Before I begin I want to take a moment to remember my Grandmother, Frances (Schanda) Allen, who passed away this morning at the age of 96.
There aren’t many people left who can remember the roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and everything since. Born in 1914, my grandmother could remember all those times, and even up until recently could talk about them. Hers was truly a great generation.
After so many positives in their first two preseason games, the Patriots took a big step back last night against the lowly St Louis Rams and rookie QB Sam Bradford, who lit up the Patriots first team defense well into the second half, and the Rams kicked a field goal as time expired to beat the Patriots 36-35 in the third preseason game.
While the media will be up in a tizzy for the next week over Laurence Maroney not seeing the field for the second straight game, don’t pay any attention to it, if you can. Despite the proclamations of guys like Peter King, Maroney is in no danger of being cut. My take on it is that the coaches already know what Maroney is, and that he will be the lead back much of the season. Belichick himself said earlier this week of Maroney “He’s ready to go.” They’re taking the games to evaluate the other backs (namely Morris and BJGE), to determine which of them is going to make the roster. I think Maroney and Fred Taylor (and Kevin Faulk, of course) are givens. Maroney could also be sitting down in part to protect him from injury. The Patriots have in the past held players without any known injuries (Deion Branch being one) out of the entire preseason simply to keep them healthy.
Though he may have a slightly smarmy way of saying it:
Albert Breer speaks the truth here. No need to get too concerned over a preseason game, one way or the other.
Consider it part of the learning curve – Breer says that while the Rams dominated the Patriots last night, there is no reason to press the panic button.
Patriots defense takes a step back – Mike Reiss says it plainly – This one stunk.
Ten Things We Learned Thursday Night: Maroney still MIA – Christopher Price leads with Maroney and nine other items from last night.
Five things to remember – Tom E Curran notes that this was not an unmitigated disaster, despite all the negatives.
Brandon Tate makes a favorable impression – Need a bright spot? Brandon Tate was one of the few with his 97-yard kickoff return to open the game. Jim Fenton looks at the night for Tate.
With Hernandez out, Gronkowski showcases skills – Rookie right end Rob Gronkowski was the other bright spot, catching a pair of touchdown passes. Danny Picard has a look at his night.
Few bumps for Tom Brady – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the QB getting a look at what the offense needs to fix before opening day.
The Red Sox are in Tampa this weekend for what could be another “make or break” series for their playoff hopes.
This trip at Tropicana, it’s all or nothing – Jon Couture says that this Red Sox team is teetering on the line between feel-good and actually good, and that now is the time to show what they are.
For Sox pitchers, it’s show time – Joe McDonald says that the Red Sox built their rotation for series like this one.
Daisuke Matsuzaka nibbles less, fares better – Michael Silverman says that Dice-K has been picking up his pace, with improved results.
Bard having brilliant year in Boston bullpen – Mike Fine looks at the strong year from the hard-throwing reliever.
Prospect has good moves – Peter Abraham’s Minor League Notebook leads off with a look at the Sox trying to find the right position for first-round pick Kolbrin Vitek.
It’s hard to resist bombast of Jets – Unlike Tom Brady, Chad Finn has gotten sucked in by “Hard Knocks.”
Media Roundup: About That ‘NESN Daily’ Program – Over at SB Nation Boston, my thoughts on NESN Daily…and a few other items.