Before I start, I just need to declare that the Patriots are, by far, the luckiest professional sports team in the world. Seriously. They catch every single break. From the Ed Reed fumble on the interception return before the half to the 3 shots the Pats had to convert a 4th & 1 late in the 4th quarter to the 4th down defensive holding call with about a minute left to the hail mary falling being caught by Mark Clayton but falling one yard short of the endzone. It's disgusting. But onto talking about our disgusting team.
Up until this last game, despite being 0-11, everything inside the locker room was thought to be as good as it can be under the circumstances. Well apparently that is not the case. Some of you have posted the articles these quotes appear in over in the "diaries" section. But I just wanted to quickly post them here on the front page so anyone who may have missed them can read the quotes themselves. Here are some of the more telling ones.
(asked if this is the most demoralized the locker room has ever been)
"I do believe so. I mean, you saw the game. You saw the situations. It feels like we're doing this for some other reason than a victory sometimes. I don't want to call any names, but it's a scary thought to think we're all not out to get a victory. I don't know what else reason you'd be playing this game or be a part of this game, but right now there seems to be something else going on somewhere, and I don't know what it is."
(asked what the worst team he's ever been on)
"This one. I got three Super Bowls. I missed the playoffs five times in my career. This is by far the worst."
(asked what the solution is and, particularly, about a players-only meeting)
"That ain't going to get nothing done when the players don't even have that much of a say. It's everything as a whole, but having a players-only meeting wouldn't get nothing solved. You gotta have that early in the year, which we had, and you see what it's got us, 0-12."
"I don't know. I don't grow, so I don't know. You have to ask him or somebody else that. I don't buy that whole rookie thing. They put you in there, you have to play well."
(On his relationship with Cam Cameron)
"[Nick Saban] turned the team over to the veterans, and we ended up rallying around him even when things went poorly. Our relationship is different. He's trying to establish his program and his way of doing things."
Alright. Before I get started on how I feel now after reading these comments and after hearing a 790 The Ticket radio host say that some players think Cam is a "joke," I first wanted to point out something I take issue with. Now don't get me wrong, I love Jason Taylor as a player. And usually, he's great at handling locker room issues. But to go out and publicly criticize your rookie quarterback after just his 3rd career start is simply terrible judgement by Taylor. How can a player who is supposed to be a "leader" on the team make a comment like he made about John? And how can Jason not "buy that whole rookie thing"? I think I know. It's because he doesn't understand how hard it is to play the quarterback position. That's probably why he doesn't get understand that a rookie QB has to grow. As a rookie, Jason just lined up at DE and tried to get whoever had the ball, whether it's the QB, RB, or a receiver. But sorry, Jason. It's not that easy to be a quarterback. Oh, and for Jason to say you "have to play well" when you get put in there, Jason should probably follow some of his own advice. I can count at least 3 or 4 games where Taylor was a complete non-factor...or worse yet, he was actually holding the team back. So, honestly, he needs to keep his trap quiet in terms of criticizing any players. If he wants to get on the coaching staff, that's fine with me. But basically calling out one of your teammates, a rookie no less, was really uncalled for.
And this brings me to Cam. If the claims of the radio host are accurate and Cam really is treating these players like kids, then we have a major issue. If the players don't take Cam seriously and think he's a joke, then we have a major issue. And considering many of the comments made by some of the players, it's beginning to seem like things are coming unglued in the locker room, and that's a major issue. If Cam is indeed losing this locker room the way it seems he is, then even the biggest of Cam supporters (myself) would say we might need to make a change. Where would the Dolphins turn if they do make a change at head coach? Obviously, Bill Cowher would be option #1. But who knows if he would come here. I think the 2nd best option would be Marty Schottenheimer. But would he come to Miami and replace his buddy Cam? Beyond those 2, I'm not sure where Miami would turn. I guess we'll cross this bridge if/when we come to it.
With all that said, I think this week will be a good test for Cam. Now that some of the players have come out to the media and questioned/criticized the head coach and how he handles these players, how will Cam respond? That's what I'm very interested in seeing. Will Cam continue to do things "his way" and not change at all? Or will Cam look to some of the veterans for some ideas on how to better connect with the players? I think the coming game on Sunday at Buffalo will go a long way towards the fate of Cam Cameron. If the players come out and play like total crap yet again, then I think I'd be fully on the "fire Cam" bandwagon (right there next to Neo and Nat). But if this team comes out, sticks together, and puts forth an inspired effort, then that will at least show that Cam may have regained some respect in the locker room, at least for one week.
Any way you look at it, I think that this week (leading up to and culminating with the game Buffalo) will be a telling week in terms of Cam Cameron and his future with the team. And that leads me to my question for the members of the anti-Cam brigade: what does Cam have to do in order for him to be worthy enough (in your eyes) to remain the head coach?