Belichick’s first bad decision of ’09

Many would argue that the New England Patriots’ slide began that fateful Sunday vs. the Indianapolis Colts when Bill Belichick decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the end of the game. The Patriots have been reeling ever since and their offense has not been the same following that dreary night.

While I didn’t agree with Belichick’s decision, I understood it from his perspective, because what people fail to realize is that the Patriots’ prevent “D” could not stop Peyton Manning. Had Belichick punted, his defense was going to have to get in the same formation Manning had been carving up like a honey-baked ham.

Belichick’s real mistake came last week. He’s known for his head games, but I think he crossed the line when he sent four players home for being late to work. Look, I’m all for discipline but it was clear that on this particular dreadful day there were extenuating circumstances due to weather. I have never seen a situation in my 20-plus years of being around this league that a player was sent home for being late. FINED? YES! BEING SENT HOME LIKE A 2-YEAR-OLD? NO!

Belichick’s little head game may have blown up in his face. Randy Moss was one of the four players sent home. To his credit, Moss has been a good soldier, keeping his mouth shut during the good and the bad. I agree with Michael Irvin’s assessment that Moss is fragile. Moss is clearly distracted and in a funk. According to my sources, Moss was humiliated by being sent home, and the fact that Tom Brady is throwing 14 balls a game to Wes Welker is adding to his frustration.

For those who don’t want to hear a player apologist pontificate, you should read no further. Moss gets paid a lot of money to play for the Patriots and in an ideal world, you would hope he could block this out. Unfortunately, Moss is not that kind of guy. When stuff is bothering him, he can’t function. If the Patriots want to have a chance to win the Super Bowl, they need Moss to get hot. As much as I appreciate the talents of Welker, the Patriots won’t go far with the “death by paper cut” brand of offense they have been working since the Colts game.

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