With the Giants/Braves playoff game pushing back Fox 25’s Sports Sunday a full hour, the show was subpar with not much of note. After the Patriots coverage Butch Stearns led into the Bills game today by saying that it’s much easier watching Drew Bledsoe make the same old mistakes these days for another team, doesn’t hurt as much. Leo Cullen of the Revolution was in studio to talk about tonight’s playoff game that ended in a scoreless tie. The show did have the only clips I saw of the night of Troy Brown talking to the media, saying that him not playing was “just part of the procedure…I don’t understand these things either…whatever he says to me…is the best decision for the team.” ( I later learned NECN showed Brown clips too) A clip from Bill Parcells was shown, with the coach saying that it’s early yet, the Patriots have a good team, there’s a lot of football left, and with Bill (Belichick) there, they’ll get things changed and done. They’ll be on track before the season’s over. After Ron Nikoleski had asked him about coaching trouble players like Terry Glenn and what he would do with Randy Moss. Parcells danced around the question on what he’d do with Moss. He said he had problems with a few players over the years, and Terry Glenn was not one of them.
On NECN, Mike Giardi was joined by Ronnie Lippett, both were concerned about Damien Woody’s comment that the team was lacking intensity today. Tebuckey Jones knocking down Terrell Buckley in pursuit of Jay Fiedler was discussed, Lippett talked about not getting into someone else’s pursuit lane, and that this is the second week in a row that Jones has done that. Talk about technique and location by the DB’s was also discussed, allowing the Dolphin receivers to catch the ball. They don’t even look back to find the ball, Lippett demonstrated how they should be finding the receiver with their elbow perhaps and then being able to take a peek back and see where the ball is.
WBZ’s Sports Final, hosted by Bob Lobel led off with a Hootie and the Blowfish song and reference “The Dolphins always make me cry” and Lobel talking about the “miserable” performance by the Patriots. Steve Burton has no idea what’s wrong, but they have to fix it. The officiating was again a factor, though Belichick would not comment on that topic for fear of a fine. Nick Cafardo and Michael Fleger joined, and Cafardo talked about a “dreadful” performance today, and added that the league is catching up to the “genius” Bill Belichick. A dispute between the two of them about the running game ensued with Cafardo saying they needed to run, Felger saying they shouldn’t have gone away from what has worked for them. Brady has carried this team through the air, and Cafardo says it’s the basic fundamentals of football, that you need to run the ball. Cafardo again at Burton’s urging talked about the league catching up to Belichick. Felger put more emphasis about the players not making plays on third down. A report that Troy Brown did not want to take a shot to play in the game today. He still wanted to play, but Cafardo claims that Belichick held him out anyway, and should have just put him in there with this being such a big game. Cafardo says that the Bledsoe trade is looking worse and worse everyday, it’s a bad deal. If Bledsoe was still here, he’d be playing next week, according to Cafardo. In this offense, he’d be even better than he is in Buffalo. Felger covered his face at that remark, and added that Bledsoe would not have made any difference, in fact they would’ve lost worse.
Troy Brown not taking a shot was discussed back in the studio by Scott Zolak and Steve DeOssie with Lobel, also the call on Bruschi for unsportsmanlike conduct on the field goal by Miami allowing the Dolphins to then score a touchdown instead. The Patriots aren’t getting the breaks they’ve gotten in the past, another stupid call on Compton was shown as well as Sam Madison kicking Marc Edwards helmet down the field were shown. Back to Miami, Ron Borges was there with Burton, and he said we don’t need to worry about Bledsoe, he’s gone. But when Felger says they needed to put the ball in Brady’s hand, Borges says they did, and he turned it over multiple times. Borges talked about Belichick looking like a deer in the headlights at the press conference, and like Hannibal Lector, he then intimated that in a few weeks, the real questions are coming, (hinting he’s going to spring a Carroll-like confrontation on Belichick) Borges said that Brady is going belly-up. and coach happy-face isn’t getting the job done. A confrontation between DeOssie and Borges followed, accusations flying. (DeOssie says when the Patriots fall behind, Borges struts around the press box laughing) Borges said that DeOssie and Felger don’t blame Brady for turnovers, DeOssie told Borges not to put words in his mouth and a shouting match ensued.
Borges also blames Charlie Weis for poor play calling in the second half after the Patriots finally scored a TD. DeOssie agreed with that. Lobel asked what has happened to the honeymoon? All of a sudden they don’t look that good. DeOssie said it’s a long season. Oakland was the best team through game 9 last season, and they’re looking the same this year. Patriots were 2-3 this point last year, 3-2 now.
Lobel isn’t happy the Yankees are out because we don’t have anything to whine about on that front. Steve Buckley joined from Florida, and Dan Roche and Dan Shaughnessy were in studio. Buckley talked about teams’ weaknesses being exposed in the playoffs, the Yankees’ bullpen and starting pitching were exposed, Shaugnessy added defense, and also the play of the Angels. He says he thinks the Angels will win the World Series, and made a Patriots comparison. Lobel brought up Mike Port’s status and also the coaching staff shakeup this week. Buckley says that Grady just wants his own guys in there, every manager wants his buddies in there, and to Little’s credit, making the decision early allows the guys to find other jobs. Shaughnessy wants to know why Mike Stanley resigned, he thinks there’s more to it, because they wanted him to stay. About Mike Port, Lobel doesn’t understand why he isn’t getting the job right away. Buckley said he just isn’t a Lucchino guy…doesn’t have the history with him. He also gave the Patriots a “4” out of 10 for effort, but also lauded the effort of the Dolphins and talked about all the teams lining up and being pumped to play the Super Bowl champs. Shaugnnessy told him in closing to throw a bucket of water on Cafardo and Felger…
Next segment a little more baseball. Talk about the Twins, and how no one expected them to be here…really…Roche recalled t-shirts in spring training with a glove with a middle finger up and saying to Bud Selig “contract this”. Lobel loves the Cardinals. St Louis is a great baseball town. Shaughnessy says they’re like us except without the negativity. Again Lobel says he loves the Cardinals. Roche picks the Twins and Cardinals in the series, with the Cardinals winning. Then onto soccer talk. How does the scoring work since the game ended in a tie…each team gets one point. The way it works is best of three games, or first one to five points. If the series ends with each team less then 5 points, then there is a 20 minutes “mini-match” followed by penalty kicks. The system was ridiculed by the Shaughnessy, Roche and Lobel, saying that is is really a bad system. Roche is clearly a soccer fan, liking the players, liking the games, and Shaughnessy is making fun of it, saying in two weeks when the Patriots have the bye week they can devote the entire Sports Final that night to the Revolution.
Lobel ended the show begging the viewers not to send e-mails about Ron Borges or the Revolution.
WHDH’s Sports Xtra Gene Lavanchy led the regulars, Fred Smerlas and Tim Fox. Smerlas likes the Patriots defensive intensity today, they played well, but the offense was out of it. They didn’t spread the field, and really killed the game for them. Fox pointed out that they were outgained by a hundred yards, on the ground in addition to the big difference in time of possession. Smerlas said the Dolphins outcoached the Patriots today. Fox also brought up the absence of Troy Brown, he’s like missing three players, wide receiver, special teams, and one of the best team leaders.
The in-game adjustments, or lack there of by Tom Brady was talked about by Tim Fox, that perhaps he doesn’t adjust well on the fly. Smerlas talked about Brady perhaps tipping things off to the defense by a tap of the foot or whatever, so that the Dolphins could jump right on him, also the crowd noise is a factor. Lavanchy says going down a day early sends a bad message to the team, in addition to being disruptive to their schedule, it also sends a message to them that they know something is wrong and they can’t win there doing things normally. They looked to the run more today, but weren’t able to do anything. Fox thinks they need to get Antowain Smith involved more, (Even though he isn’t a big fan of Smith, thinks he’s too much of a “tweener”) they need to mix things up, use play action to set up the run too, not just the pass. Fox is concerned, but there’s time to fix things, a lot of time to go. Smerlas added getting Brown back should be a huge boost.
Tony Massarotti came in studio next, and the fact that this ownership might trade anyone, was discussed, including Nomar. Lavanchy asked what would you need to get in a package…Massarotti said a bat to replace Nomar, a shortstop, perhaps a starting pitcher and prospects. Payroll will be diminishing and also all the contracts that come due in the same year in a couple years, they’re not going to be able to keep all of them. Massarotti says the Red Sox would “LOVE” to get rid of Manny’s contract. But Nomar is likely the most attractive to other teams with his game and contract. On the GM search, now with Oakland out of the playoffs, a push to Billy Beane is expected, the Red Sox will likely need to offer a compensation package to the A’s if they really want him, made the comparision to a Belichick/Parcells type of deal.
A segment looking at the Bruins and their goaltending situation was shown to end the show…who’s going to be the number one goalie?
A great quote from Dale Arnold earlier: “I was able to download the US Attack plan against Iraq for the upcoming war from the internet…yet I can’t get reliable info on the Pats Injury situation.”