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November 20, 2012

For All You Bellichick/"Cheatriots" Haters....


The longer Belichick goes without winning a Super Bowl after the Jets and the NFL put an end to his intricate spying operation of opponents’ defensive signals, the more a case can be made that his championships deserve an asterisk.

The mystique and aura of Belichick has taken major hits.

He is supposed to be so much smarter than everybody else, so until now he has escaped criticism for his bizarre deployment of personnel in blowout games because it hasn’t resulted in a major injury.

What sense does it make leaving Tom Brady in at the end of games with leads so big even the Patriots’ putrid defense can hold them? Fortunately for Brady, nobody has taken a cheap shot at him as Belichick keeps dialing up touchdowns.

But how sick must Belichick feel now that he will be Gronk-less for the Thanksgiving Night game against the Jets at MetLife because he kept All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski on the extra point protection team after New England scored its eighth touchdown Sunday to take a 59-24 lead against the Colts with 3:55 remaining. Gronk broke his forearm and had surgery Monday.

He'll be out at least 4-6 weeks. Bellichick had pulled him from the offensive squad but not the special teams squads.

Bellichick snapped about this, "Tell me who's going to get hurt and I'll take him out of the game," and there's some truth to that.

And it is true that if you start pulling the first-string guys who protect the first-string kicker (a very important position, obviously; always a team's highest scorer), the odds that your first-string kicker will be injured with a leg injury due to a guy coming in hot on a block go up dramatically.

Still, there is a time when the second and third string should get some experience in live-ball situations, and that time is certainly less than four minutes left when you're up 58-24 and have scored eight touchdowns in a row. (It was 58-24 before the extra point made it 59-24.)

Bellichick has always tended to leave his first-string in late in games. He did this a lot in the season they lost to the Giants, the 18-1 season, when the Patriots just ran up massively padded point-counts against teams which had been beaten by the middle of the third quarter. I suppose you dance with the girl that brung ya, but the fact is this is a dangerous game, and a game that grinds strong men down, and if you can spare your best players four minutes, five minutes per game here and there that's gotta have benefits for the late season (not to mention their later careers). And not just in terms of major injuries that put players out for blocks of the season, but just in terms of the niggling, nagging injuries, the ones that dog players the whole season and keep them no better than 90%, the wear and tear, the exhaustion.

Sure, you should play 60 minutes of football, but when you're up 58-24 you already did play 60 minutes of football. You just did it in 55 minutes.

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posted by Ace at 04:44 PM

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