By: Ian Logue
Today’s a historic day for Patriots fans, although one can only hope that those same fans can hold a long-term perspective – because many of them choose to head the other way whenever this topic is mentioned.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reminded everyone that it was 10-years ago today that the Jets Mo Lewis slammed into Drew Bledsoe and sidelined him with what we later learned was nearly a life threatening injury after he suffered severe internal bleeding as a result of the hit.
Fortunately it didn’t cost Bledsoe his life off of the field, but it ended up being the last time he would take the field in Foxboro as the quarterback for the Patriots. (it happened at 4:48 to go in the game – you can read this article I wrote from 2002 for more on that moment)
Brady’s completely changed the football landscape here in New England since taking over in 2001. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
Since then we know what Brady’s done. They’ve won three championships, had an undefeated record-setting regular season, and Brady’s still slinging it just as well now as he was then – and arguably even a bit better considering the start he’s off to this season. There were some questioning just how many good years he’s got left during the offseason, but so far all Brady’s done is prove that he keeps getting better with age. At this rate by the time he’s done, it’s unlikely we’ll see anyone that can play at this high a level for as long as he has again – or at least not for a long time.
It’s been a great couple of decades. Bledsoe made the 90’s fun after coming in during the 1993 season and ending any shot fans had of seeing any future 2-14 seasons. During that span they only had a few losing seasons during his tenure, along with a Super Bowl appearance and several playoff berths, which is far better than what fans had seen in the years before he arrived. Brady made the next decade even better when he helped the team take the next step, and fans haven’t seen a losing one since Bledsoe’s final full season in 2000.
There were a lot of fun years while Bledsoe was here, along with some terrific moments (the broken finger games, the Minnesota game in ’94, the shootout against Marino, etc.) and since Brady’s arrived it’s just gotten even better. That’s why Bledsoe was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame last weekend, and that’s also why we’ll see Brady there some day years from now as well.
Needless to say we’ll have to just sit back and enjoy the remainder of the ride – and Brady’s got the team off to a great start so far in what appears to be another fun year.
Some additional news and notes from today:
– Some guys probable, two guys OUT for Sunday – A few names that appear likely to play Sunday were Kyle Arrington, Josh Barrett, Leigh Bodden, and Dane Fletcher, who Marc Bertrand of 98.5 the Sports Hub reported are listed as “Probable” for Sunday’s game against Buffalo. Mike Petraglia reported that three guys who won’t be suiting up are Aaron Hernandez, Mike Wright, and Sebastian Vollmer.
– Chung spotted – According to published reports Patriots safety Patrick Chung was spotted on Friday sporting a cast on the same hand he underwent surgery on this week to prevent any further damage to his broken thumb. Initial reports had him out of the line-up, while today’s report still sounds like it makes him a possibility. They’re already thin at safety, so it will be interesting to see if: a) he plays, and b) if he does, whether or not they simply try and use him only in coverage and limit him. Either way it will be something to watch for this weekend as they haven’t ruled him out.
– No More Double Gronk Shot – Ian Rapoport of the Herald just Tweeted that Dan Gronkowski’s name wasn’t on the injury report, leading him to believe his roster spot is gone. He expects a move to be announced in the next 24 hours – so something else for fans to keep an eye on. (UPDATED: Gronkowski’s officially been let go. As fellow PatsFans.com Derek Havens pointed out on Twitter, Gronkowski was signed on September 7th, which ends a 16 day stint with the team.)
– Belichick Feels Bad on Koppen and Pryor – it’s not too often you hear head coach Bill Belichick say much about a player when they end up on injured reserve, but Mike Reiss pointed out on Friday that he opened the press conference on Friday discussing the tough decision to put both guys on IR. “I feel bad that we had to place Dan and Myron on injured reserve,” said Belichick. “Dan has played a lot of really good football for us here and he’s really been such a dependable guy in every sense of the word. You really take it for granted or almost take it for granted. When you don’t have him you really realize how consistent and dependable he has been. Myron had a good preseason, I thought he really got off to a little bit of a late start but worked hard, was doing really well. I’m just disappointed for them.
– Will Brady break Marino’s record season? – Ashley Fox and John Clayton of ESPN debate whether or not Brady will break Dan Marino’s single season passing record of 5,084 that he set back in 1984 this year in today’s “Hot Button” topic, and fans can also vote as well. Fox thinks he will, while Clayton feels the cold weather months will probably cause him to fall short, pointing out that Marino had an advantage playing in Florida.
– Adams ready if needed – Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes that Phillip Adams, who was recently signed this week by New England, said he’s ready to go this Sunday if the team calls on him against the Bills. “I’m going to work hard and, whatever the coaches decide, then that’s what I’ll do,” said Adams. “I’ll come in here, work hard, and get ready.”
– Carter fined for hit on Rivers Sunday – No real surprise after Patriots defensive lineman Andre Carter was fined $15,000 for his hit on Philip Rivers on Sunday. On the play he was called “for roughing the passer” on a pass play in which he struck the quarterback in the chest area with his helmet, and then drove him into the ground. Sunday was expensive for both teams, netting a total of $45,000 in fines after San Diego’s Eric Weddle and Antonio Garay were each fined for additional infractions.
– Decision day for Mesko – Today’s a big day for Zoltan Mesko, as according to Erik Scalavino of Patriots.com, the punter said his ability to play Sunday will hinge on how practice goes Friday afternoon. Mesko had been making progress this week and seemed to be improving after a scary moment where James Ihedigbo got knocked into him during a punt on Sunday. Mesko didn’t punt for the rest of the game, which even forced Belichick to make the decision to go for a 4th down play that they ended up not converting. He’s been another bright spot for the team this season, so hopefully he’ll be able to play on Sunday.