Is JD a consolation prize for not landing Giancarlo Stanton??

As we gear up for another baseball season it’s nice to finally have JD in Red Sox camp.  All we can do now is try to make sense of it all.  Has the emptiness finally been filled by the void left by David Ortiz?

Some media & fans have said JD is a consolation prize for not landing Giancarlo Stanton. I don’t buy that premise for one moment.  No way in h#$% that Yankee Jeter was going to help the Red Sox by moving Stanton.  As far as I’m concerned any media reports saying the Red Sox had a chance is 100 percent BS.  Like the Surgeon General in South Park I base that statement on absolutely nothing.  Reports like that defy logic.  Derek had to make it look like he was shopping Stanton, so he leaked rumors his star player vetoed trades to NL then trolled New England acting like we had a chance.  His “my hand was forced so I sent Station to NY for bag of balls” act is a lie.  It’s a shame the league won’t look at bag job trades, but that’s life.


In my gut I do not like this deal.  Historically speaking their judgment when it comes to signing big free agents isn’t very good.  It doesn’t matter who the GM is.  Let’s go back a few years.  Edgar Renteria, David Wells, Matt Clement, Carl Crawford, Dice K, Pablo Sandoval, David Price, John Lackey, Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo and now JD Martinez.  To be fair Lackey rebounded nicely and was part of the 2013 championship team.  Price, Hanley, Lackey and Dice K did JUST enough where I’d say the return on investment was OK.  The rest of them were terrible.  If you looked at them alone and were pessimistic about JD you’d be justified in thinking that.

One factor isn’t being mentioned enough is the transition to DH after being a position player.  JD can rake but doesn’t field particularly well.  Early indications are he’s going to DH.  What factors in his persona make you think he can transition to DH? I haven’t seen any.  Ortiz was one of the rare guys who was mentally tough enough to just hit.  Who else besides Big Papi has been a stud DH for an extended period of time.  Other than Edgar Martinez I can’t think of one.  In 140 at bats he has hit just .250 as a DH.  To give you a better idea of the drop off his career average is .285. Thankfully the Sox aren’t the Pirates.  It’s not like one bad contract can knee cap their chances of winning another World Series.  All I ask is my team spend every dollar they can efficiently and with minimal waste.  For the kind of money JD got I want to be sure he’ll be on the field for at least 145 games.  In his seven year pro career JD has played 150+ games just once.   


His injuries alone are enough to get me to back off.  Allen Craig taught to back off signing guys with foot injuries.  Feet are so critical to generate power with your hips.  JD’s foot is already compromised.  He’s missed 85 games in the past two seasons.   I wish I could extend my general optimism I have with the Patriots and Celtics over to the Sox.  At least the team protected themselves in incase JD’s Lisfranc injury comes back.  In the 4th and 5th year the AAV of his deal goes down.  The way salaries rise a $19.3 million salary in 2022 will feel like a grand bargain.

My baseline expectation for JD is 145 games, .281 30 HR 110 RBI .352/.525/.877 OBP SLG OPS line.  Anything above that is aces in my book.  Hopefully this pans out and I’ll be proven wrong.



Career over for Linebacker with limitless potential


One of my most favorite pass rushing line backers to watch career is officially over. After what appears to be an accurate accusation of Domestic abuse, the Oakland Raiders have had enough and parted ways with Aldon Smith. Even though, it’s more and more clear that Aldon is a master level bad decision maker. I wanted to use this blog post to pay homage to his career. I did thoroughly enough watching him play when he was in his prime.

Aldon went to high school in Raytown Missouri at Raytown High School. Coming out of high school he was ranked as a 3 star recruit by Rivals and ESPN. Aldon made some noise in high school. In 2008 Aldon was actually the Senor Male Athlete for the year at his high school. His dominate play was able to secure offers from multiple Division 1. Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska all pushed hard to get Aldon to play for them. Eventually Aldon choose the Missouri and stayed close to home.

Aldon’s first year at Missouri was dominating to say the least. He compiled 11.5 sacks as a freshman! His sophomore year was not as successful as he had a tough leg injury that really put a damper on his performance. Check out his college highlights, you can absolutely see his speed and power reeked havoc on the opposing teams. 

His leg injury did not deter the San Francisco 49ers from taking him 7th in the 2011 draft. Aldon made an immediate impact. He proved to the 49ers organization that he was well worth his draft position. In his first year as a pro he racked up 14 sacks. Alson's 2nd year campaign was even more outstanding, recording a whopping 19.5 sacks! Aldon was truly unstoppable at his best when faced with a 1 on 1 blocking scheme. Which, give some credit to his fellow pass rusher Justin Smith for forcing teams to pick there poison when those two beasts came rushing the opposing quarterback. You can see in his 49er highlight clip below his build and athleticism alone caused havoc. 

Alas, in what seemed too good to be true for 49er fans. Aldon Smith started to implode. His last two season with the 49ers he only racked up an paltry 10.5 sacks, while his 2014 season was basically, what I believe the beginning of the end. 10 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 7 games. If you look at where it really began was the 2012 offseason, where he was arrested for driving under the influence. After that his rap sheet was much more impressive than his on the field performance. In 2013 he was charged with 3 felonies, 2014 he was arrested again for being belligerent with w TSA security guard, 2015 he was arrested for a hit and run. Even after all of this, after being cut by the 49ers after his 2014 incident, the Raiders still believed in him and signed him. He played in 9 games in a somewhat limited pass rushing only role and had 3.5 sacks. Everyone in the Bay Area was ready for Aldon to go back to his dominating ways. Especially the Oakland Raiders.

Aldon’s suspension was due to be over this year. He was supposed to come back and play a major role in the Oakland Raiders defense. However, Aldon being Aldon messed up. He messed up big time. On March 3rd Aldon was arrested for Domestic Abuse. Arguably his worst offense. His fiancé stated that he was entered himself in rehab. The Oakland Raiders have parted ways and the Bay area police have issued an arrest warrant. 

And there we have it, from underrated 3 star high school recruit, to a Superstar at Missouri, an All Pro in the NFL, to out of the league and unfortunately hated by many. Truly Aldon never reached his true potential. Who knows what got to him. Was it the Money, was it CTE or was it some underlying personality that was just waiting to rear its ugly head. Hopefully he get his life together, because the path he is on now is one of destruction and sadness. Thank you for all the hard work, as a 49er fan you brought true joy to my heart watching you play, but also true disappointment in your failures. 

Thanks for reading!


Redsox Spring Preview

Spring training is starting and I’m thrilled.  Football is a weekly event that I dig immensely but I also appreciate the day to day nature of baseball.  It’s like having a dog you walk all the time.  At the end of the day you chill on the couch and the dog plops down next to you.  Baseball is that friend you see through thick and thin for almost seven months.


Early news out of Red Sox camp is about how much “fun” the Red Sox plan to have this year.  In my gut I find this irritating.  It’s as if they know fans were put off by David Price and they’re trying to spin me.  If I had my druthers I’d have Alex Cora chug sodium pentothal like a college kid and get his unfiltered thoughts on this year’s team.  My guess is he’d say something along the lines of…


Dear Red Sox fans, 

A new year is upon us and I’m thrilled!  I’m thrilled to get the gig and promise I will know strategy cold.  You can have faith that I will be on top of things unlike John Farrell.  Let’s run down the roster….

Catcher = on the bright side Christian Vasquez started to hit in 2017.  He still hasn’t shown he can catch a full season.  My initial plan is to hit him 9th.  If he can hit .270, draw more walks and produce an OPS above .750 I’ll be happy.  Depth wise I feel OK if Vasquez regresses or gets injured.  The way the Sox mishandled Swihart is terrible.  He’s had two down years but I still believe in him.  He’s still just 25 and he’s catching if Christian slips.  Offensively I think Blake can be a poor man’s Jason Kendall and eventually be above average behind the dish. Sandy Leon didn’t standout to stave off any competition from Blake.

First Base = I wish we could get another option at first besides Mitch Moreland.  Don’t get me wrong he’s a fine player.  He just doesn’t slug the ball enough for my tastes.  Mitch’s career OPS is just .756.  First base is a power position so I expect at least .830 OPS.  Mitch has had just two seasons where his OPS was above .800.  Hanley is hit or miss.  At times he can be a manager killer.  We can’t be sure he’ll be healthy and focused on having an awesome year.  If he does that’s great but I’m not betting on it. Hanley is not a good bet to stay healthy either.  Over the past five years he’s played in 86, 128, 105, 147 and 133 games.

Second Base = Pedroia's knees scare me.  He’s missed enough time these past three years that I’m glad to have Nunez back.  Dustin’s injuries probably cost him a shot at making the Hall of Fame and that’s said.  Nunez will hit for a good average, steal a lot of bases and show enough doubles power.  Nunez’s career high in games is just 141 so realistically I think we are looking at a platoon situation.

Shortstop = I will handle Xander Bogaerts right.  He’s going to be limited to 145-150 games to keep him fresh for the season.  The idea is to stave off his second half slump.  At the plate we are going to encourage him to drive the ball.  We want him to only swing at strikes.  Take the walk if they don’t throw you anything good.  With his size and swing a 20 HR 20 SB season is certainly possible.

Third Base = Rafael Devers will be at third.  He’s playing every day and we will live with the ups and downs.  His power looked good so far (10 HR in 222 AB) and he also hit for average. Defensively his arm looked strong and accurate.  His quickness and agility going for grounders looks good so I don’t think he’ll be a liability.  Rookies prosper when they get the chance to play every day and I think Devers will take off this year.

Outfield = Ben Cherington hit pay dirt when he drafted Benitendi.  In his first full season he belted 20 bombs, drove in nearly 100 runs and swiped 20 bases.  What’s not to like about Benitendi? Mookie Betts’ OPS dropped almost 100 points but he still had a fine year.  His eye and ability to draw walks improved a lot in 2017.  In 2016 Mookie drew 49 walks in 672 at bats which is just 7.3 percent of the time.  Last year he drew 77 walks in 628 at bats which is 12.3 percent of the time.  Both men are threats for quasi rare 30 HR 30 SB club.

Outfield and DH = I will have my new hitting coach trying to make Jackie Bradley Jr. less of a streaky hitter.  Overall though I have faith that he can rebound after a down year.  It was great to hear Hanley embraced the Tom Brady methods.  He should slim down to about 220 and focus on pliability to keep his shoulders intact.  JD Martinez isn’t with the team yet so I can’t comment on him.

Pitching = Sale worked out pretty well! I want to bribe Price into deleting his Twitter and adopt the Patriots MO of IGNORE THE NOISE.  Tell David to settle in and be the second banana behind Sale. The rest of the rotation should fall into place.  Porcello is a good no. 3 hurler.  E-Rod isn’t particularly durable and he hasn’t made the leap yet.  However he is still a good back end starter. Steven Wright will have a role on this team.  He’s a quality knuckler when healthy. I was thinking keep Fister around as a no.7 starter when E-Rod eventually misses a few starts.

Pitching = Brian Johnson should be one of my depth starters or long relievers.  He strikes me a poor man’s David Wells.  He doesn’t throw very hard but his curve is amazing.  Elias will be a good depth piece.  Austin Maddox should get a role in the pen.  I liked what I saw so far

Kimbrel is not a concern.  I have faith he’ll have a great free agent year.  I’m not ready to say Carson Smith is fully recovered from his TJ surgery.  Thornburg is a wild guess.  He’s supposedly recovered from his shoulder problems, but he hasn’t shown he can defeat American League lineups. Joe Kelly improved his control big time and he’s reliable. Barnes is usually reliable.  My one concern is that he throws his heat very straight and is liable to give up the home run.  Hembree is hit or miss.  Workman will have a role in the pen.

I’ll give my honest thoughts on JD Martinez soon but right now he’s not in camp.  Once he reports to Fort Myers I will talk about him.

GO SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As Bill might say, we are onto the offseason!


Once the Super Bowl is over and a new league year beings I think of Bill Parcells.  As we know he lost the power struggle to draft Cedric Jones over Terry Glenn.  In his final press conference where he announced he was leaving he said


“If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”


What should Bill and Nick Caserio shop for this off season? Let’s look at the positions.


RB = I’d cut my losses with Gillislee and move on.  My guess is Dion Lewis gets a deal that is too rich for their blood and moves on as well.  I’d keep Burkhead and use two late round picks on backs with fresh legs.  I’d feel a lot better about Josh eventually taking over if he featured more designed runs.  This is the 3rd Super Bowl loss where he didn’t utilize the running game enough.  Philosophically speaking I’m getting annoyed with them abandoning the run every time they get stuffed for no gain.  Next year they need to run the ball at least 47 percent of the time.


OL = Solder won me over this year.  His start wasn’t the greatest but eventually he righted the ship.  I want them to take another tackle for (1) the sake of depth and (2) just in case Cannon’s injury is serious.  Tony Garcia is a project.  Over time I think Scarnecchia will turn him into a quality NFL tackle.  Keep Shaq Mason and pick up an undrafted guard as a rookie free agent.


WR = I want to draft another receiver.  My gut is telling me Malcolm Mitchell’s knees will cut his career short. Edelmans’ ACL tear could affect his ability to cut and juke defenders.  Let’s try like all hell to keep Danny Amendola.  He’s tough, reliable and clutch in the playoffs.  If I had my way they’d put him on the PUP list then unleash him in the playoffs.  Cooks, Amendola, Hogan, Britt, Dorsett, Mitchell and an unnamed rookie give Tommy a skilled group to work with.


TE = Dwayne Allen worked out OK this year.  He’s a fair blocker and decent pass catcher.  Am I the only guy who thinks he’s the second coming of Jermaine Wiggins?  Both guys are similar in build.  You could trust them to catch anything even though neither were very fast.  As much as you appreciate them you still want them to upgrade at the position.  Bill might think of Allen as a cap casualty.  Gronk came into the league with a bad back.  Realistically he’s suffered enough major injuries that I don’t think he’ll have Jason Witten’s longevity.  We need to prepare for life without him.  Let’s spend a draft pick on a tight end.


QB = I bet if Jimmy stayed in New England he’d have 2-3 championships of his own.  The recent success of Jimmy and Jacoby renews my faith in Bill’s QB judgment.  Hoyer is a useful veteran and fine backup.  If God forbid something bad happened to Tommy I think they’d go 10-6 with Hoyer and lose in the divisional round.  Hoyer is getting older and that’s why they need to dip into the draft again.  Draft Tommy’s successor, sign him on Day 1 and give him a clipboard.  If I were a betting man I’d put my money on Tommy winning a 6th then retiring to placate Giselle.  Basically I’m expecting a new QB in 2020. 


QB II = Recent history shows teams need to spend a high pick on a quarterback in order to win a championship.  For the sake of this column I’m defining rounds 1-3 high, 4-5 middle and 6-7 late.  Let’s take a look at the evidence.


2017 = Nick Foles 3rd round

2016 = Tom Brady 6th round

2015 = Peyton Manning 1st round

2014 = Tom Brady 6th round

2013 = Russell Wilson 3rd round

2012 = Joe Flacco 1st round

2011 = Eli Manning 1st round

2010 = Aaron Rodgers 1st round

2009 = Drew Brees 2nd round

2008 = Ben Roethlisberger 1st round

2007 = Eli Manning 1st round

2006 = Peyton Manning 1st round

2005 = Ben Roethlisberger 1st round

2004 = Tom Brady 6th round

2003 = Tom Brady 6th round

2002 = Brad Johnson 9th round

2001 = Tom Brady 6th round

2000 = Trent Dilfer 1st round

1999 = Kurt Warner undrafted

1998 = John Elway 1st round

1997 = John Elway 1st round

1996 = Brett Fav-ruh Favre 2nd round


22 years is a big sample size.  Johnson, Warner and Brady are the outliers but otherwise my point is backed up by the evidence.


Over the past two years I’ve been a tad uneasy about their draft picks.  Cooks worked out great in exchange of their first round pick.  After that their draft class was thin with only 4 picks.  Rivers already ripped up his ACL.  Garcia hasn’t played yet.  Deatrich Wise was great this year for a rookie. McDermott is in Buffalo.  Goodell screwed them out of their 2016 first round pick.  Cyrus Jones hasn’t shown he can play in the NFL.


If Bill wanted to trade down and acquire more picks I’d be OK with it.  I’d also like to grab an LB and 2 DL in the draft.  Thankfully there is also trades and free agency to improve the roster.  Gostkowski has missed enough kicks lately.  Let’s get him competition so he steps up his game.  Malcolm Go Butler is probably gone.  He was basically benched in the Super Bowl so there is probably Katy Perry Taylor Swift level bad blood between him and the team.  Let’s get a proven vet to pair with Gilmore.


Time is slowly healing the wound of the Super Bowl loss.


We are ON to 2018!

It’s been twelve days since the Patriots lost the Super Bowl loss.  Last night I was mulling the game over and I had a moment of clarity.  I’ve come to think the seven stages of grief is applicable to sports fandom too.  These thoughts ran through my mind like Usain Bolt.

(1)    Shock and denial = Good God they lost? Normally when the Pats are down in the Super Bowl they come from behind and win.  Whether they’re down 10 against Seattle or 25 against Atlanta doesn’t matter. They didn’t win this time around?

(2)    Pain and guilt = damn what a bummer.  Tommy and the offense were awesome as usual but they didn’t have enough on D.

(3)    Anger and bargaining = I’m not going to absolve Malcolm Butler of responsibility for his benching.  He’s been with Bill for four years and should know his Head Coach’s persona by now.  In Bill’s mind he did something that warrants getting benched.  At the same time here is our chance to win a 6th Vince.  Can we please bury the hatchet? Their pass D can’t contain Philly right now.  Perhaps bringing in Malcolm Go means they make a few stops on 3rd down.

(4)    Depression, Reflection and Loneliness = OK this sucks.  Teams that lose the Super Bowl can go into a real tailspin after the big game.  Case in point the Seahawks.  Their beat reporters wrote about how Butler’s interception has caused turmoil to this day.  Good for Philly though.  It is nice to see other fans celebrate after a long title drought.

(5)    The Upward Turn = this isn’t so bad.  The Brows just went 0-16 and that is the epitome of terrible.  How can I sit here and complain? The Pats are still conference champs. It’s like a silver medal.  A silver medal is a nice accomplishment even if it’s not glorious like a gold one is. Most quarterbacks go to 1 or 2 Super Bowls tops and Tommy has been to eight. He’s gone to half a years’ worth of Super Bowls.  My mind is blown thinking about it along those lines.

(6)    Reconstruction = in retrospect this year was a lot like 2011.  Bill probably knows he needs to invest on D if he wants a 6th Vince.  Odds are they won’t slip to 6-10 with Tommy under center.  Keep in mind they followed up their last Super Bowl loss with 2 AFC title game appearances.  Three years after their loss they won.  Nick Caserio is a bright guy who knows what he’s doing.

(7)    Acceptance and Hope = I’m going to give the Iggs and their staff a golf clap.  Congrats on breaking a drought that lasted almost 60 years.  Hopefully they will mellow out a bit.  I saw Silver Linings Playbook and man they are rabid.  Doug Pederson is a fine coach.  He learned under Reid and intrinsically knew to never let up.  Keep attacking their secondary and you can beat the Patriots.

What’s up next?  Hopefully Bill drafts the positions he’s good at and fills the holes on the roster with proven NFL talent.



An unemotional take on the Super Bowl from a Patriots die hard

I’m a new convert to the Matrix.  The idea of taking the red pill truly resonates with me.  See the truth no matter what.  Get beyond your emotions and pre-existing ideas.  See things for what they really are.  The upcoming Super Bowl has me wondering what is the red pill truth about the 2017 Eagles?

Some people are pretty thrilled Wentz is out.  I am too.  I’d pick the Eagles if Carson were under center.  At the same time I’m baffled how Nick Foles is dismissed as just a backup quarterback.  This isn’t like going from Aaron Rodgers to Brett Hundley.  Foles made the Pro Bowl under Chip Kelly and is 17-10 as a starter for the Iggles.  Let’s not get complacent and think we have this in the bag.  With his physical skills and track record Foles is worthy of our respect.

Philly looks balanced in all three phases of the games.  Their offense scored almost 29 points a game this year.  Defensively they gave up 18.4 points a game, which was 4th in the league.  Blount, Clement and Ajayi are a quality three headed monster.  I can see them moving the ball against the Pats front seven reasonably well.  Ertz has a great size advantage over whoever the Patriots will put on him.  If I were their OC I’d target him at least 10-12 times. Agholor is a fine slot receiver.  He can be a problem in the middle of the field.  I’d put Butler on him.  Malcolm isn’t quite big and physical enough to go toe to toe with Alshon Jeffrey.  Eric Rowe is my guy to go up against Jeffrey with safety help.  Defensively I can see them rushing Brady with 4.  The Super Bowl losses to the Giants show a good pass rush can cover up an OK secondary.  Philly has good depth on their defensive line and can get to Brady with just four guys.  They will probably copy Jacksonville’s plan of beating up Gronkowski so he’s taken out of the game.  Cooks has unreal speed and Philly knows they’ll have to respect.

Dion Lewis will be vital.  Josh McDaniels must stick to giving Brady a complimentary running game.  Lewis, Burkhead and White should get at least 25 carries a game.  Basically they need to be just enough to run for first downs, kill clock and give Tommy a break as needed.  Amendola must be utilized as well.  If the situation is 3rd and 9 Brady should go to Danny at the stakes to get the first down. Danny has been carefully managed and now is the time to take off the kid gloves.  It’s cliché but true.  I really want them to establish the run at all costs.  It will help neutralize the aggressiveness of their D since they’ll know they can’t just wait to tee off on Brady.  Dion Lewis has the speed and shiftiness to be effective. Two components that I fear are defending the run pass option and getting turnovers.  If the Patriots can solve those options (and I think they will0 we will celebrate the 6th title in team history.

My best guess? Patriots 31 Eagles 30. This feel like another nail biter Super Bowl win for the Patriots.  Philly is too talented for this to be a blowout.

Best NFL Franchise in the history of the NFL? Superbowls W's don't lie!

Tom Brady is going to his 8th Super Bowl.  Legit a half a season’s worth of Super Bowls.  Even going to a Super Bowl is a nice accomplishment and he’s already back on his 8th.  It’s absolutely staggering.

One recurring theme sticks out this year, and it’s the Patriots feel like an A+ team while the rest of the league is an A-.  This year feels like shades of ’03.  Philly looks good overall but I think they can narrowly pull out a win.

Looking back what were my old thoughts before the games?

1996 = Bledsoe had an awesome year but the defense looks just OK.  I don’t like my chances against Favre.

2001 = I had the pleasure of going to the Patriots Rams game in the regular season.  It was really close and I’m glad they’re getting another crack at them.  I could see a Bills Giants upset here.  Pound the Rams skill players and wear down their will over time.  Antowain Smith is exactly the kind of power back that can neutralize their defense.

2003 = I like their chances.  Jake Delhomme feels like the epitome of OK QB that just doesn’t turn it over like Jay Fiedler.  Smith and Faulk can move the ball and score against their D. The Pats D feels better than the one they had two years ago.

2004 = The Pats have this.  McNabb isn’t quite on Brady’s level.  Vrabel, Willie McG, Ted and Rosevelt Colvin will keep Westbrook in check.  Their receivers don’t scare me other than Owens.  Branch and Givens are quick and shifty enough to get separation from the Eagles secondary.

2007 = Wow.  I really think they will go undefeated.  The Patriots are the only the 2nd team in the modern Super Bowl era to go undefeated.  The passing attack was running out of steam but it’s still lethal.  Lawrence Maroney gives them a complimentary rushing attack they’ll have to respect.  Eli is not always accurate and A LOT of his passes get picked off.  He’ll chuck it up for grabs, it will get picked off and that will seal the 19-0 season.

2011 = I don’t like their chances.  The Patriots are too pass happy.  Green Ellis and Ridley don’t run enough to give Brady a break.  Their D is OK points wise, but their 3rd down stats are terrible.  New York has enough on offense.  Brandon Jacobs can play ball control and wear down the D to burn clock and give them the win.  Cruz gets a lot of media attention but let’s not forget how good Hakeem Nicks is.

2014 = My guess is Seattle pulls this one out in the end.  This feels like a narrow loss.  Seattle’s pass rush is vicious.  I can see Bennett or Irvin beating the tackles late to sack Brady and kill their chances for a comeback.  Lynch will have some success on the ground.  Wilson will move the ball when the play breaks down.  Seattle by an eyelash.

2016 = Patriots by a millimeter this year.  Atlanta’s head coach worked under Peter Carroll.  Tommy knows their D pretty well.  The Falcons don’t have the skill players Seattle had so I don’t think scoring is a problem.  Their skill players are unreal.  Freeman and Coleman are quick and so fast they make Willie Parker look slow.  Jones is the face of their receivers but depth wise their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th options are awesome as well.

This year feels like 2016 all over again.


Patriots are destined to win today

Seven straight years where the Patriots have been at least a Final Four team is absolutely staggering.  Tomorrow they have a host to make their 8th Super Bowl and I’m feeling giddy.

You’d think the Patriots success would make me arrogant about them, but it hasn’t.  The Tyree catch shattered any I may have had.  My mind went back to “Eli throws a fair amount of picks.  He’ll chuck it up for grabs, it’ll get picked off and that will seal the 19-0 season.”

Right now I straddle the fine line of quiet confidence but not arrogance in the team’s chances.  Bill’s edict of always respect your opponent but not fear them rings true. Staying within this mindset seems to be right MO.

Situationally it’s been great to see things break the Patriots way.  Atlanta could have learned from its mistakes and outshot the Pats in a rematch.  New Orleans had a defense and rushing attack to beat them.  Thankfully Pittsburgh had the talent, but their coaching staff lacks the strategy to defeat them.

As Bill would say we are onto Jacksonville.  What are the chances Jacksonville could win? I peg them at 15 percent.  Fournette is big and talented enough to have success even if his ankle is banged up. TJ Yeldon is big, powerful, quick and good at catching passes.  You can see them moving the ball with those two.  The overwhelming majority of the time a great defense and running game can’t carry an OK quarterback to the Vince Lombardi trophy.  Trent Dilfer and 2015 Peyton Manning are the notable exceptions.

Blake Bortles is good enough to play mistake free.  Mercedes Lewis is big enough that he can beat Pat Chung in coverage.  Jacksonville can get to Tom Brady with just 4 rushers.  Their secondary is talented and can blanket the Pats skill players.  Tommy’s hand is injured so it’s fair to wonder if he can deliver the ball with accuracy.

How do I see this unfold? I respect Jacksonville but I don’t fear them.  My guess is their D holds Brady in check for a while.  Offensively they will move the ball but get stalled in the red area.  By the 3rd quarter I bet Jacksonville’s D get tired.  Brady turns the game into a track meet and targets Gronkowski.

Patriots 26 Jaguars 19

Tommy goes to his 8th Super Bowl!


Pats Playoff and QB Drama

It’s a new day, New Year and the Pats are in the playoffs again.


Patriots Nation is knee deep in anticipation of the playoffs.  I’m wondering if Tommy will fit his other hand for Super Bowl rings the then the stuff hit the fan.


All of a sudden Seth Wickersham wrote an article saying there was a rift between the trio.  The song End of the road by Boys 2 Men rolled in my head.  As painful as it was to admit I couldn’t help but wonder if the gist of the article was right.  History does repeat itself.


Did Bill want to put Tom out to pasture only to be stopped by Kraft? Not likely. Tommy hasn’t slipped enough to consider removing him.  It’s more like he may have declined, but not enough to be removed.


Questions like this make you do down the rabid hole of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories seem logical but are devoid of evidence so it’s hard to accept them as truth.  Twenty one years ago Bill Parcells lost a power struggle and was forced to take Terry Glenn.  The loss eventually led to his departure.  Kraft wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, right?


My spider senses shot up.  ESPN’s track record of fair and accurate reporting on the Patriots is especially awful.  I was 96 percent sure ESPN was full of lies, half-truths and outright fake news.  ESPN is a propaganda outlet for the NFL.  They publish known falsehoods like the Rams walk through being taped and Mortensen’s tweet.  Once they were caught for their falsehood they buried the retraction


What’s the truth? Kraft probably didn’t arm twist Bill to trade Jimmy.  Over the past 17 years he hasn’t intervened on personnel.  Bill probably realized Tommy still looks pretty good, he couldn’t keep Jimmy and moved him out of the conference.  Brady isn’t retiring anytime soon, you can’t get Jimmy to take a cheap deal and franchising him is bad business.  It would be better to get a 2nd round pick and Brian Hoyer instead of a compensatory 3rd round pick.  It makes sense hardly worthy of ESPN’s sensationalist headlines.  What really happened with Alex Guerrero being moved out? A lot of Guerrero’s principles like pliability, water, vegetables, getting lots of sleep and pliability make sense.  I’d bet Bill thought he was in a turf war and had to assert his control.  Nothing more or less.


NFL stands for Not for Long for a reason.  The idea that long term security exists is simply not true.  Jobs are always up for grabs so guys are going to be at each other’s throats.  ESPN and the rest of the anti-Patriots media are pretending like Brady is evil incarnate and its nauseating.  What’s the truth? Tommy and Jimmy had some issues at times but worked them out.  By all accounts they are friendly work buddies but not personal friends.  Jerry Thornton reported Jimmy had his own TB12 key card and used it often.


ESPN acts like there’s an ominous feeling around the team where the wheels could come flying off at any given time.  The truth probably is the team is prepared for a coaching exodus.  It’s an inevitable byproduct of success in in the NFL.  All of the talented assistants on a head coach’s staff leave for their own gig.


Deep down I figure Tommy has two more years left.  By then I figure he’ll win his 6th Vince and get complacent enough to hang up his spikes.  Bill was in a slump, but after drafting Jimmy and Jacoby I think he’s snapped out of it.  Ryan Mallett, Kevin O’Connell, Rohan Davey, Kliff Kingsbury and Zac Robinson were his misfires.  He’s hit pay dirt on Tommy, Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer, Jimmy and Jacoby Brissett.


With a better I can see someone like Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield or Mason Rudolph taking over in 2020 and the good times keep rolling along.



Nevada VS Pacific Live

Jimmy G's new life in SF

Jimmy G is going to Frisco.


Tommy’s apparent successor is going to the land of Ghiradelli chocolate and the Golden Gate Bridge. 


My mind is scrambled.  Seeing him leave feels like a breakup with a fiancé.   We were going to commit to him.  Bill was going to stay in super duper eff you mode and win a few Vince trophies with Jimmy.  Bruce Arians compared him to Tony Romo, and that feels like a spot on comparison.  Our time with him was short, but it was enough to get you excited.  His arm looked strong, he could read pretty well, deliver the ball accurately with a good tendency to look downfield. 


Prior to him being drafted I was thrilled whenever they drafted a QB.  Every time I’d think woo-hoo this is great! Bill is following the Ron Wolf school of thought on quarterbacks.  Always draft and develop them to guard against injury.  If an injury happens you’re OK.  You can always flip a developed quarterback for more draft picks like Atlanta did with Matt Schaub.  Spend a pick on a QB even when you don’t necessarily need one.



It’s about halfway through the year and he’s gone.  Hell even our 3rd guy is in Indy.


In retrospect I consider him a wildly successful draft pick.  Bill was probably thinking Brady is getting older so I need to light a fire under him.  Add him plus Revis and a healthy Gronk meant a 4th Super Bowl title for Brady.  Jimmy and Goodell saved Brady from 4 games worth of wear and tear last year.


The rabid anti Patriots media will probably try to spin this as a mistake the team made, but I don’t see how that case can be made.  Bill might have thought Tommy would retire or get complacent after he won his 5th title.  He was wrong.  It has to be simple.  The team figured Tommy wasn’t slipping so let’s move Jimmy now while we still can.


I don’t doubt the team tried to sign him to an extension.  All I can see is Jimmy thinking “no way I’m signing an extension Tommy still looks great!”  You have to figure any money he could have made her pales in comparison to what he’d make as a starter.  Cleveland was reportedly interested, but he’d apparently made it clear he wasn’t keen on going there.


In a way Jimmy’s departure is a compliment to Brady.  In 2013 he had about eighteen years worth of wear and tear on his body.  The sport is so violent and the average career is short.  Even with the increased emphasis on player safety the sport still has an ominous feeling where it could end at any given time.  Tommy was so disciplined and passionate in his preparation he staved off his successor.  His passion to keep winning hasn’t waned, and you can’t help but admire him for that. 


Bill had to think cut your losses now and reload in the draft.  A second round pick for Jimmy feels like a good but not great return.  Ideally they’ll use the two 2nd round picks they have and get another 1st round pick.  Hopefully they pick a QB thinking he’ll be under center in 2020 playing Steve Young to Brady’s Montana

My Fellow Redsox Fans

I come before you today to discuss the state of our Red Sox.  The past two years have been simultaneously nice and unsettling.  I got the same feeling about this year’s team that I had about Tony Romo and Drew Bledsoe.  The team was very good.  At times they were excellent, but never elite.  This nagging feeling of they wildly underachieved have throbs in my head like a hangover.  First off I’d like to say goodbye and good luck to John Farrell.  He is gone and I’m OK with that.  Thank you for 2013 and good luck.  Normally pitching coaches don’t make the best managers, but you pushed the right buttons that year. 


Farrell inability to know his roster and tailor his MO to maximize their production drove me insane.  Case in point Chris Sale.  He makes Todd Pinkston look fat and fades out towards the end of the season.  Why wasn’t he given extra days and limited to 30 starts and 195 innings pitched? Hitters are hitting .210 with a .264/.323/.587 OBP/SLG/OPS stat line in April.  In September/October hitters are up to .259 with a .314/.436/.750 line.


Farrell’s handling of Xander Bogaerts was particularly troubling.  He should  operate by the Bill Belichick adage of know your players cold and tailor your coaching accordingly.  Xander is a first half player.  His 2017 splits are .303 6 HR 41 RBI in the first half and .235 4 HR 21 RBI in the second.  2016 was similar.  He hit .329 10 HR 56 RBI in the first half but just .253 11 HR 33 RBI in the second.  We know this so why he wasn’t limited to 145-148 games to keep him fresh is beyond me.


One last point on Xander; he got drilled in the hand on July 6th and his season fell apart after that.  It’s staggering he wasn’t put on the DL.  He really would have benefitted from two weeks to get his hand right and timing back.  In the month of June he had an OPS of .763 but it fell to .452 in July.  You see my point? John Farrell was impervious to baseball common sense.  Alex Cora needs to have a Xander salvage operation in 2018.  Limit him to 145 games, hit him leadoff, tell him to drive the ball and not settle for weak singles to right center field.  With his size and speed a 20 HR/20 SB season is possible!


John Farrell’s handling of David Price was terrible.  On one of my last columns I spoke on how Price is too concerned with media, too thin skinned, too rabbit eared and fundamentally lacks the clutch gene to be the ace of a World Series team.  You need a real alpha dog to keep him in check or his unhappiness can wear on the rest of the team.  Theo knew the bridges were burned with Nomar in 2004 and moved on.  Why no one could see this with Price is baffling.  Like Pablo Sandoval there is no shame in conceding you bet $217 million on the wrong horse.  I sure wouldn’t hold it against them. 


Thankfully Alex Cora is going to take the reins soon.  I for one am glad they are going with a young bench coach instead of some retread.  Hopefully Cora will take the lessons from the World Series teams and proceed with the right plan.  For instance he needs to be given at least 8-12 starting pitchers to work with.  Historically speaking teams almost never have 5 guys making 32 starts a year.  It’s only happened a handful of times in the past century. 


Cora needs to live by the 90% station to station 10% small ball rule.  I’d like to see the 2018 team work counts, not swing at crap and belt some moon shots.  A few times a year both pitchers are going to be throwing gems.  Here is where you need the ability to bunt and move runners along.  Cora played the game so I hope he knows the value of a few base stealing threats.  Johnny Damon in ’04 and Ellsbury in ’07 and ’13 prove my point.  Guys like Dave Roberts distracted Mo Rivera in Game 4.  As a result he threw a flat cutter to Bill Mueller, and he belted it into center to tie the game.  No stat could measure this, but any viewer can see speed distracts pitchers and turns singles into extra base hits.  Farrell had this year’s team brainwashed into being suicidal kamikazes on the base paths.  Cora hopefully has the sense to teach them the fine line between aggressive but not stupid.  Rickey Henderson could pull off what the Sox did this year because he had the track record. 


On the bright side I don’t think the Sox are far off from winning their 9th World Series title. The right tweaks here and there can make it happen.  Farrell is gone and he’s the first move I’d make.  Next up is change the approach on the base paths.  Move no. 3 is purge David Price from the team.  Move no. 4 is changing the character of team.  Avoid fights with Eckersley and focus on winning.  Move 5 is acquire more power. 

NFL is for our teams to beat the crap out of each other!

The news of planned protests is dominating NFL coverage and I am pissed.

Politics is like a parasite and it’s latched onto football.  Prior to the past few years football was one of the rare things impervious to political sleaze.

Sundays was the best because we’d forget about the insanity emanating from DC.  All I want from football is to see freakishly skilled men do things on the gridiron that normal guys can’t do.  It’s a simple as that.

Emotions are too riled up.  We’re probably never going back, BUT can we please make football a non-political world again? I long for the day when the NFL can be a neutral place in the relentless right vs. left cultural holy war.

For the record I am not trying to suppress speech in any way shape or form.  If people want to hear policy stuff they can find it on NPR, MSNBC, Fox News, pod casts etc.  Come kickoff time I don’t want to hear stuff I agree with, stuff I don’t agree with and potentially new thoughts to contemplate.

What it boils down to is when you play you are on the clock for the team you work for.  Companies have wide leverage to control your behavior in the spirit of making money and accomplishing tasks.  Participating in open politics can disrupt people from achieving the common goal of winning games.

The protests are a nice symbolic, non-violent way to state where you stand.  I just wish the people would channel their passions into different outlets where their chances of enacting their cause is much higher.  People say kneeling is a nice way to bring attention to their cause.  Technically that’s true but I see that as old thinking.  This isn’t 1987 anymore.  It’s not as if we have just three news stations. The advent of social and alternative media means you don’t need to kneel anymore.  Your chances of persuading people in a long form podcast are greater PLUS you won’t antagonize your NFL fans as much. 

If alternative media isn’t for you write think pieces or go on Meet the Press.  No matter you are advocating develop intellectually honest arguments with facts and reason.  Try to logically convince me why your line of thinking is the correct way to go.  If you are skilled people will go your way.  Attacks on people’s character or what’s in their heart backfire.

The media coverage becomes mostly about the protests than the on-field action. Actual football is secondary to the news of the day.  The league and its fans had an unofficial credo where only the game mattered.  These protests are a direct violation of that.

Hopefully it’s not too late.  Ratings are down so hopefully the league gets message.  Don’t play favorites and broadcast the fact you are apolitical again.

All will be well in the NFL world again.