Shifting Standards or Media Creation?

The philosophy has changed!!!

By now, you’ve surely heard the outcry from those who claim that the Patriots have changed their standards on player character. Moral arbiters such as Dan Shaughnessy and John Dennis are coming out strong in their sanctimonious outrage over the selection of Brandon Meriweather in the first round on Saturday and the trade for Randy Moss on Sunday. (Sanctimonious is the word that Shaughnessy used this morning to describe the Patriots standards.)

These critics are saying that the Patriots have set aside their standards, that they can no longer stand on the “moral high ground” that they’ve claimed in the past and that this a major shift in their emphasis on only bringing in “character guys.” Shaughnessy goes so far as to say that public perception of the Patriots has forever changed.

It seems that what people will stretch to make the point of a story gets further and further from the truth each time. Do the Patriots value character? Absolutely!

But have you ever heard Bill Belichick or Scott Pioli make an especially big deal about the philosophy on character? Other when praising a specific player? I don’t think so.

How long a list can you make of players with supposed character issues who were brought here the last few years? A dozen?

While the Patriots do indeed put an emphasis on having a lot of “character guys,” the idea that they only target these types of players is just another media creation.

Do Meriweather and Moss come here with “baggage?” Sure seems that way. However, it didn’t prevent the Patriots from adding them to the roster.

Let’s go back three years to April 2004 when the Patriots traded for Corey Dillon. Note the reaction back then to the move. It was being said that the Dillon trade “signals a sharp change in the way Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick do business.” Agent Brad Blank said the “Patriots misled him and all of New England by promoting that they go for strictly ‘character guys.'” Gerry Callahan was ripping the Patriots from pillar to post over the move.

So isn’t all the outrage and talk about shifting standards just recycled material? Sure seems that way. Interestingly, Ron Borges was on-board with the Dillon trade. Note what he says in closing:

Dillon will be arguably the most talented running back to wear New England's colors. With the draft still five days away, it is already a success because you cannot draft a proven commodity like Corey Dillon with any pick.

Replace Dillon’s name with Moss’ and “running back” with “wide receiver” and you have an interesting statement.

But to the current situation, at least today Michael Felger admits that he is a hypocrite:

Bottom line question: Have Moss and Meriweather brought the Pats one step closer to the Super Bowl? Unequivocally. And if you aren’t looking forward to watching Brady throw the ball up to Moss in the end zone, you don’t have a pulse. For those of us who’ve been calling for the Pats to be more aggressive and add more front-line talent, it’s a little hypocritical to be complaining now. We asked for it.

One last bit from Shaughnessy:

But the public perception of the Patriots -- something very dear to Kraft -- is forever changed. His football men successfully bounced the Red Sox-Yankees off the landscape for a couple of days (which Kraft is obsessed with)

What a laugh I got out of that. The Red Sox are infamous for the perception that they’ll do anything they can to overshadow the Patriots. If anyone is obsessed with this concept, it’s the Red Sox.

Rolling Pats Gather Moss

It was one of those rumors you’ve been hearing for a couple of years, but never thought would actually happen. But here it is, the last day of April, 2007 and Randy Moss is a member of the New England Patriots.

Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots newest weapon, along with some of the baggage he brings with him. John Tomase says Tom Brady has got to be smiling today with this move. Shalise Manza Young notes that Bill Belichick said he learned more about Moss from Doug Gabriel than anyone else, meaning that Gabriel’s brief stay with the Patriots wasn’t without some merit. Tommy Hine says that the Draft was really only a formality for the Patriots this weekend, as the trade for Moss made the most noise. Mark Farinella has the trade for Moss overshadowing the whole draft. Chris Kennedy has more on the trade for the inimitable Moss.

I can think of really only one word to sum up Dan Shaughnessy‘s column today. Predictable. Meanwhile, Michael Felger/ says that while the NFL is finally taken steps to “distance itself from the thug culture and questionable attitudes ,” the Patriots are now embracing those qualities this weekend by adding Moss and and first round pick Brandon Meriweather. Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots are building their own evil empire. A column with no by-line in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Rich Garven?) says that the Patriots have officially lost the ideal that character matters to this franchise.

Albert Breer says that the definition of a Patriots-type player is simple: One that will help them win. Ian M. Clark says that the move for Moss has the chance to be a steal. Karen Guregian has Moss pledging allegiance to the Patriot way. Jennifer Toland has Moss giving the Patriots that deep threat they’ve always needed. Dan Pires says that the Patriots made this a weekend of giving second chances.

Tomase has former teammate Jermaine Wiggins saying that Moss will find new life and a fresh start in New England. Breer talks to Jim Donnan, who has known Moss since he recruited him out of high school for Marshall, and says he isn’t a bad person. Christopher Price says that Moss “immediately restores a tremendous level of credibility to the Patriots’ passing game.” Farinella has Moss ready for rebirth in Foxboro.

David Brown has a good look at first round pick Brandon Meriweather, which includes his high school coach talking about his character and how the people in his home town feel about him.

We’ve got a 2007 Draft Wrapup on the BSMW Game Day page. Chad Finn offers up his Moss and draft thoughts. Some guy named Rog Bornes, who describes himself as a writer who is currently “between assignments” at a major metropolitan newspaper also feels the need to weigh on the draft weekend activity.

Christopher L. Gasper analyzes the Patriots second day draftees, led by Miami defensive tackle Kareem Brown. Robert Lee has more on the fourth round selection of Brown. Craig Larson has a look at Zak DeOssie landing with the Giants, and a few other New England college players finding NFL homes as well. Rich Thompson has more on the younger DeOssie landing with the same team that his father won a Super Bowl with in January 1991.

Here is where you can check reaction to the trade from the Bay Area media.

Reiss’ notebook has Bob Kraft signing off on the Patriots moves to bring in a couple of players with some character issues, saying that the team has done their homework. Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots getting defensive with their second pick, Miami’s Kareem Brown. Pires’ notebook has the Patriots hoping to have picked up some depth on the second day of the draft. Garven’s notebook has more on the Patriots picks from day two.

Red Sox

The Patriots managed to steal the spotlight off of a Red Sox/Yankees series, something that Shaughnessy is obsessed with. Boston took two out of three from New York this weekend, including a 7-4 win at the Stadium yesterday.

Gordon Edes has the Red Sox making an early season statement by taking 5 of 6 from the Yankees this weekend and last. Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox hitting three home runs off the Yankee to power Boston to the win. Dom Amore has the Red Sox winning a big swing game. Bill Ballou has the Red Sox finishing up another hot April. Joe Haggerty has more on the Red Sox taking the weekend series from the Yankees.

Check the game stories from the Bronx on the New York Sports Pages.

Bob Ryan says that despite his own protests, Alex Cora is making a case for there to be a second base controversy with his strong play. Jeff Jacobs has Alex Cora and the Red Sox really hitting on all cylinders right now. Michael Silverman has more on Cora making a case for himself at second. Steven Krasner also looks at the strong play of Cora at second.

Steven Krasner says that Hideki Okajima could be the Red Sox MVP for the first month of the season. Jeff Goldberg has Hideki Matsui talking about his former Japanese teammate and the success he is having thus far here in America. Amalie Benjamin looks at Okajima shutting down the Yankees once again. Bradford focuses on Okajima’s delivery, which has him staring at the ground, or even behind him as he releases the ball.

Rob Bradford has Manny Ramirez ending a frustrating April on a high note. Silverman has Julian Tavarez picking up the win, but knowing and accepting that his days as a starter are numbered.

Nick Cafardo has the Yankees trying to figure out how to cure what ails them. Steve Buckley has Joe Torre on the hot seat in New York.

Adam Smartschan has a professor of journalism at Northeastern University examine Curt Schilling’s blast against the media on his blog from last week.

Edes notebook has a few members of the Red Sox reacting to the death of former Boston farmhand Josh Hancock in a car accident Saturday night. Horrigan’s notebook has more on the Sox remembering Hancock. Krasner’s notebook has the Red Sox getting themselves into some odd double-plays last night. Goldberg’s notebook has Kevin Youkilis taking the death of Hancock hard. Ballou’s notebook has Big Papi again feeling very comfortable in the Bronx.


Peter May notes that today the Celtics can finally start talking openly about some of the players in the draft. Steve Bulpett has Celtics players talking about what they need to work on most this offseason.

Patriots Acquire Randy Moss

In a move that is sure to dominate the WEEI airwaves for much of the rest of the year, the Patriots today shipped a fourth round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders for wide receiver Randy Moss.

This pick was the one that they acquired from the San Francisco 49ers yesterday in addition to the Niners 2008 first round pick in exchange for the Patriots first round pick at #28 yesterday.

So in effect, the Patriots traded the #28 pick for Randy Moss and the 49ers first round pick next season.

Taking it a step further, perhaps they would not have made the deal had they not had an additional pick from the Deion Branch to Seattle trade, so this could be viewed as Branch for Moss and a #1 pick.

Here’s a link to check the Bay Area reaction to the Moss trade.

Check in with the BSMW Game Day page with live updates of the second day of the draft, which is already off to a crazy start.

Here’s is the BSMW Draft profile for first round pick Brandon Meriweather.

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