It’s Tuesday, and that means report card day for the New England Patriots. Not too much to complain about this week, Kevin Mannix hands out all A’s and B’s for his students. Michael Parente also sweeps through A’s and B’s for the Patriots players and coaches after their win over the Rams. Steve Grogan, doing his fifth straight year of commentary and grading for Patsfans.com, gives straight A’s to the offense and defense for this one. He also gives some good insight into what is going on out on the field and in the coaches room.
Referring to them as “Belichick’s muted underlings”, (twice even) Nick Cafardo praises the work of the assistant coaches in getting the Patriots ready and prepared to face and beat the Rams. Gerry Callahan says that Belichick has passed Bill Parcells as a coaching genius. In addition to the overall big picture, he compares what Belichick and the Patriots did this week to what Parcells and the Cowboys did, and how each coach reacted afterwards. Careful Gerry, you might find a horse head in your bed courtesy of certain local sportswriters if you keep writing that stuff…Mike Reiss looks at the Beli-flex system, where players can be called upon to do many different things. Tom E Curran says the the 2004 Patriots may have found their identity Sunday in St Louis.
Christopher Price looks at how the Patriots versatility has enabled them to shine through difficult situations. Steve Buckley says that Bill Belichick doesn’t limit his thinking, he’s not afraid think outside the box and use players in different situations. He notes that Terry Francona did some of this as well, such as using Doug Mientkiewicz at second base one game. Michael Gee also focuses on the Patriots versatility, noting that it helps keep the players and coaches challenged and focused. Michael Parente looks at the attitudes of Troy Brown and Mike Vrabel, a couple players who have been used in different roles. Joe McDonald has Belichick pleased with his team’s performance on Sunday. Chris Kennedy looks at the work of the inexperienced defensive backs on Sunday.
Cafardo’s notebook looks at the Patriots being unable to come to an agreement on a new contract for Adam Vinatieri before last night’s deadline for applying pro-rated signing bonuses to this year’s cap. McDonald’s notebook looks at the yeoman effort turned in by an aching Corey Dillon on Sunday. Reiss’ notebook looks at how the absence of Tom Ashworth will affect the Patriots.
Michael Silverman says the Red Sox need to get a deal done with Pedro Martinez. The alternatives out on the market do not match what Pedro can bring to the team. Bob Halloran hopes that Pedro comes to his senses and accepts the Red Sox offer. Bob Hohler previews the GM Meetings. Tony Massarotti and Silverman look at Curt Schilling as he prepares for ankle surgery. Silverman’s notebook looks at the Sox laying some groundwork for player movement at the GM Meetings.
Steve Bulpett talks to Ernie DiGregorio, who remains high on the potential of Marcus Banks, saying that the second year point guard could be an All Star someday. Peter May has a quick article on Raef La Frentz who has been healthy and able to contribute in the early going of the Celtics season. Bulpett’s notebook has Gary Payton flying to the West Coast to be with his wife, who has been ill.
Raymond Bourque was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame last night. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Steve Conroy, Paul Doyle and Douglas Flynn all have coverage of the event. Kevin Paul Dupont has a look at the incredible rush, and feeling of invincibility at times that Bourque could feel out on the ice. Karen Guregian says that the NHL lockout put a bit of a downer on the whole evening. Mick Colageo says things are reaching a desperate point in the NHL lockout. Conroy’s notebook looks at Paul Coffey also being inducted, Coffey as you recall, had a short stint with the Bruins as well. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at Coffey and Larry Murphy.
John Molori bounces around the Boston sports media scene in this week’s edition of Media Blitz. Bill Griffith has a look at WEEI’s continued dominance in the Arbitron ratings. He also has a piece on the NFL extending it’s TV contracts.
No professional sports on regular cable TV tonight. ESPN2 has college football with Toledo/Northern Illinois at 7:30. NESN Retro debuts tonight at 8:00. CN8’s SportsPulse will have Mark Blaudschun to talk college football and Mike Petraglia, Kevin Winter, Joe Haggerty to talk baseball at 10:00.