Mailbag time and it seems that some people can't live with the idea that Tom Brady might not be perfect. You try and be honest about one stinker and suddenly you are attracted to Peyton Manning and people are calling you a "triple assclown."
So we'll try and defend the low grade I gave Brady for his performance in the loss to Cleveland, figure out where Rosie Perez ranks on a very important scale, make the inevitable Randy Moss-Bob Dylan connection, sniff out an email from a rival website, make the case for Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame and prove that I am, in fact, intellectually superior to both a monkey and chicken.
To the 'bag we go ...
Great "Fearless" reference. And I thought my wife and I were the only two people to see that wretched movie. I found it so unwatchable, that it's made a lasting mark 15 years later - and it was a rental! All through the movie, all I could think of was how I wished Rosie Perez's character died. Rosie Perez is atrocious - she almost singlehandedly ruined "White Men Can't Jump" with her awfulness. Even her front porch can't help her overcome how terrible an actress she is.
Anyway, I digress...
You're way to generous to the Pats front seven. You give up 230 yards on the ground and allow Colt McCoy to look like Tom Brady circa 2001, you deserve an F.
Good prediction on long snapper Jake Ingram. He got released Tuesday.
A: "Fearless" is a really good movie, Kevin. It meanders around a little too much, sure, but it works. Really feels more like a short story -- or even a poem, maybe -- than a movie, but it's worth a watch if you haven't seen it. Plus I'll put Jeff Bridges' performance in the top three of his career (Lebowski, Fabulous Baker Boys). But yeah, I think everyone had a moment in a movie theatre from 1988-93 where they wished a Rosie Perez character would die. But let's be fair: No argument, a top 15 all-time rack (natural category). And that has to count for something. Maybe even everything.
I should've flunked the D-Line. Absolutely pitiful effort. Could not have played worse. Giving up 230 yards rushing and not getting a finger on the quarterback? Not possible to put up a bigger flop. Yup, I whiffed on that one.
There was about eight dropped balls out there Sunday, a fumble on the two-yard line and WR's not running the correct routes. How is this Brady's fault? Yes his throws were not on early but, he didn't get any help either. Guy's have to get open. At least he isn't turning the ball over. Kirk, nothing about Gronk? Wow get some glasses buddy.
A: All true, Rich, and there is no question that the Pats receivers need to start making plays. They lead the league in drops and that isn't going to work within an offense that has really almost no room for error in a post-Moss world. And none of the drops were Brady's fault, of course. But I'm not sure I can remember Brady playing worse than he did in the first quarter on Sunday. One-of-six for 10 yards and zip-for-three on third downs. He missed a couple of easy throws to Gronkowski and missed a wide-open Deion Branch with a pass that had to be five yards too high. Just wasn't sharp and they needed him to be.
I know a lot of Brady haters out there would like to think that he was the problem in this game, but come on now… he had two TD's and zero INT's and when all is said and done, he finished with a 90.5 QB rating compared to Colt McCoy's 100+ rating. Now when you see those statistics, tell me which one is the problem, ok Mr. Minihane?
The efficiency of the Browns' offense was FAR AND AWAY the biggest problem of the game. Sure, Brady was off on a couple throws, but how about his receivers actually catching and taking care of the football? For every poor throw Brady had, he had a receiver of his drop a very catchable pass.
The defense couldn't stop the run and let Colt McCoy feel comfortable.
That's the main reason why the Patriots lost, the second being the aforementioned dropped passes and fumble. Brady is way, way down the list of reasons for why they lost this game--and that's a fact.
NY Pats Fan
A: I'm the first to use passer rating (too much, I confess) as a tool to demonstrate how well as QB did or did not play. The key reason Brady's rating was as high as it was on Sunday was the two TD passes against no picks. So he gets credit for a pass that was deflected off of Rob Gronkowski (a terrible throw) and was rescued by Aaron Hernandez and a garbage-time two-yard pass to Hernandez after a stat-stuffing drive against a soft zone. Brady made every big throw he needed to against the Ravens, to me it was the best game he played all year and the start of his MVP candidacy. Carried them back from 10 points down against a top-five defense. His rating for the game? 69.5, lowest of the season. Why? Because he threw two INT's, one of which was a Hail Mary on the very last play of regulation. Why should that pick -- which meant nothing, no risk at all for the Pats -- mean as much when it comes to passer rating as, say, Brett Favre's pick in the NFC title game last year? If Brady takes a sack there or someone bats the ball down his rating is 10 points higher.
I agree, the defense was the biggest problem Sunday. But that doesn't mean Brady played well. He didn't, just never seemed in rhythm. And if he makes throws like that against the Steelers he won't have a passer rating of 90.5.
RE: Report Card
Yes, finally a nice piece of journalism from you. You do have some talent. Accurate and objective.
A: I'm winning them over one at a time. This is what I've been preaching to Rob Bradford when he makes his biweekly "You suck as a writer and I really want to fire you but you keep holding up your daughter in front of me so I can't" speech to me. Just a little patience. It's finally happening.
Smarmy, cookie-cutter, half-assed urbane cupcake who likely never even played a down even at the Pop Warner level and who makes Dale Arnold's tired, bloated, screw-the-earthquake-in-Indonesia-the-fallout-from-Randy Moss'-recent-visit-to-Taco Bell is earth-shattering news and worthy of two hours of serious-as-Watergate dissection seem refreshing...tell me, what does film study mean to you, Minihane, besides maybe a long hard look (in slo-mo) at the guy's package in Boogie Nights?!?!?! Can you talk about football with enough authority to school a drooling 85 year old who thinks the Pats would be OK if they just brought backed the winged T?!?! Do you have anything to offer beyond what the average Joe sitting around guzzling and grazing at some Bar and Grill (with Tomase and Ordway) can enlighten us with (i.e. Brady's body language sucked, the Full Monty and Biesel Experiment sucked and jeez Gronk's fumble was bad b.s.); tell me, how did Jermaine Cunningham play today (without looking at the g.d. stats that we all get), is Ninkovich a legit 3-4 outside linebacker, how is he on every play, game in and game out, or is he just a guy who makes big plays capitalizing on the mistakes of a few inept quarterbacks, what is the impact of the absence of Chung on the Pats defense etc.....?......wait for it..........??????......yeah, that's right, a kinder gentler (Ed note: a name was used here, a guy who used to write a mailbag for WEEI.com, and we don't mean D.J. Bean) , but at least (same guy who used to write a mailbag here, and we still don't mean D.J. Bean) is just an act…
A: OK, so it's a process.
Come on, "parts unknown" means Ninn is a plant from another website. Could it be more obvious? How devious. I mean, I have to believe that is true, is there any other reason why someone without a dog in the fight would take the time out his day to write a 251-word diatribe that A) questions my sexuality, B) my football knowledge, C) dares to suggest that I haven't accomplished anything on the gridiron (guess you missed my three tackle, half a sack and a four-yard catch on 3rd-an-22 performance at the 1986 Minihane Thanksgiving Toilet Bowl, Ninn. If that's your real name) and D) dares to knock Dale Arnold? Please. Go crawl back to the whatever .com world you intern for (hmmm, "Ninn" starts and ends with the same curious letter) and leave the dotcomination to us. And, just for the sake of accuracy, I don't slow-motion the "package" scene in Boogie Nights, dummy. I pause it. Big difference.
As has been said, there are a lot of Brady haters out there and they just wait for a game like this to tear him down, personally I think it has a lot to do with jealousy. This guy must be a Manning lover, how did he do Sunday, how about the Favre-like interception and the end of the game? Brady played poorly but I don't think it's time to trade him for McCoy. I say haters have your fun and hopefully next week I will have mine.
John Wesley Harding
A: My favorite Dylan album, by the way.
(Aside: In 2005 I saw Bob Dylan in concert for the first time. I had been warned that Bob had lost his fastball, but that did not prepare me for an hour-and-a-half set that bordered on the insane. I’m about a 12-handicap when it comes to Dylan music, and I did not understand a single word he was singing the entire time. And he does this on purpose. It’s almost as if he wants zero fun to occur during the show. (Also, he never spoke to the crowd, not a single word. Look, I’m not asking for Jimmy Buffet-style antics, but be a human being, at least).
Walking back to the car after the show (it was at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT -- pretty good place for a show, actually), I was more than a little disappointed. I mean, this was Bob Dylan. If there is an Ali of music, it is Mr. Robert Zimmerman, no arguments allowed. And I just watched him perform the musical equivalent of losing to Trevor Berbick.
My friend Jim was at the show with me and seemed OK with the whole thing, which surprised me because, a) it was also his first Dylan show, and, b) he is a BIG fan. (Well, as big a fan as one can be while waiting 30 years to see him in concert -- just made that connection -- what a fraud) I asked him why he wasn’t crushed.
“Well, he’s Bob Dylan. He’s done enough. If he wants to stand on that stage and basically say f—k you to us for two hours he’s earned that right.”
I told that story when I was trying to make a case in a column for the Patriots signing Michael Vick a year and a half ago. Belichick is Bob Dylan, he can play the "f--k you" card. And I thought of it when he cut Moss but could never figure out a way to jam it into a column in the last month. Not sure this was exactly the best way, but here we are.)
Don't know about the Brady haters, but if they are out there I'm not one of them. I think he's the fourth-best quarterback in history and a top-three MVP candidate this year. The guy doesn't need anyone to defend him. But he stunk on Sunday and was outplayed by Colt McCoy. Everyone once in a while something like that happens and it means nothing in a big picture sense. A fluke, but to ignore it or blame any criticism on jealousy is dopey and bordering on lunacy.
It seems every week one or both rookie TE's make crucial negative plays. They've stalled drives with holding calls/penalties, dropped passes, and fumbles. Really critical that they stop these negative plays by end of season or we will be one and done. On other hand, they also have skills potential for being the reason the Pats go deep in playoffs. And the Browns had a great game plan and executed it with confidence. The same was obviously not true for the Pats.
KC in NH
A: Can't depend on Gronkowski and Hernandez to be clean. That's life with a couple of rookie tight ends, KC. Ups and downs. Just look at Sunday: Gronkowski had five catches and a huge block on the fourth-down Sammy Morris catch, but also had at least a hand in the two killer plays in the game (fumble, botch on pooch kick). Hernandez makes a great play to keep his feet inbounds on first TD catch and makes another later, but also has a key third-down drop and had some route-running issues with Brady (which we've seen a half-dozen or so times this year).
Good call on the Browns -- sometimes we get so caught up in what our team did or didn't do that we tend to dismiss the other team. The Browns are 3-5 but they now have blowout wins over the Pats and Saints and their five losses are by a combined 40 points (the two Pats losses are by a combined 34 points). This loss looks terrible right now but might not be viewed as a disaster at the end of the year when the Browns are 8-8.
The first thing I thought of when Moss was traded was that Welker will no longer get single coverage. The SD game was more likely what we will see than the Vikings, and not every team is going to cough up fur ball like SD had done. How could they look so awesome against a great defense like the Ravens and look like crap against the Browns?
A: Yup, I'd rank the three biggest losers in the Moss saga as Moss himself, Brady and Welker. I don't doubt that Welker's knee is a factor (as he admitted on Wednesday) but I'm not sure how much that matters without Moss. There's just no room for Welker to do what he did in his first three years. None. Think about it: How many times over the last three years did you watch a Pats game and think "How is it possible for Welker to be so wide open?" And how many times have you thought that over the last month?
Look, this offense simply isn't as productive without Moss. And it's not like Belichick didn't know that was going to be the case when he traded Moss, but obviously things had gone past the point of repair. I'm sure team morale is higher, and the locker room is diva free, and nobody is arguing with Bill O'Brien anymore and thumbs up all around even if the chicken is a little cold. All that is great and I really have no problem with Belichick getting rid of Moss. It was time, once he started pulling his act it wasn't going to end. But let's not pretend that this is the same offense without him.
Heard you on Planet Mikey last night (Tuesday). I agree with you and Mikey and John that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. The all-time hits leader has to be in Cooperstown, I don't care if he gambled or not and it's been over 20 years. OK I grew up in Cincinnati and he's my favorite player but I really think it's time to forgive and forget.
Big Red Machine 1975
A: No reason to forget. I do care if he gambled or not (and he did, of course, admitted it in 2004) and I think it should be the first sentence on his Hall of Fame plaque. Not "all-time hits leader," not "17-time All-Star," not "Played in six World Series." Nope, "Banned from baseball from 1989-2010 (or whenever) for gambling on Major League games" is in the leadoff spot. If I'm Bud Selig that's my offer to Rose, take it or leave it. And no more casinos. We'll see how much the Hall really means to Pete -- who frankly loses a lot of relevancy (and chances at money, I suspect) the minute he's elected. But it's a joke that he isn't on the ballot. Twenty-one years is enough. Yes, he signed off on the lifetime ban, but it's time for a little mercy. George Steinbrenner (two suspensions from baseball AND a convicted felon) is on the ballot this year. And over the next decade or so there will be a million steroid guys eligible and on the ballot. If a writer doesn't want to vote for Rose that's swell. But at least put him on the ballot and give them that chance.
You do realize that with the spread, given that it should be pretty close to a 50/50 chance of getting it right regardless of who you pick, a chicken or monkey could do a better job.
A: Name me a monkey with THREE winning weeks in a row, Bonzo. Oh, and the streets are just lined with chickens that are 7-2 on their Locks of the Week.
Have to get the Thursday night game on the record (picks column comes out every Friday).
ATLANTA (-1) over Baltimore
Enjoy a heavyweight battle on Sunday night. Too much Steelers defense and Big Ben makes enough plays. Steelers 28, Pats 20.