Heres' Gasper's latest article, entitled, "Time to Communicate" which dumps on how BB has handled his Patriots this season:
Player punctuality is the least of Patriots coach Bill Belichick's problems now.
As the Patriots wrap up preparations for Sunday's game with the Carolina Panthers, what he has is a coach-to-player communication issue that has nothing to do with malfunctioning headphones in helmets or mysterious frequency failures.RESPONSE: Wrongo. What BB has is a discipline issue, which must be addressed if the Pats are to accomplish anything worthwhile this season. It can be argued that this team's lack of discipline has been a factor in failing to execute during the key stages of games, throughout the season. This has been responsible for two one point road losses...and one OT loss. Had those games been won, the Pats would be sitting pretty at 10-2, instead of sloshing around at 7-5.
We have seen uncharacteristic breakdowns from the Patriots this season in just about every phase of the game, and now we're witnessing a breakdown in communication between Belichick and some of his players. RESPONSE: Wrongo again. Yes, there have been some uncharacteristic breakdowns...and now BB is stepping up trying to do something about it. Theres' no "breakdown in communications". A certain player who has grossly underachieved since he got here has simply chosen to whine...giving jackals like Gasper fodder to base an article on. Based on the results this season, it appears clear to me that there are several players on this team who are a bit too cavalier about getting the job done on Sunday. BB is simply cracking the whip on some of these individuals.
Belichick can't just dictate to his subservient subjects, not when the team is 7-5, and has lost three of four for the first time since 2002, and not when he has a team chock full of impressionable young players and veteran hired guns who didn't reside on Patriots Way when it was the path to three Super Bowl titles earlier this decade. RESPONSE: Wrongo yet again!! It is BB's job to lead/dictate to his players (subserviant subjects??), especially when his team is not going well...and especially now that there are so many young players. Its' imperative that the impressionable young troops be steeped in "The Patriot Way". It is a way of conducting business that has led to four SB appearances, and three championships in this decade. As for the new vets, they were brought here to help win a championship. They were not brought here to moderate, or change things.
That became painfully obvious yesterday when linebacker Adalius Thomas, one of four players sent home for being tardy to Wednesday's 8 a.m. team meeting, went on the offensive about the circumstances surrounding and handling of his discipline for failing to be on time. RESPONSE: The poor play of Thomas has been one of the main reasons why this team is 7-5. If this knucklehead was more concerned about winning than about being unfairly treated, he would shut his mouth and start using his immense, God given physical talents to generate a pass rush...and lead his defense to wins. BB has tried to "communicate" with Thomas all season...but to no avail.
We can joke about Thomas's hysterical "Jetsons" reference,
but what is happening in the New England locker room is really no laughing matter. If making an example of Thomas and the other players was a motivational ploy by Belichick, who is a master motivator, then it's already backfired.RESPONSE: A "ploy"? I don''t see it that way at all. Every other player but these 4 made it on time. The Pats are coming off two embarrassing losses in a row. It seems to me that if the players were truly upset about what was happening, that they couldn't wait to get to work to start winning again. I think BB was, and is legitimately pissed that certain players on this team (Thomas especially included), aren't taking winning seriously enough.
Backfired?? How so...because Adalius is miffed?
“Motivation is for kindergartners,’’ said a ticked-off Thomas. “I’m not a kindergartner. Sending somebody home, that’s like, ‘You’re expelled until you come back and make good grades.’ Get that [expletive] out of here. It’s ridiculous.’’RESPONSE: The truth hurts. Instead of ripping BB, Thomas should be making similar comments about his play. Yes Adalius, you're not a kid. So, stop acting like one. Take your responsibilities more seriously. You're being paid huge money to play a kid's game...and you're not earning it. Isn't it time to shut up, and step up? You should be ashamed at the way you've played this season.
Thomas, who called ahead to tell the team he was running late and wasn't told to go home until he showed up in the meeting at 8:09, is not a lone wolf howling at the Belichickian moon. No, he represents a small, but growing portion of players in the locker room who are beginning to do the unheard of -- question some of the methods and tactics of Belichick and the coaching staff. RESPONSE: Oh, really? Who are these players? Thomas is the only one I've heard whining. What are your sources? Or, are we just to believe you because you say its' so, like Tom Jackson (BB's players hate him) , Ron Borges, and John Tomase before you.
There has been an undercurrent of ferment in Foxborough all season long. It started with the team's decision to exile outspoken defensive end Richard Seymour to the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 6, eight days before the season-opener against Buffalo. That trade was an eye-opener to a lot of the Patriots' rank-and-file, a reminder that what is in the best interest of the team doesn't necessarily take into account their interests at all. RESPONSE: Here we go again. A rehash of the Lawyer Milloy scenario. Yeah Gasper...right. The players' hate their coach. Where did we hear that one before? Gasper, reporters are supposed to deal in facts, not their opinions...unless they're writing editorials. Why not indicate up front that what you're saying is merely your opinion.
Throw in the fact that nose tackle and defensive captain Vince Wilfork, the team's best defensive player, is being held to a bad, six-year rookie contract and has been unable to come to terms on a new deal, and that the Patriots are a team with a lot of Hessian soldiers like Thomas, the most expensive free agent in team history, who have experienced NFL life as members of less totalitarian teams and the Patriot Way has given way to the Patriot Wayward. RESPONSE: Yes...the Pats should break the bank to make Vince happy...and they should have made Ty Law happy, and Deion Branch, and Lawyer Milloy. They made Richard Seymour happy. How did that work out for them?
You are right about one thing. Thomas is like a Hessian. He was brought in with big money, and has never adapted to the Patriot Way. Nor has he played anywhere near to expectations.
The reality is that not everyone in the locker room is simply downing the Patriot Kool-Aid without looking anymore. Some guys are grabbing the cup, sniffing it, and pouring it out when no one is looking.RESPONSE: Those guys need to be sent packing.
This was the primary reason that Belichick brought back 40-year-old linebacker Junior Seau. Nobody speaks in more glowing terms of Belichick than Seau. The two men, football lifers and future Hall of Famers, have a deep appreciation for each other. Seau, who, if his teammates are to believed, might be a better orator than Barack Obama, returned to try to win a ring and to spread the coach's gridiron gospel. RESPONE: Says who? Seau is insurance in case either Guyton or Mayo goes down.
The problem is that Seau is merely just a football figurehead. He plays a more prominent role on billboards plastered around town for his Versus show, "Sports Jobs with Junior Seau," than he does in Belichick's defense. To be a leader, you have to play some sort of leading role. RESPONSE: Here I tend to agree.
Look, Belichick was well within his rights to discipline Thomas, fellow linebacker Gary Guyton, wide receiver Randy Moss, and defensive end/linebacker Derrick Burgess for not making it to the meeting on time, especially when the team is coming off back-to-back losses and is at a crossroads in the season.
But accountability is a two-way street.
When Thomas was benched without warning against the Tennessee Titans earlier this season, the news was delivered by linebackers coach Matt Patricia and not Belichick. Delegation is part of being a great leader, but that was really a decision that needed to come straight from the head coach. RESPONSE: Says who? Are you saying that Thomas has played poorly because BB hurt his feelings? Thomas was playing poorly well before BB made the decision to sit him down.
There still hasn't been an explanation as to why veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, who has been inactive for the last four games, is buried so deep on the depth chart you'd need a backhoe to find him. RESPONSE: Everybody on the team knows why. Springs hasn't beformmed to expectations.
Some players are dumb-founded that Springs, who was covering Terrell Owens for the Redskins last season, can't even get in uniform on game day, while Jonathan Wilhite, who has been lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, just goes about his merry business, drawing praise for his coverage on Reggie Wayne
, who had 10 catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner in the aftermath of fourth-and-2 in Indy. RESPONSE: Again, who are your sources? Do you know more about player evaluation that BB?
Despite being listed on the practice report with a knee injury during this time, Springs has been healthy enough to play; the Patriots just haven't wanted to play him for some reason. RESPONSE: Could the knee injury be at leaast part of the reason why? Why plaay a veteran who can only play at 75%...when a younger player can play at least as well, plus get valuable experience?
For the first time in a long time, not every player in the Patriots' locker room is convinced that their coaching staff is giving them the best chance possible to win on game day.RESPONSE: Again, says who? You? Adalius Thomas?
One more unexpected or crushing loss and it could be check-out time for some players on Belichick's message. RESPONSE: "The sky is falling!"
But the good news for Belichick is that he's usually at his best in these types of situations, and this is a situation with a very clear solution.RESPONSE: Could that be because he knows what he's doing, and, because he's a winner?
All he has to do is turn back the clock to when the Patriots out-smarted, out-executed, and out-played their opponents. RESPONSE: I'd take odds on that, rather than on a complete collapse.
If the Patriots win on Sunday and keep winning, all these issues that have suddenly arisen will seep back below the surface because winning is a universal language that everybody speaks. RESPONSE: This is the only thing that Gasper said throughout his entire article that makes any sense. A more accurate title, using my slant...would be "Time to Re-Establish the Patriot Way".