Kevin Mannix hands out A’s, B’s and C’s in his Patriots report card this week, but also one F, to the quarterback. Ron Borges says Bill Belichick and the Patriots made the right call by not going for the 55 yard field goal at the end of the game Sunday. Kevin McNamara looks at Mike Cloud’s return to practice yesterday, and whether the running back can help out this team. Alan Greenberg says Sunday’s loss could come back to haunt the Patriots down the road. Mike Reiss looks at the struggles of Tom Brady, noting the correlation between his play and the team record. Michael Smith looks in detail at what could be wrong with Brady. Michael Parente says that in the end, all it came down to was that the Patriots didn’t get the job done. Rich Thompson looks at the Patriots still having the personnel to play the defensive fronts that they want to this season. Christopher Price looks at Belichick defending Tom Brady’s interceptions, noting that they were not all the QB’s fault. Tom Curran notes that Sunday was similar to the loss in the fourth game of last season. Ed Gray looks at Cloud, eager to play after coming back from his suspension and injury. Thompson’s notebook has Adam Vinatieri agreeing with the decision to go for it on fourth and three. McNamara’s notebook says it was the execution, not the play calling that did in the Pats on Sunday. Smith’s notebook looks has more on Cloud.
Tony Massarotti turns in the Red Sox report card. The only F’s are earned by Mendoza and Sauerbeck. Bob Ryan has a look at Manny Ramirez and his amazing abilities that draw praise from teammates and foes alike. His work ethic is also lauded here. Sean McAdam looks at Billy Beane and Theo Epstein, how their thinking is similar and how it differs. Jeff Horrigan says the trade of Shea Hillenbrand saved the season for the Sox, and not just by acquiring Byung-Hyun Kim. From a huge list, Bob Hohler narrows it down to display the Sox top 10 moments from this season. Keeping with the list theme, Bill Reynolds gives us 10 reasons why the Sox are going to win the World Series. David Heuschkel looks at the preparation the Sox have made and are making for the playoffs. Christopher Young previews the AL playoffs. Steven Krasner says that despite all of Pedro’s other baggage, he’s still the best in the game. Gerry Callahan has a pay column today complaining about network TV’s decision to put the Sox on at 10:00 tomorrow night. It’s the usual…little kids can’t watch any of the game, people who work won’t see the end, baseball is run by TV, and the networks only love the Cubs and Yankees. Dan Shaughnessy looks at former Sox Scott Hatteberg. Gordon Edes has Grady Little praising Jerry Narron for his role as bench coach, and also citing Damian Jackson as having had just as big of a clubhouse impact as David Ortiz and Kevin Millar. Howard Bryant has a pay column looking at the A’s and the lessons they’ve learned from this season and from past playoff failures. Someone at the Herald web site was still a little asleep this morning as the link to Bryant’s article on the Red Sox page read: “Manly: A’s hope for happy ending.” Howard Manly, as many of you know used to do the job that Bill Griffith currently does at the Globe. McAdam looks at the networks to blame for the Sox late TV start. Jon Wallach also weighs in on the late show. Ryan also has a look at the Yankees and their nine year postseason run, which began with a wild card berth in 1995, the first year of the expanded playoffs. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Dave McCarty trying to provide some inside info on his former team. Out in Oakland, Dave Albee and Bruce Jenkins are talking about the Red Sox “cursed” history. Susan Slusser has a little more balanced look at the matchup, but even she is compelled to bring up the curse.
Shira Springer notes the one year anniversary of the new Celtics owners taking over and what they’ve learned in the first year. Mark Murphy looks at the expectations that will be placed on rookie point guard Marcus Banks.
Bill Griffith looks at the broadcast times and channels for the Sox playoffs, (Tomorrow’s game will be carried by channel 68 locally.) and the myriad of options Sox fans for pre and post game coverage. He also has the finalists for the Celtics PA job, a group that does not include longtime voice Andy Jick. Jon Meterparel is among the contestants. I had some correspondence with Jick over the past year and when the position was open a year ago, he was interested, but they wouldn’t even return his calls. He also expressed interest this year, and it seems the Celtics weren’t interested this time around either. That baffles me. Jim Baker’s pay column also looks at the Sox coverage.
Elsewhere, Herald sports writer Ed Gray has decided to come out of the closet. He wasn’t forced out, he says: “I’m out, and I am exercising my right to walk around proud.”