By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - A well-done preview of the 2011 Patriots was presented by Andy Benoit in the New York Times. In it, Benoit shrugs away the notion of the "Patriot Way" saying scheme and personnel are the bellwethers of success in New England, not a workmanlike, selfless approach. "Locker room chemistry and teamwork and all those convenient Disney movie elements are great, but in the end, football is about the battle that takes place on that 10053 piece of turf," writes Benoit. "And those battles often dont come down to wanting it more or overcoming adversity they come down to out-scheming and out-executing the enemy."I'm with Benoit. The notion that grown men walk into Foxboro and become lemmings incapable of independent thought because Bill Belichick is in charge ispablum. Butdismissing the fact that sometalented players often tamp down their self-interest for the Patriots is not a myth. Those that do so - and it's not been unanimous - are still in it for themselves. They all want something- theirnext contract, validation, accolades, the chance for their children to see them play in the NFL, a championship ring, the satisfaction of playing the most evolved version of professional football we've seen - requires a little professional self-denial and a lot of trust inThe Hoodie. On Tuesday, wide receiver Deion Branch - a malcontent when he left here in 2006, a smiling foot soldier now - spelled out why so-called "bad boys" keep it under wraps. "When you label somebody a bad boy, you never know what somebody's been through," Branch cautions. "Say if I'm acting up somewhere else. My reasons for acting up may be because of this or that. Coming here, you know it's all business. You come in here and do your job. You do your job, everything'll be straight. Everybody wants to win. We play this game because it's a great job, but guys want to win. I think winning satisfies everything. And that's what we're all about over here."While Belichick exerts a certain amount of Big Brother-ly authority over his playerspublic comments and talking points, he does not tend to impose great personal restrictions on veteran players. Expectations? Yes. But he lets them be adults. "It ain't nothing where guys are hard on each other around here," Branch insisted. "You're still a man, everybody respects each other but you have to come to work. Come in and do a job. They pay you."It's really not that complicated. And Belichick has figured that the old guy who's a good guy and still can play, he might like it here. A guy like Andre Carter, formerly of the Redskins. He was asked Tuesday about whether Albert Haynesworth can change his reputation in New England. "That's up to Haynesworth," Carter answered. That's the crux of it. It is up to the player here. For some, it's Eden. For others it's Parris Island. "There'sa lot of veteran guys, a lot of great leadership, you see a lot of guys up-and-coming," Carter said when asked about the mix in New England. "This is just a great organization. It's all about one team and that's something I've admired. Everybody comes here to work."I'm going to go hard until I can't go no more," Carter promised.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.
By Tom E. Curran