Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rapid Fire

And not the Brandon Lee flick...

A-Rod, known better in some circles as Slappy McBluelips, is in the news again for yet another boneheaded thing. Slappy posed for a series of sultry photos for Details Magazine, which included a shot of the man making out with the person he loves the most - himself.

There are a lot of stupid things he's done - the hand slap, the yell rounding third, the steroids (rumored to go back as far as high school - which would explain no significant spike in his career stats), his series of contradictory explanations regarding the steroids, getting caught with the stripper in Toronto - but somehow I don't see this flying in the locker room.

The more I think about it, the less likely I think Julius Peppers ends up in New England. I believe that the Pats may have called the Panthers to see what it would take, but I also think that the numbers don't add up - yes, signing him would make it likely that some of the other players would have to be allowed to walk, but I also think for Peppers to come into the fold, he would have to take a considerable cut from what he would make as a franchise player. The Pats aren't going to pay more for Peppers than they do for Tom Brady.

That doesn't even take into account that I find it hard to believe that the Pats would pay out big money to someone who has never played the position.

Also, staying with Peppers, for somebody who wants desperately out of Carolina, he's virtually handcuffed himself by not signing the franchise tender. Without the tender signed, Peppers remains a free agent, however no one will touch him due to the compensation that would be owed to the Panthers - two first round picks. As a free agent, Carolina does not actually hold Peppers' rights and cannot trade him, but are handcuffed in free-agency because, until Peppers signs elsewhere, the team has to have the money available on the books in case Peppers signs the tender - so, even though he's not signed, he counts against the cap. How's that for a kick in the nuts - Peppers, in effect, can't get out of Carolina because he hasn't signed the tender, and Carolina can't improve until they're rid of Peppers, and he's not actually under contract.

For my money, I still say the Pats sign Jason Taylor to small money to play opposite Adalius Thomas. I expect the signing won't happen until sometime after the draft.

The Yankees brain trust cannot be happy with the spring that their big acquisition, CC Sabathia, is having. In fewer than eight innings pitched he has an ERA in excess of 7.00. The Yanks went out and spent big money on a pitcher pushing maximum density that racked up 90 innings in his last 12 starts (not including a brutal start in the playoffs against Philly where he failed to get out of the fourth inning). He had more complete games in the second half last season than he has had in any one whole season in his career. I can't help but think the big money for Sabathia over the long term, and possibly even the short-term is a bad idea.

The Celtics have been hit with some injury issues, but I think there's still enough time for them to get healthy going into the playoffs.

Ditto for the Red Sox going into the regular season.

Good luck to all with their brackets.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pepper pot...

So, the big rumor right now is that the Pats are on the verge of acquiring Julius Peppers. A lot has to be done before that acquisition is a reality. Even if the Pats and Panthers reach an accord, it will be contingent upon negotiating a new contract with Peppers, who right now is in line to make more than Tom Brady in the coming season.

That's not going to happen - not on the Patriots.

If this does happen, I would say that the trade is probably about a month away. I would be at least a little surprised if the trade happens more than two weeks before the draft actually happens.

But let's take a look at the potential Patriots retooled defense, just for fun...

The Pats had two games in which the Offense was culpable in the demise of the defense due to its inability to stay on the field in those games, and had three other games where the defense either couldn't get off the field due to their lack of pass rush (Chargers, Jets), or the defense's inability to adjust to what the opposing offense was doing (Dolphins).

Some of the issue was pass rush, some was coverage.

The retooled starting line-up (if the Peppers trade works out) will look like this...

Adalius Thomas (OLB) Leigh Bodden (CB)

Richard Seymour (DE)
Jerrod Mayo (ILB) James Sanders (SS/FS)
Vince Wilfork (NT)
Tedy Bruschi (ILB) Brandon Meriweather (SS/FS)
Ty Warren (DE)

Julius Peppers (OLB) Shawn Springs (CB)

Nickel: Ellis Hobbs

With the injuries suffered by the Pats last season at a lot of these positions allowing for significant playing time for Gary Guyton, Pierre Woods, (and the early injury to Shawn Crable) as well as corners Jonathan Wilhite and Mike Richardson, as well as the (re)signings of Eric Alexander, Mike Wright and Tully Banta-Cain, these moves give the Patriots significant depth on defense that they lacked last year.

Additionally, this gives the team two legit cover corners, and a healthy Warren, Thomas, and the addition of Peppers, a solid pass rush. Should the Peppers deal not be consummated, I would expect that Thomas would move to the other side with a likely platoon of Crable and Banta-Cain coming off the backside, unless the Pats sign Jason Taylor. If the Peppers trade happens, I don't think the Pats sign Taylor.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see a move at safety before preseason.

Other quick thoughts -

Yup, it's official, Jay Cutler is a moron. I said this before, and I will reiterate it - first, it's disingenuous of someone to demand a trade, then get offended when his name comes up in trade talks. Second, I can only hope this idiot gets traded to Detroit.

This guy thinks he should be untouchable, but among starters he had the 6th best QB rating in the AFC alone, behind Matt Cassel (and 16th overall, behind such immortals Seneca Wallace, Matt Schaub, and Matt Ryan), 9th best completion percentage (14th in the NFL, behind the likes of Shaun Hill and David Garrard), the 2nd most interceptions (in both the AFC and NFC).

Yes, he logged a lot of yardage last season, but he didn't do it well, and somehow he was a pro-bowler. This is a guy that's a middle-of-the-pack starting quarterback, and he seems to think he's a top five sort of guy.