Fans of this column will recall that a few weeks back I made fun of Jim Mora's tirade from last season when a reporter asked if he was worried that his then-sinking Colts were not going to make the playoffs. What ensued was the now infamous quote of "Playoffs? Playoffs? We can't be thinking of the playoffs! We're trying to win one game." After Sundays game, that clip doesn't seem funny anymore. Rather, it speaks the truth about our local eleven.
What we have witnessed over the last four weeks is the utter collapse of a once proud, Super Bowl champion team. No more disciplined play that doesn't result in a slew of penalties that kills drives or keeps them alive for the other team. No more sure tackling on defense or big play turnovers. No more tightening up when the opponent enters the red zone. No more power running game. No more wide open holes for Antowain Smith to run through. No more accurate passing from our can't miss quarterback. And most obvious of all, no more passion.
The only good news about this collapse is that it is still very early in the NFL season and there is plenty of time to get back on track. However, the next month will tell the story of this season. After the bye this week, the Patriots face Denver, Buffalo (Bet you can't wait for that circus, can you?), Chicago, and Oakland. My biggest fear this season was that the Patriots would indeed be a one year wonder. At least as fans we would be able to stand tall if the Patriots made a playoff appearance this year and say "See, it wasn't a fluke." If things don't change in a hurry, it appears my greatest fear may become realized.
I will take this space to criticize this scam of an offensive game plan that has been employed by the Patriots. No huddle, five receiver sets work only for a short while against professional football players. What has been proven to work over the years is a balanced attack of running the football and passing the ball in the short and intermediate range. Brady's strength is this short and intermediate range game and not the long (drive killing)incomplete passes that we saw in the first half against the Packers. (Editor's comment: This so-called columnist Rousseau is starting to sound more and more like Ron Borges every week.) I hope that fans and the media give Brady his space as all quarterbacks go through rough stretches. It certainly doesn't help that Bledsoe continues to light up any defense he's up against. Time will tell. And this is what makes the game of professional football the greatest sports entertainment year in, year out. As a fan, you have no idea what is around the next corner. Just go ask a Rams fan.....
Okay, I'll try to keep this week's edition of Zingers as positive as possible. I can't promise anything but here goes.....
As a value-added, bye week service to Zinger groupies, Mrs. Rousseau will be making a guest appearance in this space next week to let you in on everything you ever wanted to know about the author of this weekly diatribe. Some of this information may be well known to some of you, some of it may not. Most of it will certainly be held against me in the court of public opinion. Let's just say I'm being very nice to her this week.
I laugh every time I hear a player say how much he enjoys playing for a "player's coach." That kills me. Those guys typically are out on their kiester in about two years. The latest example of this is Herm Edwards of the Jets. I wouldn't expect any Gatorade being dumped on good ol' Herm anytime soon. Our lesson here is that with a "player's coach", sooner or later, the inmates take over the asylum.
Memo to Jay Mohr of ESPN: I don't understand your humor and just about anybody can do a half-way decent Christopher Walkin impersonation.
Few plays are more exciting than an onside kick. I don't think anybody does it any better than Miami's Olindo Mare. A few years ago, he landed three, count 'em three, successful onside kicks in a row against the Patriots. After the third successful onside kick, my beloved father come the closest I have ever seen him to actually losing his self-control and dignity.
I'm sure he's a very nice guy, but what has Kevin Faulk contributed to this team over the last few years? I can't recall him busting open even one kick off return, can you?
Proving my thesis that playing games in Florida in September and October at 1pm is utterly ridiculous, Donovan McNabb lined up last week against the Jaguars and proceeded to vomit at the line of scrimmage. There is no need for this disregard for the players' health. Come on, at least start the Florida home games at 4pm during that time of year.
Those new Seahawks uniforms are hard on the eyes. Who is designing these new uniforms, Tommy Hilfinger?
Nothing for nothing, but it was my beloved brother's observation at Sunday's game that, as a rule of thumb, Packer fans seem to be the least fit of all the visiting fans that come through Foxboro. Anyone for another brat?
I'm not too crazy about the blue jersey/blue pants combo that the Patriots showed up in on Sunday. It looks like its going to take more than changing pants to turn things around, folks.
As a public service to readers of this so-called column, I will offer an occasional tip that will help you better enjoy your tailgating experience. This week's tip: A quick way to bring down a otherwise fine tailgating experience is to try to pass off the commitment of bringing dessert by buying Stop n' Shop bakery cookies. I have no excuse except that I must have gotten seduced early Sunday morning by the leaf shaped cookies with black and orange sprinkles. Sorry, Mark. It's Tiramisu next time.
The guy who sits next to me queried on Sunday if anybody has seen Patriots Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weiss and George Wendt of "Cheers" fame in the same room at the same time? This is the same gentleman who brought us "Its third down and Cleveland" a few weeks back.
To this observer, it seems the constant shuffling of players on every down, on both sides of the ball is causing more trouble than its worth for the Patriots. I say they start from scratch with basic formations and basic plays with minimal substitution until further notice.
Okay, any embarassing anecdotes about the author will be accepted by Mrs. Rousseau for her column next week at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week, take care.