Another Week In the Books

Just a couple of items before we hand it off to the weekend crew.

First of all, I’ve got give some thanks to the guest bloggers that have been helping out around here for the last few weeks. They’ve all been terrific, and have really saved my sanity here. Just a whole lot going on behind the scenes here, and I’ve needed the help. Thanks again to all. If you’re interested in helping out in the future, please feel free to send me an email. There is always something to do.

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For the second time in two weeks, an NFL figure is claiming that he never said what Peter King went on HBO and said that he said.

Last week it was Wade Phillips, who said that “black mark” isn’t even part of his vernacular.

This week, Jason Taylor says he never told King it would be best if he is traded to a contender this offseason.

King on WEEI this afternoon said that he understands why Taylor would want to back away from the statements. It doesn’t do him any good to be saying those things while he’s still playing for the Dolphins.

While Taylor might really think that it’s best he’s out of Miami at the end of the year, it’s doubtful that he would tell King that, for exactly the reason that King said on WEEI. It seems more likely that Taylor never said what King said he said on HBO, but rather that King was projecting what he thinks Taylor feels about the situation.

Yet King goes on HBO and presents these things as ironclad statements. Last week, when challenged on them, he reacted in a short, irritated manner, “You’ll have to decide who you trust.”

Increasingly, we’re not trusting King. I would imagine that NFL coaches and front office people are asking themselves why this keeps happening. Why do people keep talking to him?

King is a genial figure, who is friendly with a lot of people, and likely a decent sort of fellow. He composes an epic column each week that is filled in interesting items from the around league, and intersperses it with Starbucks and travel anecdotes from the week.

My issue and fear with King is that he has become too big for his own good. He’s spread so thin that he’s not able to be the real football reporter that he started out as. There’s no doubt that he is incredibly well connected around the NFL, but more and more people seem to have watch what they say around him for fear he is going to go on HBO and blab about what he thinks they’re really thinking…

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Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf get the call of this Sunday’s Patriots/Dolphins game in Miami. (1:00pm, CBS) Here are some thoughts from Dierdorf on the game.

(On New England): What we are witnessing with the Patriots is one of the great beginnings to an NFL season in the history of the game. If you have any sense of history and willingness to engage in conversation with friends about the great teams of all-time, it might be a little premature after only six games of the season to start ranking the 2007 Patriots in that category, but if they finish this season the way they’ve started it, then they will deserve to be measured against the ’85 Bears, maybe the ’78 Steelers and the undefeated Dolphins team. We’re looking at a team that may be ready to take its place in history. It’s too early to anoint them yet, but the pieces are in place. A team always has something that they’re trying to camouflage. There is always a wart that you are trying to put make-up on to cover up. This is a team that when you break down the units, not just the offense and defense as a whole, but the defense into the defensive backs, the linebackers and the defensive line, and you do the same thing for the offense, with the offensive line, the receivers, the tight ends, the running backs – this is a team that doesn’t have a weakness. There is no flaw. There are no blemishes. There are no warts. The only thing you could say is that as long as Laurence Maroney is banged up and unable to play every week, you could say that this is a team that does not have a great running back. But obviously that is not necessary…

(On New England’s offensive line): Just look at Tom Brady in the pocket. He’s able to set his feet. He’s able to step into his throws. He’s able to look around and check down and work his way through his progressions – a lot of that is because of the remarkable pass protection that he’s getting…

(On Brady having Randy Moss to throw to): Randy Moss changes the entire dynamic. I’ve had coaches tell me that Randy Moss is worth 50 yards a game in the running game. When Randy Moss is on the field you can’t bring that safety up into the box. That safety has to stay over the top to double Randy Moss. Because of that, you’re only running against seven guys, not eight. The “Moss Effect” is helping their running game. The “Moss Effect” is helping Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker because Randy is getting the double-coverage and these two guys are running wild all over the field…

(On Miami): I played on a team one year that opened up 0-8. We ended up finishing strong at 6-2, but opening up 0-8 is hard to put into words how devastating it is to be on that football team. You don’t go out to dinner. You don’t go to a movie. You just stay home because you’re embarrassed. These guys sweat and work just as hard as the Patriots did in the off-season and during training camp. It’s hard to put into words how devastating it is to be a member of that team. They all have a lot of pride. Their failures and disappointments are only magnified now when you play a team like New England…

(On New England-Miami): Traditionally over the years, the Dolphins have played the Patriots really hard. They beat them once last year. If every game was against Miami, Tom Brady wouldn’t be nearly the successful quarterback that he is now. Can Miami muster something up and at least slow this guy down this week? I don’t know…

(On history): Historically, if you are a fan of the game you should not pass up the opportunity to look at this New England team and really be analytical in trying to see how they rate against some of the great teams we’ve seen in the past. They are worthy of being in that discussion.

On the CBS pregame former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach and NFL TODAY analyst Bill Cowher will offer up his analysis and game plan on how to best defense the potent offense of the undefeated Patriots.