Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Don't Mess with Bill

Over the course of a wild off-season, we watched Reche drop from the top to the fringes of the Patriot's depth chart. At the beginning of camp, my father predicted that Caldwell would end up among the team's final roster cuts. "I betcha Bill (Belichick) decided, after watching that tape, that he didn't want Reche Caldwell to make the team this year," my father speculated, "and he's been loading up on receivers ever since to make sure that happens." In defense of his position, my dad pointed out the hallmark of Patriot players during the Belichick era: when the stakes are highest, these players step up their performance and exceed expectations. By missing two "easy" catches (as perhaps unfairly deemed by the couch experts, but wide open, nonetheless) in the second half of last season's AFC championship game, Reche did not fit what we have come to expect as "the mold". He inspired resentment within the hearts of Patriots fans, and quite likely a quiet rage within Bill himself.

In the past I've seen the Patriots release good players early out of courtesy. When the numbers indicate little chance of making the final cut, Bill will often let a veteren go with plenty of time for him to stick on another squad. The timing of this cut was intentionally cruel. Here is where B.B. struck his revenge for missing a fourth Super Bowl in six years. Bill knows better than most when the worst time to be cut is, and it's not quite when most would think... See, he could have made the call the other day. Instead, he made Reche believe he had made the team. He let him relax for two days while teams around the league scrambled to find room for the best of the rest made available on Saturday. Only then, when the final sqeezing had already been done by most teams, did he let the gauntlet fall. Sure, it's likely that the Jets or the Chargers might make a run for him, hoping for a little insight in their upcoming matchups, but they won't be able to do it without losing some other key cog... and Reche won't catch onto a team in time to actually play this week, and perhaps even the next few.

Somewhere in the back of B.B.'s mind is the grim satisfaction that he got even, and the added sense of security that this player that he could not trust with the game on the line is no longer on his team. Somewhere in the back of Reche's mind is an angle we never saw of those two balls, coming at him over and over and over again.

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