Wednesday Afternoon Notes

A few notes from today.

I’ve got a new column up for the Metro: Moss Speculation Means New Lows For Media.

Rodney Harrison was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show today, and as always, had some interesting things to say.

Jeremy Gottlieb goes around the league on Patriots Daily.

The Big Lead has an interesting post on Should Sports Editors Forbid Their Writers From Helping ESPN Essentially Kill Newspapers?

With the Bruins starting the regular season and the Red Sox in the playoffs once again the NESN dance is set to begin again. Like last year, when the teams happen to play on the same night, both Bruins and Red Sox games will be available in HD, with one of them being moved to a NESNplus station.

On October 3, NESN will deliver simultaneous high definition (HD) coverage of the Red Sox and Bruins when both teams play at the same time. The Red Sox and Bruins are both scheduled to play 7:00 PM regular season games on October 3 and NESN will deliver live and exclusive coverage of both games in standard and high definition. The Red Sox – Indians game will be available on NESNplus and NESNplus HD channels with coverage beginning at 6:00 PM with Olympia Sports presents The Boston Globe Red Sox Game Day Live while the Bruins – Hurricanes game will be available on NESN and NESNHD with coverage beginning at 6:30 PM with WB Mason Bruins Face-Off Live.

NESNplus and NESNplus HD are a compilation of channels that distributors provide NESN to carry simultaneous coverage of Red Sox and Bruins games.

A complete list of NESNplus and NESNplus HD channels will be available at NESN.com later today.

Sox Back Into The Wild Card

From the very first pitch last night it seemed that the Red Sox were going to need some help to secure the wild card playoff berth. Clay Buchholz got shelled as the Toronto Blue Jays were once again launching home runs all over Fenway Park. The Red Sox made it tight close, and had the winning run on base in the ninth, but couldn’t get it done, losing to the Jays 8-7.

That meant a late night for Red Sox players and media, who remained at the ballpark to await the results of the Rangers/Angels game out west. The Angels defeated the Rangers, eliminating them from the playoff hunt, and giving the wild card to the Red Sox.

John Tomase has the Red Sox happy to be in the playoffs, regardless of how they got there. Amalie Benjamin says that the wait into the late hours was worth it for the Sox. Jeff Goldberg has the Red Sox late rally falling short last night. Joe McDonald has the Red Sox clinching the playoff berth while most of us were sleeping. Bill Ballou notes that not all the Red Sox were around for the clinching party. Amy K. Nelson has the Red Sox finally getting something to celebrate.

Michael Silverman has the Red Sox keeping their clubhouse party private. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox don’t need to apologize for their celebration last night. Ron Chimelis has the Red Sox locker room subdued following their loss to Toronto.  Jon Couture is a little confused by these Red Sox. Mike Fine has the Red Sox coming in the back door to the postseason. Jim Fenton has the Sox wrapping up their sixth trip to the postseason in seven seasons.

Michael Whitmer says that Buchholz didn’t have it right from the start last night. Silverman says we shouldn’t be worried about this late season slide that the Red Sox have been on.  Kevin McNamara has last night’s comeback falling just a little short.

McDonald notes that with six playoff appearances in seven years, this is a golden era for the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty says that Beckett and Lester are on track for their playoff starts. Silverman has Casey Kelly and the Red Sox with a decision to make about his future. Brian MacPherson notes that Manny Delcarmen only struggles when given a clean inning. When inheriting runners, he’s still the best reliever in the bullpen. Bill Burt says Aaron Hill is the best second baseman in baseball.

Tomase’s notebook has Josh Beckett getting three partial cortisone shots in his back, but expecting to make his start on Saturday. Benjamin’s notebook has Beckett optimistic about his next start and beyond. Goldberg’s notebook has Beckett’s back feeling better already. The Projo Red Sox journal has more on Beckett. Ballou’s notebook has Kelly in the park last night. Fenton’s notebook has Buchholz getting roughed up last night.  

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Scott Benson awards the PD Game Ball to the line of scrimmage and has himself Take a Lap after getting caught up in the Joey Galloway frustration. Brandon Rosenau has his 50th Anniversary Minute on the 1976 Patriots.

Kerry Byrne says that Patriots fans need to temper their expectations for this team.

Christopher L. Gasper looks at a Patriots defense which finds itself one of the top-ranked units in the NFL after three weeks. Rapoport has Tedy Bruschi applauding the effort of the defense.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots reviewing the loss to the Jets in planning for the Ravens. Glen Farley has Kelley Washington becoming a productive receiver with the Ravens. Mike Reiss offers up Ten quick-hit thoughts on the Ravens.

Without mentioning it, Jim Donaldson refutes the ridiculous CBSSports.com column that claimed Randy Moss has been “dogging it” with the Patriots. Mark Farinella isn’t impressed with Gary Tanguay’s penchant for “storyline” radio on WBZ-FM.

Mike Reiss and Christopher Price each have mailbags. Jeff Howe examines the struggles of Joey Galloway.

The Globe notebook says that the Patriots are going to see a lot of familiar schemes this Sunday. Rapoport’s notebook has a look at the Matt Light Celebrity Shoot-Out. The Projo Patriots journal has the Patriots bringing in Terdell Sands.

Bruins

The Bruins start their regular season tomorrow night with the Capitals coming into town.

Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins now have something unfamiliar to deal with: expectations. Steve Conroy has a mini-feature on defenseman Derek Morris, who is ready to play for a winner. Mike McMahon says that the Bruins will be just fine without Phil Kessel. Joe Haggerty previews the forwards. Joe Donahue runs down the Bruins roster.

Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins will strive to play with a shutdown mentality on defense. McMahon has David Krejci eying a career season. Mike Loftus has the Bruins expecting a big season from Patrice Bergeron.

The Globe notebookhas Chuck Kobasew’s relentless style on the ice resonating with his teammates. Rich Thompson’s notebook has Patrice Bergeron earning praise from Mark Recchi. Loftus’ notebook looks at role players who will need to step up for the Bruins.

Celtics

Frank Dell’Apa has Kevin Garnett going full speed at practice yesterday, participating in about 75% of the action. Mark Murphy notes that KG wasn’t happy at not being allowed in on the other 25% of practice.

Robert Lee has Rajon Rondo on a mission this season. Gary Washburn has Rondo trying to embrace a low-key, quiet role off the court this season. Bill Doyle says that Rasheed Wallace doesn’t expect to change his style with the officials.

Murphy’s notebook has Tony Allen way down on the depth chart as he recovers from ankle tendon surgery. Julian Benbow has the second unit looking impressive right off the bat. Lee’s Celtics journal has KG and Doc Rivers enjoying having training camp in Newport.

Celtics Ready To Roll

The Celtics held their annual media day yesterday, which marks the official opening of training camp for the 2009/2010 season.

Mark Murphy has the Celtics starting out with a hopes of raising banner # 18 this season.  Robert Lee has the Celtics feeling rejuvenated and upbeat as the new season begins. Jessica Camerato gives us a media day wrapup. Lenny Megliola says that the clock is ticking on the big three.

Steve Bulpett has Kevin Garnett set to start camp healthy and with no restrictions on his play. Gary Washburn says that the Celtics may not have the same Garnett of old back, and that in addition to being concerned about leading his team to wins, KG may be thinking about how much he has left. Scott Souza has Garnett eager to return to action and get started. Bill Doyle has KG and the Celtics looking to keep him healthy for the postseason. Chris Sheridan has Garnett scrimmaging with his teammates and ready to go. Jim Fenton has more on KG’s return.

Frank Dell’Apa has Rasheed Wallace voicing optimism about the Celtics and his role with his new team.  Dan Duggan has Wallace fitting in and already feeling the love from his new teammates. Washburn gives us Five things to watch in training camp. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics looking for a new version of Lucky.

Murphy’s notebook has Rajon Rondo putting on 11 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and not worrying about his contract.  Lee’s notebook has Garnett set to go “full blast” right from the start of camp. Julian Benbow’s notebook has Danny Ainge and Rondo both optimistic about the immediate and long-term future. Fenton’s notebook has Rondo determined not to let his contract situation weigh him down. Doyle’s notebook has Rondo looking to be shown the dollars.  

Bruins

Mike Loftus and Rich Thompson have David Krejci ready to go for Thursday night’s season opener. Fluto Shinzawa has a mini-feature on Marc Savard, who has changed his game from one that was about himself into one that is all about the team. Matt Kalman has defenseman Johnny Boychuk appearing to have made the team.

 Loftus’ notebook has Marco Sturm getting the first crack at replacing Phil Kessel at right wing on the top line. Thompson’s notebook has owner Jeremy Jacobs setting his sights on winning the Stanley Cup this season. Shinzawa’s notebook says that the roster moves indicate that Krejci will be ready to go on opening night.

Do They Make The Grade?

Last week the likes of Michael Felger, Tony Massarotti and Gary Tanguay (not to mention Dakota from Braintree) told us that the Falcons were an undefeated offensive juggernaut that would shred the Patriots defense all day long.

After listening some yesterday, apparently the Falcons were nothing but a flawed, dome NFC team that couldn’t play in the rain. The real beating will come this Sunday when the Ravens fly into town and run roughshod over the Patriots.

So how did the experts grade the performance against the Falcons? The aforementioned Michael Felger is almost gushing in his praise of the Patriots, especially the defense. The toughest grade is a “C” for Tom Brady. Is this really the same guy I hear trashing the Patriots every single day on 98.5? Ron Borges ia a little rough on the linebackers, giving them a “C-” while the QB and receivers each get a “C+”. All other grades are “A’s” and “B’s”. On Patriots Daily, Jeremy Gottlieb has a “C” for the quarterback and a “C+” for the receivers. Steve DeOssie is surprised by the defense, and hands out “A’s” and “B’s” across the board.

Shalise Manza Young had the first report I saw that the North Attleboro police were investigating “an incident involving a Patriots player” who was the victim of a home invasion. That player was thought to be Jonathan Wilhite. Monique Walker and Christopher L. Gasper have more on the story in the Globe today. David Linton reports on what Wilhite told police.

Ian R. Rapoport reports that Vince Wilfork has a sprained left ankle, and that the injury is not thought to be a long term problem.

Rapoport says that one way that the Patriots keep opponents off balance is by changing game plans each week. Glen Farley says that the Ravens will give the Patriots a much tougher test. Brian MacPherson is impressed bu the Patriots defense in the early going. Christopher Price looks at how Brandon McGowan has become a sparkplug on defense for the Patriots. Rich Garven has the Patriots able to get the job done on defense despite injuries.

Karen Guregian says that Fred Taylor made a statement with his play on Sunday. Tim Weisberg says that the breakout game from Taylor was welcomed by his teammates and coaches. Price says that Taylor is up for the challenge of being the lead back. Young looks at the risky fourth down play on Sunday that paid off for the Patriots. Farley has more on Belichick’s faith on fourth down Sunday.

Rapoport’s notebook mentions the Wilhite incident. Gasper’s notebook says that Taylor wouldn’t mind grabbing the lead role at running back. Young’s Patriots Journal says that Wilfork’s injured ankle isn’t believed to be serious.

Red Sox

The Red Sox couldn’t clinch their postseason berth last night, as they were swamped by the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-5in a rain-shortened game last night. The Rangers lost to the Angels tonight, so the Red Sox clinched at least a tie for the wild card. They can clinch the postseason berth with a win tonight or another Rangers loss.

Nick Cafardo has Michael Bowden getting the start in place of Josh Beckett last night, and getting hit hard. John Tomase says the Red Sox have the chance to clinch tonight in front of their own fans. Ron Chimelis has the Blue Jays keeping the Red Sox celebration on ice for another night. Jeff Goldberg has the Sox struggling without Josh Beckett last night. Bill Ballou has the Sox playing another Fall Training game. Kevin McNamara has the Sox leaving fans feeling empty and wet last night. Ken Lechtanski has the champagne on ice for another night.

Sean McAdam says that this week is about getting rested and healthy. Rob Bradford looks at how worried we should be about the Red Sox injuries. Howard Bryant has David Ortiz able to rebound from a horrible start this season, but the PED issue still lingers. Chimelis says that we shouldn’t take the consistently winning Red Sox for granted. Joe McDonald has the Sox playing without Beckett last night, while Jon Lester feels better. Mike Fine has the Red Sox juggling things in preparation for October.

Michael Vega has Dustin Richardson waking up in Florida yesterday, and ending the night making his major league debut for the Red Sox. Brian MacPherson looks at how the Red Sox are dealing with the setbacks to their two aces. Joe Haggerty say that the Red Sox have no panic over their health woes. Pedro Gomez has Manny Delcarmen making some progress in his outing last night.

McAdam reports that J.P. Ricciardi could be in jeopardy of losing his job in Toronto. Bill Reynolds says that for the Yankees, it’s win it all or bust.

Cafardo’s notebook says that the news is optimistic on Beckett and Jon Lester for their next starts. Tomase’s notebook looks at Beckett getting scratched last night with back spasms.  Chimelis’ notebook has more on Beckett getting scratched. Ballou’s notebook has Beckett and Mike Lowell getting some rest last night. Goldberg’s notebook has Jon Lester feeling better. The Projo Red Sox Journal has Lowell getting a shot of of both Synvisc and cortisone yesterday to prepare for the postseason.

Celtics media day links coming in separate post.

Demise of Patriots Put on Hold. Again.

Updated with more links below.

There had been a lot of doom forecast this week regarding the Patriots. Sports radios hosts and callers, as well as national football writers felt that the high-powered Atlanta Falcons offense was going to come into Foxborough and run roughshod over the Patriots defense. Tony Gonzalez in particular would be a problem for New England.

The much-maligned defensive unit held Gonzalez to one catch on the day, and limited the vaunted Falcons offense to 10 points in a 26-10 Patriots victory at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots offense had red zone issues once again, but was able to move the ball on the ground and in the air all afternoon.

Mike Reiss says that the Patriots still have plenty of room for improvement after this one. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots answering their critics in an emphatic, straight-forward fashion on a dreary, wet day. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots coming out on top despite an offense that is still a work in progress. Jennifer Toland says that it turns out that the panic from last week was unfounded. Mark Farinella says that flawed victories are still victories. Tim Whelan Jr. calls this one a vintage effort from the Patriots. Tim Weisberg says that this was a step in the right direction for the Patriots. Glen Farley has the Patriots using the running attack in the win. Steve Krause has the Patriots using the running game to right the ship.

Bob Ryan says that while the Patriots are still a work-in-progress and need to improve, they’ll take this one.  Ron Borges says that a poor game plan, not anything special that the Patriots did, doomed the Falcons. Jim Donaldson says that it was like old times for the Patriots defense. Bill Burt says that Fred Taylor provided a spark that the Patriots had been lacking. Tom King says that playing keep-away with the Falcons gave the Patriots the edge. Michael Felger says that this was an old-school win for the Patriots.

You might want to check out Spawn of Dumb Girl by Dan Snapp on Patriots Daily. Just sayin’.

Jonathan Comey in his Monday Morning Fullback column looks at Josh McDaniels’ fast start in Denver. Christopher Price rolls through 10 things we learned about the Patriots yesterday. Chris Warner has the Gut Check after this one.

Karen Guregian has the unheralded Patriots defense getting the job done against the Falcons offense. Hector Longo has the Patriots defense making a statement with their play. Eric McHugh has Brandon McGowan becoming an impact playmaker on the Patriots defense. King has the defense stepping up in the win.

Monique Walker has Tom Brady still trying to find his touch, but getting the job done anyway. Kirk Minihane isn’t buying this “Brady’s back” talk that we’ll be hearing all week. I really don’t think we’ll be hearing much of that. Brady’s issues with accuracy were there for all to see. Guregian has Randy Moss coming up big in the passing game despite a sore back. Donaldson says that Moss was probably able to sleep well last night after his effort.

Dan Duggan has Fred Taylor getting the bulk of the carries in the running game, and finishing with 105 yards and a touchdown. Julian Benbow has Taylor making the most of his opportunity. Rich Garven has the Patriots balanced attack with Taylor proving effective. Robert Lee says that Taylor may have run himself right into the Patriots future plans. Peter Gobis has the time of possession numbers in favor of the Patriots. Carmine Frongillo has Taylor showing he can still be depended upon.

Duggan has the Patriots offensive line improving in their protection of Brady yesterday. Farinella notes that a more balanced day was the key for the Patriots. He adds that the ground game was able to make up for the lagging passing attack of Brady. Jeff Howe has the offense getting better, but still struggling in the red zone. Krause credits a a much-improved game plan for the Patriots success yesterday.

Dan Ventura has Matt Ryan unable to recapture his Boston College glory in his return to New England. Michael Vega has a cold second half doing in Ryan in his return. Joe Sullivan has the Patriots making sure that Gonzalez wasn’t going to beat them. Lee has the Falcons saying that they were “outcoached” and “outplayed” yesterday. Gobis says that the Patriots spoiled homecoming for Ryan.

Ventura has the Patriots finally making a Long-distance connection yesterday. Lee serves up some Game analysis. Reiss hands out three stars in the win and three not-so-stars. Longo has his Two-minute drill. The Patriot Ledger has some Chalk Talk after the game.

Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots losing Vince Wilfork to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Gasper’s notebook has more on the injury to Wilfork. Toland’s notebook looks at the decision to go for it on fourth down while backed up deep on their own 24-yard line. Young’s Patriots journal has the Patriots playing some improv yesterday. Whelan’s notebook looks at Taylor’s efforts in the win. Weisberg’s notebook has the Patriots frustrated at their lack of red zone production. He also notes an interesting argument in the press box during the game. Farley’s notebook says that it was an impressive win, but still not a perfect one.

Red Sox

The Red Sox were swept in New York this weekend, but creeped closer to a playoff berth anyway, as the Rangers lost to the Rays yesterday. The Red Sox magic number sits at two currently.

Adam Kilgore has the Red Sox watching the Yankees celebrate their 100th win of the season and another AL East title yesterday. Michael Silverman has the Yankees giving the Red Sox plenty to think about. Daniel Barbarisi says that the Red Sox still have some unfinished business to attend to. Dom Amore has the Yankees cutting loose after the game.

Nick Cafardo celebrates the Yankees’ “extraordinary regular season.” Sean McAdam has the Yankees taking care of business with remarkable efficiency. Steve Buckley wants another Yankees/Red Sox ALCS clash. Joe McDonald says that all the Yankees offseason spending has paid dividends. Amy Nelson has the Red Sox hoping to have their own celebration soon.

Buckley has Victor Martinez bringing the Red Sox leadership as well as on-field production. Pedro Gomez has Martinez getting more time behind the plate as the playoffs approach. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox weren’t bothered at seeing the Yankees celebrate.

Bruins/Celtics

Kevin Paul Dupont has Claude Julien looking for the right line combinations. Rich Thompson has Michael Ryder making the case to fill the spot on the top line vacated by the trade of Phil Kessel. Joe Haggerty has Blake Wheeler back on the right track.

Steve Bulpett has a peek at the key issues facing the Celtics as they get ready to start training camp with media day today.

Kilgore’s notebook has Victor Martinez’s hitting streak coming to an end in a pinch hitting appearance yesterday. Silverman’s notebook has Paul Byrd looking sharp yesterday. The Projo Red Sox Journal has the Yankees getting to Daniel Bard again. Amore’s notebook has the Red Sox focused on getting the wild card clinched.

Friday Ramblin’s

Mixing things up a little bit this Friday, rather than full links, we’ll jump around a little bit.

Patriots Daily is giving you what you need for Sunday’s Patriots/Falcons game. Weekly features like Worry Wart by Chris Warner, Trading Places - a chat with the Falcoholic blog and First Impressions get you warmed up for Sunday. Later today the Buffet Table and Matchups should be posted.

With an NFC opponent coming into town, FOX has the game on Sunday, however, if you live in certain parts of New England that happen to lie close to New York, you’re going to get the Giants game instead. Check Patriots Daily tomorrow for the weekly media notes feature. Check PatriotsLinks.com for all the stories today in the papers.

FOX also has the Red Sox/Yankees game on Saturday. So it’s a big weekend for Butch Stearns and crew.

One story that was kicking around yesterday was the news (first reported by Sports Business Daily) that the Kraft Sports Group has entered a business relationship with ESPNBoston.com to sell ads on the site. Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com was apoplectic at the news, calling it “one of the most blatant and obvious conflicts of interest we ever have seen.” A bit of exaggeration there, for sure. This is sports. What kills me about how Florio handled this was his followup post nearly 12 hours later on the subject. He admits that ESPN got back him on his questions in the morning, yet he waited all that time to post the reply…because he didn’t have time. Yet, he had time to personally post15  items in between the two ESPNBoston items.

It seems more likely that Florio let the item sit on his site, knowing it was a hot topic, (83 comments and counting) and wanted to milk it as long as he could before posting the ESPN followup later at night. I can’t really fault him for this…it’s good website business. Keep those pageviews coming in. But Mike, don’t say you didn’t have time to post the followup. That’s lame.

Locally, Jenn Abelson in the Globe writes about potential conflicts of interest in the deal. That’s all well and good, and a legitimate concern to bring up. However, how in the world can the Globe not disclose in that article that they themselves are in a similar conflict, with their (for the moment) parent company also owning 17% of the Red Sox? Inexcusable.

My boy Chad Finn makes the same misstep in his media column today. He starts out with quotes from Tim McCarver on Red Sox/Yankees and Troy Aikman on Patriots/Falcons, and then dives into the ESPNBoston/Kraft Sports Group potential conflict of interest without mentioning the Globe’s situation. He describes the news partnership as starting off on “dubious journalistic ground.”  Sure, I think that most people are by now aware of the 17% but I find it a little hard for the Globe to be critical of ESPNBoston in this instance. 

Elsewhere, in real sports, Sean McAdam breaks the news that Jon Lester, not Josh Beckett, will get the game one start in the postseason. I’m shocked that the Red Sox failed to consult Glenn Ordway on this. He spent hours yesterday telling us it was a no-brainer that Beckett would get that honor.

Dom Amore tells us that this Red Sox/Yankees series is a bit more laid back.  Bill Burt tells us that a Red Sox/Yankees postseason series could come down to Daisuke Matsuzaka and Joba Chamberlain. Check RedSoxLinks.com for all the stories today.

Jessica Camerato has a nice piece on new Celtic Shelden Williams, who is married to WNBA superstar Candace Parker. 

It sounds like Gerry Callahan is going to be making an appearance on the Big Show this afternoon, at least that’s what was stated a number of times on the WEEI morning show today, hosted by Butch Stearns and Greg Dickerson. John Dennis is undergoing surgery this morning, and apparently will be out to at least start next week. At the end of the morning show, Dickerson said that Callahan would be back in the morning on Monday.

If you’re able to, I highly, highly recommend checking out Showtime’s Full Color Football series. It’s a history of the AFL, and is simply tremendous. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Week Log: A Heavy Dose of Reality

Not that it ever crept too close to shore anyway, but the 2009 A.L. East ship has sailed for good in a week when the Sox continue to struggle against an MLB weakling and the Yankees get some answers to their questions.

Better Red Than Dead counts Kansas City among the cities in which Boston can never win, but after last night’s victory at Kauffman Stadium A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory still has aspirations for the division. And how about that Josh Beckett 12-hit gem? The Mighty Quinn Media Machine had Beckett in dutch all night but holding back the runs anyway. Red Sox Monster would like both Josh and the Sox to work a bit more like his car brakes. YFSF admits to being unconsciously stupid in calling Beckett overrated.

So the Yankees may be cruising to the division, but The Faster Times dispels the myth that a hot September bodes well in October. Nevertheless, Confessions of a She-Fan thinks it would be sweet for the Empire to clinch the East this weekend against the Sox. Thanks For Playing shows equal irreverence to both the Nation and the Empire.

Boston Dirt Dogs takes the opportunity to do a little autumn cleaning while we whittle down the magic number to the postseason. SportsCenter 5 Overtime petitions for no over-the-top Wild Card celebrations.

Eric Ortiz thinks Daisuke Matsuzaka can get the job done in October. Boston Sports Blog has Jon Lester figuring prominently in any Cy Young Award discussion. And 38 Pitches explains why he’s out of the running for Teddy’s vacant Senate seat. That’s too bad says Cameron Martin, because Schilling could have sent Yankees fans into an apoplectic fit.

Patriots

In a week that we’ve ceded the A.L. East, the Pats give us cause for sober introspection over the A.F.C. East. The Patriot Act wants to remind us that the season is only two games old, which puts them squarely in Boston Homer‘s Fan Group Number 3. Repeat after them: It’s only September! It’s only September!

Pats Pulpit says Wes Welker’s absence contributed to Sunday’s disappointing loss to the hated Jets. Pats Chowder awards their Game 2 game ball to Welker’s replacement.

Celtics 17 (yeah, it looks like Joe Haggerty isn’t the only bi-sportsual in Boston) says there’s nothing more annoying than J-E-T-S fans’ chants. Michael Hurley has more Jets yapping after their victory over the Pats. Kathryn Tappen says it’s rare for one team to get away with trash-talking on both sides of a game. Tom Curran prefers to think of LB Bart Scott’s comments as a downpayment toward the next Jets game in November.

It Is What It Is welcomes Matty Heisman back to New England this Sunday. Patriots Daily warns us that the Falcons are even better than the Jets.

The Rap Sheet observes that recently acquired LB Prescott Burgess becomes the third under-achieving Wolverine on the roster. Blauhg says the newest Burgess will add depth and versatility. Blogging Fearlessly theorizes that Baltimore’s willingness to part with the trade secrets Burgess brings to New England shows that no one is afraid of the Pats anymore.

Touching All The Bases sets Peter King straight for ranking Tom Brady below some questoinable selections among his dozen all-time best QBs.

Bruins

The season’s almost here! Something’s Bruin offers fans ten ideas on how to kill the next eight seven days until the puck drops for real. New England Hockey Journal updates us on more roster trimmings as we approach next week’s opener. Stanley Cup of Chowder is not bored without real hockey: they simulated the upcoming season in NHL 10. The B’s finish with 108 points and a Stanley Cup Finals loss, so enjoy next summer and we’ll see you back here for the simulated 2010-11 season sometime next week.

Somewhere between Rink Rap‘s ambivalence and Toronto GM Brian Burke’s optimism lies a simple truth that the B’s are better without Phil Kessel. The Kessel trade is the elephant in Bobby Orr’s Bastard‘s room. Using some post-Kessel math, Here Come The Bruins! concludes the iron is red-hot for a major trade.

Big Bad Blog updates us on David Krejci, a.k.a. The One That Didn’t Get Away. Bruins Blog has defenseman Andrew Ference continuing to ruffle feathers over the whole Paul Kelly termination mess.

Celtics

We’ve got a little more time before the NBA season, and that’s good for healing. Celtics Hub suspects some front office cover-up of Kevin Garnett’s knee injuries. Boston Sports Nation doesn’t think we need a healthy KG . . . right now. Fernsten’s Follies would start Rasheed Wallace to avoid big KG minutes early on. Green Street reveals Brian Scalabrine’s secret to avoiding concussions this summer.

Ball Don’t Lie shows some special lovin’ for Danny Ainge. Celtics Blog has Sheed wanting to get to know us a little better. And Red’s Army resolves the mystery of why Dan Dickau chose to camp with the Phoenix Suns rather than in Boston.

Sure, the week sure started out lousy with a loss to the Jets, but here’s hoping it finishes with a bang down at the Bronx Bandbox and with an inhospitable homecoming for Matty Heisman in Foxborough. See you next Thursday!

Sox Straighten Up

After losing the first two games of their four game set with the Kansas City Royals, the Red Sox got on back last night, with a 9-3 win.

Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox shaving another game off their magic number for clinching a postseason spot. The number now sits at five. Michael Silverman has Josh Beckett battling through a season high 12 hits to get the win. Daniel Barbarisi says that Beckett and the Sox weren’t about to lose three straight to the bottom-feeding Royals. Alex Speier says that last night we saw once again that Beckett is a workhorse.

Adam Kilgore has David Ortiz hitting the 25 home run mark for the season, a number few though was possible after his horrible start to the season. McAdam has more on Ortiz’s return to power this season. Barbarisi has Ortiz finding satisfaction in reaching 25 homers.

Sean McAdam says that having Victor Martinez catch Josh Beckett last night was a postseason preview. Rob Bradford says that last night’s lineup means that October is right around the corner. Barbarisi says that the second Beckett-Martinez partnership certainly went better than the first.

Kilgore says that the decision to start Tim Wakefield next Tuesday is all about postseason flexibility. Joe Haggerty says that the Red Sox pitchers are coming up aces in September. Barbarisi says that a few Red Sox are nearing performance bonuses.

The Globe notebook has more on Victor Martinez getting the call to catch Josh Beckett last night. Silverman’s notebook has a look at the decision to start Wakefield on Tuesday. The ProJo Red Sox journal has Hunter Jones getting brought back to serve as a long man out of the bullpen.

Patriots

Greg Doyle gives us some First Impressions of the Atlanta Falcons. We’re also Chatting With The Falcoholic on Patriots Daily today.

Christopher L. Gasper has Tom Brady struggling with his mechanics and working to find answers. Mike Reiss has Brady expecting more blitzing this Sunday.  Karen Guregian looks at how the blitz has suddenly become a mystery to Brady. She also says Brady is still firing away despite the issues. Shalise Manza Young has Brady saying that his problems are all mechanical. Rich Garven has more on Brady’s mechanics and problems handling pressure. Christopher Price has Brady knowing full well that teams are going to continue to rush him until he proves he can handle it.  

Ian R. Rapoport has former Boston College QB Matt Ryan viewing this return to New England as nothing more than a business trip. Mark Farinella has “Matty Ice” breezing back into town.  Jim Donaldson says that Ryan has come a long way in a short time. Andy Vogt says that Ryan will present a big challenge for the Patriots. Farley says that it has been a smooth transition for Ryan from BC to the NFL.

Julian Benbow has Prescott Burgess trying to get his bearings after a whirlwind coast-to-coast three day stretch. Glen Farley has Burgess just rolling with the moves.Rapoport has a Matthew Slater update. Price talks to special teams captain Sam Aiken about his unit’s lackluster play on Sunday.

The Globe notebook has ex-teammates Matt Ryan and Ron Brace reuniting this Sunday. Rapoport’s notebook has Burgess set to add depth at linebacker for the Patriots. Young’s Patriots journal has more on Burgess. Vogt’s notebook also looks at Burgess’ first day as a Patriot. Garven’s notebook looks at whether the Patriots will look to get Chris Baker more involved.

Misc

I’ve come to realize that there is No such thing as objectivity in sports.

Kevin Paul Dupont has Bruins legend Brad Park leveling some criticism at Andrew Ferrence for his role in the firing of NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly.

Fluto Shinzawa has coach Claude Julien doing some split squad work yesterday. Stephen Harris has 41-year-old Mark Recchi back for another run with the Bruins. Joe Haggerty says that the trade of Phil Kessel could open the door for the Bruins to pursue Ilya Kovalchuk. Mike Loftus has the “real” Bruins finally getting to work together. Harris’ notebook  has the regulars getting to work as a unit yesterday.

Eric Avidon has a look at BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin coming back after tearing his achilles tendon last spring. Mark Blaudschun says that McLaughlin’s return will be a boost to BC. Steve Conroy has McLaughlin eager to get on the field Sunday. Blaudschun’s notebook has 25-year-old first year QB Dave Shinskie looking to improve his game.

Zack Greinke Shuts Down Red Sox

All season we’ve been hearing about the Royals’ Zack Greinke. Last night, the Red Sox and their fans got an up close look at the young Kansas City ace, and he didn’t disappoint, pitching six shutout innings as the Royals beat the Red Sox 5-1. Boston managed just two hits the entire night.

Amalie Benjamin has the Royals’ five runs off Paul Byrd in the first inning plenty enough to get them the win. Michael Silverman notes that neither Byrd nor the Red Sox bats were any match for Greinke. Daniel Barbarisi says that this one was over early for the Sox.

Sean McAdam says that the Sox aren’t in a hurry to face Zach Greinke again. Adam Kilgore has Greinke impressing the Red Sox with his poise and stuff. Amy Nelson has the Red Sox tipping their caps to Greinke after the game. Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox getting their ace, Josh Beckett, a little rest down the stretch could be a key to the postseason.

Alex Speier says that Michael Bowden is emerging as a darkhorse candidate for a postseason roster spot. Barbarisi has a look at Paul Byrd’s struggles last night. He also has a look at Josh Reddick, who isn’t quite ready to be in the majors full-time, but isn’t far away.

Kilgore has Ramon Ramirez and the Red Sox happy with the trade that brought him to Boston for Coco Crisp. McAdam has the Sox a little worried about their infield depth at the moment. Joe Haggerty has J.D. Drew putting together the exact type of season the Red Sox hoped for when they signed him. Barbarisi looks at what the Red Sox are going to do with Tim Wakefield.

Benjamin’s notebook has the Sox not ready to give up on Manny Delcarmen. Silverman’s notebook says that Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman figures to be the hottest pitching commodity available this offseason. Barbarisi’s Red Sox journal has more on the Sox work with Delcarmen.

Patriots

Scott Benson says that based on Dean Pees’ comments yesterday, we shouldn’t be holding out any hope for an increased pass rush anytime soon.

Christopher L. Gasper notes that the Patriots are going to have their hands full with Tony Gonzalez this Sunday. Glen Farley says that Gonzalez has already proved to be a good pickup for the Falcons. Karen Guregian’s notebook has more on the huge problem that Gonzalez will present to the Patriots. Mike Reiss offers up ten thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons.

Shalise Manza Young examines the Patriots struggles on offense thus far. Farley says that the Patriots are simply passing on the running game right now. Kerry Byrne says that the Patriots need to get back to a balanced offense. Benson urges the Patriots to Take the air out and run for it.

Jim Donaldson says that there isn’t a lot to feel good about around these Patriots right now. Mark Farinella says that all is not lost for the Patriots…yet.

Karen Guregian has Matt Ryan’s coach at Boston College, Tom O’Brien gushing over his former QB. Guregian says that the Falcons are more likely to have Ryan let it fly this season. Mike McDermott says that the Patriots defensive stats are not impressive. Christopher Price tries his hand at the mailbag.

Benson answers the burning question: Who in the hell is Prescott Burgess?

Paul Doyle looks at how far the Patriots have come in 50 years.

Gasper’s notebook has the Patriots picking up linebacker Prescott Burgess from Baltimore. Young’s Patriots journal has Terrence Wheatley caught in a numbers game at cornerback.

Misc

Rich Thompson says that Zdeno Chara needs a new defense partner with Aaron Ward traded to Carolina. Matt Kalman says that Vladimir Sobotka needs to step up his game or he will find himself in Providence. Fluto Shinzawa has Andrew Ferrence talking about his role in the firing of NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly.

Thompson’s notebook has Blake Wheeler making his case to replace Phil Kessel’s spot in the offense.  Kalman’s notebook has David Krejci still hoping for an October 1 return.

Frank Dell’Apa has Rasheed Wallace already making an impact in the community.

NESN Adds Jade McCarthy To On-Air Cast

jadeNESN announced today that Jade McCarthy will join NESN as an anchor, host and reporter in January 2010. 

From their press release today:

A Newton, Massachusetts native, McCarthy has spent the last 4 years with WCAU NBC 10 in Philadelphia, where she serves as a sports anchor/reporter. In 2008 she won 2 Emmy awards, one for best sports news story and the second for best sports special for Football Night in Philly. The Mount Holyoke College graduate also served as a host on Sports Final, an anchor on NBC 10’s weekend newscasts and a co-host for The10! Show, a daily lifestyle & entertainment show. 

“Jade’s passion for sports and her unique style will make her homecoming that much more enjoyable for our fans,” said Joel Feld, NESN’s executive vice president of programming and executive producer. “She will make a terrific addition to NESN’s on-air team.” 

“I am very excited to join the NESN family. I still remember sitting at my first Red Sox game with my great aunt being amazed as I watched Wade Boggs tower over Jody Reed in front of the dugout,” said Jade McCarthy. “My love for the Boston teams went with me as I worked in Alabama, and then in Philadelphia. While it is bittersweet to leave four years in Philly behind, I couldn’t be more thrilled to come home to the Boston area for this opportunity.” 

McCarthy began her career as a reporter at WGGB in Springfield, Massachusetts. She then moved to WAFF the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama to serve as a weekend morning show anchor and reporter before moving on to Philadelphia in 2005. Growing up, McCarthy rode horses competitively for 10 years.  Although she no longer competes, she still enjoys horseback riding. She will join NESN after completing her current contract at WCAU NBC 10.

Apparently they’re heartbroken in Philadelphia over this move…