So many questions to answer. Who will be the GM? Will Manny be traded and if so, for who? What other moves will the Sox make to improve their team? What about Johnny Damon's situation? The bullpen? The rotation? Will Keith Foulke be the closer, or will Timlin or someone from outside the organization?
The first priority has to be the vacancy at General Manager. At the moment, the Red Sox are looking at Jim Beattie and Jim Bowden.
Beattie was the GM for the Expos a few years ago and got alot out of a small payroll. He was given more money but had to share power in Baltimore in that strange co-consul ship reminiscent of the sharing of power between Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus. He was interviewed for the Sox GM job in 2002. Beattie is scheduled for an interview in Boston on Friday.
Jim Bowden was the Reds GM from 1993 to 2003. He was then signed by the Washington Nationals who did pretty well last season, all things considered.
Two other unnamed candidates will be revealed later in the week. In the meantime, the remaining staff left behind by Theo are running things for the Red Sox. GM by Committee, if you will.
For all the bad news that has come out of the New England sports world recently, the only bright spot has been the New England Revolution. They beat the Chicago Fire 1-0 in Gillette on Saturday to win the Eastern Conference title. They play the LA Galaxy in Texas on Sunday for the MLS Cup. The Revolution have never won the MLS Cup. However, they appear to be the New England sports team best poised to win a championship.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
At about 3:03 AM EDT the morning after the Patriots 40-21 loss to the Colts, Ron Borges came onto WBCN's post-game show. When at home, I prefer listening to WEEI's Real Post-Game Show but I don't have a membership with WEEI and the NFL lets me listen to WBCN's broadcasts so I listen to BCN's. Anyway, Ron came on and the first thing he complained about was? A) The secondary. B) the rushing offense. C) The pass rush. D) The rush defense. E) Coaching decisions. F) Injuries G) Officiating. All of these answers are wrong. Borges, who has never beena big Brady supporter to begin with, ripped Tom for having a short press conference. He ripped Belichick a bit but ripped Brady even more. This depsite the fact that Brady had about the best game you could want from a QB. 265 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs. He had no run support (34 total rushing yards) and his defense allowed 40 points. I guess he deserved criticism for not feeding the vultures of the media generic answers for 20 minutes at 1:00 AM with a divisional road game to play on Sunday. Borges asserted that we learned about Tom Brady's true nature by his not fully participating in a press conference after a brutal loss. Is Ron Borges trying to one-up his Globe colleague Shaughnessey by trying to run Brady out of town? I wouldn't be shocked.
So many reasons why we lost this game. First of all, give the Colts credit. They came into Foxborough with confidence despite their history in New England. They executed and played well. However, in my opinion, the Patriots melted one of their Lombardi trophies and made a silver platter on which to hand this game to the Colts.
The brief press conferences held by Belichick and Brady said a lot even though neither one of them said that much. The best quote was when a reporter asked Belichick why he attempted an onside kick so early in the game. Bill's answer: "To try to get the ball back."
The Pats started the game off on a bad foot. They needed to win the special teams battle, make some big special teams plays, and keep the Colts from having a short field to work with. The Colts returned the opening kickoff to the 46 yard line. James was stuffed for a 3 yard loss but on 2nd down Manning hit Harrison for 48 yards to the 9. James ran for 6 and then 2. On 3rd and goal at the 1, Manning hit Harrison. 7-0 Colts.
The Patriots responded nicely. A drive that featured alot of Corey Dillon in the early stages set-up Brady to make his trademark mid-depth passes for 8-15 yards. Brady spread the ball well hitting Branch, Brown, Dillon, Givens, and Graham on the drive. From the 16, Brady threw to Branch for a TD that tied the game at 7-7.
The Patriots offense did their job on their first drive. They ate up over 9 minutes of clock on an 11 play drive. They gradually moved the ball down the field, finding weaknesses in the Colts defense. Unfortunately, the Patriots defense was not able to maintain the tied score and give the ball back to Brady and the offense.
On 1st and 10 from the 32 James went around the left end for 7. He then picked on Jarvis Green and the right end for 6 more and a 1st down at the 45. After an incomplete to Harrison and a 3 yard loss on a James reception, the Colts faced a 3rd and 13 from the 42. In years past, the Pats have stepped up in these types of situations. This time, though, they let Manning hit Reggie Wayne for a gain of 12. As bad as the rush defense up the middle has been for us this year, the Colts really didn't have any choice. They went for it on 4th and short and got it. Once again, the Pats failed to step up and make the big play. The Colts intermingled running with James and passing with Manning and drove down the field and into the end zone for another touchdown. 14-7 Colts.
The Patriots offense did what they have done far too many times this year. They went 3 and out. Miller had a nice 55 yard punt that gave the Colts the ball at their 10 yard line. Josh Miller has been one of the few men wearing the blue, red, white and silver that has been excellent this season.
The Colts were able to move the ball to the 38 yard line. On 3rd and 11 the Patriots finally stepped up and made the big play. Mike Vrabel intercepted Manning and gave the ball back to the offense right near midfield.
The Patriots had a HUGE opportunity to create some momentum. We've all seen Manning unravel after making a few mistakes and then watching the Patriots capitalize on them. However, his defense was able to pick him up and our offense was unable to turn the interception into any points.
On the first play of the drive, Brady was sacked for a loss of 12 yards. He fumbled but Tom Ashworth recovered. On 2nd and 28 Graham had a 5 yard reception. On 3rd and 23, the Pats came up with a big play. Brady hit Givens for 35 yards to the Indy 31 yard line. On 1st and 10, Dillon ran for 1, then ran for 13 more up to the 17 yard line. There was a little more than 2 minutes left in the 1st half. It looked as thought the Pats were poised to put it into the end zone to tie it or at the very least, kick a field goal and go into halftime with some momentum. Dillon got the ball for the third straight play and fumbled. Indy recovered. This was essentiall the moment when the game was lost. Maybe if Faulk and/or Pass were healthy, Dillon wouldn't have gotten 3 straight carries. Maybe the Pats should have run a play action pass and varied their offense a bit.
The game was over. The Colts got the ball back, marched downfield and put up a 21-7 lead at halftime. The Patriots were able to score a few times in the 2nd half but the defense just couldn't stop the Colts running and passing attack. In fact, the only 3 and out drive by the Colts resulted in a Field Goal. They only had to punt once.
A few telling statistics. The Patriots did not sack the statue like Peyton Manning the entire game. Peyton Manning RUSHED for 24 yards. Corey Dillon rushed for only 40 and the Pats as a team amassed a pathetic 34 yards on the ground. The Colts had the ball for nearly 37 minutes of game clock. The Colts out rushed us by 98 yards. The Patriots had such little confidence in their defense's ability to stop the Colts that we tried an onside kick in the 3rd quarter with over 20 minutes left in the game and were down by only 2 scores.
What do the Patriots do now? What can we do now? We have no run offense and very few alternatives to Dillon who is probably still feeling his injuries. Our protection problems on the left side of the offensive line are causing us to adjust our offense in ways we really can't afford. On defense, we can't stop the run. We can't get pressure on the passer without blitzing. We can't prevent the deep pass, or the medium pass, or the short pass. We can't step up and make the big plays as consistently as we did in years past. I think we're going to make the playoffs this season and maybe we can advance a round. However, this team is not a Super Bowl calbre team and not to sound negative, but there is very little they can do but pray for medical miracles.