Wednesday, August 31, 2011

David Ortiz Needs A Contract. Now.

Yesterday on NESN's Jimmy Fund Telethon, Ortiz and Adrian were asked about the importance each of them have to the other. After complimenting each other back and forth the conversation turned to Papi's contract.
David Ortiz
All i can control is what i do on the field and off the field. People already know what my feelings are so i don't have to explain anymore.
Adrian Gonzalez
i can tell you that i tried DH'ing in Texas. They tried making me the DH. It's not easy, you can't just put anybody in there. What he does for this team is incredible, I'd like to have him around for a while.

It's clear that the arrival of Gonzalez has reinvigorated David Ortiz. They've talked about hitting approaches, they've talked about how to use the ball park, and they've clearly helped each other.

Ortiz on Adrian's effect on his approach:
"I've been getting 200% better results than i used to. It's because he always looks for the place where a pitcher likes to go. As a hitter you always want to analyze the place where YOU can hit the ball. He analyzes where the PITCHER likes to go, and if you ready for that you're going to get what you're looking for."

Red Sox fans should be screaming from the rooftops to keeps Ortiz here and hitting in the 5 hole until he can no longer do it. At season's end Adrian and Ortiz will have combined for over 60 HR's and 220 RBI's. They are hitting .341 and .313 respectably. And marketing wise they are two of the biggest names in Baseball. It's a no brainer.

I'm having a hard time understanding what the problem is. Every season the Red Sox are either overpaying someone to sit on the bench, or even paying someone to play for another team. So what if you get caught paying for Ortiz when he's past his prime? He's given the team essentially 8 seasons of 35 HR 110 RBI baseball from the DH spot, a spot which on other teams is filled by over the hill position players who can no longer field. Ortiz is one of the best in the game at what he does, and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Despite having slow starts last season and the year before, David has still averaged just below 30/100, and that's including an incomplete 2011 campaign where he got right off to a quick start.

David Ortiz is one of those guys who's number will be hung up above right field. Those are the guys that you overpay to keep in town, if they can waste money on JD Drew and Julio Lugo, they can give Ortiz a 2 Year deal instead insulting him with another 1 year offer.

Savard Out For 2011-12, Most Likely Beyond.

Peter Chiarelli discussed the future of Marc Savard:
“Based on what I see, what I hear, what I read, and what I’m told, it’s very unlikely Marc will play again,” said the Bruins' GM. “Now, knowing the uncertainty of this injury, there’s always a chance. But based on what I’m told, it’s very unlikely he will play. As an employer, I support him and hope he gets back to living a healthy life.”

This just confirms what most of us have expected for some time now, but it doesn't make it any less sad. Marc Savard was an speedy, exciting player who was all smiles. Savard was that 30 year old veteran who still had the face of a 20 year old. He had the perfect mix of veteran savvy and youthful exuberance.

Let it go down in the history books that it wasn't just the signing of Zdeno Chara that turned this franchise around. It was the fact that they looked to make a commitment to offense as well. The Bruins signed both Savard and Chara on July 1st 2006, the first day of free agency, and since then this team has been on the fast track to the NHL's elite. Marc Savard was an All-Star player who regularly finished Top 5 in Assists, he was that top of the line passer who could make lesser talent appear to be at his level.

Savard, along with Chara and young forward Patrice Bergeron, would become The Bruin's identity. They were the hope for the future. Before Krejci, Lucic, and Horton could come to Boston and have their success, Savard, Bergeron, and Chara laid down the foundation. They provided hope to a franchise that was desperate for success, and a fan base that was beginning to lose hope.

Marc Savard may not have played a single playoff game for the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, but make no mistake about it, The Bruins don't win this Cup without Savard helping to turn this franchise around.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Future Of Brandon Tate.

If the new NFL Kickoff rule is going to make it look more like a punt return, Julien Edelman will clearly inherit the return duties. Then, if Brandon Tate can't develop into a more skilled wide receiver, his job will (if it hasn't already) be handed to Taylor Price... who is basically a red shirt freshman.

Price preseason TD.

Edelman punt returns.

Patriots Plan Release Of Veteran Safety James Sanders.

Sanders' agent was told today that New England plans on releasing the 27 year old starting Safety.

Drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 NFL Draft, James Sanders would go on to be an extremely solid Safety. Sanders will never be a Pro-Bowler, but at the end of the day you'd never complain about him being back there. He was the elder statesman in a secondary now filled with serious youth. In 6 seasons Sanders started 50 games at both the free and strong safety spots. Big Game James played along side Bruschi, Vrabel, Seymour, Law, Harrison, Samuel... all of course have moved on as well.

Good luck James, I look forward to seeing you play against New England... just not in a New York uniform.

Rajon Rondo 2011 All-Star Mix

Rajon Rondo 2011 All-Star Mix

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red Sox Bring The Power Against The Rangers.

Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Jarred Saltalamacchia all homered against Texas. Gonzalez, who actually homered twice, now has 5 home runs in the past three games after having zero in the month of August.

On the other side of the ball Andrew Miller dominated. The big lefty pitched 6 plus innings with zero earned runs, 6 strikeouts, and 3 walks.

The former Ranger, Saltalamacchia, had a web gem when he chased a pop foul about halfway up the 1B line. Salty continues to impress in his first full season with Boston.

Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia went hitless, but for the most part it went unnoticed. Adrian Gonzalez and Ortiz and back in a big way.

Youkilis And Biz Markie Appear In Commercial.

It's not often that I get to post Hip-Hop related stuff... so without any adieu, i give you Kevin Youkilis and Biz Markie.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Big Papi Returns Tonight In Texas.

After getting back Jacoby Ellsbury last night, Boston get's another one of their big bats tonight.

David Ortiz will be in the lineup for the first time since August 16th because of Bursitis is his right heel.

Big Papi is hitting .300 with 24 HRs and 79 RBIs.

Ellsbury and Ortiz returning, and Adrian Gonzalez rediscovering his power... it looks like this Red Sox lineup could finally pull forward in this chase for The AL East title.

On a more individual note; David Ortiz is 6 HRs and 21 RBI away from his 7th 30/100 season in a Red Sox uniform. That's 7 out of 9 years.

Today's Video: Rob Gronkowski Official Rookie Mix

Would New England Want Asante Back?

When Nnamdi Asomugha chose The Eagles over the Jets, it could have helped New England in more ways than one. Not only would New York not have their dream duo of Revis and Nnamdi, but with Philadelphia already having Samuel and the newly acquired Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie, they could afford to move one of their superstar Corner Backs.

ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that The Eagles asking price for Samuel is either a 1st rounder or two 2nd rounders.

New England has an extra 1st rounder from New Orleans. They also have two 2nd rounders in this years draft.

Samuel has been named to the Pro-Bowl for 4 straight seasons, but hasn't been an All-Pro since his contract year with the Pats. He's missed only 6 games in 3 years in Philadelphia, and has picked off 20 balls over that same time span.

The only problem is that Asante has a reputation of being a free lancer. In a young defense who's being taught the value of "doing it right", would a risk taking, big personality, really be the right player to add?

But then again, he is a Top 10 corner in the league, who paired with Devin McCourty could make some serious plays...especially with this revamped attacking New England D-Line.


video by @spikes37

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breaking Down The Pats: Wide Receivers.

Chad Ochocinco is the most obvious addition to this WR Corp, but I don't think he's necessarily the only upgrade to this offense.

Wes Welker now has a full season under his belt after his knee injury. Despite having a Pro Bowl season with over 800 yards and 7 TDs, Wes was clearly not 100%. There were times where he'd catch a pass underneath and immediately be brought down and you'd say, "boy he would have broke that for 30 yards last season." Well this year he'll be back to there. I'd say Welker is a lock for 100 rec, 1,000 yards.

Deion Branch returned to New England before week 5, and after having a couple hiccups, quickly picked up where he left off. The #84 Deion may not be as athletic as the #83 version, but he's still a very skilled route runner with good hands, and a TON of experience in this offense. Branch could take a step back statistically with all the other options, but his importance will stay put.

Last season Rob Gronkowki set a rookie record for Touchdowns. This year Gronk has been tearing up the preseason, everybody's reporting the dominance from down in Foxborough. I don't know if Rob will put up another 10 TD's but if he added to that total it wouldn't surprise me. #87 will be a Pro-Bowler, and will once again lead the Patriots in Touchdowns. He's this teams Red Zone bread and butter.

Gronk isn't the only 2nd year tight end to look out for. Aaron Hernandez's rookie season would have been the talk of the town in any other city, the only problem is that him and Gronk came in the same season. While Aaron isn't the same type of TE Rob is, in some ways he may be even more effective. At 6'2", 250 pounds, Hernandez is still as fast as a wide receiver. He posted 45 receptions for 563 yards and 6 touchdown as the youngest player in the league. Expect some huge plays from the new #81.

Then there's the elephant in the room, Chad Ochocinco. Everybody knows that Chad is a 6x All-Pro wideout, with great hands, excellent route running ability, and a HOF level compete level. The only problem here is that he seems to be struggling with the offense. Ocho has been in New England for the entire training camp, but still seems to be over thinking on the field. I expect #85 to get it figured out eventually. If him and Tom Brady can get on the same page he could easily take the best offense in football and kick it into an even higher gear... but that's a big if.

Taylor Price is a 2nd Year WR, and another member of Belichick's now legendary 2010 Draft class. Here's what CBSSports had to say on Price:
"The 2009 Bobcats ranked just 106th in the nation in total offense (310.14 yards per game), and 82nd in passing (198.14 yards per game), but Price has still managed to produce 28.26 percent of the team's passing yards. He is a strong, physical runner with excellent field vision and a team-first work ethic making him an inviting prospect."
Price will most likely take over that 4th WR role behind Ocho, Wes, and Deion. In his first Preseason Game, Taylor looked dominant while playing alongside backup QBs Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.

Up next are Lee Smith and Will Yeatman, who are both rookie Tight Ends.

Smith is a rookie out of Marshall who is considered the best blocking TE in the draft. In camp Smith has shown unexpectedly soft hands, and has been seen some serious time. Standing at 6'6" and 268 pounds, Lee has some serious size. Smith will most likely fill the on-the-field role left open by Alge Crumpler, but will obviously obviously fall short of Alge when it comes to leadership.

Will Yeatman was signed as an Undrafted FA on July 27th. Will played College Football and Lacrosse at both Notre Dame and The University of Maryland. After being suspended twice because of problems regarding alcohol, Yeatman left Notre Dame in January 2009 (after his Sophmore season). Will played Lacrosse both years at Maryland, then returned to football his Senior Year. The 6'5" 268 pound rookie has shown that he's a force in the blocking game, as well as a capable receiver. In 2 preseason games he has 4 receptions for 23 yards.

One WR who I think is going to take a step back is Brandon Tate. With the arrival of 2nd year Wideout Taylor Price, and the new rules on kickoff return, i think Tate's value has dropped tremendously. Brandon is an excellent kick returner, and an average 4th receiver. If he can show improvement this preseason then he can keep his spot as the 4th option, but Tate has been injured most of training camp and has missed the first 2 preseason games. Meanwhile Taylor Price has been turning heads. With The Patriots most likely keeping extra Tight Ends and Running Backs, If I was Tate I may be concerned.

Depth Chart:

Chad Ochocinco
Wes Welker
Deion Branch
Taylor Price
Brandon Tate

Rob Gronkowki
Aaron Hernandez
Lee Smith

Mayo, Ellis, Mankins, McCourty & Ninkovich Speak.

Video by @Trags.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Preseason Game 2: Watching The Defense.

Here's a down by down recap of the Patriot's first 5 defensive possessions. The main personel is as follows:

DT- Vince Wilfork, Gerard Warren.
DE- Andre Carter, Eric Moore
LB- Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Rob Ninkovich
CB- Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden
S- Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung.
1st Possession.

1st Down- 4-3 look with Fletcher as the Mike, Ninkovich as an OLB, Eric Moore with his hand in the dirt, and Mayo standing on the line of scrimmage. Mayo comes free and nearly gets the sack.

2nd Down- Another 4-3 look with 3 linebackers dropping in coverage. Bucks run and gets disrupted. by Vilfork, then tackled by Fletcher

3rd Down- Nickle package with Arrington as the 3rd CB, then a Mayo/Guyton LB combo. Pass broken up by Mayo.

2nd Possession.

1st Down- 4-3 look with Mayo/Guyton dropped back and Ninkovich being the 5th rusher. Bucks run. Gerard Warren and Myron Pryon get in the backfield for 4 yard loss.

2nd Down- 4-3 Look with Ninkovich once again up at the line, he drops into coverage. Andre Carter nearly gets sack, QB steps up, secondary pressure come from Moore, who forces a bad throw. Incomplete.

3rd Down- Nickle package with Arrington as the 3rd CB and Mayo showing blitz. False start Tampa Bay.

3rd Down- Nickle package with Arrington as the 3rd CB. Mayo and Guyton up close to the line aggressively. Ball snaps. Guyton and Mayo drop into coverage. Tampa Bay throws screen to the left, tackled from behind by Jerod Mayo and Mark Anderson.

3rd Possession

1st Down- 4-3 look with Ninkovich as the Sam, Guyon as Mike, Mayo as Will. Mayo shows blitz then backs off. Guyton shows blitz. Ball snaps. Guyton blitzes, Ninkovich drops into coverage. Tampa Bay handles the rush, pass complete to TE. Tackle by Arrington.

1st Down- 4-3 look. Bucs run left. Tackled from behind by Eric Moore. (HOLDING)

1st Down (1st & 20)- 4-3 with Ninko at the line. Mayo blitzes around the weak side, comes free. Sack.

2nd Down- False start Tampa Bay.

2nd Down (2nd & 31)- Nickle with Arrington, McCourty, and Bodden up tight. Guyton and Mayo both blitz. Dropped pass, covered by Arrington.

3rd Down- Nickle package. Pats rush 4, Anre Carter gets pressure. Complete underneath. Tackled from behind by Mark Anderson. 4th Down.

4th Possession

1st Down- 4-3 Look. McCourty blitzes. Pass to the right, incomplete, broken up by Jerod Mayo.

2nd Down- 4-3 Look. Mayo shows blitz. Run up the middle. Tackle by Guyton.

3rd Down- Nickle package. All out blitz. Anderson, Ninkovich, and Mayo all get to the QB at the same time. Sack.

5th Possession

1st Down- 4-3. Mayo steps up to the line. Mayo blitzes. Pass complete for 2 yards, tackled by Butler.

2nd Down- 4-3 with Ninko at the line. TB runs left, cuts right. Tackle by Ninkovich and Meriweather.

3rd Down- False start Tampa Bay.

3rd Down- Nickle package. Short pass complete, tackle by Devin McCourty.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nick Caserio On Sharper, Houshmandzadeh.

Video from @Trags.

Along with analysis on Meriweather and all Patriots' safeties.

Patrick Chung Dodges Media Bullets On Meriweather.

Video by @Trags.
Well played Patrick... well played.

Breaking Down The Pats: Running Backs.

(c) Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America

The Patriots not only bring back 4 out of their 5 running backs from last season, but they also bring in two rookies that could work nicely with this offense.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a 1,000 yard rusher and Top 3 in the league in Rushing TDs. Expect him to continue as the Pats' "feature back", although I wouldn't expect him to put up the same numbers. His carries will most likely take a hit as this three-headed monster just grew even more heads.

With Danny Woodhead filling in nicely for Kevin Faulk last season, there's no way that a guy gives you nearly 1,000 total yards in 14 games... then just steps back into a backup role. That being said, if Kevin Faulk makes this team I guarantee he see's some time. Between the two of them there's a lot of interesting schemes that could be put to use. Both can motion out as a slot receiver, both can catch out of the backfield, both can be effective in the running game.

Then there's Sammy Morris. Despite only rushing for 56 yards on 20 carries ALL season, Sammy could have had his most effective season as a New England Patriot. In the late stages of his career, Morris has accepted a role as the Patriots de facto Full Back. The 10 year AFC East Veteran played in all 16 Games, was the lead rusher in I-Form packages, and going into this season looks at himself as a mentor (along with Faulk) for what is a very young RB group.

Up next is the first of two rookies. Shane Vereen was picked in the 2nd round of this year's NFL Draft. At Cal Vereen was a shifty back with excellent hands catching out of the backfield. I don't know how much Shane will contribute his rookie year with Woodhead and Faulk ahead of him, but if the kid get's on the field expect him to contribute big time in the passing game.

Last is Stevan Ridley, the 2nd of New England's rookie running backs. Coming out of college Ridley was considered a downhill runner with average speed and below average hands. In his first preseason game Stevan caught 7 balls for 1 TD and rushed for 2 more. Ridley not only showed the ability to elude tackles, but he also showed the ability two run through them. Maybe I may be over-analyzing his one performance, but it seemed like Stevan could easily be this team's 2nd leading ball carrier.

After becoming a very pass-heavy offense over the years, this team seems to be undergoing a change. Much like the tight ends last year, and the wide receivers in 2007, The Patriots have looked at what they have and decided it's time to rebuild. The Law Firm may see a drop in production, but New England's running backs will undoubtedly have a much greater impact than they did in years past.


Patriots To Work Out Sharper, Houshmandzadeh, Renaldo Hill.

(c)Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images North America

Sharper has played the past 2 seasons in New Orleans. After an All-Pro season where he went on to win the Super Bowl, Darren followed it up with a disappointing injury infested season. Despite the injury the 35 year old Safety was instrumental just 2 seasons ago in New Orleans SB run.

TJ Houshmandzadeh on the other hand has been incredibly healthy over his career with only one really serious injury in 2003. But the problem with "Housh" is his drop in production. In 16 games last season he only had 30 receptions. Along side current Patriot Chad Ochocinco, TJ lead the league in receptions with 112. TJ could be a nice addition to this Wide Receiver group, he's a good route runner and possession style receiver that not only has experience alongside both Ocho in Cincinnati and TJ in Seattle.

Then there's Renaldo Hill. After starting his career as a CB, Hill was converted into a Free Safety in 2006 with Miami. Hill has that AFC East experience that Bill loves, along with a Nick Saban connection.

With Hill and Sharper coming in for workouts I'd assume that Brandon Meriweather's stay in New England could be in doubt.

Workouts will take place at 1:30.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Success Of Belichick Draft Picks Since Last Championship.

(c) John W. McDonough/SI

Since The Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII, they've been forced to undergo serious changes to their makeup. Obviously in 7 years every team changes, but New England's top players have left because of retirement, more money elsewhere, or even because their roles were filled by younger players who could flat out do the job better. The Patriot's coaching staff has been ripped apart almost every offseason, only to open the doors for new coordinators, assistant coaches, and GM's. Despite the lack of Super Bowl wins New England has continued to be one of the NFL's most successful teams, and despite that success they've also failed to live up to fan's lofty expectations. In Foxborough Massachusetts there's a fine line between success and failure.

For a period of time Fans were beginning to question the Evil Genius that is Bill Belichick. With 1st rounders like Ben Watson and Lawrence Maroney falling short of expectations, fans were starting to grow impatient.

But more recently Bill has been spot on with his drafting, and if you look close he really wasn't as far off as everyone would have you believe. For every 1st Rounder who's star never shined, there's been late rounders and undrafted guys who fill huge roles on this football team. You say Chad Jackson and I say Julien Edelman. You say Marquise Hill and I'll respond with Matt Cassell.

Let's take a look at Belichick's "Post-Dynasty" Draft resume:

All-Pro's (3)-
Logan Mankins
Jerod Mayo
Stephen Gostkowski

Pro-Bowlers (6)-
Logan Mankins
Vince Wilfork
Brandon Meriweather
Jerod Mayo
Stephen Gostkowski
Devin McCourty
Matt Cassel (Made Pro-Bowl as Kansas City Chief)

Players With At Least 1 Season as Primary Starter At Their Position (21)-
Logan Mankins (6)
Vince Wilfork (6)
Nick Kaczur (5)
Ben Watson (4)
Stephen Gostkowski (4)
Ellis Hobbs (4)
Jerod Mayo (3)
Brandon Meriweather (3)
James Sanders (2)
Matt Cassel (1)
David Thomas (1)
Devin McCourty (1)
Rob Gronkowski (1)
Jermaine Cunningham (1)
Brandon Spikes (1)
Patrick Chung (1)
Ron Brace (1)
Sebastian Vollmer (1)
Brandon Tate (1)
Ryan O'Callaghan (1)

Take a look at that last column, that's what I find most impressive. 21 guys have spent atleast one season as The Starting ________ for the New England Patriots. A lot of these names have only spent one season as the primary starters, you may say "what kind of value is that?" Well, out of those 11 players, 6 of them are slated as 2011 starters for the Pats, two of them are primary starters for other teams (Cassel and Thomas), and two of them are backups who filled in for a starter who missed significant time due to injury.

But Belichick's success in the draft reaches even further, where's he's really great is in the signing of Undrafted Free Agents. Both Gary Guyton and Kyle Arrington went from undrafted to primary starters. Brian Hoyer has been Tom Brady's backup QB since Matt Cassel was traded, and he is beginning to look like a guy who could start elsewhere if opportunity knocks. Dane Fletcher was a college DE who is pretty far in the process of converting to Inside Linebacker ALA Tedy Bruschi. There isn't a coach in the league who get's more value out of undrafted free agents.

Then we get into the Draft Day Trades. New England seems to go into every draft with an assortment of picks. Bill moves acquires picks while waiting for the right moment to get "his guys", then can use those extra picks to make moves for Veterans. Randy Moss for a 4th. Wes Welker for a 2nd and a 7th. Chad Ochocinco for a 5th and a 6th. Albert Haynesworth for a 5th in 2013... you get the idea.

Last years 14-2 squad had rookies starting all over the place. No longer are the days of Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson, instead New England has All-Pro Jerod Mayo and Rookie Standout Brandon Spikes. Ty Law has given way to Devin McCourty. Once upon a tim Bill Belichick acquired Mike Vrabel, a throwaway from the Steelers, now he's got Rob Ninkovich. The tight end combo of Graham and Fauria has evolved to Gronkowski and Hernandez. These guys have yet to be at the caliber of their predecessors, but they aren't as far as you think.

Bill Belichick has rebuilt this team on the fly, and some of you blinked and missed it. This team is right there at the top again, even though they never really even left.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Taylor Price Shines In Preseason Debut.

Taylor Price is quickly moving past Brandon Tate as the Patriots 4th Wide Receiver. Price has shown the ability to make agile sideline grabs, hold on after crushing hits, and put on that extra burst to get space. Price left Ohio with 15 career TDs, 149 receptions, and over 2,000 yards receiving.

After being drafted in the 3rd round of 2010's NFL Draft, Taylor missed most of his rookie season from leg injuries. Price would make his NFL debut in New England season finale against Miami, he grabbed 3 receptions for 41 yards.

In The Patriots' 1st preseason contest against Jacksonville, Taylor Price got the start at Wide Receiver. #17 would finally get a chance to show what he could do. Price grabbed 5 balls for 105 yards and a beautiful touchdown where he had to tip toe along the back of the end zone.

Expect to see more of Taylor Price, not only as the preseason moves along, but as the regular season begins.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Logan Mankins Signs Long Term Extension.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter: Logan Mankins and the New England Patriots have come to terms on a 6 Year Contract. The exact value of the contract has yet to be made public, but he was set to earn about 10 Million Dollars this season because of the franchise tag.

Kraft was asked about Mankins situation earlier today and The Patriots owner said the deal "would be done soon” and that Mankins "would be a Patriot for life” according to multiple sources in Foxborough.

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Practice For Shaun Ellis & Andre Carter.

Videos by Mike Petraglia (@Trags)

Welcome Back Gerard Warren.

The Patriots have resigned veteran Defensive Lineman Gerard Warren. Gerard filled in nicely last year for Ty Warren for all 16 games last season. Overall he delivered some decent pass rush despite only landing 3 Sacks. Belichick clearly feels that Gerard performed well in his role and with an older group of veteran, but also high quality, D-Lineman.

Some of the players being acquired may be getting up there in age, but were all considered elite players in their prime. Check the credentials:

Shaun Ellis: Drafted 12th Overall in 2000
Gerard Warren: Drafted 3rd Overall in 2001
Andre Carter: Drafted 7th Overall in 2001
Albert Haynesworth: Drafted 15th Overall in 2002
Vince Wilfork: Drafted 21st Overall in 2004

Now you can say that they're missing a Defensive Lineman from the '03 Draft, they already had one... Ty Warren. He of course has been cut.

No word yet on how many of these guys can actually be carried on the roster, but once again, this Patriot D-Line is going to be a headache for opposing offenses.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Patriots Sign Former Redskin Andre Carter.

About an hour ago DE Andre Carter announced, via Twitter, that he'd signed with the New England Patriots. Carter will join a increasingly large group of new faces on the Pats new defensive front. A front that contains 3 new DE's all with at least one 12 Sack Season.

DE- Shaun Ellis 12.5 Sacks in '03. 72.5 Sacks for career.
DE- Andre Carter- 12.5 Sacks in '02. 66 Sacks for career.
DE- Mark Anderson- 12 Sacks in '06. 25.5 Sacks for career.


Patriots Sign Former Jet DE Shaun Ellis

The Patriots have reached an agreement on a 1 year deal with DE Shan Ellis. Ellis is a career Jet with 72.5 career sacks in 10 seasons. Ellis apparently rejected an offer from Rex Ryan in order to join his biggest rival.

The possibilities with this Pariots Defensive Line are slowly becoming endless. With Haynesworth, Anderson, and now Ellis this is a whole new unit. Once again, expect big things from the big guys.

The Unstoppable Force & The Immoveable Object.

What do you do to stop 650 pounds of massive, skilled Pro-Bowl Defensive Lineman? What about the fact that those 650 pounds only count for two of the opposition's defensive front? You can't double team them both without letting Defensive Ends run through free, and you can't just double team one because that means the other is blowing your backfield apart.

Of course that is only if Albert Haynesworth still has some (on field) fight left in him.

Albert is a 2 time Pro-Bowler, and 2 time First Team All-Pro. For 29 games (including Playoffs) from 2007 to 2009, if Haynesworth was on the field he was the most dominant force at that moment. #92 was doing it all. He stuffed running backs for losses, forced fumbles, sacked the quarterback, and deflected passes.

After those two seasons, Haynesworth was a unrestricted Free Agent. Signing with the Washington Redskins for 100 Millon Dollars, Albert was given all the money he could ever need, but he was now in a place that didn't exactly fit his needs. Albert was forced to play in a defensive scheme he wanted no part of, then after a coaching change he clashed with HOF Coach Mike Shanahan. Haynesworth was eventually told to "just go home", and that's what he did... for the remainder of the season.

With a laundry list of character issues, assault charges, nightmare accusations, and league suspensions, Albert Haynesworth enters Foxborough. But like so many others before him he hopes to rebuild his image, to right the ship and untarnish his legacy.

Bill Belichick is seemingly changing the young defense to fit in Haynesworth and a few other veteran additions, while at the same time letting go of familiar faces. With the arrival of Albert and 4-3 DE Mark Anderson, comes the exit of 3-4 DE Ty Warren, and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. Belichick swears that the apparent switch is just writers looking for a story, but it's hard to deny the changing of the guard.

A four man front anchored by Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth could give more freedom to 2nd year DE Jermaine Cunningham. Jermaine, along with MLB Brandon Spikes, played a 4-3 style defense in college at Florida where they both were extremely productive.

The move would also explain the acquiring of 27 year old Mark Anderson. As a rookie with the Bears in '06 Anderson had a 12 sack season, but only collected 13 more sacks over the next 4 years. Many believe the drop in production was due to him becoming a 3 Down player. With Anderson's coverage abilities in question, it was more difficult than just lowering his head and attacking the QB. Mark was eventually cut and signed by Houston late last season. After his first Patriots practice Anderson confessed that his Free Agency period was a "humbling experience" and that he just wants to come in and contribute however he can.

If all New England's scrap heap signings can work out they'll be Super Bowl Favorites. If Albert is on their new defensive wall they will be a force in the trenches. Then, if #75 and #92 can draw enough attention inside, it will result in possible breakout years for the Defensive Ends.

But if The Patriots defense does take that step forward, it will ultimately be because of their new dynamic duo in the defensive trenches. The unstoppable force of Albert Haynesworth, and the immoveable object that is Vince Wilfork.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

For Ochocinco, It's Time To Rebuild The Legacy.

Ochocinco walks into Patriot Place with 751 Receptions (28th All-Time), 66 Touchdowns (40th All-Time), and 10,783 Receiving Yards (27th All-Time). But Chad also walks into Foxborough without a single Playoff Victory. #85 has the numbers to go down as one of the greatest Wide Receivers in the history of the game, but without any team success he's destined to be forgotten.

There are different types of Hall Of Fame Careers. Theres guys who were dominant for a certain period, guys who were consistently great for long careers, then there's guys with seemingly pedestrian statistics who just won. The funny thing about it is that sometimes your gaudy individual stats usually fall short if they never contributed to wins... such is the case with Chad Ochocinco.

There's no doubt that Chad loves football and is a hard working player. Some may say that he cares too much about his own brand, that he can't put the team above himself. But that's just hate. Chad has had seasons where he was 2nd on the team in receptions to some nice payers, first TJ Houshmandzadeh, then he reached out to Terrell Owens when he thought it could help Cincinnati win.

Ochocinco will of course be joining All-Pro Receiver Wes Welker, reigning MVP Tom Brady, and former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch. A trio that has combined to win about every accolade imaginable. Can Chad learn to be a part of an offense that isn't built around him? Can he buckle down and be a more precise route runner? Only time will tell.

For Chad's legacy is all hangs on what the 33 year old receiver does in next few years with Tom Brady. I'd bet on big numbers from #85 here on out, because if anybody knows about legacy... it's him.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tom Brady's Early Thoughts On #85.

Tom Brady was asked this afternoon about how things have gone so far with Chad Ochocinco. Here's the highlights from his response:

On first impressions:
It's been fun, he's very competative and he wants to do the right thing. [Chad's] been in one offense for a long time, so to come to a new offense and learn all the formations, motions, and details of our route reads... it's challenging for everybody, to do it in such short notice is another thing. We're working hard to be on the same page. We're making improvements, but theres still a way to go.

On dropped balls:
I think that's just part of training camp. You have good days you have bad days. The first game isn't in a couple days, there's time to build before then. No one wants to drop passes, miss blocks, throw interceptions, but it happens. You can learn from that and have less of those in the next day. The Consistency is what your looking for, everyone can come out and make a nice play but then if you make a bad play after that. That's not how you score points in the NFL. You have to string together play after play after play.That takes a lot of consistent play by the entire unit. If I make a bad read that could be the end of a drive. And then you're not scoring points... that's what we're trying to do out here.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Patriots' 1st Round Pick Nate Solder Signs.

The Patriots have locked up rookie tackle Nate Soldier to a 4 year deal. It's unconfirmed whether or not the 4th year is fully guaranteed. The Colorado OL was one of three remaining 1st round picks who had yet to sign their contracts.

With Nate now signed, The Patriots can start working on getting him game ready. The problem is that with the lockout, then the extra time in contract negotiations, Solder has seemingly missed his chance to jump in as a major rookie contributor. I expect Nate Solder to have a good NFL career, but this wasted time he probably won't make his huge step forward until next season.

Solder will now take a role as a backup offensive lineman. Behind veteran Pro-Bowler Matt Light he can take on an apprentice-type role as he works on adding weight and honing his skill.

Solder will wear #77.

UPDATE: According to Jason La Canfora: Solder's deal is 3 years fully guaranteed, 4th year is half guaranteed base salary, and other half due in March roster bonus.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Law Firm Is Officially Back.

From his start at Indiana University to his transfer to Ol' Miss, Benjarvus was always a consistently productive college running back. Green-Ellis posted 938 yards rushing as a IU Freshman. As a Sophomore he collected 794 yards and 5 TDs despite splitting the load with Chris Taylor. His Junior season at Ol' Miss marked his first 1,000 yard rushing season, then after 1,137 yards in his senior Year he became only the second Ol' Miss RB to post back to back 1,000 yard campaigns.

Despite posting a very productive resume The Law Firm would go undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.

After signing with The New England Patriots on May 1st 2008, Green-Ellis would spend about 4 months proving himself on the organization's practice squad. On October 11th, BenJarvus was finally promoted to the active roster. After an injury to running back Lawrence Maroney, The Law Firm got his first career NFL start, and also tallied his first TD. Later in the year Green-Ellis would have his first 100 yard game against the Buffalo Bills.

After a stagnant 2009 campaign with only 26 carries in 12 games, BenJarvus would more than make up for lost time in 2010. With Lawrence Maroney traded to Denver, The Law Firm was now The Patriots' primary Running Back. BenJarvus would appear in all 16 regular season games with starts in 11 of them. He scored 13 rushing TDs and became New England's first 1,000 yard rusher since Corey Dillon 6 seasons earlier.

Another interesting statistic: BenJarvus Green-Ellis has never fumbled... ever. Not at Indiana State, not at Ol' Miss, not in New England, not ever.

The 26 year old veteran entered the NFL lockout as a Restricted Free Agent, but is reportedly now officially back with New England. No word yet on the details of the signing, but with what BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been through just to get this far... i'm sure it's all worth it to be part of a Super Bowl Contender.

From undrafted, to 1,000 yards rushing, Bill Belichick still knows how to find his guys. And The Law Firm is undoubtedly one of them.

UPDATE: @JeffHowe- "NFLPA documents show BenJarvus Green-Ellis only signed a one-year deal with the Patriots."


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moss Retires After 1 Year Offer From Pats.

With Randy Moss announcing his retirement yesterday, i thought it would be a good time to not only reflect on the Patriots career of randy moss, but also hypothesize on the future.

Apparently The Patriots had reached out at some point to extend Moss a 1 Year Contract offer. Randy's pride took over when he asked for a multiyear deal. But what if Tom Brady's All-Time Receiver really took a 2nd look at that offer. Now obviously the acquiring of All-Pro WR Chad Ochocinco may have pushed away Randy's interest a bit, but the one thing Randy Moss' resume lacks is a Super Bowl ring.

The current Patriots roster enters this season as one of the NFL's top contenders. But what if the offense could contain 3 All-Pro Receivers and a Super Bowl MVP at the WR spot? What if Randy could tighten down on the attitude. What if he could deal with being part of an offense based on whoever is the most open, as opposed to who is the #1 threat. That's something that could be great.

Tom Brady's TD Leaders:
1. Randy Moss- 40
2. Deion Branch- 22
3. Wes Welker-21
4. Ben Watson- 20
5. Daniel Graham- 19


Monday, August 1, 2011

Pats Bringing In Former Bears' DT Tommie Harris

Every training camp for the past few years has had reports of the Patriots moving from the 3-4 over to the 4-3 but then it's doesn't happen... well maybe this time it actually is.

The Patriots are bringing in former Bears DT Tommie Harris. Harris is 28 year old 3x Pro Bowler, but has had problems over the past couple seasons.

In 2008 Harris was suspended a game for "conduct detrimental to the team". In 2009 he was benched, then suspended by the league for throwing a punch in game against the Cardinals. He was benched for a Monday Night Football game in 2010 due to lack of production, and over the past 5 seasons he's been hampered with knee injuries.

Harris only played 6 regular season games in 2010, putting up only 1.5 Sacks and 9 Tackles. But Tommie would go on to have a nice postseason, against the Seahawks he matched his season total of sacks with 1.5. Despite the promising performance in the Playoffs, Chicago decided that his 2.4 Million Dollar bonus was too much for a player seemingly on the decline.

In New England Harris wouldn't have the expectations of the 12 overall pick with 3 Pro Bowls, he could just be another (huge) able body along the Patriots defensive front. A front that has already seen the addition of former All-World DT Albert Haynesworth, who had similar character issues as Harris.

If I was Bill Belichick, and was trying to switch over to a 4 man defensive front... I think i'd be quite pleased with having Haynesworth (6'6", 320 lbs), Harris (6'3", 300 lbs), and Wilfork (6'2", 325lbs) on my team.


Matt Light Agrees To New Deal.

It appears that New England left tackle Matt Light will retire a Patriot. Matt has agreed to a 2 Year Contract, the terms of the deal have yet to be released. (Reported by CSNNE's Tom Curran.)

Matt Light has played his entire career in New England. Drafted in the 2nd Round (48th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, Light was a member of all three Super Bowl winning teams. Matt also started in all 16 games of '07's record breaking season, and was named the All-Pro team for the first time in his career. With his 3rd All-Star selection coming last season at the age of 32 it's hard to argue bringing back the Veteran Offensive Lineman. Even with 1st Round pick Nate Solder carrying such heavy expectations.

This should bring a smile to the friends fans of Foxboro. Over the years many players from the Dynasty years have ended up moving on to new teams, missing out on the opportunity to retire with The Patriots. Obviously there's no need to count our chickens before they hatch. But I'd expect this contract to carry Matt Light out to the end of his career and allow him to fade into the background as younger Patriots step forward.

NOTE: Patriots fans should hope that this isn't the last Pro Bowl offensive lineman that their team locks up in off-season, as Logan Mankins may be the best Guard in all of football.