Who The Hell Is Bob Cook?

Bob Cook is apparently a freelance writer in the Chicago area, who occasionally contributes to MSNBC.com.

I can’t say that I recall ever having read anything this guy has written before, though I probably have and just don’t remember.

He made an impact today with his column Belichick’s track record of classlessness, a piece that is clearly screaming “LOOK AT ME” – and succeeding.

I thought we take a look at his column, “FireJoeMorgan” style, though I am not nearly as snarky or talented as those guys are.

Quotes from the column are in bold, my thoughts are plain text.

When you hear the New England Patriots are accused of sending a spy to videotape an opponent’s signals, do you think, “There is no WAY that would EVER be tolerated on a team coached by Bill Belichick?”

Thought not.

Actually, Belichick is known as a guy who respects the game and the history of it. It did seem out of character.

As his team gets further removed from its Super Bowl run,

…as is every Super Bowl champion since the beginning of time…

Belichick’s career as a Hall of Fame coach is quickly being overtaken by his career as a Hall of Fame jackass.

Well, if BOB COOK says so, this must absolutely be true.

Even though Belichick is far from being found culpable in the case of the Patriots employee wielding a video camera where none should be,

…that won’t stop Bob Cook from saying that he is a Hall of Fame jackass…

the coach’s long history of poor sportsmanship means it hardly stretches the imagination to see him being Dick Cheney in the NFL’s version of warrantless wiretapping.

The long history that the voices in Bob Cook’s head are telling him is there. Though we’ll soon see that the voices were misleading poor Bob.

If this is all just a big misunderstanding, all apologies to Belichick.

Well, gee, Thanks. That’s big of you.

If not, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to go all Pacman Jones on Belichick,

Let’s see, Pacman Jones is accused of having had his people, you know, SHOOT someone. Classy yourself, Bob, classy.

who is a repeat offender when it comes to the crime of sore winning and sore losing.

And kicks puppies, from what we’ve been told.

Forget losing a draft pick or two if the Patriots are found to have violated the league rule against videotaping another team’s signals. Belichick, if he is at any way responsible, should be suspended for a bad attitude that has played out in ways that makes Terrell Owens queasy.

Another great comparison. Terrell Owens. Bill Belichick. I see the connection immediately. Oh yeah, there’s that IF thing again.

Not only is it no surprise that the coach who Machiavelli thinks is a little too committed to winning at all costs would (allegedly) send a spy to steal signals during Sunday’s 38-14 victory over the New York Jets, but it’s also no surprise that, as a league source told ESPN.com, this is not the first time such an accusation has been made. According to that account, the Green Bay Packers last year kicked out the same Patriots representative being investigated by the league for the Jets incident.

Wait for it…wait for it…

Sign-stealing has long been a sports pastime, and often it’s seen as crafty gamesmanship to slyly figure out the opponents’ signals.

For everyone else, this practice is apparently accepted.

But only the sore-winning, sore-losing Belichick would be as ham-handed as to send a guy with a video recorder to stand on the other team’s sideline.

Naturally. The Miami Dolphins had two players tell The Palm Beach Post that the team "bought” tapes of Tom Brady last season. But only Belichick would go and send his OWN guy. Allegedly.

It shows the same brand of subtlety he displayed, say, brushing past someone trying to shake his hand after a loss.

Wow…right…it’s exactly the same. Can’t you see it?

Belichick has been on a particular roll since the last game of the regular season: shoving a photographer during a season-ending win over the Jets;

Trying to get through a mob to shake the hand of Mangini. An action for which the classless coach later apologized personally to the photographer.

having LaDainian Tomlinson question whether the Patriots who danced at midfield after a playoff win at San Diego took their cues on classlessness from their coach;

Yup. Belichick taught his players that very dance, in fact. The whole Friday practice was devoted to it, from what I heard.

and blowing off Peyton Manning after the Colts beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship game,

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followed by Belichick giving CBS’ Solomon Wilcots a short, prickly interview that inspired network analyst Boomer Esiason to call the coach “unprofessional.”

More crimes against humanity here.

Then on a Sept. 2 radio show, Vikings coach Brad Childress revealed he had a tense conversation with Belichick when Childress wanted to claim a player Belichick had put on waivers in hopes of bringing him back to the practice squad. Childress said Belichick told him he wouldn’t claim a Vikings player if Childress backed off. When he didn’t, Childress said, Belichick claimed a Vikings player. “He was trying to leverage, but you always find out who is honest and straightforward,” Childress told WCCO-AM.

Later, Childress had this to say about the matter: “That’s a case of me being a little too colorful,” he said at his Wednesday news conference. “You guys wonder why I stand up here and go, ‘Yep, no, and maybe so.’ Bill’s and my conversation should stay between Bill and myself.”

Belichick and Childress actually have a pretty good relationship.

Of course, Belichick has a long history of manipulation.

Of course.

Look at how he works the weekly injury list so no one knows exactly who is hurt and how much,

No other teams do this! Only Belichick!

paranoia that runs so deep, Belichick ordered Steelers trainer John Norwig off the field in 2005 when he came to assist injured Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light. Actually, what Belichick was reported to have said was, “Get away from my [R-rated adjective] player!”

Actually, I didn’t want the trainer touching Light either.


If it weren’t for the reports that the Patriots had tried this before, it would seem natural Belichick would reserve his most dastardly schemes for the Jets, given the bad blood that started in early 2000 when he quit as the team’s head coach the day he was promoted to fill Bill Parcells’ absence, continued as he and the Jets filed grievances over his attempt to go to the Patriots, and continued further as defensive coordinator Eric Mangini took the head coaching job last year, reportedly over Belichick’s objections (so much so Belichick, like an angry father of a teenage daughter dating a newly released prisoner, was purported to have changed the locks during Mangini’s courting).

“Dastardly schemes” – great phrase. You really get the sense of Belichick being a villain here.

Who can forget such heart-warming images of tough but fair competition as Belichick brushes off Mangini’s handshake in their first game against each other,

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and Mangini grabbing Belichick’s right arm like Henry VIII locked onto a turkey leg to guarantee a handshake after their second meeting?

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Or was Mangini just really hungry?

Only Belichick’s lack of throwing furniture and his omnipresent monotone keeps his reputation from completely spilling over into Bob Knight territory.

Well, those and the fact that Knight was once arrested for assaulting a police officer, kicked his own son during a game, and had a “verbal dustup” with his University President in a supermarket.

He’s a jerk, but not one you hear screaming a lot.

So is that better or worse?

Belichick might not completely disdain the comparison to Knight, a good friend of Belichick’s former boss, Parcells. Knight was never one to rush to apologize for his actions, and Belichick doesn’t openly, Nixon-style, declare “I am not a jerk,” instead issuing vague responses that sound like they were written by Alan Greenspan.

But one other thing about Knight. For all of his flaws, he was all about fair play. Belichick is about gaming the system as much as you can.

So…in one sentence he’s being compared to Knight, and in the next he’s the total opposite of Knight? Good or bad? Knight’s a bad example in one and a shining one in the other.

Particularly if this videotape accusation holds up, the question becomes, with Belichick’s skill, and his players’ talent, why stoop to this?

Damn that word IF.

The answer: because Belichick’s attitude crosses the line from wanting to do everything possible to win to demanding to do anything possible to win. Belichick’s boorish behavior means the videotape accusation, if it sticks, isn’t a sign of some crafty mind engaging in a little gamesmanship. It’s a sign of an obsessed mind crossing the line from being a poor sport to being poor for his sport.

Did we mention that Bob Cook is a diehard Colts fan?

I’m sure that had absolutely no bearing on this column though. None. Not a bit.

More Patriots/Jets Intrigue

Shaping up to be a busy week with the Patriots trying to prepare for the Chargers amidst spying allegations, and the Red Sox hoping to hold off the Devil Rays while getting ready for a weekend series with the Yankees.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card for Sunday’s game, and the lowest grade he can muster is a “B” for the secondary. Ian M. Clark also has a report card, with his lowest grade being a “C” for the linebackers. On Patriots Daily, Christopher Price goes Inside Gillette for another look at Ellis Hobbs’ 108-yard kickoff return. He also has five things to watch for this Sunday against the Chargers.

The big story from yesterday was the news were the allegations that the Patriots had been caught filming the Jets sideline, attempting to steal signals. With that story out there, many more began to surface from around the league. John Tomase reports on the story, and says that the Patriots could lose a draft pick because of this. Karen Guregian does a little moralizing, making the assumption that the Patriots are fully guilty and their coaches are cheating. In the Globe, Christopher L. Gasper and Mike Reiss have more on the matter, giving us more of a “just the facts” account without leaping into judgment just yet. Albert Breer also looks through the accusations, noting that the players claim to be unaware of such activity. David Heuschkel also looks into the matter. Bob Hohler talks to a number of the San Diego Chargers about the Patriots’ cheating – including Shawne Merriman.

Bill Reynolds has Bill Belichick’s non-style giving him a style all his own. Dan Pires urges all not to get too carried away with the results from the first game of the season. Price says that there is no title talk in Foxborough just yet. Shalise Manza Young looks at the help that Ellis Hobbs got along the way on his record breaking kickoff return to open the second half on Sunday. Robert Lee has Jarvis Green filling in just fine in the opener.

Gasper’s notebook has the Hall of Fame requesting Ellis Hobbs’ shoes from his record 108-yard kickoff return. Guregian’s notebook has Hobbs saying that the actions and taunts from the San Diego playoff game are all in the past now. Lee’s notebook has more on the spying charges. Breer’s notebook has more on Hobbs getting the call from the Hall.

Red Sox
Scott Kazmir was once again the Red Sox daddy, as he went seven shutout innings last night in a 1-0 Devil Rays win at Fenway Park. The loss dropped the Red Sox AL East lead to five games.

Amalie Benjamin notes that not even the magic of Jacoby Ellsbury could save Schilling from the loss last night. Jeff Horrigan has Schilling getting outdueled by the 23-year-old lefty. Sean McAdam says that Schilling’s performance last night was a big positive for the Red Sox in defeat. Paul Doyle has the Sox again unable to get to Kazmir.

Rob Bradford has the Devil Rays coming into Fenway on something of a roll, and ready to cause the Red Sox problems in their efforts to wrap up the AL East. Alex Speier has the Red Sox pressing on without Manny Ramirez. Garry Brown talks to Carlos Pena about being Manny’s teammate last season. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a seventh inning visit to the mound by his manager pumping up Kazmir to finish the inning and his outing strong. Paul Kenyon has Kazmir once again on the mark against the Red Sox.

Bradford has Dustin Pedroia talking about his workout partner Jay Gibbons’ name coming up in the federal probe into performance-enhancing drugs. Sarah Green has the Sox doing more bunting this season. Horrigan looks at 9/11 tributes scheduled for Fenway today. Bradford looks at a rumor that gained steam yesterday, that the Red Sox will have Japan in plans for ’08 opener. Speier reports that the offseason will see knee surgery for Ortiz.

Keith Reed examines Fenway Sports’ interest in NHIS.

Benjamin’s notebook has David Ortiz being given the night off to rest his aching knee. Horrigan’s notebook has Manny Ramirez taking some swings yesterday for the first time since August 28th. The Projo notebook has John Henry saying that the reports about the Sox opening the season in Japan are premature. Brown’s notebook says that Daisuke Matsuzaka will take his regular spot in the rotation this week against the Yankees despite his recent struggles.

Other
Marc J. Spears has David Stern happy that Celtics fans once again have a potential contender to cheer for.

Stephen Harris has new Bruins coach Claude Julien thinking playoffs this season.

Desmond Conner has a column on Boise State tailback Ian Johnson and his wife, Chrissy, the former school cheerleader to whom he proposed on the field immediately after the thrilling win in the Fiesta Bowl.

Sunday Recap

The Patriots opening day win over the Jets was a ratings blowout for WBZ-TV as well, as the game posted a 26.4 rating / 51 share in its time period.

My two quotes of the day from yesterday:

“No, He looked OK there. It wasn’t the Moss of old.” – Phil Simms, on the CBS telecast when asked by Jim Nantz after Randy Moss’ first catch if it “looked like the Moss of old” out there. Moss, of course went on to grab nine passes for 183 yards and a touchdown.

“Effectively today, The AFC East is over.” -Cris Collinsworth on NBC’s Football Night in America.

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Michael Silver was in San Diego to watch the Patriots next opponent, the Chargers and leads with LaDainian Tomlinson’s day in this week’s edition of Morning Rush.

Peter King has his opening weekend edition of Monday Morning Quarterback.

ESPN’s The Last Call rounds up all the action from yesterday.

Pete Prisco has his week one grades.

Tom Curran says we’re likely to see some bad blood between the Patriots and Chargers this coming Sunday. He also has a piece on the ‘Old’ Randy Moss showing up for the Patriots.

Kerry J. Byrne examines the Randy Moss factor for the Patriots.

Ron Borges is now using the Chiefs official website as his platform to bash the Patriots.

Chris Mortensen looks at the “spying” accusations leveled at the Patriots.

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From ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown yesterday:

Which team should be AFC favorite?

Tom Jackson: “Clearly, the Colts are the favorite. The reason is not Peyton Manning and the offense, we know what they are going to do. It is the defense that was 32nd, dead last, against the run last year and 21st overall … I think they have better people in place. If this defense is in the middle of the pack, they will be in the Super Bowl again.”

Emmitt Smith: “I won’t give it to the Colts so fast. At the end of the day, I like the Patriots. The Patriots did a great job of upgrading their team. Offensively, they added Randy Moss. They also added Donte’ Stallworth. And when you have Randy Moss on your ball club, he will draw the double team. When you draw the double team, it creates matchup problem for other defensive units. Tom Brady, who is the master of finding the multitude of wide receivers, will do that and take advantage of that upgrade.”

Keyshawn Johnson: I love the Indianapolis Colts. But I’m in love with the New England Patriots. The reason is Randy Moss …Even if Randy Moss is standing out there as a card board cut-out, you have to pay attention to him. Even if he doesn’t get the football, even if he decides to run downfield and pull another hamstring and stand out there, he’s going to do a terrific job to help Tom Brady.”

Mike Ditka: “You can’t tell me the defense the Colts played last year didn’t bother Tony Dungy. Well, it did bother Dungy. He fixed it. Take a look at it and go back to what he did in Tampa Bay, that’s the same defense. They are flying around hitting people.”

Keyshawn Johnson on the Chargers getting to the Super Bowl: “I think the San Diego Chargers could (supplant New England), but they don’t have the guy that went 14-2. They decided to part ways with him for whatever reason. They said: ‘Hey, we’re not interested in going 14-2 again. We’re going to bring in another coach.’ In the wide receiver position, they don’t need one, they need five wide receivers to help that receiving corps.”

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Super Bowl XLII picks by the CBS The NFL Today staff:

Boomer Esiason: New England vs. Philadelphia

Shannon Sharpe: Indianapolis vs. St. Louis

Dan Marino: New England vs. Philadelphia

Bill Cowher: New England vs. Seattle

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FOX NFL Sunday Staff Super Bowl Predictions:

Terry Bradshaw: New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints

Howie Long: New England Patriots and Chicago Bears

Jimmy Johnson: New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks

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Lee Spencer has Red Sox owner and Roush Fenway Racing considering a purchase of the New Hampshire International Speedway.

Eric Wilbur looks at the J.D. Drew/Jacoby Ellsbury debate that is sure to ensue when Manny Ramirez returns to the lineup.

Kevin Hench ranks the AL Cy Young contenders.

Charley Rosen is confused by Danny Ainge’s roster building following the Kevin Garnett trade.

David Scott and Jessica Heslam have the official Entercom release on the re-signing of Dennis & Callahan.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Devil Rays @ Red Sox
7:00pm, ESPN – Ravens @ Bengals
10:15pm, ESPN – Cardinals @ 49ers

Patriots Air It Out on Jets In Opening

The Patriots exploded for a 38-14 opening day win over their division rivals, the New York Jets yesterday, The Red Sox also beat the Orioles 3-2 in Baltimore to reduce their magic number to 14 to clinch the A.L. East.

And oh yeah, to the surprise of no one, Dennis & Callahan are back in time for the first regular season Patriots Monday of the year. David Scott got up early for their first appearance this morning, and has some entries from the start of the show.

Scott Benson has the first Patriots Game Day Rear View of the season, noting that the 38-14 score wasn’t as close as it seemed. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots had all the right moves yesterday. Christopher L. Gasper has Tom Brady and Co. playing their own version of fantasy football in New York. Shalise Manza Young states that yesterday “was an old-fashioned butt whuppin’.” David Heuschkel says that the Patriots had an answer for whatever the Jets defense threw at them. Rich Garven says that yesterday’s performance has the rest of the NFL shaking their heads in amazement. Mark Farinella says that it wasn’t perfect, but it was as close as humanly possible. Mike Lowe calls the display a stunning way to begin the season.

Michael Felger has Randy Moss answering the doubters (of which he was perhaps the most vocal) with his nine catch, 183 yard, one touchdown performance. Dan Shaughnessy says that watching Brady and Moss out there was like seeing Larry Bird and Bill Walton together for the first time on the same team. Albert Breer has Moss displaying his transcendent talent in his Patriots debut. Jim Donaldson says that it turns out that Moss didn’t need the practice time this summer after all. Ron Chimelis says that the Moss performance serves as the “latest and most decisive repudiation of the value of pre-season football.” Hector Longo says that Moss’s debut shows that chemistry should clearly be left to the lab techs. David Brown notes that coming off his worst season ever, Moss had one of his best games ever yesterday. Lowe observes that Moss finally seems to be a good fit here in New England. Jeff Jacobs has Moss giving Brady plenty to play with.

Mike Reiss has his Inside the Game segment, which looks at the offensive balance displayed by the Patriots. Christopher Price has his 10 Things We Learned yesterday. Tony Massarotti looks at the performance of Tom Brady yesterday, who had all the protection he needed, and with his new weapons, made it all look effortless. Art Martone provides the game analysis for the Projo. Ian M. Clark notes that the Hobbs runback set the tone for the second half of the game for the Patriots. Garven also has some facts and figures from the afternoon in New York.

Donaldson has a look at Ellis Hobbs‘ record setting 108-yard kickoff return, which provided a huge spark to open the second half. Heuschkel has more on Hobbs, who also tied the longest play in league history with the kickoff return. Garven has Hobbs calling his runback a calculated risk that he will take every time. Brown says that Hobbs incinerated the rule book by taking that kickoff out of the end zone. Farinella looks at Hobbs taking his place in the NFL record book.

Dan Ventura says Jarvis Green was “superb” filling in for Richard Seymour yesterday. Breer says that Asante Samuel didn’t show much rust in his return yesterday.Ventura also notes that the Patriots running back-by-committee approach worked like a charm yesterday. Farinella observes that Moss gets the headlines, but Sammy Morris and Wes Welker also made solid debuts for the Patriots yesterday.

Felger has the best & the worst from yesterday. Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan gets into the act with a look at the Jets remaining positive despite the one-sided result. Donaldson has the Jets coming up far short in their first crack at the Pats this season. Farinella has the Jets feeling low after the disappointing opener. Bob Hohler was in San Diego to scout the Patriots next opponent, the Chargers.

The Globe notebook notes that Asante Samuel didn’t start the game, but did still see extensive playing time yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has Samuel stepping right into the lineup in the second series of play. Young’s notebook looks at the guarantee of free agency in Samuel’s contract if he plays 60 percent of the defensive snaps or New England wins 12 games. Young’s Squib kicks has Moss and Hobbs leading an electrifying show for the Patriots. Lowe’s notebook has more on the Hobbs return.

Red Sox
Michael Silvermansays that both Josh Beckett and the Red Sox have shown that they are much better than they were last season. Gordon Edes has the Sox continuing their winning ways in a different style since Manny Ramirez has been out. Steven Krasner notes that strong pitching and a manufactured run was the formula for victory yesterday. Jeff Goldberg has Beckett bolstering his Cy Young candidacy with another strong outing. Bill Ballou says that the Sox were able to breathe a Cy of relief yesterday.

Steve Buckley says that Beckett has proven to be the ace that the Red Sox need for the postseason. Nick Cafardo also examines Josh Beckett’s strong case for the Cy Young. Buckley looks at Hideki Okajima pitching well yesterday after getting three days of rest. Alex Speier notes that Tampa manager Joe Madden was one of only two candidates to interview twice for the Red Sox job in 2004. The other of course, is the man who won the job, Terry Francona. Joe Haggerty says that Jonathan Papelbon is showing that he’s got plenty left in the tank this season. Mike Giardi agrees that Papelbon is back at his best.

Edes’ notebook says that Jacoby Ellsbury’s role will be changed when Ramirez is ready to return. Silverman’s notebook has Jonathan Papelbon giving up a hit for the first time in three weeks yesterday. Krasner’s notebook says that Daisuke Matsuzaka could learn from Beckett’s 2006 experience. Ballou’s notebook has more on Okajima pitching with some rest.

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Susan Bickelhaupt and Jessica Heslam have more on the return of Dennis and Callahan to the WEEI airwaves.

John Molori talks to “Sunday Night Football” producer Fred Gaudelli.

Weekend Watch – NFL Opening Weekend 2007

It’s opening weekend for rest of the NFL this Sunday, and the Patriots get things started with a matchup with the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.

WBZ-TV is your Boston destination for the game, as they kick things off tonight with a Patriots season preview at 7:00pm. On Sunday, they have Patriots GameDay at 11:30am, followed by CBS’ NFL Today at Noon and the Patriots/Jets game at 1:00. Following the game, Patriots 5th Quarter will air on sister station TV-38.

The Patriots/Jets matchup is the national game for CBS, with number one crew Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action.

FOX has the NFL Doubleheader Sunday with Eagles/Packers at 1:00 and Bears/Chargers at 4:15. FOX NFL Sunday at noon welcomes new full-time host Curt Menefee. Menefee joins the cast of co-host Terry Bradshaw and analysts Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson. Also new this year, former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer is paired with fellow National Championship and Super Bowl-winning coach Johnson in a segment called “Grumpy Old Coaches.” Bradshaw moderates/referees this segment. NFL Insider, Jay Glazer joins FOX NFL SUNDAY in the studio this season, reporting the latest news and notes from around the league. Weather forecaster Jillian Reynolds (not Barberie) returns and comedic prognosticator Frank Caliendo contributes his weekly “Frank’s Picks” segment.

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will have a feature on Eric Mangini – What will the second-year Jets coach do for an encore after turning a 4-12 squad into a playoff team that helped launch the “Man-genius” label, a cameo on “The Sopranos” and a spirited rivalry with the New England Patriots and his mentor, Bill Belichick. Reporter Wendi Nix gets an inside look at Mangini’s life on and off-the-field, highlighted by his “take your family to work day” at the Jets headquarters.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football game is Giants/Cowboys at 8:15pm.

For the rest of the country, here are your NFL Coverage Maps for CBS, Fox Game One and Fox Game Two.

(Also back for another year is the College Football TV Schedule.)

Patriots Daily will have you covered on the college games tomorrow, plus the Sunday morning links, game blog and Game Day Rear View. You can check out the NY coverage on the New York Sports Pages, as well as JetsLinks.com.

The Red Sox are in Baltimore this weekend, continuing their series with the Orioles. Keep up with the action on RedSoxLinks.com.

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WEEI’s Glenn Ordway promised an “announcement” at 5:00pm today, (which really means closer to 5:30) but David Scott says that it likely won’t be a new deal for Dennis & Callahan.

Mike Zhe reports on UNH backup quarterback Hank Hendricks being charged with murder.

Pink Hat Hell has the review of Sox Appeal Episode 6.

Bill Simmons has his two-part NFL Preview, and in the first part, he ranks teams 32-12 and in the second part teams 11-1 and has his week one picks.

Pat Kirwan has 10 things to watch for this weekend.

Don Banks has week one matchups, storylines and predictions.

Aaron Schatz for Slate, tells us how to watch Pro Football.

JT the Brick has the Patriots as his preseason favorites.

The Media Circus examines Sean Salisbury’s unhealthy obsession with predicting the NFL MVP.

Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated has a story you simply must read about University of Miami football coach Randy Shannon.

Jessica Camerato has 10 things you won’t see from the Celtics this season.

Sam Smith says that Kevin Garnett will make it work in Boston, partially by deferring to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen when the game is on the line.

Chad Finn goes nine innings for FoxSports.

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New England
Susan Bickelhaupt has Dan Dierdorf talking about the Patriots being the favorites. Bill Doyle has Red Sox play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo changing his philosophy on-the-fly during the Clay Buchholz game about talking about a no-hitter in progress. David Scott offers up a WEEI fantasy draft. John Molori says that Jim Nantz has carved a classy niche for himself in the broadcaster pantheon.

New York
Phil Mushnick says that Keith Hernandez’s “arrogance, condescending manner, impatience, sarcasm, naughtiness, knowledge, and brutal candor would make him both cherished and scorned.” Justin Terranova has John Madden saying that Eli Manning has what it takes to win. He also has five questions with Phil Simms about this Sunday’s Jets/Patriots game. Neil Best has Kenny Albert’s long tenure at FOX finally paying off. Bob Raissman says that NBC is counting on Tiki Barber to “swing the axe” and stir things up. Richard Sandomir has a look at the new stadium for the Jets and Giants.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand has rookie analyst Barber taking some heat from fellow analysts for telling “secrets” about his former team. Chris Zelkovich has the NFL trying to put a bad offseason behind it. Laura Nachman has a game plan for Eagles TV and Radio this season. Leonard Shapiro offers up some analysis of the NFL analysts. Jim Williams talks to John Madden and the NBC crew about opening night.

South
Dave Darling lets it be known that he dislikes Thursday night football. Immensely. He asserts that the NFL season should start on Sunday. David Barron has Austin dropping the Texans game this weekend in favor of Vince Young and the Titans. Barry Jackson has the Miami Dolphins radio crew getting ready for their regular season debut as a three man booth. He also looks at FOX’s Grumpy Old Coaches pregame segment.

Midwest
Judd Zulgad has the Clippers swooping in to grab the Timberwolves Radio play-by-play man. Teddy Greenstein says that having Ron Jaworski on board will be key to Tony Kornheiser’s second season on Monday Night Football. Bob Wolfley has Emmitt Smith talking about Brett Favre approaching Dan Marino’s passing records. Jeffrey Flanagan has the Missouri Tigers falling victim to the SEC’s television contracts. Dan Caesar says that KSDK whiffed by not carrying the Deutsche Bank Championship last weekend.

West Coast
Jay Posner has Troy Aikman saying that he won’t give his former offensive coordinator Norv Turner a free ride in his analysis of the Chargers/Bears game on Sunday. John Maffei has more on the Aikman/Tuner dynamic on Sunday. Larry Stewart looks at Tiki Barber stirring up controversy by ripping his former team. Stewart’s notebook has the networks pulling out all the stops for the NFL. Tom Hoffarth has “the stuff you need to know about the 2007 NFL TV season but were afraid to hear the answer.” He has more media notes in his blog.

Another Feat Of Clay

For the first time this season, Tim Wakefield did not get the decision in a game in which he started. The knuckleballer left the game in the fourth inning, having giving up six runs. The Red Sox offense was able to make up for Wakefield, and Clay Buchholz pitched three innings of one-hit ball to pick up the win in a 7-6 Boston win in Baltimore.

Michael Silverman has more on Buchholz, who is showing that nothing he does is routine. Gordon Edes has a look at the night for the Red Sox, which did feature more than just Buchholz. Steven Krasner has the legend of Buchholz growing some more last night. Jeff Goldberg has Buchholz coming through in the first relief appearance of his career. Bill Ballou has the Red Sox inching closer in the magic number column with the win.

Steve Buckley has J.D. Drew trying to relax and not do too much – an approach that didn’t work last night, but is something he thinks he’s going to need to do if he is ever going to succeed in Boston. Nick Cafardo has Buchholz showing “pizzazz, a flair for the dramatic, and electricity all rolled into one.” Goldberg has a look at Coco Crisp able to show his power last night with a three run homer. Missed yesterday was this Rob Bradford piece on how Dustin Pedroia has grown into a Rookie of the Year candidate. Buckley also has Tim Wakefield talking about his shaky outing and first non-decision of the season. Silverman has Terry Francona and Hideki Okajima tired of talking fatigue.

Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox sending American born minor-leaguers to their Dominican academy to see what it is like for players in that country. Dom Amore has both the Red Sox and Yankees bringing up prospects that are producing under the heat of a playoff chase.

Silverman’s notebook has Doug Mirabelli straining a hamstring last night and having to leave the game. Edes’s notebook has Jim Palmer talking about the Red Sox rookie that some have said reminds them of him. Krasner’s notebook has more on Mirabelli’s injury. Goldberg’s notebook has Wakefield’s scoreless streak as well as his decision streak coming to an end last night. Ballou’s notebook has more on Mirabelli and has Daisuke Matsuzaka giving Pedroia his vote for rookie of the year.

Patriots
Over on Patriots Daily, there is a Roundtable discussion for the season opener this weekend. Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Eric Mangini and predictions for the game are all on the agenda.

Christopher L. Gasper looks at the notion that coaches can out-plan each other, something that doesn’t give full credit to the impact of the players involved. Michael Felger says that the Patriots didn’t have a good August and that the early season schedule is going to provide a big test for a roster that isn’t “locked and loaded.” Ian M.Clark has the Patriots trying to avoid all the hype that comes with being favorites. Dan Pires also has a look at the Patriots handling their role as favorites. Christopher Price says that big expectations don’t faze the Pats.

Karen Guregian looks at the Patriots/Jets matchup this Sunday. Shalise Manza Young says that the teams are familiar foes, but should unveil some new schemes on each other. Rich Garven has Jarvis Green rarin’ to go as a starter with Richard Seymour out. Eric McHugh has more on Green. Tim Weisberg examines the secondary as the biggest question mark heading into the new season. Mark Farinella has Tom Brady catching on with his new receivers.

John Tomase has a mini-feature on Vince Wilfork, who he says might be the best player on the roster not named Tom Brady. Robert Lee has a look at the players elected as captains by the team. David Heuschkel looks at Kevin Faulk wearing a new title this season: Captain. Albert Breer has more on the captain selections by the team. Pires has a Q&A with Mike Vrabel, one of the other captains.

Jeff Horrigan has a look at new punter Chris Hanson and recalls the time he was injured by an axe in the Jaguars locker room. David Brown says that Laurence Maroney and Donte’ Stallworth give the Patriots more personality. Brown looks at Ben Watson as a forgotten man this season. Jeff Howe says that learning the playbook might be harder than you think.

The Globe notebook has the team electing seven captains yesterday. Guregian’a notebook looks at the old men elected as captains. Lee’s notebook observes that playing the Patriots seems to bring out the best in Jets receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles. Breer’ notebook throws up a yellow light on Randy Moss’ availability for Sunday. Garven’s notebook has more on the new captains. Pires’ notebook looks at Harrison’s purchase of HGH.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar have their week one picks. I.M. Bettor and Double D also look at the action.

Steve Bulpett looks at rookie Glen Davis’ two year contract with the team.

David Scott offers up a WEEI fantasy draft.

Mark Blaudschun looks at tomorrow’s Boston College football game against former coach Tom O’Brien.

Late Inning Failure For Sox

Leading 4-3 in the eighth inning last night, the Red Sox were unable to finish off a three game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays last night as Troy Glaus hit a solo homer in the inning to tie the game and in the ninth, and Vernon Wells hit a two run blast in the ninth to give the Blue Jays a 6-4 win over Boston.

Jeff Horrigan says that several crucial mistakes led to the Red Sox loss last night. Gordon Edes notes that Hideki Okajima has hit a rough patch at the wrong time for the Red Sox, as his ERA since August is 5.27. Jim Donaldson has a look at the Red Sox not getting the best execution in all aspects of the game last night. Tom Yantz has the Red Sox bullpen failing without Jonathan Papelbon last night. Garry Brown has the Jays just wearing down the Red Sox last night. Bill Doyle has J.D. Drew and the bullpen failing the Red Sox last night.

Tony Massarotti has Curt Schilling pointing to a poor curveball as the worst part of his outing. Lenny Megliola says that Curt Schilling needs to come up with a strong finish to the season. Amalie Benjamin has more on Okajima, who might be just feeling the effect of fatigue…both mental and physical. Paul Kenyon looks at Bryan Corey getting a shot to help out the Red Sox. Rob Bradford has J.D. Drew struggling once more, and the Fenway faithful giving him an earful.

Massarotti makes the case for Jacoby Ellsbury to play every day, even if it means sitting Drew down when Manny Ramirez is ready to play again. Sean McAdam also makes the case that Drew should be the one sitting down when Manny comes back and Ellsbury should remain in the lineup. Bob Stern says that Ellsbury has done just about everything in his brief 11 game Major League career. Alex Speier has more on the recent surge from Ellsbury.

Bradford has thumbnails of Dustin Pedroia’s chief competition for rookie of the year. Brendan McGair has more on the Red Sox kiddie corps.

Horrigan’s notebook has both Ramirez and Eric Gagne likely unavailable for this weekend’s series with the Orioles. Edes’ notebook has the Red Sox finally showing some interest in re-signing Mike Lowell, but feel that he may now have priced himself beyond their taste, especially in terms of the length of a new deal. The Projo notebook has Matt Clement taking a step forward in his return. Yantz’s notebook has Ramirez remaining in Boston this weekend to receive further treatment on his strained oblique. Brown’s notebook examines Terry Francona’s decision to rest the hot Dustin Pedroia last night. Doyle’s notebook has Clement still hoping to make an appearance with the Red Sox this season.

Patriots
Bill Barnwell makes his season debut over at Patriots Daily, and he gives us an exhaustive look at the Patriots success on day two of the draft over the last few years, and compares that with the norms around the league.

The Boston Herald has their Patriots preview today, with more articles than you can shake a stick at, or than I can post here.

The Globe also has something of a preview, but with a more manageable six articles. Christopher L. Gasper examines the challenges that the Patriots face as they open the season as the favorites to win it all. Jackie MacMullan has a look at the Randy Moss experiment here in Foxborough. Mike Reiss has Laurence Maroney needing to prove that he can be the every-down workhorse for the Patriots. Gasper says that bringing new parts together will be Tom Brady’s biggest challenge this season. He also has a look at Adalius Thomas and his move to inside linebacker.

Shalise Manza Young has Pats rookie Kareem Brown talking about his upbringing. David Heuschkel has Jarvis Green ready to fill in for Richard Seymour as the latter is sidelined for at least the first part of the season. Mark Farinella also has a piece on Green ready to step into a larger role. Albert Breer has the Patriots and Jets engaging in a game chess even prior to the opener. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots need to fill the holes left by Seymour and Rodney Harrison if they want to slow down the running game of the Jets. Ian M. Clark has more on the gaps that the Patriots need to fill on Sunday. John Conceison has Tom Brady locked in on the Jets this week.

Reiss’ notebook says that the Patriots appear pretty healthy for the opener. Jennifer Toland’s notebook has the Jets looking for some inside info from Reche Caldwell and Artrell Hawkins. Farinella’s notebook has Mike Vrabel talking about whether Caldwell could actually give the Jets any useful information.

Susan Bickelhaupt has Dan Dierdorf talking about the Patriots being the favorites. Bill Doyle has Don Orsillo changing his philosophy about talking about a no-hitter in progress.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press starts a positional series on the Celtics, looking at spots this year as compared to last season.

Beckett Aces Halladay

Josh Beckett picked up his 17th win of the season as he and his teammates once again got the better of Toronto ace Roy Halladay in a 5-3 Boston win that kept their AL East lead at 7 games.

Jeff Horrigan has Jacoby Ellsbury as the player of the game, as the rookie outfielder was a double away from hitting from the cycle. Paul Jarvey has the new-look Red Sox surging. Amalie Benjamin has more on Ellsbury as the youngster has shown some power the last couple nights in Boston. Sean McAdam has Beckett coming of age this season with the Red Sox. Mike Anthony has more on Beckett outdueling Halladay for the win last night. Garry Brown has Josh Beckett turning in a strong eight inning performance for the win. Joe Haggerty has more on the Sox edging the Jays at Fenway.

Rob Bradford has a look at Beckett, who is comfortable here in Boston and wants the chance to pitch in a World Series for the Red Sox. Gordon Edes also has a look at the strong performance from Beckett, who only made one mistake on the evening. Bradford has Beckett giving credit to Roy Halladay as someone he has tried to imitate over the course of his career. Mike Marzelli looks at “what if” Roger Clemens had joined the Red Sox instead of the Yankees this season.

Edes talks to Jim Robinson, the Red Sox scout who found Clay Buchholz and convinced the organization to draft him. Speier has the Red Sox being very careful with how they handle Buchholz. Joe McDonald has more on Ellsbury, who is making people forget Manny Ramirez. OK, not really. Lenny Megliola looks at the young kids giving us a snapshot of the future for Fenway Park. Alex Speier has an old-timer, Curt Schilling, trying to reinvent his game. Horrigan notes that Jonathan Papelbon pitched for the third day in a row for the first time this season.

Horrigan’s notebook has Clay Buchholz heading down to the bullpen in an effort to keep his innings down. The Globe notebook has more on Buchholz heading to the ‘pen. McAdam’s notebook also looks at Buchholz’s new role out of the bullpen. Anthony’s notebook has Tim Wakefield set to start tomorrow against the Orioles. Megliola’s notebook has Brandon Moss talking about life with the big club. Brown’s notebook has still more on Buchholz heading to the bullpen. Jarvey’s notebook observes that Buchholz won’t get a chance to be another Johnny Vander Meer.

Patriots
Over on Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp notes that this team has something for just about every type of fan out there. There’s also a section on the site which brings you Jets/Patriots stories from the other side automatically.

Bob Hohler reports that Rodney Harrison didn’t even attempt to disguise his name or address when he purchased HGH.

Karen Guregian has a look at Patriots/Jets, a rivalry which will be on center stage this weekend. Paul Kenyon looks at the Patriots going with a pair of Matts to back up Tom Brady. Glen Farley has Randy Moss ready to get out there “with the boys.” Sarah Green lost her zeal for the upcoming season with the news about Harrison. Mark Farinella finds one area in which Eric Mangini has an edge over Bill Belichick.

David Heuschkel, in his Patriots preview, notes that the team appears to have talent to spare. He also does a position-by-position breakdown and has Five Questions surrounding the team heading into opening day. Fluto Shinzawa has running back Thomas Jones looking ready to rejoin the Jets in time for the season opener on Sunday. Reiss’s notebook has a look at the mind games which are part of the modern NFL.

Other
Mark Blaudschun looks at former BC head coach Tom O’Brien coming back to face his former team for the first time this weekend. Steve Conroy has more with the former Eagles coach. Blaudschun’s notebook has BC filing an appeal on behalf of senior defensive tackle B.J. Raji in an effort to allow him to play after having been declared academically ineligible.

Frank Dell’Apa has the Revolution advancing to the finals of the US Open Cup with a 2-1 win over Carolina last night. Kyle McCarthy and Tom Puleo have more on the win for New England.

Rushing To Fan The Flames

This might be old news to some of you, as this matter was hashed out on message boards all over the place over the holiday weekend, but in his haste to stir up the “border war” between the Patriots and Jets, New York Daily News writer Rich Cimini made a total ass of himself when he published this article on Saturday.

In the piece he attributes a quote to Bill Belichick that appeared in Peter King’s article on the Top 500 Players in the NFL.

King wrote:

Most told me I was loony to have Rhodes ranked in the 20s and Bills tackle Jason Peters in the 30s. I believe Rhodes comes closest to Ed Reed (12), the best impact safety in the game, and I believe Peters, a converted tight end, will be an All-Pro within two years. So I wouldn't move them down even if Bill Belichick called and said, "Neither of those guys could make my team."

So Cimini takes that quote, runs breathlessly to Rhodes, and presents it to him. The Jets safety is incredulous, and gets a big laugh out of the quote, and notes that the Patriots are up next on the schedule for the Jets. Cimini then writes the above article on the episode, noting that Belichick “usually is careful about not providing bulletin-board fodder to the opponent.” he concludes by saying “Another subplot for an already juicy rivalry.”

Did you catch the problem with the above?

Belichick never told King anything about Rhodes or Peters. King writes that he would keep those players ranked where he had them even if Bill Belichick called him.

The supposed Belichick quote even made the Florida Times Union’s weekend NFL notes. (Ironically, right above a correction about another story.)

Cimini was appraised of his mistake, which resulted in a generic retraction by the Daily News, and a mea culpa by Cimini in his Jets blog late Saturday afternoon.

However, the issue was big enough that King himself felt compelled to comment on it in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, and notes:

Geez. And you wonder sometimes why guys like Belichick treat us like vermin.

In a rather rare moment of clarity, Peter King nails it. The danger of rushing to jump on any shred of controversy or conflict is clearly illustrated by this episode. Would the rush be so great if it were any other coach in the NFL?

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This wasn’t the only Belichick controversy of the weekend. Vikings coach Brad Childress apparently has some sort of rivalry/fixation with the Patriots head coach.

BostonSportZ has a rundown of the events that took place this weekend as the two teams claimed players from each other.

Priceless is the quote from ProFootballTalk.com which has a source saying the following:

"Why, in God's name, is Brad Childress talking about Bill Belichick to the press? Is [Childress] a complete and senseless moron? He basically insults one of the most powerful coaches in the league by calling him out as dishonest. He's an idiot coach."

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Welcome to the big time, Eric Wilbur. When you find your work in the cross-hairs of the FireJoeMorgan gang, you know you’ve arrived. The Boston.com blogger had his recent post Emotional rescue torn to shreds by the FJM crew.

Mike Reiss had a Patriots chat on Boston.com this afternoon.

Gordon Edes has a Red Sox mailbag.

Bob Ekstrom talks to Steve Grogan, Steve DeOssie and Tim Fox among others about the Patriots/Jets rivalry.

Tom Curran says that the Patriots are the top team in the league, but their margin is slim.

Pete Prisco has the Patriots third in his week one Power Rankings.

Michael Silver goes around the NFL in Morning Rush.

Gregg Easterbrook has Tuesday Morning Quarterback for ESPN.com

Peter King has Monday Morning QB, Tuesday edition.

What, now Fast Company is bashing Manny Ramirez? Do these guys have a clue as to what Manny’s work ethic is like? I think not.

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Tonight
7:00pm, NESN – Blue Jays @ Red Sox

Back to Work

So…pretty slow holiday weekend in the world of Boston sports, huh?

From Rodney Harrison’s HGH suspension to Clay Buchholz pitching a no-hitter, to the Patriots shuffling their roster for opening day this Sunday, there was plenty to keep people talking in the world of sports over the last few days. The Boston Herald and New England Patriots also launched re-designed websites as well.

Last night, Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox ran out to a 10-1 lead on the Toronto Blue Jays, and it looked as if it was going to be an easy night for Boston. Then Matsuzaka melted down in the sixth inning as the Blue Jays put up eight runs to make it a 10-9 game. The Red Sox eventually added a few more runs and escaped with a 13-10 win at Fenway Park.

The new Herald website was up and down this morning, some links are missing, or might not work properly.

Nick Cafardo says that there is reason to feel uneasy in Red Sox nation, despite the now seven game lead on the Yankees. Steven Krasner has the Red Sox turning an easy win into a difficult one. Mike Anthony has more on the Red Sox nearly blowing a nine run lead. Lenny Megliola has the Sox winning a slugfest at Fenway. Rob Bradford has Mike Lowell and the Red Sox bats working extra hard on Labor day. Ron Chimelis also has the Sox laboring hard on the holiday. Paul Jarvey has the Red Sox pitching taking a holiday in the middle innings.

Steve Buckley has Daisuke Matsuzaka making his own bad luck last night. Daniel Malloy has Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia forming a dangerous duo at the top of the line up for the Red Sox yesterday. Bradford notes that it is never easy for Dice-K, who got the run support last night, but gave it all right back. Jon Couture has Matsuzaka showing all his ups and downs last night. Chimelis notes that the Red Sox are facing a decision on Lowell as the season winds down and he continues to be productive.

Buckley has Tim Wakefield targeting Thursday for a return to the Red Sox rotation. Bradford has Dodgers director of scouting Logan White lamenting that his team didn’t select Buchholz. Joe Haggerty has Mike Lowell putting together a career year…in a contract year. Chad Finn likes the Red Sox rookies.

Cafardo’s notebook has Mike Lowell taking his time in the cleanup spot seriously. Krasner notebook observes that there has been no dropoff in the cleanup spot with Manny Ramirez out and Lowell in. Bradford’s notebook has Curt Schilling suggesting that the Red Sox young pitchers should be able to throw with less restrictions upon them. Chimelis’ notebook has Buchholz’s next start tied to how Wakefield feels. Jarvey’s notebook has Wakefield taking a bullpen session yesterday.

Patriots
Christopher Price goes Inside Gillette for Patriots Daily, examining the tenure of Patriots long snapper Lonie Paxton. He also has five things to look for this weekend against the Jets.

Mike Reiss has Randy Moss back on the practice field and hoping to play Sunday against the Jets. Mark Farinella has Moss revealing that his absence in camp was due to the Patriots protecting their investment. Dan Pires has more on the return of Moss. David Heuschkel has Moss back in pads, but still questionable for Sunday.

Christopher L. Gasper has coach Bill Belichick remaining vague on the subject of Rodney Harrison’s suspension. Albert Breer has Tory James and Willie Andrews talking about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs and why they have abstained from them. Jennifer Toland has James Sanders ready to step into the starting lineup. Gaspar has the Patriots sending Reche Caldwell packing yesterday, which coincided with Moss’ return to health. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots pressing on without Harrison. Young also says that Caldwell was simply a victim of numbers.

Gasper’s notebook has Tom Brady feeling the rush to get prepared with his new offensive weapons before Sunday. Farinella’s notebook has James Sanders feeling confident about filling in for Harrison. Toland’s notebook has more on Moss. Young’s notebook has Moss “graduating” from the training room.

Marc J. Spears has Kevin Garnett working out early and often to prepare for his first season with the Celtics.

David Scott has a Dennis and Callahan non-update, a look at the Herald’s new design and media reaction to Harrison.

John Molori looks at Jim Nantz, who has “carved a classy niche in the sportscaster pantheon.”