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Reggie Wayne running in a touchdown

The Patriots signed long-time Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne to a 1-year, $3M contract this week. Wayne, a 14-year veteran, was not resigned by the Colts and was sought after by the Patriots and the Green Bay Packers as injuries at the wide receiver position have plagued both teams heading into the season. The soon-to-be-37-year-old pass catcher will add depth at the position with Julian Edelman suffering from a lower leg injury, Brandon LaFell still unable to get on the field, and Aaron Dobson, Brian Tyms and Brandon Gibson all dealing with injuries of their own.

Last season, Wayne recorded 64 catches for 779 yards and 2 touchdowns. He played the last 12 games of the season with partially torn triceps, leading to a decrease in production. The injury, coupled with the emergence of T.Y. Hilton, played a roll in Wayne leaving Indy and landing in New England. Continue reading Reggie Wayne Signs $3 Million Contract with Patriots »

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320-ryan-wendell-inside

Patriots starting offensive lineman Ryan Wendell practiced on Tuesday, a signal that he has been removed from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Wendell, who is entering his eighth season, has experience starting at both guard and center.

Wendell entered in the NFL as an undrafted free agent and has played his entire career with the Patriots. He played on two AFC Champion teams and won Super Bowl XLIX with the team. With Wendell returning, the interior offensive line picture becomes more interesting.

Rookies Shaq Mason and Tre Jackson have gotten a lot of guard reps alongside starting center Bryan Stork and fill in David Andrews so far through camp and the preseason. Jackson looks primed to potentially start this season at one guard spot, which leaves the other spot to come down between Wendell and Mason. Mason is an excellent run blocker but has had trouble in pass protection, due in part to his limited experience in that area. Wendell is also a better run blocker than pass blocker, but has more experience protecting Tom Brady.

The Patriots will have a decision to make over the next two weeks, whether to go with Mason or Wendell as the final starting offensive lineman. In this writer’s view, Wendell looks to be the favorite if healthy. Mason could win the job and could end up being the better player, but Wendell has the experience edge and that makes a difference when the Patriots will already definitely be starting a second year player (Stork) and probably a rookie (Mason) as well. Health will be the key for Wendell, the more of an impact he can make through the rest of the preseason the better. Unlike last season, the Patriots look ready to enter the regular season with solid options along the inside of the offensive line.

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Red Sox:

* Tazawa the worst bid at a save Evah! 1 inning 6 hits four runs – miss a bat one time

* When was the last time you saw an MLB game with four sacrifice bunts

* How did that many Kansas City fans get that many tickets in one section

* Hanley has more errors than assists (4-3)

* Why is Hanley getting at bats – since All Star game: Castillo .342 / Bradley .284 / Betts .266 / Hanley .194 (never mind defense)

* Travis Shaw hole in swing – hard inside half / Bradley’s hole – spin and down

* Insane that

* Two Ole plays by Sandoval leads to huge runs Sunday

* Can’t believe third base coach Brian Butterfield sent a butter ball like Hanigan from first on a double with no outs! Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Sox, Pats and Nudity at Strega »

Henry Owens (Barry Chin/Boston Globe)

Friday’s win over the Royals at Fenway Park gave the Red Sox their fourth straight win, the last two of which came against the best team in the American League. Just about everything went right for the Red Sox, and they now remain just a win away from taking a series from the reigning AL champs. Henry Owens and Blake Swihart carried most of the load on Friday, with some help from their friends. The contributions from younger players just keep on coming, and are starting to give Red Sox fans hope for 2016.

Continue reading Henry Owens & Blake Swihart Dominate Royals »

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jimmy preseason

The Patriots will take on the New Orleans Saints in their second preseason game on Saturday night. The game concludes a week that included two days of joint practices. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense shined throughout the two sessions that both teams called valuable. As with the first preseason contest, tonight will feature limited time by the starters with backups playing most of the game. With that in mind, here are five players to watch tonight:

Chris Harper- The rookie wide receiver out of Cal will likely get a lot of chances tonight with Julian Edelman, Brian Tyms, and Aaron Dobson all dealing with injuries. He has looked solid in camp and has come on strong as of late and was productive in joint practices while working with Jimmy Garoppolo. The 5’11”, 175 pound Harper has also had some punt return opportunities in camp.

Brandon Bolden/ James White- Bolden and White have been battling throughout camp to fill the third down back roll that was left open by the departure of Shane Vereen. Bolden is stronger, but White has more speed and quickness. White played in last Thursday’s preseason opener and looked like a player ready to take on the third down role. Bolden has the advantage that he plays on special teams, but if White has another strong outing he could put himself firmly ahead of Bolden.

Malcom Brown- The rookie first round pick is one of several options to fill the middle of the defensive line after Vince Wilfork signed with Houston this offseason. Pairing Brown with 2014 first round pick Dominque Easley is something the Patriots hope to do for the next several seasons.

Jimmy Garoppolo- The potential of Garoppolo starting at least one game this regular season has been well documented. What the Patriots need is for Garoppolo to have a strong game and continue to build toward his possible regular season action. He looked shaky in the first half against Green Bay last week but improved as the game went on. A more consistent performance will help both the Patriots and the young quarterback going forward.

 

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Hanley Ramirez

Coming into the 2015 baseball season, the Boston Red Sox were expected to have a potent offense, especially with the new additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Mike Napoli, who underwent offseason surgery to repair a sleep apnea problem, tore the cover off the ball in spring training by batting .400 with a team high six homers and 11 RBIs.

Unfortunately, inconsistent play from Ramirez and Sandoval, as well as a steep decline from Napoli that seemingly came out of nowhere, combined with a less than stellar starting rotation has the Boston Red Sox in the cellar of the AL East for the third time in four seasons. To make matters worse, the Red Sox payroll was $150,655,500, the highest in franchise history. Continue reading What Could Have Been: The 2015 Red Sox »

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1. Red Sox:

* Joe Kelley moustache makes him look like Snidely Whiplash from Dudley Do Right

* Speaking of Kelley – he’s so funny arguing with the coaches for taking him out of the game with an ERA over 5.30

* Can you imagine Jackie Bradley, Christian Vazquez and Iglesias in the line up every day? Three Gold Glovers – Pitcher’s ERA would go down a run

* Is it me or is Jerry Remy working hard again – talking better baseball, breaking the game down a little bit less Wally talk

* Rusney Castillo throws the ball into the bleachers but there is only two outs and a runner is awarded two bases – when he gets to the dugout – I’ve never seen so much laughing

* Who is this guy Rutledge at second base and why aren’t those at bats going to a prospect?

* NESN lot more crowd scenes than usual – now that they are out of it – selling the Fenway experience

* Jackie Bradley has 12 extra base hits in his last 36 at bats / Hanley has 12 in his last 172 at bats Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten – Trades, Video-gate and Oreo’s »

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