Wednesday, December 03, 2008

News, notes and the weekend's meltdown

I'm going to start with Sunday's fiasco.

It was a complete clusterf#@k.

From top to bottom, this was an almost epic failure by the team. Yes, there were two blatant pass interferences missed by Ed Hochuli's crew, but that would have been irrelevant were it not for the the dropped passes, the missed blocks, the muffed kick returns, and the blown coverages.

Yes, Cassel had a bad game, throwing several interceptions, but he was hardly the goat of the game. Two drives ended with blind side strip sacks courtesy Matt Light being tossed around like he weighed one-hundred pounds, giving the Steelers short fields to work with. One drive never started because Matthew Slater coughed up the ball on the Patriots 20 on a kick-off. Then there was Randy Moss dropping three catchable passes - one in the endzone before a missed field goal attempt.

And that was just the offense and special teams.

That doesn't even take into account the fact the defense couldn't get off the field unless they were aided and abetted by the Pittsburgh offense.

Overall, the only player that I can't fault from this past weekend's travesty of a game is Kevin Faulk who accounted for 121 yards of the team's total offensive output of 267 yards. Almost half.

After this travesty, the Patriots are likely going to need to run the table in order to make the playoffs, and even that won't guarantee them a spot as they now have to rely on others to lose.

At this point, however, I'm convinced that even if they do make the big dance, they're going to be done after only one partner.

Hopefully the latest news will help a defense that ha been brutal the last couple of weeks -

On Wednesday the Patriots welcomed linebacker Rosevelt Colvin back to the fold. Colvin, who inked a one year deal with the Patriots, will help to shore up a depleted linebacking corps that now has injuries to Adalius Thomas, Bo Rudd, Shawn Crable, Eric Alexander, and Pierre Woods, and is playing with an injured Tedy Bruschi. Theoretically, if Colvin can get up to game speed, he should also help with the team's lackluster pass rush, which in turn will aid the inexperienced secondary which has been getting carved up as late.

Word is the Patriots have contacted Victor Hobson as well, who was with the Patriots in training camp. With Colvin in the fold, I think Hobson is unlikely to join the team, but it would not surprise me if he did, considering Bruschi is listed as questionable on the injury list.

Trading on the Gridiron for a walk in the Park

As the Red Sox are taking a deliberate approach to shaping the roster for 2009 - exploring trades, feeling out free agents, and offering arbitration - the Yankees are aggressively pursuing free agents like CC Sabathia, offering the pitcher a 6-year $140 million contract roughly two weeks ago.

Curiously, there has been no movement from the Sabathia camp, which begs several questions - Is he waiting to see if Mark Texiera signs with the Sox, freeing up money for a big contract from the Angels? Is he looking for more money? Or is it possible he just doesn't want to play in New York?

If the issue is the last, it begs the question of how effect the Sox chief rivals are going to be - if the big free agents are spurning the money because they don't believe they can win in the Bronx, what does that mean for the Yankees in 2009? Are we looking at a team that will truly have to give in to the philosophy of rebuilding, or is there any chance tat they will be able to buy their way into...well, being competitive as in past years? If that's the case, then what are we looking at? A team that has shifted from overpaying for highly talented players just past their prime, to a team overpaying for mediocre middle of the road players in the prime of their careers (see Nick Swisher).

While I'm not convinced it's happening yet, it is interesting to think we might be witnessing the death rattle of what had been one of the most dominant professional franchises in North America over the last decade and a half (when championships and post-season appearances are considered). If this is happening (and until Sabathia spurns the offer, I'm not sure it really is happening) after the first season in which they missed the playoffs in more than a decade, it makes me wonder if the Yankees, even with all that cash at their disposal, are going to be able to buy their way back into contention any time soon, or if they really are going to have to build from within.

From the Park to the Garden...

Two quick final items...

The Celtics are looking like they're still hungry. So far the team seems to have picked up where they left off after their championship season. I can't say for sure that they are going back to the finals again, it's early for that, but they certainly look like they're favorites to make it back. Even so, I think the Pacers and the Hawks look tougher this season than they did last.

Over on the ice the Bruins are looking pretty good, but they looked good early last season as well. With any luck, they keep the good play up and go deep in the playoffs.

For years they have either been a just miss, or a one and done team. With recent championships from the Sox, Pats, and C's, I think the pressure is on the Bruins to perform.

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