Monday, May 08, 2006


Sorry this is a few weeks late, been busy with finals etc. to write all of this out.

The Patriots drafted a running back, a wide out, a tight end, a fullback, a kicker, an offensive tackle, a DE/OLB, a guard, a defensive tackle, and finally a defensive back/return specialist.

The Pats first pick was Laurence Maroney, a 217 pound, 5' 11" running back our of Minnesota. Maroney appears to be the running back of the future for us, and will probably see some time with Dillon getting most of the carries. Dillon will be 32 in October, and last year he showed some wear and tear from his 2,419 career carries.

Maroney is just a little bit smaller than Dillon, but being younger he has time to build up size. His frame can definitely allow him to add another 10 pounds or maybe even more. He had a good career as a Minnesota Gopher, even though he only played until his junior season. He racked up 32 touchdowns in his career and a few thousand yards rushing. He isn't much of a receiver, but he can be a dump off option. I think the Patriots coaching staff and system will turn this guy into a really good running back.

The Pats traded up in the 2nd round to nab WR Chad Jackson out of Florida. Jackson was one of the most highly touted receivers in the draft. The Pats are in need of replenishment to their receiver corps with the loss of David Givens. Jackson will come in as one of our biggest receivers as well as one of the fastest. It looks like he has the ability to be a really good receiver. He is also willing to work hard, leading the Gators in receptions even though few were for big yards. He also played special teams and I wouldn't be surprised if he wound up returning kicks for us.

The next pick confused me, at first. The Patriots have a lot of needs on their roster, but tight end didn't seem like one of them. Watson was coming into his own as the season progressed last year and Daniel Graham has always been very good. Plus, we have Vrabel on goal line situations. Maybe Belichick likes Wendy's and decided to pick David Thomas, a TE out of Texas.

The guy is a good tight end and was a captain on the National Championship team. Talent wise, he looks very good, with a large number of receptions for a tight end, and more than half of his catches going for 1st downs. However, he fits in 3rd on our depth chart at TE at the moment. I just don't see what the need and desire for Thomas was. Ironically, right after Thomas was picked, the Ravens picked CB David Pittman, then Carolina got OLB James Anderson, then two picks later, Tampa got WR Maurice Stovall. These were all guys at positions the Pats needed and they slipped by us.

However, Daniel Graham's rookie contract expires at the end of this season. If Thomas shows potential and works for us, we might not re-sign Graham. If Thomas doesn't work out, we can re-sign Graham. Bellichick and the boys are crafty, aren't they? Draft for a future need the season before you might have it. It gives you more and better options.

The Patriots had 2 4th round picks and used them to get some role players. They got fullback Garrett Mills out of Tulsa and kicker Stephen Gotskowski out of Memphis.

Mills is actually a tight end drafted as a fullback. His receiving numbers are awesome. He is the NCAA record holder for TE receiving yards in a season. He had 87 catches last year and 201 in his college career, in which he played all 4 years. His size is the reason he is moving to the backfield. He is only 6' 1" and 232 pounds. The Pats could use a guy like this to catch passes out of the backfield, but we also need him to work on his blocking for pass protection and for Dillon and Maroney.

Gotskowski is 127 for his last 128 extra points, which is pretty good for a college player. He went 10 for 10 in kicks beyond 40 yards last season, and 3 for 3 beyond 50. His long was a 53 yarder. He's 42/49 in the past two seasons. He is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in Memphis scoring in a season. He's also a pitcher for the Tigers.

In the fifth round, the Patriots got run blocking offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan out of California. Last season the Bears had two 1,000 yard rushers, and one 2,000 yard rusher in 2004. He's a good run blocker, but he is slow to change direction which could pose a problem in pass blocking situations in the NFL against speedy D-linemen and linebackers.

In the 6th round, the Pats addressed another need, drafting DE/LB Jeremy Mincey of the Florida Gators. He's a tweener that could fill in at the role McGinist had with us, lining up on the line as essentially both a D-End and an OLB. He's a good pass rusher, but he struggles to stay at home. If he can work on that, he could come to be a McGinist type player, always prepared to make the big play, and always allowing his teammates to make big plays.

Also in the 6th, the Pats drafted Dan Stevenson, a 300 pound Guard out of Notre Dame. He is small and not very athletic, but the word is he has great technique and is a very hard worker. I'm sure Bellichick and the Pats know that this is true considering the relationship with the head coach of Notre Dame.

Right after that, the Pats drafted Kevin Smith, a defensive tackle out of Nebraska. The problem with Smith seems to be effort. He put up some nice numbers at Nebraska, demonstrating an ability to pass rush, run defend. and eat up blocks. But his effort changed from series to series. He seems like he is a project for Bellichick, Seymour, Warren, and Wilfork to potentially mold.

The Patriots waited until pick #229 to get a defensive back. Willie Andrews played as a Safety but isn't big enough to play in that spot in the NFL. His specialty is returning. He set the punt return yardage and kick return yardage records for Baylor. Baylor sucks, but he is fast, quick, and elusive. We could use a guy to specialize at returning, and he might be a possible candidate.

So the Pats addressed a need at running back, a possible future need at tight end, a need at wide receiver, they got a potential fullback, a kicker, two offensive linemen, an OLB/DE tweener, a defensive tackle, and a DB/return specialist. Not an amazing draft, but it looks like it has good potential to help the Pats fill some needs. Jackson, Maroney, and Thomas look very good and the rest of the players drafted all look solid with potential to be very good.


David Wells threw 60 pitches off the mound in a bullpen session. Here is the rest of his rehab schedule:

Wednesday 5/10: 50-60 pitches off mound
Saturday 5/13: simulated game
Thursday 5/18: minor league rehab start

So, we probably won't have Wells back until at least the 23rd of May, and they probably will keep him in the minors for more rehab starts this time around so we might not see him until June.

Coco Crisp might be picking up a bat and taking some swings any day now. He has been doing more with his hand lately, including throwing barehanded. He will probably have a rehab stint very soon. The rumor is he will be back in around a week. We need his bat in this lineup. We can hit off Baltimore without him, but Toronto and Tampa proved too much for us.

This isn't a definite, but it appears as though WBOS has fallen out of the running for the Red Sox broadcasting rights. WEEI's contract expires at the outset of next season. WBOS had been the front runner. Reportedly, their offer was for $140 million over 10 years, plus an $8 million signing bonus, plus 25% ownership of the station itself. Entercom (owner of WEEI and WRKO) must have made an amazing offer to top that. The $140 million proposal would make the Red Sox deal the largest in baseball. WBOS also may have been willing to air games on FM radio, which has much better sound quality than AM.

WBOS ownership, however, left the table citing financial reasons. Apparently, the Sox wanted too much from them. Entercom was left by themselves at the negotiating table. A move to WRKO would probably help Entercom more than it would help the Sox. WEEI's ratings are much better than WRKO.

Another reason for the potential move may be to separate the Red Sox from WEEI, even though the separation would only be superficial. WEEI's primary function is as a sports radio station. Thus, it's primary function is to criticise and question. The Sox might not like this. A move to WRKO would make it seem as though the two entities were separate. However, WRKO and WEEI both have the same owner and even the same program director. They both broadcast out of the same building.

With the rainout last week, and an off day today, the Red Sox were able to rearrange their rotation. Beckett will start it off tomorrow against New York. Schilling will follow. Wakefield will be third. Clement will be fourth. DiNardo will round it out at fifth. Why the change? I don't know. I guess it is nice to finally have Schilling and Beckett 1 and 2.

David Riske threw a bullpen session on Sunday. He will pitch a rehab inning in AAA Pawtucket on Wednesday. The need for him to come back healthy in be productive is not a small need. Our middle relief is very weak right now. We need all the help we can get.

That's about it for now. Might do a preview of the Sox/Yankees series for tomorrow.


A few firsts this weekend. Wakefield, for the first time this season, got some support. DiNardo also got his first MLB win.

Saturday's 9-3 win was an all around effort. Every starter got on base. Manny's starting to hit, he got his average up to .301 after Saturday's 1 for 2 performance. About the only soft spot offensively has been Ortiz who is mired in a 20+ at-bat slump.

The pitching was also a team effort. Wakefield had another solid start, going 6 and allowing 3. Tavarez had an outing that got a little bit too interesting when he hit Luis Matos. The two jawed at each other, benches cleared, nothing serious happened. Apparently, the two are friends and were fooling around or something. Whatever. The fact of the matter is, Tavarez nearly gave up a 2 run homer after the incident. Timlin had to come in to get an out. Technically it was a save situation so Timlin got a hold. The Sox put up 2 in the 8th then Seanez pitched a 1-2-3 9th to end it.

The Man of the Game is Alex Gonzalez who went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, a run, and a walk. You know the Sox had a good effort when it is really difficult to pick a Man of the Game. This one was very, very hard to select.

The Sox followed up their 9-3 win with a 10-3 win on Sunday. They did a good job of getting to Kris Benson, which surprised me because he has 4 wins and we haven't faced him that much in the past. Usually, those types of guys we haven't seen really screw up the bats. That was not the case yesterday.

The Orioles and Kevin Millar blew a bases loaded, no out opportunity, scoring only 1 run in the top of the 1st. The Sox had a similar opportunity and Varitek capitalized with a Grand Slam into the bullpen. That was the end of the game.

DiNardo didn't pitch amazingly, but he was good enough to get around some mistakes. He only allowed 2 hits in 5 innings, but he walked 5 men. Tavarez looked shaky as usual, but we had a huge cushion by the time he entered the game. Foulke threw a scoreless 1.1 and Delcarmen pitched the 9th without incident for another cruise to victory.

The Man of the Game is Jason Varitek. He only had 1 hit all day, but it was the game winning hit and came in the 1st. Psychologically that hit was devastating. Baltimore had such a squander in the 1st, to come back and put up 4 with a Granny was like twisting the dagger after stabbing them.

The Sox have an off day after going 5-1 on their homestand. Then we go down to The Bronx.

Beckett vs. Johnson on Tuesday, Schilling vs. Mussina on Wednesday, and Wakefield vs. Chacon on Thursday. All those pitching matchups are pretty equivalent. An average difference of 0.29 in ERA between starters.

This picture is awesome, by the way:

Seriously, where can I get a t-shirt that says that?