As disappointed as I am as a New England Patriots fan that Greg Bedard left the Boston Globe to join Peter King at his new website, MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback), I was happy to see that his first column was about the Patriots. In the usual fashion of Bedard, he delivered a wonderful piece that provided deep insight into the Patriots unit - particularly Bill Belichick and the locker room dynamic.

Although Aaron Hernandez's murder trial is perhaps the greatest off-field disturbance in the Belichick-Brady era, it is not the first that has attempted to derail the Patriots season prior to its beginning. In Bedard's column he reminds readers of Belichick's knack for overcoming on and off the field issues that would rip apart the ordinary football team. He runs the gamut from Drew Bledsoe's chest injury that kick-started Tom Brady's career, to when Spygate made the Patriots the laughing stock of the NFL and Belichick, in turn, made each opponent the laughing stock of the week, and finally to when he coached up a college backup quarterback in Matt Cassell to a 11-5 season. In short, it is not Belichick's first rodeo. He will handle it like he always does, and he will answer all the questions for his players by not answering the baiting questions of the blood-thirsty media. Belichick will handle his business, but Bedard worries that the lack of a locker room policeman could pose a threat to the otherwise quiet Patriots locker room.

In the past, it was Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, or Rodney Harrison that would be vocal in making sure that the locker room was in order, while Tom Brady and a few others led by their work ethic. However, Bedard claims that a vocal presence is absent, and he calls Vince Wilfork or Jerod Mayo to take the torch and keep players on both sides of the ball accountable for their performance on and off the field. A veteran who has received great press since joining the team, Adrian Wilson, is someone who I believe may have that effect. He is 6'3" 230 pounds, plays and hits hard, and was such a positive impact for the Cardinals organization that they made an official statement thanking him for his contribution to the team when they decided not to resign him. It is hard not to compare Adrian Wilson to Rodney Harrison, and even if he cannot have the same impact that Rodney did on the field, maybe he can become that locker room policeman that is desperately needed by the Patriots.

Finally, Bedard closes his first column by telling his readers that if the Patriots do not win the Super Bowl this year, it is not because of Belichick's lack of game-planning or the Aaron Hernandez aversion, it will be because the Patriots simply do not have the personnel and injuries keep the team from reaching their potential. The Patriots have serious injury worries with Danny Amendola and his well-documented health problems, Rob Gronkowski has had multiple offseason surgeries, Ras-I Dowling still has not played half of a season, and Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib battle small injuries regularly.

As a Patriots fan, you get used to turning a deaf ear to Patriots detractors who ignorantly state that the off-field distractions will keep the Patriots from having a successful season. If you have not learned this yet, just remember Greg Bedard's history lesson. Tom Jackson said the Patriots players hated their coach when Lawyer Milloy was released five days before the season in 2003 - they won the Super Bowl that year and Belichick held his grudge against Jackson long enough to say "fuck you" when he asked for a post-Super Bowl interview. When the Patriots accomplishments as a team were equated to their signal stealing, Belichick metaphorically said "fuck you" to everyone when he ran up the score week after week until he put up only the third undefeated regular season in NFL history.

Sam Reilly 7/23/2013 12:07:00 PM Edit

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