“Over rated ” was the cheer heard multiple times toward the end of the Celtics Season opening 88-80 win over the much ballyhooed Miami Heat. Celtics fans were right, for one night anyway.
The Heat, more specifically their “Big 3” looked like they had never played before. While they had only played 3 plus minutes together during this preseason, they had played a lot together in international competition over the last few years (when they colluded to join forces). But in their opener as heat teammates LeBron and Wade combined for 14 turnovers, and Wade missed 12 of his 16 shots. He is definitely out of game shape having only played 3 plus minutes during the pre season.
So what do we make of all this? Wait 4 weeks until November 11th when the Celtics visit Miami for their 2nd game. Each team will have 8 games under their belt which should be sufficient time and experience for Miami’s big 3 to get used to each other. And ,oh yah, it should also be enough time for Shaq to get more used to his new team and for Jermaine O’Neal to get into some kind of game shape.
And then there is the teams 3rd meeting in the 53rd game of the year on Feb 13, when Delonte West will be adjusted to his new Celtics team.
Everyone loves to visit San Diego, for its weather, for its hospitality, but yesterday it’s football team went overboard. The Chargers handed the ball over to the Patriots 4 times in the 1st half and that would be enough to send the Patriots back to New England with a win.
And to make matters worse (for Chargers fans) is that the 4 San Diego turnovers were just your run of the mill turnovers. There was a brain lock turnover fumble or 2, like laying the ball down on the ground after a Charger fell but was not touched/tackled which means it was a free ball and the Patriots James Sanders Alertly jumped on it. There was also a controversial lateral (which really could have been ruled as a forward incomplete pass) that the Chargers didn’t fall on, and for that matter neither did the Patriots initially until some vociferous coaching resulting in a 63 yard return by Rob Ninkovich setting up a field goal.
The bottom line is that the Chargers outgained the Patriots offensively and outplayed them defensively. But the turnovers, the Chargers gifts to Patriots to go along with the perfect weather sent New Englanders home happy and anxious to return to one of the best cities in the world.
Much has been made of Deion Branch’s succesful return (9 catches, 98 yards, 1 TD) to New England. But what about Randy Moss’s return to the Metrodome in Minnesota?
Have you ever seen how quickly we became uninterested in a former local pro athlete, just a week and half after he left town? For those few of you keeping score at home you know that Moss caught 5 passes for 55 yards and no touchdowns in the Vikes win over the Cowboys. How was his reception back to Minnesota? Who cares which goes to show you how little Moss really connected with the New England fandom, sealed by wearing his headphones at the Patriots gala where Moss sat at a table with high paying fans only to keep his headphones on the whole time.
Bring on the Chargers. For Moss and the Vikes-they play….who cares?
One of the 1st points that Deion Branch made at todays presser was that he is not Randy Moss and is not back in New England to replace Randy Moss. Thank Goodness.
After 4 plus years away from New England, we forget how soft spoken, friendly and polite Deion Branch is. No, he is certainly not Randy Moss.
Now, in full disclosure, I like Randy Moss. I do not condone some of his boorish behaviour but ,while it is not an excuse for his behaviour, he has turned into a product of our system which spoils and worships pro athletes. People like Moss just take advantage.
Moss grew up in West Virginia and he was spoiled before he knew how to handle it. Unlike many athletes he is honest, sometimes brutally honest. I like that because it can be so refreshing. What he said At his post game presser after the opening game was not inaccurate, just poor timing after Wes Welker’s triumphant return.
Back to Deion Branch. He is not Randy Moss but he is going to be a good addition to this team, on and off the field. As much off the field as on as Branch is right out of Robert Kraft’s central casting for a representative of the Kraft’s Team.
If the Patriots can get a little production on the field out of Branch, which I believe they can, this could turn out to be a vital acquisition.
Saturday College Football schedule on WCVB Ch 5:
Noon SYRACUSE at South Florida
3:30 Michigan State at Michigan
8:00 Florida State at Miami
Once the news of Randy Moss trade talks leaked out (SportsCenter 5 learned about it at 6:40pm) Moss could begin packing his bags because there is no way he would put on a Patriots uniform again. He would be a distraction that Bill Belichick would not put up with.
I don’t necessarily agree with trading Moss because I don’t know who the Patriots will get in return from the Minnesota Vikings when the deal is finalized. In all likelihood the Patriots will receive a draft choice, probably about a 3rd round choice. That I don’t like. If the Patriots could get a wide receiver from the Vikings like a Greg Camarillo, you might be able to convince me that it is a good move but I think that is still not enough.
There are very few receivers who pose the kind of deep threat that Moss is so they will not be able to replace that. Now the Patriots were not going to re-sign Moss so like Richard Seymour last year, the Patriots wanted to get something for him rather than letting him go for nothing.
Do the Patriots possibly think the speedy Brandon Tate is ready to take Moss’s place ? I think that must be the case. Tate has certainly displayed his speed on his 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns but transferring that to be a consistent deep threat is a big leap of faith on behalf of the Patriots.
Interesting move by Belichick who must be feeling pretty confident about his team after Monday night’s 41-14 win, a win accomplished with Moss not having one single pass reception.
Bill Belichick hopes these are the real Patriots, growing up before his very eyes. When was the last time you saw Belichick that excited after a game? His last Super Bowl win?
Belichick knows that his special teams are not going to score 2 TD’s and set up another on a regular basis but he would like to see his defense continue to create turnovers like they did against the Dolphins. That, as we saw from the Super Bowl winning teams, is critical to a real playoff team.
So has Belichick found his defensive playmaker or two in Rob Ninkovitch and Patrick Chung? It is only one game but it’s a legitimate start which gives Patriots fans reason to think big.
And then there is the fact that the Patriots won by 27 points with Tom Brady throwing just 1 touchdown pass, Randy Moss not catching one pass and 5 foot 7 inch Danny Woodhead as the Patriots 2nd most active running back. Who would have thought?
And remember, after everything, this is a quarterback driven league and while Brady last night was not extraordinary, he did not turn the ball over while Miami’s Chad Henne had 3 interceptions. That is why Miami is not a serious threat and the Patriots, while Tom Brady is playing, will always be.
It’s now 2 weeks of Bill Belichick downplaying this win and getting ready for Baltimore. It’s going to be a fun and restful bye week, a well deserved bye week.
The BIG Shamrock era has begun, at least as far as practice goes. So how did he look? We were allowed in for just the last half hour of a 3 hour and 15 minute practice but here are some observations.
-Shaq may be 7’1″ but he just doesn’t dunk much anymore. He lays it up a lot. Now I know that today when I saw him he had already practiced for 2 hours and 45 minutes so obviously he was tired,but don’t expect that many rim rattling dunks. Doc Rivers did tell me that he thought Shaq looked great.
-Kevin Garnett looks good. Nice to see him not dragging his leg like he so often did last year. Now KG is 34 years old and is entering his 16th season but for having played that many minutes, he looks good (and he still dunks, a lot).
-Rondo is becoming more and more of a leader. He doesn’t take any guff from anyone. Kg and Paul Pierce (and Doc can sometimes) can get thru to him when they need to but I think he feels like he is the captain of this team. I hope he realizes how fortunate he is to be playing with 4 future hall of famers.
-Delonte West is going to be the surprise of this team. He is the toughest player on this team and he will be called upon to defend Kobe and Dwayne Wade and even Lebron. You can’t help but to root for this guy who has had some serious issues dealing from a personality disorder. This is the perfect place for him. A Great signing!
Less than a month until opening night against the Heat.
12p: Vanderbilt at UConn
3:30p Texas at Oklahoma
7:00p NewsCenter 5
8:00p Notre Dame at Boston College
11:30p NewsCenter 5