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.

Red Sox Opening Day

While the snow still flies, the Red Sox will begin the 2016 regular season this afternoon with new ace David Price taking the mound in Cleveland. (4:10 PM, NESN, WEEI)

There will also be new faces and voices on the team’s television and radio networks.

Dave O’Brien moves over to NESN, replacing Don Orsillo. A few recent articles on O’Brien coming from Red Sox radio to TV:

NESN’s Dave O’Brien eager to start dream job – Britton, ProJo.

Change sounded good to NESN’s newest Red Sox broadcaster – Finn, Globe.

Boston Red Sox Schedule Standings Stats Video Odds Fantasy Tickets Dave O’Brien Previews New Role, 2016 Red Sox Season With Gordon Edes – NESN.

Tim Neverett, another NH native, was hired by WEEI to replace O’Brien:

New Red Sox radio voice Tim Neverett knows Boston well – Finn, Globe.

Nashua’s Tim Neverett New Red Sox Play-by-Play Host – Claffey, Patch.

Neverett enjoys 1st spring with Sox – King, Telegraph.

It also appears that the Red Sox and WEEI are nearing an agreement to keep the rights right where they are for a few more years:

Red Sox set to extend radio deal with WEEI – Herald

 

Deflategate Lies: 6-10 – Jeff Pash’s Letter, Kelly Naqi’s Report

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

Thanks to Tom E Curran and CSSNE for the bump:

Numbers six and seven were still within the two week period after the AFCCG and the Super Bowl:

(6) When the independence of Wells was questioned by Rachel Nichols at a Super Bowl Press Conference, Goodell instead insisted on the “uncompromising integrity” of his hires and then belittled Nichols. As we saw later, the integrity of Wells’ investigation was compromised right from the start and on numerous occasions thereafter.

(7) At the same press conference, Goodell was asked if Belichick would be held to the same standards as Sean Payton, and whether Goodell is held to the same standard as players and coaches who have to meet with the media everyday. Goodell lied “I’m available to the media almost every day of my job, professionally.

These two, while perhaps not strictly lies about deflategate show the dishonesty of the Commissioner while meeting with the press about this issue. 

Post Super Bowl Time Period Leading Up To Release of Wells Report

(8) Jeff Pash’s letter to the Patriots declining to correct the erroneous PSI info from Mortensen, saying it would only serve to confuse the issue.

The league allowed the combustible lie about to stand and be considered by the public to the true. Other times in which the media has reported negative things about the league, the NFL has responded quickly, the recent New York Times concussion story being a glaring example.

(9) The anonymous leak to Kelly Naqi of the bogus Kicking-Ball story, in which the Patriots were being accused of also trying to switch out a kicking ball in the middle of the game, was blown up when Adam Schefter called into the live Outside The Lines show on ESPN to shoot the story down, and add in the nugget that it was an NFL employee who had been stealing game footballs who was actually responsible. The Patriots were actually the ones who reported the incident to the NFL.

The above story, while claiming to be a corrected version, is still highly prejudicial against the Patriots and does not actually give the full details which Schefter provided. While not directly related to deflategate, it nonetheless continued the push for the public towards the guilt of the Patriots.

(10) Related, the story of (now fired) NFL employee Scott Miller stealing footballs that were supposed to auctioned off for charity was quickly buried.This is one of the few verified instances of wrongdoing in this entire case and very few details are available. This should actually be a much bigger story than deflategate, but you didn’t hear anything about this after February of 2015.

Burying this story, allows the allegations in #9 above to stand and for the perception that there were more Patriots shenanigans going on.

More coming next week…

Series: 56 Lies The NFL Told During Deflategate

A major source of frustration for me has been the national media’s refusal criticize the NFL for their handling of deflategate and burying their head in the sand over the corruption of the owners, and the criminal thievery of the Patriots first round pick next month. Because it is the Patriots, no one cares if they get screwed over.

The New York Times bit this week on concussions, and the NFL’s instant reaction to it has just pointed out once again how evil and corrupt they are. The very same lawyers going after Tom Brady are demanding a retraction on the Times story because:

You really cannot make this stuff up.

For the last few weeks I’ve been compiling up as many of the times that the NFL either outright lied, was shady or inconsistent during the deflategate piece. I’ve published the entire piece on Medium, but because it is nearly 4000 words, I’m going to break it up into chunks to post here, and will perhaps have additional content here as well.

Introduction, Plus Lies 1-5:

tldr: This is a rundown of the NFL’s lies and dishonesty during the deflategate scandal. The general public is not aware of many of these acts due to the complicity of the national media as a whole.

recent poll on the Deflategate debacle showed that just 16.3% of people believe Tom Brady and the Patriots, while 40.3% believe the NFL and its version of events.

Let that sink in.

Tom Brady has gone under oath and given sworn testimony as to his version of events.

From the very start of this saga, the National Football League, which embarrassingly attaches the word “integrity” to everything they do, have put out unabashed lie after lie during this case. The activity of the league, its Commissioner Roger Goodell, its officers and officials has been downright criminal.

The national media has been complicit in this sham, with broadcast partners ESPN, NFL Network, CBS, NBC and FOX all refusing to go after the league for the dishonesty with which it has conducted itself. Newspapers, with few individual exceptions, afraid of recrimination such as losing access to the most popular sport in America, also shy away from coming after the league.

This is a rundown of the documented instances in which the NFL either lied, made misleading statements or conflicted its own statements during the deflategate case.

The Two Weeks Following The Game

(1) The leak to Chris Mortensen, (and Peter King and Gerry Austin) saying:

NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2lbs each, per league source.

This put the court of public opinion firmly against the Patriots. They never really recovered. To this day, Mortensen’s story remains online, only slight edited.

(2) Letter by NFL Official Dave Gardi to Patriots stating that none of the Patriots footballs were up to league required PSI levels, while ALL of the Colts footballs were. He also stated:

In fact, one of the game balls was inflated to 10.1 psi, far below the requirement of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 psi.

This put the Patriots on the defensive. Now they had this official notice from the league, and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were forced to try and explain something that hadn’t actually happened. Any hesitation on their part was viewed as evidence of guilt.

(3) Second leak to Mortensen that ALL of the Colts footballs measured up to specifications. On January 22nd, when asked on Twitter whether the Colts’ footballs had been measured, Mortensen answered: Yes, they were within regulation and remained within regulation.

This further cemented the idea that the Patriots had tampered with the footballs, since the Colts’ footballs didn’t change at all.

(4) Roger Goodell appoints NFL VP Jeff Pash and “Independent” investigator Ted Wells to the case. Later, Pash’s role is downplayed by the league, and Wells’ Independent status played up, yet neither was accurate. Wells, who had previously represented the NFL in court and had previously let an investigation in the Miami Dolphins, was hardly independent. The NFL refused to allow NFLPA lawyers to interview Pash, saying his role was minor, while also admitting he had “edited” the final Wells Report.

Gave the public a sense of legitimacy to the investigation by pledging they would be independent and objective. Even if they had no intention of being that.

(5) Dean Blandino is the NFL’s Head of Officiating. When asked prior to the Patriots/Seahawks Super Bowl about whether the NFL tried to run a “sting” against the Patriots, Blandino said:

The issue came up during the first half, as far as I know. There was an issue that was brought up during the first half, a football came into question, and then the decision was made to test them at halftime.

The Wells Report, page 45 states that the day before the game;

Kensil also forwarded Grigson’s email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron, both senior members of the NFL Officiating Department, with the message “see below.” Both Riveron and Blandino decided that they would raise the issue with Walt Anderson, who had been assigned as the referee for the game.

This allowed the league to front the appearance that this was not some planned action on their part, but rather the Patriots being caught “red-handed” in the act of cheating.

More to come…

Robert Kraft’s Support For Goodell Continues To Anger

Yesterday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke at the NFL Owners meetings and revealed that he had sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting to have the Patriots draft picks restored.

That’s all well and good. A little passive for the masses, but at least it was something.

Then he had to say Putting personal situations aside, I think he’s done a very good job. He’s worked hard. The health of the league has not been better.

Ugh.

Kraft was highly criticized here in New England yesterday for that statement. Rightly so.

The Kansas City Chiefs are appealing their team punishment for tampering. Robert Kraft never appealed his team’s punishment. It’s a black mark on his otherwise outstanding ownership tenure of the New England Patriots. When his team needed him to take a stand and flex the muscles he’s supposedly earned as an influential owner, he decided to shrink back and not fight his “business partners” – who ironically, are all using this incident as an opportunity to stick it to his franchise for the success its had at their expense.

As a Patriots fan it is enraging.

I do hope the letter eventually finds its way to the Wells Report in Context site, so all can see the argument put forth to Goodell.

I’ve been working on a long-form piece on this whole case, which, along with work has really taken me away from here. I hope to have it done before the Federal Court reinstates the four game suspension on Tom Brady, but no promises.

In media news:

Evan Drellich joins Boston Herald to cover Red Sox – Coming back from Houston, where he had been covering the Astros, Drellich returns to the Red Sox beat. He had been at MassLive.com prior to going to Houston. Drellich replaces Scott Lauber, who moved to ESPN Boston to replace Gordon Edes who took a job with the Red Sox.

Tough day for microphones and recorders at Bill Belichick’s table – Aw, that’s too bad.

2016 Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part I

Every year, hundreds of NFL draft hopefuls get invited to the league’s combine for testing and interviews. Every year, hundreds more are forced to show what they can do at their college pro days.

Every year, we keep track of the best pro day performances and compare them to what the combine invitees had to offer. (Here’s a link to last year’s Combine Snubs, Part II.) You can compare the numbers at the bottom of this column.

Thanks as always to scout Gil Brandt and his indispensable pro day page on NFL.com. Now, organized by position (somewhat), here are some pro day workouts of note for 2016.

OFFENSE

Time To Say Good Vi: If New England wants to add strength in the middle of their offensive line, they could take a look at Arizona State guard Vi Teofilo. The 6-3, 320-pounder put up 43 bench reps at ASU’s pro day, which would have been the top number at the combine this year by a wide margin. Coincidentally, the combine best of 34 was submitted by Teofilo’s line mate Christian Westerman. An All Pac-12 Honorable Mention his senior year, Teofilo started 40 straight games at right guard.

Trojan Man: Solid pro day for Troy running back Brandon Burks. Despite a pedestrian 4.56 40, the 5-9, 208-pounder ran a 6.88-second 3-cone that would have been the third-best time for combine running backs. Burk’s 4.18-second 20-yard shuttle would have been the second-fastest time for the position. His 24 bench press reps would have tied for fifth, though pound-for-pound he’d have been the strongest back. Burks led Troy with 1,005 yards rushing (5.0 avg) and seven touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 304 yards (10.5 avg) and two TDs.

And Miles To Go Before He Sleeps: For such a small guy, Northwestern receiver Miles Shuler made a big impression. Measuring just under 5-foot-10 and 173 pounds (smaller than some O-linemen’s buffet dinners), Shuler ran a 4.4-second 40 that would have placed in the top five for combine receivers; plus, his 4.1-second 20-yard dash would have made top four, and his 6.78-second 3-cone would have been in the top seven for pass-catchers. Shuler only caught 13 passes last year and ran the ball twice (for 30 yards). His main contributions came in the return game, where he averaged 23.3 yards per kick return and 10 yards per punt return.

Fun Fact: Shuler transferred to Northwestern after playing at Rutgers for two seasons. Scarlet Knight Alert!

Will The Wolf Survive? Time to check out a member of Los Lobos, i.e., New Mexico running back Jhurell Pressley (5-10, 206). Pressley’s best 40 time came in 4.38 seconds, which would have made top two for combine running backs, top eight overall. Pressley also managed a 4.06-second 20-yard shuttle that would have led all backs at the combine. His 6.92 3-cone would have come in third among RBs, while his 25 bench reps would have tied for fourth. In 2015, Pressley averaged 6.2 yards per carry on his way to 907 on the season, scoring 11 touchdowns. His junior year, he gained 1,083 yards and averaged 9.5 per carry.

Dom Cougar Mellow Camp: Because he could make Tom Brady calmer this spring, maybe? Dominique “Dom” Williams (6-3, 198), Washington State receiver, ran a 4.39-second 40 at his pro day, which would have tied for second-best among combine receivers. His 40.5-inch vertical would have tied for third among pass-catchers. The lanky Cougar earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2015, totaling 75 catches for 1,040 yards (13.9 avg.) and 11 TDs.

Berger Shakes And Flies: Looks like receiver Justin Berger out of Wyoming used his pro day to his advantage, ranking in the top ten for combine wide receivers in almost all of his events. Berger had a 4.45-second 40 (top five overall) and a 6.87-second 3-cone drill (top 10). The 6-1, 204-pounder put up 20 reps in the bench press, which would have tied him with the strongest wide receivers in Indianapolis. This Cowboy looks like he needs to rustle up some experience: he had only two receptions last year and totaled just seven catches in his Wyoming career.

Feeling Fuller: Wide receiver Devin Fuller (6-0, 194) wowed scouts at UCLA with a 4.39-second 40 that would have tied for top eight overall at the combine, top two for receivers. His 10-foot-4 broad jump would have been twelfth among combine receivers, while his 36-inch vertical would have come in ninth. His 7.1-second 3-cone didn’t showcase amazing quickness, yet Fuller made his biggest impact on Bruins special teams, averaging 11.8 yards per punt return and 24.2 per kickoff return. He also caught 24 passes for 259 yards (10.8 avg.) and three touchdowns.

The Family Jules? Could Ferris State’s Jason Vander Laan become another former QB to work his magic for the Patriots, a lá Julian Edelman? Nick Caserio reportedly worked him out at Northwestern’s pro day. According to Peter J. Wallner of Michigan Live (mlive.com), Vander Laan measured 6-4, 240 pounds and ran a 4.75-second 40, top seven for combine tight ends. Even better from a Pats perspective, his 6.73-second 3-cone would have bested all tight ends at the combine.

We’ve got to start a new paragraph here to talk about what Vander Laan did at Ferris State. He received the Harlan Hill Trophy (Division II Player of the Year) for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He holds the NCAA record for most career rushing yards by a QB in every division, and he’s the first quarterback in NCAA history with 1,000+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards in four consecutive seasons. Last year, Vander Laan threw for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 1,542 yards and 24 TDs.

A Scheu In? In what has been called a down year for tight ends, Vanderbilt’s Steven Scheu (6-5, 253) probably did himself some good at the Commodore’s pro day. His best 40 was in 4.70 seconds, which would have placed second for combine tight ends. His 23 bench presses would have also come in second (tie), while all of his other event numbers would have made top ten for his position. At Vandy, Scheu was the second-leading receiver with 26 catches for 231 yards and one touchdown, which probably tells you all you need to know about their passing attack. He was named the team’s top scholar athlete of the year.

A Tight End, B’Gosh: Wisconsin-Oshkosh tight end Joe Sommers worked out at Wisconsin’s pro day and did well for himself. The smaller, “move” end (6-3, 241) had a 4.64-second 40 that would have tied Jerrell Adams for best tight end at the combine. A 36-inch vertical (second for tight ends) and 6.91-second 3-cone (third) didn’t hurt him, either. Sommers had 25 catches last year for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Not exactly awe-inspiring, but a quick look at his highlight reel shows a hard-blocking prospect with notable field awareness.

DEFENSE

Pierce Pressure: Time to take a closer look at Michael Pierce out of Samford. The defensive tackle ran a 4.98-second 40, remarkable for a human wall safe (6-1, 329 pounds). He also notched a 9-foot-7 broad jump, a 27-inch vertical, and a solid 28 bench reps. Believe it or not, Pierce’s numbers actually compare to Vince Wilfork’s pro day from 2004 (he had chosen to skip the combine). Big Vince ran a 5.08 40, jumped 8-foot-5 in the broad jump, and leapt 26.5 inches. The big difference? Wilfork’s 36 bench reps. (And, of course, a celebrated 11 seasons in Foxboro.)

Pierce totaled 48 tackles last year, including nine for loss with 2.5 sacks. He also had four QB hits. Pierce transferred to Samford after two years at Tulane, where he was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. The Green Wave changed coaches Pierce’s sophomore year, which could partly explain his switch.

Good Times Never Felt So Good: Looks like we have another one of the Commodores, so let’s Sail On. Vanderbilt strong safety Andrew Williamson (6-1, 208) had himself a heck of a pro day, running a 4.48 40 that would have been the third fastest among combine safeties. Williamson’s 6.81 seconds would have been the second-best 3-cone time for the position. His 10-foot-4 broad jump would’ve tied for top five for safeties. Last season, Williamson had 41 total tackles (28 solo), with one sack, four pass breakups, and a forced fumble.

Have A Good Davie: Cornerback Daniel Davie out of Nebraska ran a 4.37-second 40 at his pro day, top three for combine corners, top six overall. A good-sized DB at 6-1, 190, Davie also completed the 3-cone drill in a quick 6.85 seconds, which would have tied for top five for corners at the combine. He also tied the fourth-best cornerbacks in both the vertical jump (39 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-7). Because of injuries his senior year, Davie played in only six games, totaling 18 tackles (17 solo) and five pass break-ups. As a junior, Davie started all 13 games. That led to 41 tackles (six for loss), two interceptions, and five pass break-ups. He played special teams his first two seasons.

Stand Up And Be Countess: Seeing as Bill Belichick himself made it to Auburn’s pro day, we have to assume he noticed cornerback Blake Countess (5-10, 184). After doing just fine in the 40 (4.48), the vertical jump (36.5 inches), and the broad jump (10-foot-1) with scores that would have made the top 15 for combine CBs, Countess submitted a woulda-been-top-five-for-corners 6.85-second 3-cone, along with 21 bench reps that would have been a combine-best among cornerbacks. The versatile DB actually wrapped up his career at Auburn as a safety this past season, with 71 tackles, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and a blocked kick. He started for three years (30 games) for Michigan at corner. In 2014, he racked up 24 tackles and three pass break-ups.

Third Degree Burns: We have to assume defensive back/returner Morgan Burns got a lot of questions at Kansas State’s pro day, especially after submitting a 4.38-second 40-yard dash that would have placed him fifth for combine CBs. The 5-10, 200-pounder also ran a 6.6-second 3-cone, which would have been top five at the combine overall. An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention at defensive back, Burns tallied 38 tackles, one interception, and 10 pass break-ups, along with a forced fumble and a blocked kick. Oh, hey, I guess we buried the lede: the All-American kick returner brought back four kickoffs for touchdowns in 2015, averaging 33.5 yards per return. He also recovered a blocked punt for a TD vs. Kansas.

So, special teams, you thinking? Because I’m thinking special teams.

Watch Burgess Merit It: Is he gonna eat lightning and crap thunder? James Burgess, Louisville linebacker, has the size of a strong safety at 5-11, 227 pounds, but his play at linebacker demonstrates his toughness. He measured up well against combine safeties, with a 4.61 40 that would have tied for seventh at the position, and a 7.06 3-cone that would have tied for sixth. His 21 bench press is second-best for safeties. The Atlantic Coast Conference Third Team linebacker had 92 tackles (9.5 for loss) and an interception last year, along with four pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries.

Duck, Duck, Loose: Oregon linebacker Joe Walker (6-2, 236) broke out at his pro day, coming up with numbers that would have stood up against combine linebackers. His 4.56-second 40 would have been third best for LBs, while his 6.81-second 3-cone would have come in second for the position. A 37.5-inch vertical (tied, third) and 10-4 broad jump (tied, fourth) both would have made top five for combine linebackers. Patrolling the middle, Walker led the Ducks in 2015 with 87 total tackles, including six for loss (two sacks). He also had an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Running Into A Brick Wallace: Kudos to linebacker Aaron Wallace out of UCLA for a notable pro day. His 10-foot-10 broad jump would have tied for eighth overall at the combine, second for linebackers. His 4.57-second 40 would have placed third among combine LBs, while his 36-inch vertical would have come in fourth and his 4.27-second 20-yard shuttle would have come in sixth for the position. What else, what else? Oh, yeah: 25 bench reps, good enough for third-place as an LB. For the Bruins, the 6-3, 240-pounder made All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention with 65 total tackles, including 12.5 for loss (seven sacks).

Give Me The Knight: Linebacker Quentin Gause out of Rutgers may not have gotten a combine invite, but the Patriots still have him on their radar as both a Rutgers Guy and a Special Teams Guy. Gause showed off his hard work prepping for his pro day. The 6-foot, 232 pound linebacker had 23 bench reps (third for combine linebackers), a 4.15-second 20-yard shuttle (third), a 7.00-second 3-cone (fourth) and a 36-inch vertical (fifth). An All-Big Ten Honorable Mention last year, Gause had 96 tackles (12 for loss, one sack), and two pass break-ups.

COMBINE BESTS (With Pro-Day Comparables)

40-YARD DASH

4.31 seconds – Keith Marshall, Georgia RB

4.37 seconds – Daniel Davie, Nebraska CB

BENCH PRESS (225 pounds)

43 reps – Vi Teofilo, Arizona State OL

34 reps – Christian Westerman, Arizona State OL

VERTICAL JUMP

41.5 inches – Daniel Lasco, California RB 

40.5 inches – Dominique Williams, Washington State WR

BROAD JUMP

11 feet, 3 inches – Daniel Lasco, California RB

3-CONE DRILL

6.49 seconds – Devon Cajuste, Stanford WR

6.6 seconds – Morgan Burns, Kansas State CB 

20-YARD SHUTTLE

3.85 seconds – Justin Simmons, Boston College FS

4.06 seconds – Jhurrell Presley, New Mexico RB

More snubs to come as pro day numbers come in.

Please let us know if we’ve missed any noteworthy pro day performances. Use the comment section below, or tweet Chris Warner @cwarn89

How Long Until Opening Day???

Just another Friday wondering when Brad Stevens is going to unleash Jordan Mickey on the NBA.

Have you made your choice yet?

Apparently, you’re only allowed to root for the Bruins OR the Celtics. You can’t do both. You have to adore the one and despise the other.

The voice of Boston sports has spoken. (He’s the bravest, too, just ask his boss.)

Is there is a bigger fraud than Dan Shaughnessy in the entire media world? Had Bill Belichick been having a relationship with a reporter twenty years his junior, would Shaughnessy have completely ignored the topic in his columns as he has with John Farrell?

Shaughnessy instead went with the compelling Bruins/Celtics column about nothing. A topic that found its way onto sports radio this week as well.

Why the relationship between John Farrell, reporter matters – The story may not matter to Shaughnessy, but Chad Finn explains why it is important to legitimate journalists.

What you don’t know about David Price – Peter Abraham has a good look today at the Red Sox new ace, and why he may actually live up to his contract.

Roenis Elias risked 20-30 years in prison defecting Cuba; Boston Red Sox pitcher brings ‘disciplined’ style to Fenway – Christopher Smith looks at the pitcher who risked everything to come to the United States.

Could Hogan Tire have a new Patriots spokesman?

Bruins won’t make a big deal out of being in first place – The Bruins are in first place. THE BRUINS ARE IN FIRST PLACE?

 

The Red Sox and Relationships With The Media

With the news on Friday about CSNNE’s Jessica Moran quitting her job with the network due to rumors about her relationship with Red Sox manager John Farrell, it is perhaps time to wonder what sort of policies are in place on Yawkey Way about this sort of thing.

Former GM Ben Cherington was previously married to Wendi Nix, who had worked at NESN, Fox Sports New England and WHDH during the time in which Cherington was coming up in the Red Sox organization. To be fair, they had met while both were in college, but the relationship continued while one was with the Red Sox and the other was in the media.

There were rumors about Hazel Mae during her time with NESN. She didn’t do much to discourage them, either, telling John Molori in 2005 “NESN has never put rules down to me about dating players, colleagues or anyone else. If they did, I wouldn’t work there.”

When Heidi Watney was with NESN, she faced rumors of relationships with Red Sox players Jason Varitek and Nick Green. Those were never confirmed, but it never stopped the likes of Michael Felger stating them as fact.

Her replacement at NESN, Jenny Dell began dating Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and the relationship continued beyond both of their days in Boston, and the two were married a few weeks ago, on Valentines day.

Now, there is (allegedly) Moran and Farrell.

What’s going on down there? I’d say baseball is different from other sports in that it is an everyday thing, and there is a lot of downtime. Players, management, they often spend all day and evening at the ballpark, as do the media. There is more opportunity for these types of relationships to develop, which doesn’t make them acceptable, but perhaps does explain why they seem to happen more.

It might be time however, for the Red Sox to put some sort of policy in place about these things.

See also: The bizarre history of rumored relationships between Red Sox and media members (Washington Post)

*******

The passing of Bud Collins last week was appropriately noted by many in the profession. While many of us grew up seeing Collins as the face of Tennis on NBC, especially around Wimbledon, Collins was much more than just a tennis writer/commentator. He arrived in Boston in the mid-1950’s, and according to Howard Bryant’s Shut Out, while writing for the Herald had been told to avoid talking about race and the Red Sox, even while they were the last remaining MLB team to integrate. Collins also was passionate about the Celtics, and became friends with Red Auerbach, playing tennis with the Celtics boss. He joined the Globe in 1962 and became a mentor to the younger writers coming on board, people like Bob Ryan and Peter Gammons.

*******

After Friday’s note about the move of the site, we’re on the other side now. (Warning: Techy stuff ahead) The site is now hosted at WordPress.com. What does this mean for you, and for the site? You’ll note there are no banner ads on the site, I think that is how things will be moving forward. The site hosting is also now pretty permanent, so even if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, the site will remain online as there are no bills to pay.🙂 The comments section is different, some have already noted the absence of Disqus comments, that feature unfortunately is not coming back. The previous edition of BSMW (as in, last week) was a self-hosted WordPress site using the software from WordPress.org. That version has the ability to use plugins, which is what Disqus is. This version of BSMW is on WordPress.com, which is a different entity and does not use plugins. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking things here and there, so don’t be surprised to see minor changes, but things should be pretty stable from here on out.

March comes in like a lion…

It’s March, and while there will be Madness later this month, for local sports shock talkers, it’s a slow time right now. They can only insult Hanley Ramirez in so many ways, they can only insinuate that Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens have blown the season and deserve more heat than the Bruins a limited number of times, and while there is still the glee over the Patriots playoff loss, most people have moved on.

This space has been quiet, yes. I’m still adjusting to a new job and with family responsibilities, the site has taken a backseat. At this point, I’m really only writing opinion pieces when something comes up which I think needs to be addressed. It may remain that way for a while. I don’t see it ever going back to the daily links format. The advent of Twitter has really made that sort of thing moot, in my opinion. If you follow the right people, you’re going to see the content you want to see.

Yesterday’s Tom Brady/NFL hearing would usually be right up that alley. However, once I saw Judge Chin had said The evidence of the ball tampering here is compelling if not overwhelming.” I knew which way this thing was going. It’s discouraging that a Federal Judge has the same view on this as an uneducated sports radio host in Denver would have. In addition the NFL lawyers told a bold-faced lie in front of the Judges yesterday, and it was not picked up or questioned. 

Might want to hold off on those trade plans for Jimmy G. right now.

One further note, the site will be down over the weekend for a period of time while I migrate to a new host. There will be a few small changes, but most things should look pretty much the same. If you’ve left comments on posts this week here, they may not make it over to the new site. That should be about the only thing that you might have to complain about.🙂

Thanks for sticking in there with me.

Patriots’ “That Guy” 2016 NFL Combine Edition

Welcome to the second part in our ongoing 2016 Patriots pre-draft series. In our first “That Guy” column of the year, we reviewed the Senior Bowl (as well as the East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Players’ Association Bowl) in search of candidates who fit New England’s draft profiles.

Now, after the NFL combine, we have some numbers to go by, which adds to our list of categories. For a comprehensive look at all of Bill Belichick’s draft choices since 2000, please see our Round-By-Round Review from earlier this year.

We don’t say this often, but good job, NFL. The league has put together a solid web page for combine news, including a review of what each workout entails.

Without further ado, we present the Patriots’ “That Guy” rundown, version 2.0.

The 3-Cone Guy: New England’s love of 3-cone prowess has been well-documented (we see you, Chris Price). Defensive back Darryl Roberts fit this pick last year after a 6.66-second 3-cone drill at Marshall’s pro day. Another seventh-rounder by the name of Julian Edelman ran a 6.62 in 2009. This year, Stanford receiver Devon Cajuste depicted his quicks, finishing the 3-cone in 6.49 seconds. Here’s a bigger surprise: Cajuste is 6-4, 234 pounds. While he slinked around the cones faster than an over-caffeinated ferret through a drain pipe, will Cajuste’s pedestrian 4.62 40 time give the Patriots pause? Is his 36-inch vertical combined with his height enough to make him a viable red-zone target? Interesting to see if New England would want to fit Cajuste into their offense, and how they’d do it.

Fun fact: neither Roberts nor Edelman was invited to the combine, which reminds us to ask you to watch out for our annual Combine Snubs series. Maybe New England’s seventh-round 3-cone contender is working out as you read this.

Quickly, one would assume.

The Freakishly Athletic Guy: In 2013, Southern Mississippi pass-rusher Jamie Collins blew away scouts at the combine with a 4.64 40-yard dash, a 41.5-inch vertical jump and a 11-foot, seven-inch broad jump. The Pats drafted the 6-3, 250-pounder and made him into one of the most dynamic defenders on the team.

Though we couldn’t find anyone at the 2016 combine with size and athleticism to match Collins (and we’ll bet few, if any, can do eight consecutive backflips), free safety Justin Simmons of Boston College impressed in most events. While BC’s 2015 offense provided about as much momentum as a cement block in a mud puddle, their defense did excellent work, and Simmons played a big part in that. At the combine, the 6-2, 202-pounder leapt 40 inches vertically and 10.5 feet broadly, and also submitted a 6.58-second 3-cone drill (second best to Cajuste). His 4.61-second 40 didn’t blow the doors off, but was good enough for top seven among safeties (for comparison, 2013 pick Logan Ryan ran a 4.56).

Last season, Simmons totaled 67 tackles, five interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He played most of his career at safety but did fill in at corner on occasion due to injuries.

The Small School Defender: The Patriots like to plumb the depths of the lower divisions in the later rounds, coming up with Zach Moore out of Concordia (2014) and Markell Carter from Central Arkansas (2011). This year, there’s a lot to like about defensive end Matt Judon out of Division II Grand Valley State. At 6-3, 275 pounds, Judon ran a 4.73-second 40, benched 225 pounds 30 times, and jumped up 35 inches, all top five for combine defensive linemen.

As one would expect, Judon rampaged through the Greater Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference like Grendel through a Danish village. Of his 81 total tackles, 23.5 went for a loss, including – seriously – 20 sacks. He added three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. For an entertaining look at Judon’s 2015 GLIAC Demolition Tour, see his highlights here.

Offensive Line Double-Dips: Picking up Tré Jackson and Shaq Mason last year bulked up the interior O-line. Maybe some focus on the exterior this spring, as both Sebastian Vollmer (over 30) and Nate Solder (torn bicep last October) have taken their share of lumps. Looks like Joe Haeg of North Dakota State is getting some attention as a New England tackle candidate. Though he played in a lower division, the Pats aren’t shy about picking FCS alums, especially from a program that has won a ridiculous five national championships in a row. Neither are the Patriots shy about legacies, and they’ll take a look at Brandon Shell of South Carolina, whom NESN’s Doug Kyed confirmed the Patriots talked to in Indianapolis. Shell is the nephew of former Raiders O-lineman/mauler Art Shell. Bet Bill Belichick has some stories.

At the combine, Haeg (6-6, 304) had a fast 40 (5.16 seconds) and quick feet for a lineman (7.47-second 3-cone). An All-American for the past two years, Haeg split his time between right and left tackle (ah, versatility remains a beautiful thing), starting 60 of 61 games while at NDSU. Shell, meanwhile, ran a respectable 5.22 seconds and delivered an impressive 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump – not bad for a 6-5, 324-pounder. Built with almost 35-inch arms that would give Laocoön nightmares, Shell started at right tackle through his junior year, switching to the left side as a senior. He also made the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2014. Which is probably pretty good, right?

Speaking of the SEC…

The Alabama Guy: The Belichick-Nick Saban connection has been well-established. Last year, linebacker Xzavier Dickson filled the ‘Bama quota. Of course, Dont’a Hightower got taken in the first round in 2012. D-lineman Brandon Deaderick made the team as a rookie in 2010.

Finding a Crimson Tide defender at the combine who isn’t going to get picked before the late second round is like finding a one-piece bathing suit in Sports Illustrated – it probably exists, but you’ve really got to care. Despite a positive showing at the Senior Bowl, defensive back Cyrus Jones could still be available on Day Three. Jones (5-10, 196) ran a decent combine 40 (4.49 seconds), but has value as someone familiar with the Patriots’ defense under Saban. In 2015, Jones notched 37 tackles (including four for loss), seven pass break-ups, and two interceptions. As a punt returner, Jones averaged 12.6 yards and scored four touchdowns last fall. That’s right: four. In fact, here’s one now.

The Rutgers Guy: A quick look at the defensive backfield shows Ryan, Devin McCourty, and Duron Harmon, all Rutgers alums. In free agency, the Pats added linebackers Jonathan Freeny and Kevin Snyder. Belichick just seems to have confidence in those guys, and they tend to live up to those expectations.

Of the two Scarlet Knights invited to the combine, outside linebacker Steve Longa fits here – and could also fit the “Special Teams Guy” category. (It helped that he participated in the events, as receiver Leonte Carroo played it safe with an ankle injury.) Longa (6-1, 241) had some decent numbers (4.78-second 40, 32-inch vertical) and some not-as-good ones (19 bench reps, 7.5-second 3-cone), but after putting up three 100-plus tackle seasons in a row by the banks of the Raritan, it’s easy to see why he declared early for the draft.

This past fall, Longa led the team with 117 tackles, including two sacks. He also broke up two passes and forced two fumbles on his way to 2015 Rutgers Defensive MVP and All-Big Ten Third Team honors (media vote).

The Ohio State Guy: While the influence  of current OSU (and former Florida) coach Urban Meyer has waned due to the inefficacy of most Pats picks from UF (“inefficacy” a super-nice term for “disastrous” and “soul-breaking”), the addition of defensive coordinator (and former Rutgers coach) Greg Schiano should rekindle interest in Meyer’s charges.

Seeing as Belichick collects safeties as if they were American Girl Dolls (and you’re welcome for that creepy image), free safety Tyvis Powell provides a lot to like. He has tremendous size (6-3, 211), solid strength (15 bench reps) and fluid speed (4.46 40). Powell had 71 tackles last year (third on the team), along with three interceptions, three pass break-ups, and a blocked kick. Of his eight career interceptions, two came in bowl games (one each vs. Alabama and Notre Dame).

The Injured Guy: New England often seems to take a chance on a player who missed time in college. It’s risky, but any policy that can land Rob Gronkowski seems worth it. Gronk had neck problems his junior year at Arizona, didn’t play the season, and skipped the combine. That pushed him to the second round.

This year’s combine-skipper extraordinaire looks like defensive lineman Adam Gotsis out of Georgia Tech. Gotsis banged up his knee vs. Virginia last October and missed the rest of the season, but managed 31 tackles in nine games, including five for loss. The 6-4, 287 stalwart remains a solid prospect to back up the D-line. An Australian native, Gotsis spent his youth playing Australian Rules football. He made the switch in high school and, in 2012, was selected to the IFAF World Team roster for the International Bowl in Austin, Texas. That team actually beat the USA, 35-29.

The Day Two Running Back: In 2011, New England selected Shane Vereen in Round Two and Stevan Ridley in Round Three. ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss has noted that it seems time for the Patriots to address the running back position in the draft; we don’t think there will be a double-dip in ball carriers in 2016, but we see his point.

New England doesn’t seem all that concerned about 40 times, especially for running backs. At the 2011 combine, Ridley ran a 4.73-second 40, stalactitic for a running back. On the other hand, his 6.78-second 3-cone was remarkable for a 225-pounder. This brings us to Daniel Lasco out of Cal, who had a notable East-West Shrine Game performance (62 yards on six carries). Lasco’s on the svelter side (6-0, 209), with decent speed (4.46 40) and an only okay 3-cone (7.22 seconds); however, he crushed a 41.5-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-3 broad jump. Those leaps tied him for first overall in each combine event, making him an intriguing prospect.

At Cal, Lasco fought some ankle issues in 2015 but did rush for 5.1 yards per carry (65 for 351) and three touchdowns. When healthy as a junior, he gained 1,115 yards rushing (5.3 avg), scored 12 touchdowns, and caught 33 passes for 356 yards and two TDs.

The Backup Tight End: Belichick has selected plenty of tight ends in the past 16 drafts. In 2015, A. J. Derby came along in the sixth round but ended up on injured reserve by August. After trading Michael Hoomanawanui and failing to get the most out of Scott Chandler last year, this position could get a wholesale makeover for anyone not named Gronk.

We liked Jerrell Adams (6-5, 247) out of South Carolina before the combine when he showed a strong desire to block and solid hands at the Senior Bowl. His workouts might help his status, as he ran a 4.64 40 (best for all combine tight ends) and a 7.05-second 3-cone, while submitting a 32.5-inch vertical (top seven for both events among TEs). Adams caught 28 passes last year in an offense that wasn’t exactly the rebirth of the Houston Oilers, so it would prove worth watching to see what he could do in Foxboro.

The Special Teams Guy: When the Patriots drafted Matthew Slater in the fifth round in 2008, most of us thought they were looking for another receiver. Nope. Slater has always been a special teamer first and foremost. Nate Ebner, who plays safety occasionally, got the call in 2012 in the sixth round. Despite getting some undrafted gems in Brandon Bolden (2012) and Brandon King (2015), New England consistently bolsters their special teams depth via the draft.

Hard to miss Travis Feeney out of Washington. A gangly Gus at 6-4, 230 pounds, Feeney bested all linebackers with a 40-inch vertical and got the second-fastest 40 time for the position at 4.50 seconds. His 7.22-second 3-cone was good enough for top 15 for LBs. Feeney, a team captain in 2015, was voted the Huskies’ Most Outstanding Defensive Player with eight sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He also forced three fumbles and swatted two passes.

I mean, 6-foot-4 with a 40-inch vertical? He’s got to at least try to block an NFL kick or two, right?

The Take-A-Shot-On-This-Receiver Guy: Interesting to note that the Patriots have never drafted a first-round receiver under Belichick. For second-rounders, they’ve picked Deion Branch (2002), Bethel Johnson (2003), Chad Jackson (2006), and Aaron Dobson (2013). That’s a long time since striking pay dirt, so we figure they’ll address other areas early, then take a chance on a mid-round guy.

Keep an eye out for Jordan Peyton out of UCLA, who has a lot of athletic traits the Patriots seem to covet. He’s a little bigger than their typical crew (6-1, 207), has some speed (4.47 40) and a solid broad jump (10 feet, one inch). Actually, that broad jump measurement and his 20-yard shuttle (4.33 seconds) match Dobson’s perfectly. Dobson was faster (4.37 40) and did a little better on the vertical jump (35 inches to Peyton’s 34.5). Hmm. Maybe Dobson deserves another –

No, Chris. Don’t do it. Don’t delude yourself into the Annual Dobson Redemption Tour. It’s over, man.

Anyway, Peyton increased his production every year at UCLA, culminating in a 78-catch, 1,105-yard, five touchdown senior campaign. He’s an avid blocker with solid hands. Also carries the characteristic of most Patriots receiver picks in that he’s relatively uninspiring. You know what I mean? Not dynamic, not a potential game-changer. Just … fine. (Now, if you’re saying you knew what Edelman would become, stop it.)

That said, the last wideout pick who got me excited was Jackson, whose level of football athleticism turned out to be inversely proportional to his on-field intelligence. New England and receivers, man. Who knows?

The Seventh-Round Slot Receiver Guy: Edelman led the trend here in 2009, but Jeremy Ebert out of Northwestern (2012) and Jeremy Gallon out of Michigan (2014) also got the call in the seventh round. New England could use a youngster to give Danny Amendola a breather and bring a little more dynamism than Keyshawn Martin.

Arizona State’s D. J. Foster (5-10, 193) has an intriguing history with the Sun Devils, converting to wide receiver as a senior after spending the previous three years at running back. His disappointing 4.57-second 40 could keep him lower on draft boards, while his quicksilver 6.75 3-cone should make him a natural for the slot. Last year, Foster didn’t forget how to run the ball, rushing for 296 yards (5.1 avg). As a receiver, he hauled in 59 passes for 584 yards and 3 TDs.

The Navy Guy: Very surprised to see that Navy QB Keenan Reynolds was not invited to the NFL combine, especially considering that, last year, current Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona made the trip. Ah, well. We’ll have more on the Division One record-holder for rushing touchdowns by a QB (88) in our next “That Guy” column.

Chris Warner is interested to see how long it will take before the comment section below gets hijacked. Also, Twitter: @cwarn89