December 17, 2007
Plenty of Questions Left To Be Answered
BY: Kevin Rousseau
Over the years, I have discovered that mowing the lawn, raking leaves or shoveling snow is an excellent post-game option. If it's a loss that you are stewing over, you can take it out on the poor leaves. If it's a win, well then shoveling snow for the 48th time in the last seven days doesn't seem so bad, now does it?
And so I found myself battling the white stuff (snow and not the narcotic) around 4:30 Sunday afternoon after the 20-10 win over the Jets. Usually when I have this much time alone to chew on things after a game, I get it all figured out. Gems like "Gee, Tom Brady is pretty good." Or "Wow. That Rodney Harrison sure is an emotional player." You get the (snow) drift.
But after a solid hour of taking care of the porch, the walkway and part of the driveway, I was just as confused about the Patriots as when I started the task. I couldn't get the thought out of my head that in three of the last four games, the team has not played all that well frankly. Then I would counter this negativity that drove Rick Pitino out of town with some rationalization. "Kev, they're winning games in all different kinds of ways. That's been their trademark for years. You just got used to the style of play in September and October. Come back to Earth."
Then I proceeded to get going on the offense. "It just hasn't looked all that sharp at times in the last month. And I don't care for this silliness about using short passes as a running game. A decent running game is paramount come January. How else is play action going to work?" Then I recalled that the running game looked halfway decent against the Jets and with the Dolphins and Giants on the horizon, perhaps some momentum could be built up in this department.
These mini-debates twisted around in my head for a while. Then a comforting feeling came over me as I nearly did an impression of Charlie Brown kicking a field goal. This is exactly the way I have felt at this time of the year for the past five seasons. Half self-doubt and half over-confidence. Just label me a bi-polar Pats fan.
It does seem like there is some unfinished business left for the Patriots in these last two games, doesn't it? A statement will want to be made to the Dolphins this coming Sunday. A win over the Giants would give the team regular season immortality but also raise the stakes in the playoffs. Who wants to be a punchline to a trivia question for years to come? Some more momentum with regards to the running game would be a welcome site. And there a few single season records hanging out there that can be reeled in.
If you haven't figured it out by now, there is a lack of clarity to this column. And that's on purpose, friends. There are too many questions left to be answered in the coming weeks. Will Donte Stallworth became a late-season threat? Can Richard Seymour take over a game? Will the veteran linebacking corps hold up? All these questions will be stewed over and then answered in the coming weeks.
Like the Count discovering what the Number of the Day is going to be, the anticipation is killing me.
Idle Zinger thoughts while again questioning the safety record of Sir Topham Hatt's railway:
Minnesota head coach Brad Childress gives me the creeps everytime I look at him. Why is that?
The fans who are having the most fun this season are in Green Bay and Cleveland. There is nothing like an unexpected run by your team. Remember 2001?
Why is some guy running around with uniform number 33 for the Dallas Cowboys? It's like when they trot out someone with a 14 in the Patriots pre-season.
The officiating crew's soccer pants look kinda silly, don't you think?
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