Wednesday, May 10, 2006

STANKEES

Sox - Yankees, Round Two: My only complaint is that the fans do not get to see Schilling versus Johnson: the Big Schill up against former teammate, co-MVP, and neighbor the Big Eunich. This is an interesting match-up because we still are unsure where these two teams are so far in the young season:

The Yankees can hit the ball, but the bottom of their order is suspect:

* Gary Sheffield will be sorely missed in the middle of the line-up while he is out with a sore wrist, as he is easily the Yankees most dangerous hitter in the clutch.
* Bernie Williams is hardly rejuvenated nor is Jorge Posada getting any younger.
* Robinson Cano is the latest version of Alfonso Soriano, however, but Jason Giambi - is he loaded up on the HGH again (since there is no test for it)???

* Mike Mussina has anchored the staff, but how long can his renaissance last?
* The Big Eunich is due for a back flare-up and a DL trip soon.
* The rainbow and lollypop run for Shawn Chacon is die to end soon (see: Aaron Small).
* The rest of the rotation is a disaster.

Of course, the Red Sox still have their number of questions:

* Is Mike Lowell for real re-inventing himself as the greatest doubles hitter since Wade Boggs? Is the record of 67 doubles in a season by Earl Webb finally going to fall?
* When will Manny go on that tear that he goes on every year?
* Big Papi is still doing well and he has yet to heat up with the weather as he usually does.
* Coco Crisp will add a whole new dimension to the offense when he returns.

* Clement still boggles the mind with his inconsistency and Tim Wakefield is out of excuses.
* Lenny DiNardo is just keeping the seat warm for Boomer, who will still gut out a dozen wins this season.
* Schilling and Beckett are the best 1-2 punch in the game right now.

So what does the future hold for these teams? Do they both go to the playoffs again and get wiped out by Chicago and Anaheim (or Oakland)? Do they fight for the ALCS again? Does one team not make the playoffs?

Hey, that is why they play the games. And why I will be eating hotdogs, drinking beer, and mowing on peanuts for these games with the little monkeys as the wit and wisdom of a two and four year old come out:

Dad, I do NOT like Johnny Damon anymore. (Hal IV does not take Yankee defections well. Mike Myers is on his list as well)

Manny, Manny, Manny. We like Manny! (Of course, he is the missing teletubby)

And

Cheater, cheater, Derek Jeter. Cheater, cheater, Derek Jeter. (The stark simplicity is what gives it the beauty of the phrase)


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FOOTBALL IS NEVER OUT OF SEASON:

Came across this interesting note buried in ProFootballWeekly:

Word is the Patriots believe they selected a seventh-round steal in Baylor cornerback Willie Andrews, who played out of position as a senior and flew under the radar of many teams. His biggest contribution, at least initially, could come on special teams.

Sounds like one of those classic Bill Belichick picks that the prognosticators overlook and then wonder how he did it (i.e. David Givens). On that same vein, I will bet anyone any amount of money that Tully Banta-Cain finishes the season with at least five sacks. Banta-Cain and former second-round pick Marques Hill are two players I am really interested in seeing on the field injecting some youth, speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability on third down this season.

Now back to Mr. Willie Andrews, super sleeper extraordinaire. Here is what Scouts Inc had to say about him:

Strengths: Reads keys quickly and can make plays in the backfield. Plays with a mean streak, fills hard when reads run and is an explosive open field tackler that can deliver some big hits. Takes good pursuit angles and possesses adequate range. Shows good instincts when dropping into zone coverage and rarely gets caught out of position. Times hits well and punishes receivers over the middle. Possesses adequate ball skills and flashes the ability to make the big play in coverage. Shows good vision, possesses adequate quickness and has the lower body strength to pick up some yards after contact when returning kicks. Is fearless and attacks seams as they open. Plays with a non-stop motor, is relentless in pursuit and can cover kicks.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal bulk, gets engulfed at the point of attack and isn't big enough to consistently line up in the box. Doesn't change directions well, doesn't explode out of cuts and lacks the man-to-man cover skills to stay with slot receivers as well as backs. Can be overaggressive and occasionally bites on play action. Lacks elite speed and isn't fast enough to recover when gets caught out of position. Doesn't show much of a second gear in the open field and isn't going to run away from cover teams when gets a seam. Lacks ideal elusiveness and isn't going to make multiple defenders miss in the open field.

Overall: Andrews played in all 12 games of his true freshman season and he recorded 26 totals and intercepted one pass while providing depth at safety. He started 12 games in 2003 and he recorded 67 total tackles, 46 solo tackles, six and a half tackles-for-loss and two and a half sacks. Andrews intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles. He also returned 26 kickoffs for a total of 641 yards and he returned 29 punts for a total of 232 yards. Andrews started 11 games in 2004 and he recorded 67 total tackles, 48 solo tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss and three sacks. He also returned 30 kickoffs for a total of 741 yards and he returned 41 punts for a total of 443 yards. Andrews started 10 games in 2005 and he recorded 59 total tackles, 36 solo tackles, seven and a half tackles-for-loss and two sacks. He also returned 11 kickoffs for a total of 265 yards and he returned 27 punts for a total of 274 yards. Andrews will never be an every-down safety because he lacks size and speed. He also isn't as dangerous as some of the other return men in his class but he has the potential to develop into a reliable return specialist that can cover kicks and provide some depth at safety. Andrews projects as a late-round pick or priority free agent prospect in the 2006 class.

Sounds like the draft report on Rodney Harrison coming out of college, no? Not to say that Andrews will have one-hundredth of the impact of Bad Rodney, but I think just reading the description of Andrews shows he has New England Patriots type of player written all over him. Whether he takes that next step, who knows? But I like that the Patriots have a potential diamond-in-the-rough for the secondary from the seventh round.

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New England Patriots: On Vacation as Free Agency Begins - Full Press Coverage

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