Monday, September 17, 2007

Quoth the Raven...

A couple of things to address...

Hey, San Diego...welcome to the Norv Turner era. I wonder what the over/under will be on when AJ Smith gets whacked for replacing a hall-of-fame coach with football's version of Rain Man.

From Don Banks this morning -

"I know the truth and I know what I believe, and that's all that's really important,'' said Brady, when asked about the perception of the Patriots' tarnished legacy. "Hopefully everyone who follows us realizes that. But if you don't, then who really cares? We've been proving it to people for seven years, and it's been the same thing. We're not changing what we do.''
Sideline cameras aside, no, they're not. Not one bit. Critics be damned. Two games into another season, and despite the tumult of the past week, they're still the same old Patriots. Maybe even better. For the other 31 teams in the NFL, I can't think of anything that could possibly rate as a worse piece of news.

So, on the second Monday of the season, here are my questions -

If the Patriots had an unfair advantage in the first game of the season, then what was the Jets' excuse for that performance in Baltimore? What, then, is the Chargers' excuse for losing to the league's most scrutinized team yesterday? Belichick manage to replace Philip Rivers with a pod-person?

Let's face a couple of incontrovertible facts here -

For all the talk about the Pats offense - and it has been impressive - the defense has been just as impressive in spite of missing two of their key starters.

The Patriots might be the deepest team in the NFL. Without defensive stalwarts Rodney Harrison or Richard Seymour, New England has done the following on defense through the first two weeks -

Given up a league leading 214 yards per game
Given up 56 yards per game on the ground (2nd in the league) while facing Thomas Jones and reigning league MVP LaDanian Tomlinson (Tomlinson averaged a mere 2.4 yards per carry against the Pats)
Given up 158 yard per game through the air (5th) and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 8 times (4th)
Achieved an average margin of victory of 24 points

All this while playing two of last year's playoff contenders and last season's consensus "best team in the NFL."

Did the Pats have an unfair competitive advantage over the Chargers last night that made a big difference between last night and last season's narrow playoff victory? You bet. Any team that thinks Norv Turner is a better coach than Marty Schottenheimer is automatically giving its opponent an unfair competitive advantage.

Now for the weird question of the week...

Belichick did something mind-bogglingly stupid and against the rules and deserved punishment for it. He got it. He also, in a season in which many pundits have already claimed they are the team to beat, managed to create an "us against the world" situation for his team. So...was he hoping to get caught in order to give his team that extra impetus?

Gone for the last two seasons has been (even the ability to claim) the mantra of "no one thought we could do it." So...was this done to give the team a rallying cry? How do we defend one of our own, how do we defend our legacy?

I think it's unlikely, but I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility.

Nine is a magic number...

I wasn't thrilled with the Red Sox performance this past weekend. They screwed the pooch on Friday, and spit the bit on Sunday...both faux-pas a result of Terry Francona doing a piss-poor job of handling his pitching staff.

I understand that Schilling was pitching a good game and had a low pitch count. But this whole season he has had trouble holding a lead. He should never have been around to face Jeter. I won't even get into Friday's debacle.

Now for the good...

With twelve games left, the Sox magic number is down to nine. It could have been lower, but this isn't bad.

Eric Hinske will never pay for another drink in Boston. He may have been thrown out in the play at the plate (props to Jorge Posada for holding on to that ball), but he was responsible for the run scored by Jacoby Ellsbury later in the game. The ball clearly beat Ellsbury to the plate, but the gun-shy Posada braced for the collision instead of getting the tag down.

I almost think that Hinske should have been given an RBI for that.


Dave said...

Dropping two of three sucked, but the math is heavily in our favor. The Yankees needed another sweep and they didn't get it.

That win last night was SO sweet. I think LT has learned a valuable lesson about shutting the Hell up.

Not surprisingly, the Jets are asking for a second investigation of the Pats. Probably so they can get the focus off of how they lost again. Mangidiot is such a loser.

Kevin Smith said...

The Jets thing is pushing into the ridiculous now.

I guess by LT's reckoning, the Chargers win the next 18 meetings...either that, or I just don't get what Tomlinson's definition of winning is.