The Genius is back at

The Genius is back at it. Ron Borges sets out again to drive Bill Belichick out of town. Telling us all that Belichick “utterly failed” this year, and that anyone with half a brain could’ve seen the troubles this team was in for. He goes after him for not spending money on quality free agents, he attacks Tom Brady by saying:

“The wisdom of relying on a young quarterback’s production seemed particularly suspect when one considers that while Brady’s 28 touchdown passes tied his predecessor Drew Bledsoe for second-best in Patriot history, only seven of them came in the team’s seven losses.

Brady threw 21 touchdown passes and only five interceptions in New England’s nine victories, including 11 TDs against defensive weak sisters Chicago, Buffalo, and Minnesota, but had only seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in the losses.”

What a way to twist numbers to make them appear to be to his advantage. I wonder if Borges was that particularly idiotic caller to the Dale & Neumy program yesterday asserting that Brady was dreadful and tried to make the exact case that Borges does above. He was shut down with statistics showing that that sort of ratio is the norm among NFL QB’s. How about these stats from Borges’ idol, Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe threw 15 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in Buffalo’s eight victories, including 7 TD’s in two games against “defensive weak sisters” Chicago and Minnesota, but had only nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions in the losses. So Bledsoe threw nearly half of his TD total in victories in TWO games. Brady threw half of his in four games, while Borges attempts to make it look like three, not mentioning that they played Buffalo twice. Other QB’s have similar numbers. Brett Favre is almost identical (slightly worse, even) to Brady: Wins -21 TD’s, 7 INT’s, losses: 6 TD’s 9 INT’s. How about Steve McNair? Wins – 16 TD’s, 4 INT’s. Losses – 6 TD’s, 11 INT’s. Borges is nothing but an agenda-driven fraud. He’s a genius alright. Draft David Terrell over Seymour or Belichick is an idiot. Belichick is an idiot for sticking with Brady over Bledsoe last season. Rams will win the Super Bowl 73-0. A number of readers have been collecting the factual errors that he puts into his columns, the Globe has had to print a number of retractions in response to things that Borges has written, usually they’re buried where you’re not going to see them. A few have sent them in to me, and I lost a few of them when I had a computer upgrade a couple months ago. If you’ve got them still, send them to me again, it might be fun to put up a page full of them…

Elsewhere, a couple more even-keeled Patriot wrapups are given by Tom Curran and Alan Greenberg. Over at the Herald, Michael Felger has a look at things that need to be addressed in the offseason. Kevin Mannix hands out his report card for the final game, hands out a lot of generous grades considering that the team really only cranked it up the final ten minutes of the game. Jim Donaldson repeats his rant from FSNE last night, where he said this team is closer to 6-10 then it is 10-6. Michael Parente suggests that the Patriots should’ve targeted the whole season, not just September. Bill Burt credits the win Sunday to the appearance of the Super Bowl Trophy on Saturday. Rich Thompson catches up with a couple disappointed Patriots. Tim Weisberg is confident that Belichick will right the ship. Hector Longo writes that the team showed its character finally. Nick Cafardo reports that Tom Brady won’t need shoulder surgery in the offseason. George Kimball writes about the team knowing where to assign the blame. Christopher Price wraps up the season. Cafardo’s notebook looks at falling ice at Gillette and Felger’s notebook looks at Brady vowing to not let down in his enthusiasm ever again.
The Globe’s story on Bill Parcells likely going to Dallas by Will McDonough and Nick Cafardo has a strange sentence, after laying out the terms, the source is described as having “personal knowledge of Parcells’s thinking”. How nice. Are they employing psychics at the Globe these days? Mind readers, perhaps?

Steve Buckley attempts to stir up Boston fans’ paranoia of New York. Yawn. Surprised that postcard didn’t come back postage due when he mailed it in to the Herald.

Tony Massarotti reports that the Red Sox may be close to a deal with third baseball Bill Mueller, and has some updates on trade talks with the Expos. Bob Hohler takes a good look at Mendoza, the bullpen and the Yankees. An article in the ProJo has no name attached to it, (McAdam, perhaps?) but it looks at the Red Sox/Yankees feud and reminds us: “Boston has not won it all since 1918.” Gee, thanks for that vital bit of information. David Heuschkel writes about the latest edition to the Red Sox bullpen. Massarotti likewise has a brief piece on Mendoza.

Jim Baker looks at the Sunday Patriots coverage. Bill Griffith has Phil Simms’ thoughts on the Patriots and a look ahead to the Bowl games. Joe Sullivan doesn’t like Tommy points, and says good thing hitting doesn’t involve hustle or Manny would be in trouble. Is that a joke? What defines hustle? Hours of extra batting practice and film study of at-bats and of opposing pitchers? Is that hustle, or is hitting simply a skill that you don’t have to “try hard” to be good at? John Molori examines why college sports are not covered by the Boston sports media.

FSNE has Celtics/Grizzlies at 2:00. ESPN2 has Spurs/Wizards at 8:00.

With the last “Patriots Monday”

With the last “Patriots Monday” upon us, there was understandably a ton of Patriots talk on air. Eddie Andelman began his show with funeral procession music, and immediately started doling out the “blame pie”. Dale and Neumy were more analytical, looking at what the team needs for the future. Dale wants a stud running back. I e-mailed to the show the following: “Of the top 10 rushers in the NFL this year, guess how many will be in the playoffs. Guess. One. Ricky Williams, Tomlinson, Holmes, Henry, Portis, McAllister, Dillon, Jamal Lewis, and Fred Taylor are all out. Tiki Barber. That’s it. One guy.” (Thanks, Aaron) Dale did read it on air and acknowledged the point. There was an unusually high number of nitwit callers allowed on air today. (Brady stinks, etc) So many, in fact that I think Bob Neumeier’s brain turned to mush towards the end of the program. A caller was trying to make the point about tie breakers. Dale eventually got what the caller meant, after another caller clarified it somewhat. Essentially what the original caller was trying to say was the unfairness of the current system when it comes to wildcard teams that has you breaking two tied teams in a division before you move onto the conference. Then once you get past the division teams, you go to the conference record. The example was that the Patriots and Dolphins were tied record wise,, and the tie between them was broken by the division record before the wildcard standings were tallied. The point that the caller was making was that the Browns, who don’t have to break a tie in their division essentially get a free ride to the second round of the tiebreakers, mostly because their division isn’t as strong as the AFC East. Even though Miami might have a better conference record than Cleveland (they don’t) which would give them the edge in that first tiebreaker, they get knocked out prior to that because of a worse divisional record than the Patriots. So theoretically, even though both Miami and New England could potentially hold a tie breaker advantage over Cleveland, only one would get a chance to because one would be knocked out going through the tiebreakers within the division. Neumy couldn’t grasp the point and kept saying the division record meant nothing. Bill Belichick on the Big Show with Greg Dickerson, Fred Smerlas and Steve Nelson talked about getting younger on defense and also that they’re not necessarily stuck in the “cheap free agent” mold of doing business, seeming to indicate that they’ll spend money on the right free agents. Smerlas wants a “killer back” added to the team. Nelson thinks they need a lot of upgrades, especially on the aging defense. A pass rushing end would be ideal.

Another quick quiz. Which team in the NFL played the most games against teams that finished .500 or better? Both the Patriots and Raiders played 13 out of 16 games against teams .500 or better. That’s a tough schedule. The Raiders were a sharp 9-4, while the Patriots were 6-7. Only one other team in the entire NFL (The Jets at 7-5) had more than 6 wins against opponents with a .500 or better record.

Ron Hobson looks at the rousing finish without a storybook ending. David Pevear looks at the glimpse of Patriot magic we saw yesterday. Eric McHugh says life is not fair, and looks at what went wrong. Rob Bradford looks at the sweet and sour day. Tom King notes that a miracle went for nothing.

Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback has a few Patriots notes, some more on Parcells and doesn’t have the Patriots in his top 12, though Miami remains in there, and the 6-10 Vikings are in the mix as well. Ron “Genius” Borges has it all figured out for MSNBC.

If you need to feel better, be sure to check out the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel newspapers. They are killing Wannstedt and the Dolphins. Terms like “Choke”, “Losers”, “Underachievers”, and “Soft” are everywhere. The Palm Beach Post says of the Dolphins: “The choke’s on them.”

Like Bob Lobel told us

Like Bob Lobel told us over and over last night, I’m just glad I’m not a Miami fan. Starting with the game pieces, Nick Cafardo provides the story in the Globe noting that that genius caps have been put away. Tom Curran rues the grinch that stole the playoffs. Alan Greenberg notes that yesterday was as much a Miami collapse as it was a Patriots comeback. Michael Felger gets a lot of reaction from the players after they realized that the Jets were going to knock them out of the playoffs. Mike Lowe notes that the magic was back, but a good win ended up spoiled. Onto the columnists, Genius Ron Borges looks at how the Patriots got the idea of using Kevin Faulk the way they did from watching the Raiders. (In seriousness, Borges had perhaps his best column in years yesterday. A few cheap shots at management and Belichick, but was actually telling people to cheer for the team instead of booing them.) Kevin Mannix says too little too late and looks ahead for this team. Jeff Jacobs looks at how different three 9-7 teams can be. Jim Donaldson says that Pats went out like champions. Bob Ryan tells Tom Brady to go and get some well deserved rest. Steve Buckley writes about all the Patriots fans in Giant Stadium yesterday. Kevin Paul Dupont surveys the scene inside the players tent during the Jets/Packers game. Lenny Megliola, one of the few media members who on-air gave the Patriots a chance yesterday, laments that the win was nice, but not enough to salvage their year.

Karen Guregian writes about Mr dependable, Adam Vinatieri. Rich Thompson tries to allow Dave Wannestedt to explain himself and his curious moves at the end of the game. Michael Smith writes that the comeback provides a little comfort in the big picture. Shalise Manza Young notes that Ricky Williams only had 14 yards in the fourth quarter. Jim Greenidge also notes that Williams ran out of room in the second half. Paul Kenyon looks at the impressive performance of Tom Brady, playing in obvious pain. Ed Gray says the fourth quarter defense revived memories of last year. John Powers notes that this type of last season loss is nothing new to the Dolphins. Michael Parente looks at the huge role Kevin Faulk had, as does Alan Greenberg, Steve Solloway and Howard Bryant. I’m wondering if Faulk could be a late bloomer, sort of the way Troy Brown has been. Dan Ventura looks at the Patriots frustration in the position they put themselves in. Steve Buckley gets a few Terry Glenn thoughts on having Patriots fans root for him again. Why didn’t Buckley ask him how he felt about getting the Pats an extra draft pick yesterday? Mark Murphy looks at a relieved Matt Light, who was able to contain Jason Taylor finally. (With help) Dan Pires asserts that Belichick should’ve brought out the Super Bowl trophy right at the beginning of the season. Kevin Paul Dupont has another look at Vinatieri. Parente adds that Vinatieri gives the Patriots hope for the future, knowing they’re in great shape in close games. Manza Young records the Dolphins’ harsh words about their own performance. Ian Clark chronicles the words and actions that sparked the Patriots to action yesterday. Tim Weisberg looks at the two heroes of the day. Bill Griffith looks at the TV coverage from yesterday. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Anthony Pleasant using biblical references to fire up the Pats. Felger also notes the Pleasant speech in his notebook, and also looks at some gamesmanship involving the temperature controls in the locker rooms. Curran’s notebook is about Faulk and also about Matt Light finally stepping up against Jason Taylor.

Bob Hohler has a detailed look at the Red Sox signing of Ramiro Mendoza. Tony Massarotti has a smaller article on the subject. Sean McAdam also weighs in on Mendoza. David Heuschkel notes that the grass might be kept longer at Fenway next year, now with three sinkerball pitchers on the staff. Gordon Edes looks at the comments he and Shaughnessy discussed with Lobel on “Sports Final” last night.

Peter May looks at the issues facing the new Celtics owners as they take control of the team. Steve Bulpett says the road has made this team weary.

NESN has Bruins/Devils at 7:00. ABC has 49ers/Rams on Monday Night Football at 9:00.

Fox 25 had Rob Nikoleski

Fox 25 had Rob Nikoleski hosting Sports Sunday and quoting Winston Churchill in regard to the Patriots. Opening the show was the news that the Red Sox have signed Ramiro Medoza. Then onto the Patriots highlights, followed by the Jets. Levan Reid’s segment focused on Faulk and Vinatieri. The Patriots go to Faulk when they need a spark and today was one of those days. There was a plan from early in the week to get Faulk in there, to use him against the Dolphin’s linebackers. Adam Vinatieri once again makes the clutch kicks. Anthony Pleasant made a speech before the game, many think it was his last game. Dave Wannstedt should be fired, according to Reid.

Kevin Mannix and Ron Hobson were in for the next segment. The comeback today was amazing, shades of last year, according to Hobson. Coach pulled out all the stops before this one, bringing out the Super Bowl Trophy. Mannix wonders why the Dolphins stopped giving the ball to Williams, especially at the end of the game. If he was the coach here and had done that, the media would be all over him. As for next year, Hobson feels the building blocks are here, they have the QB and the offensive line, though they might want to move Light from right tackle to left and bring in someone better there. Faulk should have a bigger role next year. Mannix doesn’t think that Faulk can be the every down back, he’s more of a change of pace guy. As for the two first round picks, do they package them, or use both? If there is a first class lineman, Hobson feels they should trade up. Mannix also thinks they need help on defense, both on the line and linebacker. Grade for the season, C or C- from Mannix, C from Hobson. They’re an average team.

Highlights from the Boston year in sports was the Sunday’s Best segment. Dan Duquette crying, Celtics comeback in playoffs, Ted Williams death, and of course the Patriots playoffs and Super Bowl. Derek Lowe’s no hitter, and McLaren’s hit in the playoffs. Red Sox fast start, and fade in the summer. Opening of Gillette, Revolution play for a title, Celtics get new owners and Theo Epstein becomes GM of the Sox.

On NECN’s Sports Late Night, Chris Collins was joined by an emotional Ronnie Lippett, who lamented the great comeback today and what a shame it was that this team is not in the playoffs. He says they deserve to be in the playoffs. There’s a lot of hurt that they’re not going. It pains him greatly that now we have to start talking about next year when it comes to the Patriots from this point forward. Later, in answering a caller who complained about Brady not be able to throw the long ball, Lippett said that he can throw it, but they don’t let him, if you want to get mad at someone about this, get mad at the offensive coordinator, who doesn’t call more of those plays and allow him to get good at it.

Bob Lobel on Sports Final comforted viewers by telling them they could be Miami fans. Says Parcells might want to wait a few days before taking the Dallas job, the Dolphins could have a coaching job open soon. Alice Cook filed the game story from Foxboro, with clips from many players. Steve DeOssie and Scott Zolak were in first, this was an amazing game, DeOssie noted the bad feeling for 52-55 minutes, then turnaround, he also talked about the Miami reporters just waiting for the Dolphins to collapse. Cannot fathom why Williams didn’t get the ball at the end. Wannstedt should be fired. Then a lot of speculation began on Parcells to Miami. Great situation, can play Patriots twice, Jets twice and Bledsoe twice. Then Lobel brought up next years schedule. He says it looks like a tougher schedule next year. Zolak says its about how you finish. It’s a credit to the Patriots that they didn’t quit today. DeOssie though mentions how the Patriots weren’t even in the game the last two against the Titans and the Jets. How did Miami lose this game today? Great to see Kevin Faulk involved so much today. Why haven’t they use him more? Lobel wants to know what Miami was thinking on the kickoff after the Patriots drew within three. Zolak says the Jets look like the Patriots of last year. Lobel says this is a disappointing season, but would’ve been much worse had they not come back this afternoon. DeOssie says this win takes the edge off the disappointing season. Lobel wonders if there is a danger of overblowing this final win and not looking at this season’s failures. DeOssie says not in this town. Once again Lobel says be glad we don’t live in Miami.

Michael Felger, Michael Smith and Steve Burton joined Lobel next. Felger noted that right up to halftime of the Jets game things looked good, Terry Glenn even catches a TD just before the half. Saw some of the old magic today in the Patriots. Smith said the season was disappointing, but there were some fun moments. Needs in the draft, Felger says they need to work on the run on both sides of the ball. Lobel brought up Belichick’s contract. Felger says they’ve been talking all year, might even have some sort of agreement in place. Are the Jets the Patriots of this year? Smith is all about momentum, Titans and Jets both have it coming in. Felger is about home field, Jets have one home game, but then have to go into Oakland or Tennessee and will have a tough time. Then onto how the Dolphin’s managed to lose this game. Felger says the definition of choke is kicking the ball out of bounds to begin overtime. Lobel says abject fear on the part of the Dolphins started when the Pats converted the two point conversion to pull within three. More Parcells talk…should he go to Miami or Dallas? Either way he’ll be facing the Patriots. A little about schedule, should be easier next year, not just in games, but as far as prime time games. Felger says they won’t have a tough Monday Night game on the road in December next year.

Quotes from George Steinbrenner about Larry Lucchino were brought up next, with Gordon Edes and Dan Shaughnessy. They talked about some of the history between the two of them going back to Lucchino’s days with the Orioles. Lobel asked if the pursuit of Contreras was amateurish…Edes says it wasn’t, the Sox did things right, the bit about buying up the hotel rooms was great gamesmanship, and the Red Sox worked hard on this one and thought they had an “in” on this guy according to Edes, who wanted to know what Lobel thought might be amateurish about the whole thing. Lobel mentioned the hotel rooms thing. Shaughnessy’s only contribution was to say that the Yankee name carries a lot of clout down there and it’s a matter of prestige to be pursued by them.

After a break, Sports Final OT commenced with a look at the NFL schedule for next week. Shaughnesy says watching the Dolphins was like watching the Red Sox in a World Series. Now we know what it’s like from this side of it Burton went back to the Red Sox/Yankees thing, now with the owners involved it’s going to get even more intense. Edes noted that Steinbrenner even took shots at his former partner John Henry in the article mentioned above. Henry had said the Yankees were taking a big risk giving Contreras so much money. Shaughnessy went back to 1919 to talk about the relationship between the Yankee and Red Sox owners, when the Red Sox owner said the Yankees were taking a big risk taking on Babe Ruth. He says it’s more fun this way having enemies like this, but Lucchino has enemies all over baseball. Edes noted that George ripped Jeter in the same article today. Lobel then went and plugged Shaughnessy’s new book. Edes says Mendoza is a nice addition to the bullpen. They’ve added some nice bullpen pieces, which was the biggest weakness of this team last year. He says the Colon thing should heat up this week. Lobel ended the show reminding everyone that you don’t live in Miami.

On WHDH’s Sports Xtra Patriots analysts Tim Fox and Fred Smerlas joined host Kip Lewis. Fox said the win today at least makes things look a little better heading into the offseason. Smerlas says the Patriots made mistakes early, but were able to capitalize on Wannstedt’s mistakes later. Lewis said looking to next year, they need to find people to stop the run. Fox says that will be a major focus in the draft. They need help in so many areas, but so do a lot of teams says Smerlas, what you need to do is upgrade an area without paying too much to take away from another area. Fox says another big receiver is needed to take the heat off of Troy Brown.

After a break, the group discussed Miami’s coaching decision to not run at the end of the game. Smerlas thinks maybe they hoped to take the Patriots by surprise, but they didn’t even play action or do anything else. Fox says Wannstedt should’ve told Norv Turner to run the ball. Smerlas recalled in the first half, the Dolphins punting the ball from the 35 yard line when they had things in their favor. Lewis discussed predictions for the team falling short. Smerlas said key injuries in areas they’re thin at (Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi) hurt them a lot, and they also didn’t make those little plays that they were making all the time last year. Fox said it was a lot more of a team effort last year. They had Brady do a lot more this year, was it because they gave him a big contract? Lewis picked up on that…did they put too much on him? Fox said he finished the season weaker than he started it. Relied too much on Troy Brown at the end. Smerlas noted last week seeing him on the sideline with his head down…we never saw that before. Kevin Faulk should figure in their plans more next year, he can adjust more on the fly than Antowain Smith, more speedy and elusive, can also catch the ball better.

After another break, the question was asked what the Patriots need the most. Smerlas says a running back that can get the tough yards. Fox says a big wide receiver with speed is what they need. Smerlas says they hope Graham will be that guy, Fox said that he didn’t get it over 16 weeks this year, he doesn’t think the guy is ever going to get it. They then looked at the playoff seedings. Lewis likes Oakland and the Jets in the AFC. Smerlas says watch out for Pittsburgh, they have big talented receivers, a tough defense and with Maddox, they could hard to beat. Fox says Oakland is the hands on favorite to him. Their offense is too good and is clicking right now. Lewis says if he had to put money on it, he’d pick Oakland. Smerlas says that’s what people have said the last 2 years too. In the NFC, Fox looks out for the Giants, a team hot at the end of the season. Smerlas says something is missing with Green Bay, a good team doesn’t lay down like they did today. He likes Tampa if they can get Brad Johnson back. The show concluded with video highlights from the year in sports.

The region seems to have

The region seems to have thrown in the towel on the Patriots. That might be the best thing for them. Some brave words coming out of Foxboro, but is it too late? Bill Belichick got a little testy with reporters who 1) want to make comparisons to last year, and 2) who ask how could things get to this point. Tom Curran and Nick Cafardo have pieces on Belichick. Michael Felger looks at the unproductive receivers and notes the attitude of David Patten. Ian Clark concurs on the unproductive receivers. Jim Donaldson writes about weather. Rich Thompson picks Damon Huard’s mind about Dave Wannstedt. Alan Greenberg looks at Leonard Myers preparing to bounce back after a rough starting debut, knowing that the Dolphins will be throwing at him all day. Thompson also catches up with Fred Coleman. Christopher Price says the Patriots just need some consistency. Michael Parente looks at Jason Taylor’s personal turnstile, Matt Light. Parente also yearns for the old days of Foxboro stadium. The Mooseman shares some post-Christmas thoughts on the Patriots with us. A couple Red Sox notes in there as well. Mike Vrabel also isn’t giving up yet, he’s quoted in both Cafardo’s notebook and Felger’s notebook. He plans on playing in January. Felger also digs up some possible bulletin board material. Curran’s notebook looks at a burst bubble and a quiet stadium. Leigh Montville makes his picks.

Genius sportswriter Ron Borges appeared on the Mike Adams Morning show to bask in the adulation of his brilliant foresight regarding the Patriots failure this year. He also talked about Tom Brady and reminded everyone smart he is not to have fallen in love with Brady like everyone else has. He brought up the names of Jake Plummer and Brian Griese as comparisons to Brady, noting that while he’s not predicting that Brady will have the same fate as those two, “there’s just as much reason to think it will happen as to think it won’t happen”. He chided those who called Deion Branch “the next Jerry Rice” after his first preseason game. Turning to the positive, he does think Leonard Myers has potential, he was in position to make all the plays against the Jets, he just needs the experience of knowing what to do to make the play, be it putting which arm up, looking back at the right moment, etc. The Genius also says this team could be bad for a long time after this because of all the holes they have failed to fill. He picks the Dolphins 20-14 on Sunday.

Going down to Miami – the scene of Rick Pitino’s final game as coach of the Celtics, for tonights Celtics/Heat game reminds Peter May that “We’re still waiting for Pitino’s promised, final news conference.” Steve Bulpett reports that the Celtics sale should be completed before Monday night.

Tony Massarotti looks at the Red Sox hoping to talk down Montreal even further in their pursuit of Colon. Steve Buckley looks at the risks the Yankees have taken investing $53 Million in players who haven’t yet played an inning in the Major Leagues.

Jim Baker gets Howard David’s opinion of the game Sunday. Bill Griffith looks at broadcasting memories from 2002. John Howell also looks at some memorable events from the year. Once again in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, my weekly column in the Metro is up, I’m wondering why so many in the media are afraid of Bill James, and also have an interesting nugget on Dave Jageler.

FSNE has Celtics/Heat at 8:00. NESN has Bruins/Lightning at 7:30. ESPN2 has Nets/Bucks at 8:00 and Jazz/Blazers at 10:30. ESPN continues Bowl week with games at 4:30 and 8:00. ESPN Classic is showing the 1983 Liberty Bowl with Boston College and Notre Dame at 9:00.

Still light links as I

Still light links as I take a break from digging out….if there’s anything interesting on radio this afternoon I may have a post later as well…

All stories pretty dour today. Nick Cafardo looks at a frustrated Matt Light, who could be in for a long day on Sunday. Jason Taylor sounds pretty confident in this article, and he has good reason. Light hasn’t shown he can do anything to contain Taylor to this point in his career. I’m looking for J.R. Redmond to be on the active roster again this week, as he’s the only back they have who can pick up a blitz or pass block even a little. Tom Curran says that the Patriots offensive is predictable…and easily stoppable. Michael Felger notes that the team has no confidence right now. Christopher Price looks at the Dolphins’ historical struggles in Foxboro in the cold. Buddy Thomas doesn’t like watching football anymore. Cafardo’s notebook tries to figure out which team has an edge in this matchup. Felger’s notebook says that the Pats aren’t in danger of losing coaches should Bill Parcells return to the NFL. Curran’s notebook looks at how much the Patriots use players on special teams.

How can a team that plays as well as the Celtics do at time, be so horrible…twice this season? The debacle at Washington on the second night of the season was only slightly worse than yesterday’s nightmare on national TV. Gordon Edes drew the assignment of going to the Jersey swamps in a blizzard to cover a terrible game. The headline of Steve Bulpett’s article says it all: “Celts a big flop as country watches”. Hey, at least Kedrick Brown got some playing time, right? Or as Bulpett’s notebook puts it: “Ruben Wolkowyski” is Argentine for “white towel.” . . .Edes notebook looks at stymied travel plans and bored announcers.

John Tomase examines a potential Ramiro Mendoza signing, comparing the numbers with what you see on the field from the free agent pitcher. In the NY Times, (Yes, free registration required if you haven’t already) Murray Chass says the Red Sox might be better off not having gotten Contreras. In case you missed it yesterday, Tony Massarotti says that because the Sox lost out on Contreras, they should sign Roger Clemens…at any cost.

WEEI was the first to

WEEI was the first to report on air locally that the Yankees had reached a contract agreement with Jose Contreras, breaking the news at about 12:45 this afternoon. ESPN.com had posted the story about 15-20 minutes prior.

A couple of Rochester, NY reporters wonder which Drew Bledsoe will show up for the Bills in 2003. The MVP candidate of the first half of the season or the QB who struggled in leading to a 2-5 record thus far in the second half of the season. They get pretty harsh on Drew.

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com is reporting that the Patriots are one of three teams that are considering making a waiver claim on Deion Sanders to block him from joining the Raiders. They must do so by 4:00 if they’re going to. Hector Longo lists cornerback at the top of his critical needs for the Patriots. Bill Burt says the Patriots deserve a free pass this year. Del Jones examines the disappointing ending to the season.

Chaz Scoggins hands out the annual Mickey Kutts awards for most bizarre baseball injuries.

The Patriots report card by

The Patriots report card by Kevin Mannix isn’t quite as harsh as I thought it would be. Only two “F’s”. (receivers and DB’s.) Ron Borges crows just as much as he’s entitled to. Scolding those who chided him for being negative early. My wrist still smarts from being slapped. All worship at the altar of the almighty Borges…Tom Curran looks at the fatigue factor and admits also to being wrong and thinking this team was better than it is. Alan Greenberg notes that the team is still positive, and wonders why. Lenny Megliola says the team is done. A quote from Vinatiari saying they hope to give the Dolphins a run for their money is particularly damning. Steve Buckley presumes to speak for every man, woman and child in New England. Sorry Buck, I disagree, I think the Jets have a very good chance of beating the Packers Sunday. Bill Reynolds looks at Tom Brady struggling to keep afloat while his team sinks around him. Rich Thompson looks at a still hopeful Bill Belichick. Ian Clark looks at the offensive offense. Thompson’s notebook looks at Adrian Klemm at right tackle, while Curran’s notebook starts with the dejected Tom Brady.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox pursuit of Jose Contreras. Edes’s article also takes an interesting look at the intrigue involved in signing international, and in particular, Cuban players. Yesterday talk on Red Sox on-line boards and on WEEI was hot discussing a story in a Panamanian newspaper that had Ramiro Mendoza quoted as saying he had agreed to a contract with the Red Sox and was awaiting a physical. Tony Massarotti looks at the Contreras pursuit and also examines the rumors of that Mendoza signing coming soon. David Heuschkel says once again, the Yankees are the team to beat. Edes’ notebook looks at Chad Fox, Mendoza and Timlin.

Stephen Harris and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell cover last night’s 5-2 Bruins win over the Sharks. Kevin Paul Dupont is a tad concerned over the goalkeeping and wonders if now is the time to deal Kyle McLaren for netminder. Steve Conroy looks at Ivan Huml bringing his sister in for the holidays. Marrapose-Burrell’s notebook looks at a close call for Gerry Cheevers’ son Robbie, while Harris’ notebook leads with PJ Stock.

Paul Pierce tells Mark Murphy that the NBA needs to crack down on the rough fouls. Shira Springer has Jim O’Brien looking to take advantage of some needed practice time.

Jim Baker and Bill Griffith review the weekend of NFL coverage. Griffith also looks ahead to ABC coverage of the NBA tipping off tomorrow. John Molori says that NESN might be looking to Butch Stearns to head up its “Red Sox Nation” program. Molori also has some WWZN/WEEI stuff and a look at the Mike Adams show on WWZN.

Technically I’m on vacation this

Technically I’m on vacation this week, (or should I say I’m covering a boxing assignment?) In any event I was at a friends house last night to watch the debacle, and didn’t get home in time for the postgame shows.

Quick links for today. Game stories: Tom Curran, Michael Felger, Nick Cafardo, Alan Greenberg, Del Jones and Tom King.

Columnists: Bob Ryan, Kevin Mannix, Jim Donaldson, Ron Borges, Lenny Megliola, Steve Buckley, Ron Hobson, Karen Guregian, Jackie MacMullan and Rob Bradford.

I’ll say this about Ron Borges….he can crow all he wants now. He’s been saying from the offseason that this team’s talent level wasn’t very good and have criticized the coaching as being suspect at times. Through 15 games he’s been proven correct. How he has gone about telling everyone is a different matter…Cafardo has focused more on just Brady/Bledsoe.

Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback addresses the Parcells to Dallas talk.

NESN has Bruins/Sharks at 7:00. ABC has Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay on Monday night football at 9:00.

Great…I swear I had nothing

Great…I swear I had nothing to do with this. Just because I mention the guy yesterday and wonder if he’s still alive, and then I find out today that he just died. He actually died Tuesday, so I’m off the hook.