Touching All the Bases

Sunday Mail: Patriots Roster Is Built To Win That Fourth Lombardi -- Right, Dilfer?

Danny Amendola 1.jpg

Under usual circumstances and the silly but prevalent fear of jinxing a good thing, I'd suggest it's too soon to the season to throw this out there.

But considering that the dipstick Dilfers of the world were writing off the Patriots after two losses and 25 percent of the season, it definitely won't prove the dumbest thing anyone has said about this team this season. So here goes:

Right now, at the 56.25 mark of the season and during their bye, the Patriots remind me so much of the 2003-04 Patriots that ... well, you worry less about each Sunday's game and more about keeping the key players healthy. I'm not saying it's the best team they've had in a decade -- despite the ending, the 2007 team should never be overlooked, and there were a few true contenders that followed, though defensively they were no match for this crew.

I'm saying this: If the roster they have right now is the roster they take into January, I'm convinced a fourth ring isn't just possible, but probable.

Dilfer was right, though. The Patriots aren't good anymore. They are many superlatives beyond good.

On to ...


Doesn't it seem like for whatever reason the Pats season is going to come down to a Brady to Danny Amendola pass? Maybe they'll finally convert one of those game icing 3d and 2s with 2.5 minutes left? And related to that, not sure why, but I really find myself pulling for Amendola. I'd love to see him have a big moment.
-- Neil (DC)

I can say with 100 percent honesty, Neil (DC), that it has never crossed my mind that the season could come down to Brady-to-Amendola. I've thought about Brady taking the snap, down six in the Super Bowl, and hitting Gronk over the middle, then watching him promptly rumble over 11 Seahawks and Pete Carroll (who would totally dive at Gronk's knees) to win that fourth ring. I've thought about him hitting Brandon LaFell in a big moment, and of course Julian Edelman, and maybe even Tim Wright down the seam. But Amendola? Nope.

I get why you root for the guy, though. Played well in his first game last year, got hurt, Edelman stepped up, and as it turned out, Amendola's skill-set was redundant with a better player. He's underachieved, but he's also not playing the role he was brought here to perform. Give him credit for putting his head down and trying to make it work. That was a hell of a catch he made against the Jets.

Bill Polian to the Jets after this year - he probably won't kiss the Pay-Tree-Oughts rings either.
-- Hoss (Austin)

Interesting thought. He's certainly competent -- whatever you think of him, the guy knows how to build a roster. But that competence probably means he's smart enough to stay far away from the Jets, too. Too bad. Curious to see what rules he would try to get changed. No one in a Patriots uniform is allowed to intercept Geno Smith's passes? That would be a tough rule to follow.

Doesn't it seem like Ruben Amaro Jr. might be one to overvalue Yoenis Cespedes? I mean more so than he would overvalue anyone else.
-- John

cespedesyoenixfinn119.JPGThat would be something, wouldn't it? Acquire Cespedes for Jon Lester, turn around and wheel him a half-season later for Cole Hamels -- the closest thing there is to Lester among his contemporaries. The one-year-left-on-the-deal thing probably hurts the chances of Amaro giving up much for him, though. Or at least specifically what the Red Sox would want. Oh well. Allen Craig seems more like Amaro's type. He's over 30 and was good two years ago.

I'm a huge college football fan and it always amazes me how little coverage the sport gets in New England. I understand there's no powerhouse team up here, so that's a big part of it, but even if BC was sitting at 9-0 and ranked #3 in the country, would anyone up here really care? It would probably be 4th in topics discussed in this chat, behind Pats, C's, and Sox hot-stove.
-- Brent

It would be no higher than eighth, behind the items you mentioned, the Bruins, what Felger and Mazz might say after the next Patriots win, whether Minihane will end up in afternoon drive, and the best donut shops in coastal Maine. For college sports to register here, you really need a phenomenon like Doug Flutie at Boston College for it to become something fans who attended various different schools and are so invested in pro sports to care about. I mean, when Matt Ryan was at BC, they rose to what, No. 2 in the BCS standings in '07? And few really gave it much attention. Just the way we are around here, I guess.

Am I the only person in Boston who didn't hate Mike Salk?
-- Geoff

Nah, Haggerty liked him.

Aren't there pretty similar parallels between the 2010-11 Heat and this year's Cavs? Multiple stars coming together, taking a while to get going and figuring out how to play with each other? Granted, Kyrie Irving appears to be more difficult than any other prior teammates of Lebron, but I have a feeling he will shape up. And if not, the Cavs will bring in someone who will buy into the team dynamic.
-- Dan

It feels pretty familiar. If you remember in Miami, though, LeBron was pretty deferential to D-Wade at the beginning. Wade was the one with the ring, he was already beloved in the market ... it was his team, strange as that seems to say. It's a little different circumstance now. Irving isn't LeBron's peer in the way Wade was. LeBron isn't going to and shouldn't cede anything to him. One of the most incredible things about LeBron as a player is how malleable he is -- he shapes his game to best fit his teammates, then takes over when the time comes. (Unless the Spurs are the opposition, I suppose.) But the way Irving is playing -- he sure seems concerned with getting his points first and foremost -- isn't going to cut it with Albert Pujols LeBron, and they probably will continue to have issues for a few more weeks. But they'll get it straightened out and will end up being the best team in the East.

Don't mind me I'm just imagining a scenario in which the Red Sox trade for Adrian Beltre.
-- Cale

It's a great idea, Cale, but I'm afraid it just isn't going to work out. Don't get me wrong. Beltre is a.great player, a joy to watch, had another excellent season ... but I think we all know that he's not a big enough star to boost NESN ratings. I mean, we've been down this road. You can't even sell a single item of panda paraphernalia with this guy. No, we bring us the marketable, plump dude who just got all that prime-time play during the World Series. Forget Beltre. The don't-touch-the-head thing is cute, but it's just not profitable. Sorry. No Beltre for you.

(P.S. -- I'm in! Bring back Beltre!)

Until next week, the mailbox is closed. Exit music, please.

Glad Tonto finally spoke up for himself. It's no fun doing the dirty work for free.

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