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Bishop gets off to running start: But accuracy off the mark

by Michael Felger

The Boston Herald - Tuesday, August 1, 2000

CANTON, Ohio - As promised, Michael Bishop ran around and made plays last night. To call his performance in the Patriots' 20-0 preseason win over San Francisco a total success, however, would be going too far. Even Bishop admits it.

The numbers were there. So was the production. The accuracy was not.

Bishop completed 9-of-13 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown while running four times for 50 yards and another touchdown. He led the Pats on a touchdown drive late in the first half and scored on a nifty option play on the last play of the third quarter.

Still, Bishop struggled with his control while playing with the first string. After taking over for Drew Bledsoe on the second series, Bishop completed his first pass, a 13-yard slant to Vincent Brisby, before missing three consecutive attempts that could have gone for touchdowns. The first was a deep ball to Terry Glenn down the sidelines and the last two were short miscues to Rod Rutledge (who should have come up with the catch) and Tony Carter (no chance).

``I feel I could have been a lot better,'' said Bishop, who was sacked three times. ``On the pass to Tony I just didn't get my feet set. If I take my time and set my feet, it's six points.''

Indeed, Bishop's first inclination is to run - which makes sense. When he's out of the pocket he's a very dangerous player. In the first half, for example, he missed Kevin Faulk on an easy slant, then a few minutes later hit Faulk in the middle after making an acrobatic scramble to the sidelines. But to make the next step in the NFL he knows he has to settle down in the pocket.

As for the bomb attempt to Glenn, Bishop said he saw the 49ers jump offsides on the play. ``I knew the defense jumped offsides so I just wanted to take a shot,'' he said.

The Pats coaches had several plays designed for Bishop, including the option, which Bishop ran successfully for a 22-yard touchdown run. Bishop came out in favor of Tom Brady to start the fourth quarter.

``I thought Michael did some good things,'' said coach Bill Belichick. ``I thought he had some things he could have done better.''


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