Monster Keys to Patriots vs Jets

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A lot is being made of Sunday’s meeting with the J.E.T.S…Jets Jets Jets. Sure, it’s always something special when you go heads up with a division rival, but it is by no means a battle for AFC East supremacy – it’s not even the JETS clawing their way to a wild card spot or even an upstart QB trying to make a name for himself going up against the best of his generation. What it is, is Rex Ryan’s last match up with Bill Bellichick as head coach of Gang Green. One last opportunity to put his best foot forward…one last chance to not kiss the rings. Here are my Keys to bringing down the curtain on the Rex Ryan era.

Get out Fast: everyone reading this – everyone on both sidelines – knows this is Rex’s last home game as head coach of the Jets. Everyone knows that his players love him and always give 100 %. Sunday, the Patriots need to take the wind out of the Jets sails early, and the best way to do that is to score early. Get out in front and steal their wind.

Lets get Gronked: when you own the most dominant weapon in football, you use it. If you owned a Hemi Cuda would you leave it in the garage? HELL NO, well Bill did just that last week and we didn’t hear the name Rob Gronkowski until the first play of the third quarter – and we all know what happened then. Get Rob involved early and only good things can happen.

Sugar Rush: running up the gut is not the way to a payday on Sunday. The strength of this Jets D is in their defensive line and stuffing the run is what these guys do best. Use their aggression against them; get the screen game going with Sugar Shane Vereen.

Take your Shots: now that we have the Jets D chasing Gronk and Vereen all over the Meadowlands, it’s time to take a few shots down field. Last week Brian Tyms showed what a man with two good hamstrings could do when they get one on one coverage. The only problem was Brady missed him by an inch or three. Lets get Mr. Tyms a few more of those opportunities this week.

Don’t coast on Ivory: sometimes old looks are the best. I’m expecting to see a lot of 3-4 from the front seven Sunday. Why? Great question. Rex’s best chance at stealing a W on Sunday is holding the ball for 40 minutes. How will he do this? Another great question…get the ball to Chris Ivory, let him pop outside and move the chains again and again and again. Take the ball out of Ivory’s hands and get it into Geno’s.

And that brings us to:

Win the turn over battle: Geno Smith managed to not toss an INT in the first match up this year. Honestly, what are the odds that happens again?

That’s it folks. I can’t think of much else the Pats need to do come Sunday. But if you do be sure to let me know.

Follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Sorry Red Sox, I’m Calling your Bluff

Clay

Almost a year ago, I sat in this very spot and wrote about the Red Sox rotation as a royal flush. From Ace on down to ten, Larry and Ben were holding Lester and Lackey while the house flopped Buchholtz, Peavey and Dempster – a dream hand – we all know how that game ended. Dempster never made it to opening day and after completely botching the Lester negotiations and the team limping through most of the season, Ben folded his hand and Lester and Lackey were shipped off at the deadline to Oakland and St Louis. Peavey was pardoned to San Francisco to add another ring to his finger. When the dust of 2014 settled, the Sox rotation had been striped bare.

The plan was to resign Lester; Larry botched that yet again, leaving Ben Cherington to clean up the mess and answer to the press. Ben quickly traded for lefty Wade Miley, righty Rick Porcello and added free agent and old friend Justin Masterson to Join Clay Buchholtz and Joe Kelly. So in essence, the Sox discarded their Ace and King – Lester and Lackey – for a pair of threes from the Diamondbacks and Tigers rotation. Even if Lucchino hadn’t screwed up with Lester and he re-upped with the Sox, I would see this hand as shaky.

But the spin doctoring has begun. Luchinno is placing blame not on himself for the handling of Lester, but on the team as a whole – using words like “We, We’re and our” when talking to the media. When you know as well as I do, this was all on Larry and John Henry, and I don’t want to hear about giving it the old collage try. There is no reason on God’s green earth that the Red Sox should be outspent for any player they want. Any form of credibility went out the window when the Sox went to six years. If they had set this games limit at four or five and the Cubs had raised over them to six, then so be it. But what this team did was get outspent. Now they expect us to believe they weren’t rich enough to sit at a no limit table all night. We all know that’s not the case. They want us to focus on the positives of the off-season. “We signed the two best bats available…look at the rotation we have put together” and “It’s only December” when you and I know both the trades and those singings are suspect. And its not “only” December, it is “already” December.

Now Larry has changed tables. He lost when he sat down with Lester and Theo. Now he’s sitting at our table trying to buy the pot. Trying to convince us even though he doesn’t have that royal flush it’s still a full house. The only problem is, Larry doesn’t realize you can still lose when that full house is fours over threes.

Monster Keys to Pats Dolphins

Pats Ridley

With the exception of he Forth Of July and St Patrick’s Day on no other weekend are there more flags flying across New England than there will be this upcoming. Come Sunday in place of the Stars and Stripes and the Orange White and Green of Eirinn will be the flag of hatred. Yes proud Patriots fans from Little Tall Island in Maine to the Thimble Islands in Long Island sound will hang.
Fish

Like no other time of year not even when JETS come to town Patriots fans get up for the Dolphins. This hatred runs deep in our veins, before the AFC East existed, before anyone had heard of Dan Marino there was the AFL. The Days of Don Shula and Bob Griese, where the arrogance of Mercury Morris was born and what insured Dan Marino’s villainy before he took the field for the first time. Old-timers who sat in the frozen bleachers in the day’s before Sullivan Stadium remember and we taught our kids who are now teaching their kids. After the Super Bowl, no win is more important than ones over Miami. Here are my Keys to doing just that.

Roll That Blount: The Dolphins feasted on Tom Brady week one and what’s the best way to combat a pass rush that is as formidable as Miami’s? Run at it. A steady diet of LeGarrette is what the Pats need to feed the Dolphins Sunday. Use the run to set up play action and keep Cameron Wake out of Toms face.

Screen with Vereen: Last week, once again, Shane Vereen became an afterthought. This little used weapon has the talent and explosive ability to take this Sunday match up and make it his show. The screen game should be a monster part of this week’s game plan and there is no one on this team better suited to do it.

Win the turnover battle: did you think I would forget?

Two tight ends are Better Than One: especially when one of the two is Gronk. I’m getting tired of telling Bill to get Tim Wright more involved and I know how tempting it is to hit Gronk and watch him Rumble, but come on can we target Timmy six or even five times Sunday ?

Force Tannehill’s Hand: Ryan Tannehill is a much better QB than he was in week one. That said its still in the Pats best interest to take RB Lamar Miller out of Sunday’s game and force Tannehill to throw the ball. Miller is the factor that needs to be negated. A one-dimensional team is always easier to send home wondering what the hell just happened.

Disruptive influence: the Dolphins don’t like to toss the ball downfield, At All. What Tannehill loves to do is hit Jarvis Landry and Mike Wallace on short crossing routs in stride and let them do the work with their legs he can’t do with his arm. Revis and Browner need to Jam these two at the line and get the timing game out of sync, and mistakes will happen.

That’s it folks. The keys are simple yet complicated the ring straightforward yet intricate, just like any winning game plan should be. But forget all that.. GO PATS

Follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Monster Keys to Pats Bolts

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There are quite a few narratives to this weeks match up with the Chargers – Brady-Rivers, Gronk-Gates, and Keenan Allen-Aaron Dobson. Wait Dobson isn’t here is he? Ok, scratch that last one since Mr. Dobson is soaking his sorrows back in Foxboro and Mr. Allen is on such a roll he’s about to take his fist trip to Revis Island. Then there are the health issues. Who will be available for Bill to use? Chandler Jones is on the mend but Dont’a Hightower is hurting and Brady could be missing his BFF Julian Edelman – leaving a much bigger roll for dare we say – Amendola? Yeah, I guess we dare, but no matter who is in, who is out and who plays the slot, these are my Keys to Patriots victory.

Establish the Run:

I don’t care who toats the rock Sunday night, someone needs to do so early, often and with authority. Since coming back to New England, Blount has 22 attempts for 136 yards. With 2 TD, I’m not genius but I’ll take my chances with a man averaging 6.1 yards per. Make the Chargers respect the run. Force them to bring Weddle up into the box and away from covering Gronk.

Bring The NOS:

The Bolts switch out alot of players on D as the situation dictates – DON’T let this happen. Brady and Bellichick need to push the little red nitro button this week. Going no huddle from the get go will keep the Bolts on their heels and force the mismatches Tom needs to exploit in the chargers secondary.

Get Back Get Back:

Get back to where we once belonged – yeah, I put the Beatles in your head…Last week the Patriots mistakenly tried to stretch their usual short passing attack to a medium range one. Didn’t work to well, now did it? While I know it’s important to take a shot or two down field, but it’s more important to dance with the partner you know. Use the short game to move the chains.

Timmy Time:

Tim Write is often the forgotten man. Not only by Tom, Josh and Bill, but opposing defenses often forget about him as well. I’d like to see Tim get some targets outside of the end zone Sunday night.

Old Man Rivers:

Ok, Philip Rivers isn’t old, but you can make him look it. The Pats needs to get in Rivers face from the coin flip and stay there with pressure up the middle from Willfork and Chris Jones. Get Rivers off his spot and take away his ability to use the entire field.
What Can Browner do for you?

Well, this week he can beat up on Gates. While time and injury have beaten up Mr. Gates, he is still one of the best route runners in the NFL. Use Browner to hold up Gates at the line and move him off his routes.

Control the Yac:

Rivers likes to get the ball out fast – the Pats DB’s are going to have to be quick thinking and even quicker to the ball. Wrap these Chargers receivers up and don’t let them beat you with their legs.

Third and Gone:

I’m not going to site the third down conversion rate the Packers managed last week. This situation can’t continue. Get off the field.

Make them Settle:

The Chargers are 5-1 at home. A big reason for that is Rivers has 13 TD strikes at home to just three INT’s. Tighten things up when they get into the red zone; make them settle for field goals.

Win The Turnover battle:

Every week people…every week.

That’s it folks. The Pats need to pay close attention to my advise this week. After last Sunday’s loss, every game down the stretch becomes more important – almost imperative, for New England to win. No one wants to play away in January.

Follow / give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Sports Infusion show line up Weds 9PM Et

Join Pamela Michelle and Andrew “Fish” Fain tonight at 9 pm Et to Get Infused! Tonight they welcome Mike Perry jr Founder of Ltg Recruiting. Of course talking NFL with our Pro Football Guru Russell Baxter! Then we welcome from Steel City Warriors team owner Annice Reaves and team Captain Zack Tatrin. Lastly the gang makes you “Mo Money” with Only Best Bets Greg Smith! Make sure you tune in….To get your weekly Infusion ! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportsjamnetwork/2014/12/04/sports-infusion

Bob Ryan Continues to Hide in Plain Sight On Hall Vote

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Before I opened my Boston Globe yesterday I had a bad feeling. You know the feeling I’m talking about, that queasy pit of your stomach feeling that makes you want to turn left and not right or ask the waitress for fresh cream before you even check under the little flip top. Well I was right; under Bob Ryan’s byline there it was

“ No excuse For Hall of Fame Voters to Pass over Pedro”, a true enough statement. But I know Bob Ryan, been reading him most of my life, at least as long as I’ve been old enough to be sent down the bottom of Norwood Ave to Smalls corner store to get the papers. I knew this wasn’t the true argument he wanted to make. It was just the first act of this play. Sure he went on and on camouflaging his true intention hiding behind the immortals that had been kept off a ballot or 20 and had to enter “HIS” hall of fame un-unanimously. But Bob droned on sighting names of players and numbers of fools who dared leave Mays, Williams, Ruth and Musial off their ballots. But Ryan couldn’t help himself. He stepped in a pile of self righteousness before he went off in the direction he wanted this entire conversation to turn. In the same breath he took the BBWAA to task for leaving off his hero’s he mentioned that Tom Seaver shouldn’t have the highest vote total of all time 425 of 439. Painful. But I digress; after all you’ve been waiting for me to digress for a while.

The real reason for Mr. Ryan’s being here today was PEDS and his wanting the Hall of Fame to take him and the other auspicious coin-flipping (Pete Abraham) voters of BBWAA off the hook for their transgressions. I’m talking about the writers not the athletes; you know the ones who want you to think they were to blind to see that McGuire, Sosa and company were doing things in their late 30’s they couldn’t do in their 20’s. Yes Hall of Fame Take the BBWAA off the hook.

Bob Ryan’s begging you to

“Take complete charge of the issue. The Hall should instruct voters to do so strictly on the numbers and accomplishments. Voters should factor out the possible intrusion of PEDS.”

Sorry Bob but what’s stopping you from doing just that? It is your vote. If you want Clemens in vote for him if you think Big Mac deserves to be in then by all means vote him in, Ryan goes on to say he would “Vote for all of them “ if you would just do this one thing for him. Blah blah blah.

You see Mr. Ryan wants to keep sitting on his high horse; he doesn’t want to jump off. He doesn’t want to come down to field level; “he cares about the hall “ he’s staying where he is. Until surfs bring him a set of stairs so he can gingerly step to the ground wave to the masses and say, they made me do it, I have my integrity, but The Hall made me vote on the numbers. Ryan goes on to say “ he may vote for them all anyway, he’s working on it” But I doubt Mr. Ryan or the rest of the sees no evil – hears no evil- speaks no evil (until I don’t need you), crew of the BBWAA will ever just admit they are as culpable as the players owners and fans were, and vote in the “PED Guys” not without their get out of jail free card.

Follow/Give me Grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

A HOT Winter ! By Andrew “Fish” Fain

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday now behind us, and the Winter Meetings just over a week away, it is time for the Hot Stove League to really catch fire. So far it has been pretty warm, with the Red Sox signing The Panda and Hanley, the Marlins inking Giancarlo Stanton, the A’s dealing 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto for Brett Lawrie and others, plus a few other minor trades being made. But you can’t help but feel the main event is still yet to come. It will be and it starts in San Diego.
In this column I am going to tell you what deals and free agent signings SHOULD be made by their respective clubs. But know a few things going in:
1) Some of these are very real possibilities as I have talked to sources who have confirmed them
2) NONE of these will be the kind of deal that is out of the realm of possibility (so you won’t see the Yankees should trade A-Rod to the Dodgers for Clayton Kershaw).
3) Finally, these are deals that will make all teams involved either contenders right away, further entrench them in the post-season, or get them on their way to rebuilding (Sorry Rickie Weeks fans, no team signing him makes them a contender).
With those ground rules being set, and rosters looking as they do … Here are 10 moves that should, and very well could happen at the Winter Meetings and beyond.

1: This may be the most obvious move in ALL of baseball., the Yankees will sign Max Scherzer to top their rotation. This will give the Yankees a rotation Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia and any number of options to fill in at number 5. While it is not the Bronx Bombers biggest need (hello, Shortstop), you truly can never have enough pitching and adding Scherzer to the Yankees will make them relevant again come the post-season. The Yankees will then resign Chase Headly for too much money because they are also desperate for a 3rd baseman and he is the best of what’s left on the market. Besides, do you really think Steinbrenners Jr. will sit back and allow the Red Sox to steal ALL the off-season headlines?
2: The Red Sox will package Mookie Betts, Henry Owens, Deven Marrero and Jackie Bradley Jr and send them to the Nationals for Jordan Zimmerman. Then in the same day, or within 24 hours, they will send Yeonis Cespedes to the Reds for Mat Latos. That will give the Red Sox a rotation of Zimmerman, Latos, Joe Kelly, Clay Bucholtz and one of their kids (Webster, De La Rosa et al) to go with one of the best line-ups in the game. They will also be able to keep Xander Boegarts, which is the biggest hold-up in completing a deal for Cole Hamels.
3. The Angels, not to be outdone by all of this, will swoop in and overpay for James Shields. He will give the Halo’s the innings eater they need, and will fit in quite nicely with Weaver, Richards, Shoemaker and Wilson. We already know how potent that Halo’s offense can be.
4. The Miami Marlins will trade one of their young pitchers, probably Nate Evoldi, to the Diamondbacks for Mark Trumbo. This will give the Marlins the power hitting 1st baseman they crave and the protections for Giancarlo Stanton, while allowing the D-Backs to not only add a good young pitcher to their rotation, but stop them from having to field two very bad outfielders (Trumbo and the newly acquired Tomas) in the same outfield.
5. The Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox will strike a deal that sends Ace Jeff Samardzija to the South Side and the Sox will send Dyan Viceido AND Alexi Ramirez to the A’s. This will allow Oakland to have a good SS with a good contract, and another solid power hitting OF. While the Sox will have a good 3rd pitcher to pair with Ace Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. It is one of those rare deals that will help BOTH sides.
6. The Dodgers will deal Andre Ethier to the Rangers (and pick up most of his contract along the way) for next to nothing, probably a minor leaguer that is not on anybody’s Top 15, and then will also deal Carl Crawford to Toronto (again picking up most of his contract) for a slightly better minor leaguer. Then LA will turn to Philadelphia where they will acquire Ace Cole Hamels and SS Jimmy Rollins (thus relieving the Phillies of a high priced contract, and making it easier to get Hamels. In return, the Phillies will get Grant Holmes, Zach Lee (two of the better pitching prospects in the Dodgers system), Cuban infielder Alx Guerrero and Middle Infielder Darnell Sweeney, who projects as a speedy MI type. The Phillies will try to get Corey Seager, Julio Urias and/or Joc Pederson, but NONE of those 3 wil be made available, so in order to get rid of Rollins and his contract, the Phillies will make this move. This will give LA a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Grienke, Cole Hamels, Hyun jin-Ryu and Dan Haren, while allowing Rollins to play SS until Seager is ready to go.
7. The Braves will deal Justin Upton to the Seattle Mariners for Taijuan Walker, 3rd Base Prospect DJ Peterson (who is now blocked by the 7 year deal Kyle Seager just signed) and SS Chris Taylor. This will allow the Braves basically a mulligan on Upton and allow them to focus on what has made the Braves so good for so long., pitching. Walker has ACE stuff, and if he can stay healthy, he will lead that Braves rotation for years to come, and team him up with Shelby Miller and Atlanta is on its way to another Glavine, Smoltz Maddux trio. On the Mariners side of things, they would have just added Andre Ethier to help out from the left side, and now they get Justin Upton who will help protect Robinson Cano and will give the M’s a line-up to go with one of the better pitching staffs in the game.
8. The Giants who lost Kung-Fu Panda will now take that money and add Nelson Cruz to put some pop into their line-up and move Gregor Blanco to the role he is best suited for, as a 4th outfielder. They will also take some of that Panda money and sign Francisco Liriano to add a little depth to a rotation that will have lost both Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong. Then they will take a mid-level prospect and send him over to Boston for Will Middlebrooks, giving San Francisco the 3rd baseman they now need.
9. It is now the Cubs turn to strike, and strike they will. Their first move will be the obvious signing of Jon Lester, as they are willing to give him the 6th year he craves. They will also take stud rookie Javier Baez, 3rd baseman Mike Olt and a couple of lower level prospects and deal them to Washington for Doug Fister. The Nats,who will have already dealt Jordan Zimmerman to Boston, can use Baez as their shortstop (Ian Desmond is a free agent after this year), put Olt at first (because Adam Laroache is now in Chicago and Ryan Zimmerman is ALWAYS hurt) and will still have a rotation that has Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detweiler, along with a deep minor league system of pitchers, including Henry Owens who they got from the Red Sox. Meanwhile the Cubs, who have a TON of young position players (Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler) will add Jon Lester and Doug Fister to a rotation that already has Jake Arrieta who looks like he discovered his stuff last season and wil be ready to compete.
10. The final two players who will be on the move are from different leagues and are in different situations, but will both be in new places. Melky Cabrera will be leaving Toronto and heading to Baltimore, where he can play for a contender on natural grass (a BIG issue for him) and replace Nelson Cruz and/or Nick Markakis in the O’s line-up. That will leave a void in left field for the Blue Jays, which will be filled by Jay Bruce of the Reds. It will cost a pretty penny from Toronto, stud pitcher Aaron Sanchez (and a couple of other lesser prospects), but it will be worth it in the long run for the team with the longest playoff drought in all of baseball. Think of a line-up that features Jose Reyes, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Bruce. WOW!!!!
Of course, there will be plenty of other moves going down in San Diego, as well as the rest of the winter. But these are 10 (or so) moves that could all very easily happen at the Winter Meetings. Each one, will help a team either contend or rebuild and after speaking to my sources, don’t be surprised if they ALL happen. Let’s check back in January and see where we sit.

 

Monster Keys to Pats vs. Pack

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I sat here staring at a blank screen for quite sometime. Thinking how the hell does Tom Brady go into Lambeau and beat Aaron Rodgers? Then it clicked Tom Brady doesn’t have to beat Rodgers, he has to beat the Packers D.the Pats D has to stop Rodgers… then I sat here and stared a little while longer. Some epiphany huh. Can you blame me? This Packer’s team is no joke they hang huge numbers on opponents week in and week out, so what do the Pats do this week to slow down this offensive Ace Aaron Rodgers and his three wild cards Lacey Nelson and Cobb?. Lets take a look

Shuffle the Deck :

Last week Bill moved Revis and Browner all over the field, I expect to see much of the same this week. Positioning Revis situationaly and rolling safety help over the top to take away his second and third reads. Mixing up the coverage’s is going to play a huge part in holding down this teams ability to move the chains and get into the red zone.

Stack that Deck: To date the Pats haven’t faced a team that can both run and pass the ball as effectively as the Packers, Willfork and Chris Jones are going to have to smother the holes the Packers O Line open up and make Eddy Lacey look for daylight. Then it’s the Job of Hightower and Collins and co, to take that away. Don’t let Lacey get to the second level where he does his most damage.

Find the Joker: the joker in this case being the turnover, the Pats need to take care of business when they have the ball Sunday because the Packers simply don’t turn the ball over. Rodgers has just 3 INT’s on the season and Eddy Lacy has only put the ball on the turf twice. As a team the Pack is a + 15 in TO Ratio. Don’t count on turning the tides on this team. The Pats have to take care of the ball when they have it. Or this squad will make them pay.

Keep The Dealer Happy: I don’t know about you folks but when im playing cards I always tip my dealer.. Just good Karma, the dealer in this case is Tom Brady. The line has done a great job over the past seven games keeping Tom upright The pack has 27 sacks on the season, no matter how good your weapons are not giving Brady enough time to find them is the surest way to lose this game.

Don’t Go All In: unlike in weeks past where the Pats have picked their poison and either run the ball down the thought of their opponents or used the Passing attack to exploit their weakness come Sunday at four the Patriots had better be balanced and calculated. Since moving AJ Hawk inside the Packers have been exceptional in stopping opponents rushing game. Use a balanced run game with Gray, Blount and Vereen to set up play action and control the clock.

Don’t overplay your hand: The Pats cant afford to get set back with stupid penalties, not this week, while other teams have had a hard time keeping up with the Patriots offense That wont be the case Sunday. Overcoming a moronic false start or needless personal foul is going to be harder than ever. the Packers will capitalize on every opportunity. And at the end of the day New England cant let the Packers draw extra cards to the tune of 50 or 100 yards in free territory and expect to look up at the scoreboard on top.

That’s it folks, those are my keys to the Pats walking away from the Green Bay felt table with chips stacked high and leaving the Packers with nothing more than cab fair in their pockets.

Follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

Red Sox: Free Agency and Schizophrenia

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If you came here for answers you’re in the wrong place. Sorry my rabid readers, but I need this kind of thinking explained to me. What is The Red Sox plan? They say they don’t do things the way the Yankees do – but they are. They say they are committed to young talent – but they aren’t. They say they don’t give long tern contract to thirty year olds – but they just did. In the last 24 hours, John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington and Tom Warner chucked everything they have been spoon-feeding Red Sox Nation out the window to ink a new third baseman in Pablo Sandoval and a left fielder who has never played left field in old friend Hanley Ramirez. Some $200 million locked up over the next five years on two high-risk free agents. I don’t get it, do you?

I wrote last week why both these signing should be avoided, never thinking that they would actually toss between $180 and $200 million out the window on both Ramirez and Sandoval. Don’t misunderstand I like that this team is spending and I understand we need a left-handed bat and one who plays third is a bonus, so I can almost forgive signing a light hitting third baseman everyone is already moving across the diamond. But to add Ramirez to the mix in this outfield only weakens it – not only defensively, but you can kiss any leverage Ben might have in trade talks he might be in with other clubs goodbye. Not that folks are lining up to give front-end starters for what major-league talent Cherington will be offering. At least not without Xander, Henry Owens, Blake Swihart or Garin Cecchini in the mix – Or maybe Ben expects to get Cole Hamels for Cespedes and a bag of forth outfielders? Bringing a front of the rotation starter is going to be expensive; it’s going to hurt.

I’m done ranting about the stupidity shown on Yawkey. For today, just remember while you’re dancing in the streets, Clay Buchholtz is still your opening day starter.

follow/give me grief @Tmurph207

Monster Keys to Patriots Lions

Vereen Brady

Detroit comes to town Sunday with its vaunted Defense led by the man named Suh, do I look worried? You can’t tell because you’re reading this and not watching me on TV (count your blessings) but trust me, I don’t. Not one bit am I worried about a defense that gave up two scores to Arizona on their first two possessions last week. nor am I worried about a team who spotted Atlanta 21 points. Should the Pats you or I be intimidated by a team that shut down the JETS or Giants, Do you think the Hoodie should have paced the floor in worry about a team who held Buffalo to 14 or that juggernaut Minnesota offense to a mere 3 points. Okay the Green Bay thing was impressive but lets be serious people the Loins have not faced the greatest shows on turf this season. Green Bay was struggling to find a rhythm and New Orleans is far from the pre bounty-gate Saints. It’s the wounded offence that has me worried.

The Lions were held out of the end zone entirely last week and their caching staff is working nonstop to fix that situation, paring down a playbook that has been to deep for its players. And coming up with ways to get more people involved. So here are my Keys to dashing their hopes of coming into Foxboro and leaving with a W

Win The Turn over Battle: I didn’t want to hold you in suspense as to when the hell is Murph going to write
“ Win The Turnover battle “ you can thank me later

Keep your eyes on the road: With the way this Patriots team has been clicking over the past six weeks this is a perfect time to get complacent. That cant happen Sunday. The Pats are not just clearly in the AFC drivers seat when they look around they might think they are alone in this car. And while they are gazing around at this passenger less Mustang they might just hit some black ice… DON’T DO THAT.

On Offense

Spread Them Thin

My opening statement aside the Fat guys across the Lions defensive line are some of the best in the NFL I don’t expect a lot of up the gut running like we saw last week in Indy. What Josh McDaniel’s needs to do is get Vereen more involved this Sunday and get Detroit’s fat foursome chasing him from sideline to sideline. And not storming up the middle into Brady’s grill. Set the edge and let Shane do that thing he do.

Cross the Streams: Get Edelman and even dare I say it, Amendola crisscrossing underneath the secondary. Use Gronkowski to clear space for the mighty midgets and use them like a running attack with short crisp stuff over the middle. Move the Chains Man Move The Chains..

Gronkowski: … yep that’s it I just type his name…My Job Is Great.

On D

Blanket these Wide Outs: one of the biggest concerns for any defense facing the Lions is Calvin Johnson, having a weapon as tempting as this, as appealing as this could also help a secondary as talented as the Patriots, Not this year. In years past Stafford would fixate on Johnson. And when the going got tough he would force the ball there time and time again. With the addition of Golden Tate he has options now that he can actually use. Beat these two up off the line and let McCourty play that all-star style center field to take away the big plays. Bide your time make the big play impossible and wait for Stafford to make a mistake. He will.

Don’t forget about Ebron: I’ve been waiting for this kid to bust out since week one, wouldn’t it be a kick in the ass if it happened Sunday?

Punish Stafford: I know our Pass rush has not been amazing without Mr. Jones but the Lions line is a hot mess. Stafford is being sacked at a clip of more than three times a game. Bring the pressure from upfront get in Stafford’s face without letting him get off his spot and extend his time with the ball and him on his backside.

That’s it folks and to be honest I think that’s enough Thanks for reading

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