Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cloud was released on Tuesday

Michael Cloud was released on Tuesday, making room on the roster that hasn't been filled yet. This may be an indication of the return of Corey Dillon or Kevin Faulk.

Corey Dillon has missed the last two games with a a high ankle sprain. After missing last week's game against the Kansas City Chief's, Dillon was projected to return on Dec 4th.

Kevin Faulk broke a bone in his heel Sept. 25, an injury that was first considered to be season ending. He has been improving lately, so much so he was set to questionable on last week's injury report.

In other news, Lenny Walls, formerly of the Denver Broncos, was picked up off the waivers by Oakland. The Patriots were rumored to be interested (a warm body who plays cornerback), but since they were 32nd on the waiver wire list, every other team would have had to pass him up.

Also, "the Patriots will honor retired linebacker Ted Johnson at Sunday’s game against the Jets. Johnson spent all 10 years of his career with the Patriots and was instrumental in their three Super Bowl wins. He finished with 757 tackles and 11.5 sacks. Johnson retired in July because of short- and long-term complications he suffered from concussions over the years." - quote from an artcle by Michael Parente in the woonsocketcall.


Johnny Damon, another free agent, another paycheck

Gordon Edes at the Boston Globe discusses the market for Johnny Damon in an article today and he makes some good points. Scott Boras is asking for a 7 year $80 million deal for his client, Johnny (WWJD) Damon. And he may get it (I'm not sure where, but it's looking better every day for him).

Let's review the market price for center fielders. (yes, there really is more)

Carlos Beltran got 7 years, $119. J.D. Drew got 5, $55. Andruw Jones will be getting $26.5 over the next two years. Jim Edmonds got 6 years for $57. Bernie Williams received $12 last year, and if the Yanks had a moment of insanity, he would have received another $15 in an option year this year (all $ in millions, of course).

So where does that leave Johnny? The Red Sox have reportedly offered him 4 years at $40 and they would apparently be getting a bargain at that money. At one point, Damon was a leading contender for MVP (I never thought it would carry through, but his name was mentioned at the beginning of the year). His numbers speak for themselves, and so does his durability. But his real worth comes from being a genuine lead-off hitter. The Sox could get another center fielder (who has a better arm), it's the lead-off spot they'd have trouble filling.

So, I expect the Sox to offer Johnny another year (by team option), and about $12 a year. But when Damon gets a better offer somewhere else (yankees, to yank boston's chain or angels?), he'll be gone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Manny Ramirez' condo is for sale

You too can buy this $6.9 million dollar condo. It comes unfurnished with a condo fee of $4000/month. But with that fee you get concierge service, parking (not to be underrated in Boston), and access to the sports bar. 4500 square feet on the 37th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Towers with a view of the Charles, what more could you want?

In another indication that even Manny expects the trade to happen this winter, he and his wife have put their condo up for sale. See images over in a NESN news report through the website.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A little bit of perspective

If somebody had told you on Saturday that Tom Brady was going to throw four picks on Sunday, what would you have said the score was going to be? 35 - 14? 42 - 12? Well, the end score was 26-16 in a deserved loss. Any team that plays as bad as the Patriots did against the Kansas City Chiefs deserves to lose and that's that.

But if you listen to the radio this morning, you would think this team was the worst of the worst with no hope. The only thing they have to hope for was an early entry and an early exit for these hapless defensive players.

Well, I'm here to tell you that's a little bit overboard. Yes, these New England Patriots are not as good as last years players. Their defense has been bad and there doesn't seem to be anything they can do to improve this secondary. But that's not the whole story.

The defense did pretty well yesterday. Holding the Chiefs to 26 points off of 4 turnovers was not an easy thing to do. Their run defense was pretty good. Yes, Larry Johnson had 116 yards on 31 carries, but what did you expect him to have after they went up 20 points?

The offense is hoping for a little bit of relief in the next couple of weeks. With Corey Dillon out, Heath Evans has been carrying the load at RB. Their number two WR was Tim Dwight. I mean, how much offensive firepower is that? Yes, they're out there playing hard, but they are not who they were supposed to have.

The Pats offense struggled yesterday, mostly because Tom Brady had a bad game (and not because of pressure from the KC defense, despite what Hicks had to say). He was throwing high right from the start, the ball was definitely sailing on him.

This is definitely a flawed team, but that doesn't mean they are a bad team. They've played some very tough teams and payed the price in bodies and bruises. Hopefully, the injury bug will pass on to some other team now and their offense will return soon.

Do I think the Pats will win the SB just as I did last year, no. Do I think they have a chance of facing up with any other team out there, yes. This season is not over and they still have a good chance of taking it all.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Patrioits and Chiefs injury report

Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk, Bethel Johnson, David Givens, and Matt Light are all out for Sunday's match against the KC Chiefs. Most likely, Evans and Pass will mix it up at RB once again. Most likely, despite being probable once again, Tom Brady will play... ;-)

Matt Light T Doubtful Ankle Missed Portion
Kevin Faulk RB Questionable Foot Missed Portion
Tom Ashworth T Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Monty Beisel LB Questionable Back Missed Portion
Troy Brown WR Questionable Foot Missed Portion
Corey Dillon RB Questionable Calf Missed Portion
Tim Dwight WR Questionable Rib Missed Portion
David Givens WR Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Daniel Graham TE Questionable Shoulder Missed Portion
Jarvis Green DE Questionable Shoulder Missed Portion
Patrick Pass FB Questionable Hamstring Missed Portion
James Sanders S Questionable Ankle Missed Portion
Bethel Johnson WR Questionable Pelvis Missed Portion
Willie McGinest LB Questionable Finger Missed Portion
Tom Brady QB Probable Right Shoulder

Jerome Woods S Out Hamstring Missed Portion
Ronnie Cruz RB Out Knee Missed Portion
Kendall Gammon TE Out Leg Placed on IR
Kris Griffin LB Out Hamstring Missed Portion
Willie Roaf T Questionable Hamstring
Ryan Sims DT Questionable Foot
Patrick Surtain CB Questionable Ankle
Eddie Kennison WR Questionable Back
John Browning DT Probable Knee
Boomer Grigsby LB Probable Abdomen Missed Portion
Benny Sapp CB Probable Hip


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I just want to say thanks for what I have and what I don't have today. My family and friends are what makes Thanksgiving a wonderful time and I'm looking forward to spending time with them today.

I also want to say thank you to all the people who take the time to read and enjoy what I have on this site.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

NFL Week 12

Make your picks against the spread. I'm at 50% for the year so far, how about you? Don't forget the early games this week on Thursday!

Thursday, Nov. 24
Atlanta 3 DETROIT
DALLAS 2 Denver
Sunday, Nov. 27
KANSAS CITY 3 New England
CINCINNATI 9 Baltimore
Carolina 4 BUFFALO
TAMPA BAY 3 Chicago
MINNESOTA 4 Cleveland
TENNESSEE 8 San Francisco
Jacksonville 3.5 ARIZONA
SEATTLE 4.5 NY Giants
New Orleans 1.5 NY JETS
Monday, Nov. 28

Head on over to see week 11 results.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Beckett for Ramirez

No, not that Ramirez. Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and an unspecified minor league pitcher are heading to Florida, while Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell are headed on up to Boston. Trading Hanley Ramirez this off-season was obvious, with Edgar Renteria's contract being too large to unload this year.

Seems like a good idea to me to add pitching, but the way Yahoo number 2 is complaining on the radio this morning, you would think blisters were the end all and be all of ailments. While it's true that Josh Beckett has been on the DL twice a year, most of those stints were because of blisters. If Beckett can pitch in 28 games a year, he'll be an improvement over what we had last year. He has underachieved since winning the MVP, but that does not make him a bad pitcher. He's also arrogant enough to pitch in a major market, something that isn't always true.

Also added to the payroll will be gold glover Mike Lowell (it's officially time to say goodbye to Miller). Unless the Marlins have decided to pay for half of his salary, it looks like all that money the Red Sox were saving by playing rookies next year (BTW, where's Youkilis going to play, first? Or will he be gone, too?) is going to go to Lowell and Ramirez (yes, that Ramirez). I can't see how they're going to flip Mike or dump Manny based on their large salaries.

BTW, it looks like the left side is going to be horrible next year when it comes to hitting. Between Renteria and Lowell, I'm not sure who's going to have worse numbers at the plate. Lowell was just .236 with eight homers and 58 RBI this past season despite entering the campaign as a career .277 hitter with an average of nearly 25 homers and 95 RBI over the previous five years with the Marlins. Renteria on the other hand, batted .276 with 8 HR and 70 rbi last year. Maybe Lowell will return to form and give Edgar a run for his money.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Beckett and Burnett

The latest news on the possiblity of trading for Josh Beckett isn't good. It looks like Texas has the leg up on Boston, with the trade bait of Hank Blalock. The Boston Herald is also stating if the Sox can't acquire Beckett, they may make a play for free agent AJ Burnett.

I'd be excited to see either pitcher come to Boston. Almost any help we could get in pitching would be a step up, but either of these two pitchers would be a help for any team. If I might suggest, how about acquiring both?

Click on read more to see Burnett and Beckett's stats.

2001FLA22 1.50440000 24.01494311124
2002FLA67 4.1023210000 107.293564913144113
2003FLA98 3.0424230000 142.013254489256152
2004FLA99 3.7926261100 156.2137726616654152
2005FLA158 3.3829292100 178.2153756714758166
TOTAL 4134 3.461061033200 609.05292662345517223607

1999FLA42 3.48770000 41.1372316302533
2000FLA37 4.7913130000 82.2804644824457
2001FLA1112 4.0527272100 173.1145827820783128
2002FLA129 3.3031297501 204.1153847512990203
2003FLA02 4.70440000 23.0181312221821
2004FLA76 3.6820191000 120.010250499438113
2005FLA1212 3.4432324200 209.0184978012779198
TOTAL 4950 3.7313413114801 853.27193953546631377753


GM Report

The Boston Red Sox have brought in Dan Wilder, Jim Beattie and Jim Bowden in for second interviews over the past three days.

Wilder, who has worked for the A's, Braves, Cubs, Brewers, and White Sox, is known foremost as a talent evaluator. After retiring in 1989, bringing to an end a minor league playing career, Wilder began scouting and coaching in the A's system. He joined the Braves as a scout in 1991, ascending to assistant director of scouting and player development in 1995, his last year with Atlanta. He directed the Cubs' farm system for three seasons, then climbed into the role of assistant GM in 1999.

He then moved to Milwaukee, where he became the club's vice president of player personnel for three seasons before accepting a position as special assignment scout in 2003. That fall he joined the White Sox in his current capacity.

Beattie, the former executive vice president of the Orioles, lost that job at season's end when the club elevated vice president Mike Flanagan into the position. He previously worked as the general manager for the Expos. In fact, it was Beattie that traded Pedro Martinez to the Red Sox for Carl Pavano some eight years ago. Beattie interviewed with the Red Sox at Fenway Park last Friday.

Bowden, a Weston, Mass., native, recently signed a brief extension through April to remain as Nationals GM, though the club is expected to conduct a search for a permanent general manager whenever the team is sold. Bowden has been issued permission to pursue what he has continually referred to as a dream job.

Of the three, I think I'd be most interested in giving Beattie a chance. Working for the Expos and managing a $9 million payroll (back in 1999) has to mean he knows two things. One, how to make deals and two, how to develop talent. Both are important in today's Red Sox. There's no doubt the Red Sox want to go smaller and younger, and that's what Beattie has the most experience in doing.

In other news, Gabe Kapler, the free agent outfielder rehabbing in the wake of Achilles' tendon surgery, was released.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bill Belichick's father passes

Bill Belichick's father , Steve Belichick passed away last night at the age of 86. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as they cope with this loss.

The Washington Post had a story on Bill's relationship with his father back in January. Steve Belichick, played for the Detroit Lions and was the head coach of the United States Naval Academy football team for 33 years.


Poetry and the Red Sox

S is for a stolen base, in a clinch when you gotta,
when Roberts stole second off Jorge Posada.
The Series' turning point, of that there's no mystery,
sparking the greatest comeback in sports history.

Written by lifetime Red Sox fan, Curse to Verse: The Boston Red Sox Miracle Season from A to Z is an 80-page hardcover book featuring a poem that highlights the epic game events from the 2004 post-season, as well as some of the historical lowlights that preceded them. The poem is accompanied by 48 full-color, action-packed illustrations by artist Miles Lewis.

All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to the Red Sox Foundation.

Not surprising

The New England Patriots handled the best the 'homeless' New Orleans Saints could dish out, beating them easily 24 - 17.

Which is a good thing, of course, but I can't help but start to wonder. With the remaining schedule: Kansas City, N.Y. Jets twice, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Miami coming up, it's going to be easy to get excited about these Patriots. As fans, we have to keep in mind the the first 8 games of the season. We need to keep in mind the Pats are not playing like the best team in the league.

It would be too easy to turn into the 'talking heads' who talk all day long about the Indianapolis Colt's defense and how much improved it has been. How can you tell? The Colts defense still has not shown it's true colors. It has faced two offenses of note, the Rams and the Pats. Against the Rams, they looked terrible letting Bulger score 17 points easily (until they knocked him out of the game). They kept the Pats to 21 points, but that was more a case of the Colts offense keeping the Pats offense off the field (TOP for Pats was only 23:19).

So let's not get carried away by the 'New' Pats. Yes, they'll be better than the teams they are facing over the rest of the season, but that does not mean the road will be paved with gold from now on. The playoffs will bring some big challenges to this defense, and I hope they're up to it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Another great quote on the injury situation

Coach Bill Belichick on the upgrade of Matt Light and Kevin Faulk from out to doubtful this week.

"We upgraded them because their conditions improved," coach Bill Belichick said. "They had trouble walking a few weeks ago. Now they're past that point. So, it's definitely improved."

Neither players have returned to practice, yet.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fortune talks about Theo leaving the Red Sox

An obvious fan of John Henry expounds on the loss of Theo (claims he's overrated) and why he left and why Theo should not return to the Red Sox, courtesy of Fortune.


Injury Report

Since bentley92 pointed out a couple of players have moving up on the injury report, I thought I'd post the injury report for the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. Click on read more to see it.

Notable are Kevin Faulk and Matt Light are now questionable (instead of out). Brady is still probable (and if you think he's not going to play, you're nuts). Corey Dillon, Troy Brown, David Givens, Daniel Graham, Patrick Pass, and Tom Ashworth are questionable.

Kevin Faulk RB Doubtful Foot Missed Portion
Matt Light T Doubtful Ankle Missed Portion
Tom Ashworth T Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Monty Beisel LB Questionable back Missed Portion
Troy Brown WR Questionable Foot Missed Portion
Corey Dillon RB Questionable Calf Missed Portion
Tim Dwight WR Questionable Rib Missed Portion
David Givens WR Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Daniel Graham TE Questionable Shoulder Missed Portion
Jarvis Green DE Questionable Shoulder Missed Portion
Patrick Pass FB Questionable Hamstring Missed Portion
James Sanders S Questionable Ankle Missed Portion
Tom Brady QB Probable Right Shoulder

Ernie Conwell TE Questionable Knee
Courtney Watson LB Questionable Knee
Dwight Smith S Questionable Leg
Donte' Stallworth WR Questionable Shoulder
Kevin Houser LS Questionable Eye
T.J. Slaughter LB Questionable Groin


A quote that sums up the Patriots injury's nicely

"We just can't afford any more injuries. We just can't afford any more on offense. We hardly have enough guys to get out there and suit up." -- Tom Brady

At the end of the win over Miami, the Patriots were without six players deemed offensive starters at the beginning of the season -- seven if you include fullback Patrick Pass. Only five players -- Brady, receiver Deion Branch, tight end Benjamin Watson, guard Stephen Neal, and guard Logan Mankins -- who started the season opener against Oakland, were on the field in the fourth quarter at Dolphins Stadium.

Koppen becomes the 12th of the 23 offensive players on the opening roster to miss a game because of injury. Just 10 of 27 listed defensive players have missed a game. (Linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who was on the physically unable to perform list, isn't included in that count.)

This comes from the Boston Globe.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

GM for the Red Sox? No thanks

It seems like every day someone else is saying no thanks to being the GM for the Red Sox. And I don't find that to be surprising.

Being the GM for the Boston Red Sox is tough at any time. Not only do you have to field a team capable of making the playoffs every year, you're going head to head against the team with the highest payroll in the league (Evil Empire/ NY Yankees).

But the real reason everyone is saying, thanks but no thanks? I don't even want to be interviewed. (Imagine if they were offered the job and had to turn it down later on!). It all comes down to the backlash still being felt from Theo Epstein leaving the Sox a few weeks ago.

Let's face it, whoever the Red Sox hire to fill Theo's shoes is (no matter what they do) going to be compared unfavorably to Theo. If they stumble at all, the pundits will be ripping them for not doing it as Theo did. If he/she (one candidate is a woman... Kim Ng) leans one way or the other between the old style or the Moneyball style, it's going to be noted that Theo was able to walk down the middle (walk on water).

Also, with the pitching in a tailspin (does anyone see some way of upgrading? I mean, the kids are good, but they are kids and will have good and bad days), the new GM is almost certain to fail.

Whoever the next GM will be is going to be treated like Joe Kerrigan and they know it. So I expect the potential candidates will keep on saying no.

NFL Week 11

Sunday, Nov. 20
Carolina 2.5 CHICAGO 34
Jacksonville 3.5 TENNESSEE 38.5
Indianapolis 4.5 CINCINNATI 46.5
NEW ENGLAND 10 New Orleans 46
ST. LOUIS 9.5 Arizona 49
ATLANTA 6 Tampa Bay 38.5
WASHINGTON 6 Oakland 43
DALLAS 8 Detroit 39
NY GIANTS 7 Philadelphia 41.5
CLEVELAND 2 Miami 34.5
Seattle 12.5 SAN FRANCISCO 43
SAN DIEGO 10.5 Buffalo 42.5
DENVER 12.5 NY Jets 40.5
Pittsburgh N/L BALTIMORE N/L
Kansas City 6.5 HOUSTON 44.5
Monday, Nov. 21st
GREEN BAY 4.5 Minnesota 44.5

To see the results for week 10.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Patriots Injury Report

The New England Patriots injury woes continued today. The news out of Foxboro is that center Dan Koppen (shoulder) and Randall Gay (ankle) have been placed on injury reserve.

Cornerback Artrell Hawkins, an eighth-year veteran from the Bengals and lately the Panthers becomes the 14th defensive back on the Patriots’ roster this season.

Free-agent offensive lineman Gene Mruczkowski was also signed. He has been with the team off and on during the last three seasons and can play guard or center.

MVP Defined

The more I think about Alex Rodriquez winning the MVP award, the more upset I become. I feel like someone should send the definition for valuable to the 28 voters who determine who wins the MVP.

val·u·a·ble Audio pronunciation of "valuable" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (vly--bl, vly-)

1. Having considerable monetary or material value for use or exchange: a valuable diamond.
2. Of great importance, use, or service: valuable information; valuable advice.
3. Having admirable or esteemed qualities or characteristics: a valuable friend.

Was Alex Rodriquez the best player in baseball last year. I would have to say yes. Not only did he deserve the silver slugger award, but he also deserved to receive the golden glove. There's no doubt he's a great baseball player. If the award was for the 'Best Player in Baseball', I would have no argument to make about A-Rod winning the award. Defense would be a logical distinction to use in making the application for who should be eligible, and I would be the first to say DH's should not be eligible for the award.

But that's not what this award is all about. The award

is for Most Valuable Player. Was Alex the most 'valuable' player? I don't think so.

If we took A-Rod off of the Yankees roster, would the NY Yankees have made it into the playoffs at basically the same spot. Yes. There's no doubt in my mind that players such as Matsui, Sheffield and Giambi would have carried the offensive load. Did having A-Rod help? Of course. There's no way a player of his caliber could not make an impact. So he had a value. But was he the 'most' valuable?

If the Red Sox and Yankees had swapped closers, however, I don't think the Yankees would have made it as far. With their weak pitching, Rivera was invaluable to the Yankees this year. Which is why A-Rod wasn't even the most valuable player on his own team. If Rivera and Foulke had been swapped for the year, the NY Yankees would not have made the playoffs.

Ortiz, on the other hand, made a huge impact on the Red Sox season. Without his bat, the Red Sox would not have made the playoffs. Their pitching and hitting (except for Manny) was pretty weak. Ortiz won games so many times, it became commonplace to see a headline showing him hitting the game running home run. The Sox were also playing catch up all the time and David would probably be the key to getting them back into the game.

Varitek may have been the captain in the locker room, but Ortiz was the bat that made the difference on the field.

For those who took the time to read this post, here's a gazoo for you.

Monday, November 14, 2005

MVP Announced

Alex Rodriquez takes the AL MVP award, but not by much. With 16 first place votes, he edges out David Ortiz with 11 first place votes. David Ortiz did take the AL most outsanding player (voted on by the players) two weeks ago. The only other player taking a first place vote was Vladimir Guerrero.

Manny Ramirez takes fourth place in the voting with 9 third place votes. Surprisingly, Gary Sheffield edges Mariano Rivera for eight place. Derek Jeter finishes in 10th place (why?).

There was speculation that Mariano would steal votes from A-Rod, but that obviously didn't happen. It's amazing (to me) how being a pitcher takes away from your chances of being MVP. If MVP is open to all players (which it is), then why should being a pitcher take something away? MVP does not mean best offensive numbers. Mo only received 1 fourth, 1 fifth and 1 sixth place vote. It looks to me like voters were trying to make sure he didn't take away from A-Rod's numbers.

2005 AL MVP Award
Voting results ¬
Player, Club1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thPoints
Alex Rodriguez, NYY16111 331
David Ortiz, BOS1117 307
Vladimir Guerrero, LAA1 987111 196
Manny Ramirez, BOS 916262 1156
Travis Hafner, CLE 5644332 151
Paul Konerko, CWS 2465135 128
Mark Teixeira, TEX 15 37424106
Gary Sheffield, NYY 326223184
Mariano Rivera, NYY 1113313259
Derek Jeter, NYY 1 311 23
Michael Young, TEX 2 21220
Scott Podsednik, CWS 11 1 115
Johnny Damon, BOS 112112
Hideki Matsui, NYY 21 8
Richie Sexson, SEA 2 17
Miguel Tejada, BAL 237
Chone Figgins, LAA 146
Victor Martinez, CLE 1 5
Jason Giambi, NYY 11 5
Brian Roberts, BAL 1 25
Jason Varitek, BOS 1 4
Eric Chavez, OAK 124
Huston Street, OAK 1 3
Bartolo Colon, LAA 113
Grady Sizemore, CLE 113
Bob Wickman, CLE 1 2
Jorge Cantu, TB 11
Jose Contreras, CWS 11

Patriots Dolphins game can be summed up with three plays

The first two were made by Patriots players, one on offense and the other on defense. The third wasn't made by a Miami player.

The first was the knock down by Asante Samuel (nickname: Marshmallow) against a much bigger running back named Ricky Williams. Samuel stepped up inside, ducked down to get leverage and then came right back up knocking Ricky up and over onto his butt. That was the moment I think a lot of Patriots fans have been looking for. Our defense the past few years has been tough hitting. They made the other team pay the price for playing against them. It was a wonder if their opponents would win next week, given the pounding they had faced going up against the Pats D.

The second came near the end. Dwight made a huge catch with 2:19 remaining, taking the ball away from Reggie Howard and running with it.

"Even with the coverage [no safety help] I was there," Howard lamented. "I had the ball. He just took the ball out of my hands and made a great play. I got nobody to blame but myself. I had the ball in my hands and he just reached back and made a good play and got it out of my hands. I was in position. I should've made the play. It would have been a great day if I could've held on to the ball."

The third play that defined the game was the last play of the game. Chris Chambers should have caught that ball. Assuming the Dolphins played for the tie at home, the game would have gone into overtime. It was Chamber's third blown catch (of note) for the day.

How do these three plays define yesterday's game? The first shows what the depleted secondary (did you know the Pats have played 6 different players in the past seven games at safety?) was able to do against the Miami offense. They were playing with heart and with guts and not much more. They weren't about to let a Miami offense that just isn't as good as they used to be (like Ricky) run over them. When they got a chance to do something, they did it.

The second play defined what the offense was doing. They were just trying to make do without their best players. With Givens, Graham, Dillon, etc... out, they were just sending out what they could when they could. Heath Evans had the game of his life (did you know he only had 108 yards total career before yesterday?). Tom Brady played a great game despite the interceptions. Tim Dwight makes a great play ripping the ball away. But Tim's inexperience showed up when he turned back into Howard, trying to knock him down, rather than just trying to outrun him to his left to get a few more yards.

The third play defines the Miami play. They had their chances. They could have won this game, despite all that the Patriots were trying to do. They just couldn't do it. They didn't make the plays when they needed to. I think Howard's lament (above) says it all. "I got nobody to blame but myself. I had the ball in my hands and he just reached back and made a good play and got it out of my hands."

Samuel celebrates as Chris Chambers looks stunned over dropping the last pass. Photo from Boston Globe, hosted here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why the Dolphins could win tomorrow

The Patriots are favored in tomorrow's match-up against the Miami Dolphins tomorrow at home. But there are some reasons for concern.

First, all of the AFC teams have played tough against each other the past few years. There's nothing to hide, no tricks you haven't seen. They know who you are and you know them. Playing against each other twice a year means you see each other's film a lot. So, don't expect a lot of trick plays like we saw last week against the Colts. The Dolphins won't fall for them.

The Patriots injury list just seems to go on for ever. Did you know that Brady is on that list? And has been for weeks (shoulder). He'll be playing tomorrow, but that's just one more indication of how hurt this team really is. Seymour may have practiced yesterday, but he did the same thing 2 weeks ago. The only good indicator is how the injury has been described as the same as last year. Tomorrow will mark 6 weeks since Richard injured his knee. Miami's injury list? No one.

There really is more to read!

Kevin Faulk RB Out Foot Missed Portion
Matt Light T Out Ankle Missed Portion
Tom Ashworth T Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Troy Brown WR Questionable Foot Missed Portion
Corey Dillon RB Questionable Ankle Missed Portion
Tim Dwight WR Questionable Rib Missed Portion
Randall Gay CB Questionable Ankle Missed Portion
David Givens WR Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Daniel Graham TE Questionable Shoulder Missed Portion
Jarvis Green DE Questionable Shoulder Missed Portion
Marquise Hill DE Questionable Ankle Missed Portion
Ellis Hobbs CB Questionable Thigh Missed Portion
Patrick Pass FB Questionable Hamstring Missed Portion
James Sanders S Questionable Ankle Missed Portion
Richard Seymour DE Questionable Knee Missed Portion
Ty Warren DE Questionable Hip Missed Portion
Tom Brady QB Probable Right Shoulder
The Miami Dolphins report no injuries

And of course, Miami is at home. I don't expect a strong home field advantage. The Dolphins haven't had a strong team, and that may keep a lot of fans home, despite playing against the Champs. Of course, since the Pats haven't played well, either, that may keep the casual fans home, too.

And don't forget the two headed attack that is the Miami running offense (pass offense? don't ask). Ronnie Brown is working on rookie of the year. And don't forget Ricky Williams is still capable of breaking a big one (if he isn't so high he forgets which end zone he's supposed to be running towards, that is).

Oh, and don't forget Jason Taylor. He's a monster when it comes to getting sacks (68 since 2000). So, if he comes in on the week side, look for Graham or Dillon to stay in and block.

Do I think Miami will win? No. But if the Pats aren't careful, Miami can beat them. So be careful, play smart and we'll see you in the playoffs.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What's with Seymour?

People are asking about why Seymour didn't play last week. Is he malingering? While it's understandable that the fans want Richard back into the line-up, but making him rush back with questions like this is a bad idea. Especially now when the schedule's getting easier and the road to the playoffs is wide open for the Patriots.

Seymour's injury has been described as being similar to last year's injury that kept him out for 6 weeks. Making him rush back before he's healed will only harm the football team when it comes to crunch time. So, let's relax, enjoy the game this Sunday and hope that Richard is taking it easy getting his knee healed.

Update: Seymour practiced today, but then he practiced a couple weeks ago in the lead up to the Buffalo game.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NFL Week 10

Sunday, Nov. 13
BUFFALO 2 Kansas City 42
Washington 1 TAMPA BAY 33
New England 3 MIAMI 40.5
CHICAGO 13 San Francisco 33
N.Y. GIANTS 9.5 Minnesota 45
DETROIT 4 Arizona 39
JACKSONVILLE 6.5 Baltimore 33
INDIANAPOLIS 17 Houston 44.5
CAROLINA 8 N.Y. Jets 41
Denver 3 OAKLAND 47
SEATTLE 6.5 St. Louis 51
ATLANTA 9 Green Bay 41.5
PITTSBURG 8 Cleveland 35
Monday, Nov. 14
PHILADELPHIA 3 Dallas 39.5

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

AL Cy Young Award goes to Bartolo Colon

In case you weren't aware of it yet, Barolo Colon was named teh AL Cy Young Award winner, outdistancing his closest rivals Mariano Rivera and Johan Santana by a large margin. Colon celebrated his award in high style in the Dominican Republic. Picture right.

Colon's 2005 campaign was not without some cost. A sore lower back plagued him over the last month of the regular season and a shoulder injury forced him out of the first round of the postseason and then prevented him from facing the White Sox in the ALCS, in which the Angels were eliminated in five games.

Colon left during the second inning in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Yankees with a strain to the back of his right shoulder. The move was pre-emptive as the organization would like their ace to remain healthy through at least the duration of his contract, which expires at the end of the 2007 season.


2005 AL Cy Young Award
Voting results
Player, Club1st2nd3rdPoints
Bartolo Colon, Angels1711
Mariano Rivera, Yankees87768
Johan Santana, Twins381251
Cliff Lee, Indians
Mark Buehrle, White Sox

Jon Garland, White Sox
Kevin Millwood, Indians


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The simple truth about the Patriots

Unfortunately, these are not the patriots of last year or the year before. Why? Because their offense has matured, but their defense has fallen apart. The Pats were able to overcome injuries and play as a team in the past, but their strength was (in the first SB year) their special teams and (always) their defense. Today, however, after seeing last night, we as members of patriots nation have to realize that too many injuries have brought the Pats low.

With Seymour out once again and without Tyrone Poole and Rodney Harrison, the Patriots defense was shredded by the Colts offense. And I have to admit, for once, the Colts kept their heads by continuing their scoring ways. If they had settle down, and tried to run the clock by running more, I think the Pats would have made it a closer game (possibly even come back?) by the end. But by continuing their aerial attack against the weakened backfield, they were able to keep the Patriots offense off the field.

The offense did a good job last night, putting up 21 points. And they could have scored more, if they had some more time to do so. The Colts time of possession was 36:41. By holding on to the ball, and capitalizing on that time, Indianapolis was able to contain the Patriots offense. The turnover ratio was also lopsided in favor of Indy.

Now having said all of that, I would not go on to say the Pats have swung the other way, either. The Pats have a very good team they can put on the field every week with pride. They will be in the playoffs, they may even run the table from this point out. But last night I lost that feeling we all had the past couple of years. That mindset that said, hey, they're still going to win this game.

BTW, I don't think the Colts are the class of the field, however. Their defense has improved, but not by that much. The Patriots weren't balanced enough to match up with what they were doing, but when Indy faces up with a better D, I would expect them to falter. If I were to guess at when their first loss will be, I would have to say in 2 weeks at Cincinnati. They will, of course, be in the playoffs. The will most likely have the bye week, too. But I can see other teams knocking them out.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday Night Game - Colts at Patriots

When people think about tonight's game, they keep looking at the Indy's record and talking about how they haven't really beaten anyone, yet. And it's true. Of the 7 teams they've beaten, the only one with a winning record is Jacksonville (a 10-3 win at home). Their opponents, up till now, are 19-38 for the season.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have beaten teams with a record of 18-14, and lost to teams with a record of 17-8. I don't like to see it, but the truth is the Patriots are no longer better than their opponents. They are not however, a bad team. What they are, is a competitor. They will beat the bad teams, but they're going to continue to split against the stronger teams.

The Colts have not shown that they are one of the stronger teams, though. Beating up on San Francisco (2-6), Houston (1-7), and Tennessee (2-7) is good for making your statistics look good. But did you know the Pats (362.9) have a higher yds/game than the Colts (353.7)?

Since both teams have a good offense, tonight's game will come down to the defense and penalties. Neither team has a defensive line-up to be proud of. My thoughts keep coming down to Richard Seymour. If he playes tonight, the Pats have a very good chance of winning. If not, it's going to be an uphill battle. With Bruschi back in the middle, and Richard up front forcing the offensive line back, the secondary can get back to doing what it's supposed to do.

The other issue is penalties. The Colts have the fewest penalties in the league with only 36 for 245 yards, while the Pats have 59 for 507. That's not a good number for coaches to look at. Penalties tend to be an indicator of when things have gone wrong, either in a player's head (offsides, delay of game, etc...) or on the field (a wr is about to run by you so you grab his jersey).

Here's something to think about. If the Pats win tonight, they will have a good chance at taking the bye week what with the weak schedule ahead. If the Colts get exposed, chances are with their schedule, they will make the playoffs, but I wouldn't favor them for the bye week.

Some more numbers to consider:
Colts are allowing 4.5 yards per rush on defense, good for 26th in the league.
No. 1 receiver Marvin Harrison is averaging only 1.7 yards after the catch – suggesting he’s either going down or stepping out of bounds as soon as possible – and Reggie Wayne is at 3.6.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

NFL Week 9

MINNESOTA 1.5 Detroit 37.5
San Diego 6 N.Y. JETS 41
CLEVELAND 3 Tennessee 38.5
KANSAS CITY 4 Oakland 51.5
Chicago 3 NEW ORLEANS 34
Cincinnati 3 BALTIMORE 37
TAMPA BAY pk Carolina 37
JACKSONVILLE 13 Houston 36.5
Atlanta 2 MIAMI 40
N.Y. Giants 10.5 SAN FRANCISCO 42
Seattle 4 ARIZONA 44
Pittsburgh 3 GREEN BAY 38.5
Philadelphia 3 WASHINGTON 39.5
Monday, Nov. 7
Indianapolis 3.5 NEW ENGLAND 48

To see the Week 8 results.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ortiz was named the American League's Outstanding Player

David Ortiz was named the American League's Outstanding Player in the Players Choice Awards. All MLB players are allowed to vote in The Players Choice AwardsAnd by by secret ballot on Sept 13 and 14 David beat out other favorites such as Alex Rodriquez.

Ortiz, Rodriquez and Mark Teixeira are all still AL MVP candidates.

Atlanta's Andruw Jones, who led the majors with 51 home runs and won his eighth Gold Glove, was the players' choice as Player of the Year and the National League's Outstanding Player.

In other news, Mike Timlin was signed on Wednesday for a one year deal upping his salary to 3.5 million (although deferrals may drop that to 3.1). Last year his salaray was 2.75 million. Playing in 81 games, Timlin was 7-3 with a 2.24 ERA. He pitched in 80.1 innings and picked up 13 saves in 20 opportunities, while covering for an ailing Keith Foulke.

Reportedly, Timlin cut ties to his agent in the offseason in order to get the one-year negotiation done.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Globe Writers

Is Shaugnessy responsible for Theo leaving? It's a complicated question, but the short answer is no.

When it comes to whether or not 'shank' should have written the article on Sunday that everyone is blaming for Theo's decision to leave, I don't think there's a question. He had a source who was offering one side of a story. While I know that some reporters have filters when it comes to writing articles about who or what, it's still not their responsibility to 'cover up' for the greater good (especially since we're talking about sports).

No, it's whoever leaked the information to the globe about the contract negotiations. If Theo can't trust that private discussions are going to remain private, then I can't blame him for leaving. If someone leaks information to the press (for whatever reason), when you are trying to negotiate with players in the future, it just makes things harder on the GM.

As for the Globe being minor owners in the Red Sox and their relationship with the Red Sox mgmt, I haven't seen anything wrong with that, yet. I can imagine that such a relationship can be complicated, but I haven't seen anything that is inappropriate about it either. Some of the Globe writers have been very critical of the team, so I don't think there's a conflict of interest being influential on the writers or editors. Mind, I don't write for the Globe and I don't know what happens behind closed doors, but I don't think so.

If anything does happen, then I think they should be hammered for it. But nothing has happened, yet.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bruschi is AFC defensive player of the week

Was it an emotional vote? Or just a reflection of the number of times the commenters talked about Bruschi's return during the game. I was excited to see him in on so many plays. He's really going to anchor the middle. Hopefully, Seymour will be back to nail down the center. With both of them in the lineup, I feel real good about playing Indy at home.

The AP story follows:

Bruschi is AFC defensive player of the week
November 2, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) -- New England's Tedy Bruschi, returning to the lineup eight months after a stroke, is the AFC's defensive player of the week.

Bruschi had 10 tackles Sunday in the Patriots' 21-16 win over Buffalo. He played nearly full-time in his first game since the Super Bowl.

Other AFC players honored were Denver quarterback Jake Plummer (offense) and Houston's Jerome Mathis (special teams).

The NFC players of the week were Tiki Barber of the New York Giants (offense); Charles Tillman of Chicago (defense) and Joe Nedney of San Francisco (special teams).

Theo Epstein's Press Conference

Not surprisingly, the press conference has resolved nothing. Mayor Menino was wrong and theo did not come out and say he was staying after all. Theo said he wasn't leaving because of Larry, he wasn't leaving because of the Shaugnessy article, he wasn't leaving because of this or that. He's not burnt out. There was no one thing. In other words, he didn't tell anyone anything.

The only thing resolved was John Henry took responsibility for Theo leaving. He said the articles about Larry were completely unfair and inaccurate. But he wouldn't say what else he could have done and he actually sounded like he was in pain talking about Theo leaving.

BTW, John Henry told Larry Luchinno he shouldn't come to the press conference.

If you want to see a summary of Theo and Larry's comments, you should head over to the Extra Bases at the Boston Globe.

Rumors about Theo Epstein's press conference

Because I like to pass on rumors, Mayor Menino has just come on WEEI to say he believes Theo's press conference today is to announce Theo is staying instead of leaving. Otherwise, why have the press conference at Fenway?

Listening to Shaugnessy and Schilling talk about each other was probably the most amusing thing I've heard in a long time. They were practically dripping with venom every time they opened their mouths.

Silver slugger and Golden Glove

The Boston Red Sox placed three players on the silver slugger team, more than any other organization. The Red Sox winners include first-timer Jason Varitek as well as designated hitter David Ortiz and outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Jason Varitek also won his first Golden Glove. No Sox player had won one since 1991, when Tony Pena did. Pena and Varitek join Carlton Fisk (1972) as the only catchers in Sox history to win the award. Varitek became the team's 15th Gold Glove winner and brought the organization its 35th overall. Varitek on Monday won a Silver Slugger award, voted on by managers and coaches and presented to the best offensive player at each position in each league.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Theo Epstein leaves the Red Sox

In case you missed it, Theo announced yesterday that he was leaving the Red Sox. He has no immediate plans for the future, but he ''... will embrace this change in my life and look forward with excitement to the future."

Theo signed up in 2002 as the youngest GM in baseball history. It took him only 23 months to win a world series. He rebuilt the farm system, kept the Sox in the playoffs every year, signed Ortiz to a ridiculously low (for a baseball player with his power) paying contract, and went to the Schillings for Thanksgiving in order to get him to come to Boston. He signed Keith Foulke (who was, arguably, the MVP of the World Series, made the highly courageous move to trade the extremely popular Nomar, and waived Manny over the past summer.

But in the end, according to reports on the radio (WEEI), the boston globe and the herald, Theo decided despite the 4.5 million dollar 3 year deal on the table, that he couldn't live with Larry's interference in the everyday affairs. With negotiations details being leaked to the press, Theo reportedly had had enough. The other theory being floated was that Theo is feeling uncomfortable with his fame. Either way, it was hugely courageous of him to leave 4.5 million on the table. Maybe he feels he can make more somewhere else. Maybe he was insulted with the Sox's first offer. Maybe he was just too sensitive about the news stories.

The only two people who know the real story are Theo and Larry. And they probably won't talk about it. I feel that Theo, if he did talk, would try to be as honest as he always has been. But at the same time, I expect he won't lob any big bombs as he leaves. I'm not so sure about Larry and considering he's the one guy left standing in the front office, that's not a good sign for the Sox in a PR sense.

Lajoie, one of Epstein's top advisers, resigned within minutes of Epstein doing so. It's possible that other baseball operations employees will also exit, especially given that assistant GM Josh Byrnes left to become the GM in Arizona last week and will be assembling a staff.

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