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.