When the Patriots face the Lions on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, they will have to defend the NFL’s best wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson is in his eighth season and has been dominant in each of them. He has had over 1,000 yards in 5 of his previous seven seasons and has 520 yards and three touchdowns this season despite only playing seven games due to injury. His best season was 2012, in which he had 122 receptions for 1,964 yards and five touchdowns. He is a big play machine who is averaging 16 yards a catch and has averaged the same number through the course of his career.

Johnson is routinely double and tripled teamed and is always the focal point of his opponent’s defensive game plan. He is 6’5” tall, 236 pounds, and is one of the fastest receivers in the league. He has great hands and high football intelligence, meaning that he is rarely out of position and does not make many simple mistakes that hurt his team.  In the GIF below, one of Johnson’s best plays of his career is shown. He is triple covered in the end zone and is still able to come up with the catch. The special piece about Johnson is plays like this are not once-in-a-career plays, but rather plays that he can make regularly. Continue reading All-World Receiver Calvin Johnson Will Be a Handful for Patriots Pass Defense »

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JBJ222

The Philadelphia Phillies are doing some background work on three Boston Red Sox players reports Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The Phillies are reportedly scouting pitcher Matt Barnes, catcher Christian Vazquez, and second baseman/outfielder Mookie Betts.

This is not yet a deal only a team doing their homework on players in the Red Sox system, something that happens often during the off season. It would be likely that the Red Sox would want pitcher Cole Hamels in exchange for the players in which the Phillies are interested in. Hamels is an elite pitcher that began his major league career with the Phillies in 2006.  In 2014, he had a 2.46 ERA and a 1.148 WHIP.  These statistics combined with his experience make him a pitcher that the Sox could use to anchor their five-man, starting rotation.

Continue reading Philadelphia Phillies Scouting 3 Red Sox Players »

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With his 201 yard, four touchdown performance, Patriots RB Jonas Gray is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and moving up in the Jonas Power Rankings. (@SINow)

From lightly recruited high school prospect, to perpetual backup at Notre Dame, to opening act for Screech, to practice squad casualty, to this: Sports Illustrated cover boy.

Not a bad career arc, huh?

After Sunday night’s demolition of the Indianapolis Colts, Jonas Gray is the new toast of the town in New England (if New England were a town, of course). A stat change erased his lone negative run of the game, giving him over 200 yards rushing to go with a franchise record four rushing touchdowns.

I for one can’t wait to see the new documentary about Gray’s sudden rise to fame.

Between his funny bone on stage, bone crushing runs on the field, and Hollywood throwing him a bone with his very own film, it’s high time we revisited our Jonas Power Rankings. Don’t you?

Continue reading Jonas Gray on Sports Illustrated Cover, Top of Jonas Power Rankings »

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pablo

The Boston Red Sox are “all in”  and “making a big push” to bring free agent Pablo Sandoval to Boston according ESPN reporter Gordon Edes. Sandoval and his agent have discussed 5-year, $80 to $90 million contracts with both the San Francisco Giants and the Red Sox, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN via Twitter.

Sandoval, who played for the 2014 World Championship Giants, told a reporter that he “loved being here,” enjoying the city and the Red Sox representatives he met with on Monday.

Continue reading Red Sox “All-in” on Pablo Sandoval »

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Kim Clement/USA TODAY Sports

After Rajon Rondo went 0-for-2 from the free throw line at one point eary in the game, I though to myself, “the games this year have been so close, poor free throw shooting will likely decide this one.” Sure enough, down four with 2.6 seconds on the clock, Rondo was shooting three free throws after Alex Len fouled him. If Rondo could just make two and miss the third, the Celtics could potentially tie the game seeing as they had one timeout left with enough time to execute a catch-and-shoot. Rondo, who went 2-for-10 from the stripe last night, missed all three, bringing the Celtics down to a 3-6 record.

With two fast-paced offensive teams squaring up, it was no surprise to see the both teams’ final scores exceed 100 points. The common problem these two teams share are their weak defenses. With the Suns missing their defensive anchor in P. J. Tucker and the Celtics simply missing a defensive anchor, both teams scored at will. Thus, it was the turnovers and free throws that decided the game. In this case, the Suns were victorious in a game where they beat the Celtics just as much as the Celtics beat themselves. Continue reading Free Throw Shooting the Difference as Suns Edge Celtics in Nail-Biter »

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Maxie Esho

The first week of the NCAA basketball season is in the books and the UMass Minutemen took care of business through their first two games against Siena and Boston College. Here’s a couple of takeaways after week one.

Maxie Esho is the Go-To Guy

Senior forward Maxie Esho had been the energy guy off the bench the last few seasons for head coach Derrick Kellogg, and now he has been able to take his energy level that was previously used in such short bursts of time and extend it. While I sat in the Garden seats during the Coaches vs. Cancer triple header I noticed that when the UMass intro video was shown it featured a lot of Esho and that the team was clearly trying to market him. Continue reading Two Games, Two Wins, Minutemen off and Running »

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Jonas Gray introduced himself to the world last night racking up 199 yards and 4 touchdowns. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Until Sunday night, the Patriots had never won in Lucas Oil stadium. It stood as the place where Ahmad Bradshaw reluctantly scored a Super Bowl winning touchdown, and of course the infamous “4th and 2″ play. Last night the Patriots once again asserted their dominance in the AFC.

In the process they took another one of the media darlings, Andrew Luck, and brought him back down to Earth. Luck, like Peyton Manning two weeks earlier, had a good game statistically. However, like Manning, he was unable to find the endzone when he needed to thanks to the best defense they’ve had in a decade. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 11: Patriots Extend Lead in the AFC by Beating Colts 42-20 in Primetime »

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