1. Red Sox:

* I don’ think I have ever seen Craig Breslow have a clean outing

* Wait to next year when infielders have to throw to Hanley at first (they will need netting behind first base)

* People wonder what David Ortiz would do in Yankee Stadium with the short right field porch – surprisingly only 28 home runs in 401 at bats at the Stadiums (one every 14.32 at bats)

* Red Sox have 3 combined triples from the #3 / #4 / #5 / #6 hitters this year

* Not quite pushing the right buttons – Pinch hitters for the Red Sox this year: 8-44 (.182) / 0 HR

* Average against Red Sox pitching by month (I guess it wasn’t pitching coach Juan Nieves fault): April – .259 / May – .263 / June – .265 / July – .275 / August – .278

2. Patriots Roster:

* Players over age of 30 – 4 (gotta be youngest team in league) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Someone Get Felger a Towel »

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When New England selected Trey Flowers in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, the early thinking was that he could be a pass rusher with power and contribute on passing downs. The 6’2, 266 pound defensive end is not as large as some of the prototypical pass rushers in the NFL, but he uses his length as well as anyone and makes plays with his strength.

The Patriots have quite a bit of depth in terms of pass rushers with Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Dominique Easley all ahead of Flowers on the depth chart. When asked what he felt his role could be in such a crowded group, Flowers said he was eager to contribute any way he could.

“I’m just coming out here and working hard. I want to be that guy who can get his reps when he can, who is attentive, who listens to all the coaches, and contribute wherever I need to be,” Flowers said.

One of the best ways for Flowers to get on the field early is to be as versatile as possible. He had opportunities both inside and outside along the defensive line in practice.  The rookie felt that being able to do both was important for him and for his teammates.

“It’s definitely a way that I can help the team the fastest that I can. Being able to go out to in and things like that…like I said, I’m just trying to establish a role and if that’s what the coach wants me to do, go inside sometimes and outside I’m all for it.”

Flowers is making the most of his opportunities in camp thus far. He has looked explosive in several drills and has been around the football in full team work. At this point, he has had most of his chances with backups and will likely see extensive time in the preseason as he tries to climb his way up the depth chart. Playing at Arkansas in the SEC, Flowers is no stranger to big games or strong competition. In one week he will have his first taste of NFL action as the Patriots host the Packers in the team’s first preseason game. Flowers is looking forward to the chance.

“I’m just looking forward to going against someone other than my teammates. Camp can be long, going against the same people each and every day, but I’m looking forward to going against someone else. I wouldn’t say there are any nerves, it’s all football. I’m just trying to go out there and do it as best I can.”

If Flowers can produce in the preseason as well as he as at times during camp, he will continue that climb up the depth chart.

 

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Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images North America

The Patriots set themselves up for a bright future with Rob Gronkowski by allotting the big tight end a preseason $4 million of his $10 million dollar contract option. The contract option is due to Gronkowski by the end of February 2016, and exercising said option keeps him from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

By New England giving a little less than half of the money early, they show Growkowski their intention to keep him with the organization and honor his current contract, a six-year extension to his rookie deal which will pay him $54 million through the year 2019. Continue reading Pats Pay Gronk, Plan to Lockdown for the Future »

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1. Red Sox:

* Third baseman Travis Shaw had as many home runs Saturday as the Panda has had in 39 games – Not bad for $500,000 vs. $20,000,000

* Can’t tell me there weren’t some high fives in the front office this weekend with Luchinno giving his notice

* How bad are the $180,000,000 Red Sox – no one would take their players at the deadline

* Update on win pace – 72

* Napoli and Ortiz have been thrown out of four games

* Only four of David Ortiz’s 20 home runs are to the left of center field

2. Hot starts for MLB pitchers:

From MLB.network – number of starts out of the first 60 that a pitcher has given up 1 or less runs: Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Red Sox, Farfalle and Complete Games »

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“You want to be out there.”

That’s how LeGarrette Blount described his feelings after his first day at practice. Blount missed the first two days of practice due to a failed conditioning test. When he finally got onto the field on day three, he was New England’s best running back. He was physical and bruising as well as quick. He also got goal line carries during full team drills and appeared as though he hadn’t missed a beat for a Patriots offense that was glad to have him back.

When talking with reporters after practice, Blount was mostly evasive when speaking about his failed conditioning test, saying only that the test consisted of “conditioning” and that “I was out there the first day.”

When asked about the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, Blount took the cue from teammates and coaches and said that he could only worry about himself. He was also evasive when talking about his own suspension for the team’s first game stemming from a 2014 incident while he was a member of the Steelers.

With the departures of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen via free agency, the Patriots will likely need Blount to shoulder a heavy load this season. James White, Tyler Gaffney, and Jonas Gray could all contribute, but Blount is the most experienced of the group and despite his suspension week one, will still probably get the most carries especially later in games. Blount will turn 29 during the season, which is old for a running back. Durability hasn’t been an issue in Blount’s time with the Patriots but it will be something to monitor especially later in the season.

His one game suspension could open the door for another back, but it appears as though Blount will get every opportunity from the coaching staff to secure the lead back role. If today is any sign, he is going to take advantage.

 

Day three of Patriots training camp was the first day in pads for the team and there were also a few fresh faces on the practice field. Defensive tackle Dominique Easley practiced for the first time and running back LeGarrette Blount was on the field for the first time this camp, evidence that he passed his conditioning test sometime within the past day. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was wearing a red “no contact” jersey as he works his way back from offseason surgery.

The Patriots focused on special teams at several points. The kickoff team took the field at two separate points in practice and coach Bill Belichick concluded practice by having the field goal unit practice in full. Belichick also worked with punter Ryan Allen during practice.

Defensively, Logan Ryan and Jamie Collins stood out. Collins forced a fumble when he plastered Aaron Dobson during 11 on 11 drills, causing the offense to take a lap. Ryan had several impressive pass break ups in positional drills and 11 on 11 work. JaBaal Sheard also had some strong plays and rookie Trey Flowers looked explosive coming off the line during pass rushing drills. Malcolm Butler is looking like a player who is poised to start this season; he had several impressive plays and was a vocal member of the secondary. Rookie Malcom Brown also had a goal line stop during full team work.

Blount’s first practice was a good one as he showed his trademark physicality as well as good quickness and elusiveness. Dobson asserted himself on several occasions despite the fumble including a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone during drills and an impressive grab over rookie Darryl Roberts during 11 on 11s. As has occurred in the past, assistant coaches held large paddles up in front of the quarterbacks during drills to simulate long-armed defensive linemen with their hands up. Scott Chandler continues to show that he can be a great complement to Rob Gronkowski at tight end.

With it only being the third practice of camp and the first one in pads, much has yet to be determined for the 2015 Patriots. One thing that Patriots fans will be happy to hear is there appears to be no Super Bowl hangover in Foxboro. At this stage, health is the biggest thing and the Patriots are still working some key players back.

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1. Cowardly Lion – Red Sox:

* White Sox scored 13 first inning runs in this series

* Why not to bet reason #6,421,343 – Steven Wright and the Red Sox beat Chris Sale

* Is it true that Panda Sandoval went first to third and had to take himself out of the game for dehydration. Also Farrell admits he’s out of shape but keeps playing him

* Jackie Bradley hitting .191 after 512 at bats (I would take a chance on him if I was another team)

* Forgot to talk about Ian Kinsler letting a pop up drop Saturday of Ortiz to see if he would run – similar to Fisk getting in Deion Sanders face for disrespecting the game

* Do the Red Sox have a weight clause in Sandoval’s contract – I mean you did pay him almost $100,000,000

2. Roger Goddell is Scar:

* Jerry Jones stuck it to Kraft this week, supporting the commissioner Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: RIP Cecil the Lion »

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