Wednesday, March 02, 2005

ANOTHER SLOW SPORTS DAY:


FAST FORWARD:


Enough. I can’t take it anymore. Start the games—I am ready.

No more profiles on Roberto Petagine, the 34 year old back-up first baseman candidate who put up numbers similar to Hideki Matsui in Japan; no more stories on what makes David Wells so happy to be in Boston; no more articles about Kelly Shoppach being stuck behind Jason Varitek and Doug Mirabelli at catcher. No more. It’s too much anticipation. Let’s just play ball.

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THE EAGLE IS LANDING:

The Boston College men’s basketball team should no doubt be recognized for playing so far above their heads this winter. Even more credit goes to coach Al Skinner. I hope they enjoyed their run because I don’t see them getting past UConn, Pitt, or Syracuse in the Big East Tournament, Forget about the big dance later this month, they’re looking like that #3 seed that gets wiped out in the first round by #14 seed Coppin State in the first round.

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FOUL:

Dennis & Callahan had their usual “good cop/bad cop” routine going this morning with their shouting match regarding Don Chaney, his suspension, and his sending out the goons to send a message to the opposition. Let’s make one thing very clear: the only reason anything came out of this is that Chaney brought it up because he felt guilty about one of the opposing players breaking his arm. Otherwise, this is no story because it happens with leagues of all levels. It happens in college ball, in the NBA, in high school ball, CYO leagues, etc. Heck, I remember playing CYO ball from grade school through high school and we always had a goon to go in there and send a message, rough up the other team’s best player, and draw some fouls in addition to fouling some guys. It’s a part of the game. Let’s not show the mock indignation and political correctness bologna.

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THE PRICE OF THE LAW:

I think it’s ironic that Ty Law was released in part to be able to free up salary cap money for potential contract extensions for good soldiers like Tom Brady and Richard Seymour. Personally, I don’t care where Law goes as long as it’s not in the division, and with he past moves of Bledsoe and Milloy in the division, I’m not even too concerned about that possibility.

Of course, Miami has enough of a problem at cornerback with Patrick Surtain. If they don’t give in to his ridiculous contract demands, why should anyone believe the Dolphins are going to shell out that same money for an older, injured cornerback? Buffalo would not surprise me, since nothing Tom Donahoe does in that personnel department could shock me anymore. They Jets have a need at cornerback, but I don’t see them doing anything until they get their own free agent situations taken care of and either make or pass on the ridiculous Santana Moss-Laverneous Coles trade.

Will Law follow the money to a bad team like Damien Woody did when he took the money from Detroit? Does he join Old Patriots West in Dallas? Does he insist on going to a winning team? If so there’s a rapidly shrinking market. The Colts only spend money on offense; Denver tied up their cash in Champ the chump Bailey; Pittsburg doesn’t shell out big bucks to free agents, and they just released Chad Scott at cornerback recently; Philadelphia is set at corner with two young Pro Bowlers; Atlanta is a good possibly, I guess, if they’ve got any money left after all they paid out to Michael Vick; and Green Bay just got out of a situation with a big money, big mouth cornerback (Mike Mackenzie)—a similar move doesn’t seem likely.

So Ty, where are you going to play? Who’s going to meet your outrageous contract demands until you can prove you’re 100% healthy?

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WHEN IN ROME:

It was no real surprise to see the Patriots released LB Roman Phifer. Thirty-six year-old linebackers don’t take up $2 million dollars on the cap and last long with the team. Would I be surprised to see him return later for a veteran’s minimum contract? Not at all. But if he doesn’t retire, a likely landing spot is Oakland with their previous attempts to sign him, their location close to his home and children, and with former positional coach with the Patriots, Rob Ryan, as their defensive coordinator.

Of course, with Pfifer gone and Bruschi a complete unknown commodity for next season, the Patriots strength of their defense, their linebacking corp, is now a big question mark. McGinest and Vrabel should return on the corners next season, as well as Tully Banta-Cain as the primary back-up. Inside linebacker looks thin without Bruschi and Pfifer. Ted Johnson remains, but I’m not sure special teams aces Larry Izzo and Matt Chatham are going to see too much time inside.

There are options on the free agent market as I had mentioned in a previous article (Sam Cowart, Edgerton Hartwell, Junior Seau, and Antonio Pierce are available), and of course there is always the possibility of Dan Klecko moving to the middle linebacker position as they had been experimenting with in training camp before Klecko got hurt last year. The draft could be a possibility, but realistically, when could this rookie be ready to contribute at a key position in this complex defense? Or does Belichick simply switch to a 4-3 with Johnson in the middle? Again, this is a very real possibility. Many options remain, and I’m excited to see what direction the team goes with and how it pans out next season.

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