Monday, January 05, 2009

Let's Make Our Way Through

"Fly like paper, get high like planes."

So, what do you know, I found something to talk about:

Okay, this is one of the weirder stories ever, and because it hits home on a bunch of different levels. Jeff Jagodzinski, BC's head coach, is in one of the oddest situations in recent memory. "Jags," as he's referred to around here, and basically by the rest of the national media because no one has a clue how to pronounce his name (me too), could potentially get a nice pay raise from the NFL, but it could cost him his job if he interviews in the wrong spot. Apparently, the AD at Boston College (Gene DeFilippo) has stated that if Jags even attempts to interview with the Jets, who have him on their short list, then BC will fire Jags on the spot, regardless of if he gets the job or not. This is just fascinating to me. If Jags even attempts to make more money in New York, he will lose his job in the college ranks. Now what you have to wonder is what is DeFilippo's motive for stating that? Is it a loyality thing? Or is it the thought of having a Boston guy go to the hated Jets (do not, under any circumstances, ever underestimate the last statement)? This is crazy though right? I mean even when you run for President, if you lose, you can go back to your original job (that is unless you're dumb enough to resign before you lose). I am just so curious about the AD's motives here...I really am. This is so amazing. It's not like this might's going to happen if Jags interviews with the Jets. I mean Josh McDaniels will be welcomed back with open arms most likely if he doesn't get a head coaching job (which seems extremely unlikely that he won't get the way, how crazy would it be if McDaniels went to New York? This would be the second coach in the last four years from the Pats to end up heading the Jets...what a story that would be).

I'm watching the Fiesta Bowl right now, and I was watching a little bit of the pregame show beforehand. On the right side of the desk was Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. They should have made an attempt to get Dave Campo in and make it a 5-man desk with the three consecutive coaches from Dallas who all got jettisoned from Dallas by Jerry Jones. I don't was way more funny the first five seconds after I thought of it.

I was just watching the recap of the 2008 Red Sox (and then turned it off after Game 6 was over, which means we ended last year on a win...for me), and was again made aware of the enormous impact that Jason Bay had on the team down the stretch. Then I remembered that he was a free agent at the end of this year. Backtrack a few hours, and I was listening to ESPN preview the fantasy baseball season on a podcast (believe it), and there is always a common theme: You have got to get guys in contract years. So, I figured I would make a list for you outlining the best players who are in contract years (those with a * indicates a club option):
  1. Matt Holliday, OF, Oakland
  2. Cliff Lee*, SP, Cleveland
  3. Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta
  4. Victor Martinez*, C, Cleveland
  5. Justin Duchscherer, SP, Oakland
  6. Carl Crawford*, OF, Tampa Bay
  7. Josh Beckett, SP, Boston
  8. Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore
  9. Jason Bay, OF, Boston
  10. Xavier Nady, OF, New York Yankees
(honorable mentions: Vladimir Guerrero (because it remains to be seen if he will be able to walk at the end of the year), and Erik Bedard (who could be amazing...and if he stays healthy, why do I have the feeling that Seattle, with the new coach, could be an interesting story this year?)

So, I know it's early, but keep those guys in mind when you are drafting in the coming months...

Well, speaking of early...the NFL Draft is just four months away!!! Okay, even more ridiculously early for this, but again, this is what I live for (quite literally). Okay, well, of course, let's start with the Pats and where they are picking this year:
  • 1st Round: 24
  • 2nd Round: 47 (from San Diego)
  • 2nd Round: 59
  • 3rd Round: 90
  • 4th Round: 121
  • 5th Round: 152
  • 6th Round: 187
  • 7th Round: 218
So, the San Diego trade last year (2008 3rd rounder for 2008 5th rounder and 2009 2nd rounder) really is working out very nice for us. If you look at the talent available, even if you throw in underclassmen, this is an incredibly weak draft. With that being said, there is still some value in the 2nd and 3rd rounds because you know that the combine will skew a bunch of guys to go in the early rounds when they really don't belong there. So what are the needs right now for the Pats? Well, you probably have to start at cornerback. All along, I kept saying that the Pats should have opened up the wallets for Asante Samuel, but the Pioli/Belichick tandem is very stubborn from getting off the "no one is bigger than the system" attitude that they seem to have, which is a nice idea and has obviously had some major success, but when it comes to the corner position, there are only so many times you can just let a guy walk. They were able to get by without Ty Law, but they had Samuel in waiting. When they lost Samuel, they had Ellis Hobbs that slipped into the #1 spot. If anyone thought that was a good idea, or thought that may work, evaluating football players is probably not your thing. After watching him get burned by Plaxico in the Super Bowl, I was like "man, we are screwed if this guy is our #1 next year." In any event, not only did they have a weak #1, but they had no one else after that. It's almost like when you're playing in "Franchise" mode in Madden, and when it comes to the next season's free agent list, and you get to corners, invaribaly, the highest guy on the board is like a 79 or an 80. That's how I felt about the Pats getting Jason Webster and Fernando was like "let's get the worst of the best." So, that's an obvious need. A need that I thought would have gotten filled last year, but obviously wasn't, was help for the right side of the offensive line. Hochstein and Kaczur are train wrecks, and they regularly either got roasted around the corner, or were called for a ton of penalties. So, I would like to see a big tackle taken in the first three rounds. Is it possible that the Pats can sign both Seymour and Wilfork next year, as they are both free agents to be? If not, this is perhaps an interesting time to go out and get someone to be waiting just in case they are unable to sign both. Okay, so with that being said, here are the top 10 at each position I just named off. If you're a Pats fan, you have to be hoping for at least three of these guys to come here in the first three or four rounds:

  1. Malcolm Jenkins, 6'1, 202, 4.40, Ohio State
  2. Vontae Davis, 6'0, 200, 4.39, Illinois
  3. Trevard Lindley, 6'0, 177, 4.41, Kentucky
  4. D.J. Moore, 5'10, 183, 4.41, Vanderbilt
  5. Victor Harris, 6'0, 195, 4.49, Virginia Tech
  6. Jairus Byrd, 6'0, 205, 4.53, Oregon
  7. Mike Mickens, 6'0, 190, 4.45, Cincinnati
  8. Asher Allen, 5'10, 197, 4.44, Georgia
  9. Domonique Johnson, 6'2, 190, 4.34, Jackson State
  10. Mike Parson, 5'10, 193, 4.38, Ohio
Offensive Tackle:
  1. Michael Oher, 6'5, 318, 5.19, Ole Miss
  2. Andre Smith, 6'5, 339, 5.26, Alabama
  3. Eugene Monroe, 6'6, 315, 5.19, Virginia
  4. Jason Smith, 6'5, 300, 5.10, Baylor
  5. Ciron Black, 6'5, 315, 5.27, LSU
  6. Eben Britton, 6'6, 310, 5.05, Arizona
  7. Xavier Fulton, 6'6, 298, 4.95, Illinois
  8. Russell Okung, 6'5, 299, 5.17, Oklahoma State
  9. Adam Ulatoski, 6'8, 310, 5.19, Texas
  10. Sam Young, 6'7, 313, 5.20, Notre Dame
Offensive Guard:
  1. Duke Johnson, 6'5, 330, 5.28, Oklahoma
  2. Herman Johnson, 6'7, 349, 5.45, LSU
  3. Anthony Parker, 6'3, 305, 5.10, Tennessee
  4. Andy Levitre, 6'2, 316, 5.22, Oregon State
  5. Trevor Canfield, 6'5, 310, 5.10, Cincinnati
  6. Ray Feinga, 6'5, 329, 5.23, BYU
  7. Andy Kemp, 6'5, 318, 5.14, Wisconsin
  8. Cedric Dockery, 6'4, 320, 5.24, Texas
  9. Paul Fanaika, 6'6, 337, 5.40, Arizona State
  10. Tyronne Green, 6'2, 309, 5.19, Auburn
Defensive End:
  1. Brian Orakpo, 6'4, 260, 4.66, Texas
  2. George Selvie, 6'4, 250, 4.68, South Florida
  3. Michael Johnson, 6'7, 257, 4.63, Georgia Tech
  4. Everette Brown, 6'4, 250, 4.60, Florida State
  5. Tyson Jackson, 6'5, 292, 4.85, LSU
  6. Greg Hardy, 6'5, 260, 4.69, Ole Miss
  7. Connor Barwin, 6'4, 257, 4.60, Cincinnati
  8. Brandon Graham, 6'3, 270, 4.72, Michigan
  9. Clint Sintim, 6'3, 254, 4.66, Virginia
  10. Auston English, 6'3, 255, Oklahoma
Defensive Tackle:
  1. Terrence Cody, 6'5, 365, 5.50, Alabama
  2. Sen'Derrick Marks, 6'1, 291, 4.89, Auburn
  3. DeMarcus Granger, 6'3, 303, 4.98, Oklahoma
  4. B.J. Raji, 6'1, 325, 5.12, Boston College
  5. Peria Jerry, 6'2, 305, 4.94, Ole Miss
  6. Vince Oghobaase, 6'6, 315, 5.11, Duke
  7. Fili Moala, 6'4, 296, 5.05, Southern Cal
  8. Dorell Scott, 6'4, 313, 5.04, Clemson
  9. Evander Hood, 6'3, 295, 4.94, Missouri
  10. Vance Walker, 6'2, 291, 4.99, Georgia Tech
So, again, for the second topic in a row...way too early to probably be discussing this, but it's out there, I like lists, I love the kind of works out.

The Patriots are about to put the franchise tag on Matt Cassel. Hmmm...big surprise. However, this does not mean that Cassel won't end up on another team next year if Brady does happen to be ready to go next year. Think about teams like Detroit and Minnesota. The Pats will likely be looking for a first round pick for Cassel, and would probably get it from both those two teams. Detroit won't trade #1, but remember, they do now control #20 from the Roy Williams trade to Dallas (how's that working out for the 'Boys?). Both teams have picks in the 20''s not out of the possibility.

Stephon Maurbury in Boston? According to reports last week in both Boston newspapers, Maurbury has expressed interest in coming to the C's and reuniting with Kevin Garnett ten years after Maurbury demanded to be traded to the Nets. He says he's we really have proof of this at any point of his career? Here's the thing: Do the Celts really even need Maurbury? I say no, and here's why: I understand that there is a lot of pressure on Tony Allen to step into James Posey's shoes and be the kind of two-way player that he was last year. I get that, but right now, don't the Celts need more frontcourt depth? Remember how critical P.J. Brown was down the stretch last year? The Celts need a big man like that, because the shine is somewhat wearing off of Big Baby Davis, and after Leon Powe, it's all over as far as people you can bring in off the bench. Maurbury has been so interested in getting minutes, where does he think he is going to get any in this lineup? Rondo is a borderline all-star, Eddie House is affixed as the backup point guard, and while he is probably a better shooting guard than at the point, they have Tony Allen as the backup 2-guard. To me, this is one of those moves that will complicate things more than it will help them. I mean it's not Teixeira-like, but it's still going to alter the chemistry a little bit. I will say that if any team can do this, it is the Celtics. It would almost be like when Randy Moss came here from Oakland. Also, all of this is moot if Maurbury can't get bought out of his contract in New York, which has been at a stalemate for almost two months.

Alright, that's it for now. One more little thing I'm going to do which may be helpful to everyone making their picks for this weekend (I know I will be looking at it). Here is where the money is moving as of Monday evening:

Baltimore vs. Tennessee:
  • Open: Tennessee (-3, 113)
  • Current: Tennessee (-3, EVEN)
  • Public: 59% Baltimore; OVER 34.5
  • Trend: Laying Off Tennessee
Arizona vs. Carolina:
  • Open: Carolina (-9.5, -110)
  • Current: Carolina (-10, EVEN)
  • Public: 54% Carolina; OVER 49
  • Trend: Fairly Constant
Philadelphia vs. New York Giants:
  • Open: New York (-5, -102)
  • Current: New York (-4, -104)
  • Public: 56% Philadelphia; OVER 41
  • Trend: Philly Staying Constant Despite Spread Going Down
San Diego vs. Pittsburgh:
  • Open: Pittsburgh (-6.5, EVEN)
  • Current: Pittsburgh (-6, -101)
  • Public: 54% San Diego; UNDER 38
  • Trend: Pittsburgh Gaining Momentum
Alright, take care everyone. Peace.


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