Monday, August 08, 2011


Back in 2000, the Patriots had to send a 1st round pick to the Jets as compensation for Bill Belichick. The Jets drafted Shaun Ellis with that pick, but now he'll be playing under Belichick. The Patriots signed the veteran defensive end to a one year deal.

Ellis isn't a pass rushing end, but he's very solid against the run. He can consume blocks and allow Wilfork and Haynesworth to do their jobs. It's a smart signing by the Patriots, as the Jets were up against the cap and could only offer Ellis the veteran minimum.

Rex Ryan made some remarks about the transaction, then started talking about pieces of pie, then he got distracted. I tend not to take Rex Ryan's words seriously. His rants are old news, like Charlie Sheen's, only his rants are fatter and covered in crumbs.

The Pats also signed defensive end Andre Carter, formerly of the Redskins. Carter amassed 11 sacks in 2009, and has 66 total in 10 seasons. Once again, I'll throw around the word "solid" to describe this signing.

The Pats have completely revamped their defensive front. Wilfork remains the spearhead, but the additions of Haynesworth, Ellis, Carter, along with the release of Ty Warren make for an almost brand new D-Line. I think overall it's improved, and should be far more consistent at stopping the run, mounting a decent pass rush (although not getting many sacks), and preventing big plays.


Win or lose Sunday night, I was going to write about how this series didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, as the loser would be 2nd in the AL East, but still have a significant lead in the Wild Card. However, this series has been a good gauge for the postseason. And what we learned was that these two teams are extremely close together.

Anyway, where would the Sox be without Josh Reddick? He's hitting .338 in his 45 games as a replacement right-fielder. His game-winning RBI was his 23rd of the season. That's 2 more than Drew has, even though Reddick has about 100 ABs fewer than JD.

We saw the strengths and weaknesses of both these teams on display these last three days. And while winning the division would be nice, the Sox have proven to be good enough on the road (33-21, the best in the Majors), that homefield advantage shouldn't be much of a factor.

But I did like to see this team grind out a win against Rivera. I liked Beckett's 6 innings of hard work in a humid environment. I liked the big hits by Scutaro, Ortiz, and Reddick. Not only was it fun to watch, but this kind of timely hitting is what can be the difference between winning and losing a playoff series.

Sox play 14 of the next 17 on the road, starting tonight in Minnesota. Wakefield goes for win #200 against Scott Baker.

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