Saturday, October 27, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 8


The Patriots play their eighth regular season game at Wembley Stadium in London against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday October 28st at 1:00 PM.

Let's see... How'd we do last week?

Late turnovers?  Check.

Sloppy defense?  Check.

Secondary giving up huge plays?  BIG CHECK.

Letting an inferior opponent hang around?  Check.

Inability to sustain a long drive in the 4th quarter to finish out the game?  Check?

/checks final score

Wait... We WON that game?  Whoa.

I'm tired of waiting for this defense to come around.  I thought this was going to be the year.  It's not.

Other than this hilarious safety, there wasn't much to feel good about.  (I've watched that on a loop for hours...  That will never, never get old.)



Ninkovich brings the pain.


Devin Power Rankings:

1) Hester

2) Banks

3) Cars

4) Castle

5) Hester (again)

...

11,9970) McCourty


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

1) Rob Ninkovich - Somebody on the defense finally made a game changing play in a big spot.  Yay!  I had forgotten what that was like to watch.

2) Stephen Gostkowski - Had two big late FGs last week.  Seems to have settled down from his early season yips.

3) Devin McCourty - Even with the return TD... still on my s-list.

4) Ras-I Dowling - Which would be more useful in coverage?   Ras-I Dowling or a misplaced shoe that somebody dropped on the field?  I say the shoe.  The shoe has a better chance of making a tackle once in a while.  Somebody might trip over it.  (UPDATE: Ras-I placed on season-ending IR late Friday (Ras-IR?).  Quick... Sign that shoe to the open roster spot!!!)

5) Rob Gronkowski - GRONK MAKE ENDZONE TWO TIMES.  GOOD GRONK.


My prediction (Game 8): Pats 28, Rams 27 (I'm done predicting blowouts for a while...)

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Steady from last week.)

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":

You know who the most underrated guy on my coaching staff is?  Dante Scarnecchia.

He's been with the team since 1982.  I'm sure he's seen everything.

He was also a sergeant in the Marines.  Pretty badass.

He has a great history of getting offensive lines to play above their talent level.

How does he do it?  Special blocking schemes?  Conditioning drills?  Gap assignments?  Motivational speaking?  Nope... Alligator urine mixed with Gold Bold Medicated Powder.  He has one of the equipment guys apply it liberally to the players' cups right before the game.

Technically, it's legal.  But I wouldn't exactly go bragging about it to the guys at the league offices or anything like that.  Dungy would love to tattletale to Goodell if he knew about it.

True story.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 7


The Patriots play their seventh regular season game at Gillette against the New York Jets on Sunday October 21st at 4:25 PM.



Welcome Back, Aaron Hernandez.

Bros and Lady Bros,

Not good times in Patriots Nation.  With that loss last week, we've already lost as many games as we did all of last year.

So is this a BAD TEAM?

Or is this a GOOD TEAM that's just not playing well?

We've lost 3 games by a total of 4 points.  There's no such thing as a good loss.  But it's also not like we're getting killed.

My first reaction after last week's game was to crap all over the secondary.  But I think the blame really lies with Brady on that loss.  Not too many plays from that game will be featured on the "TOM BRADY'S 100 GREATEST NFL MOMENTS" DVD I'll be buying 5 or 6 years from now.


Danny Power Rankings:

1) DeVito
2) Trejo
3) Torrance
4) Woodhead
5) Boy



Here's five guys I'll be expecting to play better this week:

1) Wes Welker - Welker showed up last week.  Everyone else on this list kinda sucked.

2) Tom Brady - TWO (!) intentional groundings AND 2 INTs in the same game?  That loss is on him.

3) Patrick Chung - You're killing me, Patrick Chung!  What happened to you?  I expected more this season.

4) Rob Gronkowski - Also not playing up to the level we've come to expect.  He's been a step slower all year.  Then he took a brutal shot to the back on Sunday.

5) Stevan Ridley - Bolden is hurt this week.  The Jets aren't great against the run.  Ridley should have a huge week.


My prediction (Game 7): Pats 35, Jets 17

My prediction (Season): 11 - 5 (Revised downward.  Sad face.)

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":

We're on the road in 2000.  At Indianapolis.  They were still in our division back then.

The Kraft's were going full blast on the construction of what would eventually become Gillette Stadium, so money was a little tighter than usual.  They asked us to double up on hotel rooms on the road.

I had to room with Mangini.  Nobody else wanted to him to stay with him.  They thought of him as the Cousin Oliver of the coaching group.  No big deal, I thought.  We had worked with each other with both the Browns and the Jets, so we were pretty comfortable with each other.

He gets up to the room first and unpacks all his stuff.  I get up a little bit later after my meetings are done.  I go to put the rest of my Diet Coke in the mini-fridge... And he's got it filled with carrot juice.

"What the hell is all this?" I asked him.

"Carrot juice!  It's my new diet.  Nothing but carrot juice for two weeks.  I've already lost 6 pounds!" he said proudly.

Later that night, I'm having one last look over my notes.  Eric is sitting on the bed with another bottle of carrot juice.

I ask him to come take a look at the blitz package I was trying to diagram.  He comes over to take a look, trips over his shoes, and spills his carrot juice all over the table.

"MANGINI!"

Carrot juice... everywhere.  All over my notes.  All over my good gameday sweatshirt (with the sleeves ripped just right).  And it was too late to do any laundry.  I was super pissed.  That stuff smelled horrible the next day.

I made sure I always got my own room after that.  Even if I had to pay for it myself.

Never again.

True story.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 6


The Patriots play their sixth regular season game at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday October 14th at 4:05 PM.



Woop woop woop.

I re-watched most of the Pats - Broncos on the NFL Network Replay this week.  And let me tell you, it was definitely a butt kickin'.  It wasn't even as close as the final score would indicate.  The Patriots RAN ALL OVER the Broncos.  Whenever they wanted it, it was there for them.  Somebody on Twitter referred to the current Patriot's offense as "speed crushing" their opponents.  That's a pretty accurate description of what's been going on lately.  I can't ever remember seeing anything like this combination of speed and power.  Hopefully, it'll work on the road.

Newton Power Rankings

1) Isaac  
2) Cam
3) Raspberry
4) Huey
5) Fig

...

87) Apple


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

1) Stevan Ridley - Another solid week.  151 yards and a touchdown.  Was the late fumble was worrisome?  A little bit, yeah.

2) Brandon Bolden - As long as we're running for 250 yards a week, I'm just going to keep putting both of these guys in the top 5 each week.

3) Alfonzo Dennard - Somebody stepped up at corner and made a few plays last week!  Nice.

4) Wes Welker - Don't look now, but Welker has been heating up.

5) Aaron Hernandez - Rumor is he'll be back this week.  I can't wait.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

(In his defense, he was injured.)


My prediction (Game 4): Pats 27, Seahawks 13

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4 (Yes, really...)

Nut up or move on.


*****

Not many people remember this, but most people would have said Willie McGinest was a little bit of disappointment before my staff got a hold of him.  He definitely underachieved under the previous regime (ed. note Pete Carroll).

Parcells drafted him fourth overall.  Obviously, he liked him.  But I wasn't so sure.  Something just never sat right with me.  I felt like he wasn't really living up to his potential.

We sat down and had a heart to heart one day after practice.

"Look Willie... We need you to focus on football.  I want people on my team who I know care about football.  I know you've got some outside interests.  I know you and Snoop Dogg are tight.  But trust me... You want to focus on football now.  Save that stuff for after your career is over."

"This city is afraid of me... I've seen its true face."

"I don't know what to do with you... But Coaches Ryan and Mangini really seem to like you.  So we're going to keep you around for a bit longer.  But... I want to see a little more dedication."

"Soon there will be war.  Millions will burn.  Millions will perish in sickness and misery.  Why does one death matter against so many?"

"I'm thinking of having you play more of a defensive end roll rather than outside linebacker this season."

"None of you seem to understand.  I'm not locked in here with you.  You're locked in here with ME!"

"And another thing - no more appearances on 'Arliss'.  That Robert Wuhl is a real prick."

"THE END IS NIGH."

Anyway... I think I got through to him.  We ending up winning a whole bunch of games with Willie after we had that talk.

In '06, he went to Cleveland with Romeo.  We let him go without too much of a fight.  The last thing we needed on this team was a vigilante.

Besides... Brady already thinks he's Ozymandias.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 5


The Patriots play their fifth regular season game at Gillette against the Denver Broncos on Sunday October 7th at 4:25 PM.



He's gonna get his name in the paper.


Oh you know... Just two of the five best QBs of all time playing this weekend.  NBD.

I'm no scout... but Peyton has no arm strength left.  Watch how many times he throws the ball more than 15 yards.  I think he's done.

I'm huge on the Patriots this week.  Especially if we can keep running the ball like we have been.


Sterling Power Rankings:

1) Archer
2) Roger
3) Hayden
4) Moore
5) Ice Cream Bar

...

11,957) John


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

1) Stevan Ridley - 106 yards and two touch downs last week.  I enjoyed the BenJarvus Green-Ellis era in New England, but I can't remember too many runs he ever had of more than five yards.  Ridley is a little more explosive.

2) Brandon Bolden - 137 yards and a touch down last week.  Welcome to the party, Brandon Bolden!  Some kind of crazy... awesome... two running backs party!

3) Brandon Spikes - That forced fumble at the end of the first half last week was huge.  Huge!  Also... he's kinda nuts.

4) Devin McCourty - He looks horrible in weeks 2 and 3, then he grabs 2 INTs against the Bills.  I don't know what to think.  Can we just play the Bills every week for the rest of the season?

5) Patrick Chung - Something doesn't look right here.  He's been late and out of position a lot lately.  Is he making mistakes?  Or covering for other people's mistakes?  Either way, the secondary is about a C plus right now.


Did Michael Hoomanawanui have a catch last week?

No.

/sad trombone


My prediction (Game 4): Pats 35, Broncos 20

My prediction (Season): 12 - 4 (Yes, really...)

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":

It's 2007.  We're coming off a loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship game.  Our leading receiver the previous year was Reche Caldwell.  Enough said.

Randy Moss was 30 at the time.  He'd had a couple of rough seasons in Oakland.  Everyone thought he was done.

That's when I picked up the phone.


     Me: You want to come play for the Patriots?

     Randy Moss: Sure.

     Me: We'll have to redo your number.  You know, for cap purposes.

     Randy Moss: That's OK.

     Me: Any other questions?

     Randy Moss: You guys have Wendy's in New England, right?

     Me: You mean the hamburgers?  Dave Thomas and all that?

     Randy Moss: Yeah.  I *love* those guys.  You could pay me  Frosties and Classic Singles and I'd be the happiest guy on the team.

     Me:  You like Frosties, huh?

     Randy Moss: Coach... you KNOW I do.

     Me: I'll tell you what.  I'll buy you a Frosty for every touchdown you catch this year.


How'd he do that year?  Well... I ended up taking him out for 23 Frosties.

Can you believe we got this guy for a 4th round pick?  That's good value.  Just like Wendy's.

True story.