Gronk

Superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski lands at number three on the list of most important Patriots heading into training camp. Number two on the list will be posting Tuesday, stay tuned…

 

Rob Gronkowski is one of if not the most dynamic weapons in the NFL. No list of important players heading in to camp would be complete without him. Gronkowski finally had a season and postseason in which injuries did not play a major role in 2014, the first time that had happened since 2010. The result was dominance as Gronkowski re-established himself as one of the NFL’s premier weapons. He had 82 catches in the regular season for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the Patriots postseason run, Gronkowski hauled in 16 passes for 204 and three touchdowns, including one in Super Bowl XLIX.

With some potential early season quarterback uncertainty as Tom Brady waits to hear word on his appeal, Gronkowski’s presence in the New England offense will take on a greater importance than usual. If Jimmy Garoppolo is forced to start any games for New England, he will look the way of number 87 often. A great target at tight end can be huge for a young and inexperienced quarterback, and Garoppolo would have the premier player at the position to look to. Even if Brady’s suspension is completely wiped away, Gronkowski will still have a large role in the offense, as always.

Gronkowski is looking to have back to back fully healthy seasons and postseasons for the first time in his career. The one time that almost happened (2010- the AFC Championship game in 2011), Gronkowski was unquestionably the best tight end in the NFL and one of the best red zone targets out there. There is no reason to doubt that if Gronkowski stays healthy, he will be a major factor for New England this season. Regardless of who is throwing him the football to start the season, Gronkowski remains an opponent’s nightmare.

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Joe Kelly (Associated Press)

Enough is enough. The madness needs to stop. It is pretty clear that the Red Sox have virtually no chance at all to play meaningful games for the rest of the 2015 season, and it is also clear that the pitching staff is the rough equivalent of a high school varsity squad (no offense to high school varsity teams). However, there is not a single logical reason to explain why Joe Kelly continually makes Major League starts for the Boston Red Sox. None. Zip. Nada. Despite the injury to Clay Buchholz (isn’t that a shocking statement), the Red Sox cannot seriously argue that Kelly is one of their five best starting pitching options at this point, and there is a case to be made that Kelly isn’t even good enough to be in the majors.

Continue reading Joe Kelly at the End of the Leash »

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Devin McCourty

Next up in the five part series of most important Patriots heading into training camp is freshly-extended free safety Devin McCourty.  Number three is likely to post on Sunday, stay tuned…

After signing a long term extension in March, Devin McCourty then saw Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington all leave the secondary. Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, and Patrick Chung are back and rookie Darryl Roberts could be a sleeper to get some playing time. But there is no doubt that this is now McCourty’s secondary and he will have to lead both in play and character.

McCourty shouldn’t have much trouble doing either, he has established himself as an elite free safety and a great locker room guy. However, due to the reduction in talent around him McCourty will have more on his shoulders than ever. He had the luxury of Revis last season and could play a ranging, center field type safety. He will likely be forced into more coverage this year and even when he can play center field, he will have to more cautious than he would be if he had his former teammates with him. He will also have to compensate for when younger, less talented corners get beat deep and it’s a strong possibility McCourty’s pass break ups down the field will go up.

McCourty will have to be a stabilizing force for a Patriots secondary that could take half a season to figure out. Even at that point, that won’t necessarily mean they will be very good. If McCourty sees a dip in his play, it could prove disastrous for the Patriots defense. If he, however, can play up to his usual level, it will make the loss of Revis and Browner hurt less than it would on most teams.

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Sonny Gray (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

That might be a slightly vague title; the Red Sox should do a lot of things, including win many more ballgames. The main point of this article is that the Red Sox can trade for Sonny Gray. The Red Sox have had the ability to trade for the ace that they so desperately need for quite some time; they just have not felt comfortable making that move. Now that the team has come to the point where they really need an ace to contend for the postseason, they should be aiming as high as possible in their search for a star starting pitcher.

Unfortunately the options are not as plentiful as the Red Sox would like. Despite some rumors that the White Sox should shop Chris Sale at the deadline, the team has flat-out denied that strategy. The Red Sox have been trying to trade for Felix Hernandez for years, to no avail, and the Phillies seem to have an unreasonable price tag on Cole Hamels. There have also been reports that the Red Sox are not interested in any of the “rental” arms on this year’s trade market, such as Johnny Cueto, David Price, or Jeff Samardzija. This seems to leave Oakland’s Sonny Gray as the most logical trade target for the Red Sox’ rotation.

Continue reading Red Sox Should Target Sonny Gray »

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Imagine what could have been.

According to a report from WEEI, Seattle Mariners’ right fielder Nelson Cruz tried not once, but twice, to come to the Boston Red Sox in the past two offseasons.  Cruz is good friends with Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Ortiz tried convincing the Sox brass to sign Cruz.

Cruz is batting .308 with 21 homers and 53 runs batted in. If he were on the Red Sox, he would be leading the team in almost every offensive category right now. Also, it is worth mentioning that he is putting up these numbers in which he is playing in Safeco Field, a ballpark known to diminish offensive numbers. Adrian Beltre is all the proof you need. Continue reading Nelson Cruz Wanted to be a Red Sox »

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Mookie Betts (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

Despite their position at the bottom of the American League East, the Red Sox have gone on a recent run that has left them in position to contend for the division title in the second half of the season. Much of the credit for that run has gone, deservedly so, to players like Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, and Eduardo Rodriguez, but one other young star has received much less fanfare.

Despite relatively little public recognition, Mookie Betts has been the Red Sox’ best player in 2015, and has undoubtedly contributed a great deal to the Red Sox’ chance, however small, to make a legitimate run at their division. For the first time in a very long time, the Red Sox’ MVP is not an established star, but a young player on the rise.

Continue reading Mookie Betts Emerging for Red Sox »

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David Lee coming to Boston (USA Today Sports)

Last season David Lee was injured, lost his starting job, at times was irrelevant and when you look at his numbers they are shockingly competent. Sure, he can’t defend at all but at 6’9” with limited athleticism and short arms, what do you expect? And its not like his lack of defense is going to create a huge hole; this Celtics front court wasn’t going to be blowing up any offenses anyway. Lee’s defensive deficiencies were amplified by the fact that he was behind Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, who are two of the best ten front court defenders in the league.

Regardless, David Lee is going to bring a lot to the table and be a great fit for Boston, even if it’s only for one year. Continue reading What David Lee Can Bring to Boston »

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