BLEDSOE-BRUNELL: NORTHEAST PASSAGE.Byline: John Clayton John Clayton may refer to:
With snow in the forecast this weekend, New England Patriots Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled until (UTC) due to vandalism. quarterback Drew Bledsoe Drew McQueen Bledsoe (born February 14, 1972) is a former American football quarterback in the NFL known best for his almost eight years of starting for the New England Patriots. During the 1990s and early 2000s, he was perceived to be the face of the Patriots franchise. can't wait for Mark Brunell's arrival for an NFL NFL
National Football League
NFL (US) n abbr (= National Football League) → Fußball-Nationalliga version of the Apple Cup.
``We can arrange for snow,'' Bledsoe with his usual deadpan joke delivery. ``It works to our advantage.''
New England's Foxboro Stadium Boston/New England Patriots
• • [ isn't Washington State's Martin Stadium, but Bledsoe remembers Brunell well. To beat his former Washington Husky rival, Bledsoe will take any edge he can get. In the Cougars' 42-23 victory over Washington in the 1992 Apple Cup, the cold air in Pullman was filled by snowflakes snowflakes
small patches of gray or white hair acquired after birth. Skin color is unchanged. See also achromotrichia, vitiligo. and accurate Bledsoe passes.
As regionally popular as the Apple Cup is, the stakes will be higher Sunday. Bledsoe's New England Patriots face Brunell's Jacksonville Jaguars
The national press is already jumping on the comparison bandwagon. Though Bledsoe-versus-Brunell is an appealing show in the Northwest, football fans nationwide are starting to wonder if this is the beginning of the next great pro rivalry in the magnitude of Steve Young vs. Troy Aikman Troy Kenneth Aikman (born November 21, 1966 in West Covina, California) is a former American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, and currently a television sportscaster for the Fox network. , or Dan Marino vs. Jim Kelly For other persons named Jim Kelly, see Jim Kelly (disambiguation).
James Edward Kelly (born February 14, 1960 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a former American football quarterback in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills. , or Joe Montana vs. John Elway.
Bledsoe is just 24 years old. Brunell is 26.
Patriots fans already understand the competitiveness of this rivalry.
On Sept. 22, Bledsoe led the Patriots to a 22-0 lead over the Jaguars. Brunell competed a 51-yard Hail Mary pass A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary play in American football is a forward pass made in desperation, with only a very small chance of success. The typical Hail Mary is a very long forward heave thrown at or near the end of a half where there is no realistic possibility for any to Jimmy Smith before the half to cut the lead to 22-7. Brunell scrambled and scrambled to tie the score at 25 with 8:26 left.
At the end of regulation, Brunell hit another Hail Mary completion - a 58-yarder to Willie Jackson at the 1-yard line. The Jags thought they had a game-winning touchdown. Official didn't, ruling Jackson down at the 1.
Bledsoe led the game-winning 49-yard field-goal drive to salvage a victory. Brunell's 432-yard passing effort proved to Patriots fans what Bledsoe already knew.
``I thought Mark was a good quarterback from the first time I saw him in college,'' Bledsoe said. ``To see him make the kind of plays he's making now is really amazing. He's probably playing at as high a level as any quarterback in the league, and it's really gratifying grat·i·fy
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
2. to see it.''
Patriots defenders can only hope that snow can cool him off. Billed for two years as the next Steve Young, Brunell is making a name for himself as one of the NFL's next great young quarterbacks.
The Brunell-Bledsoe matchup Sunday is just the start of something big.
Former Husky Dana Hall, a starting strong safety for the Jaguars, watched Steve Young play for three years when he was with the San Francisco 49ers
``He's got better arm strength than Steve, and he's a little faster,'' Hall said. ``He's got tremendous awareness. Mark has eyes in the back of his head and eyes on the side of his head. He sees guys rushing that most guys don't see. That's where you normally see the big hits on the quarterback, but Mark has an incredible ability to make guys miss.''
Bledsoe had a chance to see Brunell surgically destroy the Denver Broncos, who went through the regular season as the league's top defense. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan handed linebacker Bill Romanowski and defensive end Alfred Williams each $3 million signing bonus checks to chase down elusive quarterbacks such as Brunell.
On at least a half dozen occasions last Sunday, Brunell made the two Broncos look like Cecil Fielder swinging and missing on a slow curve.
``His mobility is his greatest asset,'' Hall continued. ``That's what Steve's greatest asset is. Early in Steve's career, they wanted him to stay in the pocket because they wanted him to be Joe Montana, but Steve outside the pocket is more dangerous than Steve inside the pocket. It's the same thing with Mark. You've got to stay on your coverages.''
A two-year apprenticeship in Green Bay under coaches Mike Holmgren, Steve Mariucci and Jon Gruden taught Brunell proper techniques of when to scramble and when not to scramble. After beating out veteran Steve Beuerlein last year after the Jaguars traded for him, Brunell worked out the kinks of his game as the starter.
A seven-game winning streak and passing for 4,367 yards this season will make Brunell a national darling. His agent, Frank Bauer, hasn't returned negotiating calls all season to a desperate Jaguars front office, which wants to extend Brunell's contract past next season.
Bauer knows paying Brunell $800,000 this season and $1.2 million next season is just an appetizer. If Brunell doesn't sign by the end of next season, he's a free agent. His asking price could be between $5 million and $7 million.
Photo: MARK BRUNELL: Is being compared to San Francisco quarterback Steve Young.