Two articles, same paper.  (h/t Kevin)

Shank Today:

How many more weeks can we count on the other guys mismanaging the clock, making stupid decisions, overthrowing open receivers, clanging field goal attempts off the uprights, dropping passes in the end zone, and botching interceptions?

How many more times does the Tom Brady interception get called back because of defensive holding? How many more times does the tumbling Patriot fumble bounce into the arms of a Patriot fatty? How many more times do the other guys lose their minds and mismanage the clock down the stretch?

Alex Speier Today:

There’s a natural suspicion that can enter compare-and-contrast conversations such as these, particularly given that the Patriots have faced just one team with a record that is better than .500 (the 6-4 Steelers, who fell to New England in Week 1): Is the Patriots’ ability to constrain opposing offenses a reflection of their defense or is it a sign of their poor quality of opponents?

You can’t blame the opponents. Teams faced by the Patriots this year have averaged 22.8 points per game overall, close to the league average of 23.0 points per game. New England has held opponents 20.2 percent below their total season points average – meaning that they’ve done a better job of holding offenses below their standard than have the Broncos, whose opponents have scored 18.3 percent fewer points against Denver than their season-long standard of 22.5 points per game.

Only the Bengals have done a better job of holding teams below their scoring averages. Cincinnati’s 18.6 points per game allowed falls 21.7 percent below their opponents’ 23.7 point average.

Which one of these actually required some work?

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125 thoughts on “Ripped From The Forums…

  1. Shank’s so lazy he used the exact same example, mismanaging the clock, 2x in 2 paragraphs. That needs a tight edit, Sully.

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    1. Let’s see if we can make this a fun game for a holiday weekend.

      Shank is so lazy he stuck his nose out the window and let the wind blow it.
      Shank is so lazy he has a work from home job and still shows up late.
      Shank is so lazy he under-cooks Ramen noodles.

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  2. Troll is right.

    But he gets away with this because there is a very loud vocal minority of Patriots fans who constantly whine and cry about the “respect” they should be getting. Shank knows this lazy ass article will get attention because all you have to do is say “Denver’s D might be the best in the league” or “The schedule is weak” and a bunch of Patriots fans will take that as a huge insult and completely lose their minds.

    If everyone just ignored shank, and stopped giving him free publicity, the narrative would stop.

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    1. There’s also a loud and vocal minority of Pats fans — mostly the message board GMs still ripping BB for not drafting Clay Matthews in 2009 — who whine and cry if the team doesn’t win every game by 35 points, doesn’t hold the other team’s offense without a 3rd down conversion for the entire four quarters, and doesn’t sack the opposing QB at least 8 times (with an additional 10 or 11 QB pressures thrown in for good measure). Believe me, I peruse boards like that after some of the Pats’ wins, just for my own amusement, and by the time I logoff I’m convinced they had lost the game. Shank also feeds that crowd the red meat it craves.

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      1. I get that. I know this team is kind of a lightening rod for terrible pats honks and pats haters and that is where shank makes his bones. He can actually piss off both sides with one simple lazy opinion.

        I guess the real minority is the level headed Patriots Fan. The fact that some people can’t admit that BB has made drafting mistakes is just as ridiculous as the other side who thinks the Patriots Defense should hold teams to 5 passing yards and 0-10 on third downs.

        I know it is the minority but it feels like most patriots fans are completely insane on both sides.

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        1. Not drafting Matthews was a mistake….the rare level-headed Pats fan gets that. The message board GMs, however, ONLY focus on not drafting Matthews. They never acknowledge that in that 2009 draft, BB, while not drafting Matthews, managed to acquire Chung (he left and came back, but I’ll still count him), Vollmer and Edelman in what has been generally regarded as an overall bad draft class for the entire league. Shank definitely appeals to those people. And you’re right, he also knows how to push the buttons of the perpetually offended out there, who think everything written or said about the Pats contains some sort of slight or measure of disrespect. He can’t lose either way, so he trolls on.

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          1. Wait…How was not drafting Matthews, a kid with questionable work ethic and more than a whiff of PED use a mistake…especially considering BB did not think his skill set fit what NE especially back when he wanted more of a sideline to side line LB than a pressure LB in the mould of Matthews.

            I have never once thought BB made a mistake by not drafting someone. I always thought that is a specious argument…kind of like proving a negative. If you want to knock his as a GM look at his receiver picks. You also can look at his CB picks although Logan Ryan finally looks like a keeper. (Butler was not a pick so I do not count him). Other than that I can’t think of a position where they have struggled. Instead almost every other position they consistently nail. For proof of that look at Safety, LB and DL right now.

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          2. I know what you’re saying. It’s just that, pound for pound, drafting Matthews late in the first round rather than trading out of that spot for extra picks would have helped them more over the last six years than the moves they ended up making in that draft. So it’s more of an argument over “tactics” in that draft rather than an argument over not drafting this player or that player. They already had extra picks coming to them that year from the Cassel trade and some other deals they’d made in previous years. So, really, it’s more of a “tactical” argument than a “Player X is better than Player Y and they should have taken X instead” argument. Believe me, I’ve been a fan of BB’s approach to the draft and I’ve also tried to argue that 26 other teams passed on Matthews, too, and then handed out the appropriate kudos to Green Bay for seeing something in him that most other teams didn’t. As for his receiver picks — he doesn’t believe in wasting first rounder’s on shiny hood ornaments, and I agree with him. It’s the single most overvalued position in sports, not just football. He’s had some second round busts, and some late-round finds (in addition to Edelman, don’t forget that David Givens also was a 7th rounder). He’s also had some hits and misses with WRs in free agency and trades. All in all, I’d say he’s batting about 50% at that position. Blew some CB picks early in some drafts…those are the picks on which I’d really like to see him get “do-overs”. But, hey, when you can find a Malcolm Butler in the UDFA pile, who needs to nail high-round picks, right? But, I’ll tell you, for a perfect example of the kinds of message board GMs we’ve been talking about here….I just read a post by an infamous BB-basher on the BDC boards (he bashes BB the GM; he concedes that BB the coach is otherworldly). The guy just said that the Patriots’ offense is struggling right now “because our GM had to spend first round pick after first round pick to finally rebuild a defense that he failed to rebuild successfully for 10 years.” I mean, really? Is THAT why the offense is struggling? Because BB didn’t dedicate enough first rounder’s to it due to his incompetence at rebuilding the defense after the last (2004) Super Bowl win of the Bruschi/Seymour/McGinest era? I could have sworn the offense was struggling right now because 60% of its receivers and offensive linemen are hurt. Who knew that the offense sucks lately because BB had to blow all of his recent first round picks on defense in order to make up for his pathetic drafting after 2004. THAT is the type of guy that Shank is catering to….right there.

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          3. Matthews turned out to be exactly as advertised and BB did not want that type of player in his defense. Matthews is a defensive version of Randy Moss. I don’t think he missed on passing on him for other picks. I think other GM’s and draftniks valued him different than the Pats did, do and would have. Like I said in the previous post I don’t blame them for passing on someone. They passed on Randy Moss when he was sitting there for them. They passed on countess other players other teams have used well.

            BB genius is targeting players he thinks will work in the systems he wants to run. It means sometimes passing on good players. So when looking at him as a GM you have to only look at his picks…not his passes.

            As for the WR position…Second and third round picks are valuable. He has spent plenty of capital trying to find receivers. Givens was okay for a few years. Edelman has been great. That’s it in 15 years. If you ask me that is failure. At CB other than Asante Samuel, Logan Ryan and Devin McCourtney he has missed on every CB pick he has made. Contrast that with the safety position where he has hit time and time again and it kind of makes you scratch your head.

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          4. Deion Branch as well.

            WR has been a weak spot at the draft, but I don’t hold things as much against him on that as others. He brought in Branch and Givens via the draft which along with Troy Brown and David Patten formed the backbone of the receiving game in the first half of the 2000’s. You had one season without them then had Moss and Welker forming a very strong receiving core. Then you had Gronk and Hernandez also coming into play and Edelmen picking things up for Welker after he left. Let us not forget that is harder for new WRs to break in when there are many strong playing veteran receivers and tight ends ahead of them on the depth chart.

            The only season they had a real weak receiving game was 2006. And even then they were extremely close to winning it all. They had a huge lead against Indy in the AFC Championship game before the defense and horrible, biased officiating (not the receiving game) gave up said lead and allowed Indy to win.

            Defensive backs, corners in particular is where Belichick has been really weak with the drafting and deserves the criticism. The WR complaints have always been overblown in my eyes.

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          5. When I think of WR I think Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, Taylor Price, and Aaron Dobson. All were either 2nd or 3rd round picks and none of them could play. That is a lot of capital fairly high up that did not pan out. Again this needs to be qualified…I had to look pretty hard to find an issue with BB the GM. I just think his WR have been pedestrian.

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          6. As I said above, I think his expertise with WRs is figuring out which NFL receivers, who may be underutilized by their current teams, would fit in well with the Pats, Brady and their system. LaFell is a classic case. Welker was, too, for that matter, even though he’d had sort of a breakout year with Miami in 2006 and started to appear on other teams’ radar screens. He seems to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to college WRs, but that could be due to the fact that the Pats’ offense is a bit complex. I haven’t given up on Dobson yet, either, but if the kid can’t stay on the field, he’s not much help. At least Bethel Johnson helped them win some big games before they cut him.

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          7. I think their “trouble” at the WR spot has more to do with Brady then the guys they’re picking. If Brady doesn’t trust the player it seems that player is just permanently done in his eyes. I gotta believe that there were a few guys who BB drafted that could’ve worked out if Brady was willing to be more patient with them and not shut them out if they don’t pick up the system right away.

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          8. I agree. He looks for guys that fit his system and who can play multiple roles. I know that Matthews was not his type of player. As a rational observer, I totally get why he didn’t take him. As a fan, I lament the possibility that having Matthews on the 2011 team perhaps yields that one missing QB sack that could have blunted the Giants’ final TD drive and delivered the SB 46 title — but we’ll never really know for sure. As for WRs, I really think BB prefers experienced NFL guys over college players. It’s been written and said many times over the years that the Patriots’ offense is tough to learn for WRs, and only certain guys “get” it. Perhaps that’s why so many of his college draft picks at that position have failed? Contrast those failed draft picks with his WR acquisitions from other teams either via trades or free agency. They have usually worked out well (Welker, Amendola, Moss, Stallworth, David Patten, LaFell, et al.). Some didn’t, but in many cases, those were guys who simply didn’t have anything left in the tank to begin with (Ochocinco, Galloway). He even turned big-time draft bust Jabbar Gaffney into a decent WR for a couple of years. Watching a guy put in four or five years in the NFL probably gives BB more of an insight into how that player’s game would translate into the Patriots’ offense. With college wideouts, like drafting at every other position, it’s a big crapshoot, and if you throw in the “complexity” of the Pats’ offense, it becomes an even bigger stretch. I can’t explain his issues drafting corners, other than to say that most (not all, but most) top-flight corners in the NFL are early- to mid-first round picks. That’s where the top talent is located at that position. The occasional Richard Sherman will slip through the cracks, but usually, you’re talking high, high draft picks, something the Pats don’t normally have because they win too much. He’s drafted a couple of good ones, though, with Samuel, of course, being the best. McCourty made a Pro Bowl as a CB before he “lost it” and had to be moved to safety. Darius Butler is still in the NFL, so again, it could have been a “learning the system” issue with him, and not his talent. And Terrance Wheatley was simply an injury case. He had the talent — he was the last pick in the second round and he wouldn’t have been there had he not been injured in college. Then, just as he was starting to flash some of that talent with the Pats, he went and broke his wrist again. And I know I’m in the minority here, but I didn’t think Ellis Hobbs was all that bad. He was a more-than-serviceable #2 corner IMO — but people will never forgive him for the Plax TD in the Super Bowl, I guess. The less said about Ras-I-Dowling, the better of we’ll all be.

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          9. Draft stuff is f-cking porn for sports talk. Really, it is.

            “How dare the GM/Coach of my team not draft every single player that–six years later–we know is elite, should have gone in the first, deserves a mega-NFL-GTD-contract, I’ll hang up n listen. KTHX.” — idiot sports talk caller.

            I know this is subjective, but I think we can really gauge drafts, each year, into a binary-level breakdown. You do good or bad for the year, but it’s more of the overall performance, right?

            BB has had bad drafts. He’s had good ones. For the most part, he’s done much better than others out there, no?

            Isn’t this a fair assessment?

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          10. You’re preaching to the choir, trust me. I would rank him in the Top 10 of GMs in the NFL, easily, over the 15 years he’s run the NE organization. Even his “bad” drafts, in the end, usually yield 2 or 3 players who either start for a number of years or contribute in other ways. Case in point is the 2009 draft we’ve been discussing. BB whiffed on some 2nd rounder’s in that draft (Ron Brace and Darius Butler), but still came away with Chung, Vollmer, and somehow managed to snag a college QB from Kent State in the 7th round who would go on to become the team’s best receiver. I’ve never had a problem with his draft philosophy — the trade downs never bothered me because I knew the extra picks would afford him the ability, even a year down the road, to trade back UP to grab a player he really liked. That’s exactly what happened with Gronk in 2010. He used some of the draft capital acquired from Green Bay the year before to move up two slots in the second round and grab Gronk before another team who was really hot for him snagged him on the pick before the Pats were scheduled to select. Even the series of moves which ended up yielding the best-forgotten Ras-I-Dowling pick was a work of art; started as a deal in the 2009 draft, morphed into still more deals in the 2010 draft, and finally ended up as the first pick on Day 2 of the 2011 draft. That BB blew the pick is almost immaterial (while still frustrating). The fact that he was able to finagle the #1 pick in the second round following a 14-2 season, through a series of trades that began two years prior, is MY version of draft porn.

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          11. I don’t knock BB as a GM, because I think he hits more times than he misses, and he almost never blows a first rounder, which is something that bad GM’s tend to do.

            I do think that with all the draft capital that they had in 09 and in 10 that if they had drafted differently the Pats would be unstoppable. Having said that, I fully understand that you can’t do revisionist history, and that taking different players at different times could shake up the whole draft board and maybe means that certain players are not available. But for the sake of argument lets say it shook out like this:

            2009
            At 34 they take Jairus Byrd S over Pat Chung
            At 40 they take Connor Barwin DE over Ron Brace
            At 41 they take Max Unger C over Darius Butler
            And of course at 83 they take Mike Wallace WR over Brandon Tate
            Then the only change I wish we could have made we be instead of taking Darryl Richard DT at 234 they take Arian Foster RB

            2010
            At 53 they take Jimmy Graham instead of Jermaine Cunningham
            At 62 they take NaVarro Bowman instead of Brandon Spikes
            At 90 they take Geno Atkins instead of Taylor Price
            At 113 they take Kam Chancellor instead of a homicidal maniac
            Then they trade picks 205 and 208 to move up into the 6th rd and take WR Antonio Brown.
            At 248 they take Victor Cruz instead of Kade Weston

            The coulda shoulda woulda game is useless, but for a simple what could have been exercise you have to think that with these players Tom Brady probably has 5 or 6 rings now instead of 4. Hopefully this doesn’t depress you too much. The only real bright side to this exercise is that there’s no way the Pats could have kept all these players.

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      2. Those people are just really spoiled and miserable. There will come a day when we will be glad if they can win a game by one point. challenge for a playoff spot,ect. Most fans take this for granted. Guys like Mazz find it boring that they win every week. I just hope all these people who whine about a 10-0 team remember these years when the Pats are struggling in the post Brady/Belichick years.

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  3. Shank deserves to be ripped, but let’s credit Speier for actual fact-based analysis. It’s good to know that he will be around much longer as dinosaurs like CHB disappear.

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  4. Considering how bad the league as a whole is this year I don’t really put a lot of stock in “who have they played?” argument. Christ, who has ANYBODY played? The Panthers have played 1 team with a winning record too. They play the NFC South as well.

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    1. Well, the “red-hot” Texans will be touted as a tough match up until after the Pats (likely) beat them in two weeks and then they turn into another tomato can.

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  5. New Years is right around the corner — make the New Years Resolution to make 2016 (and beyond) Shank-Free. I made my resolution in 2014 and have yet to relent. And it has been so easy.

    We are what we eat, right? Then why feed crap to your brain?

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  6. Speaking of ripped from the forums, this is what Deadspin calls ‘journalism’ worthy of publishing anywhere?

    http://deadspin.com/the-patriots-are-sketchy-and-deserve-scrutiny-1744511593

    Before deflated footballs were a hotly debated topic, New England fans were already insufferable. When it came to choosing sides between Goodell and the Patriots, the best outcome was mutually assured destruction, but somehow, everyone
    with a Tom Brady jersey avatar believed that they were the wronged
    underdogs.

    I get it.. alternative media.. blah blah. It’s funny how Deadspin goes from doing some actual investigative work, FOIAs, etc with the NFL to this which reads more like some loser in his mom’s basement in Astoria, NY, walls plastered with Jets memorabilia (hey, Mikey WIlon!) and the article looking like it’s straight outta manishmehta.com.

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    1. It’s difficult to someone who treats the false “taped walkthrough” story as credible is actually a Patriots fan. A few commenters mentioned this, but the article was never corrected. Maybe the Patriots wouldn’t seem so “sketchy” to this guy if he didn’t instantly believe every negative story about the team and accept it without question.

      One of highest rated comment on that article was also baffling. It was “Wait, wait…Patriots fans think ESPN has an anti-Patriots bias???”

      I’ll admit that my rooting interest has colored my perception of how I think the media treats a team. For example, I can remember watching a Red Sox-Yankees games on Sunday Night Baseball and thinking what NY homers John Miller and Joe Morgan were being. I was surprised when I read an article about a game the next day and Yankees fans in the comments were saying how Miller and Morgan were pro-Boston and never gave the Yankees credit. It was like we only heard what we wanted to and came away with completely different impressions.

      Maybe ESPN has been saying a lot of positive things about the Patriots. I don’t watch their programming much, outside of games, so I don’t know. Their handling of the ball inflation story and fueling the hysteria around it goes way beyond someone on NFL live claiming Brady is better than Montana or Belichick is the best coach ever. Those are opinions thrown that might be thrown around to provoke debate. A week or a month later, the same people will take different stances.

      With ESPN’s handling of the deflategate story, from it’s inception to current date, I don’t know how anyone could interpret their coverage as being pro-Patriots or even neutral. This isn’t a case of “only hearing what you want.” They went all-in on the Patriots being guilty and when it turned out that nothing happened and there was no evidence, they have refused to change their story.

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  7. Bedard to the rescue again today. Always puts a smile on my face when just puts Mazz on blast for being a COMPLETE MORON about football. Mazz said Brady was a “dud” and Bedard had him as his #1 “stud” and just verbally bitch-slapped Mazz saying there’s not another QB in the league who could have won that game with what Brady had to work with. That was great…then I flipped over to Dale & Holley and ended my day feeling good.

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  8. I don’t usually praise Butch Stearns but his Thanksgiving morning show is a great listen. He focuses on high school football, usually gets a live call of a coin toss somewhere in the state, has a lot of passionate phone calls about the long time rivalries, and reaches out to the local media who are covering the games. It really gives the sport and everyone who is involved (players, families, coaches, AD’s, etc) a voice on sports talk radio for a morning when a lot of people are in the car.

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  9. Over the next few days there will be all sorts of lousy articles written about how and why the Pats lost in overtime in Denver a few minutes ago. As annoyingly inconsistent as the officiating was I have just come to accept the NFL refuses to train refs properly so we are stuck with suckdom. Losing Hightower and Gronk in the same game is killer. I am not going to lie…losing Gronk and Edelman completely changes the Pats offense. They are 10-1 and should win 2-3 more games the division and the bye but it is not so easy.

    However the real reason for my post is I have to vent my anger about Josh McDaniels and the play calling. He reverted back to the awful OC who is going to get his QB killed. Long drawn out plays with low probability of success on second and third down when the Bronco’s had no time outs left? By the time the third down play happened when the Pats were still up by 4 I turned to my wife and said they were going to lose the game. All game was called bizarrely but the 4th Q took the cake.

    We will see if any of the brilliant football scribes in town take the time to really break down the 4th Q play calling to see how illogical it really was. My bet is they take the easy way out…stories about the officiating, about the injuries and maybe accusations that Brady had an off game. Simple stories for people who do not take the time to know the subject matter or do real research. I can hardly wait!

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    1. LTD, I agree that McDaniels made some errors. Gronk was injured, in fact, because McDaniels foolishly opted to call a pass play on 1st and 10 with less than 3 minutes left and Denver down to 1 timeout. At that point, the smart thing to do is run, force Denver to use T.O. #3, run again (two minute warning), run again and then punt the ball inside the Denver 30, leaving them less than 90 seconds to go 70+ yards, needing a TD to win. With that said, the officiating WAS the story of the game and, other than the injury status of Gronk and Hightower, it should be poured over and it should get the most post-game ink. It was atrociously one-sided. It’s one thing to call ticky-tack stuff to negate several big plays by one team; it’s quite another to, at the same time, ignore just about everything the other team did that was illegal. That game was a travesty….almost makes me buy into the conspiracy theory that the NFL will never let the Pats win another Super Bowl as long as the current regime on Park Ave. is in power. Oh, and how about the reports of the press box in Denver cheering wildly on the winning TD run? Think it was just Denver media cheering, or did some national and Boston-based media types get in on the joviality? That would be an interesting investigative piece! I’d read it, for sure.

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      1. They snapped 1st down at 2:53. Allowing 5 seconds for a running play means they wouldn’t have made it to the 2 minute warning on the next play (assuming the 40 second play clock starts at 2:48). In this scenario, after three runs that fail to get a 1st down, Denver would get the ball at roughly 1:55. Maybe a touch less.

        But, by running the ball on the first two downs, it’s possible the time would’ve been such (4 or 5 seconds before 2 minute warning) that they would’ve had a run/pass option on 3rd down to win the game.

        I agree running twice was optimal, just for slightly different reasons.

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      2. While I hated the officiating and found it very biased, at the end of the day the Pats could have overcome it if they played better. They fumbled on that punt return which was an absolute killer. They did a horrendous job tackling in the running game, leading to numerous big plays by Denver, none bigger than the game ender. This team should be used to playing in the snow, they were not. As referenced above, they made some very poor play calling decisions on offense. I’m as big a homer as anyone on the Pats, but I think they deserved to lose.

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        1. You’re right…but the refs don’t deserve to be let off the hook. THEY. SUCK. Not just in our game but Seattle/Pittsburgh, Arizona/San Fran. Nobody knows what a catch is anymore. You breathe on a WR and it’s P.I. Run past a QB too fast and it’s 15 yards. A bunch of 60+ year old men trying to officiate a game with the biggest, strongest, fastest athletes on the planet? Roger Goodell is ruining the sport. Killing it. The on field product fvcking BLOWS. And it’s all by his directive.

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    2. Harper’s dropped punt changed the entire momentum of the game. If that doesn’t happen I think the Pats still win, despite all the awful calls. Further proof (as if we needed it) of how valuable Edelman and Amendola are.

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      1. I completely agree. Still McDaniels complete brain fart once Gronk went down was baffling. They should have won that game.

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    3. I agree. They relied too heavily on the running game at times when they should have thrown more (being way too conservative, letting Denver get back in the game) and then late in the game there were times where it was the exact opposite, them being too aggressive by going for the long pass instead of focusing on just getting the first down.

      While the officials were also partially to blame, they should have been better prepared about the clock starting up again at the end of regulation after the Denver injury since it was an injury time out, not a team called time out.

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      1. Welcome to the dark side. Seriously I know we disagree sometimes but I swear there is a pattern. His first instinct is to do exactly the opposite of what Charlie Weis would do. It has driven me crazy for years.

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        1. “His first instinct is to do exactly the opposite of what Charlie Weis would do”

          You mean, not take that last drumstick?

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          1. Well yes that and not play horizontally, feature screens, traps, and draws or play the game 10 yards at a time.

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  10. If there was any doubt that Tanguay’s sole function on ‘EEI is to serve as the court jester they were dispelled this morning when he suggested that Gronk should have returned to the game in overtime. No rational person could possibly make such a suggestion for any other reason than to draw ridicule upon himself.

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  11. Missed this from last night, but, really?

    I thought they prohibited this everywhere? I’ve seen stories of loser fan media members getting booted from boxes during games because of it.

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    1. I mentioned this earlier. I was wondering if it was just the Denver media, which is probably just as Yahoo-ish as the Indy media, or if the National Association of Belichick Bashers got in on the schadenfreude act, too.

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    2. In the responses to that tweet, someone basically asked Price what the big deal was. Price said it was a longstanding tradition, which I think we all knew. He also said this, which I wasn’t aware of:

      I’m sure there were some people in that press box who wrote about integrity and the importance of following the rules at some point over the last 11 months. When it comes to their professional conduct, though, they can’t follow a clear and simple rule. Of course, there are no consequences for the media when they break one of their rules.

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  12. Dragging myself off my flu deathbed to give you your talking points:

    — Tomato Can Broncos Expose Failures of Belichick-the-GM
    — With Season Effectively Over, Does Garoppolo Era Begin Now?
    — Ill-Advised Gronkowski Contract Backfires Again – Time To Cut Ties?

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  13. Shaughnessy: “Blaming the refs is what losers do.” Did I just read this? This? From the guy who has spent the entire football season listing “excuses” as to why the Patriots were undefeated through 10 games? Let us count the ways according to the CHB: dropped passes, poor clock management by opposing coaches, injured starting QBs, “march of the tomato cans” on the schedule, etc. Oh, and not to mention the fact that Shank has been a “Tuck Rule Truther” for the last 14 years, too (“it was obviously a fumble….I don’t care what the rulebook says”); but, blaming the refs is what losers do, right Dan? God, I wish he would just go away. We need a better class of media troll in this town.

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    1. No clue what he’s said on air nor written but he usually tweets a synopsis of whatever drivel is in his articles. Only thing I found was this:

      I forget what happened that weekend before that caused the NFL ref outrage, but he was on that.


      Playbook for the “anti-Homer” warrior contrarians in town like him, F+M, etc:

      – NFL refs suck. Too many rules. Refs are inept and not full-time.
      – When it costs other team game, lament it and refresh point #1. Develop hotter take.
      – When it costs the Patriots a game, tell fans to stop being homers and bitching about it.

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      1. No. Actually, this was something that he apparently said during one of his spots on CSNNE. They teased it on their website and when I saw it, I felt obligated to post it here, because his hypocrisy knows no bounds when it comes to trolling Pats fans.

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    1. I’ll give the media a bit of a pass on this one, because the folks over at Yawkey Way seemingly change their management philosophy as frequently as some people change socks. However, the moves they’ve made so far this off season should surprise no one who is at all familiar with Dave Dombrowski’s history. In fact, one would have to believe that for as long as Dombrowski is running baseball ops, THIS will be their player/personnel approach. Personally, I say “go for it.” This is Ortiz’s last year, and Pedroia isn’t exactly a spring chicken either (his birth date says he’s about 32; but the wear and tear on his body over the last few years probably makes him feel like he’s 42). In the end, Henry and Werner know they’ll make money — lots of it — if the team plays deep into October. The Pats may be #1 in town, but the Sox are at least #2, still, and they usually get promoted to #1A if they’re winning.

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      1. I have no clue if it’ll work or bite them in the ass.

        Just, the whole narrative, after Lester left, was the Sox were embracing sabermetrics, all about spending on the cheap, basically the Royals were their blueprint. Now that’s all flipped on it’s head and the same people are embracing this.

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        1. It has been said before on F&M that the Sox come off as if they have no long term plan whatsoever and this is yet another sign of that. Both the media and the fans are within their right to complain about that in my eyes. Its a stark difference from Belichick’s consistent approach, and given that Cherrington came up under Theo (or at least worked under him) the Sox don’t really have the excuse of having different regimes in place to explain the differing approaches.

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          1. I’ll be honest – the “they have no plan” argument is one I just don’t understand. They did have a long-term plan. They stuck with it from 2003-2014. In that time, they won three world series. One was mostly with Duquette holdovers (specifically, a free agent overpay and a in-prime star acquired by trading high-level prospects) plus an ace acquired by trading high-level prospects, one was with partial Duquette holdovers and an in-prime star acquired by trading high-level prospects. And one was kind of a fluke, helped along by free agent “overpays” (Victorino, Napoli, Lackey). Beyond that, they finished in last place a few too many times. At a certain point, you have to step back and say that The Plan is only working when you deviate from it. And that means The Plan probably isn’t sound and isn’t working

            Yes, they’ve changed course. Only idiots keep on following a plan after they’ve determined it isn’t working. And while I disagree with this front office A LOT…. they’re not idiots. And don’t think for a minute they’re going to just throw out all the positives gained from the old plan. Their analytics have vastly improved the quality of talent they’ve drafted and signed as minor league free agents. They’re not going to throw all that out.

            I think what they are going to throw out is the concept that you can develop a sustainable core capable of winning consistently with only internal minor league development. It’s a great idea, but I think in the end it’s unworkable in the long run, because analytics still cannot confidently predict what a single-A player WILL do in the majors. Only what they are likely to do — and that turns it from an investment into speculation. And wise investors don’t risk everything on speculation.

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          2. This sort of contradicts my first post, but after thinking about this for a while my view has changed, somewhat. I think if we take a step back and look, year-by-year, at what the Sox have done since this ownership group took over, we’d discover a discernible pattern. That is, when they’re coming off a deep post-season run, they have basically stuck with the “player development augmented by opportunistic veteran acquisitions” approach. That’s essentially what they did after the near-miss in 2003 when they acquired Schilling — who was coming off an injury-plagued year and therefore didn’t cost them all that much in terms of outgoing talent — and Foulke. They won it all in 2004 and, other than overpaying for Renteria, whom they viewed as an upgrade over Cabrera at shortstop, and replacing the departed Pedro with a relatively cheap veteran fill-in (David Wells), they essentially stood pat that offseason. After the first round playoff knockout in 2005, which was quickly followed by Damon’s controversial (and fan-angering) departure for New York, they reacted by dealing away top-level prospects for Lowell and Beckett, and then made a fairly large deal with Cleveland for Coco Crisp as an attempt to replace Damon. After 2006, when the team cratered over the final six weeks and missed the playoffs (and played in front of a half-empty ballpark in September) they wildly overspent to bring in Dice-K and J.D. Drew that off season, thus improving the on-field product (slightly) and also generating the much-coveted off-season “buzz.” They stayed fairly quiet for the next two off seasons, since there was really not that much to complain about, having won it all in 2007 and just barely missing out on a return World Series trip the following year. However, they were embarrassed by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, and reacted by giving John Lackey five years and something like $75 million that off season. That didn’t work and they missed the playoffs in 2010 — which led to the Armageddon-like spending and prospect-trading spree the following winter (Carl Crawford getting 7 years at $20 million per, and emptying the farm system for A-Gone). Since the September collapse in 2011, which was followed by the August 2012 salary-purging deal with the Dodgers, their off season approach has been purely reactionary. After 2012, they overpaid for Victorino, Napoli, et al, in an attempt to become “competitive” again, and they ended up unexpectedly hitting the World Series jackpot. In the 2013/2014 off season, they did nothing, literally, and ended up in last place. After that, they handed out huge deals for Panda and Hanley. That didn’t work, so now it’s back to spending big money for an ace, and dealing off a couple of top 10 prospects for an elite closer. So, in the end, I think it’s safe to say that this ownership group’s “philosophy” has always, to a certain degree, been dictated by how the team finished up the previous year, and how the fans reacted to that finish. They’ve been habitually less active in those off seasons following deep playoff runs (and championships), and habitually over-reactive following quick first-round playoff knockouts or poor regular seasons. Fortunately for them (and to their credit), the player-development crew they put together back in 2002-2003 has, more or less, consistently supplied them with the young talent necessary to either fill out the team’s own lineup (that certainly was the case over the first five years or so), or to make blockbuster deals for veterans. But as I said before, with Dombrowski at the helm of Baseball Ops for at least the next few years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more off seasons like this one — big, headline-grabbing deals and a “go for it and win now/worry about the future later” approach. We’ll see.

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    2. Boggles the mind that a man is going to get $31M a year to throw a baseball for 2 hours, every five days. I know we live in a capitalist society but the contracts in MLB and the NBA are just outrageous now.

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        1. I don’t watch either mostly because I don’t have 6 months of my life to spare. Even if I watch football ALL day Sunday (which I usually do) that’s one a day a week for five months? Relief pitchers who work 2/3 of an inning and back-up point guards who play 2 minutes a game make more per year than most NFL players make for the length of a contract. Or NHL for that matter. BananaLand.

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        2. If you don’t like baseball or basketball, it doesn’t make much sense to pay attention to MLB or NBA regardless of the salaries.

          If you do like those sports, not sure what difference it makes whether players make 30Mil, 10Mil, 5MIl, etc… The NBA is amazing right now–there are some great young players in the league–and I’m an old timer

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          1. Agree with you on the NBA. The product will never be as good as it was in the 80s, I think; however, the post-Stern era has started off well and I honestly feel, for the first time in a long time, that “small market” teams have a legitimate shot again, because Stern is no longer around to, shall we say, help “orchestrate” events in such a way that the Lakers and/or a big-market eastern team are in the Finals every year. (Sounds conspiratorial, I know, but as a true Laker-hater, I still can’t get the 2002 Western Conference Finals bag-job out of my head.) And, to give Stern a little credit, the declaration that the league would no longer take players directly out of high school also has helped the quality of play in recent years. At least the youngest kids coming into the league today got a year of tutelage in a college program, which means they’re entering the NBA with a little more knowledge than the high school’ers were during the 90s.

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      1. Same. I think MLB is the first league to face the reality of the TV crunch and these absurd gtd. contracts coming to bite them. I know MLB is kept afloat by the regional deals (you give $5/mo to NESN if unaware), but that has to be affected, too. There’s just no data really on this.

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      1. I just assumed he’s using it an asset to redirect losses to for a writeoff. Bonus when it allows you to control 25% of the mainstream media in town and influence another 10-25%. Sadly, that does still matter.

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    3. Doesn’t Price melt down in the playoffs? I mean, yeah, you’re going to need him in the regular season to get there but what’s the point if he’s not going to perform.

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      1. The overall post-season record is not good, which is a bit of a concern. But, he’s also lost some tough ones. He pitched very, very well in his 2014 ALDS start for Detroit, but got no help from his offense. He also had a quality start for the Rays against Texas in the 2011 post-season, but again, the offense let him down. Overall, however, the October numbers — as a starter — are not good. His October numbers out of the bullpen, oddly enough, are really strong.

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  14. I swear, if I didn’t know the truth I’d have to come to the conclusion that Jim Murray was a made up character for radio and not a real person. Same with Adam Jones. Felger’s reign as Douchbag Overlord is being challenged. His reign is coming to an end. No longer the most insufferable person on 98.5, Actually become one of the best. Only the 3rd most annoying on his own show….LOL

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    1. I agree that over the last handful of months Felger has toned down his douchebag rhetoric *a little*. Lately he’s been more respectful of the Patriots and what they’ve accomplished this season. Instead of being the king of the pessimists he now seems comfortable being more of the ringleader and letting Tony-Two-Times (“He’s got two wins in the postseason. TWO WINS!!), Jim Murray, and Adam Jones continue to be the constantly negative court jesters that make you roll your eyes. It comes off as so contrived. Now, that being said, Felger is still more often than not a total asshat that keeps sports talk radio feeling more miserable than engaging and enlightening.

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    2. Goes to show that Felger’s influence on the market has never been greater. Both are card carrying members of the Felger Youth. We’ve also got Felger to thank for the ruining of Mark Bertrand.

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    3. I think it’s a “work” on Jim Murray’s part. His trolling was very sudden and abrupt addition to the show. All on the heels of the steady stream of criticism of his dull personality and lack of participation on the show. Then all of a sudden he hates pats fans and he doesn’t think they’re going to go back to the super bowl. The fact they lead off two days in a row with his email about Denver being better cemented it for me that his new purpose on the show is to troll fans like the other two instead of trying to be a counter weight to their stupidity. Now you have 3 guys who all agree with each other. Thank god we have Dale & Holley. I like my radio shows that don’t purposely trying to irritate me every day.

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  15. Sign of the times: The Red Sox make the largest free agent spend for a pitcher in baseball history.

    Two of the three local 11pm newscasts (I can’t speak for WBZ) lead with Gronk releasing a video on Bleacher Report.

    Who run Bartertown?

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      1. The old guard made their names penning columns about the Sox. They simply can’t handle that fact that football is now king. It’s another reason that they love to troll Pats fans, because the big bad Pats changed the culture in this town, and they don’t like it.

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        1. Yup. I’m still a big baseball fan. Grew up with it. Grew up with the Sox. Couldn’t sleep for a week, maybe longer, after the ’86 World Series. But at least I acknowledge that the Sox have slipped to #2 in this town, and that baseball, in general, is simply not ever going to be as popular in this country as it was between the dawn of the 20th century, and around 1990. Today’s young’ins like their distractions to be action-packed, which explains the MMA phenomenon as well as the NFL’s runaway popularity. Baseball just doesn’t fit the bill. That offends the “intellectuals” like Shank and other dinosaur media types who will argue that baseball is a “thinking man’s game” that doesn’t deserve to have its popularity usurped by “violent, brutal” blood-sports like football and MMA. Doesn’t offend me. Times change. I may not like it, but I do have to accept it.

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        2. Whenever I think of guys like Ryan and Shank sitting around discussing the current state of Boston sports over a couple of glasses of Merlot and a wedge of warm Brie, lamenting the decline of baseball and the soaring popularity of the Patriots, I wonder if one, or both of them ultimately blurts out Robert Downey Jr.’s line from “Back to School” about how “violent, ground-acquisition games like football are in fact a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.”

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        1. Hilarious to listen to Felger telling Bill to not be a dink to people. HELLOOOO….pot meet kettle. Talk about someone with no leg to stand on in this discussion.

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    1. In a way he’s right – the quality has always been poor. It’s our ability to perceive it (HDTV, widescreen, slow-mo animated GIFs, etc.) that’s changed.

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      1. It’s a point but that should also mean that the on-field quality and performance of those refs should be commensurate, no? It’s not like they’re hurting money wise to either train or hire the best and make things better.

        I’d like to know if it was this bad in the past, too.

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        1. In his Sunday notes column Volin provides some insight into the things that have changed since Blandino took over.

          “The most significant change is with the instant replay system, in which Blandino and a couple of ex-officials watch every game from league headquarters and communicate with referees during replay situations. Multiple officiating sources say this has mostly caused the officials to question their calls on the field and rely on Blandino and the league office for guidance.”

          That explanation is the smoking gun to the crappy job these guys have been doing. I have no doubt this “guidance” and suggestions they are receiving on game day is putting these guys on edge. Does anyone actually perform better when they are micro managed? I don’t know anyone who does.

          Remember 3 years ago we all saw how bad the replacement officials were? This year has been worse. What Blandino said is what he tells himself to make himself feel better. However, it is complete BS. I think the blame can be pointed directly at him.

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    2. In related news, Roger Goodell says the Commissioner’s Office has done a great job this past year, and Dan Shaughnessy says the quality of Globe sports columnists is beyond compare.

      Like

    3. Yeah, well, Blandino also said a few days before the Super Bowl that no one in the NFL offices knew anything about the “ball deflation issue” prior to halftime of the AFC title game…..then the Wells Report came out and showed Blandino’s name, and others, as co-recipients of the email sent by the whiny little Colts equipment guy on the Friday BEFORE the game, advising them that the Patriots were “known” for deflating footballs. Basically, you can rest assured that if anyone from the league office is talking, it’s very likely that they’re lying. I wouldn’t trust Blandino if he told me he had a tuna sandwich for lunch yesterday.

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  16. I get up early in the morning and I usually turn on the radio as I get read for my day. I had the misfortune of listening to David Page go on a rant about how Brady wants the rules changed again because his receivers are getting hurt. He was trying to frame it like he’s being a crybaby about it.

    Hey idiot! If they change the rule like he suggests it helps every team out including your Jets. I had to turn it off in disgust after about 30 seconds.

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    1. So I guess this Page guy is OK with defenders diving at player’s knees with their hard-shell helmets. That’s basically what he seems to be saying. It galled me two years ago after Ward took out Gronk’s knee when a lot of media types were pseudo-defending him, claiming that “these guys aren’t allowed to hit high anymore, so they have to go low.” ARGH!!! There’s “going low” and then there’s launching your helmet at a guy’s knee. That’s what Ward did, and that’s what the Denver player did Sunday night. Whatever happened to trying to tackle with your hands and arms — also known as “wrapping up” the runner/receiver?

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      1. The “We can’t hit a receiver high, now you’re telling me we can’t hit them low. Where are we supposed to hit them?” argument ignores that there is a lot of real estate from the shoulders to above the knees to tackle.

        Obviously, trying to tackle someone like Gronkowski around his shoulders is a bad idea because he’s big enough to shrug someone off or carry them for extra yards. You wrap up his legs, though and he’s not going very far.

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    2. D+C play him a bit and he’s one of the DG Truther All-Stars, up there with the Hubbuch. I’m going to think he hated the proposal because Brady made it. Rodgers made it? Probably a different story.

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      1. He’s one of those guys who goes out of his way to say he’s objective but if you do a photo search of him on Google there are pics of him in a Jets jersey.

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        1. Even without the Jets fandom, when just playing him, he went way out of his way to bring up the litany of things the usual guys who are after “Belicheat” and the “Cheatriots” do that are myths.

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  17. Context was Tanguay, who’s worst injury seems to be breaking a nail, saying a bone bruise is nothing..

    Caller (said he’s been a fire fighter for 30 years) telling him about getting a few bruised bones, among many other injuries, “Gary.. the worst thing you’ve had in life is a bruised ovary.”

    A+

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    1. all joking aside about Tanguay’s stupidity the producer of D&C should have ended that conversation when it was clear Tanguay did not know what he was talking about and was spouting incorrect information. It is one thing to troll being negative as Tanguay seems to try and do; it is quite another thing to spout factually incorrect info with the idea that you have some expertise in the field. Tanguay’s argument as I understand it was Bone bruises only hurt for a little while and then the pain goes away. He clearly confused a muscle bruise with a bone bruise…the later of which is far more painful and as Kirk in the car called in and explained can lead to the bone “dying” if not cared for properly. The good news about a bone bruise is that they heal relatively quickly (as compared to a break)…several weeks… but to suggest that Gronk should be able to play on it with no pain less than 5 days after it happened is beyond ignorance…it is dangerous.

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      1. If the producer “ended that conversation” every time Tanguay spouts nonsense would we ever hear his voice again? Not that I’d complain.

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  18. TM: “Mike, it took them long enough!”
    MF: “Tony, you know what this means, right? Belichick is just going to trade down, even more. No longer, when the “Master of the Cap [is crap]” being forced to draft a player in the 3rd or 4th with those previously untradable compensatory picks. We all know Belichick’s eyes lit up like Christmas with this one. He’s going to now be able to trade every single Patriots pick for a bunch of 7th rounders. They should just rename Gillette and Patriots Place to Rutgers University North Campus, Tony.”
    TM: YARM!

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    1. Per our earlier discussion on this board about elements of the Pats fan base who immediately go all-in for conspiracy theories, I saw posts last night on message boards basically implying that the NFL delayed this rule’s implementation until 2017 because it knows the Patriots are in line to get a 2016 3rd round pick for losing Revis, plus other picks for losing Vereen, Ayers, etc. Thus, they would have more ammo to trade and move up in order to compensate for the stolen “deflategate” first rounder if compensatory picks were tradable in 2016. Even I’m not that conspiratorial, even though the “theory” makes some sense on the surface, because, you know…..Kensil, et al. —- except for the fact that BB is more likely to trade down, and trade into the following year’s draft than he is to trade up (that’s how he’s gotten some of his most spectacular trade results — trading into the following year).

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  19. Pepto Bismol must have sponsored this Tweet:

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  20. I think the NFL has a PR more than an officiating problem. I do not think the officials today are any better or worse than they were 40 years ago (The Ben Dreith call was in 1976). I think the issues are severalfold:

    1) The advent of the internet and social media means a bad call is replayed, dissected, analyzed and criticized by everyone and anyone within moments of the play. That distorts the importance of that particular play in the overall work of the officials. The solution to this is the NFL admitting forcefully they made a mistake and not trying to defend a call to its death.

    2) As pointed out the advent of HD TV and 1000 frame per second cameras allow for unprecedented views, angles and reviewing of plays. So if something was not seen in a boom, boom fashion on the field…it can be seen on replay. Because the refs are not officiating in delayed time but instead in real time they do not get the benefit all arm chair refs get.

    3) The replay that the NFL does use is slow. Do not underestimate how frustrating it is for fans at home to see the play and what should have been the correct call and then have to wait 2 minutes for the refs to get it right. If I see something on my 60″ HD tv, someone on site watching the same angle I watched should be able to call down to the ref and say…you blew the call. The ref should then say…upon further review the call is and then move on. We do not need the guy not he field to have to see his mistake to correct it.

    These three things lead to the NFL circling the wagons on their system as witnessed by the comments of Blandino this week and to some extent Goodall’s comments. What the NFL is missing is that fans do not want to know the name of the ref. We do not want to know the guy exists. Each time the ref is made part of the story the game suffers. So from a PR perspective the NFL needs to somehow get officiating under control, not necessarily better but done in a way that makes sense to a fan. Otherwise every week the officiating becomes the story and no one wants that.

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  21. Remember those “Murphy’s Law” posters that hung in college dorm rooms back in the day? “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” That’s what it’s felt like watching the last 5 quarters of Patriots football. Not blaming the injuries. Today’s disaster is all on some bizarre coaching moves and poor overall execution, right up to the final possession when LaFell and Amendola dropped passes that hit them right in the hands (I know….probably because Dorito Dink isn’t around to deflate footballs anymore, right Shank?). A definite media blackout until next Sunday night is in order.

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    1. If you don’t tackle you don’t win. If you don’t stay in your lane you don’t win. If you give up 21 points on a blocked punt, a punt return and a 99 yard pick 6 you do not win. If after all that you have the ball with a minute left and you attempt on the first play a long bomb to a player who has not gotten beyond the defense all game…then your OC is a moron (sorry Dave but he is way over rated). But there was more… not challenging the tipped pass defensive pass interference call when Jamie Collins was screaming he tipped the ball thereby negating the PI. Playing with no alacrity with 6:00 minutes left…almost looking like they were playing out the string. I have no issue with the drop kick…it was silly but Philly had the ball on the 40…I have a problem giving up successive 3rd and long plays including 20 yards on a 3rd and 10 to set up the next TD giving Philly 28. Lastly, they almost got Brady killed again. He was hit something like 25 times and sacked 4 times even with the Pats playing Fleming as an extra OL half the game. That only happens if receivers are not getting open or if plays are taking forever to develop.

      There was a lot that went wrong in that game…but there was a lot more that was self inflicted. Too bad the media (except for Tom Curran who nailed it) will focus on the wrong things.

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      1. The last two weeks have proven how important Hightower is. Their run defense has gone from one of the best in the NFL to an annoying liability since he went out in the first half against Denver. The pass rush is less effective without both he and Collins in there together, too. I didn’t realize Collins was arguing that he tipped the ball on Butler’s P.I. call. I must have shut it down mentally after I saw the flag. I agree on McDaniels. That was a horribly called game. All the deep shots downfield. Throwing on 3rd down with less than 20 seconds left in the half, thus necessitating the punt which led to the block, scoop and score (after he’d made non-aggressive play calls for that entire possession before the third down play). The deep shot that was picked off in the end zone right after his BEST play call of the day (Amendola’s pass to Brady) set them up at the Philly 40. And how about giving the ball to Bolden, not Blount, on the 1-yard line on first and goal, losing four yards and then defaulting to shotgun on the next two plays — the second of which turned into the dagger 100-yard INT return (which I just sensed was coming after Bolden lost four yards on first down). Give it to Blount on first down! At least he would have had a chance to get back to the original line of scrimmage! Just an all-around bad effort. I tend to think that the pressure on Brady is due to the receivers not getting open as quickly. They now have all of the O-Lineman back who were playing in the 2 or 3 weeks immediately following the Dallas game in which Solder was injured. They weren’t having this kind of trouble keeping Brady upright in those few games: they had Lewis, Edelman and Gronk available and getting open. At this point I’m just hoping they survive the regular season without any more IR-types of injuries to key players. Even if they finish 12-4 and with the #3 seed, they’re still more than capable of getting the job done in January if they’re healthy (something tells me they’ll have to shoot Edelman to keep him out of a playoff game, even if he’s only 80% ready to go by the Wild Card round). What a difference five quarters of football make.

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        1. The worst play calling came at the end of the half. They had less than 30 seconds left and seemingly decided to run the clock out. They then tried to trick the Eagles into to thinking they were going to walk off the half at third down, and instead rushed to the line to throw and incomplete pass with very little time left. That led to the blocked punt for TD. It seems unlikely they would have gotten much out of passing in that instance and if there is one area where the Eagles are consistently good it’s on special teams. Poor risk-reward.
          I never buy into the “Belichick is arrogant” theory; i generally think he just wants to win games and exhausts every method to do that. But last night, with Ebner taking two onside kicks and some of the other shenanigans, i sort of felt like he was showing that he could out-innovate Kelly. They lost because of turnovers and special teams but some of the decisions were head-scratching.
          On the plus side, White looked good. Not as elusive as Lewis but he’s got good hands and seemed to be the only one getting open.

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          1. Yes. That 3rd down incompletion basically led to a Philly TD. Maybe Kelly would have called a timeout and forced them to execute the punt play anyway, maybe not. But if they run the ball there instead of throwing it, the dynamic changes, for sure. Oddly enough, I had a foreboding when White failed to get into the end zone on that 3rd quarter catch and run, and was tackled at the 1-yard line. I just knew they couldn’t resist throwing it down there. While it’s true that Bolden losing 4 yards on first down was a drive-altering play, they never should have tried that in the first place. Run Blount up the middle. Sneak Brady. Run Blount up the middle again. Three shots from the 1 and they probably manage to pound it in there. What is this running Bolden wide b.s.? Just an awful performance from the coaching staff on down yesterday. We haven’t even talked about the second special teams breakdown that allowed Sproles to return a punt for a TD! Just their luck that Bradford would get healthy for this game, too. He made a couple of amazing throws on BIG 3rd down conversions that Mark Sanchez has no shot at making — no shot at all.

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  22. LOST: Ability to call/throw a screen pass
    LAST SEEN: Foxboro area circa 2014
    IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO: Josh at 1 Patriot Place

    — answers to “Omaha! Omaha!” —

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    1. He is a brilliant OC…a real up and comer and potentially the hottest candidate on next years market…god I hope the Colts or Jets hire him.

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  23. Here, I’ll lighten the mood. In this self-aggrandized recollection:
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/12/07/yes-larry-bird-dan-shaughnessy-free-throw-contest-really-happened/tc61foxLpiJwuxzZyVPK6N/story.html

    (was relieved when the article didn’t have a Shank byline, but it’s a transcript of him free-versing with some soft prodding from Himmelsbach)

    Shank claims : “So I went to the ATM, got him his eight 20s, and the next night they
    were playing the 76ers and I was there early plugging in by courtside
    and he was doing his late-afternoon thing by himself in the Garden with
    [equipment manager Joe Qatato] rebounding for him, and he came over and
    put his hand out, and I gave him the eight 20s.”

    I’ll bet he still has that ATM receipt.

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