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.