Tuna’s in the can, Star-Kissed Tuna, trot out all the adages. Bill Parcells is the big story on a slow Boston sports day. His old pal and co-conspirator Will McDonough weighs in on Parcells’ return to the NFL, citing his improved health and physical condition as why he can even consider taking the job. Gerry Callahan as usual, gets some vicious one-liners in there, (Jerry Jones’ “reconstructed face that looks like melted candle wax”…that’s the most perfect description I’ve read of it.) but above all, he and the rest of the NFL are glad the Tuna is back. I’m sure Ted Johnson’s quotes in Michael Felger’s article today will endear him to Bill Belichick, Johnson talks about the feelings Parcells brings out in players, even former players yearn for his approval when they face him. As for joining Parcells in Dallas, Johnson says that Tuna drafted him, and developed him, made him a better player, and “he was amazing off the field. He coached players, as opposed to schemes. He made an impersonal business personal” Hmmm. A little swipe at Belichick there? John Altavilla looks at the challenges facing Parcells in Dallas. Nick Cafardo looks at the Cowboys and what Parcells needs to do to get started there. Getting a QB and running back are usually the first things Tuna obtains. Steve Buckley tries to play the tough guy, the skeptic, tries to bring up all Parcells’ shortcomings as a human being and establish what a scum the guy is. He fails. While going over all his faults, Buckley admits that Parcells is the greatest game coach in the last 20 years and that he’s been missed by all associated with football.
As for the Patriots, Cafardo also takes a detailed look at the team, about who is likely to stay and who is likely out the door. No strong opinions one way or the other are given in here, which is strange since on WWZN yesterday with Cowboys fan Dave Jageler, Cafardo said among other things that he no longer believes in Bill Belichick as a personnel evaluator or as a motivator, Daniel Graham will be no better than Jermaine Wiggins, and he feels bad for the TV stations that air Belichick press conferences for “Fifth quarter” saying that they are just awful. Granted, Belichick isn’t captivating in the Parcells mode, and after losses he’s even less so, but from reading every press conference transcript from the year, and seeing and hearing many of them, Belichick sometimes has fascinating things to say. He’s smarter than any genius in the press, that’s for sure. Cafardo does trot out the “they really missed Bryan Cox” line today. As e-mailer Jason J. points out, Bryan Cox had 4 tackles this year. All year. On the 26th ranked defense in the NFL. But who knows, maybe the Saints would have been the 32nd ranked defense if not for Cox’s inspiration. Alan Greenberg and Tom Curran both have brief articles on Brady’s shoulder injury. Christopher Price has a pretty detailed look at the changes that might be made by the Patriots in the offseason, Price feels Antowain Smith is out the door…Steve DeOssie says the Patriots were just exhausted by the end of the season, and rebukes “moronic fans and a few equally idiotic sports columnists” who claim this season invalidates the 2001 team. He also calls Pete Carroll “pathetic” for allowing OJ to be near his team.
Apparently the Jets are going to be the darlings of the Boston media now. Michael Smith falls under the spell of Herman Edwards…who is despised by a surprisingly large portion of Jets fans. Tom Curran tries to make all the comparisions between this Jets team and last year’s Patriots. I’m not buying it. The Jets were 10-6 last year, just because they came back from a tough start doesn’t make them a miracle team. I will never root for the Jets. But do the Colts have a prayer this weekend? God forbid there be a Jets/Packers SuperBowl. I will boycott it. The Packers are a disgrace by virtue of their laying down to the Jets Sunday. They can’t lose bad enough. Go Michael Vick tomorrow…Smith even provides a Jet notebook with more lavish praise for new “wonderboy” QB Chad Pennington. Keep in mind Pennington is a year older than Tom Brady. Leigh Montville makes his picks.
Grady Little continues to put together “his” coaching staff. Has he ever even met any of these guys he’s hiring? Bob Hohler reports on the hiring of Dallas Williams as first base coach, and looks at 28 year old career minor leaguer Julio Zuleta as a possible solution for first base. Jeff Horrigan also explores possible first base solutions. Sean McAdam has a quick look at Dallas Williams.
As possible names for Celtics 13th man are tossed around, don’t be surprised if you hear the name Paul Grant. A seven-footer who played three season at BC before transferring to Wisconsin, Grant has apparently caught the eye of Leo Papile and the Celtic coaching staff. I’m not really sure why. Steve Bulpett reports that Tony Battie could be facing knee surgery. Gus Martins says that this could mean an opportunity for Vin Baker. Shira Springer looks at possible names the Celtics could be considering to fill out the roster. No mention of Grant. Bulpett’s notebook has the new owners saying they’re going “deep into the luxury tax” just to sign a minimum contract player.
Bill Griffith appears tired of Bowl games. The possibility of a College Football playoff system was a big topic during the afternoon drive on WEEI, with Ordway and Buckley butting heads with DeOssie on the topic. DeOssie wants it to happen, and now, the other feel the NCAA won’t get a colleges to agree to a format like that because they’ll lose money from not having as many bowl games. Jim Baker looks at Tuna coverage. John Howell looks at the NFL playoffs without the Patriots, and has more Parcells talk. In The week that was, I vent on callers as co-hosts, and examine some of the other events of the week on air in Boston and national sports.