In our First Quarter Review, we figured New England would have some trouble with the Jets, but should take care of their other three opponents without much drama.

The Patriots outlasted the over-thinking Colts in Indianapolis, 34-27. Then they hung tough against the aforementioned Jets, 30-23, in a game that had more drops than a bottle of Visine. They cut the Dolphins’ win streak at two with a decisive 36-7 outcome. Despite their latest victory – a 27-10 handling of the Washington Powhatans – the Patriots may feel as though the let one into the loss column after Dion Lewis’ season-ending knee injury and Sebastian Vollmer’s apparent concussion.

So, I guess we buried the lede: your New England Patriots are 8-0. Back in the last century, some Pats fans began the season hoping the team stayed above .500. They haven’t had a losing year since Bill Belichick’s (and Tom Brady’s) first in 2000. Back then, you could call your friends on a pay phone to see if they wanted to go see Almost Famous, and you’d commiserate on how you couldn’t get that damn “Thong Song” by Sisqo out of your head.

It was a long time ago, is what we’re saying. If you’re not enjoying each and every game, you’re missing out on some fun stuff.

In any case, some thoughts on the previous four…

The Third Man: Now it looks like James White will play the role of third-down back. Good for White, but too bad for Lewis, who worked hard to get back from injury and anonymity, playing 26 games for the Eagles in two seasons (36 rushes, three catches) and zero in a week-long stint for the Colts last year. For the team, he provided a dynamic pass-catching option who bounced off and around tacklers like a hamster in a gyroball. He was averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 10.8 yard per catch – most of which came after the reception.

And for fans? Well, if this move against Koa Misi doesn’t say it all, then this version of the ol’ Juke, Duck, Slide, and Bump where he eludes four Cowboys should.

Jojo, Our Love Can Grow: Sure, he appeared a bit shaky a few weeks ago (several drops in his season debut vs. the Jets), but it seems that Brandon LaFell has gotten closer to being his old self. LaFell had four catches for 47 yards against Miami and seemed to break through this week playing the Washington Tribe with five catches for 102 yards, including a 48-yard, lofted Brady pass that looked like a backyard Nerf-ball punt.

Stuck In The Middle With You: Stealers Wheel? Hunh. Did not know that. Anyhoo, another positive to take away from the game against the Washington Piscataways was how the defense performed without their best athlete, middle linebacker/human grasshopper Jamie Collins. (You can watch and wonder how he blocks an extra point kick here, and be sure to note the look on Adam Vinatieri’s face.) The Pats are better with Collins, of course – backup linebacker Jonathan Freeny gets pushed around like a shopping cart on Black Friday – but holding any team to three pre-garbage-time points looks pretty good.

Thin Blue Line: New England’s starting offensive line has seen more comings and goings in eight games than an entire season of “The Walking Dead.” Starting left tackle Nate Solder? Out for the year. Potential starting guard Ryan Wendell? Out for the year. This past game vs. the Washington ConoysSebastian Vollmer had to leave with a head injury. On and on it went, to the point where last year’s starting center Bryan Stork (just back from injury himself) played right tackle, while recent practice-squad guy Cameron Fleming ended up at left tackle, a position he had never played in a game before.

On the positive side (nothing but rainbows and sunbeams here at BSMW), rookies Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason should be back at full strength soon, and undrafted rookie David Andrews has played every offensive snap this season. Adding 2013 rookie free agent Josh Kline to the mix shows a strong injection of youth into the offensive front.

It’s Delicious, It’s Delightful, It’s D-Line-ly: The Patriots currently hold the number three spot in rushing defense, allowing under 90 yards per game. Part of that has to do with opponents seeking to overcome early deficits through the air (NE gives up a middle-of-the-pack 4.1 yards per carry), but the worries over run defense have been largely quieted. Kudos to leviathan Akiem Hicks and monolith Alan Branch, and surprise praise to rookie Malcom Brown, who has made great, lumbering strides over the first half (17 tackles, one sack).

Interior pass-rusher Dominique Easley has been hectoring opposing QBs consistently. And, oh, yeah: defensive end Chandler Jones leads the league in sacks with 9.5. The team could also get end Jabaal Sheard back soon, adding more versatility to their pass D.

You Can Dance If You Want To: Oh, memories. Speaking of which, remember when Coach Belichick started collecting safeties like they were Star Wars action figures? They now have eight on the roster, and they have plans for every one. As Rich Hill of SB Nation’s Pats Pulpit said in his mid-season review, New England has used five or more defensive backs on 84.3 percent of their plays. Devin McCourty has been his usual, rangy self, while Patrick Chung has shown great prowess supporting the run defense (expected) and covering opposing receivers (less so). Duron Harmon has demonstrated how much a year of experience can cut down reaction time. Rookie Jordan Richards has chipped in with nine tackles. Nate Ebner, Tavon Wilson, and Brandon King have bolstered special teams.

Guess if you’re going to stock up on one position, safety’s a solid investment.

End All, Be All: Jeepers, we haven’t even brought up Rob Gronkowski yet? Halfway through the 2015 season, Gronk has 44 catches, on pace for two fewer than his career-best 90 in 2011. He’s also averaging 15.8 yards per catch, the highest rate of his six-year career. In relation to other tight ends, Gronk’s 61 career touchdown grabs (seven this year) put him fourth all-time for his position, one behind Shannon Sharpe’s 62 over 14 seasons. Tony Gonzalez’s 111 (17 seasons) and Antonio Gates’ 101 (13 seasons and counting) lead the league.

When you think of pass-catching tight ends, Shannon Sharpe comes to mind. Gronk’s on pace to match his TD output in less than half the time. And Gronk can block.

Stephen Prospered In His Time: He hasn’t made sainthood yet, but kicker Stephen Gostkowski has had an amazing run. The Ghost has gone 19 for 19 on field goals in eight games, including a 52-yarder vs. Miami and a 57-yarder at Dallas. He became the leading scorer in Patriots history during the Miami game when his 35-yarder helped him surpass Adam Vinatieri’s 1,158 points. He has made 87.6 percent of his field goal attempts in his career and remains on pace to best that in 2015.

Anyone else second-guess drafting him in the fourth round in 2006? Looking at our annual Round-by-Round Review of New England drafts, it’s an easy argument that Gostkowski remains their best fourth-rounder this century, even considering their recent successes with O-line selections (Stork and Fleming in 2014, Mason and Jackson in 2015).

Nobody Does It Better: So, 2,709 yards passing at a 68.6 percent completion rate, 22 touchdowns, and just two interceptions, Mr. Brady? Yeah. Ho-hum. Glad the NFL spent millions of dollars investigating a possible equipment violation that had no impact on his performance.

While we’re on the topic of the NFL …

One Question About The League

Hardy’s Hardware: For anyone who has defended Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, let’s remember he assaulted his girlfriend and threw her onto a bed covered in assault weapons. When it comes to defending a good player’s behavior, we could easily talk about The Tight End Who Shall Not Be Named posing in a mirror with his Glock. When that photo came out, most Patriots fans chalked it up to youth and stupidity (the tight end was only 19 at the time it was taken), figured it was a one-time thing, and he would change his ways.

Nope, and nope times infinity. Now, considering what we know about Hardy, how does the NFL avoid stepping in here and forcing him to, at the very least, see a therapist? The man has shown little public remorse, tweeting a half-hearted apology only after photos of his victim’s bruises came out. He has lost his temper with an assistant coach, to the point of a physical confrontation and offered no public apology afterward. He has even tweeted that his “prejudicial treatment” arose from discrimination.

Imagine if this happened at work. An assistant manager calls an impromptu meeting after a mistake by your department (Dallas had just given up a kickoff return TD). An employee from another department bursts in, slaps the clipboard out of the assistant’s hand, and shoves him. Then he gets into a shouting match with a co-worker. Something’s got to happen there, right? Some kind of discipline, if not an outright firing?

I mean, this person won’t hear his boss call him one of the “real leaders” of the group who has “respect” from his co-workers and “inspires” others with his actions. Right?

On her show “Garbage Time,” Katie Nolan shared these raw, emotional comments on Hardy, calling him a “garbage human.” Agree with her or not, we all have to understand that he needs help, and neither the Cowboys nor the league’s leaders are giving it to him. We can only hope that Greg Hardy doesn’t hurt anyone with his actions. Too often, hoping won’t do the trick.

And Dallas fans? Stop defending him. You’re going to end up feeling awful about it.

Third Quarter Preview

The Patriots travel to the Giants’ home next Sunday for a 4:25 EST game. They host the Bills the following Monday night (Nov. 23), then have to prep for a quick turnaround at Denver on Sunday night (Nov. 29). They wrap up the quarter hosting the Eagles on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 4:25.

Ugh. Giants. New York is 5-4 and has looked awful at times, but of course when they play the Patriots, Eli Manning turns on that Manchurian Candidate switch and becomes an enemy of the New England people. Could be a lot of offense: Patriots ranked number two overall, while the Giants’ defense is giving up 308 passing yards per game, second most in the league. Meanwhile, Eli went from a near-epic performance in New Orleans two weeks ago (350 yards passing, six TDs, zero INTs) to a more down-to-earth showing last week vs. Tampa Bay (213 yards, two TDs, two INTs).

I mean, really. Who knows?

While Buffalo coach Rex Ryan has made it clear the Patriots game is the only one he really cares about, that shouldn’t be enough to get the Bills a win in Foxboro. Denver, despite their recent loss in Indy, looks tough, with a solid defense and an aging QB whose throwing motion looks like he’s trying to slap a piñata but somehow gets the ball there most of the time. Besides, no one seems to do well at Mile High (or, officially, Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Nice ring to it. I’m hoping for Chili’s Campus at Fuddrucker’s Promenade at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, but hey, I’m a dreamer).

The Eagles look decent at 4-4, but the Denver tilt looks like the toughest game on the docket. Just like we said last quarter, the Pats could go 3-1 but – if their O-line gets healthy and their best defenders can stay on the field – they have a shot at 4-0. Another winning season for New England. What a great century.

Chris Warner tweets about a lot of what he’s posted here: @cwarn89 

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82 thoughts on “Patriots 2015 Second-Quarter Review

    1. The Hardy story to me is written off by the league as off the field bad behavior. they deplore it etc but in the end the guy has a right to earn a living if someone wants to pay him. I absolutely deplore the attitude but the league has been taking that position since before before Jim Brown beat his wife. Its a violent sport, they aren’t all choir boys…yada, yada, yada.

      To me the big scandal is the Colts and the injury report. Explain to me how luck has a lacerated Kidney if the ribs were not broken or fractured before hand. The league is at $10 mill and counting over air pressure that was explained by science. Has there been an outside investigation over the Colts and the injury report yet? Has their lack of reporting correctly gotten the league and its integrity of the game police up in arms yet? Has the NFL ordered all of the Colts medical records be sent to Park Ave for review. Have they interviewed the Colts medical staff? Coaches? Front off management in charge of publishing said list? Have the Colts lost 2 draft picks and $1 mill? Has the player who clearly lied about his condition been suspended for 4 games?

      Just curious.

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      1. Social ostracism is a powerful tool to change behavior. If you say “Well, he’s a horrible person who beats women but has a right to earn a living.” domestic violence is never going to stop. The cycle will continue. If we tell Hardy, no, you can’t be a pro football player because of your reprehensible behavior, then it will send a message to those who would do something like that and have real change not only in Hardy’s life but in those around him.

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      2. There’s the same 10-word answer to all of your very good questions: It doesn’t involve the Patriots, so it’s no big deal. One other sidebar issue is that the Colts, ever since St. Dungy and St. Peyton were in their primes out in Indy, have been the league’s “poster child” franchise, for lack of a better term. Despite having a drug-addled owner who publicly disgraces himself with his personal behavior, that franchise has been immune to just about any and all outside criticism (the local Indy press sometimes calls the team out for its failings…….when they’re not making excuses for them and blaming “the cheaters” back east in Foxboro). Therefore, any deep investigation of this Luck/injury thing wouldn’t be good for the well-cultivated, “pure” image the league’s PR machine has crafted for the Colts lo these many years.

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  1. Looks like Larry can take some shots at the hometown media. This via a CHB article in the LOLbe he did today talking to Bird:

    Larry Legend didn’t take it too seriously when he first heard the
    deflated footballs charge after the Patriots waxed the Indianapolis
    Colts in the AFC Championship game last January.

    “I thought it was a bunch of lying, if you want to know the truth,”
    said Bird. “That’s something [Bob] Kravitz [Indianapolis sports
    columnist] came up with, and I never believed any of it.

    “It doesn’t really matter. It was written about a lot around the country,
    but here in Indianapolis, most people knew. We knew the Patriots was
    going to beat them anyway. I thought it was pretty chintzy. People
    finally realized they would have beat us anyway. I just laughed about
    it.

    “They got the footballs they played with and we got our footballs. And their footballs beat our footballs.

    If you do want the link: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/11/12/larry-bird-still-shoots-from-hip/sxpngr3KxeiCGQCf0zB6ZJ/story.html

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    1. Larry is, was, and always will be the most bad-ass of all the bad-ass Boston sports legends, at least as far as I’m concerned. It’s a damn shame that the Celtics under Gaston, Jr., let the relationship with probably the greatest player in the history of a franchise that’s had a LOT of great players fracture the way it did. He was never into making excuses as a player, so it’s not surprising that he won’t hear of any from the Colts or the pathetic Indy media/fan base about the AFCCG. Heck, with a little luck on the health front, the Bird-era Celtics could have won about six titles. They ended up with three. Those are the breaks. But Larry never made excuses — not even in ’87 when they certainly were good enough to repeat as champs, but injuries and the death of Len Bias pretty much crippled them right out of the gate (still fell just two wins shy of pulling it off). I’m not a huge Simmons fan, but when he called Larry “The Basketball Jesus,” he was on to something.

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    1. I just got that e-mail a few minutes ago myself. The Boston Globe is to integrity as crabgrass is to horticulture.

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  2. Not sure if any of you are fans of Danny Picard or not, but I recently found out that he does a daily podcast. It’s typically an hour or so long and covers the topics of the day. I have found that I can plug in my phone and listen to his show while DHT are doing commercials on my ride home.

    He does a one man show, more like Rome, I’d say Patrick but he involves his staff so much it’s like they’re all part of the show. Like all one host shows there’s a lot of asking and answering his own questions, and he must have been a Chris Rock fan because he tends to repeat key points a few times in a row to drive the point home. He definitely will spend a majority of his time on Pats and Sox but will cover the B’s and C’s, but all in all I have enjoyed the time I have spent listening to it. He will curse from time to time but to be honest I enjoy it. Just felt a warning should be given before any delicate ears were offended.

    I bring this up because I was unaware of this local sports podcast and wish there was more info out there on local shows.

    You can listen to his show on his website at http://dannypicard.com/ or you can subscribe on iTunes or however the hell you choose to listen to podcasts.

    Enjoy.

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    1. Picard, Villani and Arcand all sit in WEEI’s pen. They tend to appear on weekends or fill-in duty. All, I think, have a good shot at doing a show in the market at some point.

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      1. Problem is I rarely get to hear those shows. On weekends it’s pretty unusual for me to be in the car by myself, where I can enjoy sports talk.

        WEEI should do a better job of working those guys into the M-F rotation when the regulars are out so that listeners might be able to catch a fresh take. Of course I’m not sure how pumped the regulars would be about that. Maybe that’s why the regular hosts continue to have Tanguay fill in. They don’t have to worry about one of the younger guys taking their spot.

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        1. Advocated the same thing many times.

          All are major upgrades over most usually on, especially Tanguay, but even pigeon dung on your windshield would be in his case.

          Arcand is the only other guy who I hear regularly since he’s on ESPNNH from 3-6 with Sheppard (950/1200AM in Southern NH).

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    1. I think it’s Kirk’s sinister plan to get Tanguay fired from CSNNE for not backing him. The more he talks in long-form, and not off of a teleprompter, the sooner he’ll say something toxic that gets him booted.

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    1. Seems to me Howe is on the right track. You have a $153 mill cap and 53 players count towards the cap. That is about $2.9 mill per player. Rookies, league min vets and rookie FA’s count way under the $2.9 mill average. So with Brady only making $12 mill…they should be able to sign all three if they want. They question is…and we have seen with this with Mayo…is do you want to put $150 mill into that LB/DE position in 3 players. I am not sure. I hate to lose Jones…but is what he is doing something that Sheard cannot do for 70% less money? I am not sure. I do think Collins is not replaceable. I believe Hightower while maybe replaceable is a beast and I really like him paired with Collins. So if I had to let one go it would be Jones. However I think there are ways to keep all three through one more contract.

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      1. I think, ultimately, they’ll view Jones as the guy they can most afford to lose, and they’ll probably let him walk, if only because, as you said, tying up that much cap space in just three guys is not what the Patriots do. It’s not usually a recipe for success anywhere else, either. Sheard can do what Jones does (albeit less effectively), and they probably envision Easley moving outside should Jones leave. It stinks, but some team is going to OVERWHELM Jones with an offer he can’t, and probably shouldn’t refuse. The banshees will scream and wail, of course, but Collins and Hightower will likely be their re-signing priorities. They have to be. They’re versatile, play all over the field, and LB’s have always been the key guys in Belichick’s defenses anyway, going all the way back to his NYG days as defensive coordinator. Again, it stinks, but it’s the economics of the NFL in the cap/free agency era. And no, the cap is not “crap,” despite what certain media megaphones say.

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  3. In one of the more interesting news stories we have had in a while Gary Pinkel the coach at Missouri announced that he is retiring as of Dec 31. It turns out he has cancer. I wish him and his family the best as he battles the disease.

    Having said that…I could not figure out why he would allow his team to be used as a pawn in a political stunt. In case you live under a rock or only follow fantasy football news, Pinkel allowed his players to threaten not playing a game until the Missouri President, Tim Wolfe, stepped down because of perceived racism on campus. It made no sense to me why a guy would put a $3.1 mill a year job in jeopardy over a questionable political action that should have gotten him fired. He created an absolute mess for Missouri, when he backed the president into a corner by being disloyal to the school (his employer) and sided with minority students on an issue that amounts to “I feel something bad is happening…do something to protect me”. It does not matter what his political beliefs were…his actions were deplorable. So two questions are raised for me:

    1) What was his personal problem with the now ex-president, Wolfe?
    2) Why did Wolfe acquiesce rather than threaten to pull the scholarship of any football player that did not play in Saturday’s game and threaten to fire the coach if he did not coach in the game?

    Civil disobedience comes with consequences. Ghandi knew this…he spent plenty of time in jail. MLK knew this…he spent time in jail. Pampered privileged football players get a pass and there is absolutely no national debt started looking at their actions. Instead Wolfe has his professional reputation ruined all because it was alleged some backwards hick from Southern Missouri yelled an epithet at passing Black students and the school did nothing or could do nothing to stop it.

    I have a 17 year old daughter who is going off to college next year. It will cost me $60K a year if she gets into her first choice. I hope to god the principles of free speech and the fact that you do NOT have a right to NOT be offended are prevalent at that school. In the lean time…Pinkel should be fired for his actions today…and not allowed to retire with dignity intact at the end of December. More importantly, the national press should be all over this story. Instead…not a peep.

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    1. To answer some questions as to why the president and AD resigned? It’s really simple: money.

      Mizzou, by virtue of being part of the ESECPN, gets a few cool $ per game.

      It’s that simple.

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      1. I don’t think that was the mitigating factor. At most Mizzou would have lost $1 mill for the game. The school has an endowment north of $800 mill and could easily handle the loss of $1 mill to make the point that civil disobedience comes with a cost.

        There was something else going on. A competent school president would have used the situation as a learning experience. Instead Wolfe left. He did not fight. He did not attempt to generate support. He just left. The football coach, Pinkel, allowed his players to to support an absolutely moronic cause at the potential cost of $1 mill to the school…yet it does not appear he feared the confrontation that he should have had with Wolfe. There is a story here…too bad no one is looking into it.

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        1. The story is that an over-his-head administrator was forced out before he did more damage to the school.

          Do more research into Wolfe – he had no allies because he was terrible.

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          1. I know about Wolfe because my Wife’s family is from St Louis and a bunch of them went to Mizzou. Regardless of his political standing in the school…he made a mistake by not calling Pinkel’s bluff. The board of regents was not removing Wolfe between Tuesday and Saturday.

            I think the story here is how much of an ass Pinkel is/was. No one is covering it because for the most part the mass media is sympathetic to the political cause he was supporting. It does not mean his actions should have been allowed to pass without consequence. The fact that he is not public with the cancer makes me think he is a really petty guy who stuck it to Wolfe because he could.

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          2. This is my exact point. People should know about the story…it should be much bigger. A football coach allowed his team to be used as pawns in a political correctness battle. The coach keeps his job, the university president loses his, and the student protesters have not had to face any consequences. This should be a huge story (with the caveat that the events in Paris should rightfully over shadow this).

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  4. Our weekly check-in with Fail Simms, sponsored by some silly DFS provider DraftDuel FanKings–something.

    Carry on, men.

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  5. BUT, MIKE, THEY OVERPAID FOR A KICKER! HE SUCKS MIKE!!!!!!! HE SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. OK, OK, Mike. He made one big kick TO WIN A REGULAR SEASON GAME! OK? It was a regular season game! Vinatieri won Super Bowls for them with his kicks. He saved their season in the Snow Bowl with THE GREATEST KICK EVER! Gostkowski has never had to do that in the post-season. He’s still unproven!

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        1. Once in a while I come up with some good stuff. Also, am I the only person around here who remembers Gostkowski kicking the GW field goal at San Diego in the 2006 AFC Divisional round (as a rookie, no less), with just over a minute on the clock? Granted, it was from just beyond 30 yards (31 per the box score); but still, the game was tied at 21, and if he misses, the game goes into OT and San Diego seizes back the momentum it had lost when Troy Brown stripped the ball away from the defender after what should have been the game-clinching INT about four minutes earlier. That was a clutch kick, on the road, and in a playoff game, no?

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  6. Is it too much to ask for out sports stations to talk patriots football on the Monday after a game? This morning I managed to catch the tail end of the Brady interview before EEI went back to their regularly scheduled programming of suicide bombers, and a little bit of Flynn before Fred went off on some Hightower riff, talking with a lisp and laughing at himself. UGH!

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    1. It’s no secret that D+C talk politics, even on “Patriot Mondays”. I’m not “approving” or disapproving, but why not turn it off or switch to another station if you don’t like it?

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      1. That’s what I did, ended up listing to Packers talk on M&M, it’s the only sports I could find on the commute. The point is, it would have been nice to hear good Pats talk. Since we have 2 sports stations in town, you’d think that would be a reasonable request.

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        1. Nope, it is a reasonable request. We’ve had the discussion before on this many times. Ordway, I thought, made the best point on it when on BSUNF, saying that people would get bored if all 4 hours was spent on the game. I think he’s right.

          I don’t care for it but I think that morning shows are a hodgepodge of everything. That’s just how they are. T+R have their own non-sports gigs/bits, too. I just don’t get the people who listen to D+C, knowing that not only do they do it but the “side” taken, esp by GC, and then go nuts ranting about it.

          When I had more time and was more into CFB, I used to listen to WJOX in Birmingham. Basically, it was Alabama’s (Crimson Tide) station, but they talked about the SEC in general, and sometimes general CFB topics if something was big enough. I know CFB is life there, so maybe it wasn’t for me, but they talked Bama/SEC for 12 hours each day across shows. I liked CFB but man it droned on sometimes. Maybe it wasn’t for me because I didn’t grow up there nor was that involved.

          And, I’ll make the point again: I think we’ve got it really good in Boston. Both stations with different flavors and shows for 18 hours a day. I’d rather have nice choices like this than be stuck with what many markets are.

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          1. I picture the Crimson Tide station as being a real-life version of the Bears Superfans sketches from SNL. “If Bear Bryant coached a team of kindergarteners, would they beat Auburn by 70 or 200? Discuss, callers…”

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          2. It was like that. The shows were dominated by Bama fans but then Auburn ones would call in and battle them. They’d literally play this audio tag between each other, calling the next day to respond.

            Nobody did this better than Finebaum, though.

            He’s now simulcast and his show comes from them (WJOX also picked up the simulcast). Even years ago, half the callers were regulars and he’d mix in others from random places in the country. For a small station out of Alabama, his power was palpable throughout the SEC footprint.

            Think if Albert in RI, Danny in Quincy, Steve from FR–every Darwin Award candidate from our market–all called in, every day, and literally battled each other. You’d go nuts but the stupidity and hilarity keeps you listening. PF would also play along and act dumb, egging them on to just dig their hole further. The only host I can recall doing that here is Zo but they must have an edict to stop letting these guys through on the weekdays shows.

            The SEC is one of the biggest, but I know of no other “show” that links together all these rabid fanbases in any sport. Finebaum also really went national thanks to what Harvey Updyke did.

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          3. For the record…when super callers call in…I turn off. As someone who has family in Omaha (I married into it) sports radio comprised of CFB and NASCAR is worse than anything ever discussed on the old Gresh and Amy Lawrence show. Heck it is worse than anything Jimy Myers discussed. It makes 6 hours of Ted Nation seem like a Mensa meeting. I had the misfortune one time of being in Omaha visiting the wife’s grandparents during the college world series…so between Tom Osborn genuflecting (he was coach at Nebraska then) and the inane conversation about fuel mixture ratios, there was a rabid discussion of the college world series that did not mock the Aluminum bats. I tried twice to jump out of the car while it was going 40MPH on Dodge (If you have been to Omaha you will get the joke)…only to be held in. There is nothing worse than sports radio outside of Boston, NY and Philly.

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          4. Usually radio stations repeat topics. They’re usually geared to people who listen while driving, not for hours on end. With the advent of streaming though, it’s become more common to listen for longer periods while working. I guess my commute is just too short, as I’m lucky to get a good 15 minute segment in the morning.

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          1. For all you post on here, are you really saying that someone should change the channel rather than air grievances about terrible sports media with the rest of us?

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          2. Nope.

            I just have an issue with people who constantly complain about GC’s politics. You already know what he’s going to say about things, so why listen?

            I bring this up because it seems to be a thing with people to sit around and listen to the political party they disagree with just to be angered and pissed off, then have to tell every single person about it, even if they know they either don’t pay attention or care. I don’t get that. I’ve asked before and never got a reasonable response, no matter the side the person is on.

            Ann clarified her point below and this wasn’t the case.

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          3. Honestly, the only time I listen to D&C is Monday mornings to catch an interview. I always hit the button to see if they’re talking about anything interesting (i.e. sports), and they’re usually not.

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      1. I listened to the Tim Hasselback interview…that was Patriots talk. But you are right…there are other pretty important things going on in the world that can be discussed. D & C have never claimed they are a sportstalk only show. It is a morning drive show that talks sports and other relevant issues. I don’t mind the mix much. I find Minihane’s self promotion grating. I really don’t need Tanguay ever. But for the most part if the most important news story is a sports story they talk about it. If it is a political story then they talk about that. To me, an old fart, it is significantly better than frat house central over on 98.5.

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      2. I kinda do. What happened in Paris was clearly terrible but I don’t want (or need) the uninformed geopoltical opinions of sports radio hosts. We already get enough uninformed opinions when they talk sports.

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  7. A simple google search of Jones fractures (an injury my daughter dealt with from gymnastics a year ago) tells me that with the operation Edelman is out 8 weeks. That puts his return Jan 15 or right around the second round of the playoffs. It is now imperative for the Pats to get the bye. I do not think they will go undefeated…although with the way Denver is playing that game is looking a lot easier…however if it will take 16-0 to get the 1 seed and the bye then they need to go 16-0.

    On the positive side of things. I am assuming Jamie Collins has to be back this week. Likewise Marcus Canon, Tre Jackson and probably Sebastian Vollmer have to be close to returning this week as well. If they weren’t…esp Jackson…one of them would have been put on IR to make room for Chris Baker. So if the line can get reinforced that will open up Brady’s time to throw a little. That will make it easier for LaFell and Chandler to be more involved in the offense. Speaking of Chandler…an NWO touchdown dance…mark out moment and I was never a huge Scott Hall fan.

    Anyway…I have to think they will start getting some of these bodies back maybe for next week because they are still holding on to them. That will definitely help.

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    1. Chris Barker was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday.

      The Bungals will lose in Phoenix next week. And they still have to play the Steelers once more (at home) and at Denver during week 16.

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    2. After stealing that one yesterday, I can’t see them, even with all the injuries, finishing worse than 14-2 at this point. Houston and Tennessee should be W’s. Buffalo, the Jets and Miami, can be tough games, but the defense should be able to keep the scores down in those games, thus giving the offense a break. But, they may very well lose one of those. That leaves Denver and Philly. The Eagles just lost Bradford, which is big, and their D is suspect. So, it all comes down to the Denver game, which will be very tough, whether the QB is Old Yeller of Osweiler. If they finish 14-2, the just need Denver to lose one more time, as that would be loss #3 and would push them into the Wild Card round. If they get a bye, the earliest they would see Cincinnati is the AFC title game. Even if that game is on the road, if they’re healthy enough (especially with Edelman back), I’d like their chances against a still-green QB and against a coaching staff that can’t compare to NE’s.

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    3. Do we know what exactly Collins’ illness is? He’s missed two games now so it must be pretty severe….Hopefully he and the others are back soon…

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      1. It’s being reported as a “virus” that has caused him to pretty much stop eating, and so he’s lost weight. His agent, of course, put a positive spin on it and said “he should be OK in a few days.” That was around Wednesday/Thursday of last week. My guess is that, if he does start to improve, he comes back for Denver, because if he has, indeed, lost some weight, he would need to build back his strength first. Hopefully that’s all it is. Some intestinal thing maybe.

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    4. They don’t need to go 16-0; they can afford to lose 1 and still be ahead of Denver and could lose 3 and still get the bye if they beat Denver. And thats with Denver running the table otherwise, which won’t happen. Maybe Cincinnati beats them for the #1 seed, but as Felger would say, I fully anticipate Cincinnati crapping all over themselves in the playoffs and if that happens game 1, you get home field even without the #1 seed.

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  8. Important thing for the Pats right now: someone HAS to step up and become an offensive threat. If they continue along with nothing but the three-headed Gronk/Amendola/Blount attack…. that’s way too easy to gameplan for opposing defensive coordinators. LaFell, or Chandler, or White, or somebody has to become a legit 4th option if this team is going to keep up this pace. (And LaFell isn’t there yet. The pick wasn’t his fault — it was behind him — but he’s still not the receiver we know he can be.)

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    1. I think they need two options to step forward…you can’t replace a guy like Edelman with one guy…and they have not replaced Lewis yet. They have 8 days to figure this out. My guess is Keyshawn Martin ends up filling Edelman’s role and they leave Amandola on the outside. They then need White to step up because Bolden cannot be called on to be the 3rd down back, Blunt is what he is, and they have no other options. They brought Pierre Thomas in last week for a look…I am surprised with a Monday night game they did not sign him and kick the tires all week. He is the type of back that they need.

      LaFell is still rounding back into shape…I think he will be more involved next time. Chandler is an enigma to me. Makes the TD catch…drops the easy 30 yarder. He should be getting 4-6 catches a game because of his size and the fact that opposing teams should be forgetting about him. He hasn’t so far. I do wonder if they will run more 3TE sets…have Williams block, have Chandler play more of the TE role and have Gronk play the slot receiver.

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      1. Two would be nice, but one is absolutely essential. At all.

        I think with Chandler, they thought he could essentially be Aaron Hernandez v2.0, but for whatever reason (physicality? knowledge of the playbook?) he can’t fill that role effectively, so they’ve only been using him situationally.

        I like that 3TE idea. That could work.

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        1. This is gonna sound crazy, but I’d like to see them give that Harper kid a shot. He’s on the practice squad now. He’s an undrafted rookie free agent out of Cal. who opened eyes during training camp, albeit playing mostly against 2nd stringers (but, of course, that also means he was catching passes from Jimmy G., and not from Brady, and he still excelled). I think K. Martin will be the first man up, but Harper showed a lot during training camp, I thought. Of course, if Dobson would just hold on to the damn ball more consistently, he’s got the physical tools to be a #1 receiver in the NFL (height, speed, et al).

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  9. So the big question on my mind is when does the Boston Sports Media AT LARGE start paying attention to the Celtics? Or is going to be all Patriots, 24/7 until the Super Bowl?

    They’re playing like a top ten team in the entire league. They’re blowing out playoff teams from last season. They just won back to back road games…

    They have registered the 4th highest point differential, the 4th highest team defensive efficiency and overall team efficiency ranking of 6th in the league.

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    1. March or so. Unless Hanley Ramirez shows up to spring training more than 2 pounds overweight, in which case June at the earliest.

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        1. He was nicer than I would have been…I would have said who are the Celtics? They are a cute little story. Until they get a marketable star and become must see tv no one will pay attention. With the Pats chasing 19-0 again…there is absolutely no oxygen for the Celts to breath. Besides as far as I can tell Sportstalkradio when it does chat Celts seems far more interested intaking about the Net’s pick than they do about anything the Celts seem to be accomplishing. Their over/under number was 42 this year…When they get to 50 then they are interesting…unti then they are first round fodder.

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          1. Could’ve saved yourself a lot of typing with a simple: “I’m a bandwagon Celtics fan, not a basketball fan.”

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          2. I am not a bandwagon Celtics fan…that would mean I have a whole lot more interest than I really do. One of the minority owners is a good friend of my father’s. I follow in a cursory way because my dad is a fan, my nephew is a fan and I get invited to a few games a year to seats I just can’t pass up. But honestly…watching artificial grass grow is more interesting to me than basketball. Having said that…I know fans like you enjoy the game so between my snark I really only try to comment on media coverage of the Celts rather than x’s and o’s and personnel.

            I don’t think I am too far off in my analysis as to why the Celts are not getting any media love (although they got some on both channels yesterday even with the Ortiz news breaking and the Pats).

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    2. The majority of the public across the country doesn’t pay attention to basketball at all until football is over. Hell, the NBA doesn’t even promote itself until Christmas because they know they don’t register on the sports landscape until the end of the NFL season. There’s 459 games in a season that lasts four years. It’s only November.

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    3. Let them keep ignoring the Celtics. Who needs their hot takes? Really fun team to watch, especially with the bench celebrating after that big run in the 3rd quarter in Houston.

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  10. Listening to FELGER AND MAZZ explain the catch rule to Bedard blew my f’ing mind today. Those two explaining the difference between a RB crossing the goal-line and a WR having to establish possession to a guy who has spent years covering the league, was jaw-dropping to me. And they were right!! I felt like Will Farrell in Zoolander – “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here!” It’s like me explaining how to properly launch a rocket into space to a NASA engineer, and being smarter about it than they are. Get with the f**king program, Bedard.

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    1. It absolutely amazes me that this has even become a discussion topic. Are we not just 10 months removed from the Dez Bryant catch/no catch argument after the NFC Divisional Playoff in Green Bay last January? If THAT was not considered a catch under the current rules, then how in the hell could the Beckham play be considered one? Bryant at least possessed the ball for more than a millisecond and was actually in the process of making a “football move” (reaching the ball towards the pylon) when he lost his grip as he hit the ground (personally, I’m still not sure that wasn’t a catch by Bryant, but the league backed the officials’ decision after the fact, which, to give Herr Goodell’s Kleptocracy some credit, for once, is not something they always do). Beckham had two hands on the ball with two feet down for the blink of an eye before Butler stripped him. In 1981, that’s a catch, for sure (check out the NFL Films Super Bowl 16 highlight film to see what, back then, was actually ruled a “catch and fumble” by Chris Collinsworth early in that game). In 2015, however, three or four years after Calvin Johnson in Chicago, and less than a year after Dez Bryant in Green Bay, the ruling on the Beckham play shouldn’t even be the subject of a serious discussion, unless that discussion involves suggestions as to how to improve the rule. Under current NFL rules, that’s not a catch, period. Besides…..totally Beckham’s fault. If he tucks that thing away after getting both feet down, rather than extending his arms away from his body as if to begin celebrating the catch, there’s no way Butler is able to whack it out of his hands. Live and learn.

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    2. Bedard really works at it and provides good analysis, but sometimes his point of view comes off as amateur. I did not understand his confusion here.

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    1. Wow. Klosterman is such a whiny ass. Love the “have you stopped beating your wife” question he tried to slip past Brady. Good to see Brady was smart enough to spot it and refuse to answer.

      You know, I bet the reason the interview was changed to being a phone-in 45 minute interview was that the Brady camp somehow found out through back channels what Klosterman was up to.

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      1. I actually find Klosterman more palatable when he’s being asked to comment on something, like in a documentary film, rather than when I’m trying to read his stuff. I’ve seen him comment in a few docs over the last several years, and his input has always added something to the film, in my opinion. One such instance was the “30 for 30” about Jimmy Connors and the ’91 U.S. Open, when Klosterman compared Connors and McEnroe and their relationships with tennis crowds to Lou Reed and Springsteen, and their relationships with rock audiences. “Like Springsteen, Connors wanted the crowd to be a part of the show; McEnroe, like Lou Reed, seemed sort of annoyed that the crowd was even there.” I thought that was an interesting observation and a pretty good comparison. However, I do find his writing a bit long-winded and unfocused at times, and I’m also sure he’s NOT a Patriots fan, so his approach to this Q&A doesn’t surprise me at all.

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