February 12, 2005


Freddie Mitchell, obviously afraid that he’s about to hit the free-agent market, keeps shooting his mouth off and keeping in the press, after his humiliating performance in the Super Bowl. Now, on the planet according to the poster child of wasted first-round draft picks, the Patriots are too sensitive because they got upset by his not knowing any members of the secondary and his vague threat towards Rodney Harrison. Then, further endearing himself to his teammates and coaches, complains that the game plan was geared towards the Eagles most physically talented receiver (Terrell Owens) and not to good ol’ “22-Reception” (that’s for the season, not total over three playoff games) Freddie. Yeah, whatever.

I’m going to say it: The current version of the Patriots (2001-present) would beat the early 1990’s Cowboys, the 80’s 49ers teams, the 70’s Steelers, the 60’s Packers, etc as I could keep going on and on.

The Yankees need to take a good long look at how the Red Sox build their team. The Yankees non-glamour spots (middle relief & bench) remain abysmal. How can the Yankees not remember how they had no one to pinch-hit for Tony Clark in the ALCS (I repeat, Tony Freaking Clark!)? The Red Sox at least are like the Patriots in that they are filling the team with high character players and a deep bench and rotation. The Sox, last year and going into this season, have quality depth at every position.

Watching the Celtics again Friday night (I know, it’s sick. What can I say?), but they’re blowing out the Knicks by 22 after three-quarters at home. Some quick observations:
Marcus Banks is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body;
Kendrick Perkins is a year or two away from being what Mark Blount should be;
Ricky Davis is in the perfect role for both him and the team as Vinnie the Microwave Johnson Jr. of the bench with instant offense;
And I STILL believe it’s time to trade Paul Pierce while he still has some value.

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The season is less than a week over and already Don Banks at SI.com has his first mock draft. He has the Patriots, at #32, picking a cornerback: either Clemson’s Justin Miller or LSU’s Corey Webster.

The Patriots are in an interesting time to restock and reload via the draft. I hope they hit on a young corner and possibly a safety as well. Because of injuries, though, the Patriots are hopefully going to be able to reap the rewards in the coming season of the previous drafts:

2004 – Guss Scott – S: Although Dex Reid got the playing time as a rookie, it was Scott who was expected to provide immediate help. He got hurt early in training camp, so call it a red-shirt season and maybe we have some return on investment this season.
2004: Ben Watson – TE: The athletic tight end was supposed to step right in and play with Daniel Graham in the two tight-end set. Another early trip to the disabled list gives us another pick who could step right in and contribute.
2003: Dan Klecko - DT/FB/ILB: Klecko, a jack-of-all trades his rookie year, was being transitioned into filling the backup inside linebacker position, ostensibly to replace Ted Johnson in a few years. Unfortunately, an injury while lining up on offense cut the learning period short this year for the versatile sparkplug.
2004: Marquise Hill – DE: Hill, supposedly an athletic end who will chase QBs for years to come, never seemed to find the field (except for some special teams duty at the end of the season) as he red-shirted this season and was one of the healthy inactives for most of the season.
2003: Tully Banta-Cain – DE: Banta-Cain, a regular on special teams, saw some spot duty at outside linebacker. Banta-Cain is an exciting prospect as he is one of the pass-rushing undersized ends in college making the transition to the professional game as an outside linebacker (ala Mike Vrabel).
2004: P.K. Sam – WR & Cedric Cobbs – RB: These two are a couple of middle-round developmental picks who may not make major contributions until the 2006 season, if at all. These two represent the “talented, but need to be coached” middle-round picks that are a bit of a gamble, but could pay great dividends. These are the picks teams like the Patriots can make because they have the depth to be alright if they don’t work out.

Content by Hal Bent Copyright 2005