Bill Belichick doesn’t care if you don’t understand his thinking. He controls the force, and you’re just caught in its constantly circling vortex. Bill knows what you don’t know, and we’ll never know what Bill knows. Follow?
His latest move to cut cornerback Leigh Bodden is confusing, but not surprising, only because this is the way of the hooded warrior, and it’s difficult to fake being shocked when he releases another veteran. Just over a year ago Belichick correctly identified that Randy Moss was rapidly declining and he was abruptly jettisoned, and it appears that’s what happened here with Bodden.
The mess in New England’s secondary certainly isn’t isolated around one man, but Bodden played his role. He was signed to a four-year, $22 million contract in March of 2010 with $10 million guaranteed, and then his veteran body began to deteriorate. He missed all of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury, and he’s missed one game this year. When healthy he’s been ineffective, a regression that led to his demotion to nickel back. Bodden has started just one game this year, and has been pushed aside while the younger Ras-I Dowling rose up the depth chart.
So Belichick’s declining opinion of Bodden’s value is clearly evident. But what’s odd and troubling is both the timing, and Belichick’s apparent faith in others that have regressed more than Bodden, specifically Devin McCourty. New England is deep in the basement in terms of pass coverage and is giving up an average of 322.2 yards per game through the air. Green Bay, the second-worst coverage team, is well ahead of that mark (288.9), and the Pats have also been vulnerable to the deep ball, allowing a league worst 37 receptions of 20 yards or more.
Those woeful numbers could easily be the heavy anchor that sinks another championship bid as the Patriots face elite passing teams. Now the responsibility of hauling that anchor back onto the bow of Belichick’s tiny boat falls partly on the feeble shoulders McCourty–who’s become a major liability during his sophomore slump–and Dowling, whose talent has been restricted by injuries (he’s appeared in just two games). Dowling missed practice yesterday with a hip injury, putting his status for Week 8 in doubt.
Kyle Arrington has emerged and his four interceptions are behind only Charles Woodson’s five, but he’s now supported by inexperienced and brittle youth, a thin unit that has to stop Mike Wallace and the Steelers two days from now, the Giants next week, and the Eagles in Week 12.
So no, we’re not confused over a sudden roster move by Belichick, because we’ve grown to expect harsh and cold roster roster judgments in New England involving veterans. We’re confused because unlike Moss last year, the depth around Bodden was marginal at best, and shaky at worst.
To conclude, GLS has a mandate to feature this video in any post mentioning either Bodden or Hue Jackson…