Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tornado hits western Massachusetts

Shoot me if you're offended in my finding humor in a serious subject matter; I thought this was hilarious.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rapoport: John Daly tries to keep Mallett on course

Note: This column was written by Ian Rapoport for the Boston Herald on May 6, 2011

“He needs a little work,” Daly told the Herald, laughing about the 6-foot-6 quarterback’s game. “But he needs clubs about four inches longer because he’s so tall. I called TaylorMade to see if we can take care of him.”

Daly isn’t limiting his guidance to the golf course. The dedicated Razorbacks fan has watched Mallett countless times from the sidelines, and the two became friends after they appeared on Jon Gruden’s ESPN quarterback special.

Daly, who has dealt with his share of negative publicity, assisted Mallett on the pitfalls of being a celebrity.

“I’ve always believed that the press loves to write about the past, whether it’s good or bad,” Daly said. “In my life, it’s been bad. I’ve been telling him, don’t live in that past. And I don’t know about Ryan’s past. You talk to everybody about it, there’s nothing there. . . . You know the deal: If someone sees you drinking a beer, they think you’re drunk, especially if you’re a celebrity. All I know is, he’s a good kid.”

While they played golf, Daly said, Mallett drank water. He emphasized that all Mallett wants to do is learn from Pats coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

“He’s ready to play football,” Daly said. “He’s preparing for the season. Coach Gruden said he couldn’t keep him off the board. He’s very, very smart.”

Mallett has enjoyed getting to know Daly, one of the Arkansas program’s most visible supporters.

“He’s just trying to help me know that there are going to be people trying to bring you down,” Mallett said. “And surround yourself with good people. He’s a really good guy. He’s had his problems, and he dealt with them. He knows what he could’ve been, and he doesn’t want to see the same thing happen to other people.”

Daly played golf with Belichick years ago, and the Cowboys fan does keep tabs on the Pats. He anticipates a bright future for Mallett.

“They got the best backup quarterback in the country right now,” Daly said, “and Ryan will learn quick. I don’t think they have to worry about winning games if Brady sits out or gets hurt.”

Please click here to read the full column by Ian Rapoport, "John Daly tries to keep Ryan Mallett on course" at

Howe: Pats passing on players opens door for second guessing

Note: This was written by Jeff Howe for NESN on Thursday May 5, 2011

1. Should the Patriots have taken Nate Solder at No. 17 when defensive end Cameron Jordan and cornerback Prince Amukamara were still on the board?

Solder will be the Patriots' left tackle of the future, and that's not a bad get with the 17th pick. But he might be better off sitting for a year. Meanwhile, the Patriots could have landed Jordan, who projected to fit the system perfectly and would have been able to start right away. Amukamara was considered a top-10 talent who fell into the Giants' laps at No. 19. If the Patriots were prepared to take a cornerback in the draft -- as they did at No. 33 with Ras-I Dowling -- Amukamara would have made sense with their first pick. From there, they could have taken Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi at No. 28 and potentially traded the 33rd pick for a 2012 first-rounder.

2. Should the Patriots have traded the 28th pick with the amount of talent on the board?

The Patriots' fan base has spoken loudly about their desire to take Alabama running back Mark Ingram at No. 28, but I still don't think that would have been the right call. Rather, the Pats could have taken Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward or Temple defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. Heyward is tenacious at the line, and Wilkerson is a physical specimen who still needs some time to develop. Instead, Heyward and Wilkerson went to the Steelers and Jets, respectively, so the Patriots will get a close look at each player's production for years to come. Instead, the Patriots traded No. 28 for the Saints' first-rounder in 2012 (likely in the same area) and Cal running back Shane Vereen.

3. Should the Patriots have taken Mikel Leshoure instead of Vereen at No. 56?

Leshoure was my top-ranked running back, and I thought he could turn into an every-down back with his ability to run between the tackles, burst into the second level and serve as a valuable asset in passing situations. Therefore, I don't really understand why the Patriots let him slip past then. Vereen has good speed and will be very valuable in space, as he proved during his time in the run-and-shoot style of the Pac-10. Vereen will need to prove he can be an asset between the tackles, too, but he will serve as a good complement to the other backs in New England's offense. He is a good character and was a team captain, so that might have given him the edge over Leshoure, who went one pick later to the Lions.

4. Should the Patriots have traded up to take Robert Quinn?

Quinn was widely considered one of the draft's two best pass rushers, and the Patriots had no shot to take Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller, who went No. 2 to the Broncos. Quinn, though, slipped all the way to the Rams at No. 14. The Patriots' most realistic trading partner might have been the Vikings, who shockingly took Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder and probably wouldn't have minded trading back to No. 17. To make that move, the Patriots would have to give up the 17th pick and a third-rounder, according to the draft's trade-value chart. Quinn could have instantly been the Patriots' most dangerous edge rusher.

5. Should the Patriots have gambled on quarterback Ryan Mallett?

The Patriots have to think their best-case scenario with Mallett is turning him into trade bait and acquiring a first-round pick in two or three years. Otherwise, obviously, they never want him to touch the field during a meaningful game. By the time Tom Brady plays out his contract, which expires after the 2014 season, the Patriots will have to re-up on Mallett, who will likely sign a three- or four-year deal when (if) the NFL league year begins. If Mallett is still with New England at that point, it means he has erased his character concerns, and his on-field talent will be enough to entice teams to target him in free agency. It's a big gamble for the Patriots to take.

6. Why didn't the Patriots take any pass rushers in the second or third rounds?

I think the Patriots are higher on outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich than most people realize, and the crop of pass rushers at that point in the draft were overrated in my opinion. Still, it will come back to haunt them if Jabaal Sheard, Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed, Da'Quan Bowers, Dontay Moch, Justin Houston or Martez Wilson really materialize.

7. What were the Patriots thinking in the seventh round?

They had one pick remaining at No. 219, and they took TCU defensive back Malcolm Williams, who had an extremely limited role on defense in college, played most of his reps on special teams and admitted he didn't think he had a shot at getting drafted. Therefore, if he earns a spot on the roster, it will be as a special teamer, and the Patriots probably could have waited to court him in free agency.

ATP Girl of the Day: Leslie Kay Nelson

Leslie Kay Nelson from Delray Beach Florida