By Adam Hart
Hear the nice things Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler had to say about owner Al Davis?
A sampling of his reaction to the Raiders declining to bring back head coach Tom Cable:
"I'm not so sure this wasn't a terrible decision."
"Tom was good at how he handled the whole dealing with Al. He was one of the better coaches that I had that could handle that part of it and not let that part of it bother the football team. And that's what I enjoyed about him."
"Whether a new coach can call plays and pull off the whole head coaching deal and deal with Al Davis on the side, I don't know. That's a lot on somebody's plate."
"Al Davis once ate a dirty sock out of my locker, and I can't reconcile that fact."
That last one is fabricated, but the others are straight from the horse's mouth. And since Mr. Davis is so much a reactionary, skeletal, Kim Jong Il-like guy, he's put his Pro-Bowl punter up for sale in the classified ads . . . in a newspaper.
All right, you got me. There's no way the real Al Davis knows Stan Van Gundy as anything other than an enemy of the Allied Forces in WWII. And Mr. Davis was probably born before newspapers were invented, so there's a strong chance he considers the classifieds "newfangled technology."
But the point remains the same that -- facts or fake-facts -- there's about three-percent chance Al Davis doesn't address this in an overtly-crazy manner. Anything less would be a sign of the end of times.
Wednesday's practice participation report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful.
The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.
“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”
Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”
Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not.
I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”