Clint's Corner Archive

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The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.

For 12/20/2000

Good for them...

To any Patriots fan our there that actually was hoping the Patriots would lose to the Bills to better their draft position, bah humbug! How could any "fan" actually watch that game and root for the Patriots to lose? Those guys were out there in near sub-human conditions playing their hearts out in a "meaningless" road game to gain their 5th win in 15 tries.

Following that effort, I assure you there is no one in the entire Patriots organization disappointed to see the Patriots drop down the draft board. When you see Drew Bledsoe lead an 83-yard drive into a driving snow in below-zero wind chill, do you think anyone on the offense was worried about the April draft? Twenty minutes or so earlier, Chad Eaton could have let Steve Christie's field goal attempt sail over his head and through the uprights. Eaton and his teammates would have been under the hot shower a hell of a lot sooner. Instead, Eaton chose to extend overtime and give his offense another chance to win a "meaningless" game with a huge block, even if it meant hanging out on the sidelines or perhaps even having to go back out and play defense during a blizzard.

How about Ty Law breaking up a crucial 3rd down pass to force Buffalo into that overtime field goal attempt? Willie McGinest with a huge 3rd down sack of Doug Flutie near the end of regulation to set up his offense with a chance to win with 38 seconds to play? Tony Carter's effort on the screen pass with :01 to play? Terry Glenn, Troy Brown, and Jermain Wiggins running crossing routes and picking up much needed yards after the catch across a snow covered field? How can you not credit the much-maligned Patriot running backs and offensive line for picking up 189 yards on the ground? The Patriots had dozens of reasons to mail it in up in Buffalo, and never did. This is a credit not only to the players themselves, but to Belichick and his entire coaching staff as well, who certainly needed some positive press after the previous week's meltdown in Chicago.

These are the types of games you can take with you into the offseason and build upon. What the Patriots showed their fans and their head coach last Sunday will go a lot further towards this team returning to the playoffs than will picking 7th in the draft versus 9th. The Patriots did make many of the same stupid mistakes that have plagued them all season, but when you win those mistakes are swept under the rug rather than magnified. The angry fan in me, who has been very harsh in this column often times this season, still wants to know where that effort's been 5 of the past 6 weeks. How does a team capable of such effort and emotion lose to the Browns and Bears? I cannot, however, find it in me to complain about anything this week, including Bill Belichick.

I can see the point of those who say losing for a better draft pick is more a "long term" thought process, but I just can't fathom ever watching a Patriots game and hoping they lose. If you didn't know better and saw me glued to the TV during last Sunday's game, you'd think I was watching the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. My cheers even prompted my disinterested wife from asking from the next room, "I thought you said the Patriots stink and don't have a chance to make the playoffs?" "They do, and they don't," I responded, "but they're still the Patriots, and this is a division road game". My wife just doesn't get it, and sadly neither do some Patriot fans. If any of you "Patriots fans" out there are actually hoping to see the Dolphins clinch the AFC East title next Sunday in Foxboro, you really need to find another hobby.

Borderline judgement...

If you were worth $50 million dollars, would you jump in a rental car with someone you had never met before to get a ride from a Canadian strip joint to the Buffalo airport? Hindsight is always 20-20, but I bet that's one decision Ty Law wishes he could have back.

When a marijuana cigarette was discovered on Law's traveling companion, it prompted the search of Law's belongings uncovering the ecstasy pills. Now I'm not so sure I 100% buy that Law had no knowledge that the pills were in his possession, but I do believe him when he says he is not a drug user. A drug test, which Law has volunteered for, would prove that. Why would Law volunteer for a test that would place him in direct violation of a strict NFL substance abuse policy? He would not. If Ty Law were using or ever had used illegal drugs, there are certain to be Patriots teammates who would know that. Stating otherwise in a public press conference would therefore be foolish. If Ty Law is lying to the fans, the media, his coach, and the owner, that would be bad. If Law is lying to his teammates, however, that would be worse.

Following such a press conference, if it's ever uncovered down the road that those drugs were Law's and that he is a user of ecstasy or any illegal narcotic, his NFL career could be over. Law has to know this, which is why I not only believe that Law is telling the truth about not being a user, but also give him a world of credit to be man enough to admit he made a big mistake. Law also acknowledged imminent disciplinary action, sighting he was prepared to face the consequences of his actions.

The Patriots organization did not wait for the NFL to intervene, instead suspending Law on their own for the season's final game. With the Patriots looking to knock Miami out of the playoffs next Sunday, Law will not even be at the stadium, and will lose more money in a single game's pay than 99% of Americans earn in an entire year.

Is this too harsh a penalty for a guy who very well may never have taken an illegal drug in his life? Absolutely not. Bill Belichick made it crystal clear during his first team meeting as head coach what type of conduct he expects from his players. It doesn't matter of you're J'Juan Cherry in June or Ty Law in December, rules are rules, and every player understands that.

No, this is not my other Web site...

What if Pete Carroll were the head coach and let three of his players stay behind in Buffalo to party and show up late the next day for a mandatory team meeting? The double standard is sickening, but I digress. I already know that I can't say the "PC" word in this column without receiving feedback backlash. I only mention his name this go around because love him or hate him, Pete Carroll is a head coach again, this time in the college ranks looking to resurrect a fallen USC program back to Rose Bowl prominence.

If you think I'm too easy on Pete Carroll, check out this USC Web site - http://usctrojans.fansonly.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/carroll_pete00.html - and send them, not me, the nasty e-mails.

No soup for you!

When the Patriots won their 5th game of the 1993 season, the celebration of the home fans was such to the extent that the head of the State Police on security duty was quoted in the paper the next morning as asking "Didn't this team just win it's 5th game?"

On January 2, 1994, the Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins at home, in overtime, 33-27 to eliminate the Fish from the playoffs. When rookie Drew Bledsoe hit Michael Timpson deep down the right sideline for the winning touchdown, the crowd was so pumped you'd have thought the Patriots had just won a home playoff game. When a starved Patriots Nation has had little to cheer about for many, many weeks, eliminating a division rival, especially the hated Dolphins, from the playoffs is plenty of reason to get up for a game.

Should the Patriots defeat the Dolphins, Miami would need help to make the playoffs. If Baltimore defeats the Jets or Minnesota defeats the Colts, Miami will still back into the playoffs despite losing 3 straight games, and 4 of their last 5 division contests. Should they back in with losses by the Jets and Colts, they would win the AFC East, but would be the 3rd seed, assuring only 1 home playoff game, hosting the 6th seed in the AFC in a wild-card game.

If the Patriots defeat Miami, that opens up the AFC East to either the Jets or Colts. If the Jets win, they're the division champs. If the Jets lose and the Colts win, they're the division champs, making Miami the wildcard team. If Miami, the Colts, and Jets all lose, that opens the door for the Pittsburgh Steelers to become the 6th and final seed, and in that instance would travel to Miami the following weekend.

What's interesting is that the Colts don't kick off their home game against the Vikings until 4:15pm. That would mean a defeated Dolphin team could be heckled off the field by Patriots Nation since Miami would be forced to sit and watch the outcome of that late game to see where they'll end up.

Revenge factor aside, the Patriots really could use a win to close out their home schedule at 4-4 and improve their record after the bye week to 4-4. Most importantly, the Patriots would head into the off-season with back-to-back wins over division opponents Buffalo and Miami, each of whom swept the Patriots in 1999. 2001 is a whole new ballgame, but those who are still with the team will know they have it within them to compete in this division where previous to last week the Patriots were 1-11 in their last 12 division contests.

I'll worry about the Patriots #1 draft pick when I'm golfing on the Cape next April. See you next week. From Mike and I at GoPats.com, we wish you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday season. Go Pats!