Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spare Neurons

Here is where you find the random thoughts, caffeine-fueled rants, "smacking the dashboard and screaming at radio hosts" diatribes, and bizarre observations that pop into my head and are not worthy of a full post:

  • Drunk Jays Fans - - This is a great blog.  Granted, the poor bastard is a Toronto Fan in the A.L.East ruled by the free-spending Steinbrenners', Disciples of Joe Maddon (does he have his own religion in Tampa yet?), and my sisters of the poor here in Boston.  But any blog with a WADE BOGGS HEAD prominently displayed earns my instant respect. (And the Jays are coming. Beware fellow Red Sox fans: Toronto is miles ahead of Baltimore in terms of possibly competing for 3rd place and on the rise!)
  • Hard to believe I used to mock the Bruins regularly for not attempting to even compete for a championship and the hearts (and WALLETS!) of the fan base.  Now, my son even knows half the roster and recognizes Brad Marchand in some horrible hockey wholesale place commercial.
  • Getting anxious here in Celtics viewership-land here, Danny Ainge.  Mighty anxious.  Just sayin'...
  • Why Chad Finn at the Boston Globe rocks, reason # 1,568: His tweet after the Scutaro trade: "At age 20, Bobby Valentine hit .340 with a .910 OPS in Triple A. His position was shortstop. As far as I'm concerned, Scutaro's job is his."
  • Speaking of my man Marco, now that he has been traded, does that mean I have to change my fantasy baseball team name from "Scu-Scu-Scutaro"? 
  • Also, who the heck plays shortstop now? Mike Aviles? 
  • What did the Red Sox get for Scutaro? Clay Mortensen: A 26 year-old former pitching prospect, aka roster filler. Yes, it was an official salary dump.
  • Dear Red Sox Management, This is a work in progress, no?
  • I want to go on record to say that my prediction is that Wes Welker will have a HUGE game against Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game.  As in un-coverable, playoff-record shattering stats, and be the key to a big win on Sunday. 

Marco? Marco? Mmmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrccccccccccccccooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

Your small-market, low-spending, cash-strapped Boston Red Sox are desperately trying to free up cash to acquire a premium starting pitcher.  Please, call John "Jimmy Swaggert" Henry!  Send your $20! Your $30! Your $50!  YOUR Red Sox need cash!  YOUR cash!

The needy Sox (do their red socks need darning and can't afford to be sewn?) traded shortstop Marco Scutaro a few months after trading their other shortstop (Jed Lowrie).  Umm, I am all for trading for pitching at ANY time, but seriously?  Free up money for Roy Oswalt or outfielder Cody Ross?  I am both flabbergasted and speechless.

  • So that John Lackey signing for $17.5 million per year? Wasted cash.  Sure would be nice to dump that into Liverpool for that mid-fielder they need for the Mersey Derby next year...umm, I mean a shortstop for the Red Sox. 
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka? Wasted cash.  
  • Carl Crawford? How much money to fill out the disabled list? 

Something tells me Ben "Boy Wonder" Cherington is thinking that he and Theo "He who shall not be named" vociferously fought against these "seat-fillers" eating up the budget and not waiting for Anthony Rizzo to develop at first base instead of unloading him (and other prospects) for Adrian Gonzalez (of whom I am a huge fan of and think is a great fit, btw).

Well, I guess those insanely priced tickets (for regular and exhibition games!) along with the pound and pounds of crap related to "Red Sox Inc." that ownership grubs from Joe Everyday Fan is desperately needed to field a competitive team (for Liverpool and Roush Racing!).

Turn-over and Turnovers

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Patriots in their 2009 playoff loss to the Ravens have Ben Watson and Chris Baker at tight end, Randy "I give up" Moss, Sam Aiken, and rookie Julian Edelman at wide receiver (and don't forget converted quarterback Isaiah Stanback at wide receiver, because I know I did!) and last and certainly least Laurence Maroney and Fred Taylor at running back?  This is not the same Patriots team other than a few key players. This was a completely different team altogether.  

DE: Ty Warren NT: Vince Wilfork DE: Jarvis Green OLB: Adalius Thomas ILB: Jerod Mayo ILB: Gary Guyton OLB: Tully Banta-Cain CB: Shawn Springs CB: Leigh Bodden S: James Sanders S: Brandon Meriweather
The defense that got shredded returns all of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo as contributors.  Showing up in the 2009 Playoff game included Brandon Meriweather watching Ray Rice run past him on the opening play 83 yard touchdown run, James Sanders at the other safety a step slow as usual. With Leigh Bodden at one corner and Darius Butler splitting time with malcontent Shawn Springs, this secondary makes Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty seem like the belles of the ball. 

With Mayo at linebacker was Gary Guyton (still on the team, not seen on the field in a while), Tully Banta-Cain, Adalius Thomas, and the corpse of Junior Seau.  Yikes.  Defensive line alongside Wilfork  had rookie Myron Pryor (on injured reserve presently), Ty Warren, and Jarvis Green.   Any wonder this defense was shredded?  Now the Patriots have a good run defense and have locked down opposing offenses in the red zone. 

Remember as well, this 2009 Patriots team was the first team since 2002 that got away from Bill Belichick in the clubhouse and spilled over into sloppy, undisciplined and poor play on the field. There was Randy Moss showing up late, Adalius Thomas and Shawn Springs undermining the coaching staff. Hardly a team that was prepared to make a run through the playoffs.  

LT: Matt Light LG: Logan Mankins C: Dan Koppen RG: Stephen Neal RT: Sebastian Vollmer TE: Chris Baker QB: Tom Brady WR: Randy Moss WR: Julian Edelman WR: Sam Aiken RB: Laurence Maroney
On offense the Patriots return Tom Brady and a few offensive linemen.  Seriously.  Matt Light and Logan Mankins return. No Dan Koppen at center is a bit of a loss, but they have survived without Koppen all year and can do no worse than Koppen did in that playoff game against Haloti Ngata who tossed him around all game. Marcus Cannon is looking like a 5th round steal filling in at tackle and guard like Seabass (Sebastian Vollmer)did in 2009.  Rookie Nate Solder is a beast at right tackle and a definite upgrade over Nick Kaczur who manned right tackle in 2009, and Brian Waters is doing so well at right guard that one wonders if Scott Pioli released Waters because he owed Bill Belichick a favor.  Waters is a huge upgrade over Stephen Neal who was struggling to stay healthy in 2009.

Add in Wes Welker blowing out his knee the week before in their last regular season game in 2009 against Houston (how does everyone forget that?), and that Patriots team was a beaten-down group who had already given-up on their season and had graduated to a status of being classified as no more than Tom Brady and the walking dead. This team could not win on the road. This team got beat by the freaking Dolphins.  This was the year of the melt-down against the Saints where everyone shut off the TV and said "Are the Saints that good or the Pats so bad?" (the answer was Yes and Yes). Do you remember these two incidents from 2009? 
Randy Moss' effort called into question: A firestorm ensued when two Carolina Panthersdefenders said that Moss shut it down during the Patriots’ 20-10 win on Dec. 13 (2009). Owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady threw their support behind Moss. 
Players showing up late for a team meeting: On a snowy, icy Wednesday morning, Derrick BurgessGary Guyton, Moss and Adalius Thomas were sent home by Belichick for being late to an 8 a.m. meeting.  (from: Mike Reiss, 1/10/2010)
So if the Ravens can hold Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to 2 receptions for 5 yards like the dynamic duo of Ben Watson and Chris Baker had in 2009, I like the Ravens chances to win.  If the Patriots have to give Kevin Faulk over 20 touches because there is no other offensive weapon for Brady, then these Baltimore Ravens have a real chance tomorrow. But, please, the 2011 Patriots are so very, very different from the 2009 Patriots.  It is hardly a valid comparison.  Call it apples to oranges.  With no disrespect to a defense with Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed, but I like the Patriots chances in the AFC Championship game much more than in the 2009 playoff mess. New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

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