Monday, January 30, 2006

Bruins two points out of the playoffs

Did you know the bruins are only two points out of that coveted eigth place in order to get into the playffs? Do you care? Based on the lack of noise from any boston fans on the radio, I'd say you didn't. This is the problem with having the top 8 teams make it into the playoffs in hockey (or baskteball for that matter).

The bruins are currently 21-22-8. And this puts them into the playoff race?

Eastern Conference
1CAROLINA*513611 47619315623-4-113-7-39-1-0
2OTTAWA*483410 47220211220-4-114-6-36-3-1
3PHILADELPHIA*513013 86817616214-8-516-5-33-5-2
4BUFFALO493115 36516214115-7-216-8-15-4-1
5NY RANGERS512915 76516212816-6-413-9-37-3-0
6TAMPA BAY522721 45815414913-9-214-12-26-3-1
7NEW JERSEY522620 65814915115-7-311-13-37-2-1
8MONTREAL492320 65214416214-6-29-14-45-5-0

9TORONTO502422 45215917115-9-29-13-21-8-1
10ATLANTA522323 65217918313-10-410-13-25-5-0
11BOSTON512122 85014716310-10-411-12-45-3-2
12FLORIDA522024 84813516114-6-46-18-44-3-3
13NY ISLANDERS502225 34714717911-12-111-13-24-5-1
14WASHINGTON501827 54114219012-12-46-15-15-4-1
15PITTSBURGH521230 10341452077-14-55-16-51-8-1

Look for previous posts on the .

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What an offseason it's been for the Red Sox

I like the trade for Coco. It's more complicated than you would hope for, but you know what you're getting in Crisp in Riske. You may think you know what you're getting in Marte, but do you ever really know what you're getting from a prospect, even one that's as highly rated as he is?

Overall, I'd give the offseason a B+. They've upgraded their defense, but lost some offense (which they could afford to do). But the big questions remain because they cannot be answered until the season begins. How is Curt Schilling going to perform? How long will his ankle hold out? How has Foulke responded to surgery? This team will probably win 95 games again this year and make the playoffs. But without Curt and Keith (or some like replacements, and where are they going to find those?), they'll be one and done again.

Can you remember all the changes that have occurred this winter for the Red Sox? Have you been able to keep track of all the holes made and filled? Take a look at what the Sox have done over the past three months (courtesy of ESPN).


C Josh Bard (trade/CLE)
RHP Josh Beckett (trade/FLA)
OF Coco Crisp (trade/CLE)
C John Flaherty (free agency/NYY)
2B Mark Loretta (trade/SDG)
3B Mike Lowell (trade/FLA)
RHP David Riske (trade/CLE)
RHP Rudy Seanez (free agency/SDG)
1B J.T. Snow (free agency/SFO)
RHP Julian Tavarez (free agency/STL)
RHP Jermaine Van Buren (trade/CHC)
LOST [-]

RHP Chad Bradford (free agency/NYM)
#OF Johnny Damon (free agency/NYY)
*RHP Jesus Delgado (trade/FLA)
*RHP Harvey Garcia (trade/FLA)
RHP Chad Harville (free agency/TAM)
OF Adam Hyzdu (free agency/TEX)
OF Gabe Kapler (released)
RHP Matt Mantei (free agency/DET)
1B Kevin Millar (free agency/BAL)
RHP Wade Miller (free agency/CHC)
C Doug Mirabelli (trade/SDG)
#3B Bill Mueller (free agency/LOS)
1B John Olerud (retired)
LHP Mike Myers (free agency/NYY)
LHP Matt Perisho (free agency/NYM)
SS Hanley Ramirez (trade/FLA)
SS Edgar Renteria (trade/ATL)
*RHP Anibal Sanchez (trade/FLA)
C Kelly Shoppach (trade/BOS)
LHP Mike Stanton (free agency/WAS)

#2B Tony Graffanino; RHP Mike Timlin

Look for previous posts on the .

Friday, January 27, 2006

Brady to be replaced by Green in the probowl

Brady, who was on the injury report every week of the season, has been replaced on the pro-bowl team for the AFC by Trent Green.

Brady's profile -- Patriots QB Tom Brady threw for 4,110 yards in 2005, tops among all NFL passers. That number was also a career-high. He also tossed 26 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions and added a rushing TD with 89 rush yards. He had four 300-yard games this season, and has tossed double-digit INTs every season since 2001.

Look for previous posts on the .

Davis, center Mark Blount, point guard Marcus Banks, forward Justin Reed and two conditional second-round draft picks are going to Minnesota. Boston is getting Szczerbiak, centers Michael Olowokandi and Dwayne Jones and a future first-round draft pick.

Seems like a good deal for the Celtics. They're giving West and Jefferson more time to play and develop. They're throwing out this year's season (and at 8 games under 500, let's face it, they're done) in the hopes that it will pay off in the long run. And really, this is their only hope. They just don't have the talent to compete right now.

Look for previous posts on the .

Curt Schilling on Manny, Johnny, Theo, Team, championship, injury and more

If you want to know what Curt's thinking, he'll tell you. And he doesn't hold back. There's an article at ESPN that is about as long as you can get, but if you want to know what Curt thinks, this is the article for you.

Page 2 story at ESPN on Curt Schilling.

Look for previous posts on the .

Thursday, January 26, 2006

News Media in Boston

I think the following quotes from Mike Fine at the Patriot Ledger says it all. The media as a whole have been all over Theo and his return and how it was a power struggle between Theo and Larry. I really wish they'd get back to reporting about what the team is like and how many holes the Sox have yet to fill.

BTW, Henry confirmed last night that Mota did not fail a physical. Do you think the news media in Boston will pick that up? Or do you think all of the stories will be about how Henry was shocked when he found out interim was taken off of Jed and Ben's co-GM titles?

You should head over to read this story. It's worth the time for a laugh at lunch.

PRO BASEBALL: Will witch hunt end now that Theo’s back?

Jeez, has there ever been a larger witch hunt in this town, a more expansive scrutiny of the comings and goings - and comings back - of the members of this front office?

We went into full battle mode, staking out his office, missing his escape in a gorilla suit. We were enraged when he failed to clarify his position. We attacked each other, saying that a newspaper story forced him out of office. We attacked Larry Lucchino for being the ogre who could force the Boy Wonder - who incidentally is very good to all of us - out of his job. We gasped over the fact that Epstein was considering other opportunities. We were aghast when we thought he’d be throwing his life away playing in a rock band and working for charities.

Keeping one’s mouth shut in Boston? Heresy!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Theo's return makes sense of it all

The front office has been up and down and all around this offseason. But with Theo returning, all the moves and non-moves finally make sense. They weren't just hoping that Theo would return, they were actively pursuing him.

Let's review. After Theo leaves, reports have continually circulated about how Theo was still hanging around, still consulting with, and just basically working for free from day one. Through all of the winter meetings, trades and roster moves, Theo was there. Now why would he be allowed to "consult and advise" when the Sox should have been worried that Theo would find a new job somewhere else?

Theo turned down several offers from clubs. LA and Washington were both pursuers, and both rejected. While Theo was reportedly flattered by the attention, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense (from the outside looking in) why he would turn them down flat.

Then there was the delay in and protracted search for a new GM. Obviously, Larry and Henry were hoping that they could convince Theo to return, but eventually they had to start looking for someone else. It also explains the eventual hiring from within of the co-GM's Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer. Following in the footsteps of Baltimore is never a good idea, and that's what was being pointed as a role model for the new setup.

Now that we know Larry and Henry were hoping all along that they could convince Theo to return it all makes sense. They obviously discussed the possibility with Ben and Jed and hoped that they would sign up for a temp job, filling in until the day. Ben and Jed may have hoped (in their secret heart of hearts) that they might be the successor if Theo continued to hold out, but don't tell me they weren't aware of any dealings with Theo. And please, just please, stop telling me they were screwed and that I should feel bad for them. That's not true at all. Giving how involved they were in 'consulting' with Theo in the offseason, you can't tell me they weren't aware of what was going on.

It finally makes sense. Things have been righted (although I wish I did know what was wrong in the first place). Maybe it's just that I connect better with Theo than I do with Larry or Henry (both out of my age bracket), but I feel better knowing he's there as GM (I'm not going to use the long drawn out title) once again.

Want to see the official press release on Theo's return? I think the best part is near the bottom, where a joint statement is made by "TOM WERNER, LARRY LUCCHINO and THEO EPSTEIN REGARDING JED HOYER AND BEN CHERINGTON" -- We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington" It's nice that Jed and Ben feel free to thank themselves in this situation.

Look for previous posts on the .

There are mixed reports on the Coco deal

Did Mota fail the physical or not? There are reports out now from his agent that he did not fail the physical, but I think the newshounds in Boston are too distracted by the whole Theo return to put any time into following up.

Look for previous posts on the .

Tags: , ,

Saturday, January 21, 2006

AFC and NFC games

Since the games have gone in a direction I hadn't expected, I'm having trouble figuring out who I think is going to win this weekend. But, my best guess for the AFC and NFC games are Pittsburgh and Seattle. I think Pittsburgh played incredibly well last week. If they don't have a let down, they should be able to shut down Denver as well as they did Indy last week.

Look for previous posts on the

Friday, January 20, 2006

Theo returns

Theo returns and I'm still confused. Does this mean there will now be a three-way GM? Will Hoyer and Cherington be 'demoted' with Epstein in charge? How will this work? Will Larry Lucchino be ok working with someone who embaressed him so? I mean, how can you fit him back into the fold when the fold has closed up behind him?

There are many unanswered questions here, and noone, not even John Henry or Theo Epstein, know how this will end. Henry is meeting with the limited partners today and part of the discussion, I'm sure, is going to center around these questions. Perhaps that's the real problem. It seems like the people in charge don't know what's going on from day to day. That was something that Theo brought to the table and I would assume that, if they can find an open spot, he will again provide some sort of long term planning and foresight (or at least they will look like they're thinking things through).

Let's recap the whole thing, shall we? Theo is offered a long term deal at 5x what he made last year. At the last moment (October 31st), he rejects the deal. Noone ever says why he rejected the deal, although there is a lot of speculation about Globe stories popping up with unnamed sources. Blame for the leaks is placed on Lucchino or his 'supporters'. Theo is forced to leave hidden in a gorilla costume at the end of the day.

After Theo leaves, Lucchino is ordered into hiding by principal owner, John Henry, who takes the blame 2 days later at a press conference for not stepping in and making sure the deal was made. It's not until November 10th that Larry speaks on the issue, but he reveals absolutely nothing about why things fell apart.

Despite not having a position for the Red Sox, he sticks around helping them set up for the upcoming winter meetings. It's reported that he 'advices' his former workmates on all issues that come up, up to and including after the time the co-gm arrangement is announced on December 12th. The Co-GM arrangement is a strange site in Boston, although it worked so well (sarcasm) in Baltimore.

During this time, Henry keeps speculation about Theo's return alive by stating time and again that Theo he would be welcome to return at any time. A few days ago, it was reported that he would return as an advisor to the team. And now, he has a job with no title, no salary announced and no job requirements.

The only thing we know about Theo's new position is that he will report to Larry Lucchino, the man he had issues (reportedly) with in the first place. What's changed? It's also been stated that he will not return to a position below what he left at?

It's also interesting to think about Theo's reaction to many of the off season moves, including the trade of Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez has been almost a pet project (as indeed, the build up of the entire minor league system) for Theo. Also, there still remains many roster issues, including Manny Ramriez and David Wells requests to be traded which have not gone through. Also, the Red Sox are still lacking a starting center fielder and shortstop (unless you count Stern and Cora).

Look for previous posts on the , .

Patriots Off Season

The Patriots are going to have a busy offseason in order to return to full strength. Here are some of the bright and not so bright spots they'll need to cover.

QB is solid with Brady in charge and Cassell backing up. I expect they'll pick up another veteran like Flutie to keep a third man as backup for next year.

RB is funny in that, in one of those weird cap things, it would cost more to cut Dillon than it does to keep him. So, hope Corey comes back healthy and strong for next year, since he'll be your starting RB next year. Faulk and Pass are also signed for next year, but backup Evans is not (as of yet).

Of the 8 wide receivers they had signed for this year, only 2 are signed for next year (Branch and Johnson). Everyone's consensus is their number two starter, Givens, will be signing for more money elsewhere, so look for big changes in the offensive wideouts next year.

At tight end, Watson and Graham are both signed and a great tandem for Brad to work with. Fauria will be heading out the door.

The offensive line and defensive line should return fairly intact. Mankins, Gorin, Hochstein, Light, Kaczur, Koppen, Wilfork, Warren, Seymour, Green, Hill, Klecko and Wright are all signed for next year. That's good news, since as we all know, games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The best way to win that battle is to keep your lines together.

At linebacker, Vrabel, Colvin, Bruschi, McGinest, Claridge, Beisel, Brown, Banta-Cain, and Izzo are all signed for next year, but age is a definite factor here. I expect the Patriots to look for some younger players to fill in the holes here.

DB, as we all know, was a soft spot for the Pats this year. But, they had some serious injury problems to contend with at the beginning and they really came on strong at the end of the year. Hobbs, Wilson, Samuel, Harrison, Sanders, Poole and Starks are all signed for next year. If they get healthy, that's a strong backfield to contend with.

Miller is signed through 2008, but Vinatieri does not have a contract for next year. I wonder if they'll hit him with the franchise tag again? I'm not sure on the rules for the franchise tag, but I expect Vin will be back again next season.

Look for previous posts on the

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Varitek and Timlin on the roster for the US

Catcher Jason Varitek and relief pitcher Mike Timlin were revealed as players on the preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic. While I think having a world wide competition is wonderful, I can't help but worry about the strain on such important parts of the Red Sox roster.

Injuries are commonplace in baseball these days due to the long season and the physical conditioning every player must go through to stay in tip-top shape. Add an off-season pressure like the World Baseball Classic into the mix and you might see more injuries next year. Especially for a player like Timlin, an aging pitcher (39) who has pitched in more games in the past two years (76 and 82, his previous high had been 72) than ever before.

Other players on the preliminary roster include Johnny Damon and Roger Clemens. A-Rod, after saying he wouldn't play on either the US team or his native Dominican Republic, has decided to play on the US team after all.

The full preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic can be fond at Although the team can have 60 players for now, the team will be cut back to 30 prior to the tournament beginning in Japan's Tokyo Dome on March 3.

Look for previous posts on the .

Pees name Defensive Coordinator for the Patriots

Linebackers coach Dean Pees has been tapped to replace Eric Mangini as defensive coordinator. Pees, 56, has coached in college (1979-2003) as a defensive coordinator and head coach at Kent State. He has been with the Patriots for just two years.

Mangini had his first press conference yesterday as head coach for the Jets. Hopefully, for his sake, things can only go up. Meanwhile, I'd say the over-under is 5 games for next year for the Jets. Can a young coach like Mangini get his players to stick together for a season like that?

Look for previous posts on the .

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mangini hired by the Jets

CBS is reporting (off the AP Wire) Mangini accepted an offer from the Jets on Monday to become a head coach. Losing two Defensive Coordinators in two years is going to be difficult for the Pats to live with next year. It looks like Bill's going to have his hands full training a new replacement.

Mangini, on the other hand, is heading into a very difficult situation with the Jets. But after going 4-12, New York will have a great draft pick next year. More than likely, they will need a veteran QB to back up Chad Pennington after his second shoulder injury.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Was Denver the better team?

I'm left with a few thoughts on Saturday's game.

1) The Pats coughed up the ball 5 times. Anytime you do that, no matter where you are (at home or away) you are going to lose the game.

2) Although Denver was the better team that day, I believe the Pats are a better team. They were moving the ball well and their defense had stopped Denver cold. 286 total yards will not win you a game, normally. At the end of the day, the Pats defense should hold their heads up. Despite all the predictions, they didn't lose the game. No, Denver was better because they played playoff football. Very few mistakes. They protected the ball (just one turnover) and they took advantage of every mistake the Pats made.

3) The play of the game was Bailey's interception, of course. It was a 14 point difference in the game (or at least a 10 point difference, if the Pats had failed to punch it in and had only scored a field goal). That's a big difference in a close fought (till near the end) game.

Of course, Ben Watson running 95 yards to make the tackle on the 1 yard line was the play of the game for the Patriots, too. He never gave up and he came to play that day.

4) Brady played horribly. There's no other way to put it. The ball was sailing away on him and he throwing into some very tight coverage (last interception?)

5) I didn't understand why the Pats didn't blitz more often. Not on every play, of course, but just sometimes. The one time they did, the stomped on Jake. Why not do it every once in a while?

6) The officiating was horrible. I don't think the Pats lost because of the officials, although that excruciatingly bad interference call did change the momentum as well as the crowd noise in the game. Then there was the flinch on the field goal kick (4 false starts by the Pats, and none by Denver). There were several blatant face mask/pass interference calls not made. And that chop blocking on the line was terrifying to watch after the injury riddled season the Pats had. But, in the end, the Pats lost because they made too many mistakes in a playoff game. They were only down by 7 points at the half, and they could have played better.

Oh, and I was wrong about the Pats being able to win this game with their offense.

Look for previous posts on the .

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Patriots and Broncos IR

At least everyone on the Patriots is probable. I hope Dillon, Fauria and Graham play tonight. They can make a big difference in a game that everyone (but me) is predicting to be a close game. Having an actual fullback (Pass) would be nice, too.

Tom Brady QB Probable Right Shoulder
Matt Chatham LB Probable Knee Missed Portion
Corey Dillon RB Probable Calf Missed Portion
Heath Evans FB Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Christian Fauria TE Probable Foot Missed Portion
Daniel Graham TE Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Jarvis Green DE Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Artrell Hawkins S Probable Thigh Missed Portion
Russ Hochstein C Probable Ankle Missed Portion
Nick Kaczur T Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Gene Mruczkowski C Probable Back Missed Portion
Patrick Pass FB Probable Hamstring Missed Portion


Stephen Alexander TE Probable Toe
Courtney Brown DE Probable Knee/Shoulder
Keith Burns LB Probable Knee
Jeb Putzier TE Probable Shoulder
Darrent Williams CB Probable Groin
Al Wilson LB Probable Thumb

Look for previous posts on the

Friday, January 13, 2006

Predictions for Division Weekend

Everyone on the radio this morning seems to think that the game is going to be close. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Pats are going to blow out Denver. All the analysis so far has been about stopping Denver's running game. I think this is a bit limited, as the Pats have a very good offense. With everyone healthy again, I think they have too many options for Denver to stop.

Want to see my complete playoff picks?

Look for previous posts on the .

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Red Sox sign Tavarez to two year deal

Are the Sox sure they want to pay $6.7 million to this guy? He fractured his hand punching a dugout telephone. He was fined $10,000 for throwing a ball over Jeff Bagwell's head. If he's not confident enough in his own pitching (he was suspened for using pine tar to doctor a ball in 2004), how can the Sox be? He's a career 4.33 ERA relief pitcher. He played in 151 games (130 innings) over the past two years.

Tavarez is just a middle relief pitcher with limited use, but it seems to me the Sox are moving away from the concept of team players with good attitudes with this signing.

Sox bolster the bullpen with Tavarez - The Boston Globe
The Sox become the eighth big league team for Tavárez, who took the loss in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series when Mark Bellhorn hit a two-run home run off the foul pole in the eighth inning of Boston's 11-9 win in Fenway Park. Tavárez, who turns 33 May 22, had fractured his left hand just over a week earlier when he punched a dugout telephone after giving up a tying home run to Carlos Beltran, then with the Astros, in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. He also was fined $10,000 by Major League Baseball for throwing a ball over Jeff Bagwell's head in the same game.

Tavárez, who also has pitched for the Indians, Giants, Rockies, Cubs, Marlins, and Pirates, has had a number of incidents in his career, including one in San Francisco for which he apologized after using a derogatory term to describe gays. A sinkerball-slider, ground ball pitcher who also features a circle changeup, Tavárez also was suspended eight games in 2004 for using pine tar to doctor the ball.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Looking for hope from the previous Denver/Pats match-up?

Some points to consider:
1) The Pats scored on 3 of their last four drives. What this tells me is they were starting to figure out the Denver defense.

2) Dillon, Seymour and Bruschi were not in the game. These players are playmakers with the ability to change the direction of a game.

3) Look at Belichick's record when playing against a team for the second time in a season. Bill has an excellent record for analyzing what went right for them and what went wrong with his team the first time. That's why their second half is usually so much better than their first. By the time he plays a team for the second time, he can tell you exactly who, what, where and why (eg. St Louis Rams, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo for biggest reversals).

Look for previous posts on the .

Monday, January 09, 2006

Clark Judge calls it a trend

I'd call it simplistic reporting for someone to lazy to figure out the whole story. Look at who they played on the road, and who they played at home. Did they win those games? Little details like how the Patriots started the year with the toughest schedule ever. That might make a difference to the 'trend'.

National Football League - CBS
I know New England is a trendy pick to reach its fourth Super Bowl in five years, but here's what could stop the Patriots from getting there: 1) Tom Brady is a different quarterback on the road, and New England must play its next two away from Gillette Stadium to reach Detroit. OK, OK, so Brady is a perfect 10 in the playoffs and beat Pittsburgh in two AFC Championship games at Pittsburgh (once, with help from Drew Bledsoe), but look what happened this year. Including this weekend's playoff game, Brady has 17 touchdowns and two interceptions at home; on the road he has 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Yeah, I'd call that a trend.

Madden made some good points?

Maybe I just felt good about the game or maybe Madden is off his meds, but it seemed to me that Madden actually made a couple of insightful points during the game on Saturday. First, I had no idea about the paddles used by the Patriots defense during practice this week. I don't think the idea is original to Belichick, but it was an interesting note. I think some producer got too enthusiastic and had to find one of the paddles to show on TV 20 minutes later, but it was still interesting.

The second was on the interception. It became readily apparent how the defensive scheme was set up for the interception to occur, and Madden pointed it out first. Who would have thought he would have seen it (one) and then followed up with a note on how he had seen the Patriots practice this play during the week (two). This is insider information that you want to hear from your commentators.

Maybe he really is off his meds?

BTW, it really looked, based on Belichick's reaction, that Eric Mangini had seen something in the Jaguars offense and predicted the play the Jags were going to make. Good news for a defense that has struggled this year to know the defensive scheming is coming on strong at the end of the year. This has been a strength of the Patriots defense in the past few years. Their plan hasn't been to have the best players, but to have the best defensive coaches who put their players in the right place.

Look for previous posts on the .

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Jacksonville goes home

Last night's game went the way it should have gone. Jacksonville showed itself to be a paper tiger and the Patriots showed they deserve to be in the show. But the hardest part for the Pats remains ahead. Whether they face Indy or Denver next week remains to be determined, but either way, next week's game will be harder.

Two things did surprise me last night. I was surprised Bruschi didn't play at all and I was surprised Dillon didn't play until the second quarter. At least Dillon not playing was explained by Kevin Faulk's performance. Dillon just does not look like he did last year. Is it injury related? Surely. Is it age related? That remains to be seen. If he's healthy next year, we'll find out.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Patriots Injury Report

With only two players listed as questionable (Tedy Bruschi,LB and Mike Wright, NT) on the injury report this week, this may be the best report the Patriots have had all season. Tom Brady is listed as probable (wink, wink), but he's the only one listed as not missing practice.

Tedy Bruschi LB Questionable Calf Missed Portion
Mike Wright NT Questionable Calf Missed Portion
Tom Brady QB Probable Right Shoulder
Corey Dillon RB Probable Calf Missed Portion
Heath Evans FB Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Christian Fauria TE Probable Foot Missed Portion
Daniel Graham TE Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Jarvis Green DE Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Artrell Hawkins S Probable Thigh Missed Portion
Bethel Johnson WR Probable Knee Missed Portion
Nick Kaczur T Probable Shoulder Missed Portion
Patrick Pass FB Probable Hamstring Missed Portion
Asante Samuel CB Probable Head Missed Portion

Reggie Hayward DE Questionable Hamstring Missed Portion
Mike Peterson LB Questionable Wrist Missed Portion
Paul Spicer DE Questionable Hand Missed Portion
Rich Alexis RB Probable Groin
Greg Jones RB Probable Neck
Byron Leftwich QB Probable Ankle
Kenny Wright CB Probable Knee

Look for previous posts on the .

Friday, January 06, 2006

Tedy Bruschi will receive the Patriots 2005 Ed Block Courage Award

After suffering a stroke days after the probowl last year, it was expected by many (including myself) that Tedy's football career was past him. After surgery to repair a hole in his heart, and a statement by Bruschi that he would not play this year, the Patriots placed Tedy on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

As training camp ensued, Tedy was there rehabbing and encouraging his teammates the way he always has done so in the past. And when the Patriots struggled against a tough schedule and with injuries in the backfield piling up, Tedy decided he would return this year instead.

After talking to numerous doctors and getting a unanimous clean bill of health, he returned to the lineup on October 30th against the Buffalo Bills. He played in 9 of the final 10 regular season games, and finished fourth in total tackles (62) on the Patriots defense (37, with 25 assists). He even had 2 sacks.

And so the Patriots 2005 Ed Block Courage Award is going to Tedy Bruschi. Selected by his teammates, the award is given to one player from each NFL team to the player who exemplifies a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Tedy will be honored on March 7th in Baltimore, Md.

Bruschi was also selected, along with Steve Smith of the Panthers, as the Associated Press Comeback player of the Year.

"It's been a long road for Steve and I to get back to doing what we love to do," Bruschi said. "To be recognized for it is an honor."

"I'm back to doing what I love. Sometimes, you've just got to pick yourself off the ground and get back to living your life. That's all I was trying to do."

If you're from blogazoo, here's a gazoo for you.

Look for previous posts on the .

Willie McGinest speaks out on playing in the playoffs

When it comes to the playoffs, no teams has as much experience in dealing with the pressure.  Jacksonville, on the other hand, probably has the least experience of all of the playoff teams.

Official Website of the New England Patriots

Q: Do you feel any extra pressure in a playoff game or when you step on the field it is just like any other game?

McGinest: I think we have been under pressure all year. So this is a team that reacts pretty well under pressure with our backs against the wall. Of course, there is pressure for the playoffs. If you don't win, you go home. So we have to have more pressure on ourselves than anybody else to go out and perform well so we can get another weekend.

Tom Brady was on the radio the other day talking about how every play becomes so important in the playoffs. When everything is magnified. It's not that players are faster or hit harder. The team that makes the most mistakes goes home. Now, who would you rather have as a QB for your team in that situation, Tom Brady or Byron Leftwich?

Official Website of the New England Patriots
Bill Belichick on the playoffs: 'We're moving up a level in intensity. There are some games during the season that, let's face it, if you lose them, your season can continue. We're not at that point now. So every play, every situation, every decision, everything in every game, it truly is a one-game season now. Everything is more important. Everything is critical. There's not one aspect of any part of the preparation for the game that isn't of utmost importance because it could determine not only the outcome of the game, but the outcome of the season."

Look for previous posts on the .

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Celtic Pride

After last night's "win" Doc Rivers came on the radio this morning and called his team out. He asked the yahoos on WEEI who they thought stopped anyone (they couldn't come up with anyone). He also called his team out saying they needed 'individual pride'. Seems like a good idea to me, but this may be a risky move. The players may completely tune him out after this.

Look for previous posts on the .

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Jerry Crasnick predicting Toronto as a bigger threat than the Red Sox

Am I missing something? I admit the Red Sox still haven't put together the whole picture this offseason and their front office has been in disarray. I will also admit Toronto has improved their pitching by picking up Burnett. But this will more likely mean the wild card won't come out of the East, but first place still belongs to either the Yankees or the Red Sox. - MLB - Offseason Scorecard
Big Picture: You can question the wisdom of Ricciardi's offseason maneuvers, but the Blue Jays should be a fun team to watch in 2006. With the acquisition of Glaus, Lyle Overbay, A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan, they might have moved ahead of the relatively stagnant Red Sox as the biggest threat to New York in the AL East.

Injured? Not really.

According to reports on the radio, Bruschi was ready to play this past weekend, but chose not to rush back for a meaningless game. You should expect both Tedy and Corey Dillon to play Saturday night against the Jags.

Brady is also on the injury report, but then he has been all year long. It would almost be a shame for him not to appear on the list at this point. Brady has appeared in every game since starting for the injured Bledsoe.

CBS4 Boston - New England's Source For Breaking News, Weather, and Sports for Boston, Worcester, Cape Cod, Nashua, and More: Bruschi Dillon On Field For Patriots Practice
(AP) FOXBORO Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and running back Corey Dillon were both on the field at the start of practice Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Playoff predictions -- Wild card weekend

Who do you think is going to win this first week?

Saturday, January 7
4:30 p.m. on ABC -- Washington (10-6) at Tampa Bay (11-5)
8:00 p.m. on ABC -- Jacksonville (12-4) at New England (10-6)

Sunday, January 8
1:00 p.m. on FOX -- Carolina (11-5) at N.Y. Giants (11-5)
4:30 p.m. on CBS -- Pittsburgh (11-5) at Cincinnati (11-5)

I'm going to play two different games. The first is to predict the complete route to the big game right now, the second is to pick each game each week.

The final standings are like this, which is important, since the highest seed plays the lowest seed in the NFL Playoffs:
AFC: Indy, Denver, Cinc, New England, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh.
NFC: Seattle, Chicago, TB, NY Giants, Carolina, Washington

My complete pick goes like this:
AFC Wild Card: New England and Pittsburgh for the wild card.
AFC Division: Indy vs. Pitt (Pick Indy) and New England vs. Denver (pick New England.
AFC Championship: Indy vs New England (Pick New England).
NFC Wild Card: Washington, NY Giants
NFC Division: Seattle vs. Wash (pick Seattle) and Chicago vs. Giants (pick Giants)
NFC Championship: Seattle vs Giants (pick Seattle).
The Big Game: New England vs Seattle (pick New England).

In my second game, for wild card weekend, I'm picking Washington, New England,
Giants, and Pittsburgh. Then I'll see where I stand next week.

In game 1, picks for wild card weekend are 1 point, 2 for divisional picks, 3 for championship and 4 for the big game.
In game 2, picks are 1 point for each game you pick.

Can you beat my picks?

Look for previous posts on the .

Do we really want to face Jacksonville?

Of course we'd rather face Jacksonville next week. Just looking at the matchups, it's obvious the Pats would rather face up with a team that has big question marks when it comes to the Quarterback position. Their defense may be good, but you have to wonder how they can advance in the playoffs without a decent offense.

It's nice the Patriots will be in prime time, too. Saturday at 8 PM will be a great time to sit down and enjoy the game. Hopefully, it will be a good game and they can get ahead quickly. I wouldn't want to come from behind against Jacksonville.

Look for previous posts on the .