I remember when the Yankees had Alphonso Alphonse and Garcon Soriano at second base and he would destroy the Red Sox, game after game after game, especially at Fenway Park. Now, the mighty Robinson Cano paddles around second base and continually comes up with a big play to help the Red Sox. Too bad he plays for New York.

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Is there anything more laughable than the hype surrounding the Patriots secondary being unable to handle Randy Moss? Good job, Bay Area journalists, get Rodney Harrison worked up to the Frothing at the Mouth/Mad Dog on the Loose Level. Patriots fans everywhere appreciate it.

Do these writers even watch the games they cover or do they wrestle each other for the last roast beef sandwich on the lunch buffet? The Patriots play very little man-to-man defense against anyone. Heck, the Bill Belichick/Romeo Crennel/Nick Saban/Bill Parcells model is in and of itself a 3-4 base zone defense. Man-to-man is the call when a team is desperate for a sack and starts blitzing everyone. It does not tend to happen too often. Unlike the Jets and Colts, who employ the cover-two at almost all times, the Patriots do attempt to stop the run and take away more than just the deep pass. Yes, they force teams to make the dump-offs and the short-outs, but they do not just stand there and let the teams gouge them on the 10 and 12 yard routes like the cover-two teams of the AFC tend to allow. Of course, with Jason Ferguson in Dallas instead of New York, and Corey Simon with the Colts, expect the Colts defense to be superior to the Jets if only because they will no longer be gouged on first down. As for the Jets defense, Jason Ferguson was the most important player on the defense. Ty Law had better be in good shape, because the Jets defense will be on the field for extended periods of time.

Back to my point (if I ever even had one, oh yeah, the Patriots secondary!), Bill Belichick is unlikely to put any of his secondary in position to cover Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, or anyone else one-on-one with no help. Expect the coverage to be similar to that of the defense against Moss in the past and what they did to slow down Terrell Owens in the Super Bowl (hit him in the face early, rotate help to his side, do not let him get past the corner without a safety there to help, and hit him hard if he goes over the middle). Yes, T.O. caught a few balls but nothing significant other than the catch-and-run which was aided by the illegal pick by the other Eagles receiver where he went for forty yards or so. Had the official not missed that call, just imagine all the spouting off Owens would have been able to do about his quarterback not being able to get him the ball.

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One of my favorite football stats sites,, finally backs up a point I have been railing about for years. On the infamous tuck play during the final game at Foxboro/Sullivan/Schaefer Stadium against the Raiders in the divisional playoffs in the 2001 Divisional Playoffs (aka the Snow Game); Charles Woodson should have been slapped with a 15 yard penalty for slapping the quarterbacks helmet. Check it out at

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How will the Patriots offense do versus the Raiders defense coached by former Patriots linebacker coach Rob Ryan? Surprisingly well, I would think. Remember, Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch will be on the field for Mr. Brady. Also, the offense will not be juggling players in and out. The Raiders defense was old, slow and over-rated last season. Unfortunately for Oakland, switching schemes does not change the fact they remain old and slow, especially upfront. Look for Corey Dillon to have a big day, especially in the second half.

On that vein, I may be the only one, but I like the idea of the Patriots possibly running the ball more with Charlie Weis in South Bend, IN. At times the last few seasons I thought Weis was auditioning for a job by getting a little too pretty with the play calling and leaving Brady vulnerable to getting hit with too many spread offense calls and not enough protection. Give me three tight ends any day of the week! It may not be pretty, but you can not beat it.

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Ho-hum. Another game, another walk-off home run from David Ortiz. Seriously though, that was a dramatic, timely blast from Ortiz. And, really, what kind of option does the pitcher have? Walk Ortiz and pitch to Manny? Walk them both and put a pinch-runner into scoring position? Sorry, this is not LA/Anaheim/California or San Francisco where you walk Vlad Guerrero or Barry Bonds and you are out of trouble. The main reason not to unload Manny is the fact that their one-two punch is what creates these opportunities at the end of games.

The best part of the Papi homer was while I was watching it in bed with Kat, I said Just blast it out of here so I can go to sleep, Papi. Unbelievable.

Another key from the game was the great pitching by Tim Wakefield. Shaky Wakey went nine solid innings and picked up a big win. More importantly, he gave the bullpen another well earned day off. Nine innings from Wells, eight from Clement, (six from Schilling) and nine from Wakefield is more like the Red Sox need and expect from their starters. The main problem with the bullpen was the number of innings they were forced to work over the season. The more the bullpen works, the more the bullpen suffers.

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Switching back and forth between the Sox and Yankees game, I got to see rookie second baseman Robinson Cano make a huge error in the top of the ninth inning to lose yet again to the dreaded Devil Rays. Poor Cano, you know those arrogant, blithering idiots A-Rod and Sheffield gave him hell after the game. I hope Jeter protects the poor kid from those idiots.

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