By Michael Felger

It may not seem like it, but trust me:

I can be even more obnoxious if I wanted to be.

To: Mike FelgerSubj: Are you THE god?Seriously, not only the Branch-for-Moss swap, but the fourth quarter comeback, the toughness to take a hit in the mouth and keep playingyou're insufferable, but you absolutely called it. JoshWatertown

Just wait until they make the AFC Title Game, Josh. What comes after insufferable? And as you know, Josh, I'm a God. I'm not THE God . . . I don't think.

FelgerJust watched the MU-FIU brawl on Youtube. I cannot give Brandon Meriweather the benefit of the doubt anymore. I don't care if you're in college or the pros. If you are running around stomping anyone who falls on the ground then you are a dirty person and a dirty player. It's a disgusting video and Meriweather and those UM players should be ashamed. Watch it. Meriweather is No. 19 in Orange. He's a punk.JoeSomerville

My thoughts on the hit are well established. Atrocious. Reprehensible. Inexcusable. Should have been ejected and should have been suspended.

And, sorry, but I do hold the whole "U" thing against him. There are a lot of idiots down there. In my mind, it's a program that too often celebrates thugary, menace and violence. The whole gangster garbage. There are, obviously, a lot good, tough, professional players who have come out of that program, but at the same time it feels like too many of the wrong things are glorified down there. I have no use for it.

Anyway, Joe is right. Check out No. 19. Give a listen to Lamar Thomas. That's the "U" for you.

So Felger, You must have been in the defensive huddle, I mean how would Vince know the effect on the team better then the guy sitting on his ass watching the game? By the way, Arrington said the same thing. Guess he is a liar, too, because the cheesehead DB knows better than the actual players.Joe

No, but I know a piece of stinky cheese when I smell it. Did you watch the game? Did it seem to you like the Pats turned it on after that hit? Is that why they went punt, punt, interception on their next three offensive possessions? Is that why the defense gave up an easy touchdown early in the third quarter? Is that why the defense allowed the Ravens to drive the field at the end of the third quarter and open up a 20-10 lead? Is that why a three-point Pats deficit at the time of the hit was stretched to 10 points twice?

I may not have been in the huddle. But I can tell when players are making crap up to protect a teammate.

Felger,One of the few lowlights from Sunday was the play of Brandon Meriweather. Can the Pats please cut or trade him? The guy has less football smarts than JaMarcus Russell and is a bigger and more penalized version of Ellis Hobbs. Is there anything more frustrating than watching Meriweather celebrate after laying a hard hit on a receiver 20 yards down the field after a reception just like Hobbs used to? I wish Goodell had done the Pats a favor by suspending him, because they looked a lot better with him on the sidelines than on the field.JoeMaynard

This is also something I hold against Meriweather: He's not very good. It's not like he's out there making plays on the ball in between head shots. At least Rodney Harrison could make plays on the ball. At least Harrison led on the field and in the locker room. He wasn't just running around trying to hurt people like Meriweather was last Sunday.

I'll repeat what I said on the radio on Tuesday: He feels to me like the defensive version of Laurence Maroney. A former first-round pick who thinks he's better than he is and should be better than he is, but who doesn't get it. A guy who hasn't improved and hasn't taken the coaching given to him. A guy who they'd probably be better off without.

Felger You DB!With the hysteria over helmet-to-helmet hits reaching a full on hullabaloo, I thought the excerpt from Anthony Gargano's upcoming book NFL Unplugged I saw on Deadspin raised even more disturbing issues with the nations real national past time and it's willingness to punish on-field atrocities across the board.
Come on Mike, we all know that James Harrison is a proudly imbecilic psychopath; this is just the latest chapter. Where you also aware that your longtime go-to Patriot for on-air hijinks, Mike Vrabel, was a serial "Charmin squeezer?" Because according to the excerpts, when there is a scrum for a loose ball, the move of choice is to grab more junk than Fred Sanford in an attempt to procure the disputed fumble. I don't know about you Mike, but I have just as much of a problem with someone trying to manually conjoin my twins as I would Brandon Meriwether bringing the funk with the crown of his helmet.
And apparently a non-affiliated logo or an askew sock isn't the most prevalent uniform violation on an NFL sideline. The details of which may not make it past the CSNNE quality-control police, but suffice to say that I hope whoever cleans the towels at Patriot games is doing so in compliance with current hazmat policies. Pittsburgh may have trademarked the Terrible Towel moniker but I would much rather face 65,000 of those than deal one from former Titan Kevin Donnelly.
So while the NFL is levying fines against the aforementioned Harrison for illegal hits and the Redskins' Anthony Armstrong for faulty sock height, remember that the same bastion of football justice chooses to overlook Mike Vrabel's attempt to crush Ike Reese's pieces or Mark Schlereth treating his uniform pants like Moises Alou's hands.

Read the link, folks. Truly gross.

So that's why Vrabel always asked me to practice fumble drills with him . . .

Hey Felger,Not to sound too hokey, but Herb Brooks, when selecting the USA hockey team in 1980 said he wasn't looking for the "best" players, he was looking for the "right" players.DaveWaltham

Which is something the Pats are getting back to, Dave. Scott Pioli used to say his job was not to collect the best talent, but to assemble the best team. See ya, Adalius, Laurence and Randy. You could be next, Brandon.

Hey Felger,You do have a mosquito-like quality about you, true, but I couldn't agree with you more regarding Moss and the acquisition of Branch. I actually began to feel that the Pats would eek out a win Sunday, just like the old days. It was eerie. The Patriots played like the Patriots in the fourth quarter and in overtime; not perfect, but clutch. Keep up your Meriweather rant. The guy's a loser.E Robinson

Mosquito? I'm usually more closely associated to a gnat. Mosquito feels like an upgrade.

Hey Felger! You're starting to get scary. I've been with you on everything, but now you predicted the 'D' would improve, and they have. Yoda like. They have just one more knucklehead to get rid of, Big Bang clock, until I can truly get behind this D. Although I was just a little worried about TB's performance. It didn't seem to me that he was very sharp. Seemed like he just changed "binkies" and didn't really spread it as much as I thought he would. I couldn't tell if it was him or if the secondary receivers were not getting open.SteveChester, NH

A great point. I was very disappointed in Tate. The Ravens were obviously keying on Welker and the tight ends, and it's tough going in the middle of that defense, so I can understand those guys not getting open. But what was Tate's excuse?

In terms of Brady relying on Branch, at least it's not nearly as destructive as Brady locking in on Moss. At least Branch runs higher percentage routes.

Felger,I agree with you 100 percent on Branch. Picking him over Moss is a way better move for this particular offense! However, I think you're getting a little too crazy with the Pats going to the AFC Championship . . . With this defense, how can they possibly get that far? I hate to say it, but I think with their defense, the Jets have a good chance of making it that far.GeorgePeabody

I know the AFC title game prediction sounds outrageous to a lot of people, but it's really not. I think everyone would agree that it's no stretch for the Pats to win the division and host a wild-card game. And I think most everyone believe they can win that game. So now we're in the divisional round. I think they'll win that game. Most of you don't, I guess. But we're really talking about the difference of one game.

Michael, If we look back over the history of the Belichick era Patriots since 2000, I see a team whose heart and soul WAS the defense. The 2001 team was a defensive team, with a little-engine-that-could offense.By 2003, and 2004, they were more balanced. Brady was now a game manager who could open it up more and go deep. But still I believe their defense was what made them great, not Tom Brady and the offense. After 2004, Belichick's biggest failure was his inability to maintain the greatness of this defense. He actually chose to drop down in draft after draft to get lesser players, either due to the Krafts, just plain incompetence, or his own arrogance, thinking that it's about the system, not the talent. So when people keep giving Belichick a break by saying that every coach has to go through a rebuilding period, this is just a cop-out, an excuse for Belichick's inability to maintain what was once great. He didn't even have to build it after 2004. He just had to maintain it, and he couldn't even do that. Remember, Belichick CHOSE to draft lower drafts picks, lesser players, when he could have had first-rounders all along.Rick Winthrop

It's a good point, but not entirely fair. First of all, the defense he had in 2007 was good enough to support that offense and win a title. The offense just gagged in the biggest game of the year and the defense couldn't hold up at the very end.

Otherwise, and not to excuse the bad drafting, but we can look back and see that the pivotal time in the team's history was the 2004 offseason and into the 2005 season, when Tedy Bruschi had his stroke, Ted Johnson retired, Roman Phifer moved on, Ty Law was optioned out and Rodney Harrison shattered his knee in Pittsburgh in Week 4. Yes, Belichick has struggled to replace the pieces (starting with the putrid Monty Beisel-Chad Brown-Duane Starks offseason), but that's a lot of damage to one side of the ball in a short period of time. You can make the claim the Pats have never recovered, although we just now may be seeing signs of recovery.

Mike,It was puke-inducing to listen to Shaughnessy on the radio station on Saturday and Borges on Sunday looking at Moss through the Barbara Walters soap opera soft lens. For both these guys to hear that Moss is not as good as we think he is in close, late, cold and tough situations and balk as though that suggestion is so laughable that it never occurred to either of them before is so fraudulent. Dr. Evil wrote as much on several occasions, but I know Ronnie's Rule No. 1, "Belichick is duplicitous pond scum," supersedes even contradicting yourself in print, right? Honestly, Mike, I know you worship at the alter of the good Dr., but I think this guy is so see-through it is insane. Post 18-1 Super Bowl he tells you, "Guess they paid the wrong guy, Moss is a dog in January, and he's killing the team." Then the Pats trade Moss and the good Dr. comes out telling us "Moss is always drawing double coverage, and they need him." Upon being rebuked, his response is, "You don't know if it's puffed or stuffed." Funny line, Ron. A deflection a BBWAA member would be proud to have leveled at Felger. The problem is, you told us in your know-it-all smugness it was puffed two years ago, and now you're telling me with the same know-it-all smugness it was stuffed. The two know-it-all sides of your face can't agree and, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't that the textbook definition of duplicitous?I can't lend you any credibility whatsoever unless I know which side of your reversible face I am currently talking to, the puffed side or the stuffed side?Peace,JakeBoston

Want to come on Sports Tonight the next time, Jake? I could use you.

Felger, You were dead nuts in your assessment of the Moss trade and how Brady would get better. I listened to that ass-hat Shaughnessy on your station poo pooing everyone who wasn't bent about Moss being gone. You were 100 right, and that douchebag Shaughnessy looks like a fool. John K

My only problem with that ass-hat is that he stole my line and didn't even credit me. Check out his third sentence.

I smell a lawsuit.

Felger,Guess old Wes and company's success had a TINY BIT more to do with stretching the field than you tried to lead the public to believe, huh, you biased buffoon? Sure could use a "9 route" or a "decoy" now . . . Nakia

Did you write this after the third quarter and then turn off the TV, Nakia? Don't worry, though, I'm sure this looked similar to the leads of 90 percent of the writers up in the press box after 45 minutes of play. Poor Borgie had to start over from scratch.

Hey Felger,I enjoyed your statistical review of the under-20 point club for defenses and the lack of correlation between allowing under 20 and being a Super Bowl lock. I enjoy the story statistics tell, and just saw this review of Brady's numbers when targeting Moss on the Cold Hard Football Facts. The numbers tell the story -- it wasn't their relationship in the locker room, on the plane, or at the barber shop that was in decline, it was their ability to connect on the field.Moss' Production Measured By Passer Rating:2007: 98-of-160, 61.3, 1,493 yards, 9.3 YPA, 23 TD, 4 INT, 121.2 passer rating2008: (Cassel) 69-of-125, 55.2, 1,008 yards, 8.1 YPA, 11 TD, 4 INT, 97.7 passer rating2009: 83-of-137, 60.6, 1,264 yards, 9.2 YPA, 13 TD, 8 INT, 98.3 passer rating2010: 9-of-22, 40.9, 139 yards, 6.3 YPA, 3 TD, 2 INT, 64.2 ratingQB INTs When Targeting Moss2007: Half of Brady's picks (4 of 8) came when targeting Moss. 2008: (Cassel) Threw 4 of his 11 picks when targeting Moss.2009: More than half of Brady's picks (8 of 13) came when targeting Moss. 2010: Both of Brady's picks (2 of 2) came when targeting Moss. Todd
Thanks. I saw that. But I don't need numbers to tell me what I thought was pretty obvious: The Brady-to-Moss offense wasn't as functional as it seemed and Moss wasn't nearly the player he was in his first season here.

Felgy,I heard you talking about the other day on the radio, but I didn't have a chance to call in. Sometimes a 35-minute wait for 15 seconds of talk-time is a waste of cell-phone minutes. At least the OTHER STATION lets you talk! Ha!Anyway, you commented that Danny Woodhead leading the Patriots in touches against Baltimore signals a problem -- which I agree with, to an extent. But here's my theory: Belichick's overwhelming defensive success against elite RBs in big games has caused him to value the position less in building his own roster. I'm starting to share the same view: Green-Ellis, Taylor, Woodhead -- if they can average 3.5 yards per carry, we'll be fine.What scares me about Woodhead, ultimately, is you run the risk of getting Brady injured when he's blocking. Did you see him taking on a blitzing Ray Lewis? Yikes.GregManchester, NH
Make no mistake: I love Woodhead. I said when the Pats signed him that he'd be a factor. I knew it was a Patriot just watching him on Hard Knocks. But as a featured guy? I don't know. And I bet the Pats feel the same way. Let's see how many more times this season he leads the team in carries, rushing yards and all-purpose yards as he did on Sunday. I have a feeling the answer will be zero.

Michael,You make angry most of the time, but it doesn't mean you're incorrect. (Combine Measurables)Height weight 40 time 3 cone vertical Darren Sproles 5' 6" 181 4.48 6.96 33 MJ Drew 5' 7" 208 4.39 7.08 36 D Woodhead 5' 7.5" 195 4.35 7.03 38.5 Kevin Faulk 5'10" 207 4.35 NA NA Would you have guessed KF was the largest player of that group? Brad Perkins

This is in response to our wondering on the radio the other day whether Woodhead's skin color worked against him when it came to landing an NFL job. I think it's safe to say it didn't help.

Was Tanguay serious?? Stallworth in Super Bowl 39? He was on the Eagles!!!DeanTaunton

Yeah, Tanguay got a little confused. Wondered aloud, on-air, about Stallworth's involvement in the Carolina and Philadelphia Super Bowls. You have to forgive him. He's not quite right unless he gets his nap in.

Hey Mike,Do you think "boy wonder" wishes he didn't commit 170 million for the next four years to Lackey and Beckett when he could have given it to Cliff Lee, who is the hottest pitcher in the postseason since Orel Hershiser? How would this rotation have been next year:Lee, Lester, Buchholz, Dice-K and who cares. AND they could have gone out and got another bat or two.Instead it's going to be CC, Lee, Hughes, Pettitte and Burnett. Nice job, Theo, you just guaranteed the Yanks the division for the next four seasons.GeorgeWoburn

Where do I go to sign up for the Red Sox cartel, George?

Felger,Explain to me, please, why on Sunday nights I have to wait to 11 p.m. to watch the commentary on the Patriots games because I was looking forward to hear the excitement following the game and I had to stay up till 11:30! Really, that is bad programming. Please review that idea. Thank you.DuncanLowell

Wake up, Tanguay! We're on at 7:30. The 11 p.m. is replay. We're live at 7:30.

Hey FelgerHow come all you do is cry on air? You speak as if you could do these jobs better than the athletes can. I bet the Pats' locker room doesn't like you much, especially with your condescending attitude.BobBoston
Condescending attitude?


Felger's game column posts Monday morning and his report card will appear Tuesday. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio week days, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

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