The undefeated New England Patriots should simply chill and use backups the rest of the regular season, right? Why risk injuries to quarterback Tom Brady et al when, at 14-0, the Pats already have achieved all of their regular-season objectives, right?
Forget about it. Coach Bill Belichick has told his starters they won’t be given any respites at all. Clearly, he’s determined to become the first coach in history to own a 16-0 record in the NFL’s regular season.
“No way Coach Belichick is letting up,” New England receiver Randy Moss revealed. “Y’all are wrong if you think there’ll be breaks for us. He won’t let this team slide.”
So get set. The Pats will go 16-0. But will they have the stamina to win the Super Bowl? Will they be healthy enough? Call me a skeptic, but I have my doubts, and I think it’s because Belichick should be more focused on post-season games that matter and ease up in these two games that don’t matter.
•Tell-it-like-it-is reporting doesn’t seem to come often from chaps who cover the Raptors regularly — many of whom unabashedly picked Toronto to finish first this season -— which is why I rely on unbiased NBA journalists in the United States, such as Sam Smith and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Smith wondered in print this week if Raps point guard T.J. Ford is at the end of his career. He mentioned Ford’s spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. He mentioned that Ford’s fall last week, after a hard hit by the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford, marked the fifth time since his sophomore year at Texas that he has been carried off the court with a stinger or temporary paralysis.
And Wojnarowski reported superstar LeBron James wondered why no Raptor went after Horford.
“For most players,” Wojnarowski wrote, “it wouldn’t have mattered whether they believed Horford was sincere when he insisted there was no malice intended. They would’ve just seen the smack upside Ford’s head, the little guard sprawled out on the floor and they would’ve gotten into the Hawks’ rookie’s face.”
•Point guards on the NBA’s trade block: Jason Kidd, Stephon Marbury, Earl Watson, Andre Miller, Luke Ridnour, Jason Williams and Mike Bibby … Miami might deal Williams and Ricky Davis to Sacramento for Bibby and Ron Artest. The Lakers also covet Artest, despite his troubled past … In the CFL, ex-Saskatchewan general manager Roy Shivers soon will become B.C.’s new player-personnel director.
In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.