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Random Musings…

Time for that bullet point format again:

*Following up on the NBA draft…the Boston Celtics did exactly what I thought they would do.  Nothing.  But this may be a good thing.  Some dude named Robert Williams fell to them.  Is this good?  I don’t know.  But the pundits seem to like it.

He is 6’10” and is apparently a “rim runner”…there are new terms coming out every day, folks.  But he is also apparently a “rim protector”.  A term of which I am familiar with.  Never actually heard “rim runner” before.  But maybe I’m just stupid and it has been around forever.  Entirely possible.

In any event, he’s someone who can defend the basket but also score around the basket.  So they say.  After his freshman year at Texas A&M, he was supposedly a pretty good lottery pick but decided to stay his sophomore year.  Then, he was still supposedly a pretty good lottery pick but dropped to #27.

Maybe doing stuff like oversleeping introductory conference calls and the like had something to do with the plummet.  Hopefully, it’s as simple as that anyway.

In classic Jay Bilas-speak, Williams has great length and a tremendous wingspan.

Ok, enough of all that crap.  The way I see it, if Williams can play defense around the basket and REBOUND, then we would be all jacked and pumped about him.  If he kept Aron Baynes off the 2018-19 squad, we would be ecstatic.  But we will see.  Brad Stevens will probably have him working on his three-point game this offseason.

In any event, it looks like the C’s got someone out of the draft that could be at the very least a rotational player.  Hard to argue with that at the end of the first round.

*Aside:  There are 60 people drafted in each NBA draft.  How many of those “make it”?  15-20?  Half?  Not that many.  Add in some undrafted guys and you get a few more.

How did the draft used to be like 8 rounds?  With fewer teams in the league?  This has always confounded me.

*One dude who WASN’T drafted was LiAngelo Ball.  My heart breaks.  I wonder how LaVar really feels?  I mean, that was a solid Foot Locker “One and Done” commercial, wasn’t it?  Sigh…

*Speaking of undrafted dudes…we present you:  Brad Wanamaker!!  Seven years in Europe and now apparently heading to the Celtics.  No idea, so don’t even ask.

But so much for the C’s going into next season with all the band coming back together (plus Williams) I am still not ruling out a major move.  But wouldn’t shock me if there were many minor ones.  A lot may depend on if Marcus Smart is back in the fold.  I believe this will happen.  But of course, there is a chance some team blows things right out of the water with a huge offer to him.  We all know there are a lot of stupid teams out there…in every sport.

*As for the other draft we wrote on last, the Boston Bruins did exactly what I thought they would do as well…draft a bunch of guys that no one has ever heard of.  And we will maybe or maybe not see some of them in 2 to 5 years.  I think I’ll leave my comments at that.  Since I have nothing else to say.

*In more positive news, the John Tavares talk has not quieted down.  He is apparently meeting with the B’s at some point.  I still see this whole union far-fetched.  But the longer it goes on, perhaps not?

The cap has increased and supposedly they would have room as the roster currently stands to actually sign Tavares to a deal.  Of course, they still need pieces, so players would still have to go.  But this is a positive development as far as I can tell.  I thought with all the bloated contracts the Bruins are carrying that they would no way in hell have space for a big-time addition.  Not to mention the fact that I doubted Don Sweeney would go after a megastar, but that’s beside the point.

I still don’t have any idea how in the hell they will be able to move guys like David Krejci, David Backes and Torey Krug (if they wish) with their no-trade and no-movement clauses.  I’ll let them figure that out on their own time though.

What a development that would be however if Tavares somehow actually came to town.  Again, I don’t see it.  But that just may be because I don’t want to get my hopes up.

*Thank God the NFL is kind of “off” for a while now.  I don’t want to hear any more of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.  Gronk may be the greatest to ever play tight end in the history of the NFL.  Brady may be the best ever period.  But shut up about having fun.  5 championships under the Bill Belichick regime is not fun?  Tired of hearing about it.

It will be interesting to see how Brady does this upcoming year.  1.  He doesn’t have a threat to his job to help motivate him.  2.  He has skipped all voluntary work this offseason, which he does not typically do.  And therefore he has not established connections with the new receivers and backs like he had always pledged was very important.  3.  He is 41.  There simply is no evidence of quarterbacks succeeding much at or beyond this age.  Like it or not when we all talk about his age.  It has to be factored in.

Personally?  I think Brady will be fine.  Maybe it will take some work to build some rapport with some of the receivers.  But I’m convinced he’s doing the work he needs to do to be physically ready for the season.  Same with Gronk.  As much as Alex Guerrero appears to be a slimy dude, he got Gronk to stay healthy for an entire season last year.  THAT happens once every blue moon.  And Brady’s game was obviously MVP level last year.  Would he really fall that precipitously?  Doubtful…even at his age.

2019 though at 42?  I’m not making any guarantees.  That’s why I would have kept and franchised Jimmy Garoppolo last year, played him wherever possible this season and pretty much give him the keys to the operation next season.  But maybe that’s why I’m not in an NFL front office.  Actually, there are several reasons.  But we don’t need to go through those here.

*Speaking of “tired of hearing about it”, I’m not sure I want to relive Deflategate with this Julian Edelman appeal.  Jules is ready to battle to the end.  And probably eventually lose and serve the four games anyway.  Bud, you took something.  Everyone does.  You got caught.  Please take the penalty and save us all the nonsense.  Please…

Next:  Random musings, Red Sox style…

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Disappointing, But…

…In Bill We Trust?  Here we go again…

Yeah, I know it has been a week since the New England Patriot’s draft has concluded.  Has it taken me this long to process the results?  Nope.  It would appear I feel the same way as most of you.  Has it taken me this long because I was waiting to see who the Pats would bring on as undrafted free agents?  A little bit, but not really.  I don’t believe they have still announced who they are.  But I see some lists…we will get to them later.

Since I wrote some pre-draft stuff, I feel the need to comment on what actually transpired.  Though I think we may all know how this will go.  Since what transpired obviously did not match up with what I kind of hoped they would do.

None of us should be surprised at how many trades Bill Belichick made during the draft.  This should be the least surprising occurrence of the three days.  The conspiracy theory of Bill making a ton of trades involving the pick received in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, so that it would be hard to track what return they actually received?  I can buy into that…a little bit anyway.  I wouldn’t rule that scenario completely out.  Was it the main focus?  I don’t believe so.  But don’t tell me Bill didn’t have something like that in mind.

The most surprising thing to me was that Bill did not auction off the #31 pick overall to the highest bidder.  Teams are ALWAYS looking to move back into the first round and can offer enticing packages to get back into the end of it.  Especially because the Pats already had used a pick at #23.  Especially nowadays that the second round starts a day later, for whatever reason.  Possibly because the teams get an extra year of team control for a first-round pick.  In any event, Bill usually loves these sort of deals, where he could have picked up like 2 or 3 more picks for that one.

To top off my surprise, after not trading the pick, they selected a running back with it.  Holy Jesus…a f’n RUNNING BACK!!  This RB part has been talked about ad nauseam this week locally…as well it should be.  Count me among the masses of the confused.

This offense does not need to spend major assets on the running back position.  It just doesn’t.  Think of all the guys they have picked up over the years for next to nothing.  You know the names:  LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Antowain Smith, Sammy Morris, Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead for starters and also Steven Jackson and Fred Taylor…ok, forget the last two.  Then using no more than mid-round picks on guys like James White, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and the like.  And let’s not forget the last time that the Pats used a first round pick on a runner…the immortal Laurence Maroney!  How’d that work out?

Sigh…Sony Michel may be a good running back.  You just didn’t need to use that pick on him.  I did watch most of the NCAA football “Final Four” last year.  And I will admit, Michel looked pretty damn good.  But I honestly think that the team could have gotten away with the combination of White, Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill this coming season.  And perhaps another veteran plucked off the wire later in the year, or a kid from the practice squad.

I would have bet my house that Bill would have traded that pick down for more picks.  I would have bet my neighborhood that he wouldn’t have selected a running back with that pick once he kept it.  Glad I didn’t do either.

Can’t say I am enamored with the selection at #23 either.  Isaiah Wynn may very well be a good player too.  But although he played tackle in college and the Patriots announced him as such, most of the “experts” think he will be a guard in the pros.  Not to mention they already have 35 offensive linemen on the roster.  Including grabbing the humongous Trent Brown from the Niners seemingly on the cheap.  What are they going to do with all of these guys?  Yeah, half of them are fringe players.  But looking at the list, they won’t be able to even keep all of the half-decent ones.

Then in the second round…a “slot corner” in Duke Dawson.  Maybe he is a good player too.  But…

I was clear that I wanted defense, defense, defense and more defense…just like everyone else.  I would have accepted taking a quarterback high if the Patriots had truly identified “the future”.  The Pats had 5 of the first 95 picks.  Seemed like a good chance to get some good defensive talent in tow.  Instead, they only took three guys…the offensive lineman that may not have a set position, the running back that seems extraneous and a backup corner.

Underwhelming.

Their next pick was in the fifth round, Ja’whaun Bentley.  A linebacker!!  But one whose speed may not match up in the pros.  Oops.  Don’t we already have Elandon Roberts?  Seems like the same guy.  Ummmmm…speed at linebacker is kind of one big thing the team needs.  Like…a BIG thing.

Five more picks in the sixth and seventh round…not sure we even need to talk about them.  Mel Kiper loves the 6th round receiver/punt returner…yay.  Just cuz Julian Edelman worked out in the 7th round, doesn’t mean this guy will.  LB, QB, TE, DB the other picks…yaaaaaawn.

You may ask, “Well, what do the undrafted free agent pickups look like?  A handful always seem to make the team, right?”  Again, no signings appear to have been announced.  But I’ve seen one list of 10 dudes.  We already know that I have no idea who these lower rated guys are.  But my only real comment is that list includes not one, but TWO punters.  And still no kickers.  As a result, I can’t get all fired up about any of these guys.

So there you go.  I’m in the same boat as the masses.  Not excited at the draft haul.  But yet again, we are all probably wrong.  Everything always seems to work out, no matter how bad it looks.  There will be more moves.  There is no way the team can keep all of their guys at various positions.  Maybe they can get draft picks for some of the guys they choose to move on from.  Maybe there will be bigger deals on the horizon.  Of course no one really ever knows what Bill is thinking.

We are in a period of tremendous future uncertainty here folks.  We all know the end is near for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and it certainly seems like Rob Gronkowski.  Robert Kraft will most certainly pass the team along to his son Jonathan soon.  But dig a little deeper.  Of the 84 roster players listed on Spotrac.com, only 13 of them are signed in 2020 and beyond.  Take away the 9 draftees, that is 13 of 75 that are locked up long-term.  Seems light.  Sure, there could be extensions coming…especially perhaps for guys like Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton, who just had their fifth-year options from their rookie contracts declined, making them unrestricted free agents after this year.

There is no question that this team will be markedly different over the next couple of years.  HOW different is what scares me…

Shut Up Whiners…And…

…New England Patriot NFL draft coverage of course!

Yeah, I know…the Boston Bruins just won their first-round NHL playoff series and the Boston Celtics will try to do the same tonight.  We will get to them soon and catch up on all that, I promise.

But I have a hair across my arse first…

Why?

All of this nonsense going down with the players in Foxborough…as well as with the players that have departed Foxborough.

Listen, all us Patriot fans know Coach Bill Belichick is generally an arsehole.  In public for sure, and presumably inside the locker room as well, based on what we hear…and have heard for his entire tenure here.  I’ll never understand why he has to be a total jerk to reporters just trying to do their job.  But the way I see it is, as long as he wins like 13 games a year, goes to the AFC Championship every year and a Super Bowl roughly every other year, I can live with the stupid personality he shows us.

You would think that with all that success and that kind of cachet, the players would just deal with it as well.

Not this year.  And that’s foolish.

The two biggest stars on the team now have been not so subtly hinting about their dissatisfaction this offseason.  And most of the guys that have left have had something to say as well.

Tom Brady is likely pissed because Bill won’t let his personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, travel with the team and come into the building and all that.  That’s what we assume it all comes down to.  Brady also apparently is a more positive person these days and Bill’s negative methods wear on him now.  And Tommy did not like Jimmy Garoppolo around either, we know that much.  Rob Gronkowski isn’t having fun anymore.  And the Guerrero issue may affect him as well.  Waaaaaah…waaaaah…waaaah.

I’m not stupid enough to say that Belichick is responsible for the success that both of these guys have had in their respective careers.  But he sure played a pretty big hand in both, no?

Bill kept Brady as the fourth QB his rookie year, then handed him the job even when the $100 million man Drew Bledsoe was recovered from his injury.  Bill protected Tom with a running game and defense early in his career, as Brady developed.  Then opened things up when Brady proved completely more than capable.  Bill drafted Gronk when other teams were scared away by his back issues and has dealt with all of his injury issues throughout his career.

Please do not misinterpret this last thought.  Brady and Gronk are legends of the game.  They worked hard to become the players they have become.  Take nothing away from them for that.  But Bill also had to play a huge role for them to become what they are now as well.  This much cannot be denied.

Anyway, if Bill lets everyone do their own thing as far as training goes, why have any trainers on the Patriot staff?  He really has to have his own program (which also has seemingly worked here) and if players want to supplement with their own things, they can do that on their own time.  I know, because these two guys are legends, maybe exceptions can be made in their cases.  I get it.  But still…Bill can’t have 53 players doing 53 different things.  He needs his program and his staff to oversee things and make sure everyone stays on track.  That’s what I think.

The departing players may be even worse.  God love Danny Amendola.  Clutch.  Money.  Use any word you want.  I also don’t blame him for taking guaranteed money, also seeing that he took pay cuts every year here to stay.  That all being said, he remains brittle and needs to be babied somewhat.  And if everyone is healthy, where is he on the WR depth chart?  Anyway, he said some stuff when he left town…although it wasn’t completely inflammatory, it still bugged me anyway.

Danny mainly questioned Malcolm Butler not playing in the Super Bowl.  We all have.  We don’t know if playing Butler in the big game would’ve made a difference.  People think that the Pats automatically win the game if he does.  I don’t necessarily buy that, though of course, it shouldn’t have hurt them.  But let’s all please let that go.  We don’t really know if Butler would have made a difference.  Bill is never going to tell us why he did it.  We’ve all been bitter about it since that day.  But now it’s time to move on.  The players should too.

Butler was actually complementary when he left.  Good for him.  He got his dough too.  As Jeremy Roenick would say, “that’s great for him, twice-fold”.  Most of the departing players you know wanted to say more and likely bash Bill some more than they hinted at, but kind of toned things down in the end.  One guy that should have taken the high road like Bulter is Dion Lewis.  Here’s a guy who’s injury-prone to start with, is a bit player the first two years of his career, out of football the following two, then picked up off the scrap heap by Belichick in 2015.  Then Bill gives him a 2-year extension after Dion got off to a flying start, then he gets hurt again.  Plays half seasons in 2015 and 2016.  The organization babies him early in 2017 and he has a huge second half.  Then we hear that he was upset about his lack of early season usage and then about his lack of usage in the Super Bowl.  And took some other thinly veiled shots on his way out the door too.

Good riddance Dion.  Bill saved your career and then made you a ton of money.  Glad you enjoyed it here.  Whatever.  Running backs are fungible here in New England.

Maybe there is a compromise with Guerrero to make everyone happy this coming season.  Maybe Bill also tones the act down a bit for the current crop of players, I don’t know.  But the way I see it, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Keep doing what you are doing Bill…keep winning those games and most of us could care less about these whiny ballplayers…

Welp, I was going to talk a bit about the draft here but got a little carried away.  I’ll add some thoughts on this in another piece…

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