USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Random Patriots/NFL thoughts

John Rooke
May 10, 2019 - 4:35 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering how we really came to celebrate Cinco de Mayo…

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @tkyles39: “By my count, 32 players on the current roster have been to at least two Super Bowls as Patriots. 27 have multiple rings with the team. They know what it takes to get back to the big game.”

 

  • Later this month, NFL owners will again consider a new overtime rule that would give each team a possession in the extra period.  So let’s just call it the “Patriot Rule,” and be done with it. 

 

  • It may be as blatant a slap in the face to one team’s success as there has ever been.  Or one players’ success, really.  Did the NFL do this to Papa Bear Halas?  Vince Lombardi?  Hell, did they do it to the Steelers, Cowboys or 49ers when they dominated? 

 

  • The Patriots have a transcendent quarterback and an all-time coach.  It’s not fair.  Let’s change the rules.

 

  • So if you can’t beat ‘em, move the goalposts.  But to the NFL’s chagrin, the Patriots seem to be able to still find a way, don’t they?  See Item #1 above.

 

  • Rodney Harrison’s election to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame this week is deserved, certainly.  But color me surprised that Richard Seymour lost all that momentum from his narrow miss a year ago.  What happened?  Rodney became eligible this year.  And he’s a TV star, you know, so…there’s that, too.

 

  • Nice pickup for the offensive line this week in Jared Veldheer.  He’s 6-8, 321 pounds and coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss his last three starts in Denver last season.  Perfect Patriot opportunity.  He’ll become a swing tackle on the line, unless Isaiah Wynn falters. 

 

  • I’ve said this before – Ben Watson to New England makes a lot of sense.  Familiarity, reliability.  Hands.  Professionalism.  And at 38 years old, he’ll have the blocking help he’ll need.

 

  • And let’s slow down the freight train on Jarrett Stidham becoming Mr. Heir Apparent.  Maybe he will be, maybe he won’t.  But it says here next years’ QB class will have better choices for the role as TB12’s understudy.  TB12 will also be another year closer to 45, where he has said he wants to get to before r-r-retirement.

 

  • Timing is everything.  Stidham’s arrival in Fort Foxboro is a bit early, methinks.  We’ll see.

 

  • Sign of the (high) times:  XFL commissioner Oliver Luck this week told SI.com his league would “prefer not to test for marijuana” use among its players.  It is, after all, a non-PED.  Will the NFL pay attention? 

 

  • Brown football made news this week, as James Perry hired the school’s first female football coach.  Heather Marini joins the staff as an offensive quality control coach, having worked previously with the New York Jets as a scouting specialist, and in her native Australia as a head coach for a club program.

 

  • If a coach can make you better as a player, should gender matter?  Men coach women’s teams, right?  It’s only a matter of time before women begin to blaze a trail in men’s hoops, too.

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @TrckFootball: “14 of 1st 16 #NFLDraft picks participated in multiple HS sports. 50% Track & Field. 50% Basketball. 4.0/5.0 PAI average.”

 

  • The above tweet is sent as a public service message to youth sports coaches everywhere.  Let the kids play whatever they want to play. They’re only kids for so long.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Bryant president Ron Machtley announced this week he’ll be retiring after the next school year.  What a remarkable transformation in Smithfield, RI under his watch – from College to University, from no football to football, from NCAA DII to DI, from irrelevant to very relevant in facilities, coaching and athletic attitude.  That’s a real resume, especially when you throw in Congressman, too.

 

  • Congrats to the Providence College club lacrosse team for winning the National Collegiate Lacrosse League national championship.  Not to be confused with the varsity sport, there is also club lax at PC, one of 22 club sports on campus.  And they just won a natty.

 

  • PC’s varsity softball team is in the Big East Tournament for the first time in six years – with two Friars, (freshman Daniela Alvarez, senior Emma Lee) receiving all-Big East honors.  Alvarez was also named co-freshman of the year in the league.

 

  • Learned this week that former Friar guard Drew Edwards will finish off his college eligibility with a grad season at UNC-Charlotte.  Wish nothing but the best of luck to a great kid and solid Friar.

 

  • APR scores (Academic Progress Rate) were released this week, and Providence (984) rated 3rd among Big East basketball programs behind Villanova (1000) and Seton Hall (990).  If a schools’ four-year average falls below 930, they lose postseason eligibility.  PC has had two years of 1000 scores under Ed Cooley (2012-13, 14-15).

 

  • Numbers of note – the four-year national APR average for men’s basketball this year is 967.  URI scored 990, Brown 986 and Bryant 976.  Detroit Mercy is the only Division I school facing a postseason ban in men’s hoop, and the overall combined national average for men and women is 983, which matches last year’s record high.

 

  • On the flip side – guilty verdicts this week on three of 10 charges in the college hoop corruption trial.  NCAA, the next move is yours.  Make it a good one, ‘cuz your track record shows a losing streak.

 

  • More than 50 schools have been implicated in some form or fashion.  Arizona is the biggest fish out there to hook.  Wondering, seriously, if this will be a simple ‘catch and release?’

 

  • Xavier forward Naji Marshall announced this week he will return to the Musketeers’ basketball team next season, after briefly dipping his toes into NBA Draft waters.  X will, again, be a factor in the race.

 

  • Marquette’s Steve Wojciechowski may have lost two of his best players to transfers, but the school announced Wojo gets a contract extension anyway.  He’s good for five more years, contractually.  He hasn’t won many friends among some Golden Eagle fans lately.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but the Hauser brothers this week announced they’ve narrowed their choices of landing spots to Virginia, Michigan State and Wisconsin.  They’ve already visited Wisconsin.

 

  • In their place, Marquette landed 7-foot grad transfer Jayce Johnson from Utah – who averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds per game for the Utes last season. 

 

  • The Friars’ Alpha Diallo sent out a photo of himself post-workout for the Celtics this past week.  Diallo was not on the list of invitees to the G-League combine that was also released this week.

 

  • But Seton Hall’s Myles Powell was, which could put another dent in his chances to return for the Pirates next season. 

 

  • Not just because Powell could move on, but I’m starting to like Georgetown’s chances more and more for next year, considering their roster.  The Voice of the Hoyas, Rich Chvotkin, told me NC State transfer Omer Yurtseven could be better in the middle than Jesse Govan. 

 

  • With those freshmen coming back (Freshman of the Year James Akinjo, Mac McClung, Josh LeBlanc), Patrick Ewing could be an early candidate for Coach of the Year.

 

  • Here’s a problem for Ed Cooley in coaching the USA’s Pan Am games team this summer – he’ll be limited to players from only half of the teams in the Big East, with the other half on foreign tours at approximately the same time as the tournament in Peru.  Did anyone know in advance this might be an issue?

 

  • The Big East this week extended its’ TV deal with CBS and the CBS Sports Network through 2024-25.  20 games per season, with at least two appearances for every school.  Up to four on the network mothership, with the remainder on CBSSN.

 

  • And the Gavitt Games matchups with the Big Ten should be announced soon – rumors have run rampant that Rutgers could be the opponent for PC.  While nothing is official, the Friars have already played two of their three previous Gavitt Games’ at home (Illinois, Minnesota). 

 

  • But this Rutgers team, which has already played two of three previous Gavitt appearances on the road, may not be the old Big East Scarlet Knights you remember, either.  Expect the announcement in the next week or two.

 

  • ICYMI, CBS’ Jon Rothstein tweeted this week that Bryant will play at Rutgers next season, and that Stony Brook will play Providence at the Dunk.

 

  • Did you see, Friar fans, where Bryce Cotton just won his 2nd straight Australian MVP?  Second.  Straight.  And he can’t find a gig on this side of the planet for someone, somewhere?

 

  • Ex-Brown guard Desmond Cambridge is headed for the University of Nevada, to join a Wolfpack team expected to contend again in the Mountain West, with a new coaching staff in place.  Former UCLA, New Mexico and Iowa coach Steve Alford now runs that show.

 

  • Did you know Andy Jick?  You knew his voice, surely, as he manned the mic at the old Boston Garden during the Celtics’ heydays of the ‘80’s and into the ‘90’s.  Since 2001, Andy carried the duties as PA voice for Boston College basketball and baseball. 

 

  • Sadly, Andy passed away last week at age 66.  He was one of those people who was ‘as nice as the day is long.’  A real pro, who genuinely seemed interested in what you were up to when you spoke with him.  We don’t have many like him anymore – as an announcer and as a person.

 

  • Tweet of the Week III, from @PatMcAfeeShow: “Poor Maximum Security has no idea that his sperm price just dropped SIGNIFICANTLY.”

 

  • The Kentucky Derby was an absolute mess on the track, and off the track as well.  Hard for me to believe it was the FIRST time in 145 years for a horse to block another from the finish line.  I call BS.

 

  • And the TV shots of the stewards looking at the replay?  Cringe-worthy, reminding me of the agonizing moments we all spend before an NFL crew botches or overturns one of those calls.  I’ll be using this hashtag a lot in the future - #IHateReplay.  Feel free to share.

 

  • I’m thinking it’s time to climb into the DeLorean and go back to the future in all sports – and eliminate replay altogether.  Sure, we have the technology.  Doesn’t mean we have to use it, if we utilize it poorly.  We attach too many inane, nonsensical rules to it.

 

  • Let’s see now.  The month of April was merely “extended spring training” for the Red Sox, is that about right?  It took them 38 games – nearly a quarter of the schedule – just to get to .500. 

 

  • Alex Cora has the right to do whatever he thinks he should do, of course, as it pertains to the White House visit this week.  But you can’t tell me he didn’t sorta throw his “white” players under the bus for deciding late that he would not be attending.  He did.  He left them hanging out to dry, for ridicule and public scorn over simply having the chance to go meet the President. 

 

  • Regardless of politics, shouldn’t he be the leader/manager for every player, no matter their color?

 

  • White guys went, most black/colored guys didn’t.  Nah, nothing to see here.  No discord, no dysfunction.  Just the Sox being the Sox.  If you can’t get together as a team off the field, can you get together on the field to win again?

 

  • And that’s another thing entirely.  Championship teams being honored at the White House.  Let’s say it again – time to put this tradition out to pasture.  Too many wrongly believe it’s a sign of siding with political beliefs.  That’s not necessarily the case.

 

  • I would go, if invited, to respectfully honor the office…not necessarily the person in the office.  Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, whatever.  The President is the President. 

 

  • Very disappointed in the Boston Globe, but not surprised.  Deleting reader comments showing negativity toward owner John Henry is one thing – but allowing negative, personal attacks on Robert Kraft to remain in print and online?  Good job by WEEI’s Mut and Callahan this week of calling out a sickening, obvious agenda from a one-time “bastion of journalistic integrity.”

 

  • Sadly, that’s been gone a long, long time in this age of “have a take, and don’t suck.”

 

  • Here’s the bright side of things:  Patriots = Super Bowl.  Red Sox = World Series.  Bruins = Stanley Cup semis and counting.  In one calendar year. 

 

  • We are sooooooo spoiled and entitled in Titletown.  But hey, New York, Philly, Chicago, LA, Dallas and Atlanta?  Jealousy isn’t a good look, either.

 

  • Anyone else wonder how the Kraft’s can be so successful with the Patriots and be so unsuccessful with the Revolution at the same time?  ICYMI, the Revs fired former USA goalkeeper and head coach Brad Friedel this week with the team off to a horrible 2-8-2 start.

 

  • Maybe I didn’t jinx the Bruins after all?  A title team knows when to step on the throat of an opponent and end it.  The B’s did just that in Game Six against Columbus, in Columbus.  That was impressive.

 

  • So was that 3rd period (four goals) in Game One of the Eastern finals against Carolina.  Yeah.  Went right for the jugular. 

 

  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, do you really care about Kyrie Irving’s future with the Celtics?  Sure, he went out with as big a whimper as I’ve ever seen a professional athlete attempt around here.  I mean, he had to try to be that bad in Game Five at Milwaukee.

 

  • Who cares?  We do, Kyrie.  We do.  We actually know what championships look like, and what it takes to win them.  What do you know beyond looking at LeBron’s backside?

 

  • But he’s not the only one to blame.  Others shut it down, too.  Here’s the thing – I think Kyrie is back next year.  Somebody – Danny, Brad Stevens? – needs to intervene and show a little backbone.  Fellas, this is the team.  Learn to play together, or you won’t play.  And that includes all aforementioned prima donnas.

 

  • You can usually feel when a season is over.  The Celtics season was over midway through Game Three against the Bucks.  For the next game-and-a-half, those guys just stole money.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he really got into celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year. When I asked him why, he said because he didn’t realize the true meaning of the day until recently.  Back in 1912 when the Titanic sank, few people realize the ship was carrying 12,000 jars of mayonnaise in its’ cargo hold, on its’ way to Mexico. 

 

  • When the ship sank, so did the mayo.  Mexico loves its’ mayo and was disconsolate over the loss.  So they began celebrating a National Day of Mourning on May 5th each year – also known as “Sinko de Mayo.”

 

  • Paul emailed this week, on college eligibility: “If the NCAA requires a transferring student/athlete to “sit” for a year, why not the same ruling for a coach?  It might reduce the number of coaches seeking ‘greener (pun intended) pastures and promote stability in programs.’”

 

  • Paul: You make too much sense.  Not only would it reduce that number of coaches who jump ship to new schools, my guess is it would knock it down to nearly zero.  Which is why membership will never vote to deny free market movement, nor will the NCAA push to adopt such a policy.  But a wise lawyer could put this issue in a court of law someday and make things very interesting.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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