Tagged with "Patriots"
Sunday Musings #169
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NFL NewEnglandPatriots AlabamaCrimsonTideFootball MLB CollegeFootball NewYorkLiberty NCAATrack CollegeBasketball HighSchoolSports

 

 

While busy running around all weekend long...

 

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay

 

NFL

New England Patriots - The Patriots had a busy week as they played last Sunday against the Bills and then followed that up with the Thursday night game vs. the Jets.

The two straight AFC East divisonal matchups saw the Patriots win both games and take control of the division as they raised their record to 5-2.

Against Buffalo, the Pats won 37-22 but the win was a costly one as both Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley went down with what turned out to be season ending knee injuries.

In the first half of the game, the Patriots offense was just miserable. They managed just 101 yards of total offense. Thankfully, they woke up in the second half and rolled up nearly 300 yards of offense in that half. Tom Brady had a great game with 361 yards passing and 4 TDs. He spread the ball around to 10 different receivers in all.

Brandon LaFell had 4 catches for 97 yards and most importantly, two TDs. Rob Gronkowski caught 7 balls for 94 yards. Meanwhile, Tim Wright and Brian Tyms caught just 1 pass a piece, but each of them went for a score. Julian Edleman had 9 catches for 91 yards.

When the passing game is as effective as it was against the Bills, the Patriots can look positively unbeatable. But they are really going to have to lean on that passing game with the loss of Ridley. He was their workhorse back and while Shane Vereen can be effective out of the backfield catching passes, he is not the same time of runner Ridley is. As for the rest of the rotation of running backs, they haven't shown any reason for fans to expect them to do much better.

While their defense held the Bills to just 68 yards rushing, the Patriots run game was even worse. They had just 50 yards for the game, the rushing attack being thoroughly ineffective. It was a good thing the passing game took off in the 2nd half or the Patriots would've gotten beaten down quite soundly.

The defense also harassed Bills QB Kyle Orton all day long, they picked him off once and sacked him five times. Three of those sacks came from Rob Ninkovich. The defense also recovered a couple of fumbles along the way too.

I don't think anyone was really expecting the New York Jets to give the Patriots much trouble on Thursday night. They were 1-5 coming into the game and in what seemed to be complete disarray. They don't really have an NFL caliber quarterback on the roster and can't seem to get out of their own way most of the time.

But the team certainly hasn't quit on coach Rex Ryan and they showed up and gave the Patriots all they could handle. In the end it was a blocked field goal attempt, by Chris Jones, on the last play of the game (see below, Jones has the red glove on), that gave New England a 27-25 victory. It was a highly competitive and exciting game and one that FINALLY let the Pats fans exhale.

As they awaited the Jets, the questions facing the Patriots were 1. Can they have a balanced run game with Ridley out? and 2. With Jerod Mayo out, can the Patriots defense stop the run (when Mayo went out last year, that's when the Patriots run defense went into the crapper)?

The Jets got a surprisingly solid performance from QB Geno Smith (pictured below 1st) and the question about the Patriots defense was answered for one night at least when New York put up 218 total yards on the ground. Chris Ivory (pictured below 2nd) tallied 107 yards rushing for the Jets to go with four receptions out of the backfield.

 

What helped the Patriots win the game was their defense sacking Smith 3 times while New England's offensive line kept Brady upright for most of the game. The Jets defense was credited with 1 sack of Tom Brady, but it was a sack that saw Brady moving out of the pocket and then slid to give himself up.

Speaking of Brady (pictured below), he had 261 yards passing and 3 TDs on the night. And once again, he really had to get things done through the air because the other question facing the Patriots was answered by the team managing just 63 yards on the ground for the game.

Shane Vereen (pictured below) had 43 yards to "lead" the rushing attack, but he made his biggest impact catching passes. He had 5 receptions for 71 yards (also the team lead in that category), including a beautiful 49 yard diving catch for one of his two TDs on the night. You can check out the video below to see both scores.

But the Patriots still couldn't put the Jets away. It wasn't until forgotten man Danny Amendola (pictured below), who had been playing on special teams most of the evening, caught his first TD of the season that the Patriots took the lead for what would be the final time.

I love the two wins for the Patriots, but given that they came over relatively weak (despite playing solid games against the Pats) teams in the AFC East, I'm by no means convinced this turnaround means New England can consistently beat the better teams in the NFL this season. They are going to have to find someone who can run the ball to give their offensive playcalling some balance. If they don't, they are going to be in trouble if teams start paying more attention to their receivers. And if they can't run the ball, what happens to the offense when the passing game gets shut down too?

They also still need to figure out how to cut down on their penalties. They had 9 called on them against the Jets. I'm sure Bill Belichick can figure things out, he usually does. But the team is going to have to win games by guile as much as skill while they get things figured out.

One final semi-related Patriots note: There is a new book about former Patriots coach Bill Parcells coming out October 28th entitled Parcells: A Football Life. Sports Illustrated ran an excerpt from the book detailing the behind the scenes machinations that happened when Parcells quit as coach of the Jets and Belichick was supposed to take over. Football fans know what happened next, but you can read this article for a more in-depth look at what it took for Belichick to be able to be hired to coach the Patriots and change the course of the franchise.

Chicago Bears - Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is out injured this season, but this interview with Robert Klemko of the MMQB.com website gives you a great look at a player who's time in the NFL is winding down. A lot of other topics are covered as well.

Miscellaneous Article of Note - Former NFL player Irving Fryar spent the early part of his career in varying degrees of trouble. But he turned his life around becoming a really good receiver, and later became a preacher. But according to Greg Hanlon's lengthy article, there's been a big hiccup in Fryar's reformed life recently as he found himself in a lot of trouble. He now stands accused of bank fraud. You can read more HERE.

BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

The Red Sox are playing in the quest for the World Series championship this year, so I haven't really been paying much attention to the MLB Playoffs. But I wanted to take a quick moment and congratulate the Kansas City Royals (first playoff and World Series appearance in 29 years) and the San Francisco Giants (3rd World Series appearance in the last 5 years) for making it to what promises to be an electrifying conclusion to the baseball season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Boston College - Before I talk about yesterday's game against Clemson, I wanted to note that after the Eagles win over North Carolina State last week, Josh Keyes was named ACC Co-Linebacker of the Week while defensive end Brian Mihalik (pictured below) was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

As for the Clemson game, the Eagles looked to pull the upset over the 24th ranked Tigers, but ended up falling short. They lost 17-13 to drop to 4-3 on the year.

The BC defense got torn up for 398 total yards despite the relatively low point total for Clemson. But it seems more like the inability of the offense to put more than 13 points on the board is what really did the Eagles in. QB Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was just 8-19 passing for 108 yards. Granted, two of those completions were for touchdowns, but it was another game where his inability to pass the ball consistently hurt the team. It was even more evident because the run game was stifled this time around as well. Murphy led the team in rushing with just 55 yards. Meanwhile, Jon Hilliman, Myles Willis and Sherman Alston (who caught one of Murphy's TD strikes) combined for just 65 yards all together.

Alabama - With the Crimson Tide's upset loss last week, it seems to have become open season on Alabama. More than a few have opined that the team's run of dominance in the SEC West could be over. That led into yesterday's nationally televised game against Texas A&M where the Crimson Tide laid such an ass whipping on the Aggies that A&M coach labeled his team's performance "embarrassing". The final score: Alabama 59 Texas A&M 0. Yes, that's right a big fat nothing for the Aggies as Alabama improves to 6-1. Apparently, reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

A&M's offense had been averaging 565 yards in total offense coming into the game, but got outgained a monstrous 602-172 by Alabama. It all keyed off of the resurgent performance of quarterback Blake Sims (pictured below). He freely admitted that he hasn't played well in the last two games but yesterday, he threw for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 54 rushing yards. That rush total includes a beautiful 43 yard run for a TD that you just have to see to believe.

Alabama's defense was in razor sharp form on the day. They picked off Aggie QB Kenny Hill once while racking up 6 sacks (see sack celebration pic below) on the day as well. They also held A&M to just 31 yards on the ground (Bama's backs had 298 yards).

Bama receiver Amari Cooper has been held in check the last couple of games but he had 8 catches for 140 yards and 2 TDs yesterday. He had a 45 yard TD and you can see his 24 yard TD reception below.

As for the run game, T.J Yeldon led the way with 114 yards and 2 TDs for Alabama. Derrick Henry had a solid day as well. He ran for 70 yards and a TD and had a 41 yard catch and run from Sims for a second score. You can see that below.

Mass Maritime - While the Buccaneers struggled in their 32-16 loss to Westfield State on Saturday, my ex-player E.J. continue to extend his hold over every receiving record at the school. He caught 12 more passes today for 103 yards and a touchdown. The loss drops MMA to 1-5 on the season overall, with an 0-4 conference record.

Georgia - I'm not talking about any game the Bulldogs played but rather the suspension of running back Todd Gurley for allegedly making money off of signing memorabilia. I know that a lot of people out there are incensed that the NCAA and its member schools can make billions of dollars off of these athletes who labor for peanuts (scholarships). I happen to agree with them.

But while the rules stink, I don't agree with the notion that Gurley violating them is somehow a noble thing. It isn't. He knew the rules going in. They may suck, he may hate the rules, but he agreed to them. You can and should lobby to change rules you don't like. But I'm a firm believer in not breaking the current rules governing your participation in college athletics. And if you do break the rules and get caught, I have no problem with an athlete's career being in jeopardy or even over.

The NCAA is a corrupt organization as it is currently set up. They need to be changed from the top down as the playing field of college/amateur sports evolves. But until that happens, an athlete that agrees to the idiotically draconian rules of the NCAA must abide by them.

WNBA

The big news out of the women's basketball league this week was the rather surprising move by the New York Liberty. The team declined to pick up the option on coach/GM Bill Laimbeer. They'll be looking for someone new to lead the team for next season.

The Liberty took a step back the last two years under Laimbeer, who was unable to recapture the magic he had as the head of the now defunct Detroit Shock. They didn't make the playoffs either season but I don't think anyone really saw this move coming.

Laimbeer, who I hated as a player, but really like as a coach and GM in the WNBA, commented about his time with the Liberty in this article.

So far, I haven't been able to find out if assistant coach Katie Smith is still with the team or has been officially dismissed. I do know that if she isn't back with the team, my fandom for the Liberty will be a thing of the past. I go where she goes. By the way, Smith's latest blog post on her KatieSmithBasketball.com site is about her dog Logan. You can check it out HERE.

COLLEGE SPORTS

Tennessee Women's Track - I know that I don't usually spend much time on college sports other than football and basketball, but this past week brought a story about the Lady Vols track team that just pissed me off. And I wasn't the only one as noted women's college sports writer Mechelle Voepel and men's college basketball analyst Jay Bilas also tweeted about the story.

It seems new track coach Beth Alford-Sullivan revealed herself to be thoroughly disreputable and not worthy of being a coach. She kicked athletes off the team who had done nothing wrong. This was two weeks into practices and the players she dismissed were ones she had praised publicly not two months before. The parent of one of the dismissed athletes took the story public.

The coach and the school are hiding behind the lame ass excuse of Sullivan not having done anything wrong and while they are technically right, that is a purely gutless counterpunch to the way they have completely screwed over these athletes. This story is yet another example of the atrocious level of corruption that abides in the current NCAA system. You can read more HERE.

Mount Saint Joseph University - And then you have a story like this one, where it shows what can be right and good about college sports. Lauren Hill is an incoming freshman on the women's basketball team. She's eagerly looking forward to playing her first college basketball game...because it will be her last game as well. And that is if she lives that long. Lauren is dying from an inoperable brain tumor. She was originally given two years to live, but things got worse and doctors told the family she wouldn't live past this December.

NCAA rules don't allow Division 3 teams to play games that count in the standings until mid-November. But even they were moved because they granted MSJU an exemption. With Hiram College agreeing to move the game to November 2nd, Lauren will dress in her #22 uniform and play "One Last Game". You can read more and see the local news report via this link. Yahoo! Sports also covered the story HERE.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Wareham Girls Soccer - The Vikings lost to Middleboro 3-1 to start off their week. The one positive in that game was the news that my former player Paige scored her first career goal. A 6-1 loss to Bourne dropped Wareham to 0-15 on the season.

Wareham Boys Soccer - A 2-1 loss to Middleboro (Eoghan had an assist on the goal), a 4-0 loss to Bourne and a 6-1 loss to Case dropped the team to 0-13.

Wareham Girls Field Hockey - Westport beat Wareham 9-0, then lost to Seekonk 5-1 on Friday dropping them to 2-12 for the year.

Wareham Girls Volleyball - The Vikings got swept 3-0 by Bourne and 3-0 by Case to fall to 4-13 for the year.

Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Rams beat Blue Hills 2-1 early in the week. Friday night saw them beat Old Colony 6-1. While she isn't one of my former players, Krystle scored all 6 goals and raised her scoring tally for her high school career to 99 goals. Below is an Adam Ellis photo of Krystle (in white) on one of a couple of chances where she could've scored that 100th goal.

Wareham Football - In their annual Cranberry Bowl matchup, the Vikings came up on the short end of a 21-12 decision against ORR. They are now 1-5 on the season. Josh (pictured below) ran for 58 yards on the ground and had 28 receiving yards in the game. (Photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier.)

MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLE

One of my favorite sportswriters is Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan. It seems others hold him in high regard as well. You can learn more about Ryan by reading this Grantland.com profile.

MISCELLANEOUS

TV - If you didn't watch the season premiere of The Walking Dead last Sunday, wow did you miss a fantastic show. Seriously, go watch it on On Demand right now, you won't regret it.

As for a couple of other shows, you can check out the Pop-topia.com recap of The Flash Season 1 Episode 2 "The Fastest Man Alive" HERE. The recap for Arrow Season 3 Episode 2 "Sara" is available via this Pop-topia.com link.

I also added to my TV on DVD collection this week when I picked up Cagney & Lacey - The True Beginning. It is the second broadcast season of the show but the first with Sharon Gless in the role of Cagney.

 

Music - Country singer Glen Campbell is dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's Disease. The last song he ever recorded is called "I'm Not Gonna Miss You". You can check out the official video below. It's some moving stuff.

Sunday Musings #168
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NFL MLB FantasyFootball CollegeFootball BostonCollegeEaglesFootball NewEnglandPatriots AlabamaCrimsonTide Olympics HighSchoolSports

 

 

While still shaking my head in anger, frustration and disappointment...

 

WHERE STUPIDITY REIGNS SUPREME...APPARENTLY

As many of the Yougabsports community know, I was once a youth basketball coach. I've made it a point to happily report on the high school athletic exploits of my former players over the last couple of years that I've been here on the site. On occasion, I've found myself also writing about former players of mine who found themselves in legal trouble.

And this week, it was a whopper and a half. Four of my former players are in jail where they will soon see the charges against them upgraded to murder. They apparently got into a fight in the middle of a convenience store with some other guy and that guy ended up dead on the ground.

Of the four ex-players, three of them come as no surprise to me at all. As much as it seems cold and unfeeling, I file them under "it had to happen sooner or later". But the fourth guy was a big surprise to me. He played for me for two seasons and was one of the best players I'd coached. He did everything I asked from him on the court and did it without complaint. He went on to have a pretty solid high school basketball career as well. Hell, I'd written about him here in this blog numerous times. He only just graduated in June of this year.

As I read the story, I quickly and silently thanked my parents for being strict with me when I was growing up. It kept me out of trouble (okay MOST of the time) and on the relative straight and narrow. And my sense of disappointment with that one ex-player grew as more details came out.

*WARNING - EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AHEAD*

But don't let that sad disappointed feeling let you think I'm feeling sympathetic towards any of them. Unlike some of the morons that have posted comments on the newspaper articles or on the Facebook pages for the newspapers, I don't feel that they are somehow still "good kids". Good kids know how to stay out of trouble. They don't get tied up in a fucking murder case! There are many rumors floating around town as to why this confrontation happened. And frankly since I don't have any knowledge about which of those theories might be true I'm not going to dignify any of them by writing them here.

But can there really be a reason, short of defense of your own life, that can allow for you and three "buddies" to kill someone in broad daylight in the middle of a store?

In case you are wondering, the answer to that question is no. I don't know where the lives of the four soon to be defendants were going in the passing decades but I doubt the Oval Office was on their life achievement bucket list. But I can't imagine prison was on their minds either. That may be because none of them seemed burdened by an overabundance of brains and/or common sense but still.

Instead, their lives are fucked. You can read the story for yourself, but these four dipshits are candidates for a spot on World's Dumbest Criminals.

So that was the biggest news of my week. Yet more athletes that I had a hand in coaching chose a path that will lead them to a life of being inconsequential.

*Sarcastic Button Turned On* - Just what a former youth coach always hopes for his players, no?

SHAKING MY DAMN HEAD...

You can check out the article via this Wareham Courier link.

 

NFL

New England Patriots - Wow, the Patriots looked like the Patriots last week eh? Even when you allow for the fact they were playing the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that always fails to come up in a big game on TV, the way the Patriots played had you almost ready to forget how mediocre they'd been over the first month of the season.

I did say almost...because they are still being penalized as if they are the Raiders back when the Raiders were a good team. They got nailed 12 times for 114 yards. With Bill Belichick hating even one penalty in the team execution, 12 yellow flags must've driven him nearly batty.

The most consistent part of the Patriots offense has been kicker Stephen Gostkowski and as the Patriots battered the Bengals 43-17, he again had a big night. He finished with 5 field goals.

But the offense was really clicking as well. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been getting pilloried in New England for their craptastic offense but he was making some solid play calls against Cincy.

Tom Brady passed for 292 yards and 2 touchdows and looked like the Tom Brady we've come to know and love.

And Brady did it without much help from the wide receivers. Instead it was the one-two punch of tandem tight ends that made the passing game so effective. Rob Gronkowski (pictured below 1st) had his best game of the season with 100 yards receiving and a TD. And Tim Wright (pictured below 2nd) caught a TD as well.

The defense helped set up the offense by recovering three fumbles on the night. This helped set up running back Stevan Ridley (pictured below) to rush for 113 yards and a touchdown.

The reaction to just how badly the Patriots beat the Bengals was relatively split. A lot of people acted as if things were suddenly back to their glory days while others were decidedly more cautious in their praise of the team's performance in this one game.

I'd probably fall on the latter side of that judgement. It was great to watch the parts of the beatdown that I watched but I'm by no means convinced this means their struggles are over. They still need to play like this consistently. They can't backslide into mediocre offensive playcalling and execution when they play Buffalo this week. The offensive line has to continue to keep Brady upright and open holes for Ridley and/or Shane Vereen. And while it is great that the scary tight end duo could be making a return for the Pats, the wide receivers have to make their contributions. Julian Edelman has been the best pass catcher for New England this season but he had an off game against Cincy and his was the best performance out of everyone not lined up as a tight end. The continued ineffectiveness of Danny Amendola (I believe he's hurt again but trying to play through) and the release of Kenbrell Tompkins means there is playing time for someone that can actually step up and CATCH THE DAMN BALL!

There were a number of articles this week written about teams or players in the NFL that caught my eye and I thought I'd share them with you.

New York Jets - Robert Klemko's SI.com article didn't include the late week admission by backup QB Michael Vick that he didn't really prepare well for the team's loss to the Chargers last week, but he did have a pretty solid breakdown on exactly how and why the Jets stink. You can check it out HERE.

San Diego Chargers - Speaking of the Chargers, their 31-0 beatdown on the Jets was just the latest example of how things have seemed to turn around for their QB Phillip Rivers. Once again SI.com writer Robert Klemko provides an excellent story and analysis.

Miscellaneous Stories - Two more stories that caught my eye focused on two people now out of the game. One by choice, the other not so much. You can learn about retired cornerback Chris Carr's new life as a law student HERE. As for coach Ken Flajole, he's learning to live life without a coaching job for the first time in 37 years.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

In a move that should surprise NO ONE given the recent history, it seems integrity might not be all that important to the Heisman committee anymore. You can read more in this article.

Boston College - After enduring a lighting weather delay, the BC Eagles raised their record to 4-2 on the season with a 30-14 win over ACC opponent North Carolina State. It's their first conference win of the season. Quarterback Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was the big standout on the day. While his passing numbers were relatively mediocre (12-19, 101 yards), it was on the ground where he made his biggest mark on the game. He ran for 132 yards and two scores. One of those TD runs came on a beautiful 47 yard scamper.

Sherman Allston and Jon Hilliman also ran for scores in the game.

Meanwhile the Eagles defense had a solid game. They picked off NC State QB Jacoby Brissett once and sacked him four times. Their rush defense held the Wolfpack to just 43 yards on the ground.

You can see the game highlights below.

Alabama - Blake Sims tossed two touchdown passes (including one to running back T.J. Yeldon, pictured below) as the Crimson Tide avoided a second straight upset and squeaked by Arkansas 14-13. For a rather large turnaround in the scheme of things, Alabama was the team that was held to a low total of rushing yards. They managed just 67 yards on the ground against the Razorbacks.

While the Bama defense held Arkansas to 98 yards rushing, it is always a bit odd to see Bama get outgained on the ground. The defense also picked up four sacks and two fumble recoveries. Unfortunately, Sims got sacked twice and the offense lost two fumbles (out of four made) as well.

I don't know what happened with the offense in this game but something is going to have to give to get Alabama back to looking like an efficient if not entirely thrilling offense.

Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers dropped their game against Western Connecticut 30-19. The loss leaves them at 1-4 on the season. E.J. caught 6 passes for 74 yards in the game.

BASEBALL

For Red Sox fans of a certain vintage the fifth game of the 1986 ALCS between the Sox and the California Angels was a legendary game. It all boiled down that Dave Henderson whalloping a home run off of Donnie Moore that led to Boston eventually winning the game. It has long been posited that Moore's suicide a few years later was due to this one game. You can read Michael McKnight's longform SI.com story "The Split" and learn more about Moore's story and the falsehood of the home run leading to his death HERE.

FANTASY FOOTBALL

It was another crappy week for me as I got wiped out in both leagues last week.

USA SWIMMING

After announcing he would be entering rehab to deal with his alcohol problems, Michael Phelps found himself suspended for 6 months by USA Swimming. And he's apparently won't be competing in next summer's World Championships (long after his suspension ends) either. As I wrote last week, I'm fully in support of Phelps being suspended. Of course, I don't understand why he can't swim at the championships, but that's another matter entirely. You can read more via this Yahoo Sports article.

But what makes me chuckle a bit is how quickly USA Swimming acted in dealing with Phelps. He gets busted for DUI and they whip out the old "code of conduct" stuff. Yet you have "coaches" who molested young swimmers for YEARS and no one either knew or did anything. Driving under the influence is terrible but destroying a life by molestation is something you'd think the paragons of virtue (yeah right) that run USA Swimming would've moved faster to deal with as well.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Wareham Boys Soccer - The boys season continued down a bad spiral as they lost to ORR 5-1 and to Case 4-0.

Wareham Girls Volleyball - As their hopes for a playoff berth flickered down to almost nothing, the Vikings lost two five set thrillers to ORR and Dighton Rehoboth. Against D-R, Erica (pictured below from the ORR game, photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier) had 16 digs and 12 service points.

Oh and here's a shot of Rae-Lyn from that same ORR match:

Wareham Girls Soccer - ORR gave Wareham yet another shutout loss beating them 7-0.

Upper Cape JV Football - The Rams picked up their first win of the season beating Blue Hills 22-14 this past Monday.

UCT Girls Soccer - Upper Cape stands at 4-8-1 after a 4-0 win over Old Colony and a 6-1 loss to Pope John Paul II High.

Wareham Football - After their big win last week, the Vikings were unable to keep that momentum going and lost to Fairhaven 20-8.

Wareham Girls Field Hockey - After a 7-1 loss to Apponequet and a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bourne to start off their week, the Vikings closed out their week with a 2-0 win over Case. Kali had one of the goals, her first career score. The team is now 2-10. You can see an excited Kali after the goal (in pink) below. (Photo by Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier). There's also a video of the goal that you can see HERE. (also by Adam Ellis)

MISCELLANEOUS

Books - I finished the Archer Mayor novel Proof Positive this week. Although the ending of the book was rather abrupt I still quite enjoyed this latest Joe Gunther story.

TV - It was a big week for TV this past week as two shows debuted that had comic book fans breathless in anticipation. The series premiere of The Flash lived up to most of its hype as the show began to set up their storytelling tent. The Pop-topia.com site I do some writing for is covering both The Flash and Arrow this season. You can read the recap for The Flash HERE.

As for the 3rd season premiere of Arrow, let me just say that I loved it. It might just have been the best premiere of any of the returning series that I watch. And what an ending to the episode to make fans gasp or cry out "NOOOOO!". Here's the recap.

Of course, the premiere that is almost certainly the one a LOT of people are waiting for is tonight's 5th season premiere of The Walking Dead. I know that I'll be glued to my TV tonight. To whet your appetite, check out the season 5 trailer below.

Oh, and I picked up Season 7 of NYPD Blue on DVD this week too.

Movies - I saw the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow this week. It's a military science fiction version of Groundhog Day. For the most part it was a very good action flick. But for me, I thought the ending was just a bit too blase for my liking. Overall I gave it a 7 out of 10 on the IMDB.com site.

For those of you on the fence about seeing the Ben Affleck movie Gone Girl, why not check out the Pop-topia.com review.

Music - Last week, I linked my review of the new John Mellencamp CD Plain Spoken here. I linked it on a few other places as well including Mellencamp's own Facebook page. Well they shared it there and it's been pretty successful there. It's been liked more than 700 times and shared at least 40 times. It is likely my most viewed CD review thus far.

My latest CD review is for the Unisonic album Light of Dawn. You can check it out via this KNAC.com link.

The new AC/DC album Rock or Bust is due out December 9th. The first song from the album is called "Play Ball" and you can listen to that below.

Sunday Musings #167
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NewEnglandPatriots WNBA OaklandRaiders CollegeFootball CollegeBasketball BostonRedSox BostonCeltics Olympics FantasyFootball HighSchoolSports

While still stunned over how utterly awful the Patriots looked this past Monday night vs. Kansas City...

Don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay

This week the Garfield comic had a strip that seems to describe me to a "T":

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

A friend of mine shared this photo on Facebook and it pretty much sums up the Monday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs:

'Nuff Said!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers traveled to play Fitchburg State on Saturday but came away on the wrong end of a 26-21 score. They fall to 1-3 on the season. In the loss my former player E.J. caught 6 passes for 62 yards and a TD. The 62 yards gives him the all-time receiving yardage record at the school! Congratulation E.J.! 

You can read more about his march towards the receiving record HERE.

Kansas - After going just 6-22 in a little over two seasons, the Jayhawks finally pulled the plug on the doomed to fail from the start tenure of Charlie Weis. The man who was so great as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots has been a massive failure on the collegiate level. After such a horrible "era" at Kansas, I don't see how anyone can ever hire him as a head coach ever again. Frankly, he's proven that he can't do that job at all. My guess is if he doesn't head back to the NFL for a coordinator job, he's going to be effectively blackballed from the game.

Boston College - The Eagles were on their bye week yesterday but in the meantime you can read this article and learn more about senior linebacker Josh Keyes.

Alabama - I watched the Alabama-Ole Miss game yesterday and it was a depressing thing to view. While Ole Miss fans would of course disagree with my assessment, when Bama loses my football weekend is soured. But the Tide has no one to blame but themselves. Despite a defense that held the Rebels to just 72 yards on the ground, they couldn't figure out how to stop Rebel QB Bo Wallace (pictured below) who had the game of his life in pulling off a 23-17 upset. He threw for 3 TD passes and the Rebel defense picked off Blake Sims in the end zone to seal the deal.

Make no mistake, the Rebels played great. But they sure got an assist from Bama. They got nailed with 8 penalties, and they were usually penalties after a big play. T.J Yeldon (pictured below) ran for 123 yards but the run game was hurt by the loss of Kenyan Drake. He had nasty leg injury that caused CBS to stop showing the replay.

Blake Sims ran for a TD but passed for just 228 yards on a day when Alabama could've used more of an aerial attack. In the end, Mississippi had the upset as Alabama fell to 4-1.

BOSTON RED SOX

The Boston area papers are publishing article after article breaking down how the season fell apart for the Red Sox. When they are writing those type of articles, they are writing pieces on what they think how the club will or should be constructed for next year.

And in depressing free agent news, the hopes that pitcher Jon Lester might be making a return to Boston took a big hit when it was announced he had put his home in Newton, MA on the market. Not that I can really blame him. After all, the Red Sox already lowballed him once, why bother giving the team another chance to do it to him again.

I just hope I never see a press conference this offseason where Lester is introduced as the new starter for the New York Yankees. I just don't think I could stomach that development at all.

NFL

Oakland Raiders - Mercifully, the Dennis Allen era came to an end this week when he was fired as head coach of the Raiders. But given how bad the team is, I think GM Reggie McKenzie should have cleaned house and fired himself as well. As GM, he's the guy responsible for stocking the roster with all the barely there "talent" that is supposedly playing for the team.

I'm no fan of the Raiders, but it is still embarrassing to me as a football fan to see one of the franchises with such a proud history in the league continue to stay not only in the cellar of the league standings, but to also seemingly unable to wash the stench of mediocrity AT best off them. Since Jon Gruden kicked their ass in the Super Bowl, the Raiders have become the NFL's version of the Bad News Bears. 

Speaking of Jon Gruden, his name immediately came up as a potential replacement. (Ex-Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is the Raiders interim coach.) Another name I've seen floated is Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated had an interesting piece on why Gruden might not be the savior that people think he would be. You can read the article HERE and decide for yourself.

BOSTON CELTICS

One of the key reserves on the 2008 championship team was Leon Powe. I liked his game when he was with the Celtics. Now retired, Powe was hired this week by the team in the player development department. His responsiblities will include some community relations work but in the brief I read, Powe was said to also be interested in spending time with Danny Ainge. It seems his goal is to become a general manager in the league at some point. Welcome Home Leon!

FANTASY FOOTBALL

Thanks to some strong statistical performances by a number of the players I have on my two fantasy teams, I was was able to win both leagues this week. I'm now 3-1 in one league while it was my first win (1-3) in the other league.

In a particularly hilarious bit of news from the fantasy football world, it seems New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell is a big fantasy player himself. He had himself on his team but benched himself in favor of the 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Donnell wasn't exactly having a great statistical season so far and Davis is one of the better players at the TE position.

But as luck or the fickle whims of fate would have it, Davis had a bad game and Donnell ended up losing his matchup for the week. He would've won if he'd kept his own self in the lineup though. Why? Seems Donnell picked the worst possible time to have a career best performance. He caught 7 passes for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns...and lost his fantasy football matchup by 15 points. You can read about it via this link.

As Homer Simpson would say:

 

OLYMPICS

There was a time when it was considered an honor beyond measure for a city to host an Olympic Games. Nowadays, given the costs involved, the corruption endemic and the crazy demands of the International Olympic Committee, a lot of cities are passing on the chance to bid on being the host city for the Olympics. The latest problem for the IOC is the 2022 Winter Olympiad. A number of cities have refused to bid, or pulled out of their bids when the country's citizens voted against bidding. It has left the IOC with just two countries actively bidding on the event and neither of them is known for their snowy climates. You can check out the rather embarrassing story HERE.

And to cap the Olympic related embarrassing news we have the most decorated Olympian in history. Yes folks, Michael Phelps got busted for a second time for DUI. And yet oddly, not in jail. According to one article I read, his blood alcohol reading was twice the legal limit! For all the glittering jewelry he won for swimming faster than a host of other athletes, his athletic accomplishments don't seem to have added to his intelligence level at all.

For all the complaining about the domestic violence going on with the NFL, why isn't there more of an outcry for an athlete getting behind the wheel where split second timing could be the difference between arriving safely at home or sliding into a car and killing a family of six?

I'm sure Phelps will get off with a slap on the wrist, despite this being a second offense, but all that glitter is tarnished.

He's got money, does he not know how to hail a cab or hire a limo?

WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Alabama - Further proof that the NCAA and its member institutions can and usually are gigantic SOBs comes in the form of the story of Daisha Simmons. She's a graduate of Alabama. She applied for admission into the MBA program but was rejected. So she applied and was accepted at Seton Hall University. She transferred there and applied to play a final year for the Pirates. But Alabama and coach Kristy Curry blocked the athletic transfer. The case makes no sense because Simmons has obtained a degree from Alabama. It got so stupid that the NCAA had to step in and offer a compromise where Simmons would sit out this season but get to play next season. She found this unacceptable because of the financial hardship it places on her family.

Alabama and their coach has yet to offer any kind of reasonable explanation for blocking a student transfer who's already graduated from their school. But it seems to be part of a systematic plan of idiocy on the part of the coach who has reportedly run off at least 6 players since last season. This is particularly galling coming from Alabama considering the school's football team is benefiting from the same type of transfer for a player on their football team.

You can read more about this story HERE. And if that isn't enough to convince you of just how despicable the people in charge of the women's basketball program are, you can check out this article about Brittany Jack, the roommate of Daisha Simmons.

Tennessee - An age and sex discrimination suit brought against the school by former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings has been settled out of court for $320,000. Ever since Dave Hart took over as the AD at Tennessee, it has seemed that the Lady Vols athletic programs and personnel have been treated as second class citizens in favor of the men's programs. This despite the fact that it is the women's teams who have been the most successful. The good old boy network doesn't like that it would seem and it had led to women being demoted, forced into retirement or simply fired. Of course, this is just one suit the school was facing. Another suit brought by former trainer Jenny Moshak (remembered best for keeping Candace Parker's shoulder from continually dislocating in the midst of a title run) and two strength coaches is schedule for trial in June 2015. You can read more HERE.

 

With practices getting underway this week, I thought I'd take a minute to remind those few hardy souls who actually read my ramblings that I'll once again be covering a few women's programs with regularity this season.

The teams are Boston College (I'm hoping to attend some games), Tennessee, Hartford and Missouri State. I'll also be looking in on a couple of Division 3 schools from time to time. Catholic University (Amber) and Mount Ida College (Breanna) will feature a couple of my ex-players on their roster this year and I'll be interested in seeing how they do. (Though the two schools have yet to update their women's basketball web pages for the coming season.)

Hartford - I'm hoping the Hawks bounce back from a down season last year. I saw them play when they visited Boston College but won't see them this year because that particular matchup will take place in Hartford this year. I'll be particularly interested in seeing how Amber Bepko (pictured below 1st) does in her senior year. Deanna Mayza (pictured below 2nd) enters her second year with the team as well. Other players that will be looked to for big contributions include Katie Roth, Cherelle Moore and Alyssa Reaves.

 

Missouri State - The team begins their second season under coach Kellie Harper. They'll be looking to improve on last year's sub .500 record. The return of Kenzie Williams (pictured 1st) should help with that goal. They lost her to a knee injury last season. Others that will help lead the team include Tyonna Snow (pictured 2nd), Hilary Chvatal and Nijay Gaines.

 

Tennessee Lady Vols - The Vols are loaded with names their fans know by heart. The question becomes whether or not this is the year those separate talents can combine and help Tennessee rise back up to national title contender. They got a high quality transfer in former North Carolina player Diamond DeShields but she has to sit for this season. So it will come down to the talents of a returning from injury Ariel Massengale (pictured 1st), Isabelle Harrison (pictured 2nd) and Bashaara Graves (among a host of others) to get things started for UT.

  

Boston College - In year 3 under coach Erik Johnson, Boston College is going to be looking to return to respectability in the ACC. Things were pretty rough last season and losing Katie Zenevitch and Kristen Doherty to graduation sure doesn't help. Karima Gabriel (pictured 1st) is going to have to step up big time in the post. The return of Shayra Brown (pictured 2nd) should help give a little extra toughness edge to the Eagles. They lost her in the first game of the season to a foot injury (I was there at that game) and missed her contributions a lot. A lot of potential success for the team is going to hinge on how well their guards play. Nicole Boudreau (pictured 3rd), Kat Cooper (4th), Lauren Engeln and Kelly Hughes are all going to need to step up their games even more than they did last year. The biggest key to the Eagles season is going to be finding a point guard who can handle the pressure other teams are going to apply on them.

   

WNBA

The latest blog from New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith talks about her dealing with dressing for games. You can read it via this Katie Smith Basketball.com link.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Wareham Girls Volleyball - The volleyball team broke their 4 game losing streak early in the week when they beat Bishop Connolly 3-2. Rae-Lyn had 9 kills and 13 aces in the match. But the Vikings closed out their week by losing to perennial conference power Fairhaven 3-0 on Friday night. They are 4-8 on the year. While it is a losing record, it is still the best record of any fall sport at the school.

Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Rams split their two games this week. They won 3-1 against Tri-County but dropped their match with Bristol-Plymouth 4-2. Their record stands at 3-6-1. The girls JV team beat Bristol-Plymouth 6-3. They are 5-2 on the season. My ex-player Ann Marie played goalkeeper in the first half of the match and scored her first goal of the season in the second half.

Wareham Girls Field Hockey - An 8-1 loss to Dighton-Rehoboth dropped Wareham to 1-8 on the season.

Wareham Boys Soccer - It was another loss for the Vikings on Friday night as they got pounded by Fairhaven by the score of 7-0.

Wareham Football - The Vikings got their first win of the season last night. They beat Case 50-39. It's their highest point total in two years. The now 1-3 Wareham team has managed to beat Case both this year and last for their only wins. It was nice to see that they had such a big offensive explosion. My former player Josh ran for 120 yards and 4 touchdowns. Three of those scores came in the fourth quarter.

Wareham Girls Soccer - The soccer team fell to 0-10 after a 5-0 loss to Fairhaven. This is at least the team's 46th loss in a row. The local paper had an article on the team this week praising the passion for one of my ex-players. Brianna lost two years to injury but still kept up with the team on the sidelines. She's back in goal this year and is the only senior on the team. You can read more via this Wareham Courier link.

I have three ex-players on the team. Below you can see a photo of each in game action from their September 18th game against Bourne. All photos are by the Wareham Courier sports editor/reporter Adam K. Ellis.

Brianna:

Paige:

Tieyanna:

MISCELLANEOUS

Movies - I took in the new Denzel Washington action movie The Equalizer yesterday afternoon. It's based off of the old TV series of the same name, but it really is a totally different animal in comparison. This is basically Man on Fire all over again. Or a Denzel version of Death Wish. It's not that it was a bad movie, but it was about half an hour too long and took a bit too long to get going.

While you digest that little mini review of that movie, you can check out the official trailer for the Liam Neeson film sequel Taken 3.

Books - I am in the midst of reading a new mystery but haven't finished it yet. But I did add a couple of new books to my to read pile again this week. The first book was the John Sandford mystery/thriller Storm Front. It is the latest in his Virgil Flowers series. The second book I grabbed was the Star Trek Voyager novel Acts of Contrition by Kirsten Beyer.

 

TV - I'm still digesting the start of the fall TV season. But one of my favorite shows from years past was Veronica Mars. One of the original stars of the show was written out early in Season 2. He kind of fell off the radar after that, but now TV Guide.com has an interview with Teddy Dunn. Whatever happened to Duncan Kane? You can find out HERE!

The latest example of the world going out of its way to destroy stuff from my childhood came this week when Amazon.com started putting warnings on the Tom & Jerry cartoon collection labeling the series racist. SERIOUSLY? You know when I grew up watching the show, I watched the cat and the mouse constantly try to knock off the other and laughed. It was enjoyable wacky fun. And now apparently, I was a preteen accomplice to racism because of it. At least that's how this story seems to make things out to be. Is there anything out there that can be enjoyed anymore without someone crapping all over said enjoyment?

I had the chance to pick up the first season of the TV show Quantum Leap on DVD for a relatively cheap price so I grabbed it and now will begin to work on a rewatch of that series. And thanks to a nice sale AND a big coupon, I picked up the 24: Live Another Day DVD set up as well.

 

Lastly, you can check out the trailer for the 3rd and final season of HBO's The Newsroom below.

Music - I was able to get around to writing a new CD review this week. And it was for the new John Mellencamp CD Plain Spoken. I think I wrote a pretty strong review of the CD and you can check it out HERE

I was a bit saddened this week when I read the news that singer Ronny Munroe had left Metal Church after 10 years and 4 albums with the band. I thought I'd close out this week's column with one of my favorite tracks from Generation Nothing, their most recent album. Here's the song "Bulletproof".

Now That's News!
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Brady Patriots Belichick

 

Ever since I was 10 and sitting in a '54 Roadmaster with my Dad at Dairy Queen listening to the much-anticipated first game in AFL history, I've been a Patriots fan. By the way, that first game was a loss to their eternal nemesis, Denver. And with that for an intro...

What is going on with these guys? For that matter, what's going on in the NFL? Do we have a gauge on what has been a generally very predictable league since the turn of the Millenium with a quarter of the season gone already?

Everywhere we read about the elite going bottoms-up. The mighty Saints are 1-3 and haven't looked good getting there. The Niners, at 2-2, have rumors of horror in the locker room swirling. The Falcons, supposedly cured of their one-year malaise, have alternately shined and stunk. The Panthers may be 2-2, but they've managed to look the worst of their NFCS brethren, including perhaps even 1-3 Tampa. The Steelers, supposedly at least partially revived, sit at 2-2 and are losing games to teams not anticipated to beat them, while barely winning other such contests. The Colts have looked good lately but they're still 2-2. Heck, even Seattle and Denver have lost already.

None of these showings have managed to generate as much media hand-wringing as that of the Patriots. Picked by many to go to the Super Bowl, and by some to win it, they have instead looked in four games much like a middle-packer, and one headed the wrong way at that.

One would have thought that unless you live in these parts you probably just got mention of the situation. So how stunned was I on the morning following the MNF debacle in Kansas City to see Tom Brady's photo with giant letters spelling "Brady Benched" --- on the Drudge Report? During election season? With the US bombing Syria?

The dominant web news site is generally either straight-up world/national news or politics, sometimes with a smattering of celebrity news (if there is such a thing). So was this celebrity news or world news? Maybe both, judging from the reaction in other sites across the internet. I for one never knew the Patriots were so big. But they are. Were?

It's all anyone around here talks about on radio, that's for sure. Of course this year the Red Sox aren't doing much of a job distracting attention. Is this the end? Has the law of averages finally caught up to Belichick? Is Brady finally washed up? Is the team around him so bad that no quarterback could possibly make a difference? One at a time, please...

First there's Belichick and his coaching staff. There's not much reason to think that BB has suddenly changed his methodology. But did he 'lose the team', or perhaps his most important player, after an excellent preseason by trading Logan Mankins? Is the motormouthed and seemingly abrasive Josh McDaniels finally wearing thin on his offense, much as Harbaugh is rumored to be with his entire team? Is DC Matt Patricia, he of the RPI degree in Aeronautical Engineering, proving to be in over his head after all trying to manage an NFL-calibre defense? Has the retirement of longtime OL coach Dante Scarnecchia created an unfillable gap, especially for a new coach who was fired in succession from Miami and the Jets and spent last year behind a mike? Wouldn't you think the premiere franchise of the league for a decade-and-a-third could afford to surround Belichick with good coaches? Is Belichick himself the problem, proving too dictatorial to accept different ideas from experienced and successful subordinates? Dom Capers used to be on the staff, you may recall.

Perhaps BB just got tired of the disruptive influence of every coordinator he had being lured away to big money and a job as head coach. It's happened so many times. Names like Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O'Brien and even Josh McDaniels surface. He's safe. After Denver nobody wants McDaniels. And it's safe to presume, I trust, that Matt Patricia's phone isn't ringing off the hook.

Then there's Brady. The brash, effervescent kid who took Drew Bledsoe's job now seems to be looking over his shoulder at the new backup as if Garoppolo were Joe Namath. His performance has steadily declined since he was loaded for bear with Moss et al for the Patriots' 16-0 season. Last season he had a lot of apologists, claiming he'd never had a better season given what was left for him to work with. Most around here knew that was nonsense. He was missing throws. His once-energizing sideline personality had degenerated under McDaniels to that of a pouting, screaming demon, one who couldn't understand why receivers weren't reading defenses the same way he was, that of an irreconcileable perfectionist. That he gave up on his team in Kansas City during the second half was not lost on observers, Belichick among them. The evidence of either insurrection or degeneration seems insurmountable to listen to the avalanche of analysis.

The team? Prior to the start of the season, while talking heads were mulling the position of strong safety, it was noted that Patrick Chung had been reacquired. It was also universally opined that he was there for depth as a system-familiar body, and that if he were starting on day 1 we'd know the team was in trouble. Guess who's been starting? And the acquisition of Revis has, so far, produced about the same results that the acquisition of Jon Lester produced for the Athletics.

Tommy Kelly, who hardly played last year, was dealt off around the same time as Mankins. He probably asked out. Spikes was let go. The linebacking corps has been nonexistent so far this season, unable to cover anything aerial just like last year. The line has been shoved around. The vaunted secondary featuring Revis has been avoiding proximity to receivers like an official at midfield. The offensive line, even the stalwart returnees from last season and before, has been a sieve at times, never able to establish a dominating stretch save versus Minnesota for a while. Nate Solder, blooming into a star at left tackle, seems headed for the scrap heap now.

Bad as Brady, the OL and the defense have been, the schemes called out have ranged from plain vanilla to clueless. Play calling is somewhere south of Tierra del Fuego.

Are they done? Is it that simple? We're about to find out. It may take a few weeks, since almost nobody except Vegas expects them to beat a hot Cincinnati team that's firing on all its cylinders. But we can offer a few speculations. Why not, everybody else has.

Before the blowout on MNF, Belichick had told a reporter that the Patriots were essentially still in the 4th week of preseason with regard to the number of snaps they'd had. That's because of the new CBA with the union, which cut down camp time, and for the Patriots, a team built on precision and flawless execution, it may be having the strongest impact, especially with new faces dotting the lineup. Those snaps are crucial to the team's synchronization. It doesn't address, however, the fact that they were still a dominant team last year with no preseason at all. But it could be a factor nonetheless. We'll see. Time's up.

It could be a lack of harmony or burgeoning dissatisfaction among the players. If that's happened to the dutiful above-and-beyond Patriots and they've suddenly become union-first clock punchers, it's probably lethal. Maybe a rotten apple is in the bushel. That's all it takes sometimes.

It could be coaching incompetence. McDaniels is taking a lot of heat. The OL coach so far seems a joke. Patricia's defense had been adequate; in Kansas City it was nonexistent.

It could be bad personnel, but there isn't enough of a turnover from last season to make so radical a difference as has been seen so far, or so you'd think.

It could just be a team going through a bad stretch. If that's all it is, Patriot fans can 'relax' (in the words of Aaron Rodgers). Their team will likely recover and compete as expected. They had a bad stretch 11 years ago to open the season. After dropping to 3-2, they won every game until Halloween a year later. It could happen again. But the odds of that bright a flash of lightning striking twice seem remote, do they not?

And then there's the personal side. Since Giselle showed up, Tom Brady hasn't played well in the big game yet. Yes, he's aging. But you can't help take note, especially with reports of her wanting him to stop playing. She may have great looks, but lots of girls have great looks. Not many have parlayed their features into a fortune. She's clearly no dope, and no shrinking violet either. If she really wants him out, it must be a distraction. Myra Kraft, popular among the players, passed away a couple of years ago. The team wore her initials on the unis. Could she have been so popular because players viewed her as a tempering influence on the Patriots' legendary tight-fistedness with money? It's certainly been even more of a media issue since her passing. The team that only spent wisely now doesn't seem to spend at all. Has a tight business model superseded a championship football model completely?

An unanswerable series of confluences and contradictions, that's what we've got. Not for long. Soon we'll have a very good idea of whether something's gone inextricably wrong. If it has, we'll be buried in hindsight which is, after all, usually the most accurate form of analysis. We're about to witness either the extension or the end of a dynasty, the likes of which we may not see again in today's volatile NFL.

Sunday Musings #166
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NewEnglandPatriots MLB BostonCeltics BostonCollegeEaglesFootball WNBA WomensCollegeBasketball HighSchoolSports YouthSports

 

 

While enjoying a mostly relaxing weekend...

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Last week's game against the Oakland Raiders was set up as if the Patriots were supposed to just demolish a team that was about as bad as it could be. But it turned out that thought should've stayed on the paper it was written and not been allowed to seemingly seep into the mindset of the Patriots roster.

As with their win over the Vikings the week prior, the Patriots 16-9 win over the Raiders was good for the straight up win itself. But the way it came about was just frustrating as all hell.

The Raiders were giving up an average of 200 rushing yards per game coming into the game. The Patriots were coming off a game where they showed what they could do when the holes opened up for their ground game. But the inconsistent offensive line play fell far short of meeting expectations when the Patriots managed just 76 rushing yards for the game.

The O-line also didn't do Tom Brady any favors. He finished 24-37 for 234 yards and a TD. But he got sacked twice and got pressured all throughout the game.

The defense is where the game got saved in the end. Initially, they failed to stop the Raiders on their last drive of the game because the Raiders did score what would've been the game tying touchdown. But it got called back when the Raiders were flagged for holding. Of course the short run that tied the game should never have been possible. But the refs called an absolutely terrible pass interference call on Logan Ryan (pictured below). I watched the replay and if anything, it should've been OFFENSIVE pass interference. You can read about that particular call HERE

The defense wasn't able to sack rookie QB Derek Carr but they were finally seal the victory when a Carr pass played "follow the bouncing ball" and landed in the hands of Vince Wilfork. The big man making that pick (see below) was the most positive aspect being talked about for the game, and for good reason. The team's offense is still a mess. Julian Edelman is the only receiver showing the ability to get open and catch the ball. The offensive line has yet to gel together and both protect Brady for an entire game AND get the run game some daylight.

The Patriots are 2-1 and back in a first place tie in the AFC East. But it has been a "beat with the ugly stick" kind of viewing experience and as the season progresses, things have got to get on a more even keel offensively or the lack of fluidity in their performance is going to come back and bite them both heavily and repeatedly on their ass.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Mass Maritime - Mass Maritime is a Division 3 school located roughly 10-15 minutes from where I live. A trio of my former players are on the team. Richie is a freshman and Cody is a sophomore still looking for playing time, E.J. is the team's star receiver. In the 42nd annual Admiral's Cup game last week, the Buccaneers beat Maine Maritime 26-20 in double overtime. E.J (pictured below) had 11 catches for 173 yards as the team evened their record at 1-1. The yardage total leaves him 141 yards from breaking the school receiving record. You can check out the team's webpage HERE.

E.J. caught 4 passes for 81 yards yesterday against Worcester State, but the team got beaten 48-14. They are now 1-2 on the season. Cody (pictured below 1st) saw his first action and caught his first college pass, an 11 yard completion. But he fumbled the ball away too. Richie (pictured below 2nd) saw his first action in the game. He had 20 yards on 7 rushes.

 

Boston College - The Eagles led by 7 points going into the fourth quarter against Colorado State yesterday afternoon, but gave up 10 unanswered points and lost 24-21. The winning score for the Rams came when Charles Lovett (the fifth option on the play) caught a 12 yard TD pass on a fourth down play (pictured below) with just 62 seconds left in the game, leaving little time for the Eagles to mount a long TD drive. The loss drops them to 3-2.

The loss wasted a fantastic performance by running back Jon Hilliman (pictured below). He ran for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day.

QB Tyler Murphy completed 60 percent of his passes but managed just 169 yards. He got sacked once and picked off another time. He ran for 79 yards and a score as well.

BC fumbled the ball three times but didn't lose any of them. But the coaching staff can't have been happy to watch the players bobble the ball instead of keeping it secure.

BC's defense sacked Rams QB twice and picked him off twice but the secondary still gave up 270 passing yards and two touchdown passes to him. The defense also got touched for 154 rushing yards.

Here's the highlights from the game:

FANTASY FOOTBALL

Not only did I lose in both leagues last week, I got stomped so bad that I was on the wrong end of the league's "Blowout of the Week" score. Yes, I did very badly and I think that's enough about the butt whipping I took.

MLB

While I agree that the fever pitch overkill about the impending retirement of Derek Jeter is annoying, I am not among those who rabidly hate the guy. I appreciate what he's meant to the game. Sure it stinks that he's a damn Yankee, but give a guy his due.

And while he is doing the DH thing in Boston, you have to admit that he sure went out in about as perfect a way as possible in his final home game the other night. A game winning hit in his final Yankee Stadium at bat? Scriptwriters couldn't have done it better. And it was nice to see him so excitedly emotional over said hit.

WNBA

This week I don't have a blog link from Katie Smith but instead there was an article about the start of her coaching career on the Scout.com Ohio State site. You can check out the article HERE.

BOSTON CELTICS

The Celtics traded away Keith Bogans late in the week and got back...well really nothing of consequence. Despite assurances of making a splash in the free agent market this summer, the Celtics have done nothing to truly improve the team back to a playoff contender. The trade of Bogans was getting rid of a relatively quiet but still obvious malcontent. You can read the details about the trade in this article.

I think the biggest part of the trade was the fact that the players the Celtics got in return caused the team to waive both Chris Johnson and Chris Babb. The two players finished the season with Boston last year but since they didn't have guaranteed contracts for this season, they were expendable. I feel particularly bummed about Johnson's departure because he made such an impression last year with his hustle. He'd been signed to a 10 day contract and then a second one. But when it came time to make a decision on whether to keep him for the rest of the year, the Celtics kept him around because he went full-tilt all the time.

Of course, heading into training camp, Boston STILL has 16 players with guaranteed contracts on the roster. That's obviously going to change because they can't carry that many players on the team. The roster is going to be changing more than a bit and while I try to be optimistic about the team, I just don't see how they are going to be much better than the 25-57 record they had last season.

And that was before the news on Friday that Rajon Rondo, the only "star" on the team, is out at least 6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand for a broken finger. The injury occurred at home and leaves the Celtics with rookie Marcus Smart and veteran Avery Bradley as their point guard options until Rondo's return. You can read more about the injury in this article.

Bradley is a good, if oft-injured, player but he's definitely more suited to be the "2" guard and it is his defense where he's made his rep thus far. When he's been at the point in the past he's been okay but is clearly second fiddle to Rondo's ability to run the team.

And if you want to make the situation with Rondo even worse to think about...he's in the last year of a five year deal. He has said that he wants to stay in Boston. But given comments made by the team owner and the frustration the front office has in dealing with Rondo's mercurial nature, you have to wonder if either side is truly going to meet at the negotiating table. And wouldn't that be a disaster? The only marketable and superstar player on the team and he leaves via free agency?

I think if the Celtics (more like WHEN) fall out of playoff contention early, the team will start talking to Rondo early about signing a new deal to avoid the hassle of free agency or they will make a deal with a contending team before the end of the season and trade him away. At least that way, they'd get something for him instead of being the jilted groom left holding nothing at the altar.

WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Boston College - The BC women had their annual photo shoot this week for their upcoming 2014-2015 season. You can check out some of the photos from photographer John Quackenbos below.

There was also a behind the scenes video from the photo shoot that was put up online. You can check it out below.

This week I was checking out the team roster page on their website and saw that two players from last year's team are no longer on the team. Kami Mickens transferred to Trinity Valley Community College. Amber Cooper's name is gone from the roster but I can't find anything to say where she is now.

And of course, I didn't know any of this information until I found it myself via other sources because Boston College never seems to announce transfers. It makes it kind of annoying when months later you find out people have left the program.

South Carolina - You can check out an article about head coach Dawn Staley's work with the USA Basketball women's team HERE.

SOCCER

With all the hue and cry about the domestic violence going on in the NFL, can someone please tell me how the women's national team goalie Hope Solo is still playing for her Seattle pro team when she's charged with the same thing. She is charged with assaulting her sister and her nephew and yet no one has said a word about it until just recently?

And the powers that be in the US Soccer governing body are being a bunch of mealy-mouthed weasels about things.

Look, I have no problem with the NFL players being suspended while their legal situations are resolved, but the blatant double standard being applied to Hope Solo needs to end.

You can check out this article for more.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Wareham Girls Soccer -  The team lost three more games this week. They lost to Case 4-0, Apponequet 7-0 and GNB Voc-Tech 3-1. They are 0-9 on the season and have lost at lead 45 games in a row. The JV team lost to Apponequet 6-0 and the mother of one player told me it was just awful. But on the plus side, she did tell me that her daughter is being trained for the upcoming hoops season by a men's college basketball coach from the area. This makes me very happy because I've long admired the girl's basketball talent and have wished she would do more to improve and refine her skills.

Upper Cape Girls Soccer  - After losing to Bristol-Plymouth 4-2 and Pope John Paul II High 2-1, the Rams are 2-5-1 on the season.

Wareham Girls Field Hockey - The team lost 6-0 to Seekonk and then closed out their week with a 2-0 loss to Fairhaven.

Wareham Football - The Vikings football team got thoroughly dominated by Dighton-Rehoboth and lost 35-0.

Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team had been 3-3 but after losing three matches this week, they've lost a total of four in row to fall to 3-7. They lost 3 sets to none to Case, Apponequet and GNB Voc-Tech. If they have any hope for the playoffs, they will have to figure things out pretty much immediately and start winning matches again.

Wareham Athletic Hall of Fame -  When the school announced this year's class of inductees, I was a little amused to see that I had worked for Frank (1940's) and coached Patrick (1990's). Congratulations to both of them.

YOUTH SPORTS

A former player of mine named Brent died a few months back. It was due to a drug overdose. He played for me for one season and while he didn't have much in the way of hoops talent, his sole basket of the season came during the championship game that we won. His mother is taking his death and turning into a new purpose to help others. The story was featured in one of the local weekly papers this week. You can check it out HERE.

MISCELLANEOUS

Books - This week I was able to finish the Lorna Barrett mystery novel Sentenced to Death. Unfortunately, I found it a bit of a slog to get through. It just wasn't all that entertaining a story.

But the disappointment in that book didn't stop me from picking up four new books to read.

I picked up the Iris Johansen thriller Live To See Tomorrow, the Joan Hess mystery Murder as a Second Language and the science fiction anthology set in David Weber's Honorverse world. The book is called Beginnings - World of Honor #6. It features a story by Weber himself as well as three other writers.

  

The fourth book that I picked up was the new Archer Mayor hardcover called Proof Positive. It is the latest in his Joe Gunther series. I don't want to come across as too maudlin, but reading this series is a way for me to kind of / sort of stay close to my late father. The series is set in Vermont and my dad was from there. He was also a HUGE fan of the author's. I had gotten him the Mayor book St. Alban's Fire the Christmas before he died but he never got a chance to read it. He gave the Mayor books to a neighbor but I refused to give that one to them until it had been read. I found the book highly enjoyable and have been reading the author since. I even attended a talk he gave here in my town. So I'll be looking forward to reading this one and think of my dad while doing so. You can check out the author at ArcherMayor.com

Music - I picked up a couple new CDs this week. Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa released his new album Different Shades of Blue while John Mellencamp's Plain Spoken was also on the new release rack. The first song released from both CDs were really quite good and I wanted to check out the whole disc so I could do a review in the future.

 

TV -  The fall TV season has gotten underway. I liked the new shows Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Forever so far. I hated Selfie and The Mysteries of Laura (which is just awful). Shows like Red Band Society surprised while Madam Secretary was merely adequate. As for returning shows, I thought The Blacklist and NCIS were really good in their premieres. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was decent too. I'm still looking forward to checking out the first episode of Gotham and the return of Sleepy Hollow.

 

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