Three Reasons The Patriots Are A Model Organization

Now that the first round of the 2018 NFL Divisional round is history, Patriot fans have a week to think about the upcoming AFC Championship. Sunday, the Patriots will meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City. Earlier in the season, the Patriots squeaked by the Chiefs43-40 in Foxborough, Mass  Sunday’s 40-28 thrashing of the Chargers marked Bill Belichick’s 40th post _season game as a head coach. In this post, we will examine three reasons why The Patriots are a model organization.                                                                                                                 Three Reasons  The Patriots Are A Model Organization

Surrounded By Great Players    Since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000 the organization has a 5-3 Super Bowl record and nine AFC Tile wins.                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the main reasons for the Patriots success has been Tom Brady. Brady drafted number 199 in the 2000 draft has been calling the signals. In nineteen years Brady and Belichick have transformed the Patriots into one of the most successful organizations in professional sports.     Outside of Brady, Belichick has drafted players such as Tedy Bruschi, Chandler Jones,  Logan Mankins, Rob Gronkowski Vince Wilfork and most recently, running back Sony Michel. Belichick has often been critcized for his trading down method so the organization can receive a greater value for his pick. Throughout his tenure as Patriots head coach the Patriots have qualified for the playoffs ten years in a row

Superior Coaching; Since Belichick took over the team to the playoffs 2000 the team has seen a mass exodus of coaches leave to coach elsewhere.  Notable names are Texans coach Bill O’Brien, Mike Vrabel of Tennessee Eric Mangini left to coach the New York Jets.  Last season defensive coordinator Matt Patricia agreed to coach Detroit Also, last season offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels agreed to coach Indianapolis. Just after agreeing to coach the Colts McDaniels declined the offer and stayed with New England. The most recent coach to move on was longtime defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Flores agreed to coach Miami.

The Value Factor; Anyone who follows Belichick is familiar with his strategy of getting value. Throughout the years Belichick has traded First_ Round picks for middle round picks.  The idea is to get the most out of a player for a reasonable price. Recent examples of this strategy are trading linebacker Chandler Jones was a First_ Round pick in 2012 who was dealt to the Browns for linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy has since been an integral part of the team’s defense.

The  Future; After last year’s Super Bowl loss, many fans thought the regime was coming to an end.   In 2018 Tom Brady threw for 4,355 yards  29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. As long as Tom Brady can stay healthy the dynasty will continue. This coming Sunday will feature a rookie quarterback in Patrick Mahomes versus one on the greatest of all time.

Celtics Need To Avoid Any Potential Identity Crisis

  The 2018/19 Boston Celtics have been a victim of inconsistency. Poor shooting from the field has the Celtics hovering in third place in the NBA East. Despite coming off an eight winning streak the team can’t find an identity. In this post, we will examine three reasons why the Celtics Need to Avoid any potential identity crisis.                                                                                                                                                                      

Celtics Need To  Avoid Any Potential Identity Crisis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dominant Kyrie Irving; Considering the fact that the Celtics rank 10th in the league the offensive category they still lack a balanced attack from both the first and second units. Irving has been averaging 16 points per game followed by Jayson Tatum 16points and Marcus Morris 15 points per game.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Recently, head coach Brad Stevens announced that Jaylen Brown has been demoted to the second unit. Brown has also suffered injuries sustained from an early season concussion. Brown has been criticized heavily by the Boston media for not playing up to his potential. If the club expects to move ahead of Philadelphia and Toronto then Brown needs to step up his game.                                                                                                                                                                                                         Inconsistency from the field;  Anybody who has been watching the Celtics knows that they’ve been terribly inconsistent from the field. Some nights their either hot and other nights their ice cold. Especially from the three_ point area the Celtics have struggled and lost games due to poor shooting.  Terry Rozier the team’s leader off the bench has only been averaging 10 points per game  and has been complaining about his lack of minutes. Last season for, example Rozier took over for the injured Kyrie Irving and was a major factor in the teams post _ season success.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       A Rash of Injuries; One of the reasons that Brad Stevens is one of the leagues best coaches is how he utilizes his players. Injuries are part of every sport. This season the Celtics have seen their share. Injuries to Aron Baynes,  Al Horford, and Jaylen Brown. Gordon Hayward is still working his way back into form,   from season_ ending last season. If the organization hopes to reach the finals a healthy Celtics team is a must.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looking Ahead; If the Celtics expect to make a run for the Finals they need to make a statement now. Third place in the East is a far cry from last seasons first_place finish. Before they have any hopes of the Finals they need to overcome Philadelphia and Toronto, first.                                                                                                                                                                              

Bruins Farm System Failing To Produce NHL Calibre Players

The 2018 Boston Bruins find themselves struggling to maintain a playoff spot. Injuries have plagued the 2018 roster and fans are observing a team without an identity. Currently, the club has injuries to Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller and others. As it stands now, the organization is in fourth place at 14-10 24 points and four overtime losses. In this post, we will examine three issues concerning why the farm system is failing to produce NHL calibre players so far this season.

.                                                                                                                             Bruins Farm System Failing To Produce NHL Calibre Players                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Rash Of injuries;   So far this season the Bruins have suffered serious injuries to their star players. Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, and Charlie McAvoy have all missed significant time due to severe injuries. McAvoy, for example, has suffered a serious concussion due to a hard hit in mid _October.                                                                                                                                                                                In his absence, the team has had to count on callups Jakub Zboril, Connor Clifton, and Jeremy Lauzon to makeup for Chara, and McAvoys minutes. Since their promotion, from Providence, none have factored in the offense.

Lack of Scoring;   With injuries to Patrice Bergeron the Bruins first line has been nonexistent. Only David Pastrnak has been a critical player in scoring with 20 goals. His linemate Brad Marchand has been decent with seven goals but has spent most of his time in the penalty box.

Since Bergeron went on the injured list, the club has had to rely on its younger players. Forwards Sean Kuraly, Jakob Forsbackas Karlsson, Noel Acciari, have produced minimal in Bergeron’s absences.  Second _year player Danton Heinen has played in 26 games and only has 2 goals and 3 assists to show for his efforts. Last season, for example, Heinen played in30 games and scored 16 goals and a plus_ minus the ratio of 10 before his injury Third _year player Jake DeBrusk has also missed time due a neck injury. Since his return, DeBrusk has 10 goals 2 assists while playing on the second line with center David Krejci.

Respectable Goaltending; Despite the disappointing performance so far goaltending has been one area that has been respectable. Head coach Bruce Cassidy has been platooning Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Both players have kept the team in the playoff hunt with Halek showing a 932 save percentage and Rask showing a 914 save percentage

Looking Ahead; With the team struggling to hold on to, fourth place scoring must become the clubs top priority. If the young players so not cash in then General Manager Don Sweeney may have to pull the trigger on a major deal.

Reshaping The Red Sox Roster For the 2019 Season

Now that the Red Sox have wrapped up their fourth world championship in fifteen years it’s time to look ahead to next year. Pitching is the first issue that General Manager Dave Dombrowski needs to address this offseason. In this post, we will examine three areas that the organization reshape for the 2019 season.

Reshaping The Red Sox Roster for the 2019 season

Addressing The Pitching; The first order of business is to address the pitching staff. Currently, the team has three free agent pitchers that they need to make a decision on. Relievers Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi are all free agents. Eovaldi finished the year with an impressive 6-7 record and a 3.81 ERA  after being acquired from Tampa. Eovaldi proved to be a horse in the postseason but maybe too expensive for the organization to resign.                                                                                      

As for Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi look for the club to move on from both closer Craig Kimbrel and Nathan Eovaldi The team could use Kelly as the eighth inning man and promote setup man  Ryan Brasier to take over the closer’s role. In the starting pitching area,  the club may think of trading Rick Porcello and his 21,000,000  a year salary.

Depending on what direction the team goes in look for the Red Sox to be conservative this offseason. Suitable starters who would be a nice fit are Dallas Keuchel or Brett Anderson of Oakland.   Charlie Morton of the Astros would be a nice piece if the price is right.                                                                                  Regarding the bullpen department, attractive relievers are Tony Sipp of Houston. Cody Allen Of Cleveland. Also, Andrew Miller could be a possibility for the right situation.

Added depth; Aside from Brock Holt the team could use an extra role player or two. Holt who played a key role in the playoffs is the teams super sub. Some players who are free agents are Austin Jackson of Cleveland, John Jay Of Arizona.   During the season Dombrowski signed Brandon Phillips. Phillips became an instant leader in the clubhouse after being recalled from Pawtucket.  Depending on second baseman  Dustin Pedroia’s progress from knee surgery second base will be an issue that needs to be addressed.

Possible Trades; Whenever a team wins a total of 119 games fans are more than satisfied. First_ Year manager Alex Cora was one of three managers to win a World Series as a rookie manager. Look for the organization to have a quiet offseason and maintain the intensity they showed in the playoffs.                                                                                                                                                                                           The Future;  The club has so far received a commitment from David Price and signed Steven Pearce to a one year Deal. Pearce was obtained midway through the season and was named World Series MVP.

Why The Patriots Are Still The Team To Beat in The AFC In 2018

At the midway point of the 2018 NFL season, the New England Patriots are 6-2 in the AFC East, The only other competition the Patriots face are the 7=1 Kansas City Chiefs. Earlier in the season, the Patriots handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season. In this post, we will examine three reasons why the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Why The Patriots Are Still The Team To Beat In The AFC For 2018

Well, Balanced Offense;  At 41 years old the Patriots still have one of the most explosive offennses in football. Forty _One years old  Tom Brady is still the best player in football. Also, in the mix is a healthy Julian Edelman and a new receiver in ex _Brown Josh Gordon.

Although the team lost veteran Danny Amendola to free agency, the Patriot’s are well _stocked at receiver.  In the offseason, the club added ex_ Raider Cordarrelle Patterson. After eight games Patterson has been a valuable acquisition splitting time between running back and receiver. Not to mention a ninety_ five_ yard touchdown return against Chicago.

  Other key offensive contributors have been Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, receiver Chris Hogan and running back Sony Michel. Michel the team’s 2017 number one pick out of Georgia. After eight games Michel has run for 422 yards and two touchdowns.

  Defensive Issues;  The 2018 Patriot defense is not much different than their defense of a year ago. Free agent signees Adrian Clayborn, Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty have not been effective.

currently, the teams rank 25th among NFL teams in total yards. They have given up 27 passing touchdowns after eight games. On the positive side, the club ranks 14th against the run. If the Patriots have any aspirations of returning to the Super Bowl, the backfield must tighten up.

               A Healthy Brady; At 41 years old Tom Brady still remains one of the best players in NFL history. Brady ranks near the top in every category. Considering the offseason drama regarding the benching of Malcolm Butler the team continues to win with Brady calling the signals.

Looking Ahead;
 As it stands now the AFC championship is between the Patriots and KansCi tyChiefs. Although the team handed the Chiefs their first loss they are still the two best teams in the AFC..If the Patriots can stay healthy then return trip to the Super Bowl is possible. Look for a Patriots Los Angeles Rams meeting in the 2019 Super Bowl.                                      .

 

Time For The Red Sox Pitching Staff To Step It Up

With game one of the ALDS scheduled tonight, it’s time for the Red Sox pitching staff to step it up. Although the team had a franchise high of 108 wins, in 2018 this is where the players earn their salary In this post, we will review three areas why the pitching staff needs to step it up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Time For The Red Sox Pitching staff to Step It Up                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Eliminated by Houston The Past Two Years;   Although the organization  enjoyed a franchise record of 108 wins, no postseason series celebrations the past two years. The past two seasons the team has gone down in defeat at the hands of the Astros.                                                                                                                                    With free _agent signee, David Price and Chris Sale winless in a postseason series the pressure are on the team and first_ year manager Alex Cora to deliver a playoff series victory If the organization fails to get past the Yankees in round one General Manager Dave Dombrowski’s job may be in jeopardy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Red Sox Pitching Versus The Yankees, Astros and Indians;  In contrast to the Yankees, Indians, and Astros The Red Sox bullpen ranked 4th in the American League with 50 saves and a 3.75 staff ERA. Closer Craig  Kimbrel  5-1 2.74 ERA and 42 saves is the games best.                                                                                          The Indians bullpen of Cody Allen, Neil  Ramirez, and Andrew Miller are tough to beat on any given night. Houston’s Ken Giles and Roberto Osuna are one of the best in the game.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       As for the starting pitching, all four teams are highly talented  Overall the edge goes to the Astros with the starting staff of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton Bostons David Price, Chris Sale, and Rick Porcello have not won in the postseason throughout their careers.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Level of Talent Compared to last season the Red Sox is better with the additions of JD Martinez, Stephen Pearce, Ian Kinsler, Brandon Phillips and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.  The key for a successful postseason is to play smart and aggressive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Decisions After PostSeason ; Regardless of the outcome of the postseason decisions could be made on Red Sox General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Although the team has qualified for the playoffs three years in a row, the organization’s farm system has very few highly ranked prospects.

Why Goaltending will take the Bruins To the Promised Land in 2018/19

With the 2018/19 NHL season set to get underway this week, Bruins fans are optimistic about the upcoming season. With Tampa Bay and Toronto, the teams to beat in the East hopes are high for a successful Bruins season. In this post, we will cover three reasons why goaltending will be the key ingredients for the Bruins to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Why Goaltending Will Take The Bruins To The Promise Land In 2018/19

Upgrade In Goaltending; Although Toronto signed John Tavares the Bruins did some moves of their own this offseason. One important move was signing free agent goalie Jaroslav Halak.

In 54 games with the Islanders, last season Halak compiled a 20_-26 record  908 save percentage. As for the playoffs Halak has played in 30 career playoff games while posting a 13-15 record and a 908 save percentage. Halak is is a huge upgrade over last year’s backup Anton Khudobin. Halak’s playoff experience should be a huge help for Tuukka Rask.

Defensive Improvements;  Last season the Bruins had one of the best defenses in the NHL. With the trading of veteran Adam McQuaid, the Bruins added former Devils defenseman, John Moore. Moore who has played in a total of 446 career games has 32 career goals and 67 assists.  Moore who is noted for his speed and puck handling skills will be a definite upgrade on the power play.  Also, his leadership will be a big plus in the locker room.

One other trade in the defensive department was acquiring Stephen Kampfer from the Rangers. Kampfer was part of the Adam McQuaid deal with the Rangers midway through training camp.

Youth Movement; Along with the offseason moves the Bruins continue to grow their roster with younger and quicker players. Last seasons number one draft pick Axel Andersson is competing for a full _time roster spot. With youngsters, Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly, Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen already on the roster look for the Bruins to make life difficult for opposing teams this season.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Looking ahead; Last season head coach Bruce Cassidy guided the Bruins to a 50-20- record for 112 points in the Eastern Conference. With Former Islander John Tavares signing with Toronto goalie Tuukka Rask has a huge task ahead of him along with the rest of the organization.

The Bruins survived Toronto last season in round one of the playoffs, only losing to Tampa Bay in round two. If the Bruins have any hopes of reaching the finals boils down to a balanced scoring attack, solid defense and a well _rested Tuukka Rask.

What We Have Learned From the Patriots After Week One Going Forward In 2018

Anybody who is a fan of the NFL understands you cannot tell how a team will fare after just one game. This past Sunday the Patriots enjoyed their first win of the season with a 27-20 win over the improved Houston Texans. In this post, we will cover three areas on why the Patriots are still a favourite to return to the Super Bowl going forward in 2018.

 

What We Have Learned from the Patriots After Week One Going Forward In 2018

Balanced Attack     Like any Patriots team under Bill Belichick we witnessed a well_ balanced attack in Sunday’s win. Offensively Tom Brady passed for 277 yards On the ground the team rushed for 122 yards for a grand total of 389 yards combined for the day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Contributing in the effort were Rex Burkhead, James White, and James Devlin In the receiving department, Rob Gronkowski had  7 catches for 168 yards.  Also in the mix was wideout Phillip Dorsett 7 catches for 61 yards. Dorsett had his best day as a Patriot.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Improved Defense  During the course of the game the Patriots put enormous pressure on quarterback Deshaun Watson. Defensively the team had three sacks. Led by Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler and newcomer Danny Shelton.                                                                                                                                                                                      In the defensive backfield area cornerback, Stephon Gilmore was credited with one interception and free agent cornerback JC Jackson had an impressive professional debut by not getting beat on any of Deshaun Watson’s throwing attempts to his side.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Superior Coaching   Despite the offseason loss of defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to Detroit the clubs coaching is still the best in the business. New Defensive  Coordinator Brian Flores had the defense well prepared in Sunday’s win. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has a challenge ahead of him due to the loss of Nate Solder. Newly acquired Trent Brown from San Francisco has made an impression. With the loss of number one pick, Isaiah Wynn  the Patriots will meet the challenge

Remaining Games Ahead in 2018    As far as the rest of the games for 2018 the Patriots have their work cut out for the Outside of their division The club faces Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.  Not to mention a week two rematch with Jacksonville. If the Patriots hope to reach the Super Bowl, then Tom Brady needs dependable protection all season. Also, the team needs Rob Gronkowski healthy for all sixteen games and the playoffs

Why The Red Sox Bullpen Will Determine Their Post Season Success

With three weeks left in the 2018 Major League Baseball season, pitching will decide the outcome of the Red Sox success. The starting pitching has been spectacular. But it will be the bullpen that will determine the Red Sox success In this post, we will review three reasons why the bullpen will be a key factor.

Why The Red Sox Bullpen Will determine Their Post Season success

Depth In The Pitching department

Considering the pitching has been spectacular, they have also been getting quality starts from their fourth and fifth starters. Both Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez have pitched respectably in the absence of Eduardo Rodriguez.

It’s depth like this that have contributed to the teams best season ever. If the club can continue to get valuable performances from their back _end, then the pressure will help the pitching as the club heads into September.

A  healthy Chris Sale

Chris Sale has been on the Disabled list since August 3rd with shoulder inflammation. Recently Sale has been throwing on the sidelines and is expected to return in September

Sale 12-3  had pitched superbly before going on the disabled list. Since then the club has been getting valuable contributions from Nathan Eovaldi, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez.

Getting contributions like this that has propelled the team to the best record in franchise history.  Righthander Nathan Eovaldi acquired at the trade deadline, has provided a considerable boost for manager Alex Cora.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           E

Exceptional Closer

Along with having a deep bullpen the organization has one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel 4-1 37 saves is one of the teams most valuable players.

A club that has a Craig Kimbrel has an advantage. If the Red Sox expect to win in the post_ season, then Kimbrel will be a key factor.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The Stretch Run                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The season of 2018 has been a historic one to say the least. The club is on it’s to a 110 win season, With new additions JD Martinez the post season will be very exciting.

Three Of The NHL’s Most Improved Teams Heading Into The 2018/19 Campaign

With the Major League Baseball season, almost three quarters over NHL training camps are a month away. With the offseason activity completed, it’s time for hockey fans to focus on the upcoming season. In this post, we will break down three of hockey’s most improved teams

Three Of The NHL’s Most Improved Teams Heading Into the 2018/19 Campaign

Carolina Hurricanes Out of all the teams in the NHL the Hurricanes were the busiest. Beginning with a five _player trade with Calgary the Hurricanes said goodbye to Noah Hanifan.

As part of the five_ player deal, the club received defensemen Dougie Hamilton and winger Michael Ferland. Also, the team signed free agent defensemen Calvin De Haan. de Haan is noted for his tough style of play that Carolina lacked last year. As for the goaltending, the club signed Petr Mrazek from Philadelphia. Mrazek will provide depth provide depth for the disappointing Scott Darling.

Overall, the Team finished 23rd in  Goals Against Average With the addition, of Hamilton, DeHaan the Hurricanes defense should be improved. Also, goaltender Petr Mrazek provides depth to back up Scott Darling. If the club sticks to its game plan Head coach Rod Brind’ Amour’s team has a chance at the playoffs.

Arizona Coyotes Head coach RickTocchets Coyotes suffered a disappointing 29-41 season last year.   With the Coyotes finishing at the bottom in every category the organization had a hectic offseason.

The first major move was sending Max Domi to Montreal all for center Alex Galchenyuk. In Galchenyuk, the club gets a proven scorer. Scoring 19 goals and 32 assists last season he also has played in 418 postseason games.

In other moves, the team acquired winger Michael Grabner from the Devils. Grabner is an excellent skater who brings a physical presence.  Also competing for a roster spot is center Brad Richardson from Vancouver Vinnie Hinostroza from Chicago and right winger Nick Cousins from the Flyers. All players should provide depth to a weak offensive team.

As for the goaltending department, Antti Raanta had an impressive season compiling a 21-17-6 for a 224 Goals Against Average   Backup Darcy Kuemper provides relief. Kuemper was 12-7-5 with a 252 Goals Against. With new faces and strong goaltending, the Coyotes could well be the surprise of the west this year.

Toronto Maple Leafs Out of all the teams in hockey, the most exciting to follow were the Leafs. The Leafs landed the biggest fish of all in winger John Tavares. Tavares agreed to an eight _year deal .In Tavares, the team gets one of the most prolific players in the NHL. Tavares along with Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and center Nazee Kadir the Maple Leafs are a threat to win the East. Plus free agent Tyler Ennis. Veterans James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak found new homes.  With the signing of Tavares Toronto becomes a favourite to win the East. The only catch with so much offense the Leafs finished 13th in GAA. Goaltender Frederik Andersen fell apart in the playoffs.  If Toronto can play quality two_ way hockey and give Andersen the protection he needs the Maple Leafs should go deep in the playoffs.