In a classic maneuver that could swing sentiment in the New England Patriots' locker room at just the right time, Bill Belichick unleashed a couple of uncharacteristically colorful salvos at Carolina Panthers defensive backs Chris Gamble and Chris Harris for ridiculing one of his guys.
BelichickGamble and Harris were critical of Patriots receiver Randy Moss, essentially claiming they got him to quit on plays Sunday in Gillette Stadium. The Patriots beats the Panthers 20-10, but Moss had one catch for 16 yards and a lost fumble.
"My response would be that's a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game," Belichick said at his Monday news conference.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss attended Belichick's Q&A session, which included defense of Moss and another shot at Gamble and Harris later.
"I have a lot of respect for Randy," Belichick said. "I think he's one of our best players, and I think if you watch other teams defend him and watch other teams play against him, they think the same way -- other than these two guys from Carolina after they lost another game. I guess they don't think that way. They haven't won a lot of games now."
So the message that will resonate with the younger players in the Patriots' locker room is this:
Bill might be tough on us, but when an outsider wants to make an example of us, he'll have our backs.
Next up for the Patriots: the Buffalo Bills, who won't be sending Gamble or Harris a Christmas card this year.