…some random thoughts on recent events, once again, in no particular order:
*Do we even need to talk about the actual New England Patriot win over the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday night?
Not really. But I will say a few things.
A little surprising on how easy the win was. Isn’t Pittsburgh supposed to be a prime contender in the AFC this season?
The defense looked pretty damn good, and that was even playing without linebacker Kyle Van Noy. There seems to be a lot of bodies out there that can contribute, that’s for sure.
The offense could have been crisper. I mean, four field goals from Stephen Gostkowski is probably at least two too many. Though I will take the fact that he made all of them. He has been shaky at times recently. And the new holder, punter Jake Bailey, hasn’t always inspired confidence thus far.
Sony Michel supposedly looked very good in training camp. He did look very good in the very little he played in the preseason. He did not look so hot in this game, however. Let’s hope this changes.
But all of a sudden I am not worried about this receiving corps. And that’s not because of the guy we will talk more about later. I feel pretty good about Julian Edelman, of course. I have this gut feeling that Josh Gordon will stay out of trouble this season. If the team keeps Phillip Dorsett active, I actually feel ok about him. I mean, I don’t think Dorsett is going for almost 100 yards and 2 TDs every game…let’s not be ridiculous. But I think if the team doesn’t bury him now, he is trusted by Tom Brady and can be useful. And Antoni…ok, let’s get back to him in a bit.
I think the team will miss Rob Gronkowski, don’t get me wrong. But I am not as concerned about the tight end position as most. There will just be a whole lot more blocking out of that group. But I think Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse can make at least a few grabs in the passing game.
I would worry more about the offensive line. But in reality, the Pats have such a soft schedule the first half of the season, I think by Game 7 or 8, Dante Scarnecchia and the boys will have something decent figured out. Even if that means bringing in more bodies still.
Ok, that was more than a few things. In the end, it was a good win. But I am actually not going too crazy about it. Pittsburgh may not actually be as good as we think. Plus, I think we all thought that the Pats would be like 7-1 or 8-1 to start out the season…certainly no worse than 6-2.
It may not even be worth commenting more until we actually get some real games…especially the 19-0 talk. It’s waaaaaaay too early for that nonsense.
*Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski got fired late Sunday night.
Questionable timing? Perhaps.
But I think that is something else we all saw coming. There has been some talk that maybe Dombrowski “asked for it” because he knew it too and wanted to get a jump on other opportunities that may be available in a few weeks.
I’m guessing the Sox just wanted to bury it, especially after ownership subsequently has refused to talk about it. That last part is kind of bizarre.
Either way, is it the right move? Most likely. There are some moves to be made this offseason and Dombrowski may not be the right dude to be in charge of those. Primarily because one of the moves COULD be trading Mookie Betts. And a move of that nature will involve most likely getting a package of prospects…not exactly DD’s strong suit. He’s better known for stripping down a farm system for major league talent.
And, by the way, I am not advocating trading Mookie. So pipe down. But the reality is that if he doesn’t want to sign an extension this upcoming offseason, you can’t lose a guy like that for nothing the following offseason. So you HAVE to investigate trading him. I’ve been pretty clear about this for quite some time now. I’m not looking to run the guy out of town. I hope he re-signs…even if it is for a gazillion dollars. John Henry has the dough, after all.
In any event, how much blame does Dombrowski get for this year? A piece for sure. But I don’t think it is as much as people want to lay on him.
Not getting a closer has been beaten to death when pointing fingers at DD. And that’s valid, for sure. He didn’t have to re-sign Craig Kimbrel for a jillion dollars. But getting SOMEONE that had ninth inning experience would have been nice.
But what else?
People like to point to re-signing Nathan Eovaldi to 17 mil per (4 years) and Steve Pearce for 6 mil this year. And that hurt them acquiring more bullpen help.
I say that’s bogus. Pearce was short money and he SHOULD have formed a nice platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland for this year. Then they both go elsewhere next season. It is a lot of money for Nate, who never stays healthy and doesn’t have a tremendous track record (other than the playoffs last year). But someone was going to give him some dough. And having some starting rotation depth is never a bad thing.
To top it all off, you hear more about those contracts now that both of those guys barely played this year. Only a few naysayers on them when they were handed out.
The Chris Sale extension? Stupid. But I think most of us would have given him good money over 3 years (instead of the 5 he got) though, no? And that extension starts next year, so it has nothing to do with his performance this season. Plus…I think ownership may have had quite a bit of say in handing that one out. My opinion.
The bullpen? Kind of in shambles. But doesn’t that describe the bullpen for many major league teams? And isn’t that why these guys are in the bullpen in the first place? They can’t start, they can’t close and they are inconsistent from year to year.
Matt Barnes is no closer, but he should be a capable bullpen arm. So should be guys like Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree and maybe even Steven Wright. But Wright got hurt again and Hembree missed a chunk of time as well. Relying on Ryan Brasier was probably foolish, but then you had guys like Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez pitch pretty well instead. Typical of the year to year inconsistencies of most bullpen arms.
The point is, Dombrowski could have gotten more bullpen arms for sure. But would they have even worked?
I suppose the fact that he did nothing at the trade deadline may have been one final straw. I think he should have sold. Others think he should have bought. But in the end, he sat on his hands. The consensus is probably that he should have picked one way or the other and made something happen.
But I don’t believe he should have the lions share of the blame. Manager Alex Cora then? Some to him as well. He hasn’t been as good as last year, but how could he top that? We need to realize that he is just a second year manager and will make some mistakes. I think he has acknowledged a great deal of the mistakes he has made. He will presumably get better the more experience he gets. I’m not blaming him a ton either.
This all lies on the players. Some of them are putting up gaudy numbers. But SOMETHING has been missing all year. There is plenty of talent on this team and it should have made the playoffs. Injuries to Sale, Eovaldi and David Price, of course, did not help. But this roster should still be a lot better.
And Dombrowski put together that roster. So I guess it’s all his fault…
*So the Red Sox are 9 games out of the wild card with 17 games to go.
It’s over. We know that. We have known that for a while.
But you still have to compete until you are officially eliminated. Use all your best players…even if you have to use 8-10 bullpen arms because that’s all you have.
Not sure why Xander Bogaerts wasn’t in the lineup last night, but whatever…
That being said, once the team is officially eliminated from the playoff race, since the team dumped Dombrowski early, maybe they can dump a few more dudes early too?
I mean, why are we bothering with guys like Gorkys Hernandez, Chris Owings and Josh A. Smith for? They can also let Moreland and Rick Porcello walk soon for all I care.
Let guys like Darwinzon and Marco Hernandez, Travis Lakins, Sam Travis, Trevor Kelley, Mike Shawaryn and Bobby Poyner play more. Call up some dudes that they have to add to the 40-man roster this offseason and give them a taste. They may not even be overwhelmed since there are plenty of minor leaguers in the majors at this time of year.
And why no Rusney Castillo? Gorkys, Rusney, what’s the difference? Rusney’s salary won’t hurt the luxury tax at this time of year. May as well see if you can get SOMETHING in return for that investment.
Even if it’s a couple of late September hits.
And…I’m fairly certain I am the only one thinking about this…
*Last, but certainly not least? Antonio Brown!!
If I still have you after 1,500 plus words, thanks for being here! If not, well then I guess I successfully “buried the lead”. Or is it “buried the lede”? Either way, I’m not sure “successfully” is the proper word either. Let’s move on…
I’m actually not going to talk much about him here. I mean, everyone else has been talking about him non-stop. How much more can I really add?
In a football sense, I have decided that I am ALL IN with this dude.
Make no mistake, the guy is an arseclown. The stuff he was pulling this summer up to and including this past weekend has certainly been juvenile. You know the list of stuff he pulled in Oakland, so we don’t need to rehash it here. He apparently has been doing that kind of stuff his whole career. Including the videotaping stuff in the locker room. And how last year ended in Pittsburgh…etc., etc., etc.
I don’t THINK he will get away with that stuff here. I mean, one never knows, but I would think before any kind of nonsense would get to Bill Belichick, guys like Brady, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Dont’a Hightower, etc. would squash most things.
The Pats paid Brown a lot of money, so he will get more than one chance. It’s not a risk free move, as some have been saying, but for one year it is worth the gamble. As fans, we just have to hope he keeps in line for this one year.
Listen, I’m never going to hold any athlete as a role model. Most of these guys are total jackwagons. Even Brady can act bizarre at times…you know, the concussion water, avocado ice cream, etc.
I make no apologies for adding great players. None. Just like I make no apologies for the Patriots winning ways the past couple of decades. People forget (or don’t even know) the doormats they were their entire existence before then.
People also compare Brown to past Patriot “headaches” such as Randy Moss, Corey Dillion, Adalius Thomas, et al. They forget that there is one dude on the roster right now that has the potential to be a loose cannon…Michael Bennett. There’s probably more in that locker room as well. They just aren’t a superstar like Brown. And as good a player as Bennett is, he’s not at Brown’s level either…I don’t think anyway.
You’re gonna have some crazies in any locker room, no matter what team you are.
What’s one more?
UNLESS…the story that broke last night about Brown being accused of rape is true.
Sadly and unfortunately, I am skeptical of a lot of those stories, especially when they come out of the blue like this one did. And I am hoping that the story is not true of course.
But what if it is?
Now we are talking Tyreek Hill territory. And that’s not somewhere you want to be.
As I said above, Brown has done some juvenile things over the years that kind of makes him look like a jackass. So he’s kind of an idiot. But is any of the stuff that has gone public really all that harmful? Probably not. He’s just kind of immature and pretty much a tool.
But if these new allegations are true, that changes EVERYTHING. And Brown should be in jail, not ever on the field at Gillette Stadium.
Also, unfortunately, we may not know the truth until Brown has already played his year in New England. So at this point maybe the only thing we can do is accept him as a player on the field. Or at least try to. Until that truth comes out.
Won’t be the first time this is the case for an athlete. Which is another sad state of affairs…
…for ANY significant move by the Boston Bruins this summer.
Wait, why the hell are we talking about the Bruins in August?
The Red Sox are done…and we’ve covered them more than enough based on that fact alone. The Celtics have done absolutely nothing of note since we last wrote about them about a month ago. We chatted about the Patriots last week, but what more is to say about a team one week into the preseason schedule? Nothing. Well, Danny Etling just got released. Guess he isn’t the next Julian Edelman. Whatever…
And if you want me to comment on Tom Brady’s contract “extension” then you came to the wrong place. Go hit the local radio airwaves if you want non-stop chatter about that. Who cares if he is selling his house? Furthermore, do people realize that going into next season Brady will be 43 YEARS OLD?!
Listen, the guy is a legend and likely the greatest NFL player of all time. But if you are asking me to worry about a 43-year-old QB, you came to the wrong place. I love the guy as much as anyone. But we really don’t know how much he has left. He could plummet as soon as this year. After all, Bill Belichick has seemingly “loaded up” on the running game, defense and has like 10 mediocre (ie: “blocking”) tight ends in camp now. Oh, and not many receivers either. Looks like he may be thinking ahead about Brady regressing, no?
In any event, SHOULDN’T you go “year to year” with a guy like that? Yup. And if he is pissed, well, I am sorry. He could’ve battled the Pats harder over the years to get more money if that is the underlying issue. And maybe he absolutely should have. But since he didn’t, why are we talking about it now?
Some of the greats finished their careers on other teams. Maybe Brady does too. I really don’t think he will be going anywhere. Highly doubt it. But I am not sure the topic is even worth discussing at this point. Let’s see how this season plays out at age 42 and then take it from there.
Ugh…I know, I just got caught up in it…
As for the B’s…well, despite the run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last season, as far as I am concerned, there is a great reason to be well, concerned.
I will tell you. Did you think otherwise??!!
Here’s the first reason(s): Maxime Lagace, Brendan Gaunce, Brett Ritchie, Par Lindholm, Pavel Shen…
These guys are the free agents brought in by the team since the start of the signing period.
You may be like, “well, they only lost Noel Acciari (replaceable) and Marcus Johansson (oft-injured and expensive)”, so they are basically bringing the whole team back that came within a game of winning the whole thing!”
And I will retort, “it was a huge f’ng mistake to bring back basically the entire team after actual championships for the 2019 Boston Red Sox and 2012 Boston Bruins, did we forget?? Complacency, fatigue, all that crap??”
But that isn’t even the biggest issue.
The B’s still have 2 kind of huge restricted free agents sitting out there in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Ok, nevermind. The re-signing of Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton should offset that.
HAHAHAHAHAHA…just kidding my friends!!
I’m still not even sure why they re-signed Kampfer. To a TWO year deal, to boot. Assuming the two aforementioned d-men come back in the fold, Kampfer will then be at least the eighth defenseman. Well, I guess ninth, now that they re-signed Clifton too? Then they have some kids in Providence that seem to be on the cusp of the NHL, such as Urho Vaakanainen? Maybe Jeremy Lauzon too, but perhaps not Jakub Zboril…
I don’t get it.
Maybe that means they are dangling some of the “top seven”? McAvoy, I would doubt. Carlo too. No one wants John Moore’s contract. Or Kevan Millar’s injury history. Someone would take Zdeno Chara, despite his age, but he is going nowhere. Matty Grzelcyk? Sure. But what happens if Torey Krug leaves after the upcoming season as a free agent? Gryz may be a natural replacement…and far cheaper.
Trade Krug before he walks away for nothing? Something I would strongly consider. But all indications are that the team has no interest in that. And Krug wants to be here. So maybe he signs a “team-friendly” extension at some point.
There are a lot of capable D-men signed. And let’s face it, Carlo and McAvoy will eventually sign as well. Their options seem to be kind of limited. I just read where Chaz can’t even sign an offer sheet with anyone. Had no idea about that. In any event, it’s nice to have depth. But 10-11 deep? I don’t know. And please don’t give me, “well they used 12 defensemen last year…” That has to be an aberration. Plus, Urho and Zboril only played 2 games apiece, so really it was 10.
All that being said, they can keep all these D-men if they want. It won’t hurt them, no question.
In net, expect a regression from Tuukka Rask. Bet on it. But at least he and Jaroslav Halak should form a pretty good one-two punch in goal…at least for the regular season.
Me? This would appear to be a GREAT time to trade Tuuks (would be even better if the Bruins won the Cup, but alas…). But we already know that ain’t happening.
Forwards? Ugh…this is where the issues lie.
As noted above, the B’s signed a bunch of 4th liners/Providence type dudes. Not scintillating to any degree.
Oh, and they made sure they gave Danton Heinen 2.8 per for the next 2 years. Why? You got me. They love the guy though. I guess he plays awesome defense. Because he is less than mediocre on offense. At least last year he was…and he got some run on the Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand line. Not good.
So we still have that Bergy/Marchy/David Pastrnak line. All well and good.
But here we go with the second line issues again. David Krejci centering Jake DeBrusk and…who? I guess the leader in the clubhouse would have to be Karson Kuhlman. Kid showed some flashes. But are we ready to anoint him?
I think we can assume Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen make up 2/3 of the 3rd line. With Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom starting out as the 4th line. In my eyes anyway.
So who gets that last spot on the third line?
Would you believe David Backes and his 6 mil per year are still around? I am absolutely astonished at this fact. He should have been bought out the first day that was possible. At this point, is a buyout still even an option? The front office has led us to believe that he will not be bought out. Why is this?
So Backes HAS to get that spot, no? What, are they going to waive him (of course he will clear) and send him to Providence? Healthy scratch every night? No and no.
This absolutely pains me. I understand that General Manager Don Sweeney probably doesn’t want to eat 3 mil the next two years against the cap (half of Backes’ salary, which is what I think would be the case on the buyout…but maybe I’m wrong). And I get it, as they already have a smidge over 3 mil in dead cap money for the upcoming season tied to former greats Matt Beleskey and Dennis Seidenberg. Actually, Seids was pretty good. I just thought this wording was smooth! And Beleskey did suck badly. Anyway…
Then all these other guys apparently are out of luck. Ritchie, Lindholm, Shen, Anders Bjork, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, blah, blah, blah…I guess we don’t really care unless Bjork or Cehlarik or a guy like Jake Studnicka (a new “name” that has picked up some steam recently) can, you know, actually play.
I don’t know man…I would have loved to have seen a little turnover in the forward group. A little more turnover overall actually. There is limited cap room to sign McAvoy and Carlo. Not only should Backes be gone, but one would figure there would be other trades to free up room.
But nothing…yet. And I don’t feel like that other proverbial “shoe to drop” is going to happen. I was absolutely convinced it would in June. Doesn’t seem that way now.
It has been eerily quiet over there, however. Does that mean that this could be a calm before the storm? I truly do not think so. But something has to give with those two D-men needing to re-up.
There is still some offseason left. I won’t completely lambaste the front office at this point. But it’s clear I am leaning that way.
Hope I’m wrong. Goes without saying, I guess…