September 27, 2016

The Sunday Links

logoby Scott Benson
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The Patriots have suffered their first significant injury of the pre-season and the Sunday links have all the details.

The Globe’s Mike Reiss has the news that Tank Williams has been placed on the IR as a result of the knee injury he suffered while covering a 2nd quarter kickoff on Thursday night. It’s a loss for the Pats, who had planned to use the vet free agent as a hybrid safety-linebacker against multiple-receiver sets this season.¬† Can the same effect be achieved with a trioka of Harrison-Meriweather-Sanders? Too early to tell, I guess. One thing we know, though – Williams will lose his second NFL season in three years to injury (he missed all of 2006 with a shattered kneecap).

Reiss offers up a top notch weekly notes column, as he talks to Indy’s Bill Polian and San Diego’s AJ Smith about roster-building in the 80-man-roster era, where matchups are king. Which reminds me – I have loathed Polian for almost a decade, because of his well-documented words and deeds throughout the the blood rivalry between his Colts and our Patriots. But since the chips went way down for New England earlier this year, nobody’s vouched for the Patriots like Polian. He can’t seem to give an interview these days without saying something nice about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. When Robert Kraft and Belichick went to their fellow owners and coaches on bended knee, it was Polian who was out front with the “all is well” soundbites after. That says to me one thing – company man. Polian may have still hated the Patriots as much as he ever did, but he wasn’t going to see the league embarrassed without a response. And that response was calm and rational and thus extremely beneficial to the Patriots at the time. All the well-connected Polian had to do is bellow “break (their) f**king leg!” and it would have been Katy-bar-the-door. But he didn’t, and he hasn’t. I can respect that.

Back to the papers. Reiss also checks in with Pats Hall of Famer John Hannah about his efforts to organize an association for retired players, since Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA don’t care to represent them. Which is pretty outrageous when you consider that Upshaw was once one of them, right before he got the big cake and the key to the executive wash room. Now he doesn’t ‘represent’ them. Gene, your very presence here represents them. What an ass.

Julian Benbow closes out Globe coverage with a look at utility-knife Ray Ventrone, scrambling to hang on to a roster spot. At one point Thursday night Ventrone was the intended receiver on one play and the defender in coverage on the next. No fist bumps, though. I wonder if his fate is tied to Williams’s in any way, or to WR Sam Aiken, another special teamer who was hurt against the Ravens. Ventrone, a special teamer of some repute, has played both positions in camp.

In the Herald, Karen Guregian has the story on Tank, and the Pats pickup of free agent CB Jeff Shoate, who’ll take some of the practice workload while Ellis Hobbs, Jason Webster and others round into playing shape. KG also dishes on the Pats offensive line, ruiners of Opening Day, while Randy Cross protests. Ignoring the game for a moment, Randy, I was just thinking how this stadium and its surrounding retail/restaurant/nightclub square footage has made me look at professional sports venues in a whole new way. The Kraft family has done such a great job, haven’t they?

Jeff Horrigan somehow refuses to be dazzled by the Foxborough surroundings, focusing instead on LaMont Jordan and his solid debut. I wish it was just “Lamont” instead of “LaMont”, with that extra shift key in there. It’s awkward. I suppose I can adjust if it means having Jordan on those third and goals from the 2. John Tomase has the weekly league notes, where he connects with KC Joyner, author of ‘Scientific Football’, a stat book based on flim review of the previous season. Sounds like a good book to have.

Lastly, Ventrone has gotten Steve Buckley’s attention. In a shocker, Buck begins with a baseball reference.

Shalise Manza Young has the word on Williams for the Pro Jo, and from the MetroWest comes Douglas Flynn with his look at LaMont (ouch!) Jordan, and his thoughts on overexposed, overrated quarterbacks and their effect on wild-eyed, desperate franchises.

Comments

  1. I think Williams would have helped quite a bit against a team like the Colts…but this just accelerates the amount of PT Mayo was already likely to get, and that consequence is not the worst thing that could happen.

  2. Looky Lou says:

    I know this is “OFF TOPIC” but I came across this in the “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED VAULT” it was published on October 13th 1980 (I was actually at this game)….man, Foxboro really was a Zoo back then…..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    October 13, 1980
    Scorecard
    Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum

    NIGHT OF HORROR

    After a Monday-night NFL game at Schaefer Stadium in Foxboro , Mass. in 1976, a 41-7 victory by the Patriots over the Jets , Foxboro Police Chief Daniel McCarthy urged the town’s residents to “hope and pray” that no more night games would be played there. McCarthy was upset about a frightening evening during which a fan was stabbed, a police officer assaulted and his gun stolen, and drunkenness and brawling resulted in the arrest of more than 60 people. Thirty-five others were treated at hospitals.

    It’s a poorly kept NFL secret that hooliganism increases during Monday-night games, which, when played in the East, start at the relatively late hour of 9 p.m. to accommodate West Coast TV viewers. This keeps many families at home and brings out a tougher, younger crowd that spends the hours before the kickoff drinking. Conditions are particularly volatile at Schaefer. Built hurriedly in 1971 to keep the Patriots from being moved out of New England , the stadium is accessible only via U.S. Route 1, which is consequently clogged before and after games with monstrous traffic jams. That keeps people on the scene drinking and carousing all the longer. After the ’76 debacle, police began the practice of frisking fans entering Patriot games in an effort to keep out liquor. But beer is still sold inside the stadium, which, after all, is named after a brewery, and little has been done about traffic congestion. And Chief McCarthy’s pleas notwithstanding, another Monday-night game was held at Schaefer last week, a 23-14 New England victory over Denver .

    It was another night of horror. Because the game hadn’t been sold out, a last-minute rush of ticket buyers added to the usual traffic problems, prompting many fans to leave their cars a mile or more away and walk along Route 1 to the stadium. The roadway is poorly lighted, as are the stadium’s parking lots, and pedestrians had to dodge cars at every turn. A 69-year-old man crossing Route 1 was fatally injured when he was hit and thrown 100 feet by a car driven by a teen-ager who, police said, had been drinking. Less tragically, many other fans didn’t reach their seats until halftime, and when they did, they found youths flinging cups of beer at one another, Frisbees being thrown to and fro at near-decapitation velocity, and fistfights breaking out everywhere. There were at least 50 arrests and more than 100 people were evicted.

    As cops swept into the stands to haul away limp bodies, they were booed and doused with beer and mustard. One policeman was kicked in the back during a scuffle and required hospitalization. Some alarmed fans left even before the start of the fourth quarter. Outside, youths rampaged through the parking lots, snapping off auto antennas, kicking in car doors and urinating on tires. (At the ’76 Monday-night game a medic administering to a heart attack victim under the stands was urinated on by a passing fan.) Exiting traffic was so backed up that some fans didn’t get out of the parking lot for more than two hours. Bonfires were built, and drinking and fighting continued till the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

    Though scarcely to blame for fan rowdyism, which is a growing problem in the U.S. and other countries, the NFL and the Patriots could do more to alleviate some of the conditions that encourage it. When questioned by SI’s Bob Sullivan , league and club officials at first tried to downplay the Monday-night disturbances at Foxboro . But after Sullivan revealed that he had been at the game and had sat in the stands, New England ‘s assistant general manager, Patrick Sullivan, admitted, “There was a load of people here drunk out of their minds. We got a number of calls from people who said they’re not coming back. We’ll bring in the National Guard if we have to make things safe.” But nobody seems eager to ban the sale of beer, a big revenue producer. Meanwhile, suggestions to illuminate and/or widen Route 1 get nowhere because of bickering over who should foot the bill. As for Daniel McCarthy, he was succeeded as Foxboro ‘s police chief in 1976 by John Gaudet, but Gaudet’s words have a familiar ring: “I’d rather not have night football here.”

  3. Someday there will be a story on Gene Upshaw and it will rival that of Alan Eagleson.

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