Wilson's smaller stature not a focus of Belichick


Wilson's smaller stature not a focus of Belichick

FOXBORO -- Russell Wilson is listed at 5-foot-11. Compared to most NFL quarterbacks, that's not very tall.

He'll be the shortest quarterback on the field Sunday, as the Patriots travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks.

But does height matter, when game planning for another quarterback? As Bill Belichick points out, not all short quarterbacks are failures in the NFL.

"There are plenty of guys that are good quarterbacks, like the Drew Brees' of the world, that arent 6-4," said the Patriots coach in Tuesday's conference call.

Don't confuse Wilson with Brees. One is a Super Bowl MVP who just set the record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. The other is a rookie that's thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions in just five career NFL games.

Wilson represents the latter. And while his height might put him at a disadvantage with his vision over his fellow lineman, Belichick pointed out at least one advantage for shorter quarterbacks: speed.

"Although, generally speaking, shorter guys are a little quicker than taller guys at every position, generally speaking," said Belichick. "Its like anything you give up something to get something. I think the decision-making and throwing mechanics and accuracy are a lot more important than height."

So as the Patriots prepare for Wilson, they'll prepare as if there's an exception to every "rule" about height and weight.

"There are players that are speed deficient, theyre below the speed standard, theyre below the height standard, they might be below the weight standard, but that doesnt mean theyre not good football players," said Belichick. "Then again, when you take into consideration the overall percentages, there are a lot more big, strong, fast players than there are short, small, slow ones. But there are exceptions to everything.

"Our thing is, always to try to evaluate the guy as a player, not just look at just strictly his height, weight, and speed. Were certainly aware of it, but thats not the final determining factor. Its how good of a football player is he? Or, how good of a football player do we think he can be? Certainly if you can find a guy thats a good football player that physically has at least the average or hopefully above average measurables -- relative to everybody else at his position in the league -- then thats, I think, going to improve your overall success rate."

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Every few months, our buddy Manish Mehta gets suitably bored or his bosses at the New York Daily News get sufficiently impatient with him and he goes off with some prediction that winds up being the absolute direct opposite of what actually happens.

He would be like the drippy-nosed kid at his own birthday party trying to bust open the piñata for an uncomfortable length of time. Except, eventually, somebody takes pity on that kid. With Manish, nobody ever feels bad and he’s left out there swinging long after the party’s over and everyone’s gone home.

Tom Brady’s suspension has provided multiple opportunities for Manish to walk into screen doors.


First, after Brady bailed in July on taking his suspension to the SCOTUS, Mehta spun it forward and said the Jets would be looking real good after four games with Jimmy Garoppolo driving the bus.

Brady will be in full-fledged F.U. mode by the time he faces the Jets for the first time in Week 12. But what if the Patriots start off winless or 1-3 with Garoppolo? Will Brady's greatness be enough to overcome such a sluggish start given that his team has the second toughest strength of schedule in the AFC (behind the Jets and just ahead of the Bills and Dolphins)?

"I feel like, in this division, you got to win 10-plus games, maybe 11-plus games," Decker said. "That means you almost have to go perfect the rest of the year (after a 1-3 start). You can be in a situation where you play a hard Sunday game and, all of sudden, you got a (quick turnaround) on a Thursday night. … You can factor those things in and make a case that it's more difficult to go on a run after starting 1-3."

After the Patriots started 2-0 and Garoppolo broke, Mehta waded in again.

Not even the greatest football mind of the generation will be able to wiggle out of this jam.

The Patriots face a new reality now that Jimmy Garoppolo wrecked his shoulder on Sunday: The Evil Empire will be looking up at the Jets in the AFC East standings when Tom Brady returns….

(Jacoby) Brissett has been a NFL player for FIVE MONTHS. He'll have THREE DAYS to prepare for his first start. Belichick is brilliant, but let's be realistic. He's not going to climb this mountain.

Friday, Manish made a Mehta Culpa in the New York Daily News and on CSN's SportsNet Central. His prediction of Brissett going bellyup and the Patriots being behind the Jets by the time Brady made his return was, “one giant swing and a miss,” wrote Mehta.

“I was wrong like pre-Socratic philosophers, who thought the world was flat. I was wrong like the Chicago Daily Tribune headline writer, who prematurely buried Truman in '48. I was wrong like Lex Luthor, who thought he could destroy Superman three or four hundred times.

Mehta got an avalanche of “You’re a ******* moooooorrrrrrooooonnnnn!!!!” tweets Thursday night. This was his blanket attempt to say, “Yes. Yes I am.”

And for a second, you worry. Is Manish done? Has he taken his blindfold off, put down his stick and gone into the house for good? No more wild swings and misses?

And then you realize it is his raison d’etre. He’ll be back. And – like this guy – he’ll be gloriously mistaken.