By Tom E. Curran
TAUNTON -- It's been dissected in Zapruder film fashion. The fake punt fail just before halftime of the Patriots-Jets divisional playoff game. Patrick Chung's been the fall guy. He was the personal protector for punter Zoltan Mesko, the one responsible for calling out blocking assignments and the snap. He's taken the blame for the play. He's the one Bill Belichick has said "feels badly" about the play. But what exactly does Chung need to feel badly about? Did he make the wrong read of the defense? Did he use the wrong verbiage before the snap, causing long-snapper Matt Katula and others on the punt team to believe a fake was on when, as far as Chung knew, he was simply calling out an "alert?" Does he feel badly about simply dropping a snap he didn't appear ready for? The fact Chung nobly stood and faced the music and questions the day after the game doesn't get down to the nitty-gritty. What was the major malfunction?"We talked about that already," Chung said Wednesday at Mulcahey Elementary School in Taunton. "It was my mistake making the call. That's all it was. That's me." Chung was at Mulcahey to read aloud as part of the school's "ReadThrough the Stars" program. He read two books and was funny and engaging to the nearly 500 kids assembled. Beingat the school in a Patriots capacity, though,puts onus onus tocover the Patriots side of things. And since we still don't have full illumination on why the fake punt was called or went awry, it remains a topic. But not to Chung. "It's behind me," he explained. "It was behind me the dayI cleared it up. I'm on to the next one. That play's over."Chung said he watched the "whole thing" when asked about Super Bowl XLV. Asked if is was hard to swallow, watching two teams his Patriots beat go at it for the title, Chung answered, "There are no 'what ifs.' It is what it is. They're at the Super Bowl and we're not in it. That's all I can say about that." With the CBA expiring shortly, there's a high likelihood teams will "lock out" the players and they'll be on their own to work out and get ready for the season when it comes. "We don't know what's gonna happen but you have to prepare like there's gonna be a season," said Chung. "It's up to yourself. You work how hard you want to work, you're gonna see who the real players are."