Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Morning Coffee Break - 11/25/2012

by Hal Bent, BostonSportPage.com 

Sunday mornings are all about relaxing, making a big breakfast, drinking coffee, and (today) gearing up for the NFL games (even if the Patriots have already played this week), Friday's impressive victory by the Celtics, bemoaning Everton leaving points on the table against a cellar-dweller (AGAIN!) while waiting for the Red Sox to do something (ANYTHING!).  With that, let's look at what's going on in Boston Sports with a run-through the major sports teams in town:




  • A few left-over thoughts from the New England Patriots Turkey Day beat-down on the New York Jets: 
    • Jets safety LeRon Landry appeared to the only Jets player who was playing for a new contract next season.  His ringing helmet-to-helmet hit on Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was the main down note of the second-half, but one wonders "what if" as the Patriots had Landry in Foxboro in the off-season but did not sign him.  Granted, the safety problems have been the deep middle of the field, not pounding ball-carriers near the line of scrimmage, and Landry would be a third safety with the same skill set as Steven Gregory and Patrick Chung.  
    • Edelman, after once again finally inserting himself into the Patriots offensive game plan and making big plays on special teams, is injured again.  After hurting his hand earlier in the season, Edelman finally worked his way back to the field and is again out for an indeterminate time pending his recovery from this likely concussion. This is frustrating as Edelman has shown he can contribute and make plays, but has not shown he can stay on the field. 
    • With wide receiver Greg Salas traded for, released, placed on the practice squad, promoted, released and now signed by Philadelphia, the Patriots will have a void at wide receiver behind Brandon Lloyd.  Certainly, an option is to bring back one of the receivers already cut. Deion Branch, who was released two weeks ago when he injured a hamstring, is the most likely target. However, his health is unknown. Also, if healthy, there is competition for his services, as the team in Green just defeated is looking for healthy receivers.  If I am Deion Branch, I'm sitting in New Jersey in front of the media with my hand out to the Jets driving my price as high as I can get it. 
    • There's not much else left-over on the wide receiver market at this time, as the only possible target (outside of trading for Greg Salas again!) would be pre-season surprise cut wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who ended up in Miami before being released last week.  However, Gaffney, in addition to being released, has a knee injury that kept him out of action, and topped his week with news of a two game suspension for an off-field incident in 2010. So signing Gaffney, if he is healthy enough to play, would still be out two games.
  • There is one ungrounded JET, guard Jason Terry of the Boston Celtics:
    • Terry finally had his "Jason Terry meet Boston, Boston meet Jason Terry" moment on Friday night when Terry removed all lingering negative feelings about losing Ray Allen to the Heat when Terry nailed a huge 3-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder with 36 seconds to go in the fourth quarter to put the Celtics up after the Thunder clawed back into the game cutting the lead to five points.  That deep dagger is what everyone missed when Allen left and wondered where that play would come from.  Terry pumped in 16 points and was 4 of 6 from three-point land Friday night. It was a big-time shot by a big-time late-game shot-maker. The JET has taken off in Boston!
  • Red Sox continue to wow everyone with their lack of action:
    • I would list all the players the Red Sox have missed out adding at reasonable cost for reasonable years who could help this team, but I have no desire to type until my fingers bleed.  After adding back-up DH/platoon LF Jonny Gomes, the Sox are still in the game for C/1B Mike Napoli and their own free agent, OF Cody Ross.
      • The Red Sox will likely give Ross two years with a vesting option for the 3rd year that he should meet easily if healthy.  Ross is an excellent fit at Fenway Park, and he knows that at the end of the day.  Three years is hardly excessive for him.
      • Napoli brings nothing new to the Red Sox; They already have an aging slugger with no position in David Ortiz.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia is younger, a better defender, and put up better batting numbers than Napoli last year, despite being seven years younger.  Seriously, what is the big deal with wanting Napoli? Seattle wants him to replace Justin Smoak? Let them have him.  They need a big, empty salary to replace Chone Figgins. 
    • The problem with free agents is that there is a reason their original team has not re-signed them.  This is not 1976, Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter are not available. The Red Sox need to identify who can bring in young talent and move those players.  I fully support the complete re-building effort this team requires.  I say trade SP's John Lackey, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, RP's Alfredo Alceves and Andrew Bailey, OF's Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Sweeney, and IF's Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Trade them all; this team is ticketed for last place anyway, do it right. Who cares if they lose 90 or 105 at this point? Do what's right, blow it all up, load up on prospects, and see what they can do.   Of course, we all know this won't happen. The team will add a bunch of over-priced sluggers, a bunch of over-the-hill pitchers, and make a run to try to finish 81 and 81 and finish 4th in the AL East. Pardon me for not bringing the champagne and streamers. 
  • Everton Ties a Lesser Opponent Again:
    • This is getting to be like Groundhog Day here, I just railed last week about the Toffees blowing leads and only getting one point out of soon to be relegated teams.  Suddenly, the boys in blue are looking like a middle-of-the-pack squad instead of the top 5 club they have been so far this season in the EPL.  Norwich City bangs in a goal in the 90th minute to tie Everton.  NORWICH-FREAKING-CITY! 
    • Yes, Marouane Fellaini was suspended and they had to bring in Bryan Oviedo to start, and yes, there was an injury to Seamus Coleman, but there is no excuse for a club at the top quarter of the table to lose this match. Steven Naismith netted a goal in the 12th minute to put the Toffees up early and not have to come from behind, but this time the lead was only one goal, and it was not enough. Arsenal and West Ham are nipping at their heels, and Chelsea and West Brom are moving ahead of the Toffees. Since October, Everton has only gained one point instead of three against Wigan, QPR, and now Norwich City.  Arsenal, ManCity and Tottenham Hotspur loom large in the next three matches, and instead of playing down to the competition, they had better get in gear and play up to the level of competition coming up on the schedule.


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