January 31, 2008

80 weeks and counting

Jeez, really tough news... just when we thought all was going great for Brady and his healing ankle, the 80th straight week for that pesky Brady shoulder... I hope he plays.

Gotta love Belicheck listing the shoulder with not a whiff of ankle problems.

Here's my wish...

They've been working on a play that has Brady dumping the ball to Faulk (laterally)... since that has to be a huge part of the Jints preparation... keying on that winning Faulk out for a predictable 6-9 yard gain, NY closes as fast as possible on Faulk. As that happens, the supposedly gimpy Brady starts to jog downfield on the opposite sideline (I picture Faulk at this point about 6 yrds in back of the line o scrimmageon the opposite hash mark. With the 'O' line in run block, they buy Faulk just enough time to toss an 18 yard gain to Brady. Spectators' jaws across the nation have to picked up off the floor.

The two week 'ankle' serves two purposes... it distracts from all other superfluous media matters (Spyagte, Moss, etc.), and, with Coughlin insuring the 'D' is already on guard for any trick plays, this 'gimp' act will distract NY from Brady. I mean, this is the guy who was wearing an ankle boot, right?

All that said, this is a play that would likely never be used, but incorporating it their quiver of 'special' plays gives them a great weapon.

I know, I know, the ankle was 99% a real thing... but think about it: in all the questions to Belicheck, he never once actually even confirmed that the ankle was even hurting Brady, let alone an issue. When Brady was asked about it after that first practice, he said it felt 95% and that he only had one incompletion -- I thought it sounded funny that he put his practice in game terms... one incompletion... I mean, wouldn't you talk about it more in terms of how he ran, moved,... One incompletion may even support the continued phantom shoulder report, more than anything else.

I know some will say I'm conspiracy minded... or even paranoid... but I can assure you that just is not true... I rationally thought this whole thing out this morning while I was checking my toothpaste for explosives.

January 30, 2008

On to the NY..... Mets!

Let me hear you say yeaaaaah!! Santana is off to the NY and the signature on his paycheck will not say 'Steinbrenner'. Best of all possible options. We keep our cadre of high-potential prospects, most of which have dipped their toes in The Show and have essentially excelled under the spotlight. Lester, Bucholtz, Ellsbury (until I'm proven wrong, the second coming of Freddie),... all still wearing red socks. Add to that Masterson , Moss, and others that were mentioned as possible Twin-chum, I'm much, much happier to have who we have.

That said, I may have felt differently if Steinny II had been able to bring Santana to the new House that the Boss Built. So, seeing the Mets sweep in is a beautiful thing, from a Fenway perspective. I think santana should excel in the NL, as long as the larger market distractions don't have any traction with him.

January 21, 2008

Chargers a lightning rod for scrappy Pats

The Patriots of 01, 03, and 04 showed up for the AFC Championship game yetsterday. When the ever-building-legend-of-Brady took a bit of a day off (3 picks), the Red Zone Killer 'D' showed up, as did the running and short game. When Seau tackled the Bolts for a loss at the 7 yard-line, I had a flashback to the goal-line stand a few years back against the Colts, end of game. Bend but don't break indeed.

Looking at it another way, the Pats played the game that the Packers were expected to play. Relying on a strong defense and a very solid running game. While it's a shame New England won't face the last unique great team this year (Packers), I figure if they blew it against the Giants, then bring on NY. I'm looking for yesterday's defense and the offense of this season to make a simultaneous appearance on Feb 3rd. One nine and zero.

January 14, 2008


What jumped out to me of the Pats/Jag was:

Gotta love Del Rio starting & effectively establishing the game heavy on the pass after everyone said he'd stick to mostly a running game -- while used pretty effectively, the run looked to be used more to keep the secondary honest, rather than vice-versa.

Anytime Welker or Faulk touched the ball (of course that Welker drop was brutal, but it all worked out); that was a clinic in the short pass run game. Once the the Jags knew they had successfully shut down the deep Moss threat, they knew where it was going and they still couldn't stop the 2-4 yrd plop pass, followed with 3-8 yrds running after each reception.

In the antithesis to the Charger's game-clinching punter, the Jags and Pats punters were seen playing online chess on their respective sidelines against each other (although the Jag's punter did have to pause the game in a quick field visit); Hanson only stretched out his leg on field with 29 seconds left in the game -- I kind of wanted Brady to kneel and turn the ball over, regardless of the field position.

Pats scored every single time they touched the ball, minus the missed 35 yard FG, and the end of game punt.

Faking a Staue of Liberty Play - I've seen the fake jump of Brady worked to perfection in the past, and thought how well Brady executes it, especially when you have the goal line D breathing down your neck, literally right on top of you. That's why I was glad I DVR'ed the game. Watching the elaborate hike, fake hand-off, fake-jump for the phantom over-hiked ball, neatly tucking the ball against his thigh as he turned his back on a Jags D. And this is where he has to presume the Jags scouted this Pats Statue of Liberty Play and what it looked like, because at this point, Brady commits what would normally be suicide and calmly turns his back on the D for a full beat, then turns - with noone in his face - to fire his TD. It was a better surprise ending than the Usual Suspects; The Golden Globes Press Conference Awards should've created a category for Brady. He had to double sell; first he acts hard that they ball goes over his head, then he banks on the fact that the D knows this move & both sees and buys the running back barreling to the goal-line.

Stallworth's long play (longest pass play of the game and he was the second or third option). As Simms pointed out, Welker was the primary on that one & Brady waited long before shifting his eyes at a streaking Stallworth. The catch was incredible (one hand, bouncing off the face mask back into the bread basket), but the crazy part was when they showed the replay, you saw Stallworth looking up at the JumboTron at himself mid-play -- some said to see himself running for a perceived touchdown, others say it was to see how close his pursuit was. I'll opt for the latter opinion.

January 10, 2008

Barack drifting into the mainstream candidacy

Looks like Richardson is cutting his losses:

Kerry endorses Barack - talk about mixed blessings, but on balance that will help Obama. This coming the day after the largest union in Nevada endorses Barack will help keep the for-one-second-stalled-by-NH campaign on a growth trend. I'd say his inexperience is going to be spun into a baggage-less asset combined with his very-likely consensus-building magnetic personality. Remains to be seen if there are any scary skeletons lurking in a closet somewhere, but he's good at turning lemons into lemonade, so it'd have to be pretty bad.

Hillary & Barack have virtually identical platforms, but if they both had to enter a smoke-filled room with the establishment to get things done, my money is on on Barack to outperform Hillary 8 times out of 10. In my opinion, her experience - and the fact that others know her as they do - will hinder more than help her. Every time Barack has been dismissed, due to his perceived lack of experience and gravitas, he's more than bounced back.

My ideal match-up of McCain vs. Obama would be very curious indeed, given that it would not only hinge on the vote of the independent voter, but their respective nominations would also vie for the non-affiliated citizen. The Kerry endorsement may add mainstream Dem votes, helping to lessen the Obama camp's reliance on Independents.

January 8, 2008

"What do you want me to do?","Just tell the truth","What do you want me to do?","Just tell the truth",...

Here's what I got out of last night's peculiar Clemens drama...

We know Roger had lawyers with him, coaching and making sure he didn't sound like he was trying to push/intimidate the possible witness (Mac). But, it sounded like Mac was lawyered up too, although I've not only not heard that so far, I've mostly heard just the opposite. As stilted as Roger was talking because of his 'help', I felt like Mac was repeating his, 'What do you want me to do' mantra to get Roger to utter, 'Change your testimony', or say, 'Why did you tell them what I did? Change that'. To me, Mac was looking to get Roger to say, "Switch your testimony" to cover his own ass for civil or criminal litigation. He knew Roger was potentially going to be filing a lawsuit against him. Don't you think Mac has been hearing from the federal team that told him if he lies, he goes to jail? I think the story that is just as big right now is the firestorm that the government may be bringing on weasly Mac, on the chances that roger makes it look - or proves that - they got duped. Now, Roger got the bucks, so I think Mac was dribbling some doo-doo at this point, because often money - and not the truth - win. He lawyered up & they said to try to get Roger on tape. "What do you want me to do?" roger never even said, "Tell them the truth, that I didn't take steroids", because I think they were afraid Mac would say, "But, Roger, you did".

It was a comical tape really and I was surprised Roger's team played it as some kind of a vindication effort. The two danced around words that, I think, their lawyers told them not to say. When Mac was getting desperate for a new tact, he mentioned, "I'll go to jail for you", which to me, was him saying, "Look, ask me to lie and I will, even though I'll go to jail for it". You had Roger saying "Just Tell the truth" the whole time, and Mac practically chanting, "What do you want me to do?", as if he never heard Clemens. Again, to me, that was because he wanted Clemens to say, "Change your testimony", which would have helped Mac in any courtroom dramas.

It was as if they each had 14 words they could say & they kept trying to say them differently without blowing up. Mac played the victim card & Roger played the empathy card, but neither one won the hand.

By the way, Mac said he was on the East Coast -- I think he was probably in NY, because Roger's lawyer Rusty pointed out that NY & Texas both have one-party approval laws concerning taped conversations. to me the comedy was that both side's legal counsel were coaching and either taping or monitoring the conversations.

I have no idea how this will all end up, but to this point, last night's PR stunt has me further tilted towards the idea of Roger's guilt, which is too bad. The sliver of hope I was holding on to kind of disappeared.

January 7, 2008

Stoit is Ruler of Political Trivia / NH polls

Stoit gets the answer to the trivia question!! All hail Stoit!! Stoit rules all that is trivia!! (Sorry for the exclamation marks, but, well, it is a shout out) - he was dead on. I liked the question because, being open-ended, it wasn't really look-upable, or at least not that easily, on the Internet.

That's a pretty crazy stat -- neither the current President nor the VP are running in this election. Not since 1952 has the field been 100% fresh faces (well, fresh may not be quite the right word for some, but metaphorically speaking anywho).

'W' won Iowa but lost NH in 2000 -- however, I'm not saying Hucklebee Hound has even the slimmest chance to gain the nom. He has as much chance of winning as the fossilized remains of Adam, Eve, and a T Rex have of turning up in the same geologic strata.

Neither Iowa nor NH has proven a 100% bellweather in the past, however, winning both portends very well (on balance, of the candidates who got the nod & won just one of the two, more were in NH) -- but with Super Tuesday being so soon, the Big Mo' is going to mean a ton of... ummm.... Mo'. I'll go so far as to venture that if Obama wins NH, he wins the nom.

As mentioned earlier, at this point, Hilary has been focusing on new 'change' messages, while basically just rearranging deck chairs on her own sinking ship.

(Polls are only so good, but that's all we have now) From today's Zogby:

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama rocketed to a 10-point lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire one day before their showdown in the state's presidential primary, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Monday.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona also began to pull away from rival Mitt Romney, opening a five-point lead on the Massachusetts governor as what had been tight races in both parties began to open up.

I love a McCain-Barack match-up... I'm not sure it'll happen, but I think that pairing in battle may give us the best possible outcome from the current candidates... either way.

January 4, 2008

On to the Granite State....

Although it's not surprising that Huckabee won, I love that he did. Sure, it's early; basically still in the first half of the first inning, but hey, it is a caucus, & every run counts. Purely guessing, but I'd have to say that the middle of the Republican Party is getting a wake up call to make sure they are not defined by the Religious Right... funny that Huckabee is only two places away from Clinton as Governor (after Clinton's replacement, Tucker, stepped down due to his involvement in Whitewater, Huckabee acsended to the Arkansinian throne... is that an oxymoron?). Interesting is that Huckabee was advised in his run for Lt. Gov by Dick Morris, the former Clinton advisor.

Clinton may win NH, but she peaked about 3 months ago... she is going down, down, down.

Oprah put him in the mainstream, & Obama is very good at keeping himself there. I'm not sure the lack of experience will be a problem... it may even be cleverly spun to help the cause.

Quick quiz question:
You have to go back to 1952 to find a U.S. election that has this very significant element in common with the 2008 contest. What is this element?

Winner gets a shout out on The Junto (will use only nicknames)