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, 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. (’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


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 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.


Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part II

Every year, over 300 college football players head to Indianapolis to demonstrate their prowess at the NFL Combine. Every year, hundreds more players get overlooked.

We’re here to give props to those athletes who excelled at their pro days, proving that they probably should have received Combine invitations. You can review Part I from mid-March here. For a refresher on the various pro day events, the NFL’s Combine page offers a succinct description of each.

As always, thanks to’s Gil Brandt and his incomparable pro day results list. Now, on with the show.


Double Darius: Eastern Michigan running back Darius Jackson ran two 40-yard dashes, in 4.38 and 4.35 seconds. That latter time would have tied for fifth overall, second for combine RBs, which is better than expected for a 6-1, 220-pounder. Complement that mark with great power (41-inch vertical, second for RBs; 11-foot-1 broad jump, also second) and quickness (6.82-second 3-cone, a woulda-been top time for combine backs). Jackson rushed for 1,089 yards in 2015, and set EMU’s record for touchdowns in a single season with 16.

Pretty Smitty: Iowa receiver Tevaun Smith had a great pro day, running a 4.38 40 that would have come in second for combine pass-catchers, top eight overall. The 6-0, 205-pound receiver jumped 38 inches vertically (fifth for WRs) and ran the 3-cone drill in 6.72 seconds (fourth for WRs). Smith caught 32 passes for 563 yards (17.6 ypr) and three TDs last season for the Hawkeyes.

I Want To Love You, BYT (Brigham Young Thing): One of the tallest receivers in the draft, Mitch Mathews of BYU (6-6, 222) ran a 4.47-second 40, which would have tied him for seventh-best among (more diminutive) receivers at the combine. He also had a 10-foot-9 broad jump (tied for fourth receiver) and a 36-inch vertical (tied for ninth). His 4.25 20-yard dash and 6.99-second 3-cone times didn’t set combine records, but they look strong given Mathews’ size. The big man led the Cougars with 54 catches for 737 yards (13.6 avg) and 11 touchdowns, none more memorable than this 42-yard Hail Mary to beat Nebraska.

Fun Fact: Mathews served his Mormon mission in Orlando, Florida. Sweet gig.

Save Ferris: Wide receiver Jake Lampman of Ferris State (5-11, 200) ran a 4.47-second 40, which would have put him in the top seven for combine receivers. He also had a 39-inch vertical (top four for WRs) and a 6.76-second 3-cone (tied for fifth WR). His 27 bench press reps is the best mark for a combine receiver since 2009. (It also helps him bury defensive backs, as you can see on his highlight reel.) As a senior, Lampman caught 43 passes for 717 yards (16.7 avg.) and seven touchdowns.

Bell, Biv, Devonte: What? Let’s try that over…

Delicious, Delightful, Devonte: Meh. A little better. But not as good as the numbers that wide receiver Devonte Robinson put up at Utah State’s pro day. The 6-1, 199-pound pass-catcher ran a 4.31-second 40, which would have tied him for the best time at this year’s combine. He also had a 38-inch vertical (tied for fifth-best WR) and 10-foot-8 broad jump (tied for seventh-best WR). In 2015, Robinson caught 20 passes for 326 yards (16.3 avg) and two touchdowns.

M-I-C… See You On Draft Weekend: Mighty mite receiver Jaydon Mickens out of Washington caught our eye at the East-West Shrine game, then caught many more eyes at his pro day. The 5-10, 174-pounder had a decent time in the 40 (4.51), but set himself apart in quickness drills with a rabbity 3.87-second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.58-second 3-cone. His shuttle would have come in second overall at the combine (top receiver), while his 3-cone would have tied for second overall (second receiver). In 2015, Mickens led the Huskies with 58 catches for 692 yards and two touchdowns. He also added seven rushing attempts for 44 yards and one TD.

Give Some Lee Way: This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned Jay Lee, as the Baylor receiver stuck out at the Senior Bowl. The 6-2, 215-pound wideout continued this trend at his pro day with a 6.75-second 3-cone drill, which would have been top four for combine receivers, top nine overall. His 4.53 40 won’t move him up draft boards, but his size and quickness should provide a boost to his stock. At Baylor, Lee caught 38 passes for 758 yards (a team-leading 19.9 avg) and eight touchdowns.

I Know A Little German, But This Is A Different Guy: German Moritz Boehringer forced a bevy of scouts to their Berlitz books, as the Titanic Teuton had one of the best pro days of any receiver in this draft, making top five for combine pass-catchers in all events. Measuring 6-4, 227 pounds, Boehringer ran a 4.43 40 (tied, top four wide receiver), leapt 39 inches in the vertical (top four WR) and 10-foot-11 in the broad (tied, top two WR; top seven overall), hustled through a 4.10 20-yard shuttle (top four WR) and topped it off with a 6.65 3-cone (tied, top three WR; top five overall).

As one might expect, Boehringer put up awesome numbers in the German Football League last season, catching 59 passes for 1,232 yards and 13 TDs for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns. (The most disappointing aspect of Schwäbisch Hall Football t-shirts? No freaking unicorns.)

Field General Washington: Angelo State quarterback Kyle Washington (6-6, 220), ran two 40s that averaged out to 4.67 seconds. He had a 38.5-inch vertical, 10-7 broad jump, 4.36 short shuttle, and a 6.97-second 3-cone. He would have been, as you might imagine, at or near the top for Combine quarterbacks in almost all events. Last season, he did some serious damage for the Rams, completing 265 of 443 passes (60 percent) for 3,691 yards, 27 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Again: this is in 2015 alone, in a mere 11 games played (335 yards passing per game). Washington also led the team in rushing, averaging 6.8 yards per carry on his way to 831 yards and 15 TDs. And, sure enough, he caught one pass for a score, adding up to a total of 43 TDs, passing, rushing, and receiving on the year.


It’s Dawn, Zimmer: Considering his size (6-3, 302), Ferris State defensive tackle Justin Zimmer ran an eye-opening 4.85-second 40 at his pro day – a comparable time to many fullbacks. His 7.01 3-cone would have tied with the fourth defensive lineman at the combine (the top 13 D-line times came from lighter D-ends). Last but most, his 44 bench reps would have been the overall best mark this year at the combine by 10. Zimmer terrorized the Greater Lakes Conference (GLIAC) with 81 total tackles, including 26 for loss (13 sacks). He also forced four fumbles, broke up five passes, and blocked one kick. If you want to see a D-lineman go after QBs like a doberman set loose in a meat locker, click here.

The Captain And Shaneil: Defensive end Shaneil Jenkins out of Division II Shepherd in West Virginia ran a 4.78-second 40, remarkable given his 6-3, 281-pound frame. He had a 7.25-second 3-cone, which would have come in 11th for all defensive linemen at the combine, and a 4.5-second 20-yard shuttle. Jenkins made First Team All-Mountain East Conference as MEC Defensive Player of the Year with 41 tackles (including 23 for loss with 13.5 sacks), three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, three pass breakups, and a blocked kick.

Maine Attraction: Oh, yay, how super original! Wait a sec…

The Bear Necessities: Remember when a store by that name resided in Faneuil Hall? They sold teddy bears? No? Anyway…

Fresh Bates: I hate myself. Trevor Bates, Maine defensive end, ran a decent 4.78-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, which would have scored in the top eight for combine defensive linemen (though, to be fair, at 6-1, 245 pounds, Bates is looking at a conversion to linebacker). His most impressive mark was a 6.75-second 3-cone drill, which would have come in second for all linebackers at the combine. The former Black Bear had 57 tackles in 2015, including 14.5 for loss (7.5 sacks). He also had two pass break-ups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Wiiiilllllllssso-o-o-o-on! Fresno State will certainly lament the moving on of linebacker Kyrie Wilson. Running light at 6-2, 228 pounds, Wilson ran a 4.57 40 that would have been third-best at the combine for linebackers, sixth-best for safeties. His 40.5-inch vertical would have come in seventh overall, while his 6.99-second 3-cone time would have tied for third-best linebacker and come in fourth for safeties. As a middle linebacker last fall, Wilson made 74 tackles (three for loss) and forced two fumbles.

Better Get Ute To It: Like many other snubs, Utah’s Jason Whittingham (6-2, 238) would have been right in the combine linebacker mix, starting with a 4.66 40 that would have come in seventh for the position. His 35.5-inch vertical (tied, fifth), 6.9-second 3-cone (second), 28 bench press reps (second) and 4.1-second 20-yard shuttle (second) all would have made top five for linebackers at Indy. In 2015, Whittingham had 26 tackles (six for loss), including 1.5 sacks.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight: At least he should after this workout. Penn State cornerback Trevor Williams (5-10, 191) ran a 4.41 40, tied for seventh-fastest corner at the combine. His 10-5 broad jump would have tied the sixth-best corner, while his 6.84 3-cone would have come in fifth for the position. For the Nittany Lions, Williams earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention from conference coaches with 31 tackles (three for loss), three pass break-ups, and one interception. He’s probably on the Patriots’ radar after a big game in 2014 where he had two interceptions at Rutgers. Because, you know, Bill Belichick has a 24-hour loop of Rutgers game film running on his home screens.

UNIque Name, UNIque Player: Cornerback Makinton Dorleant from Northern Iowa (UNI) – all 5-11, 177 pounds of him – ran a 4.35 40 that would have tied for second-best corner at the combine, fifth overall. He leapt a 39-inch vertical (tied for fourth cornerback), a 7.03-second 3-cone (tied for 12th CB), and 16 bench press reps (tied for 11th CB). A Maryland transfer, Dorleant had 47 tackles last fall, including four for loss. He also had three forced fumbles, one interception, and 17 pass break-ups (that’s right: a full Hondo). On top of that, he returned kicks and punts, averaging 23.9 and 14.2 yards, respectively.

Enchanté Devonte: I should have used that for the first Devonte. Anyway, at Weber State’s pro day, cornerback Devonte Johnson (5-11, 180) had a 41-inch vertical leap (tied, second combine cornerback; third-best overall) and an 11-foot broad jump (tied, second CB; fourth overall), along with a 6.96-second 3-cone (11th-best CB). He also put up 15 reps on the bench, notable given his willowy frame. For the Wildcats, Johnson had 40 tackles last year, including one sack. He also broke up 11 passes.

Stay Gold, Pony Boy: SMU safety Shakiel Randolph – a spring-coiled 6-4, 213 pounds – had a 42-inch vertical at his pro day that would have come in first overall at the combine. In comparison to combine invitees, Randolph’s 4.59 40 (seventh for safeties), 10-foot-10 broad jump (second), 7.13 3-cone (ninth), and 16 bench press reps (tied, seventh) all would have made top ten for the position. Last year, Randolph had 39 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.

Running On MT: Safety Kevin Byard of Middle Tennesse State (5-11, 216) ran a 4.51-second 40 that would have made top four for combine safeties. His 10-foot broad jump (top ten safeties), 38-inch vertical (tied, second), 4.20 20-yard shuttle (fifth), and 6.73-second 3-cone (second) all would have made top ten for the position. For the Blue Raiders, Byard compiled 66 tackles and four interceptions, making First Team All-Conference USA in 2015.

COMBINE BESTS (With Pro-Day Comparables)


4.31 seconds – Keith Marshall, Georgia RB

4.31 seconds – Devonte Robinson, Utah State WR

4.35 seconds – Darius Jackson, Eastern Michigan RB

4.35 seconds – Makinton Dorleant, Northern Iowa CB

BENCH PRESS (225 pounds)

44 reps – Justin Zimmer, Ferris State DL

43 reps – Vi Teofilo, Arizona State OL

34 reps – Christian Westerman, Arizona State OL


42 inches – Shakiel Randolph, Southern Methodist FS

41.5 inches – Daniel Lasco, California RB 

41 inches – Darius Jackson, Eastern Michigan RB 


11 feet, 3 inches – Daniel Lasco, California RB

11 feet, 1 inch – Darius Jackson, Eastern Michigan RB


6.49 seconds – Devon Cajuste, Stanford WR

6.58 seconds – Jaydon Mickens, Washington WR

6.6 seconds – Morgan Burns, Kansas State CB 


3.85 seconds – Justin Simmons, Boston College FS

3.87 seconds – Jaydon Mickens, Washington WR

4.06 seconds – Jhurrell Presley, New Mexico RB

Any combine snubs with noteworthy performances that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments section below.

Chris Warner tweets to stave off the fear of anonymity: @cwarn89 

Red Sox Still With A Lot To Prove

Welcome to another Marathon Monday!

As of this morning, the Red Sox sit at 6-5 and in second place in the AL East. Not a horrible start, but the team still has a lot to prove to a media corps eager to pounce.

Manager John Farrell finds himself in the hot seat after a number questionable decisions early in the season.

I appreciated the thoughtful approach that Evan Drellich took to yesterday’s situation, still placing the blame squarely on Farrell, yet showing there are a lot of behind-the-scenes things that go into making those decisions.

There is also the continued saga of Pablo Sandoval, and what the team’s options with him are at this point.

Nick Cafardo had a very nice tribute to “The Maniacal One” Chuck Waseleski who passed away last Thursday. In typical Nick fashion though, he’s got to take some shots at modern statistical analysis in the process, simply because he can’t understand them.

The Celtics get back to action tomorrow night in their first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. They are likely without Avery Bradley for the rest of the series.

Steve Bulpett says that it is time for Marcus Smart to make a leap. Adam Himmelsbach suggests that the Celtics might go big in Bradley’s absence.

All first round games are on Comcast SportsNet:


The release of Dominique Easley last week certainly reflected what a poor selection he ended up being. I do appreciate that once the Patriots determine a guy is not a fit, he’s gone. Yes, they made a terrible decision in drafting him in the first place, but they don’t compound the decision by keeping a terrible draft pick on their roster. Many teams would just keep a guy because he was a first round pick.

He was also the 29th pick overall, not the sixth, like this guy. He was kept around three years, despite doing nothing at all.

Chris Warner will have a few draft pieces coming up in the next 10 days leading into the NFL Draft.

56 Lies The NFL Told During Deflategate: 26-30 More Wells Reports Lies

The following is the third in a serialization of my article 56 lies the NFL told during Deflategate. (Published on Medium.) 

Additional lies and mistruths within the Wells Report:

(26) Wells’ decision to hire Exponent to do the analysis of the case was perhaps the most most dishonest part of the Wells Report. The firm has a well-known reputation for delivering conclusions that their clients are paying for. The New York Times:

a lengthy scientific report prepared by Exponent, a consulting firm with dubious bona fides, having disputed the dangers of secondhand smoke and asbestos. Exponent was a hired gun, and its conclusions backed Wells’s narrative.

(27) The “disappearance” of both the Pats’ and Colts’ gauges, which could have shown for certain which gauge Anderson used pre-game.

The investigators could not locate either team’s gauge Wells informs us in passing. Very odd, that both teams’ gauges would disappear when either would tend to confirm or rebut the Ref’s memory. How hard did the NFL’s investigators search? We don’t know. The Wells report doesn’t tell us. — Blecker, page 10.

(28) The Wells Report didn’t redact enough of Tom Brady’s phone number, allowing people to guess it and forcing him to change his number.

(29) The lack of any investigation into the league actions by Wells, when he previously said he would.

(30) Wells’ use of the single text that had the word “deflator” in it.

Wells Report Page Two

This well-placed item in the table of contents of the Wells Report immediately leads a casual reader to assume that McNally used this term immediately prior to the AFCCG. In reality, the text occurred in May, 2014.

The term appears 16 times in the Wells Report.

Deflategate Lies 11-25 – Wells Report In Context List

The following is the third in a serialization of my article 56 lies the NFL told during Deflategate. (Published on Medium.) 

The article has been read 21,000 times on Medium thus far. Thanks!

Wells Report

For Lies 11–25 we refer you to The Background and Myths of “Deflategate” — Separating Fact from Fiction which lays out 15 mistruths contained within the Wells Report. They are:

(11) The NFL’s lawyers told Exponent to assume it took up to 9 minutes of halftime to complete the initial gauging of 11 Patriots’ footballs.

(12) The Colts’ footballs were gauged immediately after the Patriots’ footballs were gauged, and before the Patriots’ footballs were re-inflated and re-gauged.

(13) The Patriots’ footballs were not sufficiently wet to affect their PSI.

(14) The two gauges used at halftime were the Logo and Non-Logo gauges brought to the Game by Referee Walt Anderson.

(15) Referee Anderson used the Non-Logo gauge pre-game.

(16) The PSI measurements pre-game and at halftime were scientifically reliable enough to base definitive conclusions on them.

(17) The Jastremski/McNally texts are evidence of an ongoing, longstanding scheme to deflate footballs below regulation after the Referee’s pre-game inspection.

(18) The Jastremski/McNally texts did not contradict the existence of any deflation scheme.

(19) McNally secretly left the Official’s Locker Room and sneaked into a nearby bathroom.

(20) Tom Brady, despite never having so-stated, and despite all the contrary evidence, wanted to use footballs that were below regulation.

(21) Tom Brady’s statement that he did not think that anyone would tamper with the PSI of the footballs without his knowledge somehow proves that there was tampering and that he knew of it.

(22) Increased communications between Mr. Brady and Mr. Jastremski after the AFC Championship Game is proof that there was tampering and that Brady knew about it.

(23) Autographing a handful of items upon request, or including Mr. Jastremski on a list of over a dozen team staff members for holiday gifts, is evidence of Tom Brady’s guilt.

(24) Tom Brady’s decision not to retain his phone reflects his guilt.

(25) There was no action by any League officials that reflected any predisposition against the Patriots or warranted any criticism.

Please see the linked document above for the full stories on each of these lies.