Archive for September, 2010

Celtics 1st Practice
September 28, 2010

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.

-MD

WCVB College Football Schedule For Saturday, October 2
September 28, 2010

12p: Vanderbilt at UConn

3:30p Texas at Oklahoma

7:00p NewsCenter 5

8:00p Notre Dame at Boston College

11:30p NewsCenter 5

Patriots Panic?
September 20, 2010

In a word- No, as in no panic.

It’s just one game. Yes, it was a disappointing 2nd half but who really thought the Patriots would dominate the Jets for an entire game, at least control their defense for an entire game?

Having said that, no one expected Tom Brady to turn the ball over 3 times in the 2nd half. That was surprising indeed but should that make you panic? When’s the next time Brady turns it over 3 times in a half? That won’t happen again this season.

The ability, or should I say inability to stop the Jets running game was troubling. That more than anything else needs to be worked on. I am not pessimistic about the Patriots young defensive backs as long as the front 7 can put some kind of pressure on the quarterback.

This is a good week to work on all of that and put their fans at ease with a game against the woeful Buffalo Bills coming up.

And one more thing-pass the ball more to Wes Welker. That alone may be the most troubling stat of the day-2 passes thrown to Welker in the 2nd half and both came in the 1st 5 minutes of the half. Didn’t this guy have 15 catches for 192 yards the last time these 2 teams met? yes, he did.

-MD

Randy Moss Goes Off After The Game
September 12, 2010

Here are Randy Moss’s comments from after the Patriots 38-24 victory over the Bengals. This transcription was provided by the Patriots Media Team and as best I can tell, has not been edited for content.

RM: Before I get to questions, I’d like to say something. I’ve been here for three years. This is my fourth season. I understand the business and the nature and I understand that you all have a job to do. When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, I say [that] time and time again. But I think there is, I don’t really want to say here in the organization, but I think around here in the New England area, a lot of people don’t want to see me do good. And the reason why, I don’t know. I really don’t care. But I just want to let you all know, you all [are] the ones that are doing all the writing, all the pen, the pad and ink. I don’t have any. So, anything that I may say will get blown out of proportion. Earlier in the week, I got asked a question about me being here and me being unhappy. And me being unhappy doesn’t have anything to do with me toning my game down. I’m here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. I think earlier in the week, a lot of people were coming at me wrong about me being unhappy. That’s like, for instance, if you worked for somebody, everybody in here you work for somebody, unless you are independent, and if you’re boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you you’re doing a good job. That’s every man or woman who works for somebody. You want your boss to come through and be able to say he read your column last night or this morning. He liked your column. And that’s just the way [it is] with football. If you do a good job and think that you’re doing a good job, you want to be appreciated. I really don’t think that, me personally, that I’m appreciated. I don’t want you all to take anything out of context that I’m saying because I am a man and this is a job. I take my job very seriously, to heart. I want to let you all now and I want to let the fans, the real fans of the New England Patriots know, I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m here to play my last year out of my contract. And I’ve said time and time again, before I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. There’s a great group of guys here. Well coached group here. And I never said that I wanted to leave New England. But I think that a lot of things that have been written or been said are looking at me in a negative light. And I don’t want it to be in a negative light. I just want everybody to understand, you can print it. I don’t care how you put it on your ink, I want to be here as a Patriot. I love being here. But I just think from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I’m not retiring. I’m still going to play some football. I just want to get that off my chest and let you all understand that this is a business. Now I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: Why do you think that people don’t want to see you succeed?

RM: I’ve got a long history. My history has nothing to do with anything too, too bad. Everybody has a certain mystique about them. I guess that people just don’t like the way that I carry myself. If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is.

Q: What people are you talking about?

RM: I don’t know. I read. You might not be one. You could be one. But I’m not pointing fingers at any man or woman. I’m just telling you straight up. We’re football players. Everybody’s not going to write in their column today everything’s going to be positive. There’s going to be some negatives. I’m just thinking that the journey that I’ve taken to get to where I’m at, 13 years, I don’t really feel that I’m very liked. And I’m not saying from you all. I don’t really give a damn if you like me to be honest with you.

Q: Do you mean the fans?

RM: Listen here, what I’m trying to say is, I get a lot of negative publicity on any word that I say. For instance, the word that I used this week was ‘unhappy.’ And I don’t know who took it, but word got back to me that that started a domino [effect] about me being unhappy. But then I just told you all about you working for somebody and you having a boss, you would like to feel appreciated. I’m not saying that I’m not appreciated here. But I would like to feel that sometimes. This is the last year of my contract. Nothing has been discussed. There’s not been anything said. Not a letter. Nothing. I’m not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job let’s me go to another team, then that’s what it’s going to be. But for right now, I’m still in a contract for the New England Patriots, and I have a job to do. So I’m going to play my year out and do the best of my ability.

Q: Do you understand how bad this looks after a 38-24 win to stand up here and talk about the contract?

RM: I can honestly say this, ‘I don’t really talk much.’ And I don’t want to take away from the win. But I think that before this season gets started, I don’t want it to be week 10, week 11, week 12, and we’re sitting here talking about a contract. What I want to let you all know is, I know this is the last year of my contract and I’m here to play it out. And I want to play some damn good football. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. I don’t want to wait until week 12 or 13. Every week is not going to be good for me. I have two and three guys on me sometimes. I don’t wait until week 9, 10 or 11 that I have a bad game, and now the tables turn on me. ‘Oh he doesn’t want to be here.’ That’s what I don’t want to happen. I’m not disrespecting the organization. I’m not disrespecting my teammates for the victory that we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals. But I think that this is my first time talking this year, and I want to get it out there. I’m definitely not being disgruntled or disrespectful. Like I said, this is my first time talking.

Q: But it’s going to get spun that way.

RM: Somebody’s going to spin it. Anything that I say is going to get spun around. I’m not trying to take away from the victory that we had today. It’s been a long offseason for us. Bill [Belichick] put us through a lot of hard work. From a physical standpoint, I’m paying for it. The victory today that we had against the Cincinnati Bengals was definitely well deserved because we prepared for it. By me ramping off for me as an individual, like I said, I don’t want to take away from what we did. I just want to get it off my chest because this is my first time talking this year. You’re not going to hear much from me this year. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. So I’m getting it out of the way now.

Q: So if the organization comes to you and offers you a contract extension, would you sign it?

RM: I don’t want to talk about contracts. I just want to let you all know that I’m here to play my last season out. If an opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. Like I say, week 9, 10 or 11 down the road, I don’t want things to fall back on my lap. This is week one, so I’m trying to get it out there right now. Everybody can print it however you copy it.

Q: What if that opportunity presents itself this offseason?

RM: This offseason? I don’t really want to get to that. I’m 33 years old. I think that when you’re brought into this league earlier, you’re played off what you’re capable of doing. I’ve already showed that I can play still at a high level at age 33. For me to be offered a contract after this season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face. So I don’t even really want to get into that.

Q: So do you think it’s time to go somewhere else?

RM: Regardless of what I’m sitting here saying, you all are going to write what you want to write. All I’m saying is I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m going to play my year out to the best of my ability and try to play some damn good football. That’s what I trained myself to do this offseason to play some damn good football and help this team win. And that’s what I want to do.

Q: What did you mean that this offseason Bill Belichick put you through a lot and you’re paying for it physically?

RM: He never let up. We started out from OTAs. You local writers know that [in the past] Bill has given me maybe a day here or there off. I haven’t [had] any. From a physical standpoint, I’m kind of feeling [it]. It’s nothing bad, it’s just old age, I guess.

Q: What part of your old age body is feeling it?

RM: Probably legs. Low back, legs. That’s nothing that a massage and a cold tub won’t cure. I’m not young. I’m old. For us to go out and play on this grass and pound on this turf, doesn’t really feel good. I’m happy to be in this position. I’m very blessed, as I say time and time again. I just want to make the best of this. I don’t want this to be a negative. I want this to be a positive. Win or lose, I still want to come out and play some good football.

Q: Tom Brady has gone out of his way to say that he wants you and he appreciates you. How much does that mean?

RM: It means a lot coming from Tom. He’s the face and the leader of this team. We do a lot of talking daily. Tom knows how I feel about this being my last year. Bill might call me into his office tomorrow, but then again, you all know that this is my first time talking this season. I’m not going to be up here talking every week. And you’re not going to find me in the locker room. Well you’re going to find me, but you’re not going to get me to talk because I’m not here to talk. I’m here to play. It’s definitely very, very helpful for Tom to come to my defense saying that he wants me here because I love playing here. I don’t want to leave here. I don’t. But the business aspect of it, I’ve got to look out for me and my family. So that’s where I’m coming from.

Q: Do you feel like you were misunderstood after the team charity event when you had headphones on?

RM: I really don’t want to get into it. That’s more in-house. So we just take it. Whoever wrote what they wanted to write, and my music was playing whatever I wanted to listen to.

Q: From our perspective, it looks like you just came off your best camp in New England. Would you agree with that?

RM: Since I’ve been here, yes. And that’s why I’m very excited about this season. The Cincinnati Bengals are a good football team. They won their division. They’re a playoff team. So for us to be able to come out and play some good football, we can hang our hats on today. But we have a great task next week with the Jets. Hopefully, Baltimore will beat them up pretty good. Or beat each other up Monday. So we can get a good game on Sunday. I’ve definitely been up and down just because I don’t know what to except. The only thing I can do is take care of me. And that’s to go out here and prepare each day, work hard, and do whatever I can to help this team win.

Q: Are you excited to see Darrelle Revis next week?

RM: Am I excited to see Revis? I think I am because there was a lot of talk last year. And I’m not taking anything from him. He did do some good things last year to be the shutdown corner that he is. And I’m not scared to say this—I prided my offseason on Revis. Like I said, I take pride in what I do, but what he did last year was something that even opened my eyes up as a wide receiver; that there’s a cornerback out here that I really have to be on my A game. So I prided my offseason on staying off of Revis Island.

Q: If you would talk more frequently, do you think you could resolve some of the issues and misconceptions about what people write about you?

RM: If I honestly cared about what you all write, I think I would be up here talking to you every day, every single day. I probably [would] have a couple of [your] phone numbers in my phone and vice versa. But I really don’t care.

Q: You seem upset.

RM: I’m not upset. No, I’m not upset. This is my 13th year. This isn’t my 2nd or 3rd year. You know what I’m saying. My 13th year in the league, anything that I might say might most of the time get blown out of context or get blown out of proportion. By the word that I used, me being ‘unhappy,’ it’s not that I’m mad or trying to be disgruntled. I’m hurt. You give me a word.

Q: You said not being wanted.

RM: That’s a good way to put it. I don’t want anything negative to come out of this like it usually does. You know what I’m talking about. I don’t really care about a lot of the extracurricular stuff that you write. I know me. I know what I’m here for. I’m definitely excited about this season. I don’t want people to take away from that. So that’s why I said I wanted to get it out week one and not wait to week 11, 12 or 13 down the road to get it out.

Q: Do you expect to get called into Bill Belichick’s office tomorrow?

RM: If I do, then I’m just going to have to explain to Bill how I feel. Put it like this: it’s already going to be headlines anyway about me talking about my contract. Then again, I really don’t care. It’s a job. This is a business. If you understand the business, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from. But if you don’t understand the business, this is not football. Football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job. If you understand the nature of this job, then you understand where I’m coming from. That’s all I’m saying. I’m old. I’m not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for. All I’m saying is, if I’m wanted here, I want to be here. If I’m not going to be here, then that’s it. It’s as simple as that. That’s all I’m saying.

Q: Do you have a good relationship with Robert Kraft?

RM: It’s fair. Mr. Kraft is a busy man, and he’s not seen around here a lot during the week. But on the weekends, he’s here. We have a relationship. Is it where I want to be or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I really don’t know how busy his schedule is, but as a owner, we have a fair relationship.

Patriots-Bengals Postgame: Tom Brady
September 12, 2010

Transcription provided by the Patriots Media Relations team.

Q: Did you get a new ride yet?

TB: I did. I did. I just wanted to get the 2011, so I had to crash the 2010.

Q: The week you had, obviously you capped it off with a win today, but what a week.

TB: It was a fun day today, I’ll tell you that. The celebration after the game is what it’s all about. We have a lot of new faces in here, and we’ve been working pretty hard for the entire offseason. Coach said a lot of really meaningful things last night and one of them [was], ‘You know guys, this is when we start keeping score. All of the work we’ve put in, this is what it’s all about.’ So it was good to come out. We started really fast. The defense made some really big plays: two returns for touchdowns, which really sparked us. And then throwing it to Wes [Welker] and scoring a couple touchdowns was good, too. Everyone contributed; I think that was the good part about today.

Q: What does it mean for Wes Welker to score that first touchdown?

TB: It was awesome. I spent a lot of time with him this offseason and the determination that he has is pretty remarkable. [He’s an] extremely mentally tough person. I knew in February, as a matter of fact, or March, that he was going to be back out on the field opening day. It just shows what his mind is all about. He’s really overcome a lot in his career and this thing is only going to make him better.

Q: Can you tell us anything about his emotions on the sidelines after scoring?

TB: Wes is pretty cool. There are times when he gets pretty excited, but I think this was…He’s out there still feeling it out probably a little bit, so everything was a little bit tame. I’m sure he’s going to be pretty excited tonight. It was good contribution for everybody: Aaron Hernandez made a bunch of big plays on touchdown drives. Freddy [Taylor] ran the ball great. The offensive line protected awesome. It was really a good day for us out there.

Q: What does the versatility of the tight ends do for you guys?

TB: All three of those guys – Alge [Crumpler] made a big catch coming out [in] the second half there on third down that got called back from a penalty. And Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] made catches on the touchdown. Not only can they block, but they’re all able to catch the ball, too. It creates different mismatches out there. Sometimes they have tough times getting lined up with the formations. It looks like that’s what happened with the one there to Aaron late in the game. He’s open and he makes a big run after catch.

Q: We haven’t talked to you since Thursday. Can you walk us through the emotions of the day with the accident and then signing your contract later in the day?

TB: Well, it’s unfortunate what happened Thursday morning. I’m sure a lot of people have been involved in accidents, but it’s a scary thing. But fortunately I was okay. Hopefully the people in the other car are recovering quickly and well. But it was a scary thing for both of us – for both people involved. But of course, I’ve got to come down and get ready for the game and I knew that. I had to be here for my teammates. I called and said I’d be a little bit late and then went out to practice and prepared. It was good. It was good. It was a good week. It was a good week. I’m glad it’s over, but it was a good week.

Q: Were you aware of all the misinformation out there about the accident? Did you get calls from your family concerned about things that weren’t true?

TB: No, I got a lot of calls. They just hear you’re in an accident, and it’s 3:30 in the morning where my family lives when it happened, so they wake up to a bunch of text messages. I called my dad pretty quick and just said ‘Dad, I’m fine.’ It wasn’t too much other than that.

Q: Protection was pretty good today. The hardest hit you took was maybe Thursday?

TB: They played great, the offensive line. They really handled…that’s a good front, too, with [Robert] Geathers and [Antwan] Odom and the blitz packages they run. I thought we did a good job handling the blitz and I think what happened was we hit some big plays on the blitz early so it slowed them down a little bit, but it’s a great offensive line. Those two tackles are special players and Steve [Neal], Dan Connolly – the way he stepped in. And [Dan] Koppen has been a rock there for a long time. It’s as good an offensive line as we’ve ever had. We’re going to need it all year. I’ll tell you, that’s what we’re going to need.

Q: Would you say Thursday morning’s accident is the hardest hit you took all week?

TB: That was a big one, but I’ll tell you, they’re all pretty similar out here. I said that to a few people. You get jolted pretty good like that. It’s kind of what it feels like. I don’t want to experience that too often.

Q: Did Peyton Manning call you and say thank you very much for signing?

TB: No, no. Peyton, I don’t know – it looked like they were losing today. I don’t know if they ended up losing, but I mean, he’s a great player. His time will come.

Q: How happy are you about your new contract?

TB: I’m more excited about the win, to tell you the truth. That’s really what it comes down to. Contracts always take care of themselves, and I think what I was most excited about was talking about football. That’s what’s most important to me and winning games and celebrating with my teammates and watching their determination and watching the hard work that they put in like Fred Taylor and Randy [Moss]. I see those guys work every day, so when we get a victory like this, it feels pretty good for all of us.

Q: Knowing that the contract is behind, what do your teammates think?

TB: I love being here. I really do. I love playing for this organization. It’s the only organization I’ve ever known, but I know a lot of people come from different places. Randy, who is one of my best friends on the team, always tells me how different this place is than other places that he’s been. That means a lot to me because those guys, I value their opinion so much. It’s a great place. If you like winning games, it’s a great place.

Q: When you can put all of that aside and concentrate on football, is that just part of your character or is that something you have developed?

TB: It’s my job, you know? It’s my job. That’s what my teammates expect me to do. They expect me to come out and do my job.

Opening Day! Bengals at Patriots
September 12, 2010

The Patriots just released today’s inactive players…

Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Terrence Wheatley, Laurence Maroney, Dane Fletcher, Steve Maneri, Brandon Deaderick, and Nick Kaczur

Edelman is out, but more importantly perhaps, Wes Welker is IN. Not that it’s a great surprise, but it is quite the accomplishment considering he underwent major reconstructive knee surgery a little more than 7 months ago.

For live updates from Gillette, check us out on Twitter.

Patriots Opening Day
September 12, 2010

The craziness of this past week is finally over. Or is it? Today’s most entertaining moment may be Bill Belichick’s response to the post game question, “Were this past week’s events a distraction leading up to todays game?”

While all of the experts are predicting that the Patriots will qualify for the playoffs as a wild card team (finishing 2nd in the AFC to the Jets) today’s opener, appropriately enough, is a real wild card game.

The Patriots have had their way with the Bengals the last 3 times they have played (34-13 in ’07, 38-13 in ‘06,35-28 in ’04) but this is a different Bengals team and, like it or not, this is definitely a different Patriots team (not withstanding the same Quarterback). This game is indeed a wild card game which could go anywhere from a 10-14 point Patriots win to a 10-14 point Bengals win. A betters nightmare.

The Bengals are going to score 20 plus points. The Patriots should score more than 25. Whoever gets to 33 wins.

We are going to find out what the loss of Logan Mankins means to this team and its offensive production (aka Tom Brady’s protection, actually Mankins absence will have more effect on the already average running game). We are going to find out if the Patriots young defensive backs can not only defend but if they are capable of making a big play or 2.

Patriots fans expect, of course, a Patriots win and will be shocked by a Patriots loss. A Patriots loss will not shock those around the NFL who expect this game to be very close. I expect the same and in a close game I still have to go with Tom Brady who had better be able to put 35 points on the board. But it is not going to be easy.

5 Things which need to happen for a Patriots win.

-#1 Pressure on Carson Palmer! Tully Banta-Cain? Jermaine Cunningham is my wild card here (hope he plays, alot)

-#2 a defensive back has to come up with a big play/turnover. Brandon Merriweather? Devin McCourt is my wild card here-he is the Pats pro Bowler of the future.

-#3 The Pats running game needs to do something productive. It doesn’t need to be great, just adequate, maybe a little more than adequate-NO turnovers! Lawrence Maroney? Who knows.

-#4 Kicking game needs to be solid. Gostkowski can’t miss makeabale field goals (44 yards and in)

-#5 production from the tight end position and right now it looks like Rob Gronkwoski is Brady’s favorite from that spot.

-MD

Brady close to contract extension
September 7, 2010

Tom Brady will get paid, not quite as much (or for as long -he is hoping for a 4 Year deal) as he wanted but don’t shed too many tears for Tom (and Gisele)

Multiple sources have reported that the 33 year old Brady has been offered a 3 year contract extension with the Patriots worth nearly 60 million dollars, beginning next season. Included in that is a signing bonus in the 25-30  million dollar range (paid over a few years).

 The only real surprise to this offer is that it took so long. The Patriots were not going to let Brady become a free agent. The trickiest part of these negotiations concerns the present state of the NFL players labor agreement with the league which is due to expire after this season. That means that most all of the players will not be paid if there is a work stoppage since most players have non-guaranteed contracts. Tom Brady does not fall into that category as his contract, while not fully guaranteed, will in fact guarantee most of that nearly 60 million dollars.

This, obviously, is good news for Patriots fans unless you are Randy Moss and Logan Mankins. Moss is still without a contract extension after this season while  All-Pro guard Logan Mankins doesn’t have a contract for this season and is still holding out . 

More coming up on SportsCenter 5

-MD

Red Sox done, Patriots ready? Celtics #1?
September 6, 2010

The Red Sox being done is not exactly new (or news). I know they are not mathematically eliminated at 7 1/2 games back with 25 games left including 3 with the Tampa Rays beginning tonight. It would be like the Red Sox to sweep the Rays just to tease us a little longer. Don’t hold your breath. This half Red Sox, half Pawtucket team couldn’t sweep any team…..and is anybody else getting tired of Jonathon Papelbon’s act? Maybe he should close his mouth instead of that supposed intimidating facial expression. It ISN’T working.

Now to the Patriots, who should score a lot of points and be pretty exciting offensively. Unfortunately, so should most of their opponents. That is going to be very frustrating. You’ll have a chance to get used to this on opening day-this Sunday when the Pats host the Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens and the Cincinnati Bengals. This may be Bill Belichick’s biggest test to see if he can make  a playmaker out of all of these young defensive players. Bill, you’d better try to keep the opposing offenses guessing with a lot of different looks because Bruschi, Vrabel, and Harrison are not walking thru that door, at least not to play.

The Celtics report to training Camp later this month and could they possibly return as the #1 attraction in town? Their games may be must see events like the Red Sox had Manny and Pedro. Shaq is not the Shaq of a few years ago but who doesn’t want to see him perform in a Celtics uniform? It is going to be fun, real fun.

And don’t forget the Bruins who also start their training camp in just a few weeks. They are going to be good. Let’s hope they can also be entertaining. Their new rookie Taylor Seguin will attract alot of fans. Hopefully his game will do the same.

-MD