FOXBORO, MA — A rational person may realize one thing if they’ve been paying attention to what’s being said about Michael Bishop by both head coach Bill Belichick and his fellow players.
The Patriots can’t win with Bishop. At least not right now.
The debate has continued among fans throughout Patriot Nation over starting Bishop over 11-year veteran John Friesz on Sunday when New England travels to Cleveland to take on the Browns. The majority of them seem to feel that it’s time to give Bishop an opportunity to play, but just like the presidential election, the popular majority doesn’t always win.
In fact, Belichick doesn’t seem to have the confidence that Bishop has what it takes to run the Patriots offense effectively. While he won’t come out and say that is the problem, he’s not exactly giving Bishop a solid vote of confidence. Belichick keeps saying his decision will be made with the intent of which player will give them the best opportunity to win. Obviously, he seems to feel that doesn’t involve Bishop.
“I’ll say the same thing about Drew or John or anybody else, we’re trying to win a football game,” said Belichick. “Whatever I think will help us win a football game, you know, we’ll do.”
“Whatever we feel like is the best thing to do, then that’s what we’re going to do. I know everybody might not agree with that, I hope they can accept it and understand what the intent is. Again, be strong with your decision and go forward and try to win, that’s what it is all about.”
“To put one person ahead of a team objective, I don’t think you’re being fair to the team that you represent.”
Bishop has yet to enjoy success during his few appearances on the football field. The team opted to scrap the option play after seeing just how ineffective it was during several short-yardage situations. Bishop completed a Hail Mary for a touchdown several weeks ago, and that prompted his supporters to begin calling even louder for the former Heisman Trophy runner-up to be given an opportunity to play. With Drew Bledsoe continuing to enjoy more and more success, it didn’t seem likely.
But they say be careful what you wish for or you just might get it. New England needed to run the table with 8-wins during the second half of the season, and it appears with Bledsoe out with a jammed thumb (or whatever they want to call it) that doesn’t seem to be a reality. Quite a few fans were hoping for this scenario, and now they’ve got it. The only problem is that Bishop still won’t be calling the signals Sunday in Cleveland.
As a matter of fact, following Bledsoe’s injury, quite a few fans were delighted with the fact that the three-time Pro Bowler had gone down with an injury.
“Bledsoe’s out? Good. Now they can put in Bishop,” said one.
“Bledsoe’s hurt? Good. They should trade him anyway,” said another.
“Bledsoe’s hurt? Good. I hope they cut him.”
The only problem is that Belichick knows something that they don’t, and that seems to be Bishop isn’t quite ready enough to get the job done. For now he is going to go with John Friesz, a man he feels has enough experience to lead this team to victory until Bledsoe can come back healthy.
Bledsoe also seems to feel that Friesz gives them the best opportunity to win.
“The bottom line is, as I said before that the coaching staff is factoring in only one thing, and that’s who gives us the best chance to win,” said Bledsoe. “I foresee that on being John Friesz at this point.”
What do the other players seem to think about whether Bishop is ready or not? Chad Eaton made a comment about the situation, and without naming names shedded some much needed light on what may be going on during those practices where it’s been said Bishop has been less than impressive.
“The one thing I do trust about John is I know he’s been paying attention all week,” said Eaton. “He knows the game plan, we don’t have to throw things out and modify things.”
If that comment was meant about Bishop, one would have to believe that there are bigger problems looming in this “back-up quarterback controversy”. Regardless of how either the fans or how any of the players seem to feel, Belichick isn’t concerned about whether or not people agree with his decisions.
“I don’t expect everybody to agree with every single thing that I do,” said Belichick. “I’m not trying to sit up here and say everything I’m doing is right because obviously I’ve made some mistakes….I’m sure I’m gonna make some more. But on the other hand, I’m going to take resources that I have and try to do the best I can with them and that includes everybody from the defensive end, to the quarterback, to the punt returner, to whatever it is. That’s what we’ll try to do.”
“Does it surprise me that there are other opinions out there? No, not at all. And I respect those opinions.”
Just don’t be upset if Bishop isn’t on the field on Sunday.
Posted Under: 2000 Patriots Season
Tags: 2001 Patriots Offseason Bill Belichick Drew Bledsoe Michael Bishop New England Patriots