I say a quick square-out to Welker to make it 2nd and short. My point? The Pats absolutely MUST retain their focus this week. From Robert Kraft to the video assistants to the ushers. The objective is beating the San Diego Chargers this week, part of an overall goal of winning as many games as possible this season (and then trying for that oddly shaped trophy the Pats have three of). It's no secret the Pats have been viewed by many in recent months as "the team to beat." And whenever that is the case, other teams will be willing to throw everything but the kitchen sink at you in order to impede your progress. Now, let's not be naive here. It can be said for certain that every team in the league, in some shape or form, will try to gain a completely legal competitive edge by observing and interpreting the opponent's signals. You'd have to guess that every team adjusts their signals every week to counter-act this. It's really only the same-game observation that counts (and really a video camera is a rather interesting method of doing this considering the technical restraints, but that's discussion for another thread). I'm sure the Pats aren't the only team to try videotaping the other team, or at least that's what I've gathered from what I've read over the past couple of days (and last year when Casserly called out the Pats for it and Belichick fired back with a "it's nice to see he's still employed by an NFL team.") -- it's just that the Pats were brazen enough (for whatever reason) and the Jets confident enough in their innocence (I doubt we would have seen any of this if the Jets had won) that they made a symbolic gesture and sent the tape in. But in reality, I don't think we can sit here and deny that most teams employ some type of rule-bending strategy to do this, and the NFL, of course, knows this. It's like the anti-collusion rule: every team disregards it and the NFL pays no attention. This time the Jets' whine was loud enough the NFL had to do something. Was the Jets' objective to strip the Pats of a pick and make Robert Kraft's wallet a bit lighter? Of course not. It was purely to take a shot at their divisional rival. Gamesmanship, if you will. Flashback to exactly 1 year ago. The Pats trade Deion Branch to the Seattle Seahawks and file a tampering grievance against the New York Jets. Just as the Jets telling Branch what they'd offer in a trade giving Branch a negotiating edge was gamesmanship on the Jets' part, the Pats filing a tampering grievance against the Jets the week of their matchup was also just gamesmanship. Again, the penalties for each of these charges (tampering or illegal videotaping) are completely irrelevant to the teams making the charges. It's only the distraction and extra work that truly matters. All NFL teams at any given time are trying to throw each other off course. And if they're not, you're the Raiders or the Browns. Folks, we see this every week. Polian and his fellow Patriot-victims of the Competition Committee adding in the "chuck" and "0 timeout" rules in order to take shots at the Pats. The Jets and Pats calling in each other's former players for lessons on each team. Or, if you recall, Jonathan Smith's stint with the Pats before the Bills game last year. This is what the NFL is all about! And guess what? It's Tuesday night at 8:31 PM EST. One-third of the week is already over for the Patriots, and the only talk in town has been about last weekend's game. And, as we've also seen, other teams -- the Lions, Packers, etc. are jumping in and trying to make sure that talk extends deep into this week. Again, why is this?!? For the Patriots are forced to expend all their energy focusing on the Chargers, not all this crap. It's 100% semantics! Quite simply, it's the rest of the NFL world -- inferior, many "experts" concluded shortly after last weekend's game -- that is trying their very best to close that gap. And to them, a loss this weekend for the Pats would do a great deal towards that goal. Which brings us back to the main point. What play should the Pats run first on Sunday night? Because that's certainly all (well, maybe a little more than the first play) the Pats care about right now. They realize this is all a game, just as all 31 other teams do, and will continue to fight through this "adversity."