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.
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.
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.
FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots were beaten handily by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, losing, 28-13, in the AFC Championship game. But one could still argue that the game would have turned out dramatically different had the home team capitalized on some key plays and executed better down the stretch.
There were numerous plays left on the field. There’s no going back now, but let’s highlight a few things that went wrong in this week’s takeaways.
1. Time management was an issue — Tom Brady and Bill Belichick did their best to deflect the issue, but they had a problem toward the end of the first half managing the clock and burned all three timeouts at the end of the game, much too soon for any comeback effort. But the events at the end of the first half were particularly troubling. The Patriots were driving down the field, only 10 yards away from the end zone, with 26 seconds left. Brady couldn’t find a receiver, so he scrambled for 3 yards and then tried to gather his teammates to attempt another play before realizing too much time had passed. He had to use the Patriots’ final timeout of the half with only four seconds on the clock. Either Belichick or Brady should have immediately called a timeout after the play to preserve an opportunity to take a shot at the end zone. With only four seconds on the clock, they were forced to take the field goal. A touchdown would’ve changed the dynamic of the game and given the Patriots more confidence going into the second half.
2. Wes Welker’s drop deflated a perfectly good drive — The second half wasn’t kind to the Patriots. They were outscored, 21-0, a remarkable display given the team’s standing as the top offense in the league. Drive after drive, the Patriots were stumped by their own ineptitude. In the third quarter, they had a particularly good stretch that was mucked up by an all-too familiar episode of Welker’s dropsies. (Forgive him, he was getting knocked around pretty good out there.) The Patriots had drove 57 yards to the Baltimore 34 and were facing third and 8 when Brady threw a pass that hit Welker in the hands and face mask. It would’ve given the Patriots a first down and possibly the opportunity to extend their lead. Instead, because of the fourth down and the windy conditions, they elected to punt. Which brings me to my next takeaway.
To see all of my takeaways, view the original post on Boston.com’s Extra Points.
You wouldn’t know that the Patriots had won Sunday, judging by the mood and comments from the team. The Patriots won, 23-16, over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it wasn’t close to being pretty. Sunday seemed like a perfect day to get another win, avoid injuries, and coast into the playoffs. But we know that for Bill Belichick, looking past opponents is not his team’s modus operandi.
With that in mind, here are some takeaways from the game.
1) Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers — The Patriots lead the NFL with a +23 turnover differential. They’ve now gone 26 straight games forcing either an interception or a fumble. It seems, more and more, that if the Patriots do not win the turnover battle, or in a case like Sunday’s game against the Jaguars get a timely turnover, the team’s chances of winning plummet dramatically. But despite the drama of Sunday’s game, including two first-quarter interceptions by Tom Brady that put the Patriots in a 13-3 hole, that really doesn’t bear out when looking back over the past two seasons. Dating to the beginning of the 2011 regular season, the Patriots have played in 17 games in which they have lost or were tied in the turnover battle. In those games, they’ve won 12. Coincidentally, they’ve played in 17 games in which they’ve won the turnover battle since that time, winning 14. While the drop-off in wins is real, as could be said about any team when they lose the turnover battle, there is a resiliency that has defined this Patriots team. One only has to look back at Brady’s comeback bid against the 49ers last week. So while perfection is the goal, there is unnecessary fretting about the Patriots giving the ball up. They’ve proven to have fight in them, even when they’re hurting themselves.
2) Stopping the big play on a big day — The defense changed significantly with the addition of Aqib Talib in the secondary. Kyle Arrington shifted to the nickel corner, Devin McCourty took up real estate at safety, Alfonzo Dennard occupied the right corner, and the Patriots’ secondary appeared to settle down. But those pesky chunk plays of 20 yards or more kept coming. Since Talib was inserted into the lineup against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11, the Patriots have given up 21 plays of 20 yards or more in the air. On Sunday, Talib was hobbled by a hip injury and Dennard was out with a knee injury as the secondary reverted to its early season form with McCourty and Kyle Arrington at corner and Patrick Chung at safety. The result of which led to a big day for Chad Henne, who threw for 348 yards and a touchdown. But surprisingly for the first time all season, the Patriots held an opponent to only two passing plays of 20 yards or more, a 53-yard catch and run by Montell Owens and a 36-yard strike over the middle to Jordan Shipley. So despite letting the game go down to the wire, and allowing Henne to lead the Jaguars to the 12-yard line with time expiring, the Patriots secondary managed to not let themselves get beat by the big play. It was a small victory in a day when the statistics and the play didn’t necessarily matchup.
See all of my takeaways in the original entry on Boston.com’s Extra Points blog.
In our last episode of the Huddle this season, Bob Holmes and I discuss the All-Scholastics, which is the Globe’s all-stars for the fall. Here, we talk specifically about the football all-stars and add in some thoughts on the year.
As always, it’s been a joy to produce this web series and I’m glad to say it was another successful season. I look forward to coming back for a fourth run in 2013.
Thanks for watching.
In the latest episode of my high school football show for Boston.com, I cover the four EMass Super Bowls at Gillette stadium and provide some reaction on the top games and players.
I think one more episode and I’ll have completed my third season doing the Huddle and the producer and host.