Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Look

A further look at the Patriots ever-fluid roster:

Quarterback
Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Kevin O'Connell
Whatever happened to Matt Gutierrez? To keep Cassel seems to infer that more changes at the position are forthcoming this season. Can Gutierrez make it through waivers to the practice squad? One hopes, since Cassel is on his last legs here.

Running back
Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, Heath Evans, Kevin Faulk
BenJarvus Green-Ellis should make the practice squad, otherwise no real surprise here.

Wide receiver
Sam Aiken, Jabar Gaffney, C.J. Jones, Randy Moss, Ray Ventrone, Kelley Washington, Wes Welker
Chad Jackson getting the heave-ho while C.J. Jones makes the team seems bizarre until you realize this is Bill Belichick/Scott Pioli and everyone on the roster needs to know that any and all are on the chopping block and no one cares where and when you were drafted. Special teams superstar Sam Aiken makes the squad as well. Hmmm.

Tight end
Benjamin Watson, David Thomas, Stephen Spach & Jason Pociask (off waivers from the New York Jets)
Will Spach last with Pociask on the squad? Probably not as long as Watson and Thomas are healthy enough to get through the first few weeks.

Offensive line
Wesley Britt, Dan Connolly, Russ Hochstein, Nick Kaczur, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Billy Yates, Mark LeVoir (off waivers from the Rams)

My pal Gallagher is no doubt relieved Mike Flynn got cut (wait, that wasn’t his roommate from Marist-oh, forget it.) John Welbourn is another surprise cut here. I can tell you that I know nothing much about LeVoir who was scooped up off the Rams practice squad.

Defensive line
Jarvis Green, Richard Seymour, Le Kevin Smith, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright

Again, no surprises here.

Linebackers
Eric Alexander, Tedy Bruschi, Shawn Crable, Gary Guyton, Larry Izzo, Jerod Mayo, Adalius Thomas, Mike Vrabel, Pierre Woods
Victor Hobson was ever a factor, so I guess it is no surprise he joins Chad Brown and whatshisnamefromtheChiefsafewyearsback as bad fits at linebacker. Vince Redd joined the practice squad. With Rosie Colvin available again, I wonder if Eric Alexander should bother unpacking.

Cornerbacks
Ellis Hobbs, Lewis Sanders, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite
Fernando Bryant and Jason Webster being cut leaves only a handful of corners. Will the Ty Law saga return? Is there another veteran on the horizon? Cornerbacks Mike Richardson and Antwain Spann made the practice squad.

Safeties
Rodney Harrison, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Matthew Slater
Cutting John Lynch seems odd, but I imagine they are covering their rears by not guaranteeing his salary and signing him later on. Otherwise, this is one damned thin secondary.

Specialists
Stephen Gostkowski (kicker), Chris Hanson (punter), Lonie Paxton (long snapper)

Again no surprises here, as competition was never brought in.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Various Ramblings

Oh God help me last out the preseason NFL blather as the local and national media fight to bury the Patriots...

1. OK, somehow Matt Cassell remains a Patriot. Well, if Tom Brady went down I think 3rd round pick Kevin O'Connell would end-up starting the next game anyway. Of course, if the offensive line keeps Tom Brady upright for 16 games, the Patriots are good for 12 or 13 wins.

2. I love how the media has spent the past three or four years bitching about the Pats being old and slow at linebacker and cornerback, and now that they are bringing in an infusion of youth, they are criticized for being inexperienced at those positions. OK, let's see a few games and then decide if they are up for the challenge.

3. Umm, the Sox will catch the Rays for first in the AL East. You heard it here first.

4. For my money, I'd take Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie and Mike Lowell over Jason Giambi, Robby Cano, Derek Jeter, and A-Rod. Exactly.

5. Yeah, I really, really regret the Sox letting Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn, Derek Lowe, and Trot Nixon get away. Sorry, just wanted to see if I could say that with a straight face.

6. My fantasy football team is a little weak this time around: QBs: Derek Anderson & David Garrard; RBs: Steven Jackson, Larry Johnson, Brandon Jacobs, Deangelo Williams, and Deuce McAllister; WRs: Torry Holt, Roy Williams, Laverneus Coles, and Isaac Bruce; TEs: Chris Cooley and Donald Lee; K: Shayne Graham; Defense: Pittsburgh and Arizona.

Nope, just not feeling it with that roster this year.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

12 Angry Men...

...and none of them me. Safe from Jury Duty for another three years. Some thoughts I whipped-up while waiting for the day to end.

1) ATTENTION: This is a Manny-free zone:
Finally, after seven plus long years the circus has left town. For all the good Manny did in the line-up, Theo Epstein as been looking to punch his ticket out of town since he sat in the GM seat. Believe it or not despite the LA renaissance, Manny is on the decline. Stats do not lie. Manny's VORP (Value Over Replacement Player--just imagine the average baseball player was Julio Lugo and every player was given a rating in comparison to him. The higher the number, the better.) this season in Boston was 24. Baseball Prospectus had him pegged at 23.5. Last year, his VORP was 34.6, a slight decline. Of course, in 2006 it was 66.1--a significant drop-off. So really, the last two years Manny was not being Manny at the plate. At age 36, a full-seaon renaissance is unlikely. In fact, his projections trend further downward as he ages: Age 37 in 2009: VORP of 21; Age 38 in 2010: VORP of 11. Age 39 in 2011: VORP of 9.8. Yes, I am sure Scott Boras saw those numbers, just as Theo Epstein did. Any wonder why Manny wants free agency now instead of after 2010?

2) Let the age of JayBay begin:
Freed from the yoke of Pittsburgh, Jason Bay lands in Fenway to step into left field in the shoes of Manny Ramirez, Mike Greenwell, Jim Rice, Carl Yastremski, and Ted Williams (one of these players is not like the other!). Jason Bay in Pittsburgh stepped up this year with his 29.0 VORP (sorry, haters, but JayBay was better than Manny this season). Last year...eh, let's just say maybe Bay needed a year off. But the two seasons before that were positively Manny-esque: 2006: 49.7 VORP; 2005: 72.7 VORP.

So perhaps the Red Sox really did make the best deal out there...obviously, neither Lance Berkman nor Albert Pujols were going to show up in Fenway Park, and a peaking power-hitter is practically priceless in this day and age. The Sox got a good one for a slugger on the decline and two spare parts.

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