Weak Wednesday

Scott A Benson breaks down the playoff picture for this week. Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider looks at how the play of the offensive line is going to be critical to the Patriots chances of postseason success. Michael Parente looks ahead to the 49ers this Sunday, in what figures to be little more than an exhibition game. Nick Cafardo files a typical media story on Peyton Manning with all the usual cliches…even without a ring, he’s the best QB…unlike Tom Brady, he has to carry the team all by himself (though I think Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley, Marcus Pollard and Dallas Clark might have dispute that notion.) …the odds are in his favor that he’s going to beat the Patriots someday. No mention about his prohibitive cap number which prevents the Colts from building a Patriots-style defense to help Peyton, or his propensity to throw big picks in big games. Jonathan Comey wonders why fans on either side would be so eager to see a Patriots/Colts rematch. Alan Greenberg looks at questions around the league heading into the final weekend of the season. Felger’s notebook has Corey Dillon wishing to remain in New England beyond his current contract. Cafardo’s notebook says that Richard Seymour should be ready to go for the Divisional playoffs, and has a look at Ben Coates getting his first head coaching job, with his alma mater Livingstone College.

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett look at the Celtics getting routed by the Mavericks in Dallas last night. Bulpett writes that the Mavericks don’t appear to be a good fit for the Glove in a possible trade with the Celtics. Springer’s notebook looks at Avery Johnson getting work as an “Apprentice” coach in Dallas. Bulpett’s notebook has Raef LaFrentz stewing over some remarks by Don Nelson regarding his stay in Dallas.

Michael Gee has the second part in the Herald series looking at the Patriots and Red Sox championship seasons. He looks at one thing both teams have in common, a youthful general manager. Bob Ryan gives us a glimpse of what sports would be like if HE ran things.

Along those lines, if I ran things in sports media in Boston, here’s some things you’d see:

  • Someone who likes football covering the Patriots for the Globe. Bring on Mike Reiss, Tom Curran, or Eric McHugh. Just a short list there.
  • WEEI and the Globe make up. Put Ron Borges on the Big Show. Let a much more vast audience hear his daily descent into madness. Yesterday on WWZN, Borges continued his hints that he has evidence that Bill Belichick is despicable human being by making the statement that if he owned a team, he would not hire Bill Belichick if he was the last coach available. If it came to that, and Belichick was the only coach left on the planet, Ron would sell the team rather than hire Belichick. Yet he continues to claim it’s not personal, and that he is an objective reporter.
  • The Big Show would also feature Bob Ryan, Jackie MacMullan, Gordon Edes, Alan Greenberg, Tom Curran, Michael Smith even Dan Shaughnessy in addition to Tony Massarotti, Michael Felger, Sean McAdam. Gone or relegated to weekend duty would be Bill Burt, Larry Johnson, Fred Smerlas, Steve DeOssie, Butch Stearns and Steve Burton, among others.
  • Let Nick Cafardo cover a sport and team he enjoys. The Red Sox. If travel is too much, work something out.
  • John Dennis – gone. Bring someone in who is going to actually watch sports, and also bring a counter view to Gerry Callahan’s politics. Have some balance on that show.
  • Ryen Russillo and Dave Jageler get larger roles in the media landscape here. They might be the only talents worth salvaging on WWZN.
  • The Touchdown Twins on Dale & Neumy need to be put out to pasture. Replace them with Mike Reiss and Eric McHugh.
  • WEEI streaming on the Internet, and the Big Show simulcast on NESN, similar to what WFAN does with the YES Network.
  • Celtics radio broadcasts get on a better signal and broader network.

That’s just to get started.

This may be the last day of regular links this week. I’m going to be moving over the course of the next few days and internet access could be spotty at times. I will try to get a couple editions of BSMW Classic re-posted during this time.

Grading Day

A couple “C’s” from Kevin Mannix for the Patriots runnings backs and offensive line for a performance against a Jets team that was stacking up to stop Corey Dillon. Coaching gets a “B” without really any explanation other than they should’ve kicked a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down in the last quarter. Michael Parente is all “A’s” and “B’s” in his version of the report card. Steve Grogan is likewise generous with his grades. Tom E Curran writes that this Patriots team has already defended its title with “efficiency, nastiness, selflessness, resourcefulness and passion”. Michael Felger looks at the satisfaction that Bill Belichick and the Patriots got from beating the Jets and getting the first round bye.

I know the beginning of his article today was tongue-in-cheek, but something tells me Nick Cafardo was at least partially serious when he wrote this:

Would Belichick be willing to watch this one from the coaches' booth and allow Romeo Crennel to run the team for some game experience before possible head coaching interviews over the next few weeks?

Yeah, he was kidding, but with all the pining that Cafardo does for the assistant coaches getting their chance to be head coaches, you don’t think there was at least a hint of seriousness about this suggestion? He ends the piece by stating that the Patriots might even smile this week. “If Belichick allows it.” Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots coming back via bus and the coaches getting right back to work…rest for them can come later. Dan Shaughnessy doesn’t really say anything of note, unless you count his thinly veiled shot at Fred Smerlas and WEEI. “It means that the vaunted experts of the airwaves (love ya, Fred) have approximately 10,000 hours to fill with sheer speculation and hot air.” There’s just something ironic about that whole statement coming from Shaughnessy. Mike Reiss provides some actual football commentary and analysis, talking with former Pat Rick Lyle about what makes Richard Seymour so invaluable to the Patriots in the 3-4 defense. He looks at what the Patriots might do if Seymour is hampered or unable to play. Michael Parente looks at the improvements the Patriots have made against the run.

Felger’s notebook looks at the health of Seymour and Ty Law. Curran’s notebook has more on that theme, and who’s likely to get some rest on Sunday. Cafardo’s notebook and Parente’s notebook look at the long bus ride home after the game Sunday.

I’m not asking, I’m demanding that Michael Smith get some “Big Show” appearances in the future. Probably won’t happen. Smith is too smart for the likes of Ordway, Smerlas and DeOssie. Listening to him pin down Greg Dickerson with facts and logic and get Dickerson to contradict himself was a treat to listen to on the WEEI airwaves this morning. I don’t mind Dickerson most of the time, but it’s fun to have him smacked around a little bit once in a while…

Mark Shanahan in the Globe has a feature on Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and his efforts to make the Celtics a winner again. The Celtics have some defensive concerns to address, after allowing the Spurs to shoot 53% against them the other night. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer each have a look at what Doc Rivers is trying to do to address the situation. Art Garcia of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (free registration required) says that tonight’s opponents, the Mavericks, could be on the teams interested in acquiring the services of Gary Payton at the trade deadline. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Raef LaFrentz facing his old team, who are happy to see the success he’s having thus far this season.

Tony Massarotti kicks off a five part Herald series looking at the 2004 Championship runs of the Red Sox and Patriots. Art Martone looks at the healing that the 2004 Red Sox accomplished for their followers. Bob Hohler has a look at the Red Sox becoming one of the three teams in MLB to have to pay a payroll threshold tax. If you missed it over the weekend, the Boston Globe magazine had a very good piece on Sox GM Theo Epstein, who was named Bostonian of the Year.

An interesting note was dropped to me this week regarding new Globe sportswriter Chris Snow, rumored to be taking over on the Red Sox beat. It seems that last month Snow found himself the center of a controversy that got a player agent decertified by the NHL. The agent is Boston-based Bryant McBride. Here is the original story on TSN.com, which doesn’t mention Snow by name. Some of McBride’s former clients included former Bruins Jason Allison and Byron Dafoe. Apparently McBride gave Snow access on his computer to the “NHLPA SCORE” program, which allows player agents to gather data on their clients to make sure they get the best contract possible. The Media Drop reported that the writer was Snow, and here is a copy of the article Snow wrote based on what he saw in the program.

Bill Griffith has a look at a rarity this Sunday…all 32 NFL teams playing on the same day.

FSN has Celtics/Mavericks at 8:30.

Bounceback Game

Still in the holiday mode…so abbreviated links for this morning…watch for more BSMW classic this week…

I guess the reports of the demise of the Patriots were greatly exaggerated. Before the game yesterday it was hard to find a media person, Boston, NY or national, who thought New England had a chance in the game, let alone actually win it. But as this team has done so many times in the last few years, they went out and proved everyone wrong. On to the game stories. Scott A BensonMichael FelgerNick CafardoTom E CurranAlan GreenburgMichael Parente. It wasn’t just the Patriots as a team that bounced back, Tom Brady had a great game yesterday following his disaster in the fourth quarter last Monday night. Bob Ryan looks at the play of Brady. Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots bouncing back as ture champions do.

Kevin Mannix looks at the patchwork secondary of the Patriots again getting the job done. Ian M Clark looks at the Patriots showing what they’re made of. Jim Donaldson has a good look at Don Davis, who has been playing out of position at a totally new position, and getting the job done. Ron Borges looks at the struggles of Jets QB Chad Pennington.

Cafardo’s notebook says the Patriots and Adam Vinatieri are closing in on a contract extension. Felger’s notebook looks at the injury to Richard Seymour. He reports that “Afterward, Seymour walked to and from the shower gingerly, although under his own power with no braces, wraps or crutches.” Curran’s notebook looks at the play of the secondary. Parente’s notebook looks at Corey Dillon setting the Patriots single season rushing record yesterday, passing the record held by Curtis Martin.

Just curious…if the Patriots rest their starters this Sunday against the 49ers, will Kevin Mannix be making references to consumer fraud?

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett look at the Celtics falling to Tim Duncan and the Spurs for the 14th time in a row. Springer’s notebook and Bulpett’s notebook both look at the Celtics time off not really doing them any good last night.

ABC has Eagles/Rams at 9:00.