A full day passed and nothing much changed. The quarterback situation in New England was on everybody's mind.
For the second straight day nearly every question tossed in the direction of Head Coach Bill Belichick. For the second straight day he stressed that the decisions he made were, he felt, in the best interest of the team right now.
For the second straight day, Drew Bledsoe spoke with the media. There was not as much of a noticeable edge to his comments, and he again stressed that he would continue to do everything he could to help the team prepare to win.
One difference for Day Two of the quarterback controversy was that Tom Brady spoke for the first time since being tabbed as the starter for the foreseeable future. Still, his comments remained very consistent with those he has made since he took the playing field.
For Brady, the trick is to avoid letting his personal feelings for a friend conflict with his need to be prepared to take the field.
"Those are the feelings that you fight," Brady said. "You fight the feelings of knowing one of your friends and teammates isn't as happy as he normally is. In one sense you are trying to prepare, and in another sense you are trying not to make the situation any worse.
"In terms of a strain, I'm trying to prepare for this game on Sunday. That's the only strain that I have. If you get distracted by this, then you won't be prepared as you could be on Sunday. That's not the goal. The goal is to win on Sunday."
Bledsoe reiterated Wednesday that his personal situation will not change his desire to help Brady and the rest of the team.
"I am going to do whatever I can to help this team win," Bledsoe said. "One thing that falls in that category is to conduct myself in a manner that allows the players on this team to support both Tom and myself. I feel like I've done that to this point, and I don't intend to change."
The quarterbacks are on the same page as far as their professional and personal relationships.
"I enjoy his friendship and his mentorship, and I don't see that changing at all," Brady said. "Obviously this is a topic of conversation and everyone wants to talk about this. Unfortunately, when somebody says, 'Tom does this well and Drew doesn't do this well,' or, 'If Drew does this well and Tom doesn't,' it is almost like in order to like one person, you have to dislike the other. That's not the way it should be, and that's not the way it is. It's just a unique situation. My goal is to prepare to win and to be the best quarterback that I can be."
For Brady, who has been on the other side of a similar situation, it is easy to empathize with Bledsoe's feelings.
"This is not a sympathy of, 'Poor Drew Bledsoe,'" Brady said. "He is a friend of mine and he has done everything he could to put himself in this situation. He wants to be on the field as much as everybody. That's what makes him a great person, a great player a great teammate, a great friend and a great father. He is really concerned about how other people are doing. He is trying to put his feelings aside for the sake of the team. That is everything you can ask from a teammate."
One question the media had for Belichick and Bledsoe Wednesday was whether Bledsoe was told he would get a chance to earn back his starting job.
"Maybe last week there was a little gap in the understanding of what an opportunity would be," Belichick said. "At this point in time, and this is why I talked to Drew and Tom on Monday, in my mind things have changed a little bit because after I looked at what I did last week, I don't think it was the best way to go for this team. Maybe I shouldn't have made the commitment to Drew that I did in terms of giving him the opportunity that I did last week. I don't think it necessarily served the team all that well."
Bledsoe didn't want to turn the situation into some sort of he said, she said affair.
"I won't tell you the conversation," Bledsoe said. "What I was told was that when I was healthy, I would get a number of reps in practice, and then we would go by what was seen on the practice field. That's what I was told. I received some reps last week, and actually received some yesterday."
There is no question about who the starting quarterback is, but there is question as to why the decision has been made. Belichick was grilled about whether he felt Brady was the quarterback who gave the Patriots the best chance to win the upcoming game.
"I think that in the last eight games Tom has given our team an opportunity to be in every game other than the Miami game, that we have had opportunities to win seven of those eight games and we have one five of them," Belichick said. "So I think that his performance is certainly not one that has kept our team from having a chance to win. I think that's what the quarterback's job is, to get the team into the end zone and to win games. I think he has done a reasonably good job. I don't think it has been perfect, but prior to that we were 0-2. I think Tom's performance speaks for itself. You can take it whichever way you want; it's 5-3."
Even Tuesday when his displeasure was very apparent, Bledsoe said all the right things publicly. He was asked how difficult it was to keep taking the high road rather than letting loose.
"It's really the only way I know how to conduct myself," Bledsoe said. "If you are intelligent enough to see the big picture, that there really is no good that comes from trying to be divisive and selfish, you see that the only good thing that comes out of that is you get your little 30 seconds that makes you feel good. The rest of it just ends up reflecting back on you. The way I've always been and the way I was brought up is that if you conduct yourself with some dignity and some class, ultimately you come out on top."
The reality for Bledsoe is that he'll have to wait on the sidelines for another chance to get back on the field this season. Watching will be something new to deal with.
"That's always difficult," Bledsoe said. "It's an emotional thing for me. I love this game, and I love to play this game. I love to go out and compete, and I've been blessed to be able to do that for a long time. Watching someone go out and do what I am accustomed to doing is a very hard and emotional thing."
Love activated off P.U.P.
Rookie tight end Arther Love was activated off the physically unable to perform list Wednesday.
Today was the Patriots deadline for deciding whether or not to activate the sixth-round draft pick. The Patriots had a three-week window during which Love could practice without taking a roster spot because he had been on the P.U.P. list because of off-season groin surgery.
The 6-4, 250-pound Love was a four-year letterman at South Carolina State, where he caught 34 passes for 562 yards and four touchdowns. With Love being activated, New England's 53-man roster is now at full capacity.
Linebackers Bryan Cox (broken leg) and Kole Ayi (leg) are the only Patriots definitely out for this Sunday's game.
The Patriots could be thin at linebacker because Matt Chatham (leg) and Ted Johnson (knee) are both questionable, as is wide receiver Terry Glenn.
Three others are probable for the Saints game. They are safety Je'Rod Cherry (leg), tackle Matt Light (stomach) and defensive end Willie McGinest (leg). Cherry and McGinest were able to play last weekend against St. Louis.