After falling to the Baltimore Ravens 16-15 in their first pre-season game of the 2008 calendar year, the New England Patriots are continuing to work hard day in and out, preparing for their next match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this coming Sunday, August 17 at Tampa Bay. In the opener, starting QB Tom Brady and superstar WR Randy Moss were both given the night off but expect to see at least a few snaps in the upcoming match up.
As far as the rest of the starting lineup goes, the Pats have had to deal with more then their fair share of injuries, especially their starting offensive line. Both left tackle Matt Light and right guard Stephen Neal have missed the majority of time during camp with injuries forcing New England to put multiple lineups on the field every single day. This has really not even given them a chance to work with the projected starting team thus far.
“It would be nice if we didn’t have quite as much moving as we have had in there or if we controlled more of it but again it’s always unfortunate when someone can’t practice or someone is not available,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Every time that happens, it provides an opportunity for someone else. We just have to do what we can do and don’t worry about what we can’t do. We will do what we can do. That means some guys have moved around, some guys are gaining a little bit more position flexibility.”
Linebacker Mike Vrabel was activated today to rejoin the team in practice sessions having missed the last few weeks with a high ankle sprain.
The big story at Patriots camp this week will be the battle between Matt Cassel vs. Matt Gutierrez for the spot of back up QB of Mr. Brady. Cassel, a four year veteran back up, did not look solid in the pre-season game vs. Baltimore but neither did Gutierrez who was first off the bench. Each threw an interception and looked unprepared for the defensive sets that were being thrown at during the game. Many think that Cassel’s reign may be over as Brady’s back up as his development has seemingly halted while Gutierrez who is only in his second season continues to make progress in the offensive coach’s eyes.
One thing is certain, whoever wins out the position will be the most glorified backup in the league behind the 2007 MVP.
The Patriots do have one other home field pre-season game scheduled for Friday, August 22 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tickets are available for this game as well as all regular season games at Gillette Stadium today!
J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. It shouldn’t be long before this chant becomes very familiar for Brett Favre. His ongoing drama with the Green Bay Packers officially ended last night when the un-retired QB was traded to the New York Jets for a 4th round draft pick. Favre should provide the Jets with much need upgrade at the QB position. The Green Bay Packers however, will have to hope that their man Aaron Rodgers steps up, otherwise this trade will go down as the worst Packers move ever.
The trade ended weeks of controversy as the Packers and Favre continued to butt heads on the QB’s future and relationship with the Packers. After reporting to Camp on Tuesday, Favre met with head coach McCarthy. The two were unable to find any common ground as Favre admitted to McCarthy that it would be tough to play in Green Bay after all that was said about him. That conversation sealed Brett’s fate in Green Bay as coach McCarthy concluded that Brett wasn’t in the right state of mind to lead the Packers.
Only time will tell who will truly benefit from this ordeal. New York Jets fans are certainly optimistic. One thing is certain: New York Jets tickets are suddenly a hot item!
Even without Manny Ramirez in their lineup, the Florida Marlins are still making noise in the NL East and with the MLB trade deadline approaching, their 7-5 victory over the New York Mets Wednesday night pulls the division race even tighter.
On a day when the main baseball talks revolved around the Boston Red Sox left fielder, the Marlins capitalized on 11 hits and a five run fourth inning to lift them to their 24th win of the season against an NL East opponent, the most from within the division.
Josh Johnson won for the first time in almost two years pitching 6 2/3 solid innings allowing four earned runs on eight hits. The starter who had reconstructive elbow surgery in August of 2007 had not won a game since Aug. 28 2006. With the win, the Marlins are also now 4-0 on his four starts this season.
“Two years, wow,” Johnson said when a reporter told him. “Time flies, I guess.”
For the Mets, it was their first loss in a game that Mike Pelfrey started since June 11th. They had won nine consecutive times with him on the hill, and he had picked up eight wins during that span. Pelfrey was only able to throw 4 innings in this one, allowing five earned runs on eight hits before he was pulled from the game. His display equaled his shortest outing on the season.
With the loss, the Mets drop out of first place in the NL East and find themselves a half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies who beat the Washington Nationals 8-5 yesterday. The win for the Marlins pulls them only 1 game behind New York and 1 ½ games behind the Phils for the division lead.
Members of the Marlins were excited about the win but with trade talks in the air some are also uncertain about their future with the team. Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida, both brought up as part of a possible trade, had two hits apiece for Florida.
“You put that aside when you step between the white lines,” Hermida said. “I’ve still got a Marlins jersey on. It didn’t affect me whatsoever.”
If a trade were to take place, and under the collective bargaining agreement with the players union, Ramirez would have to approve any deal before it were to happen but with his recent comments and antics on the field, he may approve anything proposed just to get out of Boston.
The Marlins will now welcome the Colorado Rockies into town for a four game series while the Mets will travel to Houston to take on the Astros for a three game set starting tomorrow.
It was a good day for the New York Yankees. Not only did they break their three game losing streak but the Yanks also got some major help behind the plate with the addition of Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez. Pudge came over late today in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. The Yankees announced the news after handily defeating the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 in a day game at the Stadium.
The Yankees offense got the ball rolling for them in the 1st inning when walks by Jeter and Abreu led to quick runs after an Alex Rodriguez single. Abreu followed Jeter home on the play when the throw to the plate sailed over the catcher’s head. A-Rod scored the third run when he came home on a passed ball.
Abreu would go on to add 2 homeruns and 3 RBI while A-Rod added a homer of his own and finished the day with 2 RBI. Joba Chamberlain got the win for the Yankees for his first back to back wins as a starter. Joba went 6 innings, striking out 6 and giving up just 1 run.
The win was key for the Yankees who are in a tight race in the AL East with the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. They Yankees now trail the 2nd place Red Sox by 1.5 games and the 1st place Rays by 4 games. Things won’t get any easier for the Yankees this week as the MLB’s best team, the Los Angeles Angels come to New York for a four game series.
Yankees Tickets are still available for all four games with the Angels.
With the NFL’s 2008 Summer training sessions underway in Patriots country, the defending AFC Champions are already starting to set some goals for the upcoming season, but for the most part they are doing what every team in the NFL is doing at these camps, getting in game shape for the 17 week grind they are about to take head on.
Looking at some of the new individuals at Pats camp, rookie Terrence Wheatley and veteran Fernando Bryant, both CB’s, are trying to learn the new defensive system that held opponents to only 274 points total during the 2007-2008 regular season (17.25 per game) which was an NFL best.
The two are trying to fill the shoes of form Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel who left for the big bucks to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We’re definitely in the same boat,” said Wheatley, a second-round draft choice from Colorado.
With Samuel out of town and Ellis Hobbs not fully recovered from off-season surgery, the Patriots are still trying to find out who will get the majority of the playing time there this season during these camps. Both Bryant and Wheatley are doing their best so that they win some time in that spot.
Another rookie that has been working hard at camp was fourth round draft pick Jonathan Wilhite, another cornerback out of Auburn. Wilhite and Wheatley have both looked sharp thus far in the workouts and the two are hoping they can both find their way onto the opening game day roster. In fact, the two often share notes are the end of practice because they are roommates.
“We definitely compare notes after the end of practice,” Wheatley said Tuesday. ‘You see what Randy [Moss] did that play and how close I was,’ but yet I really wasn’t that close. … When you get up in the morning you’re like, ‘man, do your legs hurt as much as mine?’At this point the veteran Bryant, who is entering his 10th season in the league, has the upper hand on the rookies but that doesn’t mean he’s not working hard and trying to improve his own game everyday.
“There’s a lot of expectations on the outside and you can’t really listen to that,” Bryant said. “It’s what we do here. From the outside looking in, you’re looking at Sunday’s game and you think everything is great…The coaching staff is pretty upfront about everything and the best player’s going to play,” Bryant said. “That was one of the reasons I came here. It doesn’t matter about age. It doesn’t matter about years or Pro Bowls or anything like that. The bottom line is this organization is about winning.”
The secondary continues to work together and its starting to show on some of the downfield patterns that Tom Brady and company have been running on them throughout the camps.
“The secondary is a close-knit group so we talk about everything,” Bryant said. He and Wheatley “sit by each other in the meetings. If he has some things he has questions about I try to talk to him about them. The biggest thing (is) I just tell him to take it slow. Everything’s going to come at him quick, but anytime you can slow it down on and off the field you’re going to have a better shot.”
That is unless they are trying to keep up with wide receivers like Randy Moss.
“There were a few times where I just told him [Wilhite], ’I saw you when you took off deep. You didn’t even look for the ball. You just put your head down and ran,’ ” Wheatley said. “I had to do that (too). I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one out there doing it.”
Patriots pre-season games are right around the corner so make sure to get your tickets today, many are still available!
When the Raiders drafted Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, it didn’t take long for them to show Lamont Jordan the door. It also didn’t take long for him to find a new team; the New England Patriots had a need for depth at the running back position. Backs Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris missed significant time in 2007, forcing 3rd down specialist Kevin Faulk and backups Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel to fill the gaps. The Patriots hope that Jordan can relieve the starters for a few reps, or even find a specific role to play in the offense.
The veteran had a solid 2006 season, racking up 1,025 yards and nine touchdowns, but had a 2007 campaign that was hampered by injuries. Jordan only managed three touchdowns and 549 yards in 12 games (7 starts). He said that his body seemed to be responding to contact in practice normally, and that he is starting the season healthy.
In his first practice sessions with the Pats, Jordan worked on red-zone plays and screen plays, possible long term roles for him to fill.
“Lamont adds some quality depth to our backfield,” coach Bill Belichick said after the first practice. “He’s tough to tackle, a hard runner, and good in the passing game.”
Facing the possibility of losing two starting players in Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui for the year, the New York Yankees sured up some offense and finally picked up a left handed reliever to help in their second half Pennant chase in the AL East. In a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates the Yankees picked up Right Fielder Xavier Nady who is having a fine offensive year with a .330 average and 13 home runs. Nady should pick up much of Matsui’s slack in left field. The Yankees also put left hander Damaso Marte in their bullpen with this trade.
The Yankees sent four minor leaguers to the Pirates including pitcher Russ Ohlendorf. The Yankees are still awaiting final word on both Posada and Matsui. Both players are mulling season ending surgery.
The Yankees are currently playing the Boston Red Sox in the first of a three game series. Game 2 of Red Sox vs Yankees will take place on Saturday July 26 at 3:55pm.
With next weeks trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees come into this weekend’s three game series with some needs. For the Yankees, both Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada are sidelined with injuries so New York may be looking to add a left-handed bat to their lineup. The Sox, on the other hand, are getting a left-handed bat without having to do anything.
David Ortiz will rejoin Boston’s lineup tonight after missing 47 games with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. He was placed on the DL on June 3rd and over the course of his absence the Sox did not lost any ground in the division compiling a 26-19 overall record. Ortiz completed a six game rehab assignment this past week in which he went 5-for-18 (.278) with three home runs, six RBIs and five runs scored.
“I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not 100 percent, but I’m close to it,” said Ortiz, whose 53 extra-base hits versus the Yankees since the start of 2003 lead the majors. “I think I am where I would like to be.”
He’s right where manager Terry Francona and his teammates want him to be as well, back in the lineup.
“Getting him back is going to be huge,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia told the team’s official Web site. “His personality, his presence in the lineup—he changes the game just being in the lineup. We’ve tried to weather the storm long enough. It’s time to get David back and get ready for our final stretch run.”
The Yankees will look to add a left-handed slugger to make up for the two injuries and talks have begun to stir about the addition of the homerun king, Barry Bonds, who has been a free-agent all season.
“I’ll mention it. We’ll cover everything,” Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner said Thursday before club officials began high-level meetings. “No stone will be left unturned.”
In tonight’s match up, the Red Sox will send Josh Beckett (9-6, 3.98 ERA) to the mound to face the Yankees for the fourth time this season. Beckett boasts a 3-0 record vs. the division rivals beating them at home on April 12 and twice at Yankee Stadium on April 17th and July 4th.
New York will counter will rookie Joba Chamberlin (2-3, 2.52 ERA). Since entering the rotation, Chamberlin has started nine games and is 1-1 with a 2.64 ERA. In his July 6th start against Boston he allowed three earned runs on four hits in six innings of work at Yankee Stadium.
Saturday afternoon’s game will kick off around 4:00pm and featuring a veteran pitching match up. Tim Wakefield (6-7, 3.69 ERA) will face Andy Pettitte (11-7, 3.86 ERA) in a game that will showcase two pitchers who combined have won 386 games and thrown 5,411 innings in 30 total years of MLB service.
In the series finale, Jon Lester (8-3, 3.20 ERA) will face Sidney Ponson (6-1, 4.02 ERA). Over his past nine starts, Lester has been very impressive boasting a 5-0 record. Since being picked up on waivers by New York, Ponson has pitched very well holding a 2-0 record and a 4.36 ERA.
The Yankees are currently three games behind the Sox and Rays for the AL East lead so this series could make or break their run for the division. The Sox enter the series with the best home record in baseball (36-11) and have hope that this series can propel them to a division lead that they can hold onto for good.
It’s going to be a fun weekend at Fenway Park, so don’t miss the opportunity to see baseball hottest rivalry in action. Tickets are still available to Saturday and Sunday’s games!
During January of next year the friendly confines of Wrigley Field will play host to the annual outdoor NHL game; the NHL Winter Classic. The Chicago Blackhawks will be matched up against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Last year’s Classic featured the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres, and was played at Ralph Wilson stadium. The game set the NHL attendance record at 71,217, and was one of the most-watched NHL games in history.
Blackhawks executives hope that the 2009 Classic will resonate with the fans like the previous edition. The birds-eye-view camera angles and falling snow created an atmosphere that hockey fans raved about.
Prior to a Cubs game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the classic will be played on January 1st at Wrigley.
2009 NHL Winter Classic Tickets are available now!
After months of speculation, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher reported to training camp on Tuesday, contract extension in tow. The one-year deal could be worth as much as $18 million, including a $6 million signing bonus, a $1 million base salary raise, and $8 million in guaranteed money in 2012.
“It feels good because I did have four years left on my contract, we all know that. They didn’t have to do anything, that was obviously a nice deal they offered me,” said Urlacher.
Despite offseason neck surgery and a sore back, Urlacher was ok’ed to participate in training camp activities.
“I feel fine, I feel great,” Urlacher said. “I’m not worried about that. Our doctors cleared me. I trust them, so if they tell me I’m OK, I’m OK. I feel fine, I haven’t had any effects from my neck, from my back, nothing. So just get out there and start playing.”