Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Flynn, and Tom Brady at OTA's

With the Super Bowl rings now handed out to last year’s championship team, and OTA’s underway, eyes are turning to what kind of squad the Patriots will put on the field this fall. In New England, it seems there are always questions about what kind of team will be assembled. Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick seem to have had no issues parting ways with big names over the years like Wes Welker, and more recently Darelle Revis and Vince Wilfork.

The coaching staff under Belichick are always eager to begin the molding process of players that even avid Patriots followers will not have heard much about. So what questions do we have this year? What will the defense look like without Big Vince Wilfork? Will the secondary recover from loosing arguably the best defensive back in the game? Who will be in the backfield when the season starts? One question that hasn’t needed to be asked in a long time is who will be the starting quarterback? That question now looms ahead as Brady and New England await the decision of his appeal to the findings of, and subsequent suspension from the Wells report, which is now being handled by Rodger Goodell. Continue reading Preparing for Life Without Brady, a Look at Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Flynn »

Tags: , , , ,

jackson_tre_2

Through the first four games of last season, the Patriots offense was in shambles. Tom Brady was constantly under pressure and the team was struggling to move the ball even against inferior opponents, such as the Raiders and Vikings. The woes culminated in a 41-14 drubbing at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The offensive line began to play better in the loss to the Chiefs, thanks to the insertion of Bryan Stork as starting center. The line stabilized and was solid through the rest of the Patriots championship season. That does not mean that the problems went away, however. Brady was sacked four times in a late season game against the Jets and twice in the Divisional Playoff win against the Ravens. The Patriots did a much better job of protecting and getting the ball out quicker as the season wore on, but it was an area that needed to be addressed.

The Patriots drafted Florida State guard (and former Stork teammate) Tre Jackson as well as Georgia Tech guard/center Shaq Mason. Dan Connolly, a mainstay on the Patriots offensive line, has not been re-signed after his play dipped a bit last season and Ryan Wendell has proven to be an adept run blocker but has had inconsistencies in pass protection. Currently, the Patriots would have Wendell, Stork, and Marcus Cannon as their three interior offensive lineman if the season began today. Cannon struggled mightily last season and despite having a full offseason to work at guard, his performance should not be expected to be strong.

Enter Jackson. The 6’4″, 326 pound lineman played 49 games for Florida State in his career there and was a unanimous All-American in 2014. He played both guard and center for the team in his career and could play either guard spot for the Patriots but he played mostly on  the right in college. His could potentially solidify the interior of the line next to Stork, so long as he improves his technique which was lacking at times in college. Dave DeGuglielmo will have the responsibility of improving Jackson’s technique so he can excel at the NFL level.

It is possible that both Jackson and Mason start for the Patriots at points this season, but the better bet is for Jackson. Mason is an excellent run blocker, but he is coming from a Georgia Tech team that rarely passed (203 total attempts in 2014) and his pass blocking skills need work. Jackson could be an immediate starter and contributor. There would be growing pains, as with any rookie, but if Jackson earns a starting nod the Patriots would go a long way in have a stable interior line for the foreseeable future.

Tags: , ,

Boston sports frustration

Dear Beloved Boston Sports Fans,

In case you haven’t noticed, the Boston sports teams are all in a state of disarray. The Red Sox are quickly becoming the laughing stock of Major League Baseball with one of the highest payrolls in the league and a collection of underperforming players.

The only bright spot on the team thus far has to be the emergence of left handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. Since being called up on May 29th against the Texas Rangers, Rodriguez has posted impressive numbers by going 2-0 with a microscopic 0.44 era and 21 strikeouts.

In probably the most disappointing team of the year, the Boston Bruins have to make some much needed changes this offseason. It started with Peter Chiarelli departing for Edmonton and hiring Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney to General Manager. The team also decided to part ways with Carl Soderberg. Recent trade speculation has been swirling around that defenseman Dougie Hamilton is seeking a deal worth up to $8 million per season, which may be too rich for the Bruins’ taste and a possible trading partner could be no other than Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers, as stated by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.

Even though the Celtics made the playoffs this year, they may have been better off going into the lottery as they are trying to reposition themselves in the draft to get a higher selection. They have four draft choices this year. They are unlikely to keep all of those picks, as they will be looking for trading partners or use a few on European players and stash them overseas for a few years. Even though a man appearing to be LaMarcus Aldridge was spotted at Logan Airport last week, it is likely that he will sign with a team from Texas, according to ESPN’s Ric Bucher. It will be interesting to see what Danny Ainge has up his sleeve this summer, but if they keep to this model, it will be a few years until they can seriously go themselves serious contenders and out of the purgatory which is being mediocre in the NBA.

The Patriots have made a lot more noise off the field than they would have preferred. Star quarterback Tom Brady could potentially miss up to four games and they have released their first three starting cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington respectively. Longtime staple in the defensive line, Vince Wilfork, has moved on to play for the Texans. The Patriots will also have to forfeit a 2016 first round pick and 2017 fourth round pick. The Patriots have to turn to second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to fill the void of Brady’s absence.

In order of fan base confidence, it has to be the Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, and last and certainly least, the Red Sox. One might feel as though the Bruins and Celtics can be interchangeable based on the number of draft assets that Danny Ainge has to work with and the high volume of question marks surrounding this Bruins team. The two that are not debatable, however, are the Patriots and Red Sox. The Patriots are coming off of a Super Bowl win. Albeit difficult to repeat in the NFL, it anyone can do it, it is Bill Belichick and the Patriots, especially in a weak AFC Conference. As John Breech of CBSSports.com noted, the Patriots have the 11th easiest schedule in the league.

It is tough to look someone in the eye these days and say that you have confidence in these Red Sox. They blew a 7-run lead to the Toronto Blue Jays last night, which is nothing short of an embarrassment. Take into account the clubhouse, especially Wade Miley’s meltdown with John Farrell in Baltimore Thursday night. As a fan, you always want your team to succeed. However, this team doesn’t deserve to win the way they have been playing.

It is an interesting time to be a fan in Boston with a lot more question marks than answers. Hopefully they will be in our favor sooner rather than later.

Sincerely,
John O’Callaghan, an objective Boston Sports Fan

Tags: , , , ,

Ted Wells Meme

Everyone, including its supporters, could find ways to poke holes into the Wells Report. Among its findings was some flawed science which found conclusions the NFL was looking for.

Enter the American Enterprise Institute, was a thorn in the NFL’s side during the Bountygate scandal. At that time, the AEI found that the Saints, whether they had a bounty system or not, were among the teams that inflicted the least amount of opponent injuries over a period of time. Months later, the players’ suspensions were vacated.

The AEI has now weighed in on the Wells Report, and if you’re a Patriots fan, you’ll be happy: Continue reading Group Uses Actual Science to Rip Apart Wells Report »

Tags: , , ,

Matt Flynn

Signed in the past to be a starter for the Seahawks and Raiders — he failed in both places — quarterback Matt Flynn has accomplished the most filling in for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Now, he’s in New England, presumably to back up Jimmy Garappolo while Tom Brady misses at most four games (but maybe zero). Continue reading Patriots Sign Matt Flynn, Prepare For Life Without Tom Brady »

Tags: ,

Malcolm-Butler

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported last night that Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was held out of the first two weeks of Organized Team Activities because he showed up late to the initial session.

Butler caught a late flight to New England, which was delayed by weather and caused him to be late on the first day. Because of this, the coaching staff decided to not allow Butler to practice for the first several weeks. Butler was present in all meetings and other activities, he was just not allowed to practiced.

Bill Belichick has a history of sending players home who show up late to meetings or practices. This punishment is longer than previous ones in length, but is also a chance to send a message to a player that has been praised as a hero all offseason. The message seems to have been received, as Butler was back out on the field this yesterday.

 

Tags: ,

uspw_4879016

The Patriots released linebacker Brandon Spikes on Monday, just one day after a car registered to him was found abandoned on I-495 following an accident.

Spikes, who had-resigned with the team 23 days ago, was getting top reps during Organized Team Activities. The goal for the team was to have Spikes play meaningful snaps in 2015, but now the Patriots will rely on Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, and Dane Fletcher. Hightower and Collins both played well last year, but Mayo is coming off two injury plagued seasons and Fletcher is more of  a rotational player.

It was clear that when signed Spikes would be on a “short leash” as some of his behavior, although there were no major incidents, led to him and the team parting ways. Things seemed to change when he was brought back, with Spikes saying he wanted to “show” Bill Belichick that he had changed.

He will not get that chance, however. It remains to be seen if another team will sign Spikes, but it is likely teams will wait for the police investigation of the incident to be completed.

Tags: ,

Recent Comments

Blogroll