Monster Keys to Patriots Raiders

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At the end of Sundays game against the Vikings, you had to ask yourself where was this D last week against the Dolphins? The Pats wreaked havoc on the field Sunday against a Peterson-less Vikings squad that just didn’t know which way to turn because, quite frankly any way they turned, Chandler Jones was there. But we aren’t here to pat Bill’s crew on the back for last week; we are here to break down what they need to do this week against the Raiders. So lets get into it.

Limit the Laundry: I can’t believe this key is first on my ring this week but its something that has to be fixed. There are far to many camera shots of refs during Patriots games. And far to often, those refs are pointing fingers at whatever side of the ball the Pats are on. New England is FIRST in the league in yards panelized (263) and second in penalties (24). They would easily be first if Refs could march off multiple penalties, but the opposition can still, thank God, only accept one at a time. Yes, I’m looking at you Nate Solder…knock it off…most of these calls are moronic personal foul calls or even dumber mental errors in jumping off sides or moving too soon. Yes, I’m still looking at you Nate…

Fist down Patriots: I didn’t hear enough of this last week. Five rushing, nine passing and a third down efficiency rate of 35 %…the team that lost Sunday was 36% on third down -get my drift?

Pats Ridley

Run Ridley, Run: Steven Ridley reminded everyone Sunday what kind of talent he is. The line opened up holes for Steve and he got into the second level and made things happen. Ridley touched the ball early and often his 101 yards and a Score was 32 % of the Pats total offence. This week he gets a chance to build on that against one of the worst rushing D’s I’ve ever seen.

Time to Split Shane: Alan Ladd (Shane) knew when it was time to go. Vereen can’t call his own number or plays. We have to let Tom and Josh McDaniels (God Help Us) handle that, but the Pats need more balance to this attack. I think this week they can do that by utilizing Vereen more in the passing game. Shane had one catch last week. If Tom isn’t going to look at Amendola and Dobson, lets use Vereen in the way Hernandez was – and leave the Raiders yelling “Come Back Shane, Shane come back”.

Win The Turn over Battle: Worked last week didn’t it?

New York Jets v New Engalnd Patriots
Get the best People on the Field
Paging Dr’s Dobson & Thompkins

Don’t Settle: The Pats got into the end zone three times last week. One of those scores was Chandler Jones blocked FG and mad dash. Another was Ridley going in from the one after D-Mac ran an INT back 60 yards. The Pats managed just two field goals after the half. That’s not going to get it done every week. That’s the mark of an 8-8 team.

Utilize the whole field: yes I’m getting on Tom Brady’s case. Its my job, its what I do. In the first two weeks, Brady locked in on his primary target and refused to look anyplace else. Wide open receivers in both the Vikings and Dolphins games were not seen because Brady had to get the ball to his trusted first options – Edelman and Gronk. What did this get the team? One scoring drive over 60 yards in two games. Brady needs to get back to hitting the open man and don’t be fooled, they are out there.

Paging Dr’s Dobson & Thompkins

The D: Excuse me while I rub some Icy-Hot on my shoulder. I’ve been blatantly patting myself on the back since 5 pm Sunday and it’s killing me.

Keep it up, but Mix it up: While the Pats weren’t exclusively in the 4-3 I called for them to use, they were in it a lot – and shock, it worked. Chandler Jones looked like an All Pro as he was all over the field. The DB’s were trusted to make plays – and they did. The Raiders are going with Rookie QB David Carr and the Pats need to confuse this kid with different looks and bring pressure again from all over the field. Force Carr into bad decisions.

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Stuff & Wrap: We all saw week one what can happen when holes are opened up and even bad running backs get to the second level. The Raiders line isn’t great, but I didn’t think the Miami line was either. The fat men need to plug those holes up and the GQ cover models at LB need to stop anyone that squeezes through or try’s to sweep around.

Win the turn Over Battle: I’m superstitious I said it twice last week so here we are.

That’s it Folks, simple and to the point. Asking for solid football from a team with this variety of talent isn’t a lot to ask …Is it?

Murph

Follow me . give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

My Monster Keys to Patriots Week Two Victory

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I have to admit for the first time in my writing career that was hard. to hard a headline to write. I had to channel my inner child and go back to 1975. When it didn’t matter that the Pats couldn’t run the ball, pass the ball, block or defend. Thank god back in the day the NFL season was only 14 games. The Pats Finished 3 – 11 in 75’ and I cant remember how they won the three games. But every Sunday I sat in Andy Dunn’s family room and we were both sure that this week the Pats were going to “ Kick Ass “ that a 22 year old Steve Grogan was the greatest QB ever. We knew that Russ Francis, Darryl Stingly and Steve Vataha would grab everything Grogan tossed at them and we absolutely knew that Sam “Bam” Cunningham was going to the Hall of Fame some day. Even if he did fumble 12 times that year.. But it didn’t mater, the losses mounted it didn’t matter INT’s and Fumbles didn’t matter. So here I am 8 year old Murph ready to tell you how the Patriots will win Sunday … it doesn’t matter that they are the only winless team in the AFC East. I’ve been here before.

So here are my Keys to Patriots getting back to 1-1

Scrap the 3-4

If your going to run a 3-4 defensive front you had better have two things a lot of FAT GUYS and Linebackers who can stop the run. The Pats don’t have either . Big Vince while pretty Big cant play all three of those spots up front Chandler Jones is wasted in this alignment. to get the most out of him you need to let Jones play his natural 4-3 End Spot where he can rush off that wide edge. While I was as shocked as anyone that first rd pick Dominique Easley was active week one he also was used about as wrong as possible this kid needs to be inside where he can spit through gaps instead of trying to read and react. Sealver Siliga ? OMG PLEASE. Put these guys back. ALL of them put them back where you found them in 4-3 do it now. Right now

Okay I Know Bill wont do this but I had to get that out of the way

The D

Find # 28 and Stop Him.. You all know who this is? After all we are still talking about the Vikings and as Adrian Peterson goes so go the Vikings, Stop Peterson easy right? RIGHT, they way the Patriots need to do this is to clog the middle and force AP outside. The trick is, there has to be someone there. The Pats OLB’s have to stay at home not get sucked into the middle of the field so when AP does bounce out and HE WILL, someone is there to stop him. Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower need to be quick to the outside when AP makes his bounce move and limit his yards after contact. Some strong safety help here would be nice …. Easy right? Right

Shadow Cordarrelle Patterson: Okay Mr Revis you didn’t show up last week so you own me double duty this Sunday.. I want to see Revis following Patterson all day long negate the Vikings Sweeps by shadowing this guy like covert soviet operative. The thing we all know Darrell can do better than any CB in the league is move around the field. This week you’re going to earn your paycheck Sir

Special Teams D: stay in your lanes, yes I’m preaching like a Pop Warner coach. Hold your lanes stay there and make tackles. The Vikings are one of the best teams in the league on punt and kick returns. This needs to be limited Sunday, make them play the length of the field. The longer the field is the more opportunity you have to get that ball.. that brings us to …

Win the turnover battle… easy to understand.. No explanation necessary,

On Offense : Stop Doing the electric Slide w the OL

Enough with the shuffling back and forth in and out side to side find the best player put him there and let him play. ALL DAY. It’s going to be tough enough finding and stopping Linval Joseph without worrying all day long who am I? by the way Stop Linval Joseph

Get Aaron Dobson Activated: Dobson Looked pretty good in week 4 and this team needs people to stretch the field this week to keep Harrison smith busy and not pressuring TB12. Amendola is not that guy Brandon LaFell is definitely not that guy. Rob Gronkowski is not yet that guy. Edelman can’t be wasted trying to do this when he is the only receiver on this team getting any YAK… (Yards After Catch) yes I know it’s a C. If BB left him on the field, Kenbrell might be that guy .

Win the turnover battle… easy to understand.. No explanation necessary .. Yes I said it twice. This is important damn it

Tom needs to be Terrific: this team is not going to do a damn thing if Tom Brady cant do the things Tom Brady does…. nothing I said above this paragraph is going to mean a damn thing if Brady doesn’t hit open receivers. To often last week balls sailed over wide outs heads. To often they were tossed at their feet, to often they were tossed at his targets backs… Brady was not Tom Brady. And there is no one to blame for that but Tom Brady

That’s it folks those are my Keys.. Bill didn’t listen to me last week if he had he would have won and no one would be freaking out over this Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @Tmurph207

Protect The Shield Protect The Shield

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Mounted on a segway NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rode through NFL offices Monday like Paul Revere crying out TMZ is coming TMZ is coming. The message was clear. Once again it was time to “ Protect the shield “

As news broke that TMZ released the interior elevator camera footage and Mr and Mrs America would get to see woman beater Ray Rice’s counterpunching skills for themselves. Goodell and his minutemen went into action. Calls were placed to Ravens ownership, coaches and front office people that the cover-up was over and real action had to be taken. The two game suspension of Rice and get tough on crime against woman speeches would no longer be enough and a sacrifice had to be made.. Now don’t get me wrong Rice is not getting any sympathy from this writer nor does he deserve any. But this moment in crime belongs to the Ravens and Mr. Commish. Do any of you truly think that either the Ravens or the league had not seen this horrific footage before Goodell laid down the law and gave Rice a paltry two games off for bad behavior? Or ravens ownership coaches and the front office people hadn’t seen this and just gone along with that judgment and stood behind Ray in “His time Of Need “. You’re fooling yourselves

Lets for the sake of argument say that SURE no one at league or team level had ever seen that footage. What did Goodell the Ravens his teammates you and I for that matter think he did before dragging his fiancé limp lifeless looking body out of that elevator? Knock her out with his breath? Did Rice tell Roger sure we argued but it was the speed and rush of the elevators rise to their floor that made her dizzy and she fell into his clenched fist. Or any other story you I or a 4 year old could come up with to get out of trouble. No we all knew what happened a Man closed his fist and punched a woman into
Unconsciousness

They all Knew: Video or not, team league and fans alike knew what ever happened before those doors opened was abhorrent, but The Team still had use for Ray Rice the League wanted to protect their teams investment and productivity and quite frankly the Fans who gave Ray a standing ovation when he took the practice field wanted to also.

But now thanks to the Washington Post of the 21 century TMZ everyone now sees. It’s in your face and there is no fooling yourself anymore. And the Call rings out again.

TMZ is coming TMZ is coming Protect The Shield Protect The Shield

follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207

My Keys To Patriots Week one Victory

Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v New England Patriots

Its here people, its time for Real football , no more camp updates no more speculation about who’s on what bubble or what the final roster will look like. No more meaningless preseason games no Semi Pro College games to tease us with. It’s the Pats it’s the Dolphins and here are my keys to Patriots Victory week one

On Defense

Bring the Noise: Ryan Tannehill has flaws , who doesn’t ? His biggest flaw is getting flustered in the pocket. The Miami QB tossed 17 INT’s last year and more than half of those came with someone in his face. This new Dolphins OL has not been together long, getting in Tannehill’s head shouldn’t be that difficult and Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich need to live in the Miami backfield all afternoon. Pressure from the middle needs to come from Big Vince and yes rookie Dominique Easley . We will find out week one if I was right and cutting Tommy Kelly was the wrong move to make.

Don’t Bite: I don’t mean don’t stink – suck or take a chunk out of someone leg. Don’t bite on Play-Action. Collins, Mayo and Hightower need to stay at home and not commit to stopping the run (too soon). This new Miami offence is predicated on fast paced quick strike passes, how New England handles play action is going to play a huge roll in Sunday’s success or failure.

Safety Play whatever the rotation is come Sunday the Strong safety is going to have to be on their toes. If the LB trio does get suckered into Play action fakes someone needs to be there to help with TE Charles Clay. Or the chains will keep moving.

Speaking of: Don’t let them keep the chains moving.. Stepping up on third downs has been a Patriot’s issue over the past few years. With the heat index in the 90’s on Sunday the D is going to have to help themselves get off the field and in front of those cold zones on the sidelines.

On Offence:

Keep Brady upright and not uptight. To often last year Brady looked more like a weatherman than a quarterback. Sitting on his backside looking up at the clouds will not get the Pats a week one win. How do we do that you ask ?

Find Cameron Wake and give him something else to do. Run at him double team him let him hold the TV remote. I don’t care Wake needs to be busy doing other things than chasing down Tom Brady

Keep it short and Sweet: if the Pats can do what I asked above third and long situations shouldn’t be a problem. Make first and second downs count for something and move the chains on third down.. Exhaust this dolphins D have them sucking wind in the forth quarter.

Let Ridley be Ridley and Vereen be Vereen: don’t get cute Bill run Steven Ridley between the tackles and use Vereen the way god intended get him in space and let him make DB’s look foolish

Gronk Up: Robs Healthy? Play him. Now I know a lot of people call for the team to limit his exposure and I understand that. no one wants to see a healthy Gronk in the super bowl more than I do, but there are other ways to do this. Let Gronkowski clear out space for Tom’s pigmie warriors. Even without the ball Rob can have an impact on every play. Targeting the big man doesn’t have to be an every down option, no matter how good it looks.

That’s it folks those are my Keys to going 1-0 .. not a lot to ask ? pretty simple don’t you think ? yea will see …

Go Pats

Follow me/ give me grief @Tmurph207

Brady Has Ninety Nine Problems – But Gonk Ain’t One

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Here we are on the cusp of Tom Brady’s 15th NFL season, and a decade removed from his last Lombardy Trophy. A decade of reloading – ten years of scraping, fighting and clawing his way back to Super Bowls and AFC title games, only to come away without that elusive forth. Four – the number that keeps him up at night, the number his idol Joe Montana holds over his head, the number the detractors in the unenlightened bar circles around the league use to put lesser QB’s ahead of him in the great debate.

This season will be no different than the last ten. Tom Brady has issues to face and obstacles to overcome. I know he can and Patriots Nation prays he will.So lets take a look at what we have:

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A Head Coach that is better than his GM: this is hard on any QB but when that amazingly gifted head coach is his GM its even more difficult to overcome. Ownership can’t change one to help the other. They can’t fix one issue without creating another. And again, in this year’s draft, Bill took his three-year plan into the Patriots War Room and came away with depth and future stability – not weapons that would help his team win now. Moves that had repercussions as recently as the Pats trade of All-Pro Guard, Logan Mankins to Tampa for second year TE Tim Wright – a need that could easily have been addressed in the draft.

An offensive line that is in complete flux and disarray: Last years line put Brady on his backside more than forty times – and that’s just sacks. I’m not counting knockdowns and idiots stepping on Brady’s foot as he comes out from under center. Now the trade of Mankins has weakened two spots, as rumor has it Sebastian Vollmer will slide over to the vacated guard spot and Marcus Cannon to the tackle position. I would keep going here but it would turn into a who’s on first – what’s on second – I don’t know third base skit in three more lines. Ryan Wendell, the worst pass blocking C in Patriots history is still the starter, and oh my God, I’ve got a headache… why not put Kline at guard? Add in the swap of longtime coaching super genius Dante “ Scar” Scarnecchia for new OL Coach Dave “Googs” DeGuglielmo … yeah, Wicked Headache.

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A nervous off-injured RB Corp: Steven Ridley is one of the most talented backs in Patriots history, and what does this young talented 1200-yard rusher have on his mind? “Damn, if I drop a ball I’m out of a job”. His counterpart Shane Vereen, while talented in his own right, has spent more time in tubs over the past two seasons than he has on the field, and Brandon Bolden just never seems to be fully healthy. James White? Yeah, the question mark speaks for itself.

The Wide Out Walk on Walking Wounded: Over the years, the lack of stud wide-outs at Tom Brady’s disposal is well documented. This year’s crop is no different. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have one healthy season between them. Aaron Dobson is a plant or cut away from needing another screw inserted in his foot and UDFA Kenbrell Tompkins and Free Agent Bryan Tyms ( health wise ) might be the best of the bunch. No, I didn’t forget about Brandon “dropsy” LaFell…I wish I could. Not exactly Rice Swan or Stalworth for Toms targets.

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That brings us to the title character of this rant.

Rob Gronkowski: Gronk is healthy, ready for week one – so he says, and I’ll take him at his word. With Gronk on the field dragging linebackers and DB’s all over the place, it opens up the passing game for the rest of the aforemethened. When Gronk is healthy, It springs open options and audibles for the running attack. Vereen gets split out and Ridley gets an easier path to daylight,rookie running backs have more opportunity to make their late round selection look like genius. Without Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady will get the job done. Because he’s Tom F’ing Brady. He will use what he has and Win the division, get you to the playoffs that AFC title game or even to the Super Bowl…with Gronk? This team is a red zone nightmare a force to be reckoned with – and Tom Brady gets number four.

Murph

Follow me @Tmurph207

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Getty

Goodell gets it , when it hits his Wallet

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In a secret bunker, the CEO’s of Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo and Coke met on Monday. On Wednesday, the three cash cows that the NFL suckles from, marched into the NFL offices in NYC and told Roger Goodell: Do you want to see our ads at this years Super Bowl? Wake Up.

Now, did this actually happen? I doubt it. Or in a round about way, did it? I do think the commish felt the pressure of consumers and feared the backlash from advertisers. Why else would he do a 180 on these statements he made in Canton:

“Our policy is clear on this, we have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL and that there will be consequences for that.”
“When we’re going through the process of evaluating the issue and whether there will be discipline, we look at all of the facts that we have available to us. Law enforcement normally has more – on a normal basis – has more information, facts, than we have. We’ll get as much as we possibly can. And then we also have the opportunity to sit down with the individual, and maybe others, to determine how that individual is reacting to it.”

And

“I think what’s important here is that Ray is being accountable for it. He recognizes he made a horrible mistake and he knows what he did is unacceptable by his standards and by our standards”
All of this was said with his normal, I’m King Of the World tone. His “who the hell are you to question me” attitude.

Yet today, not so much:

“I Got It Wrong “ sorry

In a 2,000 plus word thesis he outlined HIS new policy towards domestic violence and sent it off by bike messenger to each NFL team. It read like a county sheriffs get tough on crime speech – just before reelection.

A player will now be suspended for six games for a first offence, and a lifetime ban for a second (or just a year if he’s still valuable to the league). There are provisions where Goodell can use offences that occurred prior to the player joining the league to add to that “first offence” – again at HIS discretion.

The Problem with this new rewritten policy is the same problem that got Goodell and the NFL in trouble in the first place. It’s the one-man judge-jury-executioner system. Goodell wrote the policy, Goodell would be the only person to listen to, read or hear any evidence or testimony that has been gathered. There needs to be more people in place to deal with issues that are this egregious. There needs to be some form of disciplinary board that hears cases like this and others that players face.

Another problem I have is what constitutes an offence? Do charges have to be filed? Or is an accusation enough. What happens if charges are filed and then dropped? Or if a jury of their peers finds the person in question not guilty, of any crime (And actually isn’t). I know, shocking right – but that does happen. Does Roger still get to be tough Sheriff Roger and toss someone out of the league for six games or life? Is there a system in place where an investigation can be launched if a third party brings concerns to the league? I ask these questions because without a more transparent system, without checks and balances in place, young women may still be in danger and young men unjustly accused may lose their way of life. This is too much power for one man to wield; this issue to complex. It’s too easy for one person to make the same mistake twice. Many are applauding Goodell for his statements and the rewriting of NFL policy on this matter… I’m applauding you in forcing his hand.Im applauding you in waking up Coke Pepsi and Budweiser, i’m applauding you for hitting the NFL in the only way it matters.

Their Bottom Line…

But as far as I’m concerned there wont be a standing ovation for the commish, not from this writer.

Murph

Patriots Trade All Pro Logan Mankins

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Logan Mankins has been a cornerstone of the Patriots offensive line since the patriots took him thirty-first over all in the 2005 draft. He was the last pick in the first round; taken just before and just after, Mike Patterson and David Baas, and well after 25 or so others who quite frankly I know haven’t had the careers Logan Mankins has had with the Patriots

But Six trips to the Pro bowl doesn’t mean a lot when you’re on the wrong side of thirty, soaking up 10 million dollars a year in cap space and have three years left on a deal you practically had to bring a shot gun to work with to get.. That’s the reason Logan Mankins is no longer a New England Patriot.The Money. Many people not just myself had said there was a good chance Mankins would be a cap causality this season. Past performance doesn’t mean a lot to Bill Bellichick, when The Hoddie is done with you he is done with you, when he feels he can get as much out of someone else at half the price you can bet your last dollar he will. And Bill thinks he can do that with what’s left on the roster. Sebastian Vollmer and the often injured and underachieving Nate Solder are ensconced on the outside, Ryan Wendell, Josh Kline and Dan Connelly are breathing a bit easier this morning and will make up the interior backed up by a bunch of rookies taken with various mid round picks in last Junes draft. These are the gambles bill has chosen to make with the health of Tom Brady. To save a few bucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that 10 mill is a lot of money to spend on an OG even in his prime, which Logan is not. But this line has not exactly looked amazing this pre season under the Pats new OL Coach, “Googs”. Nor is it lost on me that Mankins didn’t leave without getting something in return. Tim Wright TE out of … drum roll please. Rutgers.. Yes the second year converted wide receiving Scarlet Knight who did show a lot of promise in his first season in the league catching 50 plus balls for close to 600 yards, from god knows who in Tampa. Wright is a huge target 6’2 and is quick, for a move TE. IF <~~~ see that big if ? If He can pick up this playbook in short order Wright could be the answer to the pressing need created by the incarcerated one, giving Tom a much needed slot presence that isn’t the size of a high school sophomore..

But again I don’t agree with this move. Why? Great question. Ill tell you. I don’t like moves ( By NFL Ownership ) that are made for the sake of a buck. This wasn’t about a slip in production it wasn’t about getting younger it wasn’t about new blocking schemes that Mankins couldn’t work in. its about nothing but “ Straight Cash Homie “ moving Mankins gives Bill more cap flex going forward. And just coincidentally pays for the new soccer toy Robert Kraft gave his son to play with.. “Jermaine Jones” enjoy your midfielder soccer moms….

Go Pats

Patriots are Trimming the Fat, guys: Anderson, Smith and Kelly? Oh My

Patriots are Trimming the Fat, guys: Anderson, Smith and Kelly? Oh My

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Tommy Kelly, Will Smith and James Anderson were all unceremoniously cut by the Patriots yesterday. All three greeted at the door, told to take their playbooks and go meet with THE HOODIE – in the NFL world, this is not a great way to start your day.

When I heard that Kelly was let go, I was shocked. Anyone who saw this coming stand on your head…In a move that, on the surface might seem heartless, is anything but. It’s obvious that Bill’s game plan is for the Defense to be more versatile this year and unfortunately for Kelly, that isn’t a part of his game. By letting Tommy go now, he has an infinitely better chance of hooking on with another team – something that would be more difficult with each passing week. But please don’t confuse my understanding of Bill’s thinking with agreement. Tommy Kelly, just as he did last year, could have played a significant roll on this team. But with the health of younger players, notably Jerel Worthy, Tommy became expendable. I for one think this Patriots team will miss his love for this game, work ethic and leadership. Not to mention run stopping. Lets all hope he doesn’t end up a JET…Sláinte my Irish brother.

Cutting Will Smith, on the other hand, I for one did see coming. I mentioned it last week on Patriots Central Radio. Like his last two plus seasons in New Orleans, Smith was being used in the wrong way here. When I say the wrong way, I mean he wasn’t put into the situations he needed to be put into to excel, and Smith jut didn’t fit into what the Patriots wanted out of a depth player. When you are further down the chart, you had better be able to do more than come in on nickel packages. But some team will be looking for a edge-guy this season and cutting Smith now will again help him find work elsewhere.

James Anderson…I will miss Mr. Anderson, if for nothing more than the fact that I can’t use my Matrix Agent Smith voice every time I see him…“Mr. Anderson”, at thirty-one, was outdone by the youth and inexperience of others that, quite frankly, do what he does and more. Again the dreaded un-versatility toe tag has reared its ugly ugly head. But I’m going to miss doing that voice far more than the Patriots will miss Mr. Anderson…ok, now I’m pushing it…

Just to close things out, I won’t lose sleep over the Smith and Anderson cuts, but think the loss of Kelly will be significant come playoff time. Nothing tempts The Hoddie more than thinking/knowing he can do something without you. For some reason, he believes that he can get along just fine without Tommy Kelly. I don’t agree. This defense was one of the best in the league last year with Kelly, and one of the worst in the NFL last season at stopping the run without him. In this division, you need what Tommy Kelly brought to the table. Now if you will excuse me I’m going to go watch The Matrix.

Follow me on Twitter @Tmurph207

Sox Playing Money Ball With Rusney Castillo Signing

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Come my friends and listen to me spin the late 2014 wheeling and dealings of Ben Cherington. Yes, the Cubans are coming, the Cubans are coming. After dealing away the second best pitcher (Jon Lester) in Red Sox history in a deadline deal that landed the Sox Yoenis Cespedes, a power swinging corner outfielder they couldn’t grow at home, Ben went out and inked up the next big Cuban sensation center fielder, Rusney Castillo…to a 7 year, $72 million deal…we will digress in a bit over the dollars.

If you listen to the rhetoric, at 27 years old, Castillo is either a solid everyday centerfielder or Andrew McCutchen. I’m hoping for McCutchen, but I’ll settle for something in the middle. Before his coming out party in Miami last month, scouts said Castillo had an above average glove, below average arm, a solid stick and speed to burn. After he showed up to workout for half of MLB with 20 lbs of Gamma induced muscle added to his 5’9 frame, those same scouts reassessed their prior reports and the bidding began. Ben, unlike with the Abreu deal, wasn’t going to be on the losing end of this Cuban Missile Crisis, and outbid the Cubs, Tigers, and scared the Yankees so much that they didn’t even make an offer. How upset was Jay Z (Castillo’s Agent) over that? about as upset as i am happy.. I love this move LOVE IT.. But I promised to digress, so lets.

Castillo’s contract will pay him just over $13 million a year – about the same rate The Sox are paying Shane Victorino. Cespedes is inked up thru next season at $10.5 million and will be due a raise at the end of that deal, but at 30 years old its probably not much more than he is earning now – $15 million sounds fair.
Cespedes

If we give Castillo a conservative MLB line of say .270/15/75 w 40 SB: $13 million a year sounds like a bargain. We know what Cespedes is doing at the plate and in the field so his 162 Game Average of .261/29/102 line is no puzzle to be solved – and even at $14 or $15 million would be stealing – At 10? It’s grand larceny.

Lets add in a mystery player whose lifetime numbers look like this – .294/15/71. Would you say mystery man is worth closer to the $13 million the Sox are gambling on 27 year old Castillo (the today 10, tomorrow 13 –15 Sox may sign 29 year old Cespedes too), or the $168 million dollars the Yankees are actually paying 30 year old Jacoby Ellsbury? for that very line..

Do you remember the scene in Money Ball when Jon Henry is fawning over Billy Beane and how little Billy paid per victory? That’s the end game here people. To put the cheapest product on the field that will still compete, be exciting enough to fill Fenway and keep the NESN ratings rising. Even with the addition of Cespedes and signing of Castillo the Sox have just $93 million on the books for next year. With a stable of young promising arms and a loaded farm system at their disposal it will be easy to tempt teams who want to clear bloated payroll for the Sox more than digestible starting pitching contracts. Add $30 million to the top of the rotation, $20 million to the pen and John Henry is putting out an exacting product the masses wont blink an eye at paying the highest ticket prices in MLB to see and keep the NESN ratings in the stratosphere – for around $140 million dollars. So while the red headed stepchildren on the Red Sox propaganda payroll are applauding and the tourists and gnomes on the radio are grinning like fools at the cash being spent, just remember. Its all

East Coast Money Ball.

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Diva Fantasy Football

That time of year is coming up guys and gals! Make sure you don’t wait to join my Diva Fantasy Football league! This year the proceeds will benefit The Wounded Warriors Foundation! I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to have some fun with everyone, and help out a great charity in the process! Follow me on Twitter @SportyDiva to get all the details of how to join!

Think you can beat me? Try it! I double dog dare ya! DFM2