The New England Patriots are just about set for their fifth AFC Championship Game appearance in the current decade.
One would think that such a situation would cause a distraction in the locker room and hinder the preparation of the team, specifically Moss.
Not these Patriots.
This is just another speed bump along the road to perfection for New England. Tedy Bruschi had some words to offer about the surprises this season has brought.
"I hate to say it, but we're sort of used to dealing with them. I think this year has been a year of distractions since the opening day, to tell you the truth," Bruschi said. "It's always week after week, something different that we have to deal with. The way we do that is [to] sort of feed off it, we feed off the distractions we have and we become closer for it. We just bond together. Whoever is being scrutinized, whoever is the target for any type of criticism, we rally around that person -- whether it is our head coach or our all-star wide receiver, or whoever it may be. ..."
The Patriots have an unfathomable ability to leave life at the door and give everything they have on the field. It's a precedent that was set back in the 2001 season when the underdog Pats came out and handed "The Greatest Show On Turf" a loss in the Super Bowl. They came out onto that field as one big unit: offense, defense and special teams... and they remained one unit throughout the entire game.
They proved back then that they don't need an all star cast, and they've shown time after time since then that they simply don't allow distractions to be the cause of failure.
Last weekend when the Patriots faced the Jaguars, it was evident that Tom Brady doesn't even necessarily need Randy Moss to have an effective passing attack. The Chargers have an uphill battle ahead of them if they think they're going to offer a challenge defensively in tomorrows championship game.
San Diego released their injury report yesterday, and both Antonio Gates and Phillip Rivers were listed as doubtful. If neither of those guys can go, the Chargers will not have much of a chance to hang with New England's offense. Sure, Billy Volek is a veteran, but that doesn't mean he's ready to handle the pressure that comes with being in a game of this magnitude.
Something else I noticed on the injury report, was that LaDainian Tomlinson was not included on the list. However, that doesn' really mean a whole lot. The Jaguars were supposed to pose a threat mainly by use of the running game, and we all know how that turned out.
No, the Patriots practiced this week in the same manner they have every week this season, and no distractions are going to deter them from another Super Bowl. If anything is going to do that, it's going to have to be an unbelievable performance by a warm weather team in a very cold place.