After scoring (hallucinatory) interviews with Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien, my hard
ly work ing here at PatsPulpit was finally recognized and Greg (at Richard's suggestion) sent me out on assignment to talk to some of the defensive personnel from last season. My assignment? Find out what went wrong with the defense last year. With the deep pockets here at SB Nation, I was sent out with a half-eaten McNugget Happy Meal, and what appeared to be a credit card which later was confirmed to be a library card from the Poughkeepsie Regional Library System - PRLS (Greg, you have some 'splaining to do).
The Happy Meal was a bonus as the toy was a Brett Favre bobble-shoulders figure. You just ask him if he's going to retire, give it a shake, and he shrugs his shoulders continually. Eerily lifelike. Unfortunately, the plastic in the toy reacted with the rubber in the McNuggets and gave me a bit of a skin rash. I'd say where, but that's too much information already. On to the story.
I ran into Dean Pees outside a 7-Eleven in Baltimore. Don't worry, no one was hurt, though my Slurpee (charged to PRLS) suffered irreparable damage. I asked if he minded talking about last season a little bit and he agreed. The interview after the jump.
SMP: "I first wanted to ask you about that headline last year, 'Dean Pees in Hospital' "
DP: "Sounds like a call of nature sort of thing, it happens...."
SMP: "No, I mean, are you feeling alright? Was that the reason you left the Patriots?"
DP: "Oh, I'm fine. No Bill said it was more of an awareness problem, and I left on good terms."
SMP: "What sort of an 'awareness' problem?"
DP: "What I think he meant was that some of the guys on defense weren't aware of where I wanted them to be."
SMP: "Like Adalius Thomas?"
DP: "Sure he wasn't on the field as much, and Mike Vrabel was never in position...."
DP: "Even Tedy Bruschi, who I could always count on, was out of position more often than not...."
DP: "The line was pretty good, except for Seymour who just didn't show up in games...."
SMP: "...or TO them...."
DP: "Right, but the secondary was the worst. Harrison, Hobbs, ...."
SMP: "Oh, look at the time. Thanks for chatting Dean."
DP: "Asante Samuel...."
With the interview cut short, I left feeling that Dean had a bit of trouble adjusting to the changes in personnel. Without his tried and true corps of veterans, he was unable to overcome the snags that popped up during the game. Thus, the loss of veteran leadership was even seen on the coaching side. Not content to leave things lie there (except for the Slurpee), I decided to press on. Besides, the 7-Eleven charged the PRLS card, so this wasn't costing me a dime. Sorry, Poughkeepsie.
I stopped by Foxboro to see if I could
scale the walls to get in again, but Hoodie had increased the security since my last encounter with him. As I stood there trying to jimmy the lock, Shawn Crable came out from his workout. After his initial curiousity about the ninja costume, he agreed to an interview:
SMP: "Hi Shawn, you've had a little trouble staying on the field the last couple years."
SJC: "Getting on the field's more like it. I feel good now, though. I feel more comfortable with the system and I'm ready to compete."
SMP: "So did you learn anything from Mike Vrable a couple years ago before he left?"
SJC: "Mike? No. No, AD told me I should never talk to Mike."
SMP: "AD? You mean Adalius Thomas?"
SJC: "Yeah, AD's my man. He looks out for me. He said to steer clear of Mike 'cause he's old and he'd be afraid I'm taking his job. Vrable was always talking about that 'pass rush' and stuff."
SMP: "Vrabel never really seemed like a bad guy on TV. What's wrong with pass rush?"
SJC: "Well, AD said there's really no reason to rush. You've got three hours to get to the quarterback, and if you don't you can see him after the game. He said, 'If you've seen one quarterback, you've seen them all', and Brady's better than all of them."
SMP: "Hmmm, that's a little strange. Well, it seems you missed some time in college your freshman year."
SJC: "Yeah the whole year, but that was a fluke. Some people think that was a sign of things to come, but that's not it at all."
SMP: "Hey, if you say so. What caused your leg injury in 2008?"
SJC: "Oh, that. Training, man. AD showed me some killer training exercises."
SMP: "Don't the trainers, you know, show you exercises?"
SJC: "AD said you can't trust the trainers. They'll just hold you back. He showed me a killer exercise where you put your back against a brick wall and your feet on the hood of an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. He'd then get in the car with his gloves on and press the gas as you tried to hold the car in place. An extreme workout, man."
SMP: "Why a Ciera?"
SJC: "That had something to do with the VIN number being shaved off and the car being untraceable. He didn't want the trainers to find out. They'd make us stop, and I'd lose my edge. He always looked out for me."
SMP: "Sounds kind of dangerous."
SJC: "Oh, it can be. You have to have good communications, though. Like last year, AD hadn't realized my feet weren't on the hood - said he couldn't hear me - and he pressed the gas before I got them up there."
SMP: "Ewww. Ouch. That's why you didn't play last year then.
SJC: "That's right."
SMP: "Well why didn't you have your feet on the hood?"
SJC: "Well, he was still three blocks away and I'm not THAT tall, you know."
SMP: "Yeah, I know. Hey, Shawn, I've got kind of a crazy idea, but what if Adalius Thomas was the guy that was afraid you were going to take HIS job? What if his extreme training regimes were just trying to keep you off of the field?"
SJC: "No way, man, I .... You really think so?"
SMP: "Well let me ask you something. Did he ever have HIS feet on the hood while YOU pressed the gas?"
SJC: "Well, no, but he always said that he had done the workout before I got there."
SMP: "So he had his feet on the hood AND pressed the gas?"
SJC: "I see what you mean. Man he was lying to me the whole time. All that stuff about not trusting Belichick...."
SMP: "Always trust Belichick."
SJC: "You know, you're right. I'm going to turn back around and go ask the trainers what THEY think I should be doing."
SMP: "Great, mind if I tag along?"
SJC: "Sorry, man, but Belichick's got your picture on the wall, and we're not allowed to let you in."
SMP: "No worries. Have a great year, Shawn."
SJC: "You, too, Slots."
My questions about AD being a locker room cancer were answered in a rather grisly way by Shawn Crable. My hopes for Crable increased; a young guy that had fallen in with the wrong crowd. If he could avoid Cutlas Cieras, he just might be the answer we needed at pass rush. Our best hope was for him to avoid Oldsmobiles altogether. With the last of my McNuggets gone, and no Slurpee to wash them down. I headed back to Pulpit Central and you the Patriots fans.
NOTE: Any relation between this story and reality is completely unintentional.