Thursday, November 03, 2005

HEAD OF THE PACK

Your Boston Celtics are all alone in first place. Yes, it was only the first game of the season; yes, it was the Knicks, a team with 29-53 written all over them, but it does not change the fact that the green Green are on their way to fifty wins (yes, I said fifty as in 50), first place in the East, a chump first round playoff team at #6 in the first round, and a huge upset of Indiana in round two before falling to the Pistons in the Eastern conference finals (My that kool-aid sure is tasty, Mr. Ainge. Could I have another cup?).

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PATRIOTS:

I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE:


Give me a full-back every single time. I know I am not the first to mention this, and I am sure I will not be the last, but for the sake of a running game, LEAVE THE FULLBACK ON THE FIELD FOR EVERY SINGLE FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD DOWN (If 5 yards or less). I need to see if ColdHardFootballFacts or FootballOutsiders has this info, but just from watching the games, the Patriots seem so much better running the ball with a fullback. You can trot out five tight-ends for all I care, but they will never block the inside linebacker coming through the line if they are not in the backfield. Forget about defensive linemen and linebackers in the backfield, just get a big body like Heath Evans, line him up back there, and let him crack some heads until the defense rolls over.

I have nothing against the one-back set with three wide receivers, but to line-up two tight-ends with two receivers and expect to run the ball inside without a fullback is simply foolish. Two back, two tight-end, one receiver is acceptable. I am not sure if this is left over from Charlie Weis or is some idea hatched by offensive play-calling team, but it needs to go away for good. File it under failed experiment and move on.

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THE DEBATE RAGES ON:

Peyton versus Brady. Is there really any need for this debate? The real debate is Tony Dungy versus Bill Belichick. The Colts just throw money at Dungy and keep him around for what reason? So he can get out-coached in the playoffs again? Every year there is some horrible decision that screws the Colts over made by Dungy while Belichick makes all the right calls. Of course, Dungy just got a huge extension from the Colts, so someone must like him over there. Why, I have no idea.

The match-ups that the Patriots need to win are on offense and special teams. If the offense moves the ball and the special teams keeps the Colts needing to drive 75+ yards all day long, the Patriots should squeak out another win at the mercy of the Colts. Both teams desperately need the win: the Pats for some momentum going into the weak part of the schedule; the Colts to add some legitimacy to their unbeaten streak against the dregs of the league.

But the Manning-Brady nonsense needs a break. They are the two best Qbs in the game right now. Brady has the better coach; Manning has the better offensive personnel. Both are winners, both are fighting to keep the sliver of hope to win the big game alive. As the Pats struggle to stay healthy enough to get to January, the Colts are struggling to make one last dash for the Lombardi trophy before the salary cap begins to tear the team apart. The window of opportunity is slowing closing: who will grab their chance at glory now?

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CELTICS:

THE PRICE OF SUCCESS:


I want to watch the games, I really do. The team is talented, young, and exciting, but Tommy Heinsohn announcing the games on FSN makes watching unbearable. So what is the option? Put on 680-AM and listen to Mad Max quacking like a duck? Umm, no. I think I made the right choice last night: game on FSN, no sound.

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Now weighing in on the Sox: Euripides

many things we thought could never be,
yet the gods contrive

The one thing Theo taught us in his brief reign was that no one on the team was irreplaceable. Pedro: Who needs him? David Wells can win the same amount of games.
Todd Walker: We have a Smellhorn to replace you.
Smellhorn: We have a Graff to replace you.
Graff: We have Dustin Pedroia to replace you.
D-Lowe: Say hello to Matt Clement.
Nomar: see the OC: see Edgar.

For the past three seasons, the mantra of the Red Sox has been that, unlike the bad old days at Fenway, no one is going to hold this team hostage: Take what is offered or take the next cab to Logan.

Why anyone is surprised that this happened in the Red Sox front office is beyond my scope of imagination. The team that treats everyone the same: no divas, no Pedro or Roger or Jim Rice or Yaz above the team, why are we surprised that they not only followed through but extended the philosophy throughout the entire operation? Take any office/work situation: the only person ultimately who cannot be replaced is the person who is signing the checks. Outside of those with significant equity in the team, EVERYONE will eventually be replaced.

Is this some Ted Williams/Yaz/Jim Rice phenomenon where Sox fans expect everyone to stay forever? I gave up that notion in 1981 when Don Zimmer got canned. Why is everyone else so hung-up on this?

Theo is gone, but the franchise remains. I loved the Sox pre-Theo, pre-Larry, pre-John Henry, pre-Dan Duquette, pre-John Harrington, pre-Lou Gorman, etc and that will not change. Someone needs to inform the media that not all change is bad and sometimes it is the best thing for the franchise.

So please, for the love of God, stop the wailing, the rending of garments, the self-pity, the agony, the gnashing of the teeth accompanied with yet another simple case of management turnover. In fact, leave the Greek tragedies in the past and instead embrace what Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sang in No More No More from the great Toys in the Attic album:

Times they're a changing
Nothing ever stands still
If I don't stop a changing
I'll be writing my will

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