The outcry has been answered and Ken Walter has been cut. No word yet on if the Buffalo Bills are going to snatch him up and add him to their “family”. Seriously though, while he was clearly failing at his job, I’ll always remember Walter as a member of the Patriots SuperBowl championship team. He’ll live on in the clip by Gil Santos of the game winning kick…”Walter the hold…the kick is up…”. Michael Felger says that Brooks Barnard will be your new punter. He is unlikely to be the holder to begin with, and his NFL debut comes this Sunday with a Divisional Title on the line and weather conditions that could be unfavorable. No pressure there. Nick Cafardo looks at the business decision to release Walter, something that fans have been clamoring for.
Michael Holley looks at the remarkable turnaround in the Patriots from last year. No one really thought they could things around this quickly from a team that last year was missing tackles and couldn’t stop the run. The concept has started getting more coverage in recent weeks, but this BSMW guest column from October was ahead of the curve in looking at the records of teams in the year following a SuperBowl appearance. The Patriots 9-7 record last year comes out actually looking pretty impressive. Felger’s Patriots Insider has a look at the money issues that the Patriots will need to deal with after the season. The list is long, and some hard decisions will be made. He also looks at 100 consecutive sellouts for the Patriots, and at why the team didn’t challenge the apparent TD catch by J.J. Stokes that was ruled out of bounds on Sunday. Cafardo has a mini-feature on Willie McGinest, among those he talks to about McGinest is his former coach Pete Carroll, who has a continued relationship with Willie as Pete is now the head coach of USC, where the Patriots drafted McGinest from with the fourth pick in the 1994 draft. Jonathan Comey’s Wednesday morning QB column notes that winning in November is nice, but the Pats need to do it in December as well. Alan Greenberg looks at the tendency around the NFL to push injured quarterbacks onto the field, something that will only hurt a team in the long run.
Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti produce dueling features on Curt Schilling and why he feels Boston is the right place for him at this point in his career. Howard Bryant has his Boston Uncommon column this morning, and he looks at the Superpower dance between the Yankees and Red Sox. He notes that it is clearly a case of the teams with the greatest resources available to them just trying to out-do the other, and Theo Epstein deserves credit for finally fully using the resources that the Sox have had in abundance for many years. He also comments on the Sox flirtation with ARod, wondering if it is partly with the purpose of getting Nomar to reveal what he wants to do.
Using Rodriguez as a wedge, the Red Sox are now beginning to pry Garciaparra into the light. After his wedding to soccer star Mia Hamm, Garciaparra said he wanted to stay in Boston. His agent, Arn Tellem, who is traditionally difficult, is now actively massaging media outlets trying to remake Garciaparra from the sullen, stir-crazy shortstop into a one-uniform only Red Sox legend in the mold of Williams, Yastrzemski and Rice.
Meanwhile, Manny’s agent says he just wants to remain with the Red Sox, according to Jeff Horrigan. He notes that recent events such as being put on waivers have perhaps injected a “jolt of reality” into Manny. I love Manny, but I don’t know if reality is a place he’s ever visited. Michael Silverman looks at the battle over Keith Foulke, and reports that Eddie Guardado would love to become the Sox closer if Foulke decides to stay in Oakland. Sean McAdam says the Sox may cut payroll in order to land Foulke. Bob Hohler’s notebook says Terry Francona will be named Sox manager…at some point. McAdam’s notebook also speculates on the timing of that announcement.
Jeff Jacobs tells the tale of a part-time Courant Sports editor who is is also a member of the Sons of Sam Horn board and made a few regrettable comments there. He also kept his loyalties to the site over his day job. Nice of Jacobs to throw his young colleague under the bus in this fashion. Jacobs also uses this column to essentially slam the site and take some shots at Art Martone and Bill Simmons. Wake up Jeff. The Internet is here to stay. Get used to it. Either embrace it or get passed by.
Celtics links are over at Fox Sports Net New England.
FSNNE has Celtics/Raptors at 7:00. NESN has Bruins/Thrashers at 7:30.