Tough stretch for Celts and B’s

Good morning, Brian Beaupre here again filling in for Bruce on vacation.  A team wearing Celtics jerseys played in Miami last night, and gave a valiant effort, but could not complete a fourth quarter comeback against Dwayne Wade and the Heat.  The Pats made a few signings official yesterday, Jonathan Papelbon finally said what we already knew about Manny, and everyone is still trying to figure out what is going on with the Bruins.  Let’s get started.

 

Celtics

The Celtics injury woes are well-documented at this point, as KG, Rondo, Glen Davis, Tony Allen, and Scalabrine all did not make the trip last night to Miami.  I continue to be amazed at the difference KG alone makes on the floor defensively, as he just makes everyone around him better defenders, and it seems like the Celts can’t stop anyone from dropping 100 on them now.  Throw in the absence of Rajon Rondo and you got major issues on both ends of the floor now.  Mark Murphy has Doc insisting on staying patient with his injured players, wanting them at 100% for the playoffs rather than rush them back for home court.  I think we can agree homecourt is out the window at this point.  Marc Spears has the Celtics once again digging themselves a big hole and unable to find stops down the stretch with a depleted lineup.  Murphy’s notebook discusses how close Marbury was to signing with the Heat, Bill Walker reuinted with his former college teammate last night, Leon Powe’s workload last night, and a gem of a quote from Doc Rivers on the Celtics playoff splits last year; “But I love how everyone quotes our playoff road record from last year, but they should quote everyone’s record.  Everyone sucked on the road last year.”  Spears’ notebook has more on Marbury’s decision, along with newcomers Marbury and Mikki Moore disappointed with their slow starts.

Red Sox

On the heels of their stunning upset of The Dominican Republic in thw WBC, Alex Speier discusses the Red Sox investment in player development in the Netherlands in recent years.  Ron Borges has the Red Sox glad to finally have David Ortiz returning to camp after playing first base in the WBC.  John Tomase has Pedroia/Youkilis playing nice with Jeter at the WBC, with all parties gushing over each other’s personalities.  Tomase has more on USA manager Davey Johnson proud of his former Dutch team defeating the DR this week.

Michael Silverman looks at the decision the Red Sox must make on their #1 pick Casey Kelly, between developing him at pitcher or shortstop, and it appears they’re going to do both, if you can believe it.  Lenny Megliola takes a look at old friend Nomar taking his last shot with Oakland this year.  Maureen Mullen has a piece on Sox minor leaguer Nick Green, who came over the Sox organization from the Yankees this season.  Finally, Silverman has Jonathan Papelbon speaking out on Manny Ramirez yesterday, claiming he was a “cancer” and “on a different train,” and that the decision to move him was approved by the veterans.

Patriots

The Pats yesterday made official their signings of cornerbacks Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden, continuing to address their needs at secondary.  Sadly, it’s one year too late.  Christopher Gasper has details on Bodden’s signing as well as a new long-snapper for the Pats.  Karen Guregian has Shawn Springs meeting with the media yesterday and discussing his long-standing rivalry with TO, dating back to their days in the NFC West.  Mike Petraglia has more from Springs about his decision to come to Foxboro.  Shalize Manza Young has more on what brought Springs to New England.  Mark Farinella has Springs claiming he’s got plenty in the tank at age 34.

In another sign that the Patriots are officially changing the old guard, Karen Guregian’s notebook has special teams star and captain Larry Izzo signed with the New York Jets.  Christopher Gasper has more on the Izzo signing for the Jets.  Mark Farinella has more on Izzo joining the hated rivals yesterday.  Glen Farley also looks at Izzo’s decision to switch to the green. Gasper’s notebook discusses Springs & TO, the official Bodden signing, and an update on negotiations with backup NT Mike Wright.  Shalize Manza Young discusses the changing landscape of the AFC East, and points out the most overlooked aspect of the Matt Cassel deal, in that it is a clear indicator that Tom Brady will be healthy and taking snaps come week one, the best addition any team could make.  Chris Warner has a Q&A with Penn State left tackle Gerald Cadogan over at Patriots Daily.  In a case of the old adage “the best deals are the ones you don’t do,” PFT had an item yesterday about the Leigh Bodden signing, with sources indicating that the Pats actually made a 4 year, $16 million offer back on Feb. 27th when free agency started, but Bodden wanted to test the market.  He ended up signing a one-year, $2.25 million deal with a commitment the Pats won’t franchise him.  News of the Pats supposed offer makes me a feel a little bit better about the guy.

Bruins

Well the question on everyone’s mind right now with the Bruins is quite simple; what’s wrong with the Bruins?  Kevin Paul Dupont’s notebook has Cam Neely visibly irritated with the Bruins lack of retaliation against Jiri Novotny’s hit on Tim Thomas Tuesday night, as well as coach Claude Julien mum about the mysterious absence of David Kejci and Phil Kessel at practice yesterday and their status for tonight’s game.  Steve Conroy’s notebook has the Bruins getting after it at practice yesterday without Krejci and Kessel.  Joe Haggerty discusses how the Bruins toughness and physical play all starts with Milan Lucic, who is finally feeling healthy and strong again.  Mike Loftus has Bruins newcomer Steve Montador excited about the Bruins and positive about their potential, regardless of their recent struggles.

Misc.

In a must-read for me, Mike Felger has a new mailbag up.  With the ACC tourney kicking off tonight, Bob Ryan has Al Skinner patient and consistent with his BC Eagles, depsite their up-and-down season.  Julian Benbow takes a look at fiery BC guard Reggie Jackson and how he has developed this season.  Dan Shaughnessy has a piece on the travels of the Mass Bay Community College men’s basketball team and the daily lives on their students.  Finally, Providence defeated DePaul yesterday, setting them up with a must-win today against Louisville at noon to get into the tournament.

That’s all for today.  Please shoot me any questions or concerns to [email protected].  Have a good one.

  • http://thosecleverkids.com/blog Tom

    Pretty sure at 30, Nick Green is not a “prospect”.

  • Lance

    Felger – one huge reason blonds have the reputation for being stupid. “Controversy? You want controversy? How about this – Tom Brady might be gay! The Patriots need more quality in their DB’s!” Yeah, Felger really adds a lot…

  • Boston Dan

    “Sadly, it’s one year too late.”

    I hope you’re not attempting to pass this off as intelligent NFL commentary.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    yeah really…It’s a year too late, so they should have said “screw it” stood pat and done nothing this year?

    • Brian

      I would have liked to have seen the Pats replace proven performers like Asante Samuel and Randall Gay last year with players that have a stronger track record than Tank Williams, Fernando Bryant, and Deltha O’Neal. Bodden and Springs at least have solid reputations across the league within the last 2 years. Deltha O’Neal was cut by the Bengals a week prior to the start of the season and signed by the Pats, indicating the Bengals expected him to perform in camp, and he couldn’t get it done…for the Bengals; much different approach than offering multi-year deals with decent guaranteed money to two cornerbacks in March, as they did with Bodden and Springs.

      My comment does not insinuate in any way that because they didn’t make the same aggressive moves last year to fill holes in the secondary that they should maintain the same approach this year. Simply pointing out that I wish they had been this proactive last year in securing better talent to replace Samuel and Gay, because it cost us this year.

  • Nopointe

    Why was Felger a must read? Did you give up NOT reading s**t stirring a**wipes for Lent?

  • http://www.patriotsdaily.com Scott

    I don’t think it hurt them anywhere near as much as a bad year from their front seven (excepting Mayo). If they don’t get a better year this year Mike Haynes himself wouldn’t make a difference.

    • Brian

      Agreed. All of the championship Pats teams were able to generate pressure out of the 3-4 and allow their linebackers to make plays. Pressure obviously can cover up major deficiencies in your secondary, which we were able to do in 2001-2004. When the Pats were on top, their linebackers were active playmakers who could both stop the run (Ted Johnson), drop back in coverage (Bruschi), and bring pressure off the edge (McGinest/Vrabel in their prime). When I look at our defense right now, obviously the secondary was not a strength last year, however, that problem was exacerbated by our inability to apply any pressure at all. I’m hoping they grab another OLB or D-lineman in the upcoming draft.

      The other issue is back in 2000 when BB took over, it was basically the Pats and Steelers running a 3-4 defense. Now, practically half the league runs a 3-4 so the available talent that fits your system is at a premium, given half the league is looking for the same types of players.