Grading the Patriots Coverage for the 2006 Season

I’m out of town this weekend, and won’t be back until Monday night. Before we get into our report card, here’s a couple of things to check out.

The Patriots Game Day Roundtable wraps up the 2006 season with a look back at the year and some a peek at what is ahead for this team.

David Scott checks in with his weekly edition of Scott’s Shots.

Mike Dunshee has a midseason report on the Bruins.

If it works, I’ve scheduled a quick mailbag to post this afternoon at 2:00.
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With the Patriots season over, it’s time to grade the writers who covered the team this season.

Boston Herald Writers

Michael Felger F –

I have no idea what happened to this guy. At first, I thought he was simply trying to draw attention to himself for his new radio and TV shows. But it lingered throughout the entire season. The trigger seemed to be the Patriots allowing Adam Vinatieri to get away, as since that event, Felger has been highly critical of the team and joined the clique that likes to accuse the Patriots of being “cheap” and not spending money. He had numerous confrontations with Corey Dillon, going all the way back to mini-camp, and seemed to enjoy the attention that came with it. He’s better than this, but he has sold his soul to Satan in the hopes of garnering some ratings numbers. Good luck with that, Mike.

John Tomase B+

Like Reche Caldwell, Tomase found his game as the season went along. Early in the season he seemed to get a little bogged down in the negativity at times, but as the playoff push was on, Tomase was at the top of the pack.

Albert Breer B+

Breer has major upside as a football writer/reporter. If he can avoid getting poisoned by some of those around him, he’s a potential star on the Boston sports media scene. He understands football, and puts in the work needed. We’ll be keeping an eye on him going forward.

Tony Massarotti D

The only reason Massarotti is getting a “D” and not an “F” is because it’s clear that he knows absolutely nothing about football. He’s clearly been influenced by the doomsday sect of the media, which is eager to proclaim the end of the Patriots. I’ve mentioned the tone of his articles previously and remain disappointed in his efforts.

Boston Globe Writers

Mike Reiss A

Huge tip of the cap to Joe Sullivan for moving Reiss onto the Patriots beat after Jerome Solomon went back to Houston. Reiss is almost singlehanded responsible for the huge improvement in Patriots coverage over the last year. I’ve sung his praises before, but he’s deserving of the praise.

Christopher L. Gasper (Rookie of the Year) B+

Another nice addition has been the work of Gasper, who seems to have become the main backup on the Patriots beat when Reiss has a day off. There isn’t a big dropoff when Gasper has stepped into the coverage.

Ron Borges C-

Borges in print this year…pretty good. Borges on the air this season…an out-of-control loose cannon. He actually seemed to tone down his nasty shots at Belichick and the Patriots..in print. He has shown several times this season just how good he can be. On the air however, he increased the nastiness and personal nature of the attacks whenever he was alongside Felger on ESPN Boston and on Four Downs with Felger on FSN.

Others:

Alan Greenberg (Hartford Courant) C+

Greenberg has moments where he morphs into the mini-Borges, he had an incident at a Belichick press conference early in the season where he testily questioned Belichick on a matter. His coverage sometimes has a little bit of a slant to it, but it’s not as bad as some in that area.

Eric McHugh (Quincy Patriot-Ledger) A-

McHugh is solid. He’s a good reporter, has good insights into the game and offers a fair perspective to things. He is at a bit of a disadvantage given when his paper (and their website_ publish each day, but his stuff is usually good enough to read even if the subject was covered earlier that morning by the other papers.

Hector Longo(Lawrence Eagle-Tribune) D+

Hector kills me. He is as manic a writer as there is in the region. One day he’ll say one thing. The next day he’ll hint at the opposite. He’ll bash Belichick and the Patriots one day and praise their genius the next. They’re finished as a contender one week, and headed to the Super Bowl the next. He would rank high on Bill Simmons’ UCF scale.

Dan Pires (New Bedford Standard Times) B

Pires does a solid job in his coverage of the team. He’s very good at getting information from various websites and introducing it into his articles and notes.

Shalise Manza Young (Providence Journal) B

Young took to the beat after Tom E Curran departed for NBCSports.com. She’s done solid work this season and I look forward to seeing more from her going forward as she gets more and more comfortable with the beat.

Michael Parente (Woonsocket Call) C+

Nothing really stood out from Parente this season. He is fair and consistent on the beat, and was good for a main story and a notebook every day, and that was about it.

Rich Garven (Worcester Telegram & Gazette) B

Garven is another very solid, very capable reporter. He and Jennifer Toland handle most of the Patriots coverage for the paper and have a good mix of reporting, analysis and feature writing.

Mark Farinella ( Attleboro-North Attleboro Sun Chronicle) A-

I had praise for Farinella’s work earlier this season. Nothing has changed. He kept up his strong work for the entire season, just as he has for the last three decades.