Already 2009 For Patriots

The Calendar is still 2008, and we’re still technically in the 2008 NFL season, but it’s all about 2009 for the New England Patriots, who will not be playing football in January for the first time since the 2002 season.

Christopher L. Gasper has the team trying to find some consolation in the longer-than-usual offseason facing them. Mark Farinella has the Patriots cleaning out their lockers with a mixture of satisfaction and frustration.  Robert Lee has the Patriots proud of their 11 wins, but frustrated at not being in the playoffs.  Rich Garven has the Patriots doing a lot more right than wrong this season. Alex Speier has the Patriots among the best near miss teams of all time.

If you’re looking for a fall guy, Eric McHugh has a list of those you can blame for the Patriots not making the playoffs. Shalise Manza Young points to the failure to stop the Jets in OT as the reason the Patriots are home now. Ron Chimelis points to the coin flip prior to that period as the key to the Patriots season.

Mike Reiss provides a breakdown of the team’s personnel at each position, with their contract situations. Karen Guregian has a look at the top five questions facing the Patriots this offseason. Tim Weisberg has the Patriots already beginning a new chapter. Brian MacPherson looks ahead to an offseason of big decisions. Steve Krause has the Patriots reflecting and reevaluating as the offseason arrives.

In his report card, Ron Borges has all “B’s”, with the exception of one “A” and one “C.” In Michael Felger’s report card, he has Bill Belichick putting to rest this season all the questions about whether he could win without Tom Brady. Ian Clark has the football gods being cruel to the Patriots in his report card.

John Tomase examines what’s next for Matt Cassel. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots will have a lot more free time this winter to think about what to do with Cassel.

Farinella has Bill Belichick talking about getting some rest this offseason for the players and coaches. Bill Burt says that Wes Welker was the Patriots 2008 MVP and is their new poster boy. Tomase looks at the case of James Sanders, who will be a free agent this spring.

Steve Buckley discusses the dueling stories about the status of Tom Brady’s knee. Bill Reynolds says that there should be no moaning or groaning over the fate of these Patriots, who overachieved to 11 wins. Jennifer Toland has the Patriots dealing with their fate. Glen Farley has more on the sudden end to the season for New England. Peter Schworm has Patriots fans left out in the cold following the season.

Scott Benson looks at the annual interest and speculation over Scott Pioli’s future. Guregian looks at the interest in Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels by the Cleveland Browns. Glen Farley has the Browns getting permission to talk to Pioli. Garry Brown says that the Dolphins are living proof that if you hire Bill Parcells, the playoffs will follow.

Gasper’s notebook says that the demand for Pioli and McDaniels has already begun. Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots saying their goodbyes yesterday. Lee’s notebook has Cassel and the Patriots with a wealth of options this offseason.

Celtics

Marc J. Spears has Doc Rivers trying hard to limit Kevin Garnett’s playing time. Steve Bulpett says that tonight’s road trip finale in Portland will be a key test for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has the Celtics needing a win tonight to avoid a losing road trip. Paul Flannery looks at how teams like Portland circle games with the Celtics on their calendar far in advance. Jessica Camerato looks at how fatherhood impacted the Celtics in 2008.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris have coach Claude Julien dropping Milan Lucic to the third line. Steve Conroy looks at how young talent and inspired play have brought the Bruins back to the top. Joe Haggerty talks to the agent for Patrice Bergeron about how his client is doing. Conroy has some things to expect in the Bruins future.

Red Sox

On SI.com, Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci report that after the Sox lost out on Mark Teixeira, they tried to pry Hanley Ramirez away from the Marlins and bring him back to the Red Sox organization. Curt Schilling weighs in on the signing of Josh Bard and Brad Penny.

  • Chris

    How many of these ‘What’s Next For Matt Cassel?’ columns can these media hacks possibly write?

  • tom braided

    Let’s see now, who exactly did the “overachieving” pats beat this year: Oakland, Houston and Cincinnati, Buffalo (twice), the NFC Jest, the Jets (which all Patriots fans seem to agree are pathetic) and the Dolphins, but only once.

    Who did billy’s bullies lose to: Colts, Chargers, Steelers, Dolphins and the New York Bretts. So I guess it’s beat the bad teams, lose to the good teams.

  • http://3rdstringqb.blogspot.com Pip

    There is nothing wrong with the NFL overtime rule. If teams lose because of the coin toss then maybe they should play some defence.

    The Pats missed the playoffs becasue they could not beat the Colts or stop the Dolphins Wildcat offence.

    • Bruce

      I don’t you’ll find anyone here claiming otherwise. The only people saying a coin toss decided the Patriots season are in the media and they’re saying it because it’s a quick, easy storyline.

  • Tony

    Tom Braided……you can dismiss the Pats’ accomplishments this season because of an easy schedule all you like, but you clearly miss the point.

    The point is that BB didn’t let his team quit on the season, despite the rash of KEY injuries on both offense and defense.

    If you don’t think psychology plays a lot into a team’s success during the season, then you simply don’t know that much about team sports.

    The Pats’ players easily could have quit on the season the moment they saw Brady limping off the field; or the moment they heard that Maroney was done for the year; or the moment they saw Harrison being carted off the field; or the moment they heard that Adalius Thomas was hurt and probably done for the year.

    Belichick is one of the few coaches in sports that does not allow his team to use injuries as an excuse for losing, or for not playing hard.

    To go 11-5 this season with all of the key injuries the team had was a remarkable achievement.

    Only a Pats-hating ignoramous with no football knowledge would say otherwise.