Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 4


The Patriots play their fourth regular season game at The Ralph against the Buffalo Bills of Western New York and the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday September 30th at 1:00 PM.

The Patriots are 1 - 2 (don't look now, but I think Devin McCourty just gave up another 30 yard reception) ... And yet I'm not panicking.  They lost two games by a total of 3 points, with each game coming down the last play.  There's still a lot of football left.


"Hey... You guys wanna grab a beer later?"

With the regular refs coming back this week, the NBA reclaims its rightful place as the worst officiated league in all of sports.

Reportedly, when the end of the lockout was announced, Ed Hochuli threw his work shirts in the dryer for 4 hours and banged out 5 more sets of curls.


Jackson Power Rankings:

1) Samuel L.
2) Ms.
3) Andrew
4) 5
5) Cannery
...

11,957) Victoria
11,958) Tom
11,959) -ville
11,960) Chad

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

1) Tom Brady - He looks skittish back there.  You can tell he doesn't trust the offensive line yet.  Should we feel good that the offense put up 30 on the road at Baltimore?  Or should we be upset that they couldn't close the game out with a lead in the fourth quarter?  I don't know.  Check back with me this time next week.

2) Wes Welker - Welker vs Julian Edelman has become our own regional version of Jennifer Anniston vs. Angelina Jolie (with... Brady as Brad Pitt?) the last few weeks.  It looks like Edelman will be out this week, so maybe Welker will get the love he deserves.

     My four year-old and me on Sunday:

     "WES Welker."

     "WEST Welker?"

     "No... WES Welker.  No 'T'."

     (pause) 

     "WEST Welker?"


3) Deion Branch  - Welcome back, Mr. Branch.  (I think we all saw this one coming...)

4) Rob Gronkowski - Why do we keep calling so many plays for Woodhead?  Maybe mix in a little more Gronk?  You know... The guy who just had the best season ever by a tight end?

5) Kellen Winslow - Woo hoo!  More Tight Ends!  Is Winslow done?  Probably.  But maybe we'll throw him out there and defenses will forget to cover him.  Update: Released!




This is from an "opposites" kids book about the NFL.  The "sad" picture is of a Bills fan.  That kills me.

"Why so sad, Sad Bills Fan?  Maybe you wouldn't be so sad Sad Bills Fan if you didn't just spend the last two hours putting on all that face paint."


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

Yes!


My prediction (Game 4): Pats 31, Bills 17

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4

Nut up or move on.


*****


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 second book "My Patriot Years":

Drew Bledsoe was nominated for the Hall of Fame this week.  He's not a Hall of Famer.  But he could have been.

I sat him down in my office at the end of the 2000 season.

He had thrown 17 TDs against 13 INTs for 3,300 yards.  Not terrible numbers.  But certainly not great.  He was definitely on the decline at that point in his career.

"Drew... How are you feeling about the offense?  Everything OK?  I think we've got a really good mix at receiver going forward."

"Yeah, I guess."

"What's wrong?"

"Well..."

"Go ahead."

"I... I miss Ben Coates."

"Understandable.  He was a fantastic tight end and really made the offense go.  We're probably going to draft a tight end or two this year.  That should make things easier for you on third down."

"Well, it's not just that.  We had something really special together, you know?"

"What?  You mean your chemistry with him?"

"No... We had this great... secret handshake.  I miss that.  I don't know if I'll ever have that with another player."

Right then I knew... This wasn't my guy.  We traded him a year later.

True story.

Also... Some of you have asked about last week's game where I made contact with an official at the end of regulation.  I was just trying to get his attention and see if he wanted to chip in toward the gift card we were getting Brady for his baby shower (his wife is pregnant again... But I'm not sure if I'm supposed to mention that).  Honest.  That's all it was.

Friday, September 14, 2012

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


The Patriots play their second regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday September 16th at 1:00 PM.

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

Holy crap, we have a defense again!

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

And a running game!  Hot damn!

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

OK... Deep breaths... Calming back down.  It may just be one game, but it's definitely a good sign of things to come.

The offensive line was better than advertised (minus Nate Solder).  Gronk and Hernandez are cementing their status as the best 1-2 TE combo ever.

Also... Ridley!

Brady can be a "B" level quarterback and we still win games.

Negatives - It was against Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans.  Also, if I'm being honest, the secondary looked a little lost at times.

But guess what?  We've got the Mighty Arizona Cardinals coming in the week!  Boosh.



"Rule number 1: no touching of the hair or face!"



“He’s such a good-looking guy.  Obviously, he gets banged up, and he’s probably the toughest metrosexual I’ve ever come across.”  -- Wes Welker

Lloyd Power Rankings:

     1) Bridges
     2) Christopher
     3) Brandon
     4) Dobler
     5) Christmas


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


1) Chandler Jones - Wait wait wait... We traded UP to take someone in the first round in last years's draft?  Whoa.  Early returns look good.  He was all over the place in Week 1.

2) Dont'a Hightower - What?  We traded up TWICE?  No way.  What has gotten into The Hoodie?

3) Vince Wilfork - Wilfork is now the oldest member of the New England defense (Is that right?  Holy crap...)  Just in case you forgot, he's still awesome.

4) Nate Ebner - Projects to be mostly a special teams player.  But his college highlight reel is sploosh-tastic.  Go watch this.  Oh... Did I mention he played rugby in college?

5) Devin McCourty - Ummm... He seems like a good guy.  That's the nicest thing I can say about him right now.

My prediction (Game 2): Pats 31, Cardinals 10

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4

Nut up or move on.


*****


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 second book "My Patriot Years":


Training Camp

It's my first day of training camp as head coach of the Patriots in 2000.  Some of guys knew me from previous stint as the DC with team under Parcells.  But's my first day as THE GUY... and I knew we were going to have to set the tone.

Apparently nobody told this team they should SHOW UP already in shape.  Most of them were just a mess.  I inherited a team that was both physically and mentally soft.

I turn to Ernie Adams and say "We're going to have to tear it down and build it back up.  It's time to get to work"

Even worse - Pete (ed. note - Pete Carroll, Patriots head coach from 1997 - 1999) let the players pick the practice music.  Unbelievable.  And everyone thought their song should be played first.  Damien Woody wanted Ricky Martin.  Tebucky Jones wanted to listen to goddamned Cher. (At least Max Lane had some semi-respectable Foo Fighters and Everclear going on his playlist.)

So I give Ernie the nod.  He always knows what we need just when we need it.

He goes over to the PA system puts on track 3 of Bon Jovi's 1986 masterpiece Slippery When Wet: "Livin' on a Prayer."  That's good getting down to business music.  When you hear about Tommy working down on the dock, you feel better about yourself... AND you can't help but try a little harder.

Did we make the playoffs that first year?  No.  But we set the tone for what was to come next.  And we haven't had a losing season since then.

True story.

Friday, September 7, 2012

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


The Patriots play their first regular season game at LP Field against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday September 9th at 1:00 PM.

So... Um... Yeah.  Let's not get too hung up on how last season ended... It's a new year.  Like Coach Belichick says... We're focusing on next week.  We're moving on.

It's also an election year.  Republican or Democrat...  Liberal or Conservative...  Let's not lose sight of the one thing that unites us all...  That the Jets are horrible.



Gronk seems to be enjoying the benefits of being famous.

Let's dive right in!

The Patriots signed both Gronkowski AND Hernandez to long term deals (ed. note - phew) in the off-season.   They also added extra Tight Ends Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui and Visanthe Shiancoe. At this rate, we'll soon be fielding the NFL's first ALL TIGHT END OFFENSE!  (It's the logical next step in the evolution of the game...)

Josh McDaniels - Welcome back!  You'll get another shot at being the head coach someday... Probably!

I was lucky enough to spend a day watching training camp at Gillette Stadium this summer.  Here's a few quick thoughts:

  - Gronk jerseys.  Gronk jerseys everywhere in the stands.  Patriot Nation loves them some Gronk.

  - They're going to throw the ball.  A lot.

  - When they do run, it looks like Stevan Ridley is THE GUY.

  - Brady still loves throwing to Welker.  And I'm pretty sure I heard him call Welker "Big Guy".

  - I thought Stallworth looked really good, but apparently not good enough to make the team.  (Me = not a professional scout.)

  - On defense, Chandler Jones is going to be a MONSTER.


Hey Big Guy!

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

1) Brandon Lloyd - I'm honestly not sure what to expect here, but I'm intrigued.  At the very least, he should be an upgrade over Chad Ochocinco (and unless Chad catches on with another time, we'll have to retire "Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?"  That breaks my heart.)

2) Rob Gronkowski - Gronk should see a lot more double coverage this year.  I can't see any way he comes close to putting up numbers like last year.  But it should free up everybody else at the very least.

3) Wes Welker - No long term deal for Welkah this off-season.  So sad.  I get it...  He's 31.  But it still kinda sucks.

4) The revamped Offensive Line - It looked... ah... pretty rough in the pre-season.  Yikes.  I'm not feeling real good about this group.

5) Michael Hoomanawanui - Probably the 3rd or 4th TE on the depth chart.  I doubt he'll make it onto the field...  I just like saying "Hoomanawanui" (huh-oh-muh-NOW-uh-noo-ee).  Plus, Viking Dave made me promise to buy his jersey if he sticks with the team.


My prediction (Game 1): Pats 27, Titans 16

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4

Nut up or move on.


*****


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 second book "My Patriot Years":

By now, you've probably seen the video of Mr. Kraft and his new lady friend Ricki Noel Lander working on her audition reel.

What you probably don't realize is that I was this close to getting into the movie business after I got fired in Cleveland.  I was an uncredited script consultant on JERRY MAGUIRE.  It was my idea to make the main character a wide receiver.  Wide receivers are always the nuttiest players on the team. That was an easy one, really.

I'm sure I could get Ricki on the picture with a phone call, but it's more fun to watch Mr. Kraft run around the office acting like a love-struck teenager.  It's much better than when he was all mopey after Myra died.  Apparently, some people get attached... to their spouses... I guess?  I dunno.  Seems like a waste of time to me.

Anyway... It'll all be in my screenplay COACH.

Someday.

(I've been working on it in the off-seasons for years.  It's been taking a lot longer than I thought it would.)

I've also dabbled in the direct to video market, but that didn't go as well.

True story.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

C'mon... Really?



At the NY State Fair last week, I saw 2 different people in "Cowboys Stadium" t-shirts.

Not COWBOYS t-shirts.

Cowboys Stadium.

Why do they inspire this bizarre loyalty from idiots all across the country?