Goodbye Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers on Monday evening. I don’t recall a backup quarterback ever having so much intrigue for the Patriots (unless of course you go back to Brady himself, and even with him I don’t remember so much buzz about him in 2000). 

Jimmy was a talented quarterback. His performance in the first game and a half of 2015 were very important in keeping the Patriots at the top of the AFC in Brady’s wrongful absence. Some in the media questioned his toughness when he had a sprained ac joint and missed one game, but I never considered that opinion to be likely. I believed he would be the quarterback of the future for the Patriots, but alas.

It’s unusual to see a dramatic shift in opinion on a player from Bill Belichick. It usually takes a drastic event, like Asante Samuel dropping a super bowl interception, for such a shift. From what I’ve read, and what I’ve seem/heard Bill say, he apparently liked Jimmy a lot. Some have claimed it was Kraft who made the choice, telling Bill that Brady must retire a Patriot (which i have hoped for a long time), and since Brady will likely last a few more years Bill saw the writing on the wall. I do wonder what that means for Bill Belichick coaching the team into the future, if this will impact whether he feels Kraft trusts him or will let him run the team as he sees fit.

Speaking of Brady, it also makes one wonder how Brady felt about Jimmy. Im sure he wanted Jimmy to be a successful player, but it must have been a pain to see the guy many people want to replace you throwing the ball on your field. I’ve heard stories that Brady didn’t like these implications, but it’s obvious that it lit a fire under him that made him perform better (which is honestly hard to believe given his immense talent). This move tells me that Brady will be here for at least a few more seasons.

However things go, Jimmy Garoppolo is almost certainly out of the equation for good. I hope he succeeds in San Francisco and has a long career. Not that he beats the Patriots, but I wouldn’t wish I’ll on him. Thank you for your contributions to the team.

On another note, welcome back Brian Hoyer.

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The Celtics Aren’t Done Just Yet

Gordon Hayward’s injury sucked.

It sucked for a number of reasons. It was disgusting to see, it happened to a very likeable person, and it happened to a guy who had a lot of potential in a new city on a contending team. 

And now that contending team is in a bad spot. Their max contract superstar is hurt. Irving and Horford are very good players but aren’t enough to beat the best of the best. Brown and Tatum are off to a good statt, but rookies, and we don’t know how they’re going to develop. Smart and the rest of the bench are a collectively good bench, but they’re just that- a bench. Marcus Smart isn’t ready to be a primary starter and play all-star-level minutes and put up all-star-level points.

But they’re not done yet. Hayward will be out until at least February or March, likely a bit longer, but there’s a very good chance he comes back for the postseason (and this team is good enough to get at least to the playoffs). Kyrie Irving is a top 15 player in the NBA, closer to top 10. Horford is a very good big man.

Besides their 3 stars, they have a cast of talented role players. Smart is a borderline starter. Brown and Tatum have tremendous potential, and showed that against Cleveland last night. Aron “All of Australia” Baynes showed that they finally have a solid rim protector. Rozier is a good bench point guard. And the team showed a tremendous resiliency in the face of a horrific injury to their best player, as they did last year when Isaiah Thomas got hurt in the playoffs.

So the Celtics will be down, but certainly not out just yet. If Hayward doesn’t come back, theyll get eliminated in the second round or possibly the cinference championship depending on the matchups. But there’s a lot to be hopeful for despite the terrible first quarter injury yesterday.

Postseason Again

The Sox clinched a spot in the postseason last night with a win and an Angels loss. At the very least, they’ll be a wild card team. They’re in the driver’s seat for the division though, so barring a pretty big collapse they’ll have (likely) Houston, or more likely they’ll be heading to Houston. 

I’m not as confident as I’d like to be in the Sox. Their offense is inconsistent. Just look at their last 3 games: two overtime Wins, one going 15 innings, and one blowout win on the back of Chris Sale’s absolutely dominating performance. If they had a consistent showing on offense even for the past month or so they could be contending for home field advantage. I’m still no 100% sold that they’ll be ready to compete in the playoffs with playoff pitching, whether it be Verlander, Keuchel, or even Kluber if things go south for Cleveland.

Pitching is another concern. Sale is Sale, but other than yesterday he kind of struggled (relatively, of course, for the Cu Young award hopeful). Big congratulations are in order on his 300 strikeouts this year, the first time since 1999 that it’s happened in the AL. Drew Pomeranz has actually been consistently very good this year, which is something I wouldn’t have expected to say last year. He has done a tremendous job and has been one of the few cconsistent pieces on this team. Beyond that, what do we have? Rick Porcello, who isn’t even close to what h was last year; Eduardo Rodriguez, who is what you’d expect him to be; Doug Fister, a solid fifth starter with an unfortunate last name who would be exposed as a third starter; and the billion-dollar man David Price, who will probably be a bullpen pitcher (which is good considering that’s the only way he’s ever won a playoff game).

The Sox will most likely play the Astros in the ALDS. I think they can win, but it’ll probably go to at least 4 games if not 5. Houston has been coasting a bit since starting the season like a rocket and burning out after the all star break. After Houston would be Cleveland, a juggernaut who won 22 games in a row and is poised to have home field to defend their pennant from last year. Cleveland looks to have Boston’s number this year, whatever the reason. If I were a gambler, I wouldn’t bet on the Sox in Cleveland. But stranger things have happened, so the Sox shouldn’t be counted out yet.

Random Drug Tests

I see this every damn time someone hits multiple home runs in a game (congrats, JD Martinez). Everyone complains about how they’ll get “random” drug tests, and it’s clearly not “random”. It happens every 4/20 too.

Here’s the answer: it isn’t meant to be random. “Random” only applies to the player. The MLB (and NFL, and NBA, etc.) Have the authority to do it *randomly (I.e. at their discretion, without warning the player in advance) as a way of potentially catching a player in the act of cheating. It’s to deter people from cheating. It isn’t random for both sides because there would be no practical benefit for that.

Preseason Predictions 8: The NFC West

The final round of my preseason predictions. Here it is:

1. Seahawks: 11-13 wins

Seattle will have another strong year, contending for a high playoff seed. How they fare in the playoffs is a mystery.

2. Cardinals: 6-9 wins

I think Arizona will finish stronger than last year, but their potential isn’t particularly great. They could contend for a wild card slot, but they’ll be a dark horse if anything.

3. Rams: 5-8 wins

Los Angeles’s season is up in the air, especially since their quarterback situation is a little messy. But now that they’re free from the clutches of Jeff Fisher, their future looks brighter than before.

4. 49ers: 4- wins

Oh my. This team is a hot mess. Guaranteed top 5 draft pick.

Preseason Predictions 7: The NFC South

Another unpredictable division is the NFC South. Here we go:

1. Buccaneers: 9-12 wins

Tampa Bay has the talent to win the division, and Jameis Winston could pull it off this year. They should continue to improve and have a huge impact on the NFC.

2. Falcons: 7-11 wins

Atlanta could have a but of a hangover year after their monumental collapse in the Super Bowl last year. Or they could come out for revenge. Who knows?

3. Panthers: 7-10 wins

Can Newton needs to bounce back. They’ve lost a good chunk of their 2015 postseason team, but Carolina should be competitive for a wild card spot if Newton plays consistently.

4. Saints: 6-9 wins

If they had a defense, they’d be golden. Drew Brees is one of the best passers ever, but he can only carry the team so far. 

Preseason Predictions 6: The NFC North

The NFC North features some of the oldest franchises in the league, including the original Super Bowl winner. Here’s round 6:

1. Packers: 11-14 wins

Green Bay sometimes gets off to a slow start, but when they get rolling they can be absolutely deadly. Aaron Rodgers is pretty much good for 10 wins on his own.

2. Lions: 8-11 wins

Detroit has performed surprisingly well recently. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a small decline, but at the same time 11 wins is a very achievable goal.

3. Vikings: 6-9 wins

Minnesota’s offense is a huge question mark on the 2017 season, especially at quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater returning at some point. I hope they make a run for the playoffs but it seems very unlikely.
4. Bears: 1-5 wins

Oh boy. This team is a hot mess. We’ll see how the rookies perform, but having high hopes for Da Bears is setting yourself up for disappointment.