The Patriots and their trade for Corey Dillon continue to be the focus of much talk around town. On WEEI, Gerry Callahan continues his campaign to enlighten us on everything Dillon has done in his life. It is curious to me how someone who has been suspended for participating in racist remarks and who annually fetes Tommy Spears, aka Butch from the Cape, can sit on the moral high ground in judgment of anyone. This morning, agent Brad Blank came onto the program to talk about the Dillon trade and to give his opinion of what the Patriots are doing. He said the Patriots misled him and all of New England by promoting that they go for strictly “character guys”. He said he was drinking the kool aid for a while, but no more. This move in his opinion signals a sharp change in the way Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick do business. He was critical of that, repeatedly mentioning how “miserable” Dillon is as a person and how this move can only hurt the Patriots.
To which I say, “Who is Brad Blank, and what does he know about building an NFL team?” Oh, he’s an agent, you say. In fact, he represents David Givens of the Patriots. Well, having been in the league 20 years, he must be knowledgeable. The fact is, the number of NFL clients that Blank represents has been dwindling, and at present he represents a grand total of 10…count ’em…10 NFL players. Among that total is such luminaries as Todd Collins, Brock Williams, Marcel Shipp and Tom Nalen. (Ok, Nalen is pretty good – but he’s a BC guy which could explain why Blank got him.) More telling might be that Blank represents more Boston media personalities than he does NFL players. His roster of media clients includes Ron Borges, Glenn Ordway and Jon Meterparel. Blank recently was on WEEI and made the comment about how much he enjoys reading columns from Borges as they are so “provocative”. No mention that he’s his agent. How can we expect fair, objective commentary from Blank when he’ll shamelessly stump for his client on the airwaves in that manner? Since he also is the agent for WEEI personalities, do his appearances amount to much more than free advertising for Blank? More importantly, is the public believing what this guy is saying? Agenda driven, my friends. Agenda driven.
As for the Patriots, they have stated repeatedly that they do have a core philosophy to bring in character guys. They have also said publicly, and I believe Pioli said this on his WEEI interview a few weeks back that occasionally they will deviate from that core philosophy. They have to, it’s a reality of doing business. However…what was also strongly stated is that they are not going to allow one guy to blow up what they’ve worked on. What they’ve worked on is creating a stable environment, one very much under control, in which they can occasionally take a risk like they did with Dillon and introduce him to that environment and hope that he can succeed. Dillon is a risk, no doubt, but they’ve set it up that should he falter or be trouble, he’s gone.
Patriots links for today. Bob Kraft weighed in on the Dillon trade yesterday and expressed his confidence in the judgment of Pioli and Belichick. Michael Smith, Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran look at the comments by the Patriots owner. Can people change? Brad Blank said the only bad guy he ever saw change was Irving Fryar. Jim Donaldson doesn’t think that people can change, either. As pointed out by a reader, Donaldson is actually a perfect example of this. Bad writers can’t change into good ones. Ever. Kevin Mannix says that the trade for Dillon shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Belichick has historically avoided drafting running backs. Michael Parente looks at the altered plans of the Patriots draft this weekend. Michael Felger says that the trade for Dillon gives the Patriots more options this weekend. Ron Borges looks at the Patriots signing of cornerback Jeff Burris. Felger also says that Kraft still likes Ty Law, and reports on the signing of Burris. Borges looks at defensive line prospects. Smith’s notebook looks at the Burris signing and numbers on Dillon. Curran’s notebook looks at Burris. Parente’s notebook has more on Burris.
Pedro and the Sox came up with a win in Toronto last night. Game stories are filed by David Heuschkel…Sean McAdam…Jeff Horrigan…David Borges and Bob Hohler. Pedro wasn’t talking after the game, but others had plenty to say about his performance. Gordon Edes gets the reaction from Manny, Dave Wallace and others. Tony Massarotti says Pedro was in control last night. Massarotti also looks at the Sox players taking two separate flights to Toronto after several stayed in Boston to watch the Bruins play in game 7 monday night. Hohler’s notebook has Manny a little ticked off after some chin music was thrown his way. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Ellis Burks playing through his knee injury. McAdam’s notebook, Heuschkel’s notebook and Borges’ notebook all look at Burks as well.
Celtics looked good for three quarters, but collapsed in the fourth. Links are over at Fox Sports Net.
Bob Ryan says that the Bruins loss was not due to lack of effort. Stephen Harris says changes may be on the way for the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Canadiens never doubted that they’d beat the Bruins. Douglas Flynn looks at the Bruins looking for answers. Karen Guregian says that a blame game is useless in this case. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that it just doesn’t seem right that the Bruins season is over. Steve Conroy says that there will several keys to Montreal’s success in the series.
NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. TNT has Bucks/Pistons at 7:00 and Nuggets/Wolves at 9:00. NBATV has Hornets/Heat at 8:00. ESPN has Astros/Cardinals at 7:00. ESPN2 has Padres/Giants at 10:00.