September 29, 2016

On Football

Editor’s Note: Well, we have got a treat for you today. A man who identified himself as a “long-time BSMW lurker” contacted us this morning with his thoughts about this weekend’s draft, which he seemed intent on sharing as soon as possible. Though his name was unfamiliar to us, he describes himself as a writer who is currently “between assignments” at a major metropolitan newspaper. We’re happy to welcome our new friend ‘Rog’ as a Game Day contributor.

On Football
By Rog Bornes

Game Day Contributor

A History Lesson

20 years ago this month, Sugar Ray Leonard beat Marvin Hagler to become the middleweight champion of the world.

Eric Mangini knows a little something about boxing, and a little something about history. Believe me, he could tell you everything you could ever want to know about that fight.

What does that have to do with yesterday’s draft, you ask? Maybe nothing. Perhaps however there is another possibility.

You see, maybe history is repeating itself.

Back then, everyone around here from the governor of Massachusetts down to the guy who collects your tolls would have told you that Leonard had no shot. Hagler’s too experienced, too tough. Hagler has no weaknesses. Hagler knew every trick in the book.
The only question New Englanders had was “what round?” Hagler was thought to be indomitable by the average New England sports fan — much like another man who lives south of Boston and likes to dress in sweats today.

Eric Mangini and his capable general manager Mike Tannenbaum have had their eyes on the prize for months, much like Sugar Ray. In this case, the first objective was obtaining Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis. Mangini and Tannenbaum knew that Revis was also in Belichick’s crosshairs because of the rapidly escalating Asante Samuel situation that sources tell me is getting worse every day. Rather than relying on the Hagler strategy of sitting back patiently, the Jet brass took a page from the daring Leonard and jabbed the Patriots by swinging a lightning fast deal with Carolina to pick Revis at 14.

Some will say the Jets gave up too much, and they may eventually be proven right. Some of those same people probably thought that Sugar Ray was dancing around too much and was only going to win the early rounds. While the experts blithely assumed that Belichick had all the leverage with his two picks and higher position, it was Mangini and Tannenbaum that struck first in this draft.

Later, Mangini and Tannenbaum struck again with a blinding overhead right cross when they made yet another timely trade to grab inside linebacker David Harris – yet another player that Belichick was reportedly salivating over – in the second round with the 47th selection overall. Mangini and Tannenbaum have figured it out quite an impressive strategy given their youth when compared to their front office and coaching brethren. When you draft great players while simultaneously keeping them away from your main rival, you’ve gone a long ways toward winning a division title.

Like Hagler, Belichick made his first pick in Brandon Meriwether at 24, and then adopted a bit of a defensive position by trading pick 28 to San Francisco for a 4th round selection tomorrow and a first round pick next year. He later traded his last first day pick in the third round to Oakland, and probably managed to get a good night’s sleep before he spent Sunday using his unsurpassed intellect to scour the later rounds of the draft for the next Tom Brady.

The main question for Patriot fans to ponder is whether Belichick woke up Sunday morning with a bitter taste in his mouth thanks to the blows rained on him the day before by the Jets.

Or, given who ultimately won the fight 20 years ago, should I say sweet?

Stormy ‘Wether?

Many folks around here that have jumped on the Patriot bandwagon in recent years may not recall the name Christian Peter. Based on the team’s moves this past weekend, the only logical conclusion is that Myra Kraft is now one of them.

Perhaps, like John Philip Sousa, she just loves a parade.

For the uninitiated, Peter was a defensive lineman out of Nebraska who had a bit of a checkered past. Besides being a monster on the field, he had a proclivity for contacting others off the field. His favorite hobby off the field apparently was groping inebriated 19 year old women whose previous life experience probably wasn’t much beyond husking corn.

It is fair to say his surname represented his personality far more aptly than his first name.

Like many big men on campus, Peter was no longer able to be the bully he was once he entered the NFL. He came in as a modest fourth round pick of the Patriots in 1996 (I’ll leave it to you whether or not it is a coincidence that he was picked during Belichick’s first year with the organization). However, when the press got a hold of some of Peter’s, ahem, adventures, Myra pitched a fit and Peter was quickly shipped off before even trying on a set of pads. He then went to the New York Giants where he spent the majority of an undistinguished six year career.

You see, if Christian Peter had the talent of a Richard Seymour despite lacking Seymour’s sense of honor, he might still be here getting ready for his 12th season. Teams will always make room for guys who can get it done on the field. If you start hearing chatter from a NFL team about making a roster decision based on a guy’s ethics and morals, you can be sure the guy isn’t going to Honolulu anytime soon.

No one doubts that Brandon Meriwether has the talent to play on an NFL field. Because of that, all you’ll hear from the front office this time is about “misunderstandings” and “due diligence” when it comes to Meriwether’s character.

There will be no search for a smoking gun in the incident where Meriwether caused just that after his associate had been shot at 6:30 in the morning outside of Meriwether’s house and Meriwether attempted to respond in kind. “Due diligence,” they’ll say. “He was just protecting his home.”

I’m sure as an NFL safety they’ll also teach him to put a hat on the ball when tackling an opposing skill position player. He seemed to be a bit confused about the concept back in October against Florida International when he was last seen swinging his helmet and kicking at opposing players without a football in sight. Meriwether was arguably he most vile participant in what was easily the most disgraceful event to happen on a college football field in many, many years.

To explain away the kicking, maybe coach Bill and husband Bob told Myra that Meriwether and Hurricane kicker Jon Peattie went to the wrong meetings that week.

You know, just one of those “misunderstandings.”

Gathering Moss

Belichick and Kraft could raise Houdini from the dead and have him do that swinging medallion trick to Myra, and she probably wouldn’t forget Randy Moss’s colorful history. The enigmatic wide receiver from Marshall might have better name recognition to the average Joe on the street than Superman, and believe me – Joe doesn’t exactly associate Moss with truth, justice and the American way.

People don’t exactly forget when a guy tries to drive his car through a female traffic officer with a big bag of weed in his glove compartment.

Of course, judging from some of the nepotistic employees the Patriots have on the sidelines, they’re not exactly in a position to pass judgment on the latter charge. Pass and puff is more like it.

Moss is the darling of fantasy football players everywhere, who of course know nothing about what it really takes to walk off a winner on the battlefield that is the NFL. They look at his statistics when he played in a dome, or even farther back when he racked up receptions in college playing 1-AA football, and assume that he’s going to walk onto the Patriots and relive the good old days.

It says here he won’t.

NFL defenders have been onto this guy for a few years now. You punch him in the mouth a few times by hitting him at the line of scrimmage, and as my father was fond of saying, it’s like dumping a bucket of water on a lit matchstick.

There are some who would float the theory that Moss will be on his best behavior thanks to the mentoring of Troy Brown. Yes, along with playing receiver, returning punts, returning kicks, filling holes in the secondary, raising his family and helping pretty much every charitable organization inside of 495, Troy Brown should also be expected to take this lunatic under his wing because they happened to go to the same school many years apart.

Maybe they should propose to Troy that he also offer drug counseling to a certain adolescent member of the sideline staff who had a recent indiscretion.

If he’s as stubborn as his Dad, Troy, good luck getting him to listen.

Material from the AP Wire, Reuters, Mike Sando’s blog, the Weekly World News, the KFFL messageboard, and late night AOL chat transcripts may have been used in the compilation of this article. Followers of the BSMW message board will no doubt recognize the handiwork work of our old friend Div here. The rest of you – please, no e-mails. This has merely been a recreation of actual events.

2007 Draft Wrapup

by Scott Benson
[email protected]

The time has come again, mercifully, for us to put away this foolishness for another year and close the books on the Patriots’ 2007 NFL Draft. The weekend wasn’t at all what we expected it to be – and that makes it a fairly typical draft weekend after all.

The Pats made eight picks today, in most cases selecting players that were so obscure (at least in terms of the draft sites) that I wondered if they actually existed. Here’s a quick rundown of the choices, and the links lead to NFL Draft Scout profiles (what there are of them):

DT Kareem Brown, Miami
OT Clint Oldenburg, Colorado State
OLB Justin Rogers, SMU
CB Mike Richardson, Notre Dame
RB Justise Hairston, Central Connecticut
OT Corey Hilliard, Oklahoma State
ILB Oscar Lua, USC
C Mike Elgin, Iowa

Brown and Hairston I knew of, vaguely, thanks to the BSMW Game Day Rumor Inventory. The rest, it was honestly the first time I had heard their names after two-plus months of reading about the draft. That means nothing, of course, but only the most optimistic draftnik could argue that much hay was made with today’s picks. Brown may have some upside, but how many of the rest will seriously threaten for a spot? Not that we should expect any more at this stage of the draft, anyway. I like that the back, Hairston, has good size, and that Rogers can rush the passer, and there’s some o-line hopefuls, but let’s face it – at best, we’re hoping to slide one or two of them to the practice squad in September.

The actual selections made by the Patriots in this 2007 draft may end up quickly forgotten, but not many New England fans will forget the day their team traded for, of all people, Randy Moss.

In his prime, his sheer production and influence on the defense and on the game was off the charts. Any team would want that, including the Patriots, the notoriously receiver-thin conference runner-up. In his prime, he could score every play, from anywhere on the field. Quick – name the last Patriot you could say that about. Yet there has never been a damn thing palatable about Moss. He’s the worst example of an insular, inflated professional athlete; the perpetual social misfit, unable to tie his own goddam shoes without alienating his shoelaces. And he can’t help but take it straight to the field. Even reading the transcripts of his conference call today, there were cringe-worthy moments. He’s a loose cannon that will make Brian Cox sound like Anthony Pleasant.

Plus, I think there is a reasonably significant question as to whether he’s even three-quarters the football player he once was. Or if he’ll ever give enough effort to answer the question. It all comes down to just how bad Moss wants this Super Bowl he’s already got himself in. We’ll know soon enough. God help the Patriots to maintain the leverage to dispatch him if he’s just talking through his hat.

How’d you like to be Nick Caserio? I think he’s going to have to be hands-on, don’t you? I don’t know – tough call.

Even I, an avowed run-first guy, have spent a few minutes running through the depth chart on this one. Are Patriots fans ready for Moss and Stallworth as a starting pair? The steady Wes Welker working the slot as a third down option? If they really get on a roll, they could add Chad Jackson and Kelley Washington to the mix, and what happens to Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney? Gaffney in particular was terrific in the playoffs, and you wonder – is there no place for him? And what of Troy Brown, a team leader and still key contributor? Could the Pats suddenly have an embarrassment of riches?

I know for damn sure they’re not running on 2nd and 8, ever. Still, this will be interesting to watch.

So Moss will of course forever be the face of the 2007 Patriots Draft, for better or worse, but the Pats may have given their depleated defensive backfield a boost with the addition of the versatile Brandon Meriweather. There’s question about his character (at least until Moss got here) because he behaved at times like the worst kind of hot head, apparently. But if he’s got himself together this fall, he can play corner in coverage packages and perhaps even compete for the starting job at free safety. I think it says something about Meriweather that the Trader Pats thought at least enough of him not to deal away his pick, like they did with the following two selections.

I realize that last one was a reach.

The way the Pats stockpiled picks for next year’s draft is perhaps also a bigger story than their first round selection this weekend. The Pats of course traded their 28th pick for a 2009 first rounder that could be 10 (worst case) or even 20 (best case) spots better. Later, they exchanged a late third rounder in 07 for a (almost certain) early third rounder in 08.

That will leave them with five first-day picks – and the driver’s seat – next April.

Well, that’s it for me. Thanks to everybody that tuned in over the past couple of months, and especially to those who dropped a line to share a thought or suggestion or two along the way. Thanks to Bruce Allen, and as always, the rest of the Game Day Crew. In the end, it may not have been the draft we expected, but it was a lot of fun just the same.

We’ll have a couple of items to share with you this week, but for the most part, we’re going to power down for while and be back with a vengeance sometime around the first of August, with our most comprehensive Game Day offerings yet. See you then.

Pats Hook Kareem

The Patriots returned to the Radio City Music Hall podium for the first time in over 100 picks and chose Miami defensive tackle Kareem Brown with the 127th selection of the 2007 NFL draft.

Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout has the profile, which concludes:

Compares To: Vonnie Holliday, Miami … Holliday is much quicker than Brown, but both are quite effective at pushing the pocket and applying pressure from the inside. Brown may slide a bit on draft day, mostly because he chose to not compete in the agility tests at the Combine and then had a poor showing on Miami’s Pro Day. His 5.39 and 5.41 40-yard dash clockings were a big disappointment, as everyone knows he was far from a finished product anyway. But the pros all thought he was quicker than the stopwatch indicated. He needs to get a better feel for diagnosing the play and must improve his speed and hand technique, along with developing better pass rush moves. But he is good at occupying multiple blockers and has room on his frame to add more bulk. He plays too tall in his stance to be a nose guard, but shows enough lateral movement to make plays down the line.

A pass rushing DT. The Pats do need some productive depth on the line. It looks like they rolled the dice on a project to compete with players like Marquis Hill and Mike Wright.

The Pats aren’t due to be up again for nearly 50 picks, so that’s it, they’ve officially worn me down. I’ll be back later with a second day summary.

Moss to Pats, Says NFL Network

Adam Schefter of the NFL Network is now reporting that the Patriots have acquired Randy Moss from the Oakland Raiders for a fourth round pick in today’s draft, perhaps the pick they received from San Francisco (#110) in the Meriweather trade.

The Patriots remarkable off-season, in which the formerly demure Pats signed free agents and traded for veterans like a drunken Daniel Synder, takes yet another unexpected turn. Moss makes Donte Stallworth and Kelley Washington look like a Jaycees chapter. What’s next? Jeff George?

We’ll have months to discuss this. Maybe years.

A Groggy Start to Day Two

Yawn.

It was a long and sort of anti-climactic day yesterday, at least for Pats fans, but today promises to be a more active one for draft followers. Some lingering thoughts this morning…

BSMW’s Own Greg Doyle summed it up best last night – the Patriots must have really hated this draft. They did everything but trade future picks with themselves. Which is fine – they shouldn’t take players just to take them, especially on the first day, and it’s hard to argue that the Patriots haven’t set themselves up to be major players in the next draft (five first day selections) by passing on this one. Yeah, there’s a letdown for those of us who hoped for more help this year, but a couple of sharp picks today may still yield someone who can make a difference this September.

Does anybody have more second day picks than the Pats? New England has two 4’s (110/127), a 5 (171), four 6’s (180/202/208/209) and two 7’s (211/247) today. Four – 171/208/209/247 – cannot be traded, as they are compensatory picks, but as for the rest…….whaddaya offerin’?

The Moss Talks continue. Or maybe they don’t. You can find a link to back up either theory. Unless the Raiders will take a second day pick this year, I don’t see why this deal has to happen today, anyway. If it needs to happen at all.

The question may come up why we might be willing to excuse Brandon Meriweather’s transgressions, but not Moss’s. Easy. Nobody’s saying that Meriweather laid down. Look, I don’t really care that Moss is kind of a weirdo, living behind drawn shades in a gated retirement community, or even that he tried to run down a meter maid once. I’m not his parole officer. What I do care about, though, the Patriots being left with their ass sewed to their face because they brought Moss in, integrated him into their team, and came to depend on him, only to have his pathalogical self-centeredness undermine the whole thing. It not like there isn’t any precedent.

Obviously, I was hoping for more defensive help yesterday, but the Patriots have now added Adalius Thomas, Tory James and Meriweather to last year’s defense. If they can reach detente with Asante Samuel, they’ll be better next year, perhaps even markedly so.

Well, we’ll start up again in about a half hour. It would be impossible to put up a proper list of best available players for the second day, but here’s a few names from the Rumor Inventory and Mock Masher:

QB Isaiah Stanback
RB Antonio Pittman
RB Michael Bush
TE Ben Patrick
TE Martrez Milner
TE Joe Newton
WR Aundrae Allison
WR Chris Davis
T Doug Free
G Josh Beekman

DE Brian Robison
DE Jay Moore
DT Kareen Brown
DT Zach West
OLB Tim Shaw
OLB Prescott Burgess
OLB Kid from Brown with name I’d rather not mention because he may be a good player but carries a lot of baggage – namely, obnoxious WEEI personality father.
ILB Brandon Siler
ILB Jon Abbate
ILB HB Blades
ILB Desmond Bishop
CB Tanard Jackson
CB Fred Bennett
CB Kenny Scott
CB Tarell Brown
CB AJ Davis
CB David Irons
CB Ryan Smith
S Josh Gattis
S John Wendling
S Michael Johnson
P Daniel Sepulveda

See you in awhile.

Patriots Trade Again; 3rd goes to Oakland for……2008

The Patriots have just traded again, this time with the Oakland Raiders, in exchange for Oakland’s third round pick – in 2008.

The Raiders also threw in their seventh rounder this year, pick #211.

That’s going to be a hell of a draft. But it will be nothing compared to 2009, and then 2010, and then………

I’ve been sitting here since 6 this morning, and they get one guy. I’m really excited about sitting here for seventeen hours NEXT year, though.

That’s it for me today. Now the Pats have nine picks – five that can be traded – tomorrow. How many trades do the Pats end up making in this draft? I say six. No, seven.

Pats Coming Up

We’re fast approaching pick 91 and the end of a long and only occasionally eventful day that featured the longest first round in the history of the draft.

The Pats will make just their second selection of the day, after drafting semi-controversial safety Brandon Meriweather with pick #24 and trading pick for San Francisco’s first round pick in 2008 (and a fourth this year).

The Niners went from 4-12 in 05 to 7-9 in 06. They play in one of football’s weakest divisions and added Nate Clements in free agency and both Patrick Willis and Joe Staley today. If they continue to improve, the pick could be anywhere from the mid teens to the early twenties. If they stay level or, even dip a bit, the pick is in the top 15 easy.

If they bottom out, you could really be talking about something. What is also something is the Patriots’ knack for planning ahead – once again they have given themselves two first round picks in the next draft.

A small part of me can’t help but ask if they ever they intend to use them, though.

Meriweather can play safety and cornerback and might be a real playmaker in the middle. It seems to me that he can make a real impact in the rotation. He can also be a headache, if his past troubles aren’t completely behind him. The Pats vote of confidence shouldn’t be completely dismissed.

The trade with San Francisco put the draft excitement on ice for awhile but pick 91 is on the way. Let’s look at the Rumor Inventory to see who may be under consideration:

RB Antonio Pittman
RB Michael Bush (visit)
WR Aundrae Allison (visit)
WR Chris Davis (visit)
CB Tanard Jackson
CB David Irons
CB Daymeion Highes (visit)
SS Josh Gattis
DE Jay Moore
LB Brandon Siler
LB Earl Everett
LB Tim Shaw

Others from the Mock Masher:

DE Ray McDonald

Wild guess? TE Ben Patrick of Delaware.

Note: Michael Smith is claiming the Pats are still in talks for the league’s leading disgruntled receiver, Randy Moss. The Pats would allegedly give up a conditional 2008 3rd round pick, which could become a second rounder.

Character Sketch

Several of the questions at Bill Belichick’s first press conference since the selection of Brandon Meriweather concerned the safety’s checkered off-and-on-field past.

Meriweather was at the center of a much-publicized on-field brawl last season, and previously, had actually drawn and fired a gun at an attacker outside his apartment. Neither act necessarily fits the profile of an ideal first round pick. The fight might be explained; gun ownership harder so.

Still, if the guy can play football and puts his troubles behind him, I can’t see what the issue is. I’d like them to be better and deeper on defense. The chances that he helps in that regard seem pretty good. If he crosses the line again, he’ll pay for it, and gnashing of teeth aside, the Patriots will somehow survive. I trust the Pats due diligence enough not to immediately petition for a ‘Take Back the Night’ rally.

More on Meriweather

Here’s the summary of the profile written by Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout:

Compares To: Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens …Whenever the Ravens need a big play, it is Reed who is likely to come through with it, not Ray Lewis … Meriweather is in the same mold as Reed, as he uses his excellent route recognition skills and range to consistently shut down his pass coverage assignments … He is not the biggest player you will find, but he has enough functional strength and outstanding range to excel at free safety (lacks bulk to be an NFL strong safety).

Pats Trade Back with Niners and Get 2008 First Round Pick

The Patriots are off the clock – for a good, long time – after trading their pick at #28 to the San Francisco 49ers for the Niners first round pick in 2008, and their 4th round pick (#110) in this draft.

San Francisco used the pick on LT Joe Staley, who I guess Dante didn’t feel that strongly about.

Also getting the slight appears to be Michigan LB David Harris, who was thought to be a perfect fit for the linebacker starved Pats, and I guess just about everybody else who I’ve been listing for the last hour.

Surprising and disappointing. It makes you wonder what the Patriots intend to do about replenishing their linebacker group, which you would have thought to have been a given in this draft. They saw a run on corners and edge rushers before they could get to the podium, but they passed on Harris, Jon Beason, Anthony Spencer and Paul Posluszny. They will not pick again until pick 91, by which time many of the most promising prospects will be off the board. Barring a trade (which is possible, as they now have nine picks for tomorrow – five that can be traded, including two fours), they will end the day not with three, or four picks, but just two.

Being that its 2007, and its the 2007 draft, its hard for me to get too fired up about next April. Besides – weren’t the 49ers around .500 this year?

I’m shall go sit quietly now, until further notice.

Pats On The Clock Again

Make this one good, boys – this is the last (planned) pick for a very long time.

Some ideas:

Michigan LB David Harris – the latest rumors say this happens.
Michigan DE LaMarr Woodley – the Pats would stand him up on the outside, you’d figure
C. Michigan OT Joe Staley – will they pass on him twice?
Auburn G Ben Grubbs – a promising guard compared to Alan Faneca.
Penn State LB Paul Posluszny – the Pats still need linebacking help, particularly inside.
Arkansas CB Chris Houston – as the last few years have shown, you can always use more, though this doesn’t seem very likely.
Maryland CB Josh Wilson – from the Pats mold, but will they reach for him here after taking Meriweather already?

I suppose a trade back is very much a possibility, though you’d hope if they give it up, they’d somehow get a second and a third in return, giving them three more picks today.

This has been fun so far. By the way, for the record, Brandon Meriweather was listed on our Draft Rumor Inventory, countering the argument that every draft rumor is simply deception by the mysterious Patriots.

It’s Meriweather at #24

The Patriots have selected Miami safety Brandon Meriweather with the 24th pick of the first round.

The Patriots worked Meriweather out in March during a visit to the Miami campus.

And with this, the Deion Branch case is closed.

Meriweather wasn’t my first choice, but with the way the first round went today, it is at the very least logical. He’s an experienced, versatile kid from a big time program, a leader on his team, and he stands to make an immediate impact in the Patriots backfield, perhaps even at corner.

There will be time enough for this to soak in as we go along. This is a bit of a victory for the BSMW Mock Masher, which had Meriweather as a likely Pats selection (albeit at #28).

The Pats are back on the clock in three more picks, if they elect to stay there. Perhaps David Harris, the good fit linebacker from Michigan, will be the choice. If so, that would be a first round haul that would please most Patriots fans, I suspect.