The Patriots now have 12 wide receivers on their roster after signing free agent Lavelle Hawkins to a 2-year deal. The addition makes for an interesting mix as the group of players competing to make the team swells to a number worthy of the show “Survivor.”
The clarity of the group’s rankings isn’t helped by Julian Edelman’s status, who is back in a walking boot after re-injuring his right foot. He is one player who can not afford to have an unhealthy training camp while the team has plenty of options – both cheaper and younger – to turn to in his stead. Without Edelman, who will possibly miss OTAs because of the injury, the Patriots are looking at a full-blown overhaul in the position group. That will lead to training camp battles as both veterans (Hawkins, Michael Jenkins, Donald Jones) and rookie free agents (T.J. Moe, Kenbrell Thompkins) fight for the remaining spots on the team’s roster.
I’ve been out of it again. That’s just the way it is on this site in the month of March, April and May. I’m too busy doing non-football related things to really get a chance to post here.
But I wanted to make sure I got a chance to highlight some of the things I’ve written and produced in the last month and a half. After the Boston Marathon bombing, a good portion of my time went to Patriots coverage and the NFL Draft, which was April 25-27. I wrote a number of items on the draft and ran our live coverage of the event on Boston.com. (You can find an archive of that coverage here.) I was also did some video, both producing and appearing on air.
And then I’ve also been writing a new weekly feature in the Extra Points Patriots blog on Boston.com called “Patscetera.” It’s basically a catch-all for interesting items and commentary. So far, so good with that. You can read a new one each Friday on the site. I’ll try and link it up here more regularly going forward. No promises, though.
Here’s a look at what my last month and a half has been like.
- Story: Patriots rookies ‘just happy for the opportunity’ – May 5, 2013
- Patscetera (5): Now, the fun part for the Patriots – May 3, 2013
- NFL draft (pictures): Meet the New Patriots – May 2013
- NFL draft: On the third day of the draft, Belichick adds to competition – April 28, 2013
- NFL draft: On Day 3 of the NFL draft, what’s left for the Patriots? – April 27, 2013
- NFL draft: 5 takeaways from the Patriots’ first four picks – April 27, 2013
- Patscetera (4): Day 2 of the draft: The best of the rest – April 26, 2013
- Patscetera (3): Patriots show heart, connect with the city – April 20, 2013
- Patscetera (2): With Dennard in the mix, Patriots draft board opens up – April 12, 2013
- Patscetera (1): For Patriots, pieces falling in and out of place – April 5, 2013
- NFL draft (pictures): Scouting the draft (It was a whole series) – April 2013
Hopefully I don’t take this long to send in another update again. And hopefully I’m doing more video, on air.
Until next time.
Just to clarify, in case you haven’t seen my Tweets or public Facebook posts, I did not shoot any footage of the Boston Marathon finish line. That was my colleague Steve Silva. While Silva was out in the field working, I was in the office and posted his video to Boston.com. Because I posted the video, there was an impression that I took the video. That is not the case. I was in the office the entire time.
Thanks to all that called or messaged today after the Marathon bombing. I was tucked away safely at the Globe, far away from any danger. But I do appreciate your thoughts and concerns, particularly because the Boston Marathon is an event that I work on each year. My head is still swirling from the events of the day. Sadly, it will be a more memorable day than any one of us had imagined. My thoughts are with my colleagues who were at the finish line when the explosions occurred. And my heart bleeds for all the victims. There’s not much else to do now but pray.
I’m on the record for how I think the 2013 MLB playoffs will shake out. Here’s my brief expectations as they first appeared on Boston.com:
World Series I’d like to see: Red Sox vs. Giants
World Series I think we’ll see: Giants over Angels
ALCS prediction: Angels over Rangers
NLCS prediction: Giants over Phillies
Red Sox in or out of the playoffs? In
- See more at: http://www.boston.com/sports/blogs/thebuzz/2013/04/bostoncoms_pred.html#sthash.LjnMuh8u.dpuf
As much as I hate going so long without posting to my website, this period of inactivity happens to occur every year around this time for a particular reason. Why? Because of March Madness. Unfortunately I’m not talking about the men’s college basketball tournament. I’m talking about the Massachusetts high school Super 8 hockey tournament, the boys’ and girls’ basketball state championships, and the end-of-winter projects like All-Scholastics at the Boston Globe. It makes for quite a rigorous month, with many days logging 12, 13, 14 and 15 hours. So in a nutshell, I can only handle so much blogging at work before neglecting my personal site.
It’s a give and take I’m still working on.
With that said, it’s been quite an enjoyable month because of the work my colleagues and I have done. We’re going into the month of April having navigated another demanding season by providing dynamic, timely, and news-oriented features for our readers. Our live blog on Boston.com of the Super 8 tournament was wildly successful, as was our live coverage of the state high school basketball championships. The tool of choice, Scribble Live, has certainly made our lives easier for event coverage.
In April, I get to turn the page a bit and focus on the Patriots more before the NFL draft. I’m currently in the throes of a month-long series scouting prospects that would be a good fit for the team. You can find my entries on Boston.com’s Extra Points blog. But I’m also developing some other features that I think will be awesome for our offseason coverage.
What’s great about all of this is that I’m back to writing every day. Not just every other day or some days of the week, but every single day. I’m at my best when I’m writing often. And that means April looks good too.
There’s been much written about the Boston Globe after news of the company’s plan to “untangle” its two websites, Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com, was announced followed by news that the New England Media Group — which includes the Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette and 49 percent of Metro Boston — was to be sold from the New York Times Company just a few days later.
Allow me, if you will, to bookmark some of the articles written about this right now. Maybe in six months or so, when the dust has settled, we can look back and compare and contrast the coverage of these topics with reality. For my own personal sake, I think it will be interesting.
And in an attempt to be transparent, I should add that I know nothing of the Globe’s business dealings outside of what’s been shared publicly. That’s the nature of the game when you’re at the bottom of the food chain.
Now, onto the links:
Feb. 18: “McGrory: Boston Globe will ‘untangle’ its two websites” by Andrew Beaujon, Poynter.org — This piece came out in Poytner a little more than two weeks after the idea to untangle the two sites had been unveiled by new editor Brian McGrory in the newsroom. McGrory speaks for himself here, saying “Boston.com will be in many ways the front page of Boston. BostonGlobe.com will be the front page of the Boston Globe.”
Feb. 18: “Brian McGrory wants to restrict free content” by Dan Kennedy — This is some analysis from a Northeastern journalism professor who often scrutinizes the Globe on his site following the Poynter article the same day. He offers this thought: “The Globe has to pay the bills, of course. I just hope McGrory and company understand how many free alternatives are out there. Even if they’re not as good as the Globe, they may prove to be good enough for those determined not to pay. An overly restrictive paywall could also trigger new competition.”
Feb. 21: “New York Times Co. puts Boston Globe up for sale” by Edmund Lee and Jeffrey McCracken for Bloomberg — Bloomberg broke the story of the Globe’s impending sale. I was already home when the news broke so I didn’t see this until I logged onto our site and the Globe had posted its own story.
Feb. 22: “New York Times exec outlines Boston Globe sale process to employees” by Beth Healy of the Boston Globe — Vice chairman Michael Golden traveled to Boston to discuss the sale with the Globe staff along with publisher Chris Mayer. Healy quotes Golden: “We have no intention to send the New England Media Group to the slaughterhouse.”
Feb 21: “The newsonomics of the Boston Globe sale” by Ken Doctor for Nieman Journalism Lab — Doctor analyzes the potential sale price point for the Globe, but also wonders whether the NYT Co. will put the newspaper and its related properties in good hands. Doctor asks, “How much will the Times Co. — which has been a good steward of impressive Boston journalism — use civic interest as a filter in its consideration of buyers?”
Feb. 22: ” ‘Scared’ Globe staffers press for answers” by Jessica Heslam, Christine McConville, and Matt Stout of the Boston Herald — The Herald’s story has a juicy headline and a sexy lead, but there’s nothing here new: “Blindsided Boston Globe employees — still reeling after The New York Times Co. put the Hub paper up for sale again — are slated to come face-to-face this morning with a top Gray Lady exec for the start of what could be a messy split, including the likely demand for contract talks from the paper’s 10 unions, insiders said.”
Feb. 22: Ernie Boch Jr. exploring bid to buy Boston Globe by Greg Walsh of the Boston Business Journal — Boch Jr., a car magnate, was the first potential buyer to go public with his intentions. In a statement released to Boston Business Journal first, and later picked up around the region, his spokesman said: “Ernie Boch Jr., president and CEO of Boch Enterprises and a lifelong Bostonian, is exploring the opportunity of purchasing the Boston Globe. Ernie is teaming up with Bruce Mittman, president and CEO of Mittcom (the Newton marketing agency), and partner in Community Broadcasters (the radio station group in upstate New York). Together they bring the financial resources and decades of experience in media and marketing necessary to make this purchase viable.”
Feb. 22: “Former Globe executive in talks with the Times Co. about sale” by the Boston Globe — Straight from the story: “Rick Daniels, a former Boston Globe executive who most recently was president of Gatehouse Media, and Boston private equity investor Heb Ryan have been in discussions with the Times Co. and last month submitted a bid of about $100 million to buy The Boston Globe, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.”
Of course, there’s been more speculation and re-writes of the these articles, including a look at 25 potential buyers by one site, but there isn’t much hard news to point to beyond what is already known. Hopefully, I can keep track of what’s written right here. At least through the sales process.
The NFL Draft Combine is still in the throes of devouring its young, with linebackers and defensive linemen going through drills today. Defensive backs will take the field Tuesday. But in the week of buildup toward the combine’s conclusion, more than a few names have been tossed about with relation to the Patriots. Here’s a rundown of who has been mentioned, as well as any pertinent information.
1. Florida safety Matt Elam — The hard-hitting safety is one of the best rated defensive backs on the board, so it’s no wonder his name has been connected with the Patriots after the team finished a paltry 29th in pass defense. As a Florida football player, Elam has connections with former Gators Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, Jermaine Cunningham, and Jeff Demps. But his game speaks for itself. He tallied 76 tackles, 2 sacks, and 11 tackles for a loss. He was first team All-SEC and first team AP All-American. It’ll be tough if he makes it to No. 29, but he’s definitely on the radar. We’ll see more details on Elam when he works out on Tuesday.
2. West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin — What’s the likelihood that there are two guys named Tavon on the Patriots? After the way Austin’s name was thrown around by mock drafters and media folks, you’d think it was a done deal. Austin ran a 4.34 40-yard dash Sunday. In his senior season for West Virginia, he was all over the field as a returner, receiver, and in the back field. He caught 111 passes for 1,287 yards, ran for 652 yards on 73 carries, and averaged 25.1 yards on kickoff returns. He totalled 17 touchdowns on the season. He’s only 5-feet, 8-inches and weighs 174 pounds. So he fits the mold of another slot-like wide receiver. But he has the versatility to be moved around, an attribute Bill Belichick thoroughly values.
See more of my original post on Boston.com: Five draft prospects that keep popping up – Extra Points – Boston.com.
The big hubbub over Brandon Lloyd, which boils down to whether or not he’s pesty enough to jettison, is far too premature and underdeveloped to seriously consider.
We can ask, in essence, what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior for an NFL player? And does being moody reach the barometer for unacceptable?
Without answering those questions, it’s impossible to gauge whether the Patriots should cut the cord on Lloyd. But you already know the answer to both questions and it has everything to do with star status, contract dollars, productivity, and — until recently — perception with the public, at least around these parts.
In colleague Greg Bedard’s expanded thoughts on Lloyd Tuesday, he included this damning note:
You just never know what you’re going to get with Lloyd, and either you can deal with it or you can’t. For example, talked to one player a few weeks ago that said he was talking to Lloyd about something and suddenly Lloyd said in mid-sentence, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore,” and put his headphones on.
Call it anecdotal, but it’s damaging nonetheless to Lloyd’s standing in the locker room and a personal problem he’ll have to address on his own. But if that’s the extent to which the anecdotes run (there are plenty more this reporter and others can summarize in dealing with Lloyd), it’s hard to imagine this passes the smell test for a team problem. However, it would also not be surprising if there were more incriminating examples of his surly behavior. He fits the type. But there have been worse characters in the NFL.
See more in my original post on Boston.com: Should the Patriots drop Brandon Lloyd? You already know the answer – Extra Points – Boston.com.
My latest on the Patriots. With 18 free agents, including three starters, I break down why the Patriots should attempt to re-sign right tackle Sebastian Vollmer first before dealing with Wes Welker and Aqib Talib. Thoughts, comments, critiques welcome.