Tuesday, August 28, 2007


OK, so it was more of a whisper, but there is very little worry, concern, fear, and or loathing in Patriots camp this summer. Everyone knew that the option to sit out for nothing or make more per game than you made in base salary the season before would bring Asante Samuel back into the fold before week one. Sure, we would all have loved to see more of Randy Moss and Dante Stallworth running under passes from Papa Brady, more Adalius Thomas jumping from position to position, more Lawrence Maroney showing why he was the best back in the 2006 draft, and more healthy bodies, but no one will complain if there are more games like the pre-season tilt against the Panthers.

The Patriots ran and threw the ball with impunity against Carolina. Brady was sharp, Maroney looked good, the offensive line was consistent, and short of one hiccup (where Eugene Wilson limped off after the subsequent play) there were very few things to complain about on defense. Even the special teams stepped it up, blocking two kicks as Vince Wilfork showed off that tremendous strength and explosive first step not seen since his days at the U.

Sure it was only preseason, and, yes, Heath Evans looked like Bronco Naguski out on the turf, but it as nice to see the Patriots looking like the cohesive Mangini-crushers we expect them to be this season.

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One last note, I will be putting together a special Patriots Final Cuts blog very soon. Not that there are a lot of positions up for the taking, but battle for the last five or six roster spots should be intense, as well as the excitement of sneaking the kids to the practice squad knowing that Mangini (or as the New Yorkers call him: Man-Genius. As he is forever referred to here: Man-gina) is hovering around the Foxboro cast-offs and desperate to bring them into New York. Seriously though, we do not really hate Mangina, he is one of our guys. We just hate those arrogant Jets fans who think they are the new suffering Red Sox and every season is going to be their own personal 2004.

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Wait, am I wrong, or did I hear a couple weeks ago that the series this week against the Yankees was supposed to be when the New York mob took over first place and the Sox began to worry about how to cut into the lead Seattle has in the wild card. Hmm, a funny thing happened on the way to September: the Yankees struggled against good teams and the Red Sox beat-up on some patsies to get their lead in the AL East back up to seven in time for the big series in the Bronx.

Yes, I derided all the WEEIdiots who wrote off the Red Sox while the Yankees beat-up Tampa Bay and Chicago while the Red Sox struggled against the Indians and Angels. Funny how things turned out when the Sox got the patsies, no? What the average Boston Red Sox fan fails to realize is that in baseball, there is always tomorrow. The Sox could be at the short end of a 30 run game, or a double-digit sweep and it still is not the end of the world. I mean, the Cardinals won 83 games last year and still somehow the hot team at the right time and took down the Tigers.

The Yankees could sweep the Sox and still win the division. Of course, that is what Regular Joe Torre is praying for right now. For those who have not been subjected to my anti-Yankee views the past four years or so that I have been writing here, I always refer to Joe Torre as REGULAR JOE, because of the play on words (i.e. he is a regular joe) and the fact that he burns his bullpen out in a desperate play for the division lead that the pen is gassed come October. This season has proved to be no exception. Before he retired (or was forced out), I mad the point to refer to pitching coach Mel Stottlemeyer as G&T Mel because there was never any improvement by pitchers in New York, only regression, and I figured his role must have been to mix drinks for Regular Joe after the games.

However, I am not losing any sleep over the Sox being up by only single digits as September comes into view. Most likely, either the Sox or Yanks will win two of three in this mid-week set and that will not swing the division in either direction. A sweep by the Sox would be nice, and a sweep by the Yanks would help them immensely (if only in the wild card race), but these teams are both heavyweights, and in battles of two true top of the game heavyweights very rarely is there a first round knockout. Most often, they both go on swinging with a vengeance at the end of the twelfth round.

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