in the second quarter. Seems like you want to give him a pass on it but it was a pretty easy catch. He walks into the end zone he he holds on to it. My all-time favorite Patriots player but that was a bad one for him.
A: For me it didn't fall in the "must catch" category, Todd. It was a little high and Faulk needed to turn his body a little to get to it. Should he have made the play? Probably.
The Pats are so smart with Faulk -- they use him only when they need him. It's like he's an aging but still really good starting pitcher that is always on a pitch count of 80. He hasn't had more than 100 carries in a season since 2003 but his yards per carry in the last four years is 4.9, 4.3, 6.1 and 5.4. A wonderful and unique back, so much fun to watch. I've written this before and still feel that there are better running backs in Patriots history, but I'm not sure there is a more valuable one.
I'm curious ... you hack ... when WOULD have been a good time for Randy to bring up these issues?
He's been getting killed in the media because of saying he didn't feel wanted and because of his actions at the stupid team event.
For the record ... Kraft is acting like he doesn't want him around by not even discussing a new deal ... a pretty strong statement from your boss that you are NOT wanted.
But again, when would have been appropriate? In a few days? But then the media would have killed him for not focusing on the Jets.
Seems to me the media believes that only appropriate time for Randy to comment on these issues was when the MEDIA felt it was appropriate and that, of course, would be when the media asked him about it.
THEN, if Randy didn't comment the media would accuse him of being evasive.
The media in Boston are a bunch of no talent hacks who trip over each other to headlines that excite people and get them to buy newspapers or listen to the radio. It's laughable.
A: Look, the media is to blame for a lot of stuff, no question. But all they did was write down what Moss said on Sunday. Before one question was asked he had already given us this:
"We're not going to wait on everybody, but before I get to questions, man, I'd like to say something. You know, I've been here for three years, this is my fourth season. And I understand the business, the nature, and I understand you all have a job to do.
"When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, as I've said time and time again. And I think there's ... I don't really want to say here in the organization, but I think here in the area, I think here in the New England area a lot of people don't want to see me do good. The reason why, I really don't know, I really don't care. But I just want to let you all know, you are the ones doing all the writing, you have the pad and ink, and I don't have anything. Anything that I may say will get blown out of proportion. I think earlier in the week I got asked a question about me being here and being unhappy. And me being unhappy doesn't have nothing to do with me toning my game down. I'm here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. And I think earlier in the week a lot of people were coming at me long about me being unhappy.
"You know, for instance, if you work for somebody, and you work for somebody unless you're independent, and your boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you that you're doing a good job. You know what I'm saying? That's every man or woman in here that works for somebody. You want your boss to be able to say he read your column last night or this morning, he liked your column. And that's just the way with football. If you do a good job and you think that you're doing a good job, you want to be appreciated, man. I really don't think that me personally, I'm appreciated. I don't want you all to take anything out of context that I'm saying, because I am a man and this is a job. And I take my job very seriously to heart.
"I want to let you all know, I want to let the fans -- the real fans -- of the New England Patriots know that I'm not here to start any trouble, I'm going to play my last year out on my contract, and as I've said time and time again since I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. It's a great group of guys here, a well-coached group here, and I never said I want to leave New England. But I think that a lot of things that are being written or has been said is looking at me in a negative light, and I don't want it to be in a negative light. I just want everybody to understand you can print it, I don't care how you put it on me, but, you know, I want to be here as a Patriots, I love being here, but I just think, from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I'm not retiring, I'm still going to play some football. So I just wanted to get that off my chest, and let you all understand, man, because this is a business. I'll open it up for questions."
What is the media supposed to do there? Not ask questions? Not recognize that about, oh, 15 minutes after a win that the team had spent nine months preparing for Moss was putting his contract status in the leadoff spot of his press conference? Hey, Randy, tell us about that eight-yard catch when you guys were up 31-3. Come on.
It was an incredibly selfish moment for Moss. I don't see how that's disputable and I don't see why anyone really cares. He's still going to play hard, he's still going to put up numbers. My point was only that he put himself in front of the team for those 16 minutes. I get that he's hurt and doesn't feel wanted. It's easy to make fun of him for that but the truth is that if you or me had done what Moss has for the last three years you'd be pissed about the lack of contract discussion as well. But we would have waited for a better time to bring it up is all. Come to think of it, why didn't Moss make this speech two weeks before? Did the Brady deal and the idea that Mankins was locked up until the apology stuff get him worked up? Who knows? But it was awful timing, something Moss himself admitted on ESPN Tuesday. His lowest moment so far as a member of the Patriots.
Moss will be fine, he just wanted to blow off some steam. This will be a story for two days and then it'll be all about the Jets. He's right, better to do this after a win.
A: I agree, Ryan. It's already over. People have moved on to the Jets.
I didn't get a sense that Moss' contact status was a big deal in Boston until Moss spoke to William Bendetson last week and at the podium on Sunday. He made it a story, which of course he claimed he was trying to avoid by addressing it. Moss is no dummy, he knows exactly what he's doing. But I think most fans are OK with the Pats waiting until the offseason to try and sign Moss. Wide receivers not named Jerry Rice aren't exactly known for flourishing in their mid-30's. Way more Kathleen Turners than Diane Lanes.
But I think Moss will stick around. He's still hugely valuable, Brady loves him and he wants to stay. As long as he stays healthy they'll get something done.
The Boston media is filled with a bunch of no good gossiping school girls looking to stir the pot whenever possible. Moss will not be the distraction this year, it will be the media. One bad game from Moss and the reporters will kick the beehive and stir up the angry fans. Tom Brady and all the other players speak highly of Moss, but the media just can't leave it alone.
A: The pot was already stirred by the guy whose game jersey you wear to bed when you sleep alone every night, Billy. Sure, it's our fault that Moss walked to the podium and announced -- with zero prodding -- that there are people in the organization that want to see him fail and that this would be his last year with the Patriots. Again, are we supposed to ignore this? I understand the TV stations went a little overboard Sunday night -- this wasn't Neil Armstrong -- but it's a story. And the media has to cover it, even if the fans don't like to hear about it.
I watched the press conference live on the Patriots website, I honestly didn't see this coming and have to admit it didn't feel comfortable listening to it. I can understand Randy and his feelings of "not been appreciated" up to the point when he decides to give this monologue right after a season opener where new players demonstrated to be at a level to be able to play good football (something that has been missing from a couple of draft classes so far). Randy needs to understand that as he calls it "a business" and no longer "football" there are other employees in the Patriots that have played for longer than him in this team, played some good football or just "been good employees" and that need to be taken care of prior to him. Yes Randy is Good, yes Randy is Great, yes Randy is whatever you want to call it (I include myself as one of his fans, but TEAM is first). He needs to learn a bit from Tom Brady and what it is dealing with that "contract pressure". Randy, please, calm down, if they know what to appreciate in the Patriots is how you carry yourself while giving yourself for the team. want an example? Kevin Faulk!!! He knows he can get some money somewhere else but decided to stay in a team that gives him a chance to win and a locker room that embraces whoever puts TEAM first, you should know that don't you? if you don't get my point then good luck buddy, keep jumping and following the "appreciation" somewhere else, I don't guarantee you any championship though.
Patriots Fan 09
A: No player in history has caught as many touchdowns in a three-year period as Moss has in his first three years with the Patriots. And I know people are going to say that half of those came in his first year, but you know how many players in the league have more TD catches as Moss in the last two years? One. Larry Fitzgerald has 25, Moss has 24. Incredible production, even more so when you realize that Matt Cassel was his QB in 2008 (I can't believe how bad Cassel looked Monday night. He's Chuck Knoblauch. What happened? This was a more than serviceable NFL starting QB for the Pats in 2008. Weird what having Moss and Welker and Belichick can do for you.). So he should be upset that he hasn't been locked up by the Pats yet, I would be. My only point was that he picked a lousy time to do it. But his message his correct.
Nice haircut, you douche. What, you eat a bowl of nails for breakfast or sumpthin?
A: Going to a barber and asking for the Phil Collins takes a lot of guts, Matt. You know how easy it would be to have a full, flowing head of hair? I choose not to. What I do choose to do is eat a bowl of nails for breakfast. Always been a staple.
Will the Pats use a first-round pick on an RB this year? They have two of them, Maroney (the supposed future) is gone and Faulk and Taylor are old. Makes sense, doesn't it?
A: I'd be surprised, Jake, if they actually have two first-round picks. Gotta figure they'll move one, they always do. But I don't think the Maroney era will make them gun shy if they have the, say, 24th pick and the player they (or he, not sure there is a they in the room anymore) like best on the board is a running back. But they won't go into a draft with the idea of picking a back in the first round no matter what. Not how they operate.
Kirk, will you be weighing in on "The Class of the AFC East" aka New York Jets amazing Week 1 performance?
Kirk M Sux
A: Is "Kirk Minihane Sucks" taken? Or "Kirk Minihane Sux?" Or "Kirk M Sucks?" I guess he was just being economical, he does get the point across. I bet he likes my hair, though.
Well, as we all know Week 1 in the NFL means everything. That's why the Jaguars and Bucs will play in the Super Bowl and the Colts and Vikings will miss the playoffs. Arian Foster is MVP and Randy Moss will catch 16 fewer TDs than Rob Gronkowski.
I think the Patriots are a better team than last year, but I don't know that. The Bengals could be a 4-12 team and this win could mean zippo. After one week in the NFL you know nothing. If the Jets had opened with the Bengals at home and the Ravens were in Foxboro the records could easily be reversed heading into Sunday's game.