Low Marks

The grades are in from Monday night, and they aren’t pretty. Kevin Mannix hands out a couple of failing marks to the quarterback and cornerbacks and barely passes the special teams. Michael Parente holds back on the “F’s” but does issue three “D’s”. Likewise, Steve Grogan pulls no punches in grading his former team. Tom E Curran has Troy Brown saying that while other teams are getting better as the season goes on, the Patriots are not. Alan Greenberg asserts that this Patriots team is the most vulnerable 27-2 (since September 2003) team you’ll ever see. Nick Cafardo says that Ty Law is the Patriots best hope right now, but they can’t rush him back either. Ian M Clark says that the secondary is the primary concern on this club right now. Lenny Megliola looks at the concern over the Patriots and their need to make a statement on Sunday afternoon against the Jets. George Kimball (subscription only) tells us that the Patriots have been pushing their luck for some time now and it finally caught up with them Monday night. Perhaps it was just what they needed.

Was it Charlie Weis’ fault Monday night? Was he distracted? You knew that question was going to be raised, though I haven’t heard it nearly as much as I thought I would. Ron Borges and Michael Parente say that the loss Monday night was most definitely NOT the fault of the Offensive Coordinator. Rich Thompson says that the Patriots now need to regroup and focus on capturing a first round bye for the playoffs. Mike Reiss says the defense and special teams is what is going to make or break the Patriots. The headline to Chris Kennedy’s column today is pretty self-explanatory. “Brady’s Play Dumb”. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that all great Boston athletes have to serve their time in the stocks, and now is Brady’s turn to be publicly stoned. He reminds us though, that it’s one bad game for Brady, and that he’ll be back. Scott A Benson hashes out the playoff scenarios for us this week, and Parente’s notebook looks at the hit to their playoff chances the Pats took on Monday night. Jonathan Comey says that only some of the panic surrounding the Patriots right now is valid. Cafardo’s notebook tells us that the special teams will be getting quite a workout from coach Brad Seely this week.

Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that Theo Epstein is going about this offseason using his head, not his heart and that is a good thing for the Boston Red Sox. He talks about Pedro feeling disrespected by the Red Sox, but points out that he should feel even more so by the Yankees, who didn’t even submit an offer for him and instead went after Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano. At one point he says:

There is a tendency for some Sox fans to think their team is falling behind in this hot stove season, but rarely do Epstein's critics have an answer to this: What was Theo supposed to do?

Hello, Glenn Ordway. Callahan goes on to point out what Theo HAS accomplished this offseason.

We know now that there is nothing reasonable or rational that he could have done to retain the services of Martinez. So he signed veteran David Wells to a contract filled with incentives, and now at least the Sox have a guy who isn't afraid to take the ball on Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. He replaced Derek Lowe, who had an ERA of 5.42 last season, with Matt Clement, who had a 3.68. Lowe gave up 224 hits in 182 innings. Clement allowed just 155 hits in 181 innings. Also, Clement is younger, cheaper and not quite so scarred emotionally.

He adds that they signed Renteria for much less than Nomar was demanding last spring, and made a good offer to Jason Varitek, but since no one out there is competing for his services, why should he raise the offer? I may not always like Callahan’s radio persona, but as a columnist, if he’s not the best in town, he’s in the top three. A little more on Ordway’s “I’m not the GM” rant…one of his claims was the Renteria was no better than Cabrera. The latter got eight million a year from the Angels, while the Sox signed Renteria for 10 a year. Buster Olney was on WEEI this morning with Greg Dickerson and Steve DeOssie. He was asked if Renteria is two million a year better than Cabrera. Olney said he certainly was, he was a much better offensive player, more disciplined at the plate and can hit in any spot in the order save 3-4. Cabrera has holes in his hitting style and is much more of an undisciplined free-swinger. He was surprised that Cabrera even got as much as he did from the Angels. Who am I going to believe on the topic of baseball…Glenn Ordway or Buster Olney? It becomes more and more clear that Ordway is more bluster than Buster. I’ll take Buster, thank you. In addition, if you get a chance to read Olney’s books “The last night of the Yankee dynasty” I would highly recommend it. Good stuff. A lot in there on Schilling as well, as the book focuses on game 7 of the 2001 World Series where Schilling started against Roger Clemens.

Sean McAdam has a look at the Dave Roberts trade. Brian Fleming takes a look at the amazing run that Pedro had while here in Boston. Gordon Edes, Michael Silverman and Dom Amore all look at the Randy Johnson deal falling apart for the Yankees. The opinion of all however, including Olney, is that Johnson will be a Yankee sometime before spring training. Raja Mishra talks to fired Red Sox team Doctor Bill Morgan, who calls his dismissal “not an objective decision”.

Bob Ryan on the Celtics beat? Be still my heart. Ryan and Mark Murphy look at the Celtics getting out worked and beaten by the Shaq-less Miami Heat on the road last night. The Celtics Blog also has a nice account of the game. The Celtics will be without Ricky Davis tonight against the Knicks, as the Celtics swingman got an automatic one game suspension for a “Flagrant 2″ call against him on a fast break by Dwayne Wade. A hard foul? Yes, a “Flagrant 2″? I don’t think so. Murphy’s notebook has more on this. Ryan’s informative notebook looks at the Celtics failing to capitalize with Shaq out.

John Molori’s Media Blitz comes out swinging, taking shots at all the Boston media members who have taken cheap shots at Pedro Martinez since his departure from the Red Sox.

FSN has Celtics/Knicks at 7:00. ESPN has the GMAC Bowl with Bowling Green/Memphis at 8:00. ESPN2 has Missouri/Illinois college hoops at 8:00, followed by Grizzlies/Warriors at 10:00.