So, yes, the Panthers did take Moss out of the game. And, yes, he did look lethargic on a certain number of plays. But to say that he quit on his teammates? No, I’m not buying that.
Did he play poorly? Sure he did, and just like the other members of that team, he will be corrected when they turn on the film today in their meeting rooms—but that is all that I see in play after this story has come out. And, I am going to listen to Brady and Belichick when it comes to judging his character as a teammate because, like you, I am not in those meetings, on the practice field or in the locker room with a player that still demands respect from a defensive standpoint—and causes opposing players to mouth off to the media even after a loss. Because we can’t pretend to know what is being called in that huddle, just as we can’t pretend to know what route is supposed to be run as told on the chalkboard in the Patriots meeting rooms.
Bill Belichick talked about what happens when a guy like Sam Aiken is out of the lineup.
If you lose a core player in the kicking game, like Sam was inactive yesterday - he’s really a starter on four teams. It isn’t always the same person that replaces him on each team, it can be a combination of different things and that was the case yesterday. That’s always a challenge on special teams; if you take one guy out, you’ve lost him on at least four teams. Sometimes if he’s involved in the field goal and field goal rush situations, it could be more than that.
It’s a lot different than on offense or defense where it’s just that position on offense or that position on defense. It rolls into multiple positions in the kicking game and then you usually don’t have the same person where you just can’t do it, you don’t have enough people. It’s just like offense: you can’t have a backup right tackle, a backup right guard, a backup center. You’ve got to have one guy that backs up multiple positions and that’s true in the kicking game, too. One guy is out, that means 'you’re in on this team’, 'he’s in on that team’, 'you’re in on another team’ and it really challenges your depth.
That’s one of the real challenging parts of being the special teams coach and even as a head coach - trying to put the roster together when you have a player like that who has a role on offense and is a core player in the kicking game. That’s a lot of jobs.
- Erik Scalavino says Wes Welker was the spark plug in Sunday's win, plus Monday notes from Gillette.
- Monday Presser: Bill Belichick (22:18 min. video)
- WEEI Patriots Monday: Tom Brady (24:15 min.), Chris Baker (6:30 min.), Sammy Morris (9:20 min.), Ty Warren (13:35 min.), Bill Belichick (11:10 min.) Q&A Transcripts: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
- Patriots Today: Overcoming Carolina, highlights and analysis. (13:05 min. video)
- Karen Guregian writes Randy-bashing was all the rage yesterday, but his coach and his team are staunchly in his corner.
- Mike Reiss reports a feisty Bill Belichick came out swinging at his press conference Monday morning. It's memorable because Belichick is the anti-Ryan 99.9% of the time, either showering praise on the opposition or simply taking the football high road.
- Mike Reiss points out how Tom Brady and Kevin Faulk both defend Randy Moss and deflect criticism of effort.
- Christopher Price reports the consistant locker room support for Randy Moss, his character and his effort.
- Bill Reynolds says Moss can answer critics with a return to All-Pro form.
- Gerry Callahan feels Bill Belichick gave Randy a pass because he has no other choice besides hoping the real Randy Moss shows up for the last three games of the season.
- Ian Rapoport notes ESPN analyst and former Minnesota WR Cris Carter feels something happened to Randy Moss mentally to be on the field in that state.
- Ian Rapoport notes WR Jerry Rice rips Randy Moss. What a surprise.
- Robert Lee reports rookie Sebastian Vollmer has improved to where he is already arguably just as good, if not better, than veteran tackles Matt Light and Nick Kaczur.
Ian Rapoport says LB Pierre Woods is happy with his role on special teams, but enjoyed getting the start on defense Sunday against the Panthers.
- Mike Reiss looks at the snaps played by offensive skill position players and the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 20-10 win over the Panthers.
Mike Reiss looks at and analyzes the snaps played by Patriots defenders in the Panthers win, noting Banta-Cain, Meriweather and Mayo played every one.
- Mike Reiss breaks down the three-man rotation at OT in Sunday's win.
Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Adalius Thomas ready to move on from a bad week; Belichick admitted Brady’s availability really was a gametime decision; Rob Ninkovich filled in for Thomas on passing downs against the Panthers and was rewarded with a contract extension; Matt Light will only play Left Tackle, Sebastian Vollmer can rotate; Patriots gained 185 yards on the ground Sunday with Baker and Watson blocking.
- Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly) Brady, Belichick appear firmly in Moss's corner.
- John Czarnecki (Fox Sports) The day after: What's eating Randy Moss?
- Charles Chandler (Charlotte Observer) Patriots question Panthers, not Moss.
- Scott Fowler (Charlotte Observer) Belichick can't handle the truth.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Big move: Belichick stands up for his boys.
- Charles Robinson (Yahoo! Sports) 'Fragile' Moss threatens to set back Patriots.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Jerry Rice rips Randy Moss for zero effort. (26 second video clip)
- Michael Silver (Yahoo! Sports) Thanks to New England's run at perfection two years ago, we're no longer bombarded by the '72 Dolphins.
- Dennis Dillon (Sporting News) Super Bowls don't matter, Colts are team of the decade. Ask any Colts' player if he'd trade a few of those regular-season victories for another SB win and you'll have your real answer.
- Judy Battista (NY Times) With a chance at undefeated records, the Saints and Colts must weigh the value of perfection against resting for the playoffs.
- Pro Football Weekly Steelers in midst of Super collapse.