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    The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Coaches in full bunker mentality: But facts back conspiracy theory
    By Michael Felger/ Patriots Insider
    Wednesday, September 8, 2004

    FOXBORO - The games are about to begin and the filters are on.

    That means Bill Belichick isn't about to discuss his true feelings about the NFL's new emphasis on illegal contact in the secondary. That means the coaches that brought the emphasis to the league's attention - namely St. Louis' Mike Martz and Indianapolis' Tony Dungy - aren't about to stand and be counted. That means Colts general manager Bill Polian isn't about to express his thoughts regarding the officiating in last season's AFC Championship Game.

    Dungy, as he did during a conference call, will point out he is no longer a member of the competition committee that formally ratified the emphasis - which, to put it kindly, is being obtuse. The NFL lists Dungy as the chairman of the coaches' subcommittee, although Dungy said his tenure has expired. Dungy will also fail to point out that Polian is a longstanding member of the competition committee on the executive level.

    To get everyone's true feelings, you need to go back in time. Polian, for instance, was so incensed by the officiating in the Pats' 24-14 title game win that he sent 20 plays to the league office for review. Three days later, he lashed out during an online chat. The following quote has certainly found its way into the Pats' locker room.

    ``There were seven total penalties called,'' Polian said. ``They were all penalties that occurred before the ball was snapped. . . . Those officials, in the second-most important game of the year, did not call one foul that occurred during the course of play. In the average game, there are 15.75 penalties. I will say this: (Tight end) Marcus Pollard was interfered with on third down on the last drive. He was interfered with on fourth down. Those are the facts. We did not get any memo saying they were throwing away the rule book. If that was the case, both teams should have been notified.''

    As a member of the competition committee, there's no disputing Polian was involved in pushing the new emphasis through the league. And there's also no disputing that Belichick fought against it during the owners' meetings in Palm Beach in March. In fact, Belichick blasted the new directive.

    One of Belichick's biggest problems was that the on-field officials in charge of making the call are typically lined up 25-30 yards off the line of scrimmage and therefore won't be able to accurately gauge whether contact comes at 5 yards (legal) or 6 yards (illegal).

    ``I don't really understand what we're trying to do,'' Belichick said during a coaches breakfast. ``We sat in there and watched all the film. All the coaches were in there. When you put the films on and they say, `Here's a violation,' OK, clearly it's a violation. No problem.

    ``But then they put on (other) films and say, `This is a violation, too.' Well, what did the guy do wrong?'' Belichick added. ``What do you want him to do? What is the violation? `Well, he can't do this and he can't do that.' You've got a (referee) 25 yards away trying to determine that? The guy who stands 25 yards away on the sidelines? Was there contact at 6 or 5? How can he tell? Sometimes it did happen at 6, I'll give you that. But he still has the call. Nothing has changed. A guy is going to see it better than last year? Great.''

    For all his bluster, Polian has always been quick to point out that the Pats' victory last January had nothing to do with lax rules in the secondary. Dungy has echoed similar comments. Martz, however, wasn't as clear in Palm Beach.

    ``There were some things in that game (the Pats' 20-17 win over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI) that probably would be related to that,'' Martz said. ``Is that why we lost the game? Probably not. Would it have affected it? I don't know. And you don't want to take away from their celebration, and their right to the championship. But the point is, there still needs to be attention in this area.''

    Martz was added to the coaches' subcommittee in February, and by the owners meetings he had compiled the film that had Belichick shaking his head. Martz claimed the Pats' beat-down of St. Louis receivers Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce started a trend across the league.

    ``That's accurate,'' Martz said. ``There was a lot of that going on in that game. And after that game, people look at it and said that they didn't realize this was permitted, and it's escalated from that. Each year it gets (worse).''

    Martz said the clutching of jerseys was perhaps the biggest issue.

    ``If Isaac wore a rubber jersey, he'd have been snapped clear to Bakersfield two years ago,'' he said.

    By now, the Pats are well aware that their opponents will come at them from every angle this season. And as it turns out, that includes the inside of the committee chambers.

    Inside job for Johnson

    It will be interesting to see what the Pats' starting lineup looks like at inside linebacker tomorrow.

    After the Pats were gashed on inside runs against Cincinnati in the second preseason game (Rudi Johnson ran 14 times for 71 yards and a 5.1-yard average in the first quarter), Belichick started Ted Johnson [news] over Roman Phifer the next week at Carolina and the Pats were considerably tighter up the middle (DeShaun Foster ran 10 times for 16 yards and a 1.6-yard average). Will that be the new depth chart heading into the season? Stay tuned.

    Phifer became the starter last year after Johnson broke his foot in the opener at Buffalo, and he had an outstanding season. Phifer remains one of the Pats' best coverage linebackers. But when it comes to plugging the interior running lanes, Johnson is still the Pats' strongest presence. And while Keith Traylor may be adequate at nose tackle, he's no Ted Washington. That means the linebackers aren't going to find themselves with as much protection as last year.

    The bottom line? Johnson's bulk is suddenly a valuable commodity again, and his ability to take on guards in the hole may earn him a return trip to the starting lineup.

    Intercepted by the Law

    You can forgive Ty Law if his eyes are as big as saucers heading into the season-opener, because if anyone has benefited from Peyton Manning's poor play in Foxboro over the years (0-5 as a starter) it's the Pro Bowl cornerback.

    Manning has thrown 15 interceptions in his five New England starts, and Law has seven of them. That's right: seven interceptions in five games. As Belichick would say, not bad. In fact, Manning has never played a game in Foxboro in which he wasn't picked off by Law, having at least one pass land safely in the cornerback's arms in each of the five games. . . .

    Key matchup: Jarvis Green vs. Jeff Saturday. Green exploited the interior of the Colts offensive line for three key sacks in last year's title game, including two in the fourth quarter to thwart a late Indy comeback. Green is once again penciled in for interior pass-rushing duty, and Saturday will certainly be on the lookout. . . .

    On the hot seat: The Pats offensive line. For first time in Belichick's tenure, the line made it through camp without sustaining a key injury or retirement. The only problem was that the unit didn't take advantage of the cohesion, giving up 11 preseason sacks and opening up only marginal room in the running game. Starting running back Corey Dillon seemed to get tackled behind the line of scrimmage as much as he did beyond it. Tomorrow night, we'll find out if the line was just saving itself for the real games.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Thanks for posting this, Wraith. I always get a kick out of the Pats trying to make themselves look like the victim in this case.
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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Glad to see we aren't the only ones with line problems.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Can't wait to see the Colts passing game light em up on Thursday night! Here's to a big game from Edgerrin James (fantasy football implications) also!

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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Dump them all in Boston Harbor, AAHHRRRRRRR !!!!!

    Maineram :ramlogo:
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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    First of all, stop calling the Pats cheaters. They won according to the rules of the game. Blame bad officiating, but not the Pats. Take your whippin like a man and suck it up. It hurts to lose and we lost. Move on. This whinning about losing to the Pats sounds alot like Al Gore a.k.a Gollum, "He stole my precioussssss".

    Like the rest of you, I'm hoping that our offense can go to new heights once the refs start enforcing the rules for a change. From the pre-season games I've watched, the refs look as bad as ever. Nothin kills the joy of a game for me more than bad officiating. I wish they would find a way to really discipline, (hit them in the wallet) bad refs.

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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    If we're playing a game of cards and I'm cheating but you don't know it, is it really cheating ?? Just because there defensive crap wasn't called, it's still pushing the rules of the game & they knew it. That's still cheating in my book. He took a bunch of slow DB's a made stars out of them, by his so called genius defensive mind. Seeing what he/they could get away with.

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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    You guys are getting a little carried away if you think ALL of New England's defensive success comes from mugging receivers.

    The card game is a bad analogy. When you play cards, there's an implied honor system at work. Football has referrees who are entrusted to keep the game fair and hold both teams responsible for playing by the rules. It's on the referree if this is not taking place. Football players are like children. Kids will push their parents to the limit to see how far they can go and how much they can get away with. It's up to the parents to reign them in. Similarly, football players, or players in any sport, for that matter will push the rules to the limits in their effort to achieve victory. It's the refs' job to reign the players in. If this isn't happening, then you as a team and your coaching staff must take responsibility to adjust to what is going on on the field.

    You're 100% right, Coy. Take your whippin' like a man, and if you don't like it, do something about it.
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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    The Patsies exploited the system and got away with it, great. If the rules shift, just shut up and make the necessary adjustments to deal with it, that's Belichick's specialty right? All his *****ing, moaning and rationalizations make it look like he knew he was in a sense, "cheating". Guilty conscience or maybe dread for what could be coming.

    Tonight's game is the perfect opportunity to see just how the new guidelines will be enforced. If they are strictly enforced, it's Belichicks biggest nightmare, especially against arch-rival Indy. Let's hope the officials set a good precedent tonight and make teams that skirt the rules pay.

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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    I could create a defensive scheme that could be quite successful when my DB's could do what the patsies db's have done to have the team become GREAT. If the recievers cannot get open due to the DB's grabbing jerzees 10 or more yards done the field, then I would have one heck of a pass rush due to sending the SS, and a LB almost every down. Plain & simple. I know it's wrong, he knew it was wrong, and they knew it was wrong. Just because they got away with it doesn't mean it's not cheating !!

    The Rams lost the Superbowl with this tactic, got whooped, and I have swallowed my 10 gallons of medicine and have moved on. But watching that AFC championship game against the Colt's last year was taking that SCHEME to new heights. All those refs should never be involved in another nfl game, agreed.
    It still doesn't make it right for a coaching staff to coach this into thier gameplan.

    Move up here to Patsie and and you'd know what I mean.

    Maineram
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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    Football players are like children. Kids will push their parents to the limit to see how far they can go and how much they can get away with. It's up to the parents to reign them in. Similarly, football players, or players in any sport, for that matter will push the rules to the limits in their effort to achieve victory. It's the refs' job to reign the players in.
    See, I don't buy into that as much. Are referees also supposed to reign in coaches whose defensive scheme uses these kind of tactics? Are coaches supposed to knowingly use tactics that aren't legal because they know the officials may not penalize them for it?

    It seems to me that you're implying that this isn't the Patriots' fault because the refs didn't call them on it. That doesn't change the fact, in my mind, that the Pats were still guilty of breaking the rules of the game. They're not being called on these tactics doesn't change their guilt in my mind.

    This is one dead horse I hate to beat, but when someone says that the Patriots won "according to the rules of the game," I find that preposterous. The Patriots werern't playing by the rules of the game; they were playing by the rules that officials were enforcing. Two totally different things.
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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    This is a tough issue to debate, but I can't really blame the Patsies for taking advantage of what they could get away with, especially when it came to winning championship games. The officials set the tone of a games flow in any sport and I think it's up to the coaches to adjust and take advantage, or complain like hell to make things right.

    That being said, the Patsies won by getting away with breaking the rules. Now let's see how they do without that advantage.

  13. #13
    gap Guest

    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike
    Tonight's game is the perfect opportunity to see just how the new guidelines will be enforced. If they are strictly enforced, it's Belichicks biggest nightmare, especially against arch-rival Indy. Let's hope the officials set a good precedent tonight and make teams that skirt the rules pay.
    I gave up after one defensive series by the pats. It was clear to me that the officials have no intention of throwing penalties at the pats' DBs. They committed two PI fouls IN THE ENDZONE on consecutive plays. You would think that if they were gonna let it slide "a little", that they would at least call it in the endzone.

    gap

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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    The Pats won according to the rules of the game. The Refs call the penalties and apparently they thought they didn't break the rules. The Refs have the option to judge according to what they think the rules are.

    Offensive holding occurs frequently and we all see it, but it isn't often called. Are they breaking the rules, in my mind yes, but the Refs ain't callin it.

    My question is why our DBs didn't do likewise? Why didn't we change our gameplan to accomodate the leeway the Refs gave the DBs? You can whine about this and call the Pats all kinds of names, but the fact is that they whipped us when we shoulda won, and 2 years later they win it all again. I gotta give them credit they are doin something right, and it is a lot more then DBs getting away with interference.

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    Re: The cheaters (Pats) are crying about Martz and company

    The Patriots werern't playing by the rules of the game; they were playing by the rules that officials were enforcing. Two totally different things.
    Yet, they appear the same when viewing the scoreboard.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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