Saturday, December 24, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 16 (Game 15)

The Patriots play their fifteenth game of the season at Gillette against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday December 24th at 1:00 PM.

Yay!  Saturday football.

Don't look now, but the Pats are on track to have the number one seed in the AFC.

Really.

With that defense.

Really.


Aaron Hernandez makes it rain against the Broncos.

Dear Santa - I want a pass rush for Patriots this year for Christmas in these last few games.  Please?  What's that?  We lost Andre Carter last week?  Oh... OK.

Here's five guys in the secondary I'll be hoping can pick things up a bit in the next few weeks:

1) Patrick Chung - Will Chung be back this week?  Maybe! 

2) Devin McCourty - Is he getting slightly less terrible as the year goes on?  Kinda.  Not a great sophomore year for #32.

3) Kyle Arrington - Also questionable.  I see a lot of "questionables" on the injury report this week.  Outlook not good.

4) James Ihedigbo - I think he got hurt six times last week.  Dude, just stay down.

5) Matthew Slater / Julian Edelman - The converted WRs / Special Teams guys haven't been that bad in the secondary.  Seriously.  But it's really not a good sign that they've been on the field with the defense so much this year.  General Manager Belichick has really let down Coach Belichick with the defensive draft picks the last few years.


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

YES.

(And a touchdown, too!)

My prediction: Pats 31, Dolphins 24

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

It's Christmas 1991. It's my first year as a head coach in Cleveland.  The PR department thinks it would be a good idea for me to dress up like Santa Claus and hang out in the stadium parking lot handing out footballs to the local kids.

I reluctantly go along with it.  I put the Santa suit on and head on out.  I'm trying to be a good guy.

I thought they were going to just have me throwing balls to the crowd.  I didn't realize until I was actually out there that they wanted to have kids sitting on my lap.

The first two kids sit on my lap and get their footballs without any problems.  Then I can see the third kid is going to be trouble.

He's maybe 10 or 12.  Kinda thick.  He staggers over to me.  There's a strong smell coming off him.

"Is that beer I smell?" I ask him.  "Kid, it's 10:15 in the morning."

And then he barfs on me.

Then he looks up at me says, "Welcome to Cleveland, dick."

The beer barf goes right through the Santa suit.  I'm soaked.

Ever since that day, I wear the hooded sweatshirt at all times as a protective layer.

Even to bed.

True story.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 15 (Game 14)

The Patriots play their fourteenth game of the season against the Denver Tebows Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday December 18th at 4:15 PM.

Aaaaand we're back to 4:15 games this week.  Crap.

Also... There's only three regular season games left.  Crap crap.


Who had their sexual assault charges dropped this week?  THIS GUY!


Anyone watch any ESPN this week?  I'll recap for you:

Tebow.  Tebow Tebow. Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow.

Tebow Tebow?

Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow.

How do you contain Tebow?  He's too fast for a lineman to catch him.  He's too big for a defensive back to take him down.  If I'm the defensive coordinator for the Patriots this week, I want linebackers taking up space and making tackles.  Linebackers everywhere.  Put 5 or 6 of them out there at a time (note to self - do we even have 6 healthy linebackers at this point?).

Here's five guys from the linebacking corps I'm hoping to see step it up this week:

1) Jerod Mayo - Game saving play last week.  Also, congratulations on your five year extension.

2) Dane Fletcher - Dane was poised to have a break-out year then missed a bunch of time due to a thumb injury.  Hopefully he can get things back on track.

3) Gary Guyton - I like Guyton a lot, but I'm not seeing him on the field as much this year.  Health issues?  Coach's decision?  I have no idea.

4) Rob Ninkovich - Strong season.  He's had a couple of big games this year.  Watch for him to set the edge on Sunday.

5) Brandon Spikes - Also recovering from injury.  Not quite living up to his potential yet, but there's still time.  (UPDATE:  Out this week.)


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

YES.


My prediction: Pats 35, Broncos 34

(Broncos come back from 21 points down with 2:30 left to play and fail on the 2-point conversion attempt while going for the win... Gronk and Tebow then have a dance-off at mid-field.  Gronk wins and proceeds to tebag Tebow on national television...)

Stay hydrated, my friends.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

Super Bowl XXV - 1991.  We had just beaten the Bills for our second title.  My last year with the Giants as defensive coordinator.  A nation that was heavily involved in the Gulf War looked to football for a welcome distraction.  And Bill Parcells was more drunk with power than ever.

We're flying back to New York on a late night flight.  The whole plane is a huge party at that point.  If you can ever get yourself on a flight home with a Super Bowl winning team, I highly recommend it.

I go to the back of the plane where the most yelling is to see what's going on.

Parcells sees me and grabs me by the arm.  "Belichick, you're in the next game" he barks at me.

What are they playing?  Poker?  Dominoes?

Nope.  Russian Roulette.  Seriously.

At this point, Parcells had two of his own personal Viet Cong gunmen he traveled with at all times.  I'd have been shot on site if I refused.

I sit down at the table.  And my turn comes up.

"Is this a good idea at thirty thousand feet?" I ask.

"Just shut up and pull the trigger!" Parcells come back with.  One of the gunmen steps forward and shows his rifle.

It was 10 times scarrier than that scene in "The Deer Hunter". 

I eventually get up the courage the pull the trigger.  And...

  * click *

Nothing.  Phew.

"Hey!  Another one goes wide right!" Parcells yells and slaps me on the back.

"This is nuts," I say to myself.  And I got out right after that.  I took the head coaching job with Cleveland.  Sure, it was the Browns.  But at least I was able to get away from Parcells for a few years.

True story.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 14 (Game 13)

The Patriots play their thirteenth game of the season against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday December 11th at 1:00 PM.

Oh wow... That field looks like crap.

I predicted a complete and total blow-out last week... and I was way off.  I can't handle watching this defense give up 500 yards every week. From now on, I'm going to turn the channel when the Pats don't have the ball.  Maybe I'll watch a movie or something.



Here's five guys on offense I'm going to be watching this week:

1) Tom Brady - Brady is going to have to play out of his mind for us to do anything in the playoffs.

2) Benjarvus Green-Ellis - It's December.  Time to start giving BJGE the rock.

3) Stevan Ridley - Still loving this kid.  4.8 yards per carry.

4) Chad Ochocinco - Up to 12 catches on the year now.  Or, you know, about one game's worth of balls for Wes Welker.

5) Matthew Slater - And let's go with Matthew Slater.  Sure. Why not?


Also, Mike Shanahan is not so good.

Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

YES.

My prediction: Pats 31, Redskins 28

Stay hydrated, my friends.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

Most people already know I'm BFFs with Jon Bon Jovi.  What most people don't know about is my feud with Richie Sambora.

It definitely wasn't over a woman.  They used to pass the ladies around like water in those days.

And it wasn't over money.

I won't bore you with the details...  But it was over a chocolate chip cookie of all things.

Anyway, even to this day, Sambora is banned from all our facilities.  He knows what he did.

True story.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 13 (Game 12)

The Patriots play their twelfth game of the season against BYE the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette on Sunday December 4th at 1:00 PM.

Finally!  A 1 o'clock game!  This pleases me.  Hopefully I can watch the whole game without having to get off the couch.  That's pretty much all I want in my life these days... a little uninterrupted couch time.


Vince Young is not so good.

There's been some great battles between the Pats and Colts over the last decade... But this one isn't even going to be close.  Belichick is going to unleash the dogs with bees in their mouths.  He rarely misses an opportunity to rub an old rival's nose in it while they're down (see Pats vs. Redskins 10/28/07).

He's five unsung heroes of the Patriots 2011 season I'll be watching this week:

1) Aaron Hernandez - Quietly having an excellent season.  He's not getting in the end zone as much as Gronk (who is?), but he's been playing pretty darn well.  He's already caught as many balls as all of last season.

2) Deion Branch - Not a great receiver, but a really good fit for this team.  I'll bet he wishes he never left town.

3) Julian Edelman - Considering he wasn't a lock to even make the team earlier in the year, he's definitely making his presence felt the last few weeks.  He got a great shot in on Vince Young last week.

4) BenJarvus Green-Ellis - He may not always be part of the game plan, but he's been pretty consistent when called upon this year (OK, except for the Pittsburgh game.  But nobody had a good game that week).

5) Rob Ninkovich - He's become a real player this season.  It's been nice to watch his development.


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO.

My prediction: Pats 52, Colts 7

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

It's January 2004.  Playoffs.  We're about to face Indy at home.  Manning is absolutely on fire.  I think he ended up being co-MVP that year.  And I'm feeling more confident in my team than I've ever felt in my whole career.  I just knew we had it that year.

I skipped the Friday night coaches' meeting and went out to see "THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING".  That Viggo Mortensen is something special.  If you didn't like him in "A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE", we can't be friends.

Anyway, we won that game 24 to 14, but it wasn't even that close.  Ty ended up picking off Manning 3 times that game.

True story.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 12 (Game 11)

The Patriots play their eleventh game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday November 27th at 4:15 PM.

Sorry about the delay.  We were off having another kid.  So far the Patriots are 2 and 0 since Kid #2 got here.  He actually slept on my tummy while we watched the Pats - Jets game in the hospital.  THAT'S GREAT NAPPING.


Jazz hands!

Have you seen the schedule the rest of the year?  Oh man, that's soft.  Lots of lousy teams and backup quarterbacks.  We're going to win 12 or 13 games.  And, of course, none of it matters if we go one and out again in the playoffs.  *deep breath - composes self*  Moving on...

He's five guys I'll watching closely this week:

1) Tom Brady - Brady has been getting off to sloooow starts the last few weeks.  He's looked great in the second half, but lousy at the beginning of these games.  I hope he's not hurt.

2) Rob Gronkowski - GRONK HANG ON TO BALL EVEN WHILE FALL ON HEAD.  GRONK NO DROP SURE TOUCHDOWNS LIKE DANIEL GRAHAM.

(What do you think?  Too close to Roethlisberger?  I'll keep working on it.) 

3) Vince Wilfork - They're playing Big Vince an awful lot this year.  He's going to get hurt down the stretch.  I'd like to see him get some rest.

4) Kyle Arrington - Arrington has gone from barely being on an NFL roster to leading the league in INTs this year.  Not bad at all.

5) Shane Vereen - Was that Shane Vereen I saw running into the endzone for a garbage time TD last week?  Welcome to the active game day roster, Shane! (Note that this in no way affects my Stevan Ridley man-crush.)


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO. 

(But to his credit, he did have two the week before.)


My prediction: Pats 31, Eagles 20

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

November 2009.  It's the Monday before Thanksgiving and I'm having an extra film session day with some of the rookies who are struggling.

Ron Brace asks if he can go to the bathroom.  Sure, I tell him.  Make it quick.

We finish up 45 minutes later and Brace still hasn't returned.  I dismiss everyone and tell them I've got a surprise waiting for them in the dining area.

I had ordered a catered Thanksgiving spread for the group.  Turkey.  Biscuits.  Gravy.  Pie.  Everything. 

We walk down the hall and find Brace covered in skin and bones.  Long story short, he had eaten the whole 24 pound turkey before the rest of the team got there.

He must have smelled the meal wandered off after his bathroom break.

"Come on," I tell them.  "Everybody get in your cars and follow me." 

And I took them out for Chinese food.

I should have cut Brace right there on the spot.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 9 (Game 8)

The Patriots play their eighth (is that really how you spell "8th"?  Something doesn't look right...) game of the season against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on Sunday November 6th at 4:15 PM.

Rough week last week, Guys.  After the game I put on my Belichick pajamas, crawled into bed and cried myself to sleep.

I felt a little better when I woke up Monday morning.  We're still 5 and 2.  All is not lost.

This doesn't look like a Super Bowl defense, but nobody else out there really scares me right now.  Nobody is running away with the AFC at this point. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that things are still wide open.  It's only November.


I know, Bill.  I couldn't watch, either.

Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO. 


There's been a number of disappointments on this team this year.  Here's five guys I'm hoping to see do something on the field this week:

1) Chad Ochocinco - My expectations were low when we traded for Chad... But not this low.

2) Taylor Price - Always looks great in the pre-season.  Then we never see him again once the games count.

3) Danny Woodhead - Not getting the reps this year.  And that's not going to get any better with K-Faulk back on the active roster.

4) Julian Edelman - You've got to smarten up there with the off the field incidents.  That's a good way to get youself cut. 

5) Albert Haynesworth - How does a 360 pound guy make himself invisible?


Is this the week the Patriots offense gets back to putting 30 on the board?  Probably not.

My prediction: Pats 27, Giants 17

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

So it's 1985 and I'm the DC for the Giants.  It's the first week of the season.  We're playing the Eagles.  And Lawrence Taylor shows up to the film session on Monday morning with a 13 year-old Thai hooker. 

So I pull him aside and say "Uh, Lawrence, we've got a big game against a divisional opponent this week and I want you to be focused.  I don't think your friend needs to be here for this."

He pauses for a second and looks at me.  Then he says to me "Coach, this isn't my friend... I MARRIED this bitch last night."

I let one of the interns run the rest of the film session and make a few quick phone calls and manage to get the marriage annulled.

Somehow, Parcells managed to keep all this out of the papers.  And we shut out the Eagles that week.

True story.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 8 (Game 7)

The Patriots play their seventh game of the season against the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday October 30th at 4:15 PM.

Impressive win over the Cowboys two weeks ago.  I didn't think they had a chance of pulling that one out.

I also listed 5 guys (mmm... Five Guys... ) who had a chance of picking off Romo in that game.  And the correct answer was... Kyle Arrington.  Nailed it.

NEW FEATURE -- Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO. 

Chad Ochocinco with one of his many, many catches this season.
Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Tom Brady - Brady has traditionally shredded the Pittsburgh defense.  They don't mix things up much.  If you do the same thing over and over again, #12 will kill you.

2) Rob Gronkowski - Even on the bye week, Gronk totally scored.  I've got him on my fantasy football team.  I should get points for that, no?

3) New England Pass Defense - Let's be optimists here and list them as "improving".  Stay positive, people.

4) Pittsburgh Pass Defense - Statiscally pretty good.  But so far they've played such offensive juggernauts as Seattle, Indianapolis, Arizona and Jacksonville.  I'm not too worried.

5) Kyle Arrington - I listed Kyle as "inconsistent" before the last game.  Then he went and had 11 tackles and a pick.  Hopefully he's about to get hot. 


Also... I love the KSK guys's take on Roethlisberger.  I assume this is what he actually sounds like in real life:


THE BEN NO WANT COMPLAIN AND BE ROTTEN EGGMAN BUT THE BEN TAKE LOTTO HITS THIS SEASON. SO MANY OWIESPOTS THAT BEN DON’T KNOW WHERE OWIE END AND BEN BEGIN. IT BAD. VERY BAD. HAVE NO TIME IN POCKET FOR MANY PUMP FAKE, RUN AROUND IN CIRCLE THEN THROW BALL AT SAME TIME BEN IS FALLING TO GROUND.


My prediction: Pats 35, Steelers 24

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

I'm out with Romeo again the night before a game in Atlanta.  He says he knows a place to hang out about 15 miles outside of town.

We go rent this giant Chrysler and head down the highway.  You could have fit like 20 people in this thing.  It was huge.

We finally get out there... and it's just this... shack.  In a field.  In the middle of nowhere.

Romeo gets out of the car and goes bang, bang, bang on the door.

"Knock a little louder" I tell him.

And it turns out...  Nobody was there that night.  They must have been closed.  We ended up just going back to the hotel and getting blitzed. 

Unfortunately, I can't seem to remember what they called the place...  But I'll never forget that tin roof.

True story.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 6 (Game 6)

The Patriots play their sixth game of the season against the Cowboys at Gillette Stadium on Sunday October 16th at 4:15 PM.

First - I would be remiss without mentioning BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  He had a hell of a game last week.


What's going on in this picture?  Why is Brady 11 feet tall?

Second - Was the defense better last week?  Or were the Jets just lousy?  Either way, I'll take it.  Holding the Jets to 3 for 11 on third down?  Niiiice.

Third - These 4:15 games are killing me.  My kid usually naps from 12:30 to 3:00-ish on the weekends.  If it's a 1:00 o'clock game, I can get 2/3rds of that game in without also having to tend to parenting duties.  By 4:15, he's up and wants to watch "Scooby Doo" and "Phineas and Ferb".  "Sorry Buddy... Daddy gets to watch his show right now."

Here's five guys I think could pick off Tony Romo this week:

1) Devin McCourty - He's leading the team in tackles.  He looked somewhat better last week.  And he saved a touchdown on that long kick-off return by McKnight.  But the INTs just haven't been there yet this year.

2) Kyle Arrington - Inconsistent in coverage.  Has been good on the corner blitzes.

3) Ras-I Dowling - Has he been hurt?  Or are they just bringing him along slowly?  Probably both.

4) Leigh Bodden - He's been somewhat limited with a groin injury [ed. note - ow].  This will most likely be his last year with the team if he can't stay healthy.

5) Vince Wilfork - The honorary 5th corner.  I can't wait to watch him find the endzone someday.  Is there anything better than a 350 pound man running with the football?  I say no.


My prediction: Pats 31, Cowboys 27

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

So it's the summer of '84.  I'm a rising star on the Giants coaching staff.  And I'm sitting at a table in the back of the bar with Romeo Crennel knocking back a few beers.  You know.  Blowing off a little steam before training camp starts.

And there's this dude with the craziest hair I've ever seen hanging on to every word at the next table.  He comes over and starts asking all these questions. 

Now, I've had a few.  So I'm opening up a bit more than usual.  And I can tell this guy had no idea who I was and had never watched a football game in his life.

"So your boss is a real ball buster, huh?"

"Yeah, he's a world class prick."

And suddenly, wouldn't you know it, Parcells busts in the room and comes over to our table.

"Hey boys!  What are you drinking?  I'll buy the next round."

"We're drinking Heinekens, Coach."

"Heineken? Fuck that foreign shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon is what you'll drink tonight!"

Dude with the Weird Hair is horrified and quickly picks up on the fact that this is the guy we've been talking about.  Then he made the mistake of making eye contact with Bill.

"Don't you fucking look at me!" Parcells shoots back.

Anyway, it turns out Dude with the Weird Hair was David Lynch.  For all I know, that encounter gave him the idea for the Frank Booth character in Blue Velvet.

True story.

(And remind me to tell you about the weekend I spent in Nantucket with Isabella Rossellini.  Let's just say I've rewatched the game tape of that one a few times.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 5 (Game 5)

The Patriots play their fifth game of the season against the Jets at Gillette Stadium on Sunday October 9th at 4:15 PM.

I don't know how to put this, but...  the defense... is not good.  After all this talk about improved quarterback pressure, revamped defensive lines and 3 - 4 vs. 4 - 3, we still can't get off the field when we have to.  This doesn't have the look of a team that looks like it's built to go deep into the playoffs right now.  I keep reminding myself that it's early.  There's still time. 

The only bright spot the last few weeks was the emergence of Stevan Ridley.  Hot damn, he's fast.  I can't ever remember the Pats having a burner like that in the backfield.

Moving on to this week - I'm not as worried about the Jets as I was at the beginning of the year.  Sanchez seems to have taken a step back. 

(Now watch him throw for 425 yards this week.  Ugh.)


Cover up that ball.

Let's take a look at the leaders of the franchise.  Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Tom Brady - That 4 INT game at Buffalo was UGLY.  There's no way we're good enough to win games like that.  Some semblance of a running game would only help him down the stretch.

2) Vince Wilfork - Vince is an INTERCEPTION MACHINE.  I say we move him to safety.  Or maybe even mix him in a bit at tight end with hands like that.

3) Wes Welker - He's on track to catch roughly 2300 balls this year.  He's also finding the endzone a lot more this year.  I like it.  They better resign him after this season. ***shakes fist at sky***

4) Jerod Mayo - He's going to be out how long?  A month?  Yikes.  This defense can't afford to get any worse.

5) Logan Mankins - I'm glad he's locked up long term.  He's a difference maker, even if he's good for 4 or 5 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties a year. 


YouTube Video of the Week: Holy crap, that's the best fake punt return play I've ever seen.

My prediction: Pats 34, Jets 21

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

By 1977, I was with the Detroit Lions.  (Lots of good stuff coming out of Detroit at the time... Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Grand Funk Railroad).    They had me on special teams, receivers, tight ends.  A little bit of everything.  And we sucked.

Remember, this was Detroit in the 70s.  It was pretty bad.  Some of the guys that were trying out for the team were from the area.  If they didn't make the team, they'd be back on the assembly line putting dashboards in Chevy Impalas the next day.

I had to cut one of these guys the second day of training camp.  He just sucked.  I tried to put it to him gently, but it didn't go over well.  Instead of handing me his playbook, he throws it against the wall and walks out.

I head out to the parking lot that night... And he's actually waiting for me by my car.  He sees me coming and he pulls a knife on me.  "You wanna cut me, Coach?  I'll show you what it feels like to get cut."

I assess the situation.  You know, mentally "pause the tape" so to speak.  And I realize he's holding the knife way out to the side like a total amatuer.  Now keep in mind that, at this point, I'm only a few years away from my college lacrosse days.  I'm still pretty quick on my feet.  So I turn my shoulder, lean in to him and drive him back six feet into a concrete post.  Ended up breaking two of his ribs.

Anyway, I gave him $20 out of my wallet and a ride to the emergency room.

True story.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 3 (Game 3)

The Patriots play their third game of the season on the road at The Ralph on Sunday September 25th at 1:00 PM

First up - It's the 10 year anniversary Mo Lewis taking out Drew Bledsoe.   

*pauses for moment of silence* 

Just think about how differently things might have gone if Brady never made it on the field that season.  Scary.  Don't get me wrong... I love Drew.  And I appreciate that without Parcells, Bledsoe and Kraft coming along when they did, the team was probably gone.  But we definitely don't go on that run with Drew under center.  And I think maybe twice in the last ten years I've yelled "GET RID OF THE BALL!" at the TV with Number 12 out there.  With Drew it was 3 - 4 times per quarter.

Pats vs. Chargers.  It's probably for the best that Vince didn't make it to the end zone off the interception last week.  I probably would have broken my hand on the ceiling after jumping off the couch.


Go, Vince, go!

I always thought evaluating draft picks right after the draft was stupid.  Who the hell knows what kind of NFL players these guys are going to be?  Mel Kiper is fun to watch, but he doesn't really know shit (and supposedly you can buy praise from him for one of your players if you're an agent.  Scandalous!)

Having said that, let's go back at look at one of the better New England drafts in recent memory: 2010.

Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Devin McCourty - Great rookie year.  Off to a not great start this year.  But the future looks bright.

2) Rob Gronkowski - I love love love Gronk.  I took him about 3 rounds too early in my fantasy draft.  I stand by my decision.

3) Jermaine Cunningham / Brandon Spikes - The linebackers is where that draft gets a little squishy.  I'm still expecting more from Cunningham and Spikes.  So far the only notable contribution has been Spikes's sex tape.

4) Aaron Hernandez - Get well soon.  I've heard 1 - 2 weeks on the knee injury.  I've also heard 4 - 6.  Those bigger numbers scare me a bit.

5) Zoltan Mesko -  I just like saying "Zoltan".  Oh, and he's pretty good, too.  He's also on the "Get well soon" list.  I'm going to have to hit the Hallmark store this weekend.

EXTRA BONUS 6TH ITEM!  Dane Fletcher (undrafted free agent) - He seems to be getting on the field an awful lot this year and taking playing time away from guys drafted much higher than him.  I like it.  Good for him.


I'm honestly worried about the Bills this week.  We've beat them 15 times in a row.  That can't keep up forever, right?  This is going to be a shootout.

My prediction: Pats 45, Bills 42

Stay hydrated, my friends.



YouTube Video of the Week:  New York Giants working on their soccer audition highlight reels. 


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

Ok... Last Baltimore Colts story for a while.  It's still Fall of '75.  I'm rocking out to Rush's "Bastille Day" on my 8-track.

I told you about Marchibroda's drinking problem how I was supposed to be keeping the liquor cabinet fully stocked.

Well, the Offensive Coordinator takes me aside one day and explains to me that you've got to let him run out by Friday afternoon if you want him sober enough to coach the game by Sunday.  So I've got to spend all day Saturday ducking the coach so he doesn't send me on a liquor store run (keep in mind nothing was open on Sundays back then).

I'm in the OCs office for a meeting on Saturday morning and we hear the Coach stumbling down the hall.  He's yelling for me.


The OC turns to me and says  "Quick, get in the closet."

"Seriously?"

"Yes!  Go!  Take this and make it disappear."

He hands me the bottle of Canadian Club from his desk drawer.

So I hide in the closet and finish the bottle real quick.  Needless to say, I had an unbelievable headache for game day.  It didn't occur to me until later that I could have just dumped it out.

True story.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 2 (Game 2)

The Patriots play their first home game of the season at Gillette Stadium on Sunday September 18th at 4:15 PM.

HOMEWORK CHECK:  Did everyone watch "Bill Belichick: A Football Life" last night?  Good.  Don't forget to watch part 2 next week.


It's a little early, but let's take a look at the 2011 draft picks.  Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Nate Solder - I thought he played great on Monday night.  Beast-like, even.  I assumed this was going to be a "draft him now and play him later" kinda thing with this guy, but it looks like he's ready now. 

2) Ras-I Dowling - I recently suggested "Ras-I" to my wife a possible baby name.  And surprisingly, she was against it.

3) Marcus Cannon - Don't expect to see him this year, but he should be great when he comes back from... *checks medical report*... non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  Yikes.  Look for this guy NEXT year.  (These are the kinds of things you can do when you're coming off a 14 - 2 season... You can draft a guy who probably won't play for you right away...)

4) Stevan Ridley - GREAT pre-season.  Is he going to see the field at some point?  I sure hope so. 

5) Ryan Mallett - Speaking of guys who won't play for you right away...  This guy could be the future of the Patriots at QB.  I really hope we don't have to find out before 2016 or so.



My prediction: Pats 38, Chargers 27

Stay hydrated, my friends.


And for no reason Abe Lincoln, Trick Shot QB.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":



It's still Baltimore.  Still 1975.  Second week of the season.  (A friend of mine had just handed me a copy of Journey's first album.  Even then I knew they were going to be big...)

Marchibroda brings me into his office.  "Belichick!  Good job on keeping the liquor cabinet stocked."

"Thanks, Coach."  At this point, I'm just surprised he remembers my name.

"I've got another job for.  I want you to go find #36 and tell him he's done.  Have him clean out his locker and turn in his playbook.  You think you can handle that?"

"Sure thing, Coach."

I knew what needed to be done.  And I acted like it bothered me.  But it didn't.  If these guys weren't meant to play football, it's better they find out sooner rather than later and get on with the rest of their lives.

And the guy we cut that day was none other than Howard "Bunny" Colvin.

True story.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 1 (Game 1)

The Patriots play their first regular season game at Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium  Dolphins Stadium Land Shark Stadium Sun Life Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Monday, September 12th at 7:00 PM.

Just a reminder... The Dolphins could have had Drew Brees and chose Daunte Culpepper instead.

*** long pause ***

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!

That story kills me.

I love 7:00 PM Monday Night Football.  All Monday night games should start this early (Suck it, West Coasties!).



(Albert approves of the earlier Monday night start time)


There's a whole bunch of new faces this year.  Let's start with the new guys.  Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Chad Ochocinco - I'll be honest with you... I'm not feeling great about what I've seen in the preseason so far.  He looked lost at times.  Could he end up thriving in this offense?  Maybe.  But I'm afraid this could be another Joey Gaolloway situation. 

2) Albert Haynesworth - Look, he's not likely to win any "great guy" awards.  But the Patriots got him on the cheap.  And Belichick excels at giving guys a chance to redeem themselves and turn their careers around (see: Moss, Randy). 

3) Shaun Ellis - I think we paid a little too much for a guy in his 12th year, but it's not my money.  Hopefully he's still got something left in the tank.

4) Andre Carter - He's looked great in preseason.  I'm really quite enamored by the revamped defensive line.  The third down defense should be greatly improved.

5) Mark Anderson - He's also looked great in preseason.  Hopefully he'll be a better, more consistent version of Tully Banta-Cain.



Other thoughts from around the league:

1) The Steelers looked like they hadn't even met each other before yesterday.  There's going to be a lot of that going around this year early on.  Not having an offseason will do that.  This problem should get better as the year goes on for most teams...

2) ...except for the Colts.  They're going to suck all year.  Schadenfreude-gasm!  The Colts have been in decline for a while.  Having the 2nd best QB of all time will cover up for a lot of drafting mistakes.  (Also, this:  Polian scouted Stanford QB Andrew Luck on Saturday)

3) I saw actual signs of life from the Washington Redskins yesterday.  Who knew?

4) I went to bed with the Cowboys comfortably ahead last night assuming the Patriots were already going to be half a game up this morning.  That's what I get for trusting Romo.  UPDATE:  This one is even better.


My prediction: Pats 28, Dolphins 17

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":


It's 1975 and the Baltimore Colts are paying me $25 week.  (Springsteen's "Born to Run" had just come out.  Great album.)  I'm watching film.  Getting people coffee.  Picking people up at the airport.  You name it.  Whatever they need me to do.  I'm just a sponge at this point.  I'm trying to absorb everything I can.

One day, Coach Marchibroda pulls me into his office.  And he says to me, "Belichick!  You're here all the time.  You got a social life?  You got any lady friends?"

And I reply "Not right now, sir.  I'm trying to make a career for myself."

"Well, you're not going to impress the ladies coaching defense.  Broads like touchdowns."

"I'll take that under advisement, sir."

"Also, get you ass down to the liquor store.  Don't ever let me run out of vodka again."

Huge lush, Coach Marchibroda.

And we even made the playoffs that year.

True story.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hey Hey Hey!

Welcome back!

After a full off-season of "When is my team going to make a big move?", Adam Schefter tweets:

"Filed to ESPN: Washington traded DT Albert Haynesworth to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round pick in 2013. "

My first reaction was... WHA?!

Not a great guy, sure.

But here's the thing though... What if this actually works out?  What if he shows up and plays?

A fifth round pick in 2013 isn't much to give up.  And d-line is already a source of strength for the Patriots.  So if he acts up, he's gone.

I'm sure conditioning is going to be a problem.  I can't imagine he kept himself in great shape during the lockout.

Belichick is totally in the "Eff you, I'm Keith Hernandez" zone.


Plus this trade gives me the excuse to run this video all season:



Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Divisional Playoff Round

The Patriots play their first playoff game against the Jets at Gillette on Sunday, January 16th at 4:30 PM.

I'm so ready for this game.  This is the playoffs, people (PLAYOFFS?!).  Let's all act like we've been here before.

Did anyone actually watch the Jets - Colts game last week?  The Jets may have won, but Mark Sanchez looked GAWD AWFUL.  How deep can you really go in the playoffs with a guy like that?

But you know what does scare me just a little?  The Jets running game.  We are thin thin thin along the defensive line.  If I was Rex Ryan... I would be into feet.  But I would also steal the Week 15 game plan from the Green Bay Packers and run the ball 120 times.  They came into Foxboro and ran the ball all over us.

The other item from this week that everyone is flipping out about is Antonio Cromartie is blasting Tom Brady.  Really?  This is news?  This is the same guy that can't remember all his kids' names (unless one of his daughters is actually named "Daughter")


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week.  Let's go with the 5 team MVPs this season

1) Tom Brady - Statistically, one of the best years ever by a QB.  I think Brady is ready to release the hounds this week.  As long as they get him the ball back, he's going to put up points.

2) Devin McCourty - Seven interceptions and a trip to the Pro Bowl?  Not bad for a guy everyone thought was a reach in the first round and was going to be a special teamer / nickelback guy at best.  Even if he doesn't win Defensive Rookie of the Year, he was still a fantastic pick. 

3) Vince Wilfork - In a year with a lot of turnover on the defensive line, Wilfork has been the rock.

4) Jarod Mayo - Glad to see this guy back at 100%.  He was a beast this year.

5) Wes Welker - If it wasn't for Michael Vick, he'd be a sure bet for comeback player of the year.  A shoe-in even. (I could have gone with Rob Gronkowski here, but going with Welker allows me to link to this:  Wes Welker Makes 11 References To Feet In One Press Conference)



My prediction: Pats 35, Jets 24

OTHER PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS:  I'm picking all four home teams this weekend.  But since I went 0 - 4 last weekend, you may want take any gambling advice from me with a fairly large grain of salt.


Now... Let's go eat a goddamn snack.