We’ve got our Wildcard Edition of the BSMW Patriots Game Day Roundtable, featuring a look at Sunday’s playoff game and a couple of strong candidates for Mediot of the Week.
Bob Ryan notes that Bill Belichick and the Patriots are taking Eric Mangini and his Jets very seriously this week, knowing full well how dangerous they can be.
Michael Felger takes a position by position look at the matchups for the Patriots and Jets. Ron Borges takes an even more complete look at the matchups and says that the Jets won’t take the Patriots by surprise this time. However, he still clings to the notion that Gostkowski is shaky, incorrectly stating “he’s the reason New England leads the league in fourth-down tries.” He also falls for the Pepto bottle. (See two paragraphs below) Shalise Manza Young notes that one of the Patriots biggest areas of strength this season has been inside their own 20 yard line. Alan Greenberg looks at just how stout the Patriots defense has been this season. Dan Pires says Tully Banta-Cain and the Patriots aren’t ready for their season to end yet.
John Tomase notes that the trio of Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork is the unit most capable of bringing the Patriots to another Super Bowl. Mike Reiss has his NFL coaches panel speaking very highly of Laurence Maroney. Amalie Benjamin has a look at Daniel Graham, how he developed into the devastating blocker he is today and the keys to being a good blocker in the NFL. Albert Breer looks at how this has been a learning season in many ways for Ellis Hobbs. Jennifer Toland has Tom Brady enjoying the challenge of the playoffs.
A bottle of Pepto Bismol was spotted yesterday in plain view inside Stephen Gostkowski’s locker. Whether the rookie was actually using it, or if it was placed there by a joking veteran is unknown. (I think the latter is more likely the case.) Steve Buckley has a look at the rookie kicker, who has yet to face a game winning kick in his pro career. This of course doesn’t mean he can’t make the kick. He just hasn’t had the opportunity yet. Buckley believes the bottle was a Patriots prank. Joe McDonald has more on Gostkowski and apparently was duped by the Pepto Bismol bottle.
Eric McHugh has Tom Brady looking to right a couple of wrongs this weekend. Christopher Price has a couple of ex-Jets on the Patriots roster hoping to provide some leadership. Buckley has VinnyTestaverde talking about always being a Jet at heart, even if his loyalties right now are to the Patriots. Hector Longo says that the Jets will have a hard time matching up with Laurence Maroney. Breer looks at Warren being honored as the AFC’s defensive player of the month for December. Price looks at the Patriots playoff experience as a plus in this game. He also says this is the real season for Tom Brady.
Tomase’s notebook has Ellis Hobbs looking forward to his second postseason and talking about learning to deal with adversity. Reiss’ notebook has the Patriots aiming to stop the extended drives and third down conversions by the Jets. McDonald’s notebook has more on Ty Warren’s award. Toland’s notebook has Belichick praising the Jets special teams. Michael Parente’s notebook has the Patriots trying to figure out how to cure their kick coverage woes from last week. McHugh’s notebook has Mangini as the only strong branch in the Belichick coaching tree right now.
Christopher L Gasper has a mini-feature on Eric Mangini, who gives a lot of credit to Belichick for his development as a coach, but also acknowledges the role his late father played. Karen Guregian has Chad Pennington proving a lot of his doubters wrong this season, a season capped with the Comeback Player of the Year award, which he was awarded yesterday. David Brown has Pennington as a very driven player, though he is still known to scare fans on both teams. Michael Parente has more on the Jets re-energized quarterback. Guregian has Eric Mangini analyzing his handshakes with Bill Belichick.
Check the stories from the other side in the New York Sports Pages.
Guregian’s notebook has the Jets receivers not feeling any better about going over the middle simply because Rodney Harrison isn’t playing for the Patriots. Gasper’s notebook has more on Pennington’s honor.
Jim Lazar has his NFL Wildcard picks. Jim McCabe makes his picks in the Globe. Double D likes the Eagles this weekend and has the rest of his picks as well. I.M. Bettor also weighs in on the action for this weekend.
It was a night to forget at the Garden for the Bruins, who fell to the Maple Leafs 10-2. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at “a new low to their suddenly imploding 2006-07 season.” Stephen Harris says that the effort simply wasn’t there for the Bruins. Robert Lee and Dave Nordman also provide coverage of the Garden debacle.
Mick Colageo says that this loss is more than a one night issue for the Bruins. Frank Dell’Apa has Tim Thomas saying that this game wasn’t a lost cause from the beginning. Steve Conroy has Thomas fielding questions, but having no answers for last night.
Dupont’s notebook says that Phil Kessel might spend some time in Providence as he works his way back from cancer surgery. Harris’ notebook has coach Dave Lewis saying there is plenty of blame to go around for last night. Lee’s notebook has Kessel itching to get out and play again. Nordman’s notebook has Hal Gill not finding life in Toronto any easier with the fans than it was in Boston.
Peter May and Mark Murphy have Theo Ratliff getting set for back surgery, which will likely end his season with the Celtics. Mike Fine has Doc Rivers giving Paul Pierce some coaching duties while the captain is sidelined.
Nick Cafardo has the Red Sox relying on their scouting as they make the move to try and convert Joel Pineiro into a closer. Jeff Horrigan notes that irony of how Pineiro getting demoted last season could actually help his career. Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox options and thoughts about who will be their closer next season. Joe Haggerty has a short bit on Pineiro as well.
David Scott says that Gatehouse Media’s pennypinching ways is ruffling feathers with long time staffers.
Lenny Megliola is saddened by the decline of Muhammad Ali. Is Megliola saying that all sick people should be quarantined and not allowed to be seen by the public?