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These go to Eleven: 11 Observations on the Boston Sports Scene

Wes Welker (Image from PictureDepot)

1. Wes Welker

Well it looks like the Wes Welker versus Julian Edelman experiment is over. Shame on everyone in the media and those fans who tried to rationalize the lunacy of starting Julian Edelman over Welker. Edelman is versatile but does nothing great. He caught 11 passes the last two years combined. So, let’s start him over the All-Pro? Yes, Wes Welker dropped a potential Super Bowl-winning pass, but the Patriots would not even have been in that game without him. He’s one of the best PLAYERS in the league and he had every right to be pissed at his head coach.

As for the comment and the apology, well the reaction was the real joke. Belichick could have diffused the issue with a little comedy, but he had to play the heavy. Bill’s getting a little old and grumpy, even for his usual standards. It’s time to focus on things that are broken, like this defense for the last five years.

2. Gary Tanguay:

Are they doing any show prep on Uno’s Sports Night/CSNNE/Mohegan Sun anymore? On Monday night, Gary Tanguay seemed confused about the Seahawks stadium, confused about the team and didn’t mention that the Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL. Gary, Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) purposely built a stadium that would be one of the loudest in the league. Google it. It’s good stuff. Tanguay then said he would leave who was better, Edelman or Welker, up to the coach. Wow, Gary really, really wants Gil’s job. Way to educate your audience.

3. Patriots Defense:

I look at this Seattle Seahawks team and I wonder why the Patriots still can’t put together a top defense after five years. I don’t think Pete Carroll is a great head coach, but he can coach defense. This Seattle team is not comprised of top 10 picks, so I have to think it’s the defensive coaching. The last few years, the Houston Texans drafted some high-impact players like Brian Cushing, JJ Watt, Brooks Reed, and they hired Wade Phillips, another failure as a head coach, but a pretty good defensive coordinator. In 2010, their defense was worse than the Patriots, and now it’s top five.

Belichick’s original genius was based on his defensive mind. The Patriot’s defense is mostly first and second round picks. Is it the staff? First it was Dean Pees, now it is Matt Patricia. Or is it the scheme? Why wasn’t Kevin Kolb blitzed repeatedly? The defense should be getting significantly better not slightly better. With this offense, this team should be gearing up for their fourth straight Super Bowl. Will this be another year the defense lets them down.

4. Belichick’s Browns:

Great follow-up by Greg Bedard on the NFL Network’s Documentary “A Football Life: the 1995 Cleveland Browns.” I love the series, but Bedard was correct to point out the creative license that episode took with Belichick. The most intriguing thing about it to me was Belichick’s eye for talent. Four staff members are now NFL GM’s and he also kick-started the careers of so many NFL and college coaches. I couldn’t help but be disgusted to hear the stories of Mike Tannebaum and Eric Mangini from those days. Here were two nobodies whom Belichick made millionaires, and 12 years later they would betray and embarrass Belichick. I am amazed when the media doesn’t pick up on things like that. But, as Bedard wrote, you can’t directly link that team with the Ravens Super Bowl title five years later.

Also, much was made about Belichick acquiring a second first round draft pick before he was fired. That draft pick would later be used on Ray Lewis. At a time when the Salary Cap mattered, I am not even sure Belichick would have kept a second first round pick to draft Ray Lewis. He didn’t think he needed Clay Matthews, so we got Patrick Chung instead.

5. Eli Manning:

I know some day I am going to be watching Tom Brady highlight videos and realizing again just how great he was. Hopefully, he can grab one more ring to match up with Joe Montana. The second best quarterback in the NFL right now is Eli Manning and climbing. He reminds me so much of Brady 2002-2006.

6. Dan Shaughnessy’s Criticism of Bloggers:

A lot was made in the media circles about Dan Shaughnessy’s criticism of “bloggers.” I think Dan has trouble differentiating the bloggers from the angry commenters on the blogs. Were those the anonymous ones that he was referring to? Everyone has a right to anonymity, but it’s the angry commenter who doesn’t want to debate and simply wants to launch insults at the writer, blogger, etc. that I have such little respect for. These commenters just want to hear their own beliefs chanted back to them like a cult. It’s become much more common with the football fans than any other sport. Sports are there for fun, enjoyment, and thrills. It’s great to be passionate and everyone has a right to get angry or be a fan boy if they like. When you move from debate to personal attacks, well it’s time for a new hobby.

7. MLB Wild Card:

The MLB wild card just didn’t do it for me. Start the season earlier, there are plenty cities with domes and warm climates. Play a two out of three to eliminate a team. CC Sabathia isn’t going to be ruined if he doesn’t pitch for a week.

8. Baseball/Football Hodgepodge:

I hope the Nationals fans appreciate the sacrifice their ownership made when Stephen Strasberg’s well-preserved arm is pitching in October for New York in a few years. Fifty saves doesn’t mean anything unless you can get one in October, Jim Johnson. Same goes for placekickers, Stephen Gostkowski doesn’t make me feel secure come January. I think he’s Nate Kaeding reincarnated.

9. The NBA Sucks:

Here’s why the NBA sucks. It’s become golf. Barring injury, three teams have a real shot at an NBA title this year. The Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. The Celtics may be the second best team in the East and they have almost no shot at a title. No other sport has that little competitive balance. There are certain cities that will never, ever play in an NBA Finals (Milwaukee Bucks). So, it becomes a league where people root for and against players. It’s boring, and I love basketball. The Celtics play with passion, but it’s a sport where talent almost always wins.

10. Summer Sports Radio Ratings Book:

The Summer ratings book once again swung back in favor of 98.5 The Sports Hub. What I found most interesting was “The Big Show’s” drop. It looks like the early Red Sox telecasts were the difference in the Spring. However, WEEI is doing itself no favors with stale commentary, a ridiculous segment called the “Lightning Round” only to be followed by a “Whiner Line” that is past its prime. I like Holley, but the entertainment value just doesn’t match Felger and his parrot.

11. Bedard and Reiss:

I grew up reading Peter Gammons, Jackie MacMullan, Bob Ryan, and Will McDonough all in the same paper. The internet has really spread out the writers and just when we start to get used to a local writer, they are off to network. Right now for NFL football, Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe and Mike Reiss of are two of the best. They might be on the NFL Network at this time next year, so enjoy them while they are here.

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8 comments for “These go to Eleven: 11 Observations on the Boston Sports Scene”

  1. It’s been well documented that the Clay Matthews trade led to the Gronkowski pick. Would you really trade the straight up? Matthews is having a great year, but he looked pretty pedestrian last year.

    As far as Welker- despite your “I’m the most tortured Pats fan in the world” hand-wringing, you’ll be upset if Welker starts and has a typical Welker game sunday and the Pats win. Your precious storyline will be subverted, and that seems to be what’s most important to you as a fan. I’m sure your mea culpas will flood the twiteer feeds of all of the writers you stalk if this comes to pass.

    Posted by Jerry Abel | October 12, 2012, 2:05 pm
  2. Warm weather teams will never agree to more home games at the start of the season because that means they are losing games during the summer, which are the most lucrative.

    Posted by Jake T | October 12, 2012, 2:54 pm
  3. That’s complete spin by Pats fans and media. If the Pats really wanted Gronk they could have got that 2nd round pick somewhere. OR they had two second round picks. They took Spikes and Cunningham. They could have traded both or one and a 3rd and moved up to take Gronk. Who by the way, was injured his senior year which is why he was available. They didn’t know Gronk was going to be Gronk or Brady was going to be Brady. But Clay Matthews was a legit stud, (enhanced or not) and the Pats needed a pass rusher. Don’t believe the spin. Listen its ok to admit that the Pats keep missing on defensive draft picks. True story. Tom Dmitroff asked Belichick during the 2010 draft if he would move up for Julio Jones. Belichick said no. Stay put draft Jonathan Baldwin. Atlanta gave up the currency and got a GREAT player. Jonathan Baldwin is just a guy. We can’t applaud Bill when they move up and not condemn when they move down and that’s the problem. That Gronk story is Football Life NFL network material.

    Posted by George | October 12, 2012, 3:54 pm
  4. I am talking about 6 games, they can make it work. Listen those 100 degree games in late July aren’t must see games in Florida, Anaheim and LA sometimes.

    Posted by gcain | October 12, 2012, 3:57 pm
  5. They didn’t know Gronk was going to be Gronk? So what you’re saying is that when they miss on a pick they’re idiots, but when they hit on one they got lucky. Must be tough to have such impossibly high standards, Georgie.

    Posted by Kevin | October 12, 2012, 7:55 pm
  6. I can buy nobody new Brady would be Brady. But nobody knew Gronk would be Gronk but everybody knew “Matthews was a legit stud”? BS.

    If Matthews was such a sure thing, why was he picked 26th overall? He was also the 11th defensive player and 3rd linebacker taken. The Packers also took another defensive player (Raji) before they took him.

    Posted by Furious George | October 12, 2012, 10:05 pm
  7. There were questions about Matthews growth his senior year. But that is everyone in the league. Its not just they didn’t get Matthews, they ended up with Chung who we are now realizing is part of the problem in the secondary. His coverage is awful and has not got better. You either put together a pass rush or you put together a secondary. They just started this last draft with the pass rush.

    Posted by gcain | October 13, 2012, 3:26 pm
  8. I don’t understand why Welker doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Since coming to the Pats he does anything asked of him While maybe not the premier receiver like a Calvin Johnson, Welker is the perfect team and puts team before stats yet his stats deserve a new contract

    Posted by Ryan Montgomery | October 16, 2012, 8:07 pm

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