Tying up the rest of the loose ends:
*Boston Bruins. So the NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching. Some trades have already happened. But things should head toward fast and furious in the coming days.
What will the Bruins do?
Last season, GM Don Sweeney went out and got Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, which admittedly was more than I thought he would do. I mean, it wasn’t like getting Jon Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak, like he did one year. You can argue the merits of handing Coyle a 6 year extension for huge bucks this season. But the moves from last year worked out pretty well, I think we can say.
Unfortunately for Donnie Hockey, that hole on the right wing of David Krejci (and Jake DeBrusk) still exists. Seems like it has existed for years. And I guess it has…other than the Johansson stint.
In my opinion, that’s almost the only move to make. The “Perfection Line” of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak is all set. Wait, I still need to know where that moniker came from. No one but people on the NHL Network seems to call them that. I don’t ever remember hearing that nickname until the playoffs last spring. Mostly out of Doc Emrick’s mouth. Annoying…but whatever…
The gaggle of third and fourth liners the Bs have would probably suffice. Coyle/Anders Bjork is a fine start to the third line. Sean Kuraly/Par Lindholm/Chris Wagner/Joakim Nordstrom/Anyone is certainly acceptable as a fourth line.
Karson Kuhlman may very well be an NHL player. But I am beginning to think that isn’t this year. And I am totally done with the Danton Heinen Experiment. On any line.
If you added some beef to the bottom six and a somewhat of a scoring RW to the second line, I think we are good.
Wait…defense anyone? I am not sure they need it. Well, no one will stop any kind of upgrade attempt of course. But I think the 2nd line guy is more important. The 9-10 guys in the mix now on D would seem to work. Perhaps Jeremy Lauzon is the real deal. Or perhaps he is being showcased for a trade. He did just sign a cheap extension after all. And you ain’t getting rid of that John Moore contract.
But if they stood pat on D, I actually wouldn’t mind.
Who to give up? Anyone! Maybe Sweens can soak someone into taking Heinen. Or even better, “The Player Formerly Known As David Backes”.
Ummmmm…yeah, I know those ain’t happening.
But the time is now to make another run. Patrice, Marchy, Z, Krejci, Tuuks, etc aren’t getting any younger. As much as I would like to hang on to guys like Bjork, Kuhlman and Jack Studnicka and hope they develop, if the package is right, Donnie has to consider dealing those guys.
After all, guys like JFK, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Zboril, Anton Blidh, etc. have or will ever make it. And those are “kids” that Sweeney had high hopes for. Among many others. So who is to say the likes of Kuhlman will either?
*Tom Brady. Everyone sick of this talk yet? Still a month away from free agency. It will be an absolutely fascinating process once things start going down. But I’m a little exhausted from it all at this point.
How much more can we talk about it? Hasn’t every angle been covered thus far?
Is there really any NEW news? Or just idiots like me speculating? I say it’s the latter.
Wake me up on this one in a few weeks…
*Dustin Pedroia. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: PLEASE GO AWAY!!
The guy was a good player for a long time for the Boston Red Sox. But he seems to be the only one that doesn’t realize that his career is over. We keep hearing he has setback after setback. And how he needs to “regroup and consider his options”. We hear it seemingly hear it every day. And will through Spring Training, most assuredly.
I appreciate his zeal to get back and play the game. But that ship has sailed.
If it’s all about getting the 25 mil plus left on his deal, well that is all guaranteed, so he’s going to get it anyway.
Step aside Dustin. It’s long past time.
*Kobe. His death was certainly tragic. As was his daughters’. But so were the deaths of the other seven on board that helicopter. I think the general public loses sight of that waaaaaaaaay too many times when it comes to celebrities. But I am never going to win that fight, ssssssooooo…
As my man Colby recently posted, along with most assuredly several others, a little bit of a cloud still kind of hung over him as his career went on. Yes, the rape accusations were 17 years ago. But it’s funny how that all played out. Charges dropped, case dismissed, civil suit being settled, Kobe buying his wife like a 4 million dollar ring while this was all going on…and everything else…how soon we all forget.
Listen. There’s no argument about Kobe’s basketball ability and the fact he was one of the greatest of all time. He also may have remade himself into a quality person as he got older. Maybe he was a quality person all along but made at least that one mistake. I don’t know. I never knew the guy personally.
But that’s my problem with putting all these athletes and celebrities on a pedestal. No one knows “how great a guy” that any of these people are. Am I supposed to take other athletes’ or performers’ words for it? Who knows about those people either?
Recognize his greatness in the sport. But let’s not get carried away with some of the nonsense that has been spilling out about him “in tribute”.
That’s all I am saying.
*XFL. There’s been a request to comment on this. So here goes:
I have watched very little of the first two weeks. But what I have seen is a lot of disorganization across the board. Officials, coaches, players, etc. And I haven’t exactly seen great football either.
That’s not much of an analysis. And since I’ve only seen a fraction, it may be totally erroneous.
One thing is for sure though: If teams are already firing coaches and team captains after the first week of games, that has to raise a red flag. ONE GAME? A little hard to believe.
Maybe Vince McMahon sent down the orders. That’s a little scary to think about, no?
In any event, despite the Blowhards’ love for the game of football, we really haven’t been inspired to watch much of it. That seems like a problem for the league if we aren’t the only ones.
I could probably sum up the lack of desire in two words: “Matt McGloin”.
*Super Bowl. As we all know by now, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl and Jimmy Garoppolo peed his pants in the 4th quarter of the game. Does that mean that Jimmy Football now sucks and that he isn’t considered a franchise quarterback anymore? I don’t have the answer to that as of yet.
What I do know is that if your coach does not trust you to with plenty of time left to move down the field at the end of the first half, then that could be a problem.
So maybe the jury is still out on Jimmy G?
No need to comment further as the game was over two weeks ago and I suppose we are all on to the XFL. And…I passed on watching the halftime show and most of the commercials. So I don’t have any intelligent analysis there.
I really just needed a few words on the game to wrap up the picks portion of the season. As poor as they were, we still have to recap, right?
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 10-7
Season (against the spread): 136-131
Season (straight up): 171-96
…did everyone enjoy the Pro Bowl in the meantime?
Yup, I actually watched some of it…must have been bored.
This year they must have added a new feature. Two hand touch. There were actually plays in the game that the player wasn’t actually tackled. The whistle blew when a guy got wrapped up…and pretty quickly, I may add.
So it was useless as usual, pretty much like any sports’ All-Star Game. Though in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game it looks like the players actually try. The NHL one last week was equally as brutal to watch I have to say.
And in the Pro Bowl, Matthew Slater didn’t even get in the box score. I think we should all be colossally disappointed in that…
As for what we are actually here for, the Super Bowl pick between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, welp, no, I did not forget that I had to make a pick.
Maybe I got a little sad about football season being over. Maybe I got caught up in all of the “will he go or will he stay” Tom Brady talk, when there is at least a month and a half to go to get the answer on that. Maybe I just didn’t want to make another erroneous pick in a season full of mediocre picks. Maybe I felt like that since the New England Patriots aren’t actually in the game, I didn’t care. Or…maybe I just got lazy.
Whichever one you choose, we are going to skip right to it.
This one is going to be short and sweet. So if you were expecting a 10,000 word column on the game and all of its matchups and all the minutiae that we could talk about if we wanted to, I suggest you go check out Bill Barnwell’s column on ESPN.
I’m sure the piece is awesome. It looks extremely detailed with a ton of thought put into it. Any questions you had about the game could probably be answered just by reading the article.
But I don’t have a week to read that book. I did skim it, however, so go check it out if you are so inclined. By the way, looks like 10,462 words by my count. Not including the pictures and charts and their captions. Or the ads and links sandwiched in between. And no, I didn’t actually count the words (thanks Microsoft Word!). So give or take 100 words, it’s still over 10,000 words.
Barnwell gets paid to write and research all that, so good for him. I do not.
Ok, so enough of all that nonsense…
San Francisco “at” Kansas City (-1.5)
I have not listened to as much of the hype, or read much of it, the last two weeks as I have in past years. Yes, the big reason is that the Patriots are not in it. But then again, I don’t care much about what a lot of the “experts” have to say about the game.
Championship Sunday was relatively uneventful. The Tennessee Titans stayed with the Chiefs, but KC pulled away late…as most expected. One of the better Blowhard picks of the year, by the way. We predicted KC 34-24. It was 35-24. Just sayin’. The 49ers ran over the Green Bay Packers in a game that was never in doubt. The Blowhard pick there? Let’s move on…
In any event, the hype that I have heard this week has been about how great the SF defense is. Ummmmmm…don’t we know how great the KC offense is? And do we already forget about how the New Orleans Saints rolled up 46 points against the Niners in Week 14? Or the Rams with 31 in Week 16? Or even the Falcons with 29 in Week 15?
This SF D can be exposed. And who better to do it than Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense?
I’ve heard a lot about how the Chief defense is atrocious as well. And that may be somewhat true. But they have improved as the year went on. And the 31 the Houston Texans scored against them in the Divisional Round were aided by Houston getting good field position a few times on some KC mistakes. The Chiefs D was good enough to hold down the NFL’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship Game though, no? Did you know that the Chiefs actually gave up 2 fewer points than the Niners this season? Me neither.
It’s hard to believe the 49ers will roll up almost 300 yards rushing again. Raheem Mostert has apparently turned into a legitimate weapon, but will he duplicate his Championship Game performance? Doubtful. Tevin Coleman is supposedly “healthy”, but that may be a stretch after seeing what he looked like laying on the field two weeks ago. And the team is afraid to use Matt Breida all of a sudden because apparently has fumbled too much lately.
This means Niner QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have to throw way more than the EIGHT passes he attempted against the Packers. Can he be productive? Sure, he absolutely can. But I’d rather be the team that has Mahomes throwing a boatload of passes, not Garoppolo.
Not to mention that the Niners and coach Kyle Shanahan feel Jimmy Football can get a little loose with the football when asked to do too much. So they’d rather have him take a back seat if they could. I just don’t believe the Chiefs offense will give San Francisco a chance to gain control of the game by getting a nice lead and then running it on just about every play.
Now, I’ve been wrong plenty, as you know. But the feeling here is that there will be a lot of points scored in this one. Yeah, I know, I picked the Pats over the Rams last year, 34-30. And we know it was 13-3. But the year before I picked 51 total points and it was 74. And the year before I had NE over Atlanta 38-27, which ended up 34-28. So there is that.
And I picked against San Fran last week. Considered doing the same the week before against Minnesota, when I foolishly started believing in Kirk Cousins. In the end, I took SF, but only by 4, when they demolished the Vikings in the actual game.
So what the hell do I know?
I think Andy Reid finally gets over the hump here. KC gets the lead early and doesn’t let SF use its ground game to run the clock. Jimmy G has to throw a lot and while he will have success, it won’t be enough.
Unless Reid has clock management issues yet again…then all bets are off…
Kansas City 38, San Francisco 34.
Week (against the spread): 1-1
Week (straight up): 1-1
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 10-7
Season (against the spread): 135-131
Season (straight up): 170-96
So now, the defense. There could be significant turnover here next season. Not only with four starters being free agents, but also some depth pieces, a restricted free agent and a potential cap casualty or two perhaps?
Let’s get right to it:
Under contract: John Simon, Chase Winovich, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Nick Thurman (Futures), Tashawn Bower (Futures)
Free Agents: Keionta Davis (Restricted), Eric Lee (Practice squad)
Comments: Thin. No other way to describe it. Simon is a pretty good piece, but that is what I would describe him as…a piece. Winovich showed some promise as a strict passing down pass rushing option. But can he play on all downs? I have generally liked what I have seen from Wise in the past. But this year, every time he was on the field he seemed to commit a stupid penalty that always cost the team in a key spot. I suppose for 880k in the last year of his contract, he could be back as a depth piece. Rivers has missed a full two seasons over his three years in the league and didn’t do anything in the one he played. Perhaps it is time to move on. I bet you didn’t even know Eric Lee was back with the team this season in any capacity, did you? You may remember that he flashed for a couple of games after being signed away from the Bills’ practice squad late in 2017. Then quickly faded into obscurity and didn’t even make the 2018 team. And no, I had no idea he was here either. I would think upgrades at this position in the offseason would be in order. But the Pats never like to have a strict pass rush guy that pins his ears back and gets a ton of sacks (Chandler Jones?), so I wouldn’t expect any big names. Especially after how the Michael Bennett thing worked out this past season.
Under contract: Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart
Free Agents: Danny Shelton, Adam Butler (Restricted)
Comments: All of a sudden Danny Shelton “matters”, eh? This guy was a healthy scratch down the stretch in 2018. A quick fall from grace for the #12 overall pick in 2015. Then he re-signed fairly late in the offseason, somewhat of an afterthought. I suppose he had a decent year, but people are now worried about losing him? Yeah, they are a little thin here as well. But still. Butler had a huge year, but it’s possible he could parlay that into big money elsewhere. For people that analyze nose tackle play, Guy supposedly had a great year. At a 5 mil cap hit next season in the last year of his contract, that probably makes him a candidate for an extension. For a guy like me that doesn’t analyze nose tackle play, I saw the team have trouble against the run this season. That tells me that the Pats could upgrade from ALL of these guys and not miss a beat. But what the hell do I know?
Under contract: Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Terez Hall (Futures)
Free Agents: Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts, Shilique Calhoun
Comments: Speaking of “thin”, this position could take a big hit this offseason. Of the four free agents that are listed above, I would say the guy most likely to return is Calhoun. But who cares about him? Someone will throw Van Noy a boatload of cash, so say goodbye to him. Collins may turn his dominant first half against bum teams into some sort of decent contract as well. And although Roberts did his job for the team and played fullback down the stretch, he made no bones about wanting to play more at LB. I imagine he will try to find a team that will let him do that. The Brady situation bears watching here as well. Hightower had a great year and got selected for the Pro Bowl. He played 15 games this year as well. But he always seems dinged up, turns 30 in March and costs 11 mil plus against the cap in the final year of his contract next year. He has been adamant in the recent past about not renegotiating his deals to lower the cap number. And is the player worth an extension under these circumstances, despite his obvious talent and leadership? My sense is that if Brady is gone and many other free agents leave, Dont’a could be a cap casualty himself as they remold the team. If Brady returns and they kind of “load up” for one more run, Hightower will most assuredly return at the same cap number as well.
Under contract: Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams, D’Angelo Ross
Free Agents: None
Comments: Nothing to see here, though it would not shock me to see the team move on from the 5.5 mil cap hit of Jason McCourty and officially elevate Jackson to a starting position. Especially if Jason’s brother Devin does not return, but more on that later. While also creating more playing time for Williams. Then fill in the back end through the draft or low end free agency. Or maybe they can go get Duke Dawson or Keion Crossen back. Side note: congratulations to Gilmore on winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. If you showed up against DeVante Parker of Miami in the last game of the regular season, perhaps the playoffs would have gone in a different direction. Guess the voting was already complete before that game. And no, I’m not bitter. At all.
Under contract: Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrance Brooks, Malik Gant, Obi Melifonwu (Futures), Adarius Pickett (Futures)
Free Agents: Devin McCourty
Comments: The last time Devin hit free agency, in 2015, the team told him to go out and get his contract and then come back to talk to them first before signing anything. He did and the Pats reacted by signing him to a 5 year, 47.5 million dollar contract. Seemed like a lot of dough, but hey, he was heading into his age-28 season, fully in his prime and was an invaluable member of the defense as well as the locker room. Turned out to be the right move…and by a longshot. This time around, will the Pats do the same thing? Maybe. But I don’t think he’s getting almost 10 mil per, heading into his age-33 season. Leadership or no leadership. There is a good chance he doesn’t return if he wants that money. Though, he may not get that kind of offer elsewhere. So this will be interesting to watch as well.
McCourty, Chung and Harmon have filled out a pretty solid safety crew for years now. But I am also going to question the returns of the latter two. Again, if Brady returns, they probably stick even at their almost 6 mil and 5.5 mil cap hits, respectively. But if Brady goes? All bets are off. Chung’s cocaine charges were dropped, pending good behavior or something. He was dinged up more than usual this season. And looked susceptible more than he has since his return to New England. Could he be judged expendable? If the team starts some sort of “rebuilding” process, do they also need to spend that kind of money on a third safety in Harmon? Though Harmon will be 29 as opposed to Chung, who, like McCourty, will also be heading into his age 33 season. Brooks is cheap and mostly a special teamer, so he’s safe. Just another interesting position to watch.
There you have it. A lot of words over three pieces. A lot of random thoughts. A billion questions. But not a whole helluva lot of answers.
Unfortunately, we won’t be getting pretty much any of those until mid-March…and then into the summer.
Can’t wait. But that also means winter will be almost over and that may even excite me more than Brady’s status…