Making things interestingBelichick provides fighting words
By ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun
He surely thought of it dozens of times and apparently said it at least once.
Given the chance yesterday, though, Bill Belichick wasn't going to repeat out loud his opinion of Drew Bledsoe.
By now, the football world knows what the New England Patriots coach thinks of his former quarterback anyway.
And if he was ever worried about it, Belichick has two Super Bowl rings as peace of mind over bailing on Bledsoe in 2001 in favour of Tom Brady.
But because Bledsoe has become the lightning rod here in Orchard Park for all that is apparently wrong with the beloved Bills, the timing of a recently released book on Belichick couldn't be juicier.
The Bills (0-2) meet the Patriots (2-0) this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium with old and new scores to settle.
The Bills, losers of five in a row dating back to last season, badly need a victory of any kind for Bledsoe, new head coach Mike Mularkey and their panic-stricken fans.
The Patriots, winners of 17 in a row including the Super Bowl, are a victory away from matching the longest win streak in NFL history.
Even if Belichick was only speaking the truth, might he have sent a morsel of motivation Buffalo's way?
In a passage from Patriot Reign, an insider's look at New England's two Super Bowl seasons, Belichick is sharp in his assessment of Bledsoe's skills.
According to author Michael Holley, the coach believed the quarterback "would not be accurate enough or patient enough to make the throws" against a complex defence.
Given that he is 3-1 vs. Bledsoe since the trade prior to the 2002 season and that Brady is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, apparently Belichick was on to something.
Predictably, the coach had little to say about it yesterday, however.
"I think Drew has been a very productive quarterback in his 12 years (in the NFL)," Belichick said in a conference call with Buffalo-area media. "He's an excellent player, he's an excellent competitor and he's tough."
Old news, was Belichick's response when pressed on the accuracy of the print version of his assessment.
"I'm not getting into any book talk," said Belichick, who also took a jab at another former Patriot and current Bill, injured safety Lawyer Milloy.
"I'm just talking about getting ready for a game. That book, some of it, was done a year or two years ago. I don't think it's very relevant for this week's game."
Relevant or not, the book isn't a work of fiction given Belichick's track record of mastering Bledsoe.
Since the trade, New England's only setback against Buffalo was a 31-0 thrashing in last year's season opener at the Ralph.
In a 31-0 reversal in the season's final game, Bledsoe looked like a beaten man, completing 12 of 29 passes for 83 yards.
If not desperation, there is a sense of frustration both at One Bills Drive and among the region's legion of fans.
Bledsoe and Mularkey both feigned surprise at the Belichick revelations yesterday, though the book has clearly been discussed in the Buffalo locker room.
"That's kind of interesting to me," Bledsoe said. "(Belichick) always played his cards a little close to the vest."
Bledsoe's comments came three hours after running back Travis Henry, for one, said the talk already is billboard material. And there were reports here that Mularkey was joking about Belichick's musings with a number of players on Monday.
"That's really motivating from a guy like Belichick who has won two Super Bowls," Henry said. "That's how everybody here is using it.
"If we give (Bledsoe) time, he's going to pick them apart."
That's a bet Belichick gladly took long ago, one he hasn't stopped cashing.