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Monday Afternoon H-Back

Let's start with a disclaimer: There's no crying in football. You get your butt kicked like that, all you can do is suck it up.

Anyone who has a problem with what Bill Belichick is doing, there's a real simple solution. Just make him stop. Make him punt. Pick off a pass. Do something about it. In the ultimate ubber-macho sport Belichick is letting everyone know each and every week who the Alpha Dog is and how loud he can bark.

I love it. It's clean and pure. There's no guessing involved. Belichick won't talk about. Doesn't have to. He can utter all the useless jibberish he wants after games, the reality is so glaring he need verbalize it. He's doing it to you every week.

You know exactly what to expect - going for it on 4th down, throwing TD passes to the linebacker - and you still find yourself beat down by fiddy. Look at it as him doing you favor. He's going to expose any and all of your flaws on film every Sunday for all to see. He's taking all the guess work out of it for you; you just have to rebuild your team's psyche and correct all the mistakes (yikes!).

You don't have to wonder, like, what the score would be if the Pats really kept pushing in the second half? You don't have to imagine just how better they are then you. Belichick is telling you. Over 60 minutes you know where you stand. They are going for your throat on every single play and if you're guard isn't up you'll come out looking silly.

I don't blame him. The idea that he has to show some respect to Coach Joe, or any coach, befuddles me. That's not how Belichick rolls. It's missing the point. It's irrelevant. He doesn't care who is on the opposite sideline; these are equal opportunity beatdowns. This dude is going after Gibbs 1.0, Bill Walsh, Vince Lombardi. He's slaying ghosts. He's chasing history.

And it's plain as day for all to see. He wants to end any debate about the greatest team in NFL history. He wants to go undefeated, score more points, have the biggest margin of victory and have his quarterback post the single most prolific season in league history. What's to hate about that? Hell, I'd love to play for the guy.

(And the bottom line is Belichick comes from the Parcells tree, and at best Gibbs and Parcells seemed to share a cold, distant admiration for each other. There were many a Parcells/Gibbs handshake that resembled the fleeting exchange Sunday.)

In the middle of last week I was chatting in the parking lot with one of the veteran Redskins, who knew what is store. He wasn't predicting the Redskins would get blown out, now, or anything of that nature, but what he did know is that if Belichick had any chance to run these Redskins off the field he would. "He don't care man. That cat is going to (bleep) you up. He's not going to do your job for you. I love that about him. Who don't want to be a part of that?"

Now, the Patriots have an infinitely better football team than the Redskins do, which obviously allows for more of a swagger. But I don't think you'll find a bigger contrast in approaches than what the Pats are doing on offense and what Gibbs seems to espouse. No one up there is having to try to conjure up ways to instill a ruthless killer instinct and close out games, and no one is talking about always being locked in close games and everything coming down to the wire. No one would be proud of the effort around there after being down 52-0. Their intentions are clear.

The biggest problem with all of this for Belichick, best I can see, is that somebody's gonna try to take his QBs head off in the fourth quarter of one of these blowouts. It's almost like he's daring you to do that, believing his offensive line will protect Brady no matter what, and if you do blitz like crazy then he'll drop 70 on you.

There may come a time, though, when some hellbent DE times that snap count just right and takes a sprinting attack on Brady off the line. And if that happens, then all of a sudden the Patriots are just another average NFL team, because that Cassel kid ain't ready yet and somebody else already snatching up Vinny T. No one's even scratched Brady much yet this season, let alone knock him from a game, and barring that I don't see the Pats losing more than a game all season.

Other Ramblings:

Carlos Not Looking Good: He is set to have the MRI at 2 pm, but everyone here is bracing for a season-ending knee injury and one that could perhaps even linger into next season should he tear both the ACL and MCL. For a young corner, losing explosiveness can be a huge thing and for Carlos's sake I am hoping for the best. The athletic trainers will be trying to gear a recovery for the start of next season, fearing a 6-to-9 month recovery time. Smoot says that one way or another he knows he has to play on his hamstring this week with Carlos out, and he fears aggravating it again down the line but that seems to be the nature of this injury.

All We Are Say-ing, Is Give Betts a Chance: Waiting for a cogent argument to appear about why Portis must be the bell cow. How's that been working out for half a season? This smells like the loyalty gone awry with Brunell and John Hall from years past. Give Ladell a quarter and let him get going. Portis is averaging 3.4 per carry since Week 1 and his production is slipping by the week. You gave Betts that contract for a reason right? You'd have a hard time convincing me that if you took a vote of the offensive position coaches, they'd be all for giving Betts the ball much more, but this is Joe Gibbs's show and he's the ultimate Portis guy. Portis is 23rd in the NFL in rushing.

Fumbilitis, Redux: JC has to hold the ball at least one of these sacks. Yeah, the protection was weak and Vrabel could have come free whenever he wanted by the looks of it, but all these fumbles are out of control. Three fumbles or more as a team in four of the last five weeks? JC has fumbled 8 times himself this season, losing 4 of them. He's fumbled at least once in 4 of the last 5 games. That, coupled with the 5 INTs, shows his youth. He is still exceeding what right minded people could expect, but the turnovers have to be overcome and I am confident they will over time.

Offensive Offense: Skins now rank 28th in total offense. 25th in yards per rush (3.5) and 25th in passing yards per game. They are 28th in first downs and 22nd in points per game (18). The offense has 13 touchdowns through 7 games.

Frosty Slumping: It's been a few weeks now and Derrick was pretty distraught after the game. He's got to rebound. With an offense this bad field position is imperative. He's plummeted to 15th in the NFC in punting, with a 41.5 average.

More Vrabel: Pretty much no doubt this guy is the Defensive Player of the Week. That's a dream game for any linebacker right there. Heck, it be a dream game for any Redskins WR at this point too. Still no TDs from the entire group. Where's McCardell? All he does is make a 20 yard catch every time you put him on the field.

Hangover Helper?: The Jets should be just what the doctor ordered. Just as the Colts and Pats are running away with the race for the two best teams in the NFL, so are the Jets, Rams and Dolphins running away from the pack in terms of futility. If you can't healthy against these guys, pack up your things and go home. Now, saying all of that, Man-genius is a Belichick discipline, so you never know .... But it would take a monumental effort to collapse enough to lose to the Jets.

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 29, 2007; 1:57 PM ET
 
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