August 22, 2003
BY: Kevin Rousseau
Given that the Philadelphia Eagles and their notorious fans were fired up for the opening of their brand new stadium, the Patriots performed admirably on Friday night in the third and most important game of the pre-season by beating the Eagles 24-12. Of course, it wasn't a perfect performance; but then again, when is it? But there is no question that there was more good than bad and it appears that the Patriots defense has the chance to be something very special this season. In short, the Patriots controlled the tempo of the game and held a team that has been to the NFC Championship Game two years in a row to three points in the first half. That is about as good as one can hope for in the pre-season.
Essentially, from a salary cap standpoint, the Patriots "traded" released cornerback Otis Smith for nose tackle Ted Washington. The trade for Chicago Bears veteran 375-pound nose tackle Ted Washington is already paying dividends. On Friday night, he swallowed up Philly lineman and allowed the Patriots' linebackers to make plays. His arrival instantly makes this defense, on paper anyways, as good as any other defense in the AFC. If he can stay healthy, it will allow the Patriots to slowly bring along rookie defensive linemen Ty Warren and Dan Klecko and help develop some needed depth on defense.
In Friday's game, the other pickup from the Chicago Bears, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, continued to show Patriots fans that he is indeed the real deal. This guy is a difference maker, plain and simple. His sack of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb killed their first drive and got the defense off the field quickly on a hot night. If he can continue to make these types of impact plays, he'll enable the Patriots defense to get off the field on third downs that actually count in the regular season. That would be a welcome change from last year. Too often, the Patriots defense was out of gas in the fourth quarter last year due to their troubles on third down and the offense's inability to control the clock with a decent running game.
Amid this pre-season euphoria however, Patriots Nation should be careful not to fall head over heels with this team based on three pre-season games. Keep in mind that out of the 37 previous Super Bowl winners, 15 had a .500 or worse record in pre-season. Even today, the old adage that championships can't be won in August still holds true. The good news though is that the Patriots have escaped the first three pre-season games relatively injury-free. And all things being equal, it's always more advantageous to win these games and execute well. Which the Patriots have……so far.
Idle Zinger thoughts while lamenting the downfall of fat-free Twinkies. Frankly, they were a miracle of modern science.
This pre-season I have noticed that Patriots backup quarterback Rohan Davey unique physique makes him amazingly look like he is pregnant and expecting around Week 10. Best wishes to him and Mrs. Davey.
All of this business about Monday Night Football's new sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero does nothing but diminish true female sports journalists and pioneers like Lesley Visser. Did you know that she got her start as a young reporter for the Boston Globe's sports section?
Rams franchise tackle Orlando Pace continues his contract holdout in St. Louis. Apparently, he is after a $20 million plus signing bonus. Keep in mind that Pace's agent, Carl Posten, is the agent for Patriots' Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy. Posten is, by some accounts, the most feared and loathed agent in all of football. The reason I point this out is that one or both of these guys will have to be re-negotiated after this season if they are to stick around.
My Zinger Research Department reports back that it appears that the only free Fantasy Football game out there right now is put out by Yahoo. If you know of another one, let me know.
Why do I have a hunch that the recently-released Otis Smith might land in Dallas playing for Bill Parcells? In my eyes, Otis will forever be immortalized for: 1) his fumble recovery and 47-yard touchdown return to seal up the 1997 AFC Championship against Jacksonville; 2) his amazing 78-yard TD interception return against the Colts in Tom Brady's debut in 2001; and 3) his third quarter interception in Super Bowl XXXVI that set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Former BC quarterback Brian St. Pierre has landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and looked very good on a game-winning drive against the Cowboys on Thursday night.
I have a hunch that fourth-year fullback Patrick Pass is an odd man out when rosters begin to be trimmed down on Tuesday.
Giants coach Jim Fassell once again had an undisciplined team on his hands last week during practice. Three fights broke out in five minutes between the offense and defense. The Giants undisciplined play and penalties cost them that outrageous playoff game against the 49ers last year. Maybe Fassell brought this on himself. During training camp last year, he complimented rookie tight end Jeremy Shockey for getting into a fight with a defensive veteran over a rookie hazing incident. Fassell felt the offense needed a little more of an edge. They've got that edge now with Shockey, that's for sure.
That's it until next week. Take care. I would be thrilled to hear from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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