Sports Final with Bob Lobel started with Lobel saying in this league the title of genius has a very short shelf life. The honeymoon is over. This team has turned quickly. Scott Zolak, Steve DeOssie, and Ron Borges were in as the first panel, Lobel laid down the rules of engagement for this group…one person talks at a time, and don’t get personal. Given the chance, Borges doesn’t want to say “I told you so.” He says it isn’t so much the players as it is the fact that the coaches have gone away from what won them the Super Bowl. They’re throwing the ball 44 times a game. Zolak says this kid has trouble going more than 20 yards downfield. He won’t go more because people are saying he’s a closet Brady-hater. A charge Zolak denied. He avoided pressure early, but later started going deep and changed completely. The coaches have put him in this position though. DeOssie thinks the coaches have out thought themselves with the playcalling. Doesn’t seem like a game plan, just a hodgepodge of offense. Lobel asked if it’s too early to start the Brady/Bledsoe comparisons. A chart with all the numbers and the split in Brady’s stats between the first three games and the last three games. Zolak was emphatic in stated that when behind, Bledsoe does a much better job bringing his team back than this kid. Borges agreed that there’s no question that Brady plays better with a lead. Teams are starting to take away the short routes, and he can’t hit the deep throws. Defensive coaches have figured out this QB and the team. The points have gone down dramatically. Borges brought out the Faulk fumble, said last year the whole team would’ve jumped on the ball, today only Branch and Neal went after it. Lobel moved onto defense and special teams. This team can’t rush the passer. They’re just another team.
A very pleased Terry Glenn allowed Steve Burton to interview him. Watching the Super Bowl last year was very very tough, and he hasn’t told anyone, but it was really painful, and he wishes he was a part of it, but he’s moved on. He played in his mind what it would be like to get a ring from Bob Kraft. Former teammates gave a little support, and last year he understands that they couldn’t because it was their team and he was disrupting their team. He doesn’t hold anything personal against the team fans or organization.
Michael Felger and Nick Cafardo were in next, and Felger left the cheesehead behind. Lobel says that Glenn appears to be a changed guy. Felger said “oh please” and Cafardo agree with Lobel, and said that until proved otherwise, Glenn is a changed man. He added that the Patriots have made the Bills and the Packers better with their offseason moves. Felger says Glenn is not the difference in the Green Bay team. Lobel said how the Green Bay receivers are more talented than the Patriots, and both agreed, then Cafardo went into criticizing Felger for saying earlier that the Patriots improved themselves with their offseason moves. He says he never believed it. None of the free agents have done anything and only Deion Branch is doing anything as a rookie. Felger disagreed, and said that the tight end is improved. But in general, the talent pool on this team still isn’t at the top of the league. Cafardo says the team missed the boat in the offseason and could’ve improved the team more. Onto Brady/Bledsoe. Brady is now more in a position to lose games. Felger doesn’t mind having the ball in Brady’s hands…and Cafardo kept interupting saying, “You said he could throw the deep ball” and “Last week you said you wanted him throwing it all the time.” Felger was trying to make the point that he can throw deep, but certainly not as much as they asked him to today. About Bledsoe, Cafardo is pleased as punch to say Bledsoe is clearly a better QB right now, and that Brady has taken a Super Bowl team to 3-3 and Bledsoe has already taken a Buffalo team and matched it’s win total from last year. The coaches have asked Brady to do things that Bledsoe has done in the past, and he clearly hasn’t been able to do them the last three games.
Cafardo was replaced and Sara Underwood came onto the set, She and Felger are getting married next week. Lobel asked her what she sees in this guy. They actually met when Felger came on for a Sports Final appearance.
Red Sox update, Sean McAdam, Bob Ryan and Steve Burton were in to talk about the GM search, but first talk of the new ESPN show that is being partly shot in the Globe offices. Ryan will be a part of it. Lobel asked if Ryan has any time to write stories, being on NESN, ESPN and shows like Sports Final. Talking heads shows are taking over. Rayn doesn’t know where it ends, he just waits for the phone to ring. Burton jump started the GM talk by giving support to Mike Port. All the media guys seem to love Port. McAdam said after the first tier guys that they’re not going to get, Port is as attractive as any of the second level candidates. Port simply isn’t their guy though, and Ryan talked about them wanting to put their own stamp on things. McAdam talked about the presence of Lucchino being a factor, he’s very much a hands-on guy. That’s unappealing to some. Lobel raised a good point about how everyone talked previously about how bad the old organization was, but now this new group seems to have problems too, if no one wants to come to work for them. McAdam says Lucchino isn’t here for more than 6-7 years. David Eckstein’s name was raised. All lamented his loss. Cliff Floyd…we’ll see how far friendship goes, as if he goes to the Yankees he’ll be taking a job away from his good friend Rondell White, and Floyd is said my McAdam to have serious second thoughts about that. McAdam answered a Burton question by saying Clemens will never return to Boston. Red Sox need a lot more than a 40 year old pitcher. It’s not a PR move the team needs to make.
A blurb from Will McDonough with Burton, he says the team after the first two games started believing all the media praise, and now are not hustling, they don’t run on or off the field, they’re not prepared, they’re turning the ball over. Belichick is right when he says they need to start all over. McDonough says Tom Brady is doing ok, they have no running game, they take away the short routes. Packers didn’t miss a tackle all day. Patriots missed many. The team can rebound, they need to know that everyone is gunning for them. The back half of the schedule is very favorable. After Denver, Oakland will be the only first place team they play in the second half. Back in the studio, Ryan wants to know what it means to start all over. He isn’t so sure it can all be turned around. It’s doubtful they can make the playoffs. But the bye week is a blessing. They may look back and be very thankful that the bye came after this game. Lobel talked about an e-mail he got today asking “Where is Mo Lewis when we need him?”. Ryan and Burton both have confidence that Brady can make the deep pass, and can do the job, he was just off today. Ryan says the problem is the running game, that’s why they throw the ball so much, they can’t run the ball.
Jay Heaps and Taylor Twellman of the Revolution were in studio to talk about the team going to the Championship to end the show.
WHDH’s Sports Extra Gene Lavanchy led off the show being perplexed about what is going on. Tim Fox pointed to the penalties. Fred Smerlas says they’re playing dumb football. Last year Brady made all the right decisions, this year, he’s making some wrong decisions and can’t be the enthusiastic leader he was. Fox says a lot of things can go bad from throwing the ball. Smerlas said this isn’t a team of great individuals, they’re only great when they play together. Defense still can’t stop the run. Smerlas said they’re doing better, it’s the turnovers that is killing them. Gary Gillis had a segment on Terry Glenn.
Problems with the team: QB not playing well, receivers dropping passes and making mistakes, dumb penalties. This team is making mental mistakes. Fox says they’re not as aggressive as they were, they’re carrying the baggage of being Super Bowl champions, maybe feel don’t have anything to prove. The play on the reverse pass to Faulk was mentioned here, Smerlas also mentioned that last year there would’ve been seven Patriots on that ball. Fox says they need to go and integrate the pass and run better. Need to do the play action more. It’s clear what they’re going to do when they come up to the line. You can tell a pass play when it is called. This team has not made plays, on offense or defense. The turnovers make the defense look bad because the other team gets great field position and scores most of the time. Fox thinks there will be a more conservative offense after the break, and Smerlas says you don’t blow the team up, you maybe make an example out of someone, Fox added they need to hit people more. Jay Heaps and Taylor Twellman were also in studio on this show, and that was the last segment.
Butch Stearns was ready to jump off the Tobin bridge. On Sports Sunday he started by encouraging people to meet him for the jump. After the Patriots and NFL highlights, Stearns also tooted the Mike Port horn, he thinks they already have the right man in the job. Stearns gave Port credit for the Angels going to the World Series, as he brought in some of the key guys while he was GM there. Levan Reid said in his segment that if the Patriots coaches want to the throw the ball all over the field, they kept the wrong QB. Kevin Mannix appeared in studio, and said that Tom Brady is making mistakes, and the defense isn’t getting the job done. They can’t stop the run, and that is a measure of a team’s toughness. No question that they will pull the reigns in on Brady. This is the gamble they took in trading Bledsoe. The one thing that they are missing right now that they had last year is heart. They don’t have the desire, and Mannix doesn’t know if Belichick can fix that.