Monthly Archives: February 2009

Scott Pioli is a Thief, We Think: Cassel, Vrabel to Chiefs.

Update: Both players have been traded for a single second round draft pick (#34) and $18 million in cap space. What the f@#$ is the Hoodie thinking? It will be interesting to see how he explains this one.

After the out of nowhere news that Mike Vrabel had been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, Today the news surfaces that Scott Pioli (Former Patriots director of player personnel now GM of the Chiefs) has wrangled Matt Cassel away from the Pats. I wish we could be excited about the buttload of players and draft picks that the Partiots got in return, but nobody knows what exactly the compensation for either trade is (probably mostly draft picks). I’m not making any guesses, but the outcome of this could tell us once and for all wheter it was Pioli or the Hoodie that made all of those great signings. Either way, good luck to Cassel and Vrabel, we enjoyed your time here and wish you both well in the future (except against the Pats).

I know you are all going to miss him, but Cassel did leave us with this wonderful memory from Larry Izzo’s charity event:

Feel free to make suggestions for StartMattCassel’s new name. (Other than FluffWesWelker)

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Update: Taylor, Patriots Close to Deal

12:38pm: The Boston Globe has confirmed this acquisition.

Adam Schefter of the NFL Network (who is rarely mistaken) is reporting that an agreement has been reached by free agent running back Fred Taylor and the New England Patriots.

Taylor was released by the Jags after last season due to salary cap considerations. (I.e. they back loaded a long term deal and owed him a shit ton of money.) Taylor has over 11,000 career rushing yards (1,000/season) and over 60 career TDs. In 2,428 attempts, Taylor has lost only 17 fumbles.

Should this come through, the Patriots RB squadron will feature Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, Lawrence Maroney and the Always Improving Kevin Faulk. Taylor is likely being brought in to handle the ball 150-200 times; a perfect size workload for an established running back entering his 12th season. The Patriots ran the ball 513 times during the 2008 regular season, not counting screen passes.

More to come as the story unfolds and confirms.

StartMattCassel

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A Two By Four Getting Split By a Hammer

It’s been a while since we have seen the Bruins click like they did last night, and the night before. With 92 Points they still lead the Eastern Conference, even after a 1-4-2 road trip, but the last two nights at home they have come out to play like they did in November and December. And by that I mean they won big and kicked the shit out of some people. Cue Milan Lucic:

6-1 over the Panthers and 6-0 over the Ducks. Even Savard got in a fight last night. Not a bad few days.

In other news: Yuri Sucart is no longer allowed around the Yankees. The question here is whether it is because he gave his cousin the ‘roids, or because it’s just funny for everybody involved with the team to piss of Douche-Rod. Watch out Yankees, we don’t want Roidriguez to go roid rage on one of the club house guys, but it would be funny if he did it to one of your four useless outfielders.

And finally, ladies, I’m sorry. Tom Brady has finally married The Hottest Woman on the Planet according to (and I can’t believe I’m actually using this source) Us Weekly. You’ll all have to actually try to love your boyfriends, instead of just biding your time until you get the chance to seduce Brady, now that Tommy is off the market.

Go Sox, Go Bruins.

Done.

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Your Kung Fu is Weak, But Youk Fu is Mighty.

The Beard is no more.

The Beard is no more.

I will admit, when I saw the pictures of Red Sox photo day a couple of days ago I was shocked and somewhat appalled to see that The Beard that Should Not Be had been paired down to a simple set of Hivlar-esque biker bars. I decided to hold off on any judgement until I had seen this new look in action, and last night’s game was the perfect opportunity. Needless to say, I loved what I saw.

Youk & Shaq: Separated at birth?

Youk & Shaq: Separated at birth?

Kevin Youkilis has become the shorter, lighter, whiter version of Shaq. For anyone who saw his conversation with Donny-O (related to Barry -O?) after he was taken out of the Sox first televised Spring Training game last night it is undeniable. The bald head, the FuManchu (or biker bars) mustache, and the massive size of his head tipped it off to the point where a slightly intoxicated SMC couldn’t stop staring at it. The final straw came when he called his facial hair a “Youk Fu.” Ladies and gentlemen,  I give you Youkuille O’Neal.

The night did get off on a somber note as a solo Don Orsillo (wearing a NESN polo, and not the gaudy Hawaiian shirt we were hoping for) told the billions watching that Remy is out with an “infection.” While he was missed, Joe McDonald, Mike Dee and Sean McAdam filled in nicely. It still won’t be spring until we get to hear Remy make some kind of bad joke in an attempt to poke fun at his broadcast partner.

Squints FranconaThe other revealing part of the evening’s festivities (it was a party. We had an indoor BBQ as a celebration of spring, with hotdogs, baked beans, pickles and beer) was the interview of Tito. Showing of his new specs, the manager told Orsillo how great it had been this spring, and took some veiled shots at the Old Left Fielder in the process. “It’s been a professional camp. Guys do whatever you ask.” Coupled with the fact that he looks about ten years younger than he did at this point last year, it’s pretty plain to see that the manager is in a good place with one of the large stresses of his job currently unemployed in California. This is why we love Tito.

As for the game, and the earlier one vs BC, there’s not too much to report. It was February 25th, but Beckett, Buchholz, Masterson, Ramirez and Delcarmen all looked great, Lopez was an adventure, and Junichi was entertaining. Wake got knocked around a bit but Bard caught the ball, and it was February 25th. The bats are getting used to facing live pitching and the Sox are down 1-0 in the Mayor’s Cup. But it was February 25, and none of this actually matters.

Really? I can do better?

Really? I can do better?

On The Shortstop Watch: The other day on Dennis and Callahan, Lugo said something that gives me hope for the upcoming season and even, possibly, for Lugo redeeming himself, and Theo for signing him. He said that he feels like he owes the team something, and that he owes the city something because he is a better baseball player than he has been. Since he is likely to be the starting shortstop come opening day (due as much to the fact that Little Jeddy is a more versatile player who can backup all four infield positions, while Julio can only effectively play short, as anything else) it is nice to know that he doesn’t just want to cash a paycheck, but wants to prove that he was brought in for a reason. I like him a little bit more now.

Sox play the Pirates at 1 today, with Lester, Saito and Okajima taking the mound. WBC guys will be leaving to join their National teams on Sunday, so enjoy Youkuille, Dusty Pete, Lopez, and Ortiz while you can

Go Sox.

Done.

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There is Baseball on TV Tonight.

Good to see ya, Old Pal.

Good to see ya, Old Pal.

It’s meaningless exhibition baseball, but it is another step towards warm weather. Yesterday the big club, and various minor leaguers, packed up all of their stuff for the 2-1/2 mile ride down Edison Ave from the Player Development Complex to City of Palms Park for the beginning of the entertaining part of Spring Training. They take on the Boston College Eagles at 1:05 PM and then their neighbors and Mayor’s Cup (best pointless trophy in sports) rivals the Twins at 7:05. The best part is that the second one is on NESN, and Don and Jerry will get to wear their ridiculous Spring Training NESN Hawaiian shirts.

There are two guys pitching today who will not be on the Red Sox this season but both will be interesting to see, unfortunately only one will pitch on TV. Junichi (it is fun to say) Tazawa throws his first pitch in the States today in the 1:05 game against BC, and it will be interesting to see how he does. The guy I am really interested in, though, is Dustin Richardson. He is not a big name guy, or a future ace (which I still don’t believe Buchholz has the make up to be, and I’d like to be proven wrong on that), but he does have the distinction of being the only guy in camp to have played for Bobby Knight. He was a participant in ESPN’s “Knight School” show where walk ons got to try out for the final spot on the Texas Tech Basketball team. He has said that playing for coach Knight was one of the best experiences of his life and he probably would have made the team had he not been committed to Baseball. It remains to be seen how good he will be but I’ll definitely be watching.

Everyones excited.

Everyone's excited.

In the TV game we’ll get to see AL MVP Dustin Pedroia, The Beard that Should Not Be (more on the Beard tomorrow), Jacoby, The Buzzard, and Little Jeddy. The game is going to be started by Wake. and Bard will be catching him, so we’ll see how that works out after the failed experiment of 2006. After wake will be three of the Major League bullpen guys (Masterson, Ramirez, Lopez) and then two minor leaguers. It will only have a few innings of the big guys, but who the hell cares? It’s baseball, on TV, and that means that warm weather is close.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Above the Rim: Hope you like M&M’s

losangeleslakersvsacramentokingsgc_za9yuoeplDone and done.  The rumors can finally be put to rest.  Clinton Renard is coming to Boston.  Who is Clinton Renard you ask?  He’s a 7 foot 225 pound forward/center who now makes Boston Massachusetts home.  You might also know him as Mikki (pronounced: My-key) Moore, one of the best un-drafted defensive players in recent NBA history who spent his last couple of seasons with the Sac Kings.  Yesterday the Celtics signed Moore to a contract for the remainder of the 08-09 season.  He will be a welcome and timely addition because of his length and ability to stretch the floor with one of the highest field goal percentages in the league.  His shot blocking ability on defense will certainly be a deterring factor against teams, a la KG.  In more ways than one his game is reminiscent of a young Garnett, who is currently rehabbing a strained muscle in his knee.

It seems the Celtics are the new Patriots of the NBA.  With a strong, proven veteran core that has just won a world title, players are lured by the very real possibility of playing for just a season or less, and possibly acquiring the much sought

Hopefully he'll be doing something other than this...

Hopefully he'll be doing something other than this...

after bling.  One who always has his eyes on more of that is Stephon Marbury who, finally cuts ties with the New York Knickerbauckers.  The two parties reached a buyout agreement of Marburys contract on Tuesday which releases him from the Knicks and allows the Celtics to acquire another pure point guard for the playoffs.  Many view Marbury as a double-edged sword, on the one hand you have one of the most talented and gifted high-iq point guards in the league.  On the other hand you have a man whose been in the league long enough to know better than to act like a pre-madonna.  But when things don’t go his way the sensitive and divisive Marbury rears his head.  It will be interesting to see how Boston fans react if the proposed signing goes sour, there’s know doubt he’ll be kept on a short leash.  As long as our leaders get him on the same page and integrate him into Boston style basketball, his talent should be put to good use, but that all starts at the top with Ainge and Doc.  There will be much more to come on the pros and cons of both these players, but for now you can rest assured we have done what’s necessary to defend our title.  Good on ya boys…

From way Above the Rim

ABA

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Artificial Turf: El Drafto

Granted... looks may be deceiving... but the combine is a display of phyical ability, raw talent, and frumpy looking college seniors.

Granted... looks may be deceiving... but the combine is a display of phyical ability, raw talent, and frumpy looking college seniors.

The combine is fun. It isn’t overhyped like National Signing Day, it isn’t shoved down our throats like Media Day… it’s a nice little gig on the NFL network (highlights available on ESPN of course) and for those of us who aren’t satisfied with the two bridge-the-gap sports of hockey and basketball, it can be a nice little topic to geek out on. The top college talent compete in events that most of us are familiar with, and that helps us to marvel at their abilities.

The combine is important because most NFL coaches are looking for raw talent and skill that they can mold, not someone who had 70% of their statistics against far lesser opponents than themselves. Even the most elite college teams play a bunch of scrub teams that affect their game stats for the better.

Players find ways to elevate their draft status, either buy benching the most reps and blazing the quickest 40 time… and some get creative by performing super-human feets. Adrian Wilson jumped over a 68 inch bar and landed on 2 feet and most recently, San Jose State DE Jarron Gilbert jumped out of the shallow end of a pool up onto the ledge.

At first glance, he makes it look so easy that you don’t really understand how much power is needed to complete the stunt… so I tried it. I made it up to my stomach and was bleeding from both shins.

Now, the fact that I am writing this article before any Cassel moves needs to be taken into consideration. The Patriots already have 3 picks in the top 60 (23, 47 & 58) and don’t really need much. The most obvious concern is the lack of depth (and talent, height, speed and aggressiveness) in the defensive backfield. The Pats have carried that problem for a couple years running now so I won’t be surprised to see a DB selection with the 47th overall pick.

The kid DOES look like a footballer. And footballers look mean.

The kid DOES look like a footballer. And footballers look mean.

Assuming that Belichick has gotten all of his first round TE’s out of the way in Graham and Watson, we’re likely to see an offensive lineman selected with the Pat’s 1st round pick. If James Laurinaitis (ILB, Ohio State) slips out of the top 20 it may be hard to pass on him. The knock is that he has a lot of trouble shedding blockers and as the size and speed of the people blocking you increases exponentially from Saturdays to Sundays it will be harder for him to rely on his sub-4.6-40-time in the NFL. That being said, had he been eligible last year, the Patriots were likely to have positioned for him in the top 10, though they did strike gold on defensive rookie standout Jarrod Mayo.

Should the Pats slate an interior lineman for their first pick, they may either go with a Center to move over to guard (Cal’s Alex Mack is in the upper echelon of intelligent Centers in a deep draft for that position) or an explosive tackle for the right side. Virginia’s Eugene Monroe is a beasts of his trade but you won’t see him slip past 5th overall. Should the Patriots choose to move DB to top priority, they could shoot for an DJ Moore style corner from Vanderbilt with the 23rd pick and hope either Max Unger (Center from Oregon) or Oklahoma’s Duke Robinson (Guard) are available at 47.

Terrence Wheatley hauls one in at the 2008 NFL Combine.

Terrence Wheatley hauls one in at the 2008 NFL Combine.

Vandy’s DJ Moore gives up the height advantage, measuring a mere Dustin Pedroiaish 5’9”… but his 4.36 40-speed is blazing. If selected in the 1st round, he will be Vanderbilt’s first round one selection since Jay Cutler in 2006… and before that, some guy named Will Wolford went 20th in 1986.

The Patriot’s first pick will give us an indication of how they feel about their 2nd & 4th round corners of 2008, Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite, both of whom looked promising before going on IR with injuries. None of the Patriots systems are easy to learn, so it would seem that the two players who have been with the team for a season are at a decided advantage over a rookie.

All this being said… we still have about 25 million dollars worth of Quarterbacks and a coach that loves to build from the draft. Everyone is looking forward to the Cassel deal, whenever it may come and whatever it may be for.

StartMattCassel

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