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Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  October 7, 2010 09:21 AM

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I imagine Bill Belichick probably called NFL league offices yesterday, pleading that Patrick Chung not win special teams player of the week honors. Nice kick, Scobee but...well, we really shouldn't have to compare a single swipe to what Chung managed in Miami on Monday.

But Scobee's recognition probably brought a grin to the face of the Patriots coach. For if he's going to continue to play the "disrespect" card, more ammo is always welcome.

That's why, while the Randy Moss trade appears so universally disliked, it may be the best thing for the Patriots going forward. And I mean immediately, not for what that third-rounder might bring.  

As long as Belichick can still coach. We believe he can, right?

Uh, right?

Look, nobody should bemoan this divorce more than Tom Brady, but really, the time to split the two apart had come. Brady was clearly enamored with Moss' talents, roundly criticized around these parts for his insistence to force the ball his way in double coverage situations. But the reality is, the Patriots have Wes Welker. They have a dynamic tight end duo in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski (paging Alge Crumpler?). They have a potential breakout star in Brandon Tate, who must have shown the Patriots coaching staff some fine level of maturity in order for them to pull off this deal.

Call it Belichick's ego getting in the way. I'm sure there's some level of truth behind that. But when the Patriots were successful in the early parts of the decade, they were always about personnel, a mix of brainwashed veterans and impressionable young talent who bought into the system. Heck, Tedy Bruschi would probably take a bullet for the head coach if he had to. And the message was always clear: They don't believe in you. Prove them wrong.

Granted, the Patriots running around crowing about a level of disrespect as they laid assault on the Dolphins' annual champagne toast sounded a bit foolish, but those days are long gone. There's a level of disbelief directed at this group, as there was in 2009 and 2008, when Brady went down for the count in the first quarter of the season. The disrespect card could have easily been whipped out of Belichick's coaching bag of tricks during that period.

One problem though: Wrong personnel. Wrong character. Wrong teammates.

It's interesting to note that of the four "Tardy Boys" from last year's snowstorm, (Moss, Adalius Thomas, Gary Guyton, and Derrick Burgess), only Guyton remains with the team. The linebacker has two more tackles than Moss had catches with the Patriots this season. You think that sort of message Belichick wants to preach was going to work on a malcontent like Thomas?

How could Moss - one of the greatest to ever play his position -  buy into the team concept of us against the world? How could he be grouped into a band of gritty overachievers while he was looking to get paid next season? In Diva Viking-land (have fun Brad!), he'll more than have that gunslingin' opportunity. That team is going to be like Tecmo on speed.

But in New England? If Belichick has indeed discovered his coaching niche with this group, he could hardly have a bona fide star making his message seem disjointed. How does nobody believe us with that guy - the best ever - here with us? With Moss, it's a little more difficult to buy into that concept. Without him... 

In the middle of it all, Brady stands as the poster child for Belichick's message, a sixth-round draft pick who has made himself into one of the NFL's elite (though apparently, that still doesn't get him the front seat). Moss was the antithesis of all that, a first-rounder who was an instant star, and a potential quitter, from the start.

The signs were there that he was about to become a problem. The Patriots cut bait.  

It could be the best thing to happen to New England's chances this season. As long as you still believe in Belichick's coaching philosophy.

But he'd better be right.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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