It’s no surprise that Bill Parcells would defend Bill Belichick — he taught him everything he knows.
But Parcells, as well as all-time special teamer Steve Tasker, defended the use of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the extra point team, even though Gronkowski suffered a broken arm late in a blowout win over the Colts.
“I’m going to stick up for Bill Belichick on that,” Bill Parcells told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “I know what Gronkowski is doing in that game. I had Lawrence Taylor in the game every time at the same position.
“Fans and media assign the degree of importance that they wish to assign. A coach assigns the degree of importance.”
Many have questioned whether they could have avoided the injury by using one of their many backup tight ends. Belichick said during a radio interview he didn’t like sending the message one player was more valuable than another by pulling stars in blowouts, and Parcells said doing so would have created other risks.
“Let’s say you put that guy in there, and he doesn’t do his job,” Belichick’s old boss said. “And let’s say a rusher comes free, and your kicker kicks, and the rusher hits the kicker in the knee, and he’s out for the year. How’s that?”
Tasker, who earned acclaim as one of the best special teams players the game has known, agreed.
“You don’t substitute for a guy on extra point,” Tasker said. “No question, it’s unfortunate he got hurt. But the reaction has been ridiculous.
“Even if he was benched and they had Tom Brady out and Wes Welker on the sideline and they had decided to pack it in and furl the sails, you don’t have backups for the extra point. All of those No. 1 offensive linemen have to go back out there and protect.”
Just as the starting offensive line blocks for kicks, the starting defensive line is generally out there trying to block it. There’s a risk that comes with any play, and there’s only so much protection you can offer.