Should A Columnist Be A Motivator?

Is it true that players can get riled up by what some scribe says? That's what happened on Monday when a Boston Globe columnist took cheap shots at the Houston Texans and one player turned words into a motivation tool.

Sometimes players give opponents enough bulletin board material to write a book, other times they find ways to limit what can be misquoted and used as for motivation.  The Patriots are a classic example of what to do leading up to a big game by saying very little that can be used against them.   

So what does an opponent do to get fired up if the Patriots won't give them material?  

Turn to the newspapers, of course.  And Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy @Dan_Shaughnessy penned a piece Monday morning that grabbed the attention of Houston Texans running back Arian Foster.  Foster even went as far as to grab a clip of the article for his new Twitter avatar.

"The 2012-13 New England Patriots just became the first team in NFL history to get back-to-back byes before advancing to the conference championship game.

Could this get any easier?

I mean, seriously?  The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game. All the Patriots have to do is beat the terrible Texans. One week from today. At Gillette Stadium."


Foster could be using the article as a joke, as he noted in a response to a Twitter question that asked "Do you feel disrespected that someone would write an article like that?"  Foster replied, "Not at all. Just thought it was funny."

Likely, Foster could actually be using the material as motivation.  Certainly the Patriots aren't about to provide him any material to get fired up about.  Trash talking is not their style.

Foster  finished with just 46 yards on 15 carries vs New England in their last meeting, or about half his season average.  In three of Houston's final four games, Foster failed to reach 100 yards. The Texans dropped all three contests.

Whatever Foster really thinks about the article ( he continues to insist the story didn't bother him), he'll need to step up his game on Sunday or the Texans will be taking an early exit from the playoffs for the seconda year in a row.

That's probably the real reason why Foster opted to grab a headline.  Any motivation, even from an NFL writer with an agenda, could be just what Foster needs to get on track.  Belichick and the Patriots certainly hope that isn't the case. If it is, don't expect Shaughnessy to get a hospitable welcome the next time he decides to actually bother to visit One Patriot Place.


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