For Whom The Bell Tolls

I realize that Upton Bell has not been relevant for at least 25 years, perhaps he was never relevant, but some Tweets he put out last night really sum up the hotsportztakes movement in a microcosm.

The Red Sox had won 4 in a row heading into last night’s game, were atop the division and have been crushing the ball as of late. So why exactly was Red Sox Nation lonely? Oh, because Price has been really bad this season.

Let’s get this straight: David Price has underachieved thus far so Bell thinks the pressure should be on him to perform. David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr are performing well, so they must be “on something.

It’s the perfect scenario. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You know, for an old guy, Bell has this hottakez thing down pat.

Now I’ll just go back to ignoring Upton Bell completely.


I received this email late last night regarding Tom Caron’s appearance in the NESN play-by-play seat with Dave O’Brien taking a night off:

…today (May12) is the day to analyze sports (Red Sox)announcer Tom Caron. I have read the comments many viewers gave several years ago (2008-2009). They reflect well the agony I suffer listening to him shout at me as long as he can. Why, in heaven’s name, has he not been told how unattractive and infuriating it is to have to listen to him. Tell: me this: if you invited a guest to a party at your home and he talked like Tom Caron does during all the time he was there, would you invite him again?. I find myself hitting the “Mute” button on the TV for most of the Red Sox Game

I like Caron as the studio host, but would agree that the play-by-play spot isn’t really his strength.


Misc:

I’ll be curious to see if NESN implements the “forced vacations” on O’Brien that they did on Don Orsillo the last few years.

Sean McDonough has perfect bloodlines for marquee NFL job – Chad Finn looks at the new MNF play-by-play man.

Glenn Ordway is bringing back the whiner line to WEEI. It will be on his midday show starting next Friday. Next up, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie everyday during football season?

Wednesday Quickie

Catching up on a couple things from the last week or so…

ESPN made four correct personnel moves in one day?

Moving Sean McDonough to the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football.

(Reportedly) Not bringing back Cris “Fall Guy” Carter and Ray “White Suit” Lewis.

Adding Randy Moss to NFL Countdown.

What is happening? 

Mike Ditka will also not be back on NFL Countdown, but he will still be around the network. Trent Dilfer could be gone as well, and the uncertain status of Chris Mortensen, due to his illness means that NFL coverage on ESPN could look very different on game days this fall.


I’m not going to try and make the case that David Ortiz is better than Ted Williams was, but nice job by Dan Shaughnessy taking that strawman and using it to write a column dripping with more undertones and suggestions that Ortiz must be using something in order to keep his performance level so high at the age of 40.

There’s no doubt that if Dan Shaughnessy was around in the 1950’s, he’d be trashing Ted Williams in the mold of Dave Egan.

Sure Teddy ballgame can hit the ball, but he’s not nearly the all-around player and man that Tris Speaker was.

The irony of all ironies is Shaughnessy decrying the era of “hot takes.”


Speaking of – you know things are slow in the Patriots hot take business when the topics have been Tom Brady’s cookbook and his mattress commercials.

Seriously.

Who’s The FA? UDFA! (2016 Edition)

Almost every year, New England finds an undrafted free agent to fill out their roster. Some, like guard Stephen Neal, work their way up to starter. Others, like cornerback Malcolm Butler, seem to burst onto the scene all at once.

Right now, Butler, punter Ryan Allen, guard Josh Kline, center David Andrews, running back Brandon Bolden and special teamer Brandon King compose some but not all of the UDFAs in Foxboro this spring. It’s an important avenue of team-building, especially for a franchise that seems to emphasize the so-called “middle class” of the roster.

Below are the undrafted New England rookies listed on NEPatriotsDraft.com, an invaluable website for this time of year. We’ve included highlight reels for all the players we could find. (Beware of questionable lyrics on many of them. And, yes, I sound like my father.)

Plus, high school fun facts!

Too Scheu Scheu, Hush Hush: We first mentioned tight end Steven Scheu (pronounced Shoy – 6-5, 253) in our Combine Snubs series after his successful pro day at Vanderbilt.

Why undrafted: Scheu’s 26 receptions ranked second among all Commodore receivers. Not exactly Texas Tech during its pass-happy heyday, there.

Why invited: He has good size. Ran a 4.70 40 and benched 225 pounds 23 times, which would have both been good enough for second place among combine tight ends. He was also named the team’s top scholar-athlete of 2015. Junior year highlights here.

High School Fun Fact: At Reitz Memorial High in Indiana, Scheu started at tight end for three years and played some fullback as a senior. His best year came as a junior, with 43 catches, 724 yards, and 10 touchdowns.

Hell Yeah, Hey D. J. Bring That Back: Arizona State slot receiver D. J. Foster (5-10, 193) made an appearance in our post-combine “That Guy” column in the potential seventh-round slot receiver category. He made the switch to receiver after playing running back at ASU.

Why undrafted: Not a huge guy, and his position switch may have scared some teams off. Also may have been knocked down draft boards after a mediocre 40 at the combine (4.57). His senior year output (59 receptions for 584 yards and three touchdowns) is solid yet not spectacular.

Why invited: He had a strong 40-yard dash at his pro day (4.46), and stood out due to his 6.75-second 3-cone. In 2015, Foster  continued to run the ball, compiling 280 yards on 55 carries (5.1 ypc). In his career, he gained more than 2,000 yards each rushing and receiving. For an organization that values versatility more than the makers of New Shimmer, a productive receiver/running back should get a look. See his highlights here, but it’s NSFW unless you want your fellow employees to be regaled with racial epithets.

High School Fun Fact: As a senior for Saguaro High in Arizona, Foster carried the ball 20 times vs. Sunrise Mountain, gaining 508 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns – both state records.

Driving A Bentley: At least, Patriots coaches hope to. V’Angelo Bentley (5-8, 193), Illinois cornerback, arrives in Foxboro to round out their special teams squad and possibly add a defensive back.

Why undrafted: Look again at that 5-foot-8, and remember Bentley ran an uninspiring 4.57 40-yard dash at his pro day. His 7.22-second 3-cone drill didn’t exactly write his ticket to the NFL, either.

Why invited: Notched 54 tackles, one sack, and six pass break-ups last season. Also – and more importantly – Bentley received All-Big Ten Honorable Mention as a returner, ranking second in the conference in punt return average (8.6). He was also the only player in school history to return a kickoff, punt, interception, and fumble for touchdowns in his career. Short and vague highlight reel here.

High School Fun Fact: Bentley ran track at Glenville High in Ohio, where his coach was Ted Ginn, Sr.

Drawing LeBlanc: Cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc (5-10, 185) from Florida Atlantic adds his name to a growing group of rookie corners for New England.

Why undrafted: His 4.67 40 at his pro day couldn’t have helped, and measuring a bit under 5-10 probably didn’t have scouts shouting his name, either.

Why invited: Completed a respectable 6.95-second 3-cone drill and put up 21 reps on the bench. Made All-Conference USA Second Team, leading the league with four interceptions. That, along with 11 pass break-ups, earned him Team Defensive MVP honors. Returned kicks and punts; also served as team captain. Aggressive coverage highlights here.

High School Fun Fact: While at Glades Central High, LeBlanc doled out the “Hardest Hit of the Year” in Palm Beach County. (I have no way to verify this, but it sounds cool.)

A Hit And A Miss: Mississippi linebacker C. J. Johnson (6-1, 234) could work his way onto the roster as another smaller linebacker/special-teamer type.

Why undrafted: Rather uninspiring numbers for both the combine and at his pro day, including a 4.81-second 40 and a 7.69-second 3-cone drill. (For comparison, Pats rookie offensive guard Joe Thuney ran a 7.47.) Also missed two weeks due to an October knee injury.

Why invited: Showed some toughness by coming back in two weeks and not the expected four. Plays Mike linebacker, where New England could use some depth. Had 43 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions in 10 games. Johnson displayed versatility by moving from defensive end to middle linebacker before his senior year. High effort, low production sophomore highlights here.

High School Fun Fact: When he played at Philadelphia (Miss.) High, Rivals.com ranked Johnson the number one high school player in Mississippi.

Look At The Bones! Not to be confused with Jon “Bones” Jones, Auburn’s Jonathan Jones, cornerback, will be fighting for a roster spot amongst a crowded field of defensive backs.

Why undrafted: Jones measures on the smaller side at 5-9, 186 pounds. Also not the quickest, with a 7.25-second 3-cone drill.

Why invited: His 4.33 40 time was the third-fastest overall at the NFL Combine. Strong for a corner, as his 19 bench press reps tied for second at the position. Started for four years at corner; ended his final year with 69 tackles, one interception, and 13 pass break-ups. Fast-paced interception highlights that also need a mute button here.

High School Fun Fact: While at Carrollton High in Georgia, Johnson was the 110-meter high hurdles national champion with a time of 13.72 seconds.

They Stretchya, They Workya, De’Runnya: Ole Miss’ De’Runnya Wilson (6-5, 224) arrives as a tight end/receiver hybrid and could bring even more versatility to New England’s receiving crew.

Why undrafted: We call it versatility, others may call it a man without a position. Also ran a flat-out miserable 4.82 40, which would be fine for a blocking TE but not a 224-pounder.

Why invited: New England has searched for a prolific “move” tight end ever since He Who Shall Not Be Named committed That Thing We Won’t Talk About. Wilson made All-SEC Second Team last year, catching 60 passes for 918 yards (15.3 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. Impressive highlight reel (that’s what highlight reels are for, after all) here.

High School Fun Fact: Wilson’s basketball team won the state championship his junior year, as he averaged 13.7 points and 10.9 rebounds for Wenonah High in Birmingham, Alabama (go Dragons!).

All Right, Hamilton! Defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton (6-3, 312) from Ole Miss could further bulk up the defensive front in Foxboro.

Why undrafted: Hamilton tweaked his hamstring in March, which may be partly to blame for mediocre times in the 20-yard shuttle (4.88 seconds) and the 3-cone (7.90).

Why invited: Put up 29 reps on the bench press, which would have tied him for eighth at the combine. Was also said to have had a “very good pro-day workout” by Gil Brandt on NFL.com. Has started since his sophomore year at nose tackle, a position the Pats seem quite interested in this off-season.

High School Fun Fact: As a senior at Raleigh High in Mississippi, Hamilton had six sacks and two blocked punts, making the All-State team. If you want to see two high school plays highlighted, click here.

Smithers, I’m Home: Free safety Mr. Devonta Burns (5-10, 203) of Texas A&M could contribute as a special-teamer and eventually make his way into defensive sub packages.

Why undrafted: Not an explosive athlete, with non-special times in the 40 (4.52) and 3-cone (7.07) for someone his size. Had a mere 17 tackles in 2015. Had zero interceptions in his college career.

Why invited: As a nickel corner, had 57 tackles in 2014, as well as one pass break-up and two forced fumbles. Plus, special teams experience. Some almost-impossible-to-see kickoff coverage highlights here.

High School Fun Fact: Burns was named to the 4-5A First-Team All-District squad as a senior at Arlington Martin High in Texas and was ranked the third-best safety in the state by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

Pay The Bryce: Well, we shall see. Bryce Williams (6-6, 257), East Carolina tight end, will give New England’s bigger TEs some reps off this summer.

Why undrafted: His 4.94-second 40 was about the same as our aforementioned rookie guard Thuney, who ran a 4.95. As far as strength, his 19 bench reps seem low for the position of blocking tight end.

Why invited: Not Gronk-level talented, but definitely Gronk-sized. Could provide another big body at the position, which would mean competition for the likes of Michael Williams. Williams (Bryce, that is) caught 58 passes for 588 yards and four touchdowns last season. Some highlights of what a big pass-catcher can do are found on this link.

High School Fun Fact: At North Davidson High in North Carolina, Williams excelled in football (school offensive MVP), track (All-conference in the 110 meters), and basketball (all-county).

Shaq’ing Up: The Patriots did not draft a running back, but they decided to add to their running back stable by inviting Shaquille Powell (5-9, 210) out of Duke.

Why undrafted: Powell’s a smaller back but lacks the speed (4.63 40) and quickness (7.07 3-cone) that runners of his size seem to require. Averaged just 4.3 yards per carry. Also, fair to say that Duke is not known as a football school.

Why invited: Powell caught 35 passes for 212 yards (6.06 avg.) and two touchdowns and did not fumble his senior year – in fact, he lost only one fumble in his entire career (418 touches). Was an Academic All-ACC selection for three years running (so to speak). Powell’s prowess on runs, screens, and wheel routes can be witnessed here.

High School Fun Fact: As a senior at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, Powell rushed for 2,458 yards and 40 touchdowns on his way to a state title.

His Middle Name Is Kringle-Jack: Linebacker Kris Frost (6-2, 240) out of Auburn also got a camp invite and could fit as a backup middle linebacker.

Why undrafted: Frost lacks speed, running a 4.97 40 at the combine. He also had shoulder issues in February that prevented him from performing the combine bench press.

Why invited: Second on the team with 96 tackles. Also had two interceptions and one forced fumble. Pretty good quickness with a 7.15 3-cone. Along with Jones (and Garrett, below) – and with the fact that Belichick visited Auburn this spring for pro day – highlights the coach’s interest in the Tigers. You can see Frost’s game film vs. Mississippi State in 2014 here.

High School Fun Fact: As an outside linebacker for Butler High in Matthews, North Carolina, Frost’s team went 16-0. In his final two years, he tallied 178 tackles, (22 for loss), six forced fumbles, and seven interceptions.

Justin Case: Apparently, when it comes to training camp, you can’t invite too many linebackers. Justin Garrett (6-1, 226) became the latest Auburn defender to make his way to Gillette.

Why undrafted: Garrett’s smaller than most ‘backers and failed to make up for that lack of size with great speed, getting timed at a mediocre 4.75 seconds in the 40.

Why invited: His 28 bench press reps would have been the second-best effort for linebackers at the combine. Had 50 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions for the Tigers in 2015. Showed some versatility by practicing as a safety before his sophomore year. Watch Garrett return a fumble for a TD in this clip.

High School Fun Fact: Playing for Tucker High in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Garrett was ranked as the number 12 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com.

It’s A Shame About Ray: Or not. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with camp invitee wide receiver Melvin Ray (6-2, 208) out of – wait for it – Auburn, who will provide some competition for the lower end of the receiver roster.

Why undrafted: Ray ran a less-than-spectacular 4.60 40-yard dash at his pro day. Playing behind superior pass-catchers, Ray only managed 33 receptions for his career. Just turned 27 years old last month, as he played minor league baseball prior to attending Auburn.

Why invited: His 6.98-second 3-cone drill is pretty swift for his size. Speaking of size, right now Ray ties with rookie Devin Lucien for the second-tallest receiver on the team behind Aaron Dobson. Averaged 17.2 yards per catch and gained a TD or first down on 81 percent of his receptions. Has special teams experience. He eluded non-existent coverage for one of his four career TDs here.

High School Fun Facts: As a senior at North Florida Christian in Tallahassee, Florida, Ray caught 53 passes for 1,058 yards and 16 TDs. He later got picked by the L. A. Dodgers in the 2008 MLB Draft.

If any new undrafted players join the team after this article posts, please let us know in the comment section below. Also, if a Boston sports radio host says something outlandish, feel free to voice your outrage.

Chris Warner wanted to play tight end for the Patriots growing up and was a huge fan of Lin Dawson. He tweets from @cwarn89.  

Patriots “That Guy” 2016 Draft Review

Predicting New England’s draft picks provides more setbacks than predicting spring weather (Hello there, 70 degrees! Nice to see you, sleet!). However, forecasting what types of players they usually pick has gotten easier.

In our previous, pre-draft “That Guy” piece, we touched on several different kinds of athletes the Patriots tend to bring into the fold. They remained true to form, as we’ll see below.

Just to review, here are New England’s picks by round (and overall number).

Round Two (60): CB/PR Cyrus Jones (5-10, 197), Alabama

Round Three (78): OL Joe Thuney (6-5, 305), N.C. State

Round Three ( 91): QB Jacoby Brissett (6-4, 231), N.C. State

Round Three (96): DL Vincent Valentine (6-4, 329), Nebraska

Round Four (112): WR Malcolm Mitchell (6-0, 198), Georgia

Round Six (208): OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill (6-2, 208), Eastern Illinois

Round Six (214): ILB Elandon Roberts (6-0, 235), Houston

Round Six (221): OL Ted Karras (6-3, 307), Illinois

Round Seven (225): WR Devin Lucien (6-2, 195), Arizona State

Trades: Ah, yes. On draft day, Coach Bill Belichick tends to go the full Monty Hall, wheeling and dealing in his search for the best value. New England entered the draft with 11 picks and wound up using nine, at one point trading up to the fourth round by swapping picks 196, 204, and 250 for Miami’s 147. They later used that to get an extra pick in 2017 (a Seattle fourth-rounder).

So, what kinds of players did they end up with?

The Alabama Guy: Our lone correct hit of the day came in the second round with Jones, who will join fellow Tide alum Dont’a Hightower on New England’s defense (and if Hightower could start as a rookie, expect Jones to contribute this year, too). Jones lacks height but has bulk and quickness (a head-turning 6.71-second 3-cone at the combine). He nabbed two interceptions last fall to go along with eight pass break-ups and 37 tackles. Where he’ll make his mark, though, is on special teams, as he averaged 12.6 yards per punt return in 2015, bringing four punts home for dinner.*

*Still working on a catchphrase for a return TD. It’s not going well. 

The Offensive Line Double-Dip: Last year, rookies Shaq Mason and Tré Jackson started several games on the interior; the year before, Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming shored up the line. This season, Coach Belichick and returning OL coach/wizard Dante Scarnecchia hope to continue the trend with their two-fer of Thuney and Karras.

Thuney projects as a guard, but his speed (4.95 40) and upper-body strength (28 bench reps of 225 pounds) allow him some flexibility. Most importantly, he made All-ACC First Team last year as a left tackle after playing left guard in 2014 and right tackle, right guard, and left tackle in 2013. The man has more versatility than a Swiss Army knife with a Humanities doctorate.

Karras, who may or may not be able to knock out a horse, should compete for a guard spot. Though he lacks quickness (his 5.34 40 and 8.15 3-cone were timed indoors – on a couch! Right?), his 32 bench reps would have come in fourth overall at the NFL Combine, third for offensive linemen. Karras made All-Big Ten Third Team in 2015, filling in briefly at center as a senior. He started at right guard for 43 games in his career .

The Backup Quarterback: Well, this came as a surprise. With 2014 second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo in the fold, we figured New England would wait until the later rounds to nab a third-string QB, and that they’d try to address an area of need (namely, anything but a rookie play-caller). Brissett became the number two third-round quarterback picked during Belichick’s tenure (Kevin O’Connell got the call in 2008). He’s an interesting prospect, with prototypical size (6-4, 231) and notable quickness (7.17 3-cone). Last year, he passed for 2,662 yards and 20 touchdowns vs. six interceptions. Had a 60 percent completion rate.

This is a “friend of Bill” pick, as both former Pats offensive coordinator Charlies Weis and former Pats coach Bill Parcells have mentored Brissett over the years. Interesting to see how this all works out.

The “Who’s That Guy?” Guy: New England usually pulls this off in the second round, with Sebastian Vollmer in 2009, Tavon Wilson in 2012, and Jordan Richards in 2015 as examples of Day Three prospects getting Day Two treatment. The highest rating for Valentine that we could find (NFLDraftScout.com) measured him as a late seventh-rounder. Speaking of measurements, apparently 329-pound D-linemen do not grow on trees (because surely they would break the branches). And men of such size who submit 5.19-second 40-yard dashes and 29-inch vertical leaps grow more rarely still.

Valentine could have crossed into another category as “The Injured Guy” after playing only 10 games last season as a junior due to an ankle injury. He notched a mere seven tackles in 2015. As a sophomore in 2014, he tallied 45 tackles (6.5 for loss) including three sacks, and forced a fumble.

The Take-A-Shot-On-This-Receiver Guy: The Patriots took a shot on Mitchell in the fourth round, and it feels like their best chance for pass-catcher production out of a draftee since a certain seventh-rounder in 2009. (Back then, I dismissed Julian Edelman in part due to his name. Even worse, that year my favorite pick was Tyrone McKenzie. I had more misfires than a wet musket. You can read all of them here.)

Mitchell has decent size and good speed (4.45 40). His 3-cone is fine at 6.94 seconds – he certainly seems to get open on film. As a senior, he led the run-heavy Bulldogs with 58 receptions, gaining 865 yards and scoring five touchdowns. He’s also got intangibles, earning numerous honors in community service, such as the 2015 AllState AFCA Good Works Award and the 2016 Community Spirit Award.

Plus: 10.5-inch hands! Those are, like, Goliath birdeater tarantula hands.

The Sixth-Round Small School Defender: No, Eastern Illinois isn’t as small as Concordia (Zach Moore, 2014) or Central Arkansas (Markell Carter, 2011), but as a 1-AA school in the Ohio Valley Conference, it’s not exactly Ohio State. The Pats got themselves a nifty athlete in Grugier-Hill, whose pro day performance should have been included in our Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em column. The strong safety ran a 4.45-second 40, a 4.20-second 20-yard shuttle, and a 6.89-second 3-cone drill. All three times would have made top five for safeties at the NFL Combine.

For the Panthers, Grugier-Hill made All-Ohio Valley Conference First Team with 62 tackles (a noteworthy 14.5 for loss) 5.5 sacks, and one interception.

The Special Teams Guy: Looks like Roberts can join Matthew Slater (2008) and Nate Ebner (2012) as athletes drafted in later rounds for their potential special teams prowess. At 235 pounds, Roberts weighs less than most Patriots linebackers, but the kid has skills: his 4.60 40 would have tied for the fifth-best time among combine linebackers, while his 25 bench reps would have been top three at the position. Best of all, he had more stops than a five-page telegram, leading the Cougars with 142 total tackles in 2015 (the next guy had 50 fewer). His whopping 88 unassisted tackles led the nation. He had 19 for loss, with six sacks. Throw in five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, and an interception, and you’ve got yourself a defensive “Mark Twain Live!” (In other words, a real one-man show.)

The Seventh-Round Slot Receiver Guy(?): Besides Edelman, the Pats have drafted a couple of Jeremys – Ebert (2012) and Gallon (2014) – to fill this role. We’re shoehorning Lucien into this category like Cinderella’s stepsisters’ feet: his college (and now pro) teammate D. J. Foster gets the glass slipper here. In fact, we said as much in this year’s first “That Guy” column after Foster’s combine performance. Lucien has solid numbers from his pro day (4.49 40, 6.93 3-cone), but his production at ASU says much more. He led the Sun Devils in receptions (66) and yardage (1,075), while tying for the team lead in receiving TDs (eight). He averaged 16.3 yards per catch.

Lucien graduated from UCLA and transferred to ASU. Before Super Bowl 49 in Arizona, Belichick praised ASU coach Todd Graham, which may have helped Lucien get drafted (and Foster get a call as a rookie free agent).

That sums it up for this year’s selections. Later this week, please keep an eye out for our annual undrafted free agent piece “Who’s The FA? UDFA!”

Chris Warner visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps this past weekend and thought it was amazing. He also tweets: @cwarn89

Sox In First After Sweep of Yankees

It’s May 2nd, and your Boston Red Sox are a half-game in first place in the A.L. East following an 8-7 win at Fenway Park last night.

David Price continued his early season struggles, but again received the run support needed to move to 4-0 on the year.

While the WEEI morning show continues to rail against Curt Schilling’s replacement on Sunday Night Baseball, Jessica Mendoza, ESPN and Schilling continued their dance last night when inexplicably, the network cut out Schilling’s part in the 30 for 30 rebroadcast of Four Days in October last night. Game six, the bloody sock – never happened.

When asked about it, the network responded (somewhat snarkily) that the show was simply edited for time.

I honestly don’t think this was premeditated or some sort of statement from the network on Schilling, but I do think when they were figuring out which segments they could trim for the time requirements, when given a choice between Schilling and non-Schilling, they decided to cut Schilling. Subtly sticking it to him in the process.

When you think of the 2004 ALCS, you think of the Red Sox coming back from 0-3 down of course, you think of the heroics of David Ortiz in games four and five, you think of the blowout game seven, but Schilling and the bloody sock is as memorable as any of those.


For the first time ever, I did not watch a single moment of the NFL draft live. Not a single pick. I saw plenty of what was happening on Twitter, including Kevin Faulk’s all-time classic moment of introducing a Patriots pick while sporting a Tom Brady jersey.

While having Troy Vincent on the stage with Faulk was great, it would’ve been even better with Roger Goodell there instead.

Speaking of Goodell, how do NFL Owners feel having their representative booed endlessly and vociferously, and his response is “bring it on?”

Oh, I forgot. The owners all say Roger is doing a great job. Roger Goodell is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

Meanwhile I saw numerous reports that it sure seemed like ESPN (and sometimes NFLN) was trying awfully hard to not show any of the Patriots picks. Almost makes me wonder if after Faulk’s appearance there was some edict passed down to ensure the Patriots didn’t embarrass the league in that fashion in live TV again. Almost.


Was a little surprised at some blowback I received on Twitter about the job Danny Ainge has done with the Celtics, and whether this season was a failure following the first round 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks. There seemed to be a common theme among the critics, references to “green teamers” and other Mike Felger references.

The Celtics have steadily improved in the three seasons under Brad Stevens, and have a top pick in the draft in June, and the cap space to attract more than one top free agent this summer. I don’t know what could’ve been done significantly better, especially when you look around the NBA at other rebuilding projects.

The Patriots 2016 Draft Preview Review

Today we present our concise draft coverage review while marveling at how many NFL owners and general managers refused to pay attention during high school physics class.

Patriots “That Guy” 2016 Senior Bowl Edition – It all began on February 1 with our first “That Guy” column of the year, reviewing players we noticed during the Senior Bowl and other college all-star games from late January.

Player Of Note: Quentin Gause of Rutgers could fill one of many draft categories, including Rutgers Guy and Special Teams Guy. The 6-0, 243 pound linebacker led all tacklers at the NFLPA Bowl and had 96 stops in 2015. He was also a team captain and Academic All-Big Ten, among other Pats-Guy-type honors.

Our annual Round-By-Round Review came out on February 10, chronicling all the draft picks by Bill Belichick while in New England, organized by round. Pay special attention to New England’s overall success with Round One selections.

Player Of Note: Whomever the Pats won’t be able to pick this year in Round One. Damnit.

Patriots “That Guy” 2016 NFL Combine Edition – On March 2, our second “That Guy” column of the year came out, focusing on results from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and where some of those players might fit on New England’s roster.

Player Of Note: You can’t miss the performance of Justin Simmons out of Boston College. The free safety had a 40-inch vertical and a super quick 6.58-second 3-cone drill, all the more impressive given his 6-2, 202-pound frame. Last year for BC, Simmons had 67 tackles, five interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part I – Back in the middle of March, we posted Part I of our Combine Snubs series, taking a closer look at players who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine, but who succeeded at their respective pro days in the weeks afterward.

Player Of Note: Keeping Patriots receiver (and former college quarterback) Julian Edelman in mind, QB Jason Vander Laan out of tiny Ferris State absolutely ripped up his Division II slate, winning the Harlan Hill Trophy (D2 Player of the Year) two years running. As a senior, the 6-4, 240-pound QB passed for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 1,542 yards and 24 TDs. Also had a noteworthy 6.73-second 3-cone drill.

Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part II – On April 19 came our second Combine Snubs review, checking out more players who would have fit in at Indianapolis but didn’t get the invitation.

Player Of Note: Running back Darius Jackson of Eastern Michigan had himself a great pro day. He ran a 4.35-second 40, catapulted 41 inches off the ground, and completed the 3-cone drill in 6.82 seconds, all of which would have made top two or better for combine backs. Jackson rushed for 1,067 yards in 2015, averaging 5.2 yards per carry while scoring 14 TDs on the ground. The best part is that he’s 6-1, 220 pounds, which could fill out New England’s need for a younger, bigger back.

Patriots “That Guy” 2016 April Edition – Finally, on April 21, we ran our last “That Guy” piece of the season, putting together our knowledge from both the combine and pro days.

Player Of Note: Keenan Reynolds. Belichick has to draft the best rusher in Navy history, doesn’t he? Seriously, how could Reynolds not end up in Foxboro, at least for spring practice? He earned solid reports from Senior Bowl practices after his switch to running back. He rushed for 4,559 yards in his career, scoring a Division I record 88 touchdowns. I mean, Belichick will draft this kid just to talk to him on the sideline. And, hey, with uncertainty surrounding the first four games of the season, we could always see the triple option.

Please keep an eye out for our post-draft coverage, where we match up the Patriots’ picks with our “That Guy” predictions.

Much like the NFL from 1920 until 2015, Chris Warner couldn’t care less about air pressure inside a football. He tweets @cwarn89

Brady Suspension Reinstated.

The decision yesterday by the 2nd Circuit to reinstate Tom Brady’s four game suspension and to uphold Roger Goodell’s power to do anything he damn well pleases was just the latest turn in an unending case.

Interestingly, the Chief Justice of the court was the dissenting voice in the decision, coming down against Goodell and his methods. (Apparently he must be a “fan boy” too, eh, Dan Shaughnessy?)  Giants owner John Mara’s college law school classmate Judge Chin naturally voted in favor of the league.

Teams around the league are apparently coming to the realization that something like this could happen to them as well.

The Chiefs have already found this out.

I’ve seen a lot of finger-wagging towards the NFLPA on this, saying sorry, they gave Goodell this power in the last CBA…

Well if that was so clear, why did it take 16 months and two rounds of Federal court to make that point?

There may be no better example than Roger Goodell to the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.


Sean McDonough to Monday Night Football?  It could happen. Mike Tirico left ESPN for NBC, and the former Red Sox voice is the leading candidate to replace him.

ESPN Mainstay Mike Tirico Leaving To Join NBC


The Celtics and Red Sox are both in Atlanta, taking on the Hawks and Braves respectively.

The Celtics are tied 2-2 in their opening round playoff series, and the Red Sox pulled out a 1-0 win last night, with a Jackie Bradley Jr home run being the difference.

Schilling Canned By ESPN

ESPN decided it has had enough trouble from Curt Schilling and yesterday fired the former Red Sox ace from his role as baseball analyst.

Schilling doesn’t seem to be able to help himself from sharing his opinions, as he has found himself in hot water time and again since his retirement from baseball.

He probably didn’t help himself by his defiance and insistence on doubling-down on his comments, both on WEEI and on his personal blog. It’s one thing to own your comments and opinions and another to put the fault back on others for reacting to things you say.

Meanwhile, WEEI.com had a column by John Tomase endorsing the firing of Schilling.

Look, shouldn’t Tomase be the very last person in the Boston media to judge whether someone should be fired? Yes, I’ll say it again, the guy made up a story which resulted in his employer having to retract the story and publicly apologize, and he faced no public consequences whatsoever.

In irony of ironies, Tomase’s story yesterday has a correction on it for misrepresenting Schilling’s position on the matter.


NESN experimented with a three-man booth during yesterday afternoon’s Red Sox loss to the Rays. Play-by-play man Dave O’Brien was joined by Jerry Remy and Steve Lyons in the booth for the broadcast.

Reactions were mixed on Twitter during the game, but the move caught the attention on many. NESN has been mixing around the analysts with O’Brien thus far this season, not using Jerry Remy full-time as in the past.

The reasons seem to be mainly money-based, with the network not wishing to pay for full-time analysts, but instead mixing around a few part-timers instead.

NESN was also honored this week by Cynopsis Media as the Regional Sports Network (RSN) of the Year at the 5th Annual Sports Media Awards Breakfast held at the New York Athletic Club.


Former Boston Herald and Globe Patriots writer Albert Breer is on the move again, leaving NFL Network for Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback site.

Breer had a few rough patches at NFL Network, including a reputed disagreement with an editor which resulted in some time off the air. Moving to MMQB is a good opportunity for the well-travelled Breer.


Bill Barnwell, one of the original Grantland staff writers, and formerly of Football Outsiders (and Patriots Daily) will not be joining Bill Simmons on his new site The Ringer, instead Barnwell has signed a multi-year deal to stay with ESPN.


I enjoyed this piece from Tom E Curran yesterday showing how the NFL has time and again the NFL has publicly dismissed suggestions by Bill Belichick, only to come back and revisit and move towards those original ideas later in the future.

How long should Red Sox give John Farrell? – Peter Abraham thinks about 40 games should be enough to decide the future of the Red Sox manager.

Celtics must believe in themselves – Steve Bulpett says that too often in the first two games against Atlanta, the Celtics looked like they did not trust themselves.

Patriots “That Guy” 2016 April Edition

Welcome to part three of our “That Guy” Patriots draft series. In our previous two installments, we reviewed some Senior Bowl standouts and inspected NFL Combine results in our search for players who may fit in at Foxboro.

Since then, we’ve had a few weeks to look at pro day results in our “Combine Snubs” series, as well as watch New England build their squad for the 2016 season. These observations have led to a few alterations to our “That Guy” column. Here are the types of athletes the Patriots tend to draft, with suggestions on particular players for later this spring.

The First Round, Solid Bet Guy: The more we look at the NFL taking away New England’s first rounder, the more it hurts. Using defensive linemen as an example, the Patriots have a strong record for the position in Round One that includes Richard Seymour (2001), Ty Warren (2003), Vince Wilfork (2004), Chandler Jones (2012), and Malcom Brown (2015). All starters. Their selections in Round Two? Marquise Hill (2004), Ron Brace (2009), and Jermaine Cunningham (2010). That’s a disconcerting difference in production, there.

We wanted to consider an athlete they could select in the second round who could contribute for years to come, and possibly utilize some of ex-Patriot (and lone first-round bust) Dominique Easley’s minutes as an interior rusher.

Possible Pick: For where they’ll be drafting, it’s easy to consider Carl Nassib of Penn State. A defensive end at 6-7, 277 pounds, Nassib showed the ability to work inside and create havoc against interior defensive linemen. He has good speed (4.84-second 40) and solid quickness (7.27 3-cone, 4.37 20-yard shuttle) that give him positional flexibility New England adores. Nassib, a walk-on at PSU, won the Ted Hendricks Award this past season as the best college defensive end. He led the nation in sacks with 15.5, adding six forced fumbles on the year.

The “Who’s That Guy?” Guy: By making second-round picks out of unheralded names like Sebastian Vollmer (2009), Tavon Wilson (2012), and Jordan Richards (2015), the Patriots demonstrated how they often value certain players differently than most pundits. If they like a guy, they tend to go get him.

Possible Pick: I mean, based on the name alone, we had to select linebacker Cassanova McKinzy out of Auburn. Coach Bill Belichick traveled to Auburn for their pro day; he surely witnessed McKinzy (6-1, 248) during position drills. McKinzy started at middle linebacker as a freshman and had 263 career stops. As a senior, he tallied 74 tackles, including 10 for loss (five sacks) and 20 quarterback hits. A minor scouting note: he had one of his most prolific games vs. Alabama, with eight tackles and three QB hits.

I’ll take Cassanova, because me and Romeo ain’t never been friends.

The 3-Cone Guy: The Patriots seem to appreciate high-octane 3-cone drills more than speedy 40-yard dashes. (WEEI.com’s Chris Price would tend to agree.) This has led to the drafting of Julian Edelman (6.62-second 3-cone) in 2009 and Darryl Roberts (6.66) in 2015, among many others who have quick feet for their respective positions.

Possible Pick: We’re going to go to the defense here, as Kansas State cornerback Morgan Burns (5-10, 200) had a 6.60 3-cone during his pro day (of course, his 4.38-second 40 probably won’t hurt his stock, either). Burns earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention status as a defensive back with one interception and 10 pass break-ups. Most importantly, he was named All-American as a kick returner, bringing back four kickoffs to the far horizon* last year while gaining an average of 33.5 yards per return.

*I’m trying to think of another phrase for “to the house” or “all the way.” I’m open to suggestions.

The Freakishly Athletic Guy: Every once in a while, the Patriots select someone who drops jaws at the combine. In 2013, that was Jamie Collins, whose 11-foot, seven-inch broad jump at 250 pounds remains a stunner. (You can watch it here. Listen for the announcers laughing at its ridiculousness.)

Possible Pick: We went with Justin Simmons out of Boston College for our combine edition, and we stick with him now. He’s big for a free safety at 6-2, 202 pounds, and with a 40-inch vertical, 10-foot, six-inch broad jump, and a 6.58-second 3-cone, he has the quicks and power to play various spots in sub packages. His experience at cornerback could help defenses give different, QB-confusing looks. At BC, Simmons had 67 tackles, five interceptions and two forced fumbles.

The Long-Limbed Defensive End: New England often seeks out a lanky pass-rusher, as seen in the likes of Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom in 2015 and Michael Buchanan in 2013. While they seem pretty stocked at the position – Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard remain stalwarts; Chris Long just got added in free agency – the trading of Chandler Jones could open up an opportunity for rookie minutes in a sub role.

Possible Pick: Lots to like about Matt Judon, a small-school wrecking crew from the Greater Lakes Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Judon (6-3, 275) actually outweighs the 2012 rookie version of Jones (266) and ran a slightly faster 40 (4.73 to Jones’ 4.87). Not saying Judon could come in and start, but he does have some notable talents (30 bench press reps, 35-inch vertical) that could help him become a solid defender in time. The GLIAC Defensive Lineman of the Year led the nation with 18 sacks. He also forced three fumbles and recovered two.

Offensive Line Double-Dips: Last year, the Pats looked to Tré Jackson and Shaq Mason as rookies to bolster the interior line. The year before, both Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming added important minutes, with Stork coming in to start at center and stabilize a shaky offense. Their veteran offensive tackles are getting closer to the ends of their careers (as are we all, really), so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Belichick looked for two rookies to add to the O-line.

Possible Picks: We’ve got to acknowledge North Dakota State tackle Joe Haeg (6-6, 304), especially after his meeting with Patriots coaches during Senior Bowl week. Haeg was an All-American in his final two seasons, earning Top Collegiate Offensive Lineman by the FCS Athletic Directors Association. Also ran a 5.16-second 40 at the NFL Combine and had a 7.47-second 3-cone, good enough for fifth-best OL.

South Carolina’s Brandon Shell is another tackle candidate we’ve noticed, especially after a 5.22-second 40, impressive given his size (6-5, 324). He started at left tackle as a senior after spending most of the previous three years on the right side, compiling 47 consecutive starts. Shell is the great-nephew of Hall of Fame lineman Art Shell, which we’re sure Belichick knows and appreciates.

The Alabama Guy: ‘Bama coach Nick Saban coached with Belichick at Cleveland lo these 25 years ago. This has led to such players as Dont’a Hightower getting nabbed in the first round in 2012, as well as LB Xzavier Dickson getting the call late in last year’s draft.

Possible Pick: We’re going with cornerback Cyrus Jones this year. At 5-10, 197 pounds, he’s not super big. With a 4.49-second 40, he’s not super fast. But, with a 6.71-second 3-cone, he is super quick, and he uses it well on the field. Last season, Jones returned four punts for touchdowns (“to the far horizon,” maybe? No?), averaging 12.6 per take-back. He also had two interceptions and eight pass break-ups. Here he is working his magic vs. the Spartans with a punt return TD in the Cotton Bowl.

The Rutgers Guy: Due to Coach Belichick’s relationship with former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, players from that school have flowed through Foxboro with all the force of the mighty Raritan, including Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon.

Possible Pick: Oh, so, so much to like about Quentin Gause. The 6-0, 232-pound linebacker had solid production with 96 tackles and a team-leading 12 tackles for loss, sure, but my oh my: the intangibles, people. Team captain? Check. Big Ten Sportsmanship Award? Academic All-Big Ten? Check and check. The “R” Man Courage Award? Checkeroo. And you know what? Running a 4.73-second 40 and a 7.01-second 3-cone probably can’t hurt, either.

The Ohio State Guy: Belichick used to have a friendly relationship with former Florida coach and current Ohio State head Urban Meyer. That has probably cooled a bit over the past several years, draft-wise, considering some of the algal slime that has crawled out of the Gator swamp up to Foxboro. (Seriously, if Mike Reiss is calling the benefits of that relationship into question in his indispensable Sunday notes, there’s an issue.) But now, since former Rutgers head coach Schiano took on the role as OSU co-defensive coordinator, we’re taking another gander at the Buckeyes.

Possible Pick: We’d like to add Tyvis Powell to the list of solid, dependable safeties on the Patriots’ potential roster. He has noteworthy size at 6-3, 211 pounds and great speed for said size with a 4.46-second 40. (For comparison, the 6-0, 196-pound Harmon ran a 4.51, while the 5-11, 193-pound McCourty ran a 4.48.) Add a thoroughly decent 7.03-second 3-cone, and we’re in the Buckeye business. At OSU, Powell had 71 total tackles, with three interceptions, three pass break-ups, and a blocked kick. He had eight career interceptions, with one each in bowl games vs. Alabama and Notre Dame.

The Injured Guy: New England likes to take chances with players who have missed playing time due to injury. This has worked out well in some cases (Rob Gronkowski) and not so well in others (Ras-I Dowling). Last year, the Patriots selected guard Tré Jackson, who had been bothered with knee issues while at Florida State. Jackson did miss time with injuries, but he started nine games as a rookie and should vie for playing time this year.

Possible Pick: Boise State guard Rees Odhiambo is worth reviewing. The 6-4, 314-pound Odhiambo injured his ankle in October and missed the rest of the season. Despite playing in only eight games, he was named to the All-Mountain West First Team. Injuries have chased the native Kenyan throughout his college career, as he has never started more than nine games in any one season. Still, for a mid-round pick, Odhiambo could serve as an inexpensive backup for the interior O-line.

The Day Two Running Back: In 2011, the Patriots drafted Shane Vereen in the second round and Stevan Ridley in the third. In 2015, injuries to Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount showed how much the team needed depth at the position.

Possible Pick: Even after signing Blount, we assume New England will seek out another sizable back this spring, which brings us to Keith Marshall of Georgia. Marshall (5-11, 219) averaged 5.1 yards per carry for the Bulldogs, scoring three TDs. At the combine, he blew away the field with a 4.31-second 40, the fastest at Indy this year (As far as we can tell, no draftee has had a faster pro day this spring.) We spend a lot of time yakking about how the Patriots don’t fall in love with 40 times, but Marshall’s 25 bench reps and 6.98-second 3-cone should factor in here.

The Sixth-Round Small School Defender: From Markell Carter (Central Arkansas) in 2011 to Zach Moore (Concordia) in 2014, the Patriots aren’t shy about checking out the lower divisions for talent. With about 27 sixth-round picks this year (note: number may be exaggerated for effect), it seems like an ideal time to revisit this tendency.

Possible Pick: Back to the GLIAC (see: Matt Judon above) for some more D-II action. We mentioned Justin Zimmer from Ferris State in our Combine Snubs series. He would fit in well here. The 6-3, 302-pounder moved faster than a rolling temple boulder, notching a 4.85-second 40. His 7.01-second 3-cone drill would have come in fourth for NFL Combine safeties this year. Perhaps most awesome was Zimmer’s 44 bench reps of 225 pounds that would have bested all 2016 NFL Combine participants. At Ferris State, Zimmer tallied 81 tackles, with 26 coming for loss, half of those in sacks. He broke up five passes and forced four fumbles.

The Backup Tight End: No position has changed more for the Patriots over the past few weeks than tight end. The signing of Martellus Bennett created a dreamscape for wannabe offensive coordinators all the way from Madawaska, Maine down to whatever scattered parts of Greenwich, Connecticut root for New England. The signing of Clay Harbor added a smaller, “move” tight end, and – along with a healthy A. J. Derby – could fortify the position even more. So what do we do? We go jack-of-all-trades on ’em.

Possible Pick (Move TE): We’ll take our chances on a prolific college QB, one Jason Vander Laan of the aforementioned Ferris State. He’s got good size (6-4, 240), decent speed (4.75 40) and excellent quickness (6.73 3-cone – better than all combine tight ends). And, best of all, he has the football knowledge and production that could make him a threat from different positions. Vander Laan won The Harlan Hill Trophy (Division II Player of the Year Award) two years running. He is the first quarterback in the history of the NCAA with four consecutive seasons both passing and rushing for 1,000-plus yards. In 2015, he threw for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for 1,542 yards and 24 touchdowns.

I mean, I know it’s Division II, but he produced numbers like a 12-year-old playing against 11 cats. Old, disinterested ones.

Possible Pick (Blocking TE): Sometimes we add picks that probably won’t happen but would love to see. Enter LaQuan McGowan, a tight end/fullback out of Baylor who measures an astounding 6-6, 405 pounds. His running times are, as one might predict, only slightly faster than erosion, with a 5.48-second 40. However, he leapt a noteworthy 24 inches vertically, and put up 30 reps on the bench. He has noted his willingness to play guard, his natural position. Hey, we could see plays like this in the future. Could be fun.

The Special Teams Guy: As a former special teams coach, Belichick has always paid attention to the one-play wonders of the NFL. We think drafting specifically for ST roles probably got going in 2008 with Matthew Slater, continued in 2012 with Nate Ebner, and was maintained throughout with plenty of specialists (long snapper Joe Cardona last year, for instance).

Possible Pick: While the Patriots tend to focus on smaller linebackers and/or bigger safeties for this role, Washington outside linebacker Travis Feeney catches the eye. He has unusual measurements for most special-teamers at 6-4, 230 pounds, and he did very well on his 40 with a 4.50-second time. Speaking of 40, that’s how many inches he jumped in the vertical, topping all other combine linebackers. A Huskies team captain, Feeney was voted UW’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player with eight sacks and 17.5 total tackles for loss last season. He also forced three fumbles.

The Take-A-Shot-On-This-Receiver Guy: The Patriots have drafted a long list of receivers who failed to pan out in Foxboro. The ones that did (Deion Branch, David Givens, Julian Edelman) helped win Super Bowls, so it’s easy to figure they’ll take another chance this spring.

Possible Pick: Let’s take a closer look at the speedy Charone Peake out of Clemson. He’s got size at 6-2, 209 pounds – a veritable Gulliver compared to most of the LilliPatriots currently on the roster. He also has speed (4.38 pro day 40) and quickness (6.96 3-cone). Peake caught 50 passes last year for 716 yards, a 14.3 yards-per-catch average, with five touchdowns.

Aaaaand he’ll probably be a bust. But it’s worth a shot, people. It’s always worth a shot.

The Backup Quarterback: They got Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round (2014), Kevin O’Connell in the third (2008), Rohan Davey in the fourth (2002), Kliff Kingsbury in the sixth (2003), and Matt Cassel in the seventh (2005). Time to bring in a camp arm to nurture and – when the time comes –  see how it can best help the team moving forward.

Possible Pick: Cassel was a backup out of USC who panned out, so why not take a starter from the same school? Cody Kessler has had a great career for the Trojans. At 6-foot-1, height might play a role in his lower draft status, but height didn’t seem to matter to Belichick when he kept Doug Flutie around. Plus, the kid can play: An All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2015, Kessler completed 67 percent of his passes (298 of 446) for 3,536 total yards, 29 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

Hell, Cassel completed 10 passes in his entire Trojan career, so the Pats should be able to do something with this guy, right?

The Seventh-Round Slot Receiver Guy: This trend started off quite well with Edelman in 2009, yet found less success with Jeremy Ebert out of Northwestern in 2012 and Jeremy Gallon out of Michigan in 2014. Still, if they can add another dependable sticks-mover in the seventh, they’ll give it a chance.

Possible Pick: Slot receiver, outside receiver, running back, returner. Byron Marshall (5-9, 205), did a little of everything for Oregon in 2015 before his season-ending injury after only four games. He was well enough to participate in Oregon’s pro day on March 14, with a so-so 4.56-second 40 getting overlooked due to encouraging quickness times (4.19 20-yard shuttle, 6.99 3-cone). As a junior in 2014, Marshall led the Ducks with 74 receptions for 1,003 yards (13.6 avg) and six TDs. He also averaged 7.5 yards per rush (52 for 392).

High School Fun Fact: At Valley Christian High, Marshall was the top-ranked sophomore in California in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.67 seconds. So, hey, that 40-yard time? He’s just getting warmed up.

The Navy Guy: Last year, long snapper Joe Cardona got drafted. While he figured into our seven-round assessment, we did not think he would go as high as the fifth. Hard to think that any other NFL coach has the same fondness for Annapolis as Belichick. It is his hometown, after all.

Possible Pick: Hoo, boy. Whom to pick, whom to pick? Our choice comes between QB Keenan Reynolds, who set all kinds of rushing records for QBs, and FB Chris Swain, who would follow the New England tradition of Navy fullbacks in Foxboro (Kyle Eckel and Eric Kettani). Based on Belichick visiting Annapolis to see Reynolds, we’ll go with the QB. Belichick loves the Naval Academy, and he loves football history, and few Midshipman have made quite as much history as Reynolds. His 88 career rushing touchdowns are the most ever in Division I. He’s also the first player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to score at least 23 touchdowns in three different seasons. He rushed for 4,559 yards in his career, the most in FBS history by a QB. He’s not big (5-9, 190), but his ability to run the ball in open space – along with his experience under center –  is something Coach Belichick might want to work with in camp.

Any “Guys” we’ve overlooked or any names you think belong in each category, please let us know in the comments section below.

Chris Warner tweets with the fury of the winds @cwarn89  

Celtics Abysmal In First, Now Down 0-2

BRAD STEVENS CAN’T COACH IN THE PLAYOFFS, MIKE!

The Celtics got off to another slow start last night, managing only 7 points in the first quarter, trailing at one point 24-3. They never recovered, really.

The slow starts have been a bothersome trend as of late for the Celtics, and if they want to finally get that elusive first career playoff win for coach Brad Stevens, they’ll need to figure something out before Friday night.

In a sense, I’m glad sports radio doesn’t pay much attention to the Celtics. In that sense, it’s still untainted and pure from an enjoyment standpoint. There aren’t as many radio trolls pretending to be NBA experts – but I’m sure that can change.

The radio station web site writers are getting impatient:

You can hardly blame Brad Stevens for his team’s horrid shooting in Game 2, but the wunderkind coach now owns an 0-6 playoff record. At what point does that raise eyebrows?


Curt Schilling finds himself fending off another controversy, this time over material he shared on his Facebook page. He went on Dennis and Callahan/Minihane this morning to talk about it, and has responded on WordPress.com and other mediums. It’s just the latest incident for Schilling, who continues to burn through the mass amounts of goodwill he earned in helping the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series Championship. He seems to not care about his employment by ESPN, even though he needs the job.


Speaking of ESPN:

 


The Red Sox dropped another one last night, getting shut out by the Tampa Rays 3-0. Boston managed just a single hit in the game, and starter Joe Kelly left the game in the first inning with an injury, and Steve Buckley demands answers.

With Kelly going to the DL, Alex Speier notes that the rotation will now be even more of a gamble.