Clint's Corner Archive

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The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.

For 9/21/1999

It’s only September...

So lets not put the Pats in the playoffs just yet. Sure I’m excited, and you can’t ask for anymore than 2-0 (with both wins against division opponents) but fast starts are nothing new under Pete Carroll. In 1997, the Pats were 4-0 before falling to 5-4. Last season the Pats began 4-1, but once again went on a 1-4 downslide on their way to 9-7. Even if the Pats manage to get to 4-0 with victories over the Giants and Browns, they’ll be looking at a killer run of 4 games leading up to their bye week on November 7. Visits to Arizona and Kansas City coupled with home dates with the Dolphins and Broncos can turn 4-0 into 4-4 very quickly. That stretch beginning October 10 could well see them repeat their mid season slides of ’97 and ’98.

I’m not trying to dampen anyone’s spirits after Bledsoe and the defense led the team to it’s 2nd largest comeback in Drew’s career, but winning games at home in 75 degree weather in September is nothing new around here. The win in New York against the Jets was huge, but let’s look at this 2-0 start for what it really is; a 2-game winning streak amidst a 16 game schedule. There are currently 8 other undefeated teams in the league, including the Rams, Lions, and Chargers.

While the Pats looked awesome on both sides of the ball in the 24-0 2nd half last Sunday, you have to wonder if and when that first half team will show it’s face again. The defense could not get off the field on 3rd down, they could not stop the run, and the offense resembled an expansion team playing its first exhibition game. If the Pats spot another team a 3 touchdown lead while committing 15 penalties, they may not be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat again. Being atop the division at 2-0 looks great, but Pete Carroll knows there are problems. He had this to say in his Monday press conference: "We had a problem that almost wrecked this game for us. We come out of these two games with wins with a lot of improvement to make. We have to show improvement if we're to see how good we are. To execute so poorly - the penalties. We weren't clean throwing the football. There are a number of areas (to improve on)."

Those comments show Pete Carroll’s continued development as a head coach. Rather than being happy with the quick start as he was the past two seasons, his demeanor is beginning to resemble old what’s-his-name who coached here before Carroll. Since training camp opened, the head coach and his team have shown positive signs that they have learned from their troubles of the past two seasons. They had their heads on straight against the Jets, and they fought hard and did not lose their composure despite being down big in their home opener. How many teams find themselves down 28-7 at the half and end up with 27 carries for over 100 yards on the ground in their comeback bid? That’s a great credit to the coaching staff and to the player’s execution. Let’s hope the Pats have learned from the Octobers of 1997 and 1998 once the foliage begins to peak here in New England.

Looking ahead...

Next Sunday unofficially kicks off the 2nd half of the Patriots season. For the past 6 weeks, we’ve heard over and over how Pete Carroll has tried to prepare the team for their first two games. The challenge was to get the team fired up and battle ready to face the defending division champs on the road, and then not to lose that edge as they came back to the comforts of home to face last seasons cellar dweller. You certainly can’t argue with the results, so you have to give Carroll credit, but now what? Pete Carroll’s answer to that question was that he’ll coach the rest of the season on a game-by-game basis.

The task now at hand of getting the 2-0 Pats prepared to face a Giants team that surrendered 50 points last week will not be easy. Film study of last week’s debacle against the Redskins won’t even begin to give the Pats coaching staff a clue of what to expect next week. Going back one more week to Tampa Bay isn’t much help either, where the Giants won a very ugly game on the road in week 1. Jason Sehorn is expected back in the lineup, and Charles Way will now be asked to be the starting tailback.

While the Pats are on cloud nine after their thrilling win last Sunday, the Giants were lambasted by coach Fassell during the film review and probably can’t wait to get back onto a football field to make amends. The Giants didn’t just get beaten, they disgraced the Giants uniform in front of their home fans. It is not a good thing to be next on the schedule for a good team that just got humiliated, especially when the game in on national TV. 50 points or no 50 points, the Giants have a solid defense, and the Pats had better be ready. Kent Graham and company certainly don’t scare many defenses, but the Pats made Tom Tupa look good for a stretch in week 1, and the Colts passed and ran at will on the Pats in the 1st half last week. Nothing would surprise me.

The early line has the Pats as a touchdown favorite. That seems like a lot of points to be taking away from a team that has twice gone down to the final seconds before relying on their kicker to win the game. I for one am hoping that the Pats can take the lead early and coast. My heart could certainly use the break after attending the first two nail biters this season.

Cheap Shots...

I know that hindsight is always 20-20, and it’s easy to kick your enemy when they’re down, but I can’t resist. Here are a few notable stats two weeks into the season. Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week.

  Comp Att Yards TD INT
Rick Mirer 17 39 149 0 2
Glenn Foley 18 30 283 2 0
Neil O’Donnell 31 40 341 1 0

  INT Tackles Assists
Steve Atwater 0 8 3
Willy Clay 0 1 1
Chris Carter 2 10 2

  Carries Yards Cost
Curtis Martin 28 130 1st and 3rd round picks, $6 Million
Adrian Murrell 44 112 3rd round pick, $1.5 Million
Terry Allen 30 128 $400,000

  Punts Avg
Tom Tupa 9 46.2
Lee Johnson 10 48.7

  Games Wins
Bill Parcells 2 0
Pete Carroll 2 2