Patriots coach Bill Belichick does not think much of your backtalk or wisecracking, misters. The Patriot Way is not just a street in a Lowell, Mass., but rather a way that the team conducts business. Speak out of turn, and you will be dealt with severely. Or you will at least be held out of the first series in an AFC Divisional Playoff game — just ask WR Wes Welker.
Welker was reportedly benched for the first series against the Jets because of a Thursday news conference when he made close to a dozen references to toes and feet, a nod to the recent foot-fetish storylines involving Jets coach Rex Ryan.
The Patriots typically fall in line behind their coach about such decisions. QB Tom Brady certainly did while talking to WEEI on Monday morning. Brady brushed off the incident, saying that Welker’s benching had “no bearing on the way we played as a team.”
DT Vince Wilfork agreed, but said that he would have done things differently (via the Boston Herald).
“That was something Bill and Wes went through,” Wilfork said. “Me, personally, I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s the head man making a point about what we represent. I wouldn’t have done it. That’s just me. Biggest game of the year so far, and probably one of your biggest players not being on the field. That’s just me. Everybody has their opinion. That’s my opinion. I wouldn’t have done it.”
Did a player just question the wisdom of Belichick? A rather dicey proposition, considering that the Patriots are about as loyal to players as most people are to wire hangers from the dry cleaners. Just Richard Seymour and Randy Moss.
Although Wilfork probably should feel safe, considering the size of the contract he signed this year. But noteworthy, because questioning the coach’s decision does not seem to be the Patriot Way.