On Fox25 Sports Sunday Butch Stearns celebrated his third anniversary at the station. Ron Hobson was in studio right off the bat. The efficiency of the offense was especially impressive, given that this is a defensive team. One drive took 19 plays, Hobson says first time in the history of franchise that has happened. Hobson also mentioned the ball handling by Brady, that Belichick had gotten on Brady a little at the end of last week, and Brady worked on it. Many different receivers used again, but obvious effort to get Troy Brown the ball early. Hobson feels the ’76 team were on a roll comparable to this team, but this one is more efficient on both sides, and a better team.
Ron Nikoleski drew the short straw and was at Fenway today. A very somber and grim series of clips from the manager and players. Nomar says the team won’t quit. Burkett who was rocked again today isn’t sure of his future here. Pedro says getting to 20 wins won’t take the sting off not making the playoffs. (kind of a dumb question)
Clips of Terry Glenn and a post game interview of Glenn (big hair) led off a package of NFL highlights. Levan Reid reported from the Meadowlands, the Patriots are clearly the best team in the league, Belichick and Pioli have done a great job putting the team together, Lawyer Milloy talked about he and Ty Law not having to make all the plays anymore. The offense being able to keep the Jets offense off the team was key. Defense was in the right place at the right time all day long. Victor Green gushed about the coaching staff, Milloy talked about the team as a machine that is getting stronger. Reid didn’t hear the J-E-T-S chant all day. All day the pressure was on Vinny. The offense was spread all over the place, and ate up the clock.
Last Blast against those who blast Belichick. He’s all about winning, Ted Johnson starting today after what happened last week is a perfect example of that.
WHDH’s Sports Xtra had the advantage tonight of not having direct competition from “Sports Final” due to the Buffalo game going past 8:00. Gene Lavanchy of course led off with Patriots but also asked if Manny Ramirez’s numbers are worth keeping him around – that would be discussed later. Gary Gillis was at the Meadowlands, and filed the game report. Ted Johnson talking about the confidence the players have in the scheme each week was among the clips. Tim Fox and Fred Smerlas joined Lavanchy at the table, and Smerlas said the score wasn’t even an indication of just how bad they beat the Jets, citing the turnovers. They will have a bump sometime, but it’s pretty hard seeing someone beat them. Fox talked about the team effort, including the coaches. Smerlas doesn’t think the Jets are that good of a team, he has them for last in the division.
Bledsoe and NFL highlights, as well as a report from Bruins training camp were up next. Mike O’Connell wants a defenseman back in any trade for Kyle McLaren. Didn’t rule out re-signing Byron Defoe, but didn’t sound at all likely.
Back to Smerlas and Fox. Fred wonders who in the world made the Jets the favorite today. Fox says you won’t see the Patriots as an underdog again. The playfakes by Brady were talked about, Fox talked about his maturity as a QB, he wasn’t really asked to make plays last year, he is doing it this year. Smerlas says this team is able to adjust to whatever the situation and is resilient. Jets make a big play, next play Green gets the INT. Fox noted the bounce back from the Troy Brown fumble. Weis’ trick plays, fake reverse…Jets prepared for reverse, so the fake worked perfectly, and the pass worked. The other fake play..direct snap to Faulk, Brady sells it by leaping as if it were a high snap. Lavanchy called them the most dominant team in the AFC. Next week, K.C., Vermeil is a strategist as well, good matchup. Asked about a potential letdown, Fox only worries about what goes around comes around, getting bad breaks, injuries. Smerlas talks about their smarts and being the hardest hitting team in the NFL, shouldn’t have any problems with letdowns.
Up next were Tony Massarotti and Jackie MacMullan and the topic was Manny. Tony feels the scrutiny of Manny went too far this week, but there is no excuse for the non run out. Clip was played of the incident, and Manny walking past Grady Little in the dugout, who does nothing. MacMullan says Little sealed his fate with his non-action. She said mark her words. Lavanchy asked if you can overlook Manny’s aloofness…MacMullan said you can’t overlook not running out. They need to get tough with the guy, she said they would trade him if they could. They need to take him out of the lineup if he does this again. Both agree that they are stuck with Manny, he’s the one who stays if the new owners blow up the team. Tony says no one can make Manny do anything. He has these shortcomings. MacMullan doesn’t agree with that attitude. Tony says the Sox need a player in the clubhouse who can stand up and get on Manny. Jackie suggested bringing in a Don Baylor-type as a manager. She said Manny could also be suspended for insubordination.
Leading off the last segment, Lavanchy said in this “season of great disappointment”, Derek Lowe has been a high point. Kip Lewis narrated the piece on Lowe, with highlights and clips of his season. No-hitter, 20 wins.
Midnight…and “Message in a bottle” is still playing on WBZ. I’m going to set the VCR and hopefully get up early enough in the morning to watch and log the show.