In the ever-changing, reactionary, consistently inconsistent way the NFL keeps pulling Covid-19 protocols out of Roger Goodell's prison wallet, it's hard to tell exactly what is going on from day-to-day. We know they changed the guidelines earlier this week, without specifically admitting it was in response to the way they screwed up by not postponing the Patriots game at Kansas City. But still no one seems to know exactly when and how someone who tested positive can play football again.
What we do know for sure is that Cam Newton was taken off the Covid list and he's practicing today.
Asked about Stephon Gilmore's status this morning, Bill Belichick did his version of a judicial nominee refusing to talk about pending matters before the court.
But according to reports, Gilmore is expected to practice either today or tomorrow. Meaning that the two most important players on either side of the ball for this team have a very good chance of catching the 'Rona's cooties and missing a total of one (1) game. You can't overstate how huge that is. Particularly coming off a weekend in which we saw some of the major competition in the AFC - specifically Buffalo and KC - look extremely vulnerable.
And the good news keeps coming. At least if you're someone who puts a lot of stock in the opinion of Dante Scarnecchia. And if you're someone who doesn't care for the insights of a man who's been with the organization since Reagan's first term, you're a sad, misguided, pathetic creature and may God have mercy on your soul.
Scar talked to the Boston Herald about his former team's chances with an antibody-fueled Newton back under center.
Scarnecchia has enjoyed watching the transition, and believes the Patriots will be a team to be reckoned with thanks to Cam Newton, and the evolution of the offense.
More to the point, if Newton can stay healthy, Scarnecchia says the rest of the league better watch out.
“To Cam’s credit and his skillset, it seems to be that he’s being very wise not trying to run through defenders, sliding when you gotta slide and getting out of bounds when you have to get out of bounds,” said Scarnecchia. “I think it’s an important part of the equation, because they need him, and he’s got to stay out there. If he does, they can beat anybody.” …
Scarnecchia has always been a straight shooter, telling it like it is. And after watching the first four games, he can’t help but see the potential and the possibilities for his former team.
“I think the quarterback has helped a great deal with his mobility, and the way they’re running the ball is unbelievable,” boasted Scar. “Averaging 180 yards a game is extraordinary. They’ve done a great job. They’re certainly a very capable team.” …
“You can sit there and wring your hands up, and say, ‘Woe is me,’ or you can start solving problems, and they’ve chosen to solve problems,” he went on. “I think that’s one trait you absolutely have to have in this profession. You can’t let the lows, and what amounts to disappointment dwell. You just gotta fix things and keep going. And they’ve clearly done that.”
Aaannnddd … I'm spent. These are the words I needed to hear in a time of uncertainty. From a man who throughout his career threw compliments around like they were manhole covers. And yet he sees a 2-2 team that has faced enormous challenges, from leading the league in opt outs to losing on the goal line at Seattle and without their quarterback in KC, which an offensive line that's been shuffled like a six-deck Blackjack shoe and had turnover at running back and is still second in the league in rushing yards per game. And hearing this out of the man who's been such an integral part of the Dynasty has me ready to leave a Jerry-shaped hole in the locker room wall Sunday. Or would, if I wasn't going to be on my couch in a pair of Uggs.
I'll add that as of right now, we've seen this team come out with four entirely different offensive systems, and I imagine we'll see yet another one when Denver comes to town. I believe they are putting the league on notice that with Newton, they can Mighty Morphin Power Offense into any kind of game plan they need to beat you from week to week. Plus the reschedule gave Julian Edelman two weeks off to recover from whatever was off about him in the last game when he dropped three passes.
The Patriots "can beat anybody?" You're goddamned right they can. Their best offensive and best defensive player just beat Coronavirus.