|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Well it looks like the Wes Welker versus Julian Edelman experiment is over. Shame on everyone in the media and those fans who tried to rationalize the lunacy of starting Julian Edelman over Welker. Edelman is versatile but does nothing great. He caught 11 passes the last two years combined. So, let’s start him over the All-Pro? Yes, Wes Welker dropped a potential Super Bowl-winning pass, but the Patriots would not even have been in that game without him. He’s one of the best PLAYERS in the league and he had every right to be pissed at his head coach.
As for the comment and the apology, well the reaction was the real joke. Belichick could have diffused the issue with a little comedy, but he had to play the heavy. Bill’s getting a little old and grumpy, even for his usual standards. It’s time to focus on things that are broken, like this defense for the last five years.
Are they doing any show prep on Uno’s Sports Night/CSNNE/Mohegan Sun anymore? On Monday night, Gary Tanguay seemed confused about the Seahawks stadium, confused about the team and didn’t mention that the Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL. Gary, Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) purposely built a stadium that would be one of the loudest in the league. Google it. It’s good stuff. Tanguay then said he would leave who was better, Edelman or Welker, up to the coach. Wow, Gary really, really wants Gil’s job. Way to educate your audience.
I look at this Seattle Seahawks team and I wonder why the Patriots still can’t put together a top defense after five years. I don’t think Pete Carroll is a great head coach, but he can coach defense. This Seattle team is not comprised of top 10 picks, so I have to think it’s the defensive coaching. The last few years, the Houston Texans drafted some high-impact players like Brian Cushing, JJ Watt, Brooks Reed, and they hired Wade Phillips, another failure as a head coach, but a pretty good defensive coordinator. In 2010, their defense was worse than the Patriots, and now it’s top five.
Belichick’s original genius was based on his defensive mind. The Patriot’s defense is mostly first and second round picks. Is it the staff? First it was Dean Pees, now it is Matt Patricia. Or is it the scheme? Why wasn’t Kevin Kolb blitzed repeatedly? The defense should be getting significantly better not slightly better. With this offense, this team should be gearing up for their fourth straight Super Bowl. Will this be another year the defense lets them down.
Great follow-up by Greg Bedard on the NFL Network’s Documentary “A Football Life: the 1995 Cleveland Browns.” I love the series, but Bedard was correct to point out the creative license that episode took with Belichick. The most intriguing thing about it to me was Belichick’s eye for talent. Four staff members are now NFL GM’s and he also kick-started the careers of so many NFL and college coaches. I couldn’t help but be disgusted to hear the stories of Mike Tannebaum and Eric Mangini from those days. Here were two nobodies whom Belichick made millionaires, and 12 years later they would betray and embarrass Belichick. I am amazed when the media doesn’t pick up on things like that. But, as Bedard wrote, you can’t directly link that team with the Ravens Super Bowl title five years later.
Also, much was made about Belichick acquiring a second first round draft pick before he was fired. That draft pick would later be used on Ray Lewis. At a time when the Salary Cap mattered, I am not even sure Belichick would have kept a second first round pick to draft Ray Lewis. He didn’t think he needed Clay Matthews, so we got Patrick Chung instead.
I know some day I am going to be watching Tom Brady highlight videos and realizing again just how great he was. Hopefully, he can grab one more ring to match up with Joe Montana. The second best quarterback in the NFL right now is Eli Manning and climbing. He reminds me so much of Brady 2002-2006.
A lot was made in the media circles about Dan Shaughnessy’s criticism of “bloggers.” I think Dan has trouble differentiating the bloggers from the angry commenters on the blogs. Were those the anonymous ones that he was referring to? Everyone has a right to anonymity, but it’s the angry commenter who doesn’t want to debate and simply wants to launch insults at the writer, blogger, etc. that I have such little respect for. These commenters just want to hear their own beliefs chanted back to them like a cult. It’s become much more common with the football fans than any other sport. Sports are there for fun, enjoyment, and thrills. It’s great to be passionate and everyone has a right to get angry or be a fan boy if they like. When you move from debate to personal attacks, well it’s time for a new hobby.
The MLB wild card just didn’t do it for me. Start the season earlier, there are plenty cities with domes and warm climates. Play a two out of three to eliminate a team. CC Sabathia isn’t going to be ruined if he doesn’t pitch for a week.
I hope the Nationals fans appreciate the sacrifice their ownership made when Stephen Strasberg’s well-preserved arm is pitching in October for New York in a few years. Fifty saves doesn’t mean anything unless you can get one in October, Jim Johnson. Same goes for placekickers, Stephen Gostkowski doesn’t make me feel secure come January. I think he’s Nate Kaeding reincarnated.
Here’s why the NBA sucks. It’s become golf. Barring injury, three teams have a real shot at an NBA title this year. The Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. The Celtics may be the second best team in the East and they have almost no shot at a title. No other sport has that little competitive balance. There are certain cities that will never, ever play in an NBA Finals (Milwaukee Bucks). So, it becomes a league where people root for and against players. It’s boring, and I love basketball. The Celtics play with passion, but it’s a sport where talent almost always wins.
The Summer ratings book once again swung back in favor of 98.5 The Sports Hub. What I found most interesting was “The Big Show’s” drop. It looks like the early Red Sox telecasts were the difference in the Spring. However, WEEI is doing itself no favors with stale commentary, a ridiculous segment called the “Lightning Round” only to be followed by a “Whiner Line” that is past its prime. I like Holley, but the entertainment value just doesn’t match Felger and his parrot.
I grew up reading Peter Gammons, Jackie MacMullan, Bob Ryan, and Will McDonough all in the same paper. The internet has really spread out the writers and just when we start to get used to a local writer, they are off to network. Right now for NFL football, Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe and Mike Reiss of ESPNBOSTON.com are two of the best. They might be on the NFL Network at this time next year, so enjoy them while they are here.