Clint's Corner Archive
Clint's Corner Archive
The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.
Hallelujah! The off-season officially ends this week as training camp opens at Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island on Thursday the 18th of July. I know all you Pats fans must be excited, but how do some of the players feel about ending their "time off", and beginning two-a-days under the watchful eye of Lord Parcells? "I can't wait!" was Chris Slade's reaction, according to the Boston Herald. "After going 6-10 last year, I think we're all looking to redeem ourselves, like we have something to prove, not just to the fans, but to ourselves."
Bledsoe is coming off his worst year as a pro, having led the AFC in interceptions and having the worst QB rating of all the starting signal callers in the conference. "I've definitely got something to prove this year. I want to prove that (the '94/'95 season) was the norm and last year was the unusual. After having a season like last year, you can't wait to go out and make it right, so I'm looking forward to it."
You're looking forward to it? How about us fans? With the Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox seasons over (Sox have won 5 in row, but let's face it...) training camp means the beginning of regular press coverage of the most talented Pro Sports team in New England. I hope to get this column out more frequently as a result of the increased focus on the Pats. With the pre-season opener in Green Bay only 3 weeks away, I'm anxious to see the talent unfold and develop into a bonafide AFC contender. Are you ready for some football?
Totaling a $95,000 Benz?
Not a problem if you are the 7th pick in the 1996 NFL draft. Terry Glenn signed a 6 year, $12 Million contract with the Patriots over the weekend. With 4 years and $5 Million guaranteed, I don't think Terry will have a problem acquiring new wheels. Prior to signing the deal, Terry was involved in an auto accident in which he had his 1995 Mercedes 500SL traveling at 60 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone. Glenn lost control of the car, swerved, and struck a tree. Glenn, thankfully, was unharmed. The passenger sustained minor injuries, and the car was sent to the junk yard.
Glenn must appear in court on charges of failing to control his car, which caries a maximum penalty of $100. Donations can be sent to the "Help Pay Terry's Fine Fund", c/o the New England Patriots. Kidding aside, lets be glad Terry and his passenger were not hurt, and that a signed Terry Glenn can now decimate opposing secondaries in the NFL. Welcome to New England Terry Glenn!
Getting any draft pick signed prior to the start of training camp is crucial. Just ask Hart Lee Dykes. Let's give credit to the Pats' Andy Wasynczuk and Glenn's agent James Gould. The two have been working hard for quite a while to get this deal done on time so Terry doesn't miss a day of camp. Said Gould, "We don't care about (who has and who hasn't already signed). We felt the most important thing was to get a contract that was favorable to Terry...and also worked for the club." Bravo James Gould. Yes folks, a rare complement from Clint's Corner directed at an agent. Even Mr. Gould could buy Terry a new 500SL with his cut of the $12 Million!
Glenn will join fellow signed draft picks SS Lawyer Milloy, DE Chris Sullivan, TE Lovett Purnett, and FB Mario Grier in camp this Thursday. I would also expect to see the remaining picks all signed over the next 4 days.
Ground Hog Day
Punxatawnee Bill emerged from his bunker last week for ESPN. It looks like 6 more weeks of off-season. Parcells appeared on last Friday's Up Close segment with Chris Meyers. The coach was live from Foxboro Stadium, and I must say that I have never seen him look better. He looks 10 years younger than he did at the end of last season. Maybe it's the tan, but I swear he's lost a lot of weight. In some cases, Parcells' was his usual self in that he talked a lot without giving a direct answer to the questions. For the most part, however, Parcells almost seemed jovial about being interviewed, and provided a lot of answers to some much anticipated questions.
On Parcells' Contract
Parcells was quick to say that this was not the first time that he and/or Bob Kraft had made revisions to the coach's contract, originally singed and set to expire in 1997 under then-owner James Orthwein. This latest revision, made toward the end of the '95 season, was "nothing I think is a big deal" according to Parcells, citing that he has coached from year to year for quite some time now. The move had nothing to do with his health or control of the team. "(We wanted to) try to give our team the best chance to succeed for the '96 season... to give our coaching staff the best opportunity to put a good representative on the field for 1996".
This may allude to the hiring of Bill Belichick as special assistant to the head coach. Speculation even last December was that Belichick would be fired by Art Modell. Perhaps Kraft and/or Parcells were trying to position themselves financially to bring him onto the staff. Belichick turned down an offer from Jimmy Johnson to be the Dolphin's Defensive Coordinator in order to rejoin his friend Parcells on the sidelines.
Parcells went onto comment that his relationship with Kraft is fine, and "amiable." "He's the owner, and I am one of his employees." Parcells considers their current relationship a "solid" one and that "hopefully it will continue" beyond the '96 season. The two will sit down at the end of this season to discuss Parcells future with the Patriots.
At this time, Parcells said he has no intentions whatsoever as to making 1996 his last year as coach of the Patriots. "I look forward to going forward. My enthusiasm and desire are at the same levels that they have always been at. When they no longer are, I'll know it. Last year was a disappointment for all of us, but 1996 is a new year and we're ready to go. When they start blowing the whistles and teeing it up, (I'm) like an Old Hunting Dog." There is no place else the Tuna would rather be than on the sidelines. Patriots fans across New England are very grateful for that!
On Draft Day
Speculation has been that Parcells' control of the team was undermined last April when Bobby Grier and Bob Kraft overruled the coach and selected WR Terry Glenn from Ohio State with the 7th overall pick. The 1995 Patriots defense ranked 28th in the NFL, and Parcells wanted help in that area with the pick. Various reports have said that Parcells was very upset with being overruled, deteriorating his relationship with Kraft to the extent that he would quit or be fired prior to this upcoming season. From the beginning (as you can reference in my archives), I have said that this story was not a story at all, and that the media had seriously overblown the whole thing. Finally, we can hear it right from the horse's mouth.
"I'm a defensive coach. I think we needed some defensive help and we continue to need that, but we picked a good player. Our organization picked the player. I'm glad we have Terry Glenn. I think he's going to make a good contribution to our team. There are differences of opinion from time to time. I'm a team guy. Terry Glenn is on our team, and I'm going to make sure I do the best I can to make sure that draft pick turns out to be the right one."
This statement, and more importantly Parcells' demeanor during the entire interview, do not at all suggest to me that this is a man unhappy to be the Patriots head coach. If he didn't want to be here, he wouldn't be. If Kraft didn't want him here, he wouldn't be. It's not like Parcells is wrong in saying that we need help on Defense. Glenn isn't going to be much help if the defense gives up 300 yard passing days and 100 yard rushing days like they did last season. In Bill Parcells, we have one of the greatest men to ever coach in the NFL. His ex-Giant players make no secret of what he meant to their winning two Super Bowls. As much as I and all Patriots fans alike want a Super Bowl victory for the Patriots, Bill Parcells wants it even more. What more can we ask for?
In with the 4-3, and in with number 95
Much has been said and written about the new 4-3 defense the Patriots will employ this season. Some say McGinnest will benefit most be moving to Defensive End, while others say Chris Slade will benefit most by being blocked by fullbacks and tight ends rather than offensive lineman on his way to the quarterback. There are still others who say the secondary of Ty Law and Ricky Reynolds will benefit most due to the increased pass rush, and their decreased role of run support from the corner position No one has mentioned Dwayne Saab. It is my feeling that no one on this team will benefit more from the new scheme this year the this UNH product drafted in the 5th round by Dick McPherson in 1992.
Saab is a great outside linebacker. He was turning many heads when he played on the poor Patriots teams of '92 and '93. He was having a solid year in '93, but was replaced after the 5-11 season was lost in order to give the highly paid 1st round draft pick Willie McGinnest some valuable playing time. McGinnest is also a great player. With he and Slade anchoring the outside, Saab never got his starting job back. In the playoff game in Cleveland (Jan 1995), Chris Slade was injured, and was replaced by Saab. In the most crucial Patriots game in recent history, Saab came off the bench and had a monster game. He was a constant disruption to the Browns' offense in a game where the entire Patriots defense played very well in the 20-13 loss.
With McGinnest moving to full time defensive end, there is suddenly a vacancy at outside linebacker. Monty Brown (signed from Buffalo) and Bobby Abrams will challenge Saab for this position, but look for #95 to be back in the starting lineup on September 1st in Joe Robbie Stadium. I for one cannot wait to see what kind of numbers Dwayne Saab will put up this season given the chance to play. His addition to the lineup alone makes the switch to the 4-3 worth while.
Once again, that's all for this edition of Clint's Corner. Look for this column each week once the pre-season games begin.