Mailbag Time, and I'm fairly certain this is the only place on WEEI.com where you'll find both a Manning vs. Brady QB debate AND a Jamie Lee Curtis vs. Denise Richards cleavage debate.
Plus we take a look at why this Patriots defense needs to step up, break down all the Week 12 NFL picks, figure out what it is that Ernie Adams actually does and define The Belushi Clause.
So to the 'bag we go …
Definitely have to go for it on 4th and two in that spot. But he might not do it after all the ruckus you made last year. No not your blog, but all the whiners.
Up six is a much tougher call than up three, Better question is what do you do early in the 4th quarter up one? You score a touchdown to go up seven. I think in that spot a team should go for two.
A: One thing I think we can all agree on: Bill Belichick has a long and frankly troubling history of worrying about what the media might write before making a decision. Ernie Adams has one job with the Patriots during games, and that's to check what the beat writers are posting on Twitter and report it to Belichick at halftime.
Come on, Novick. Belichick (correctly, of course) couldn't care less about what anyone writes about him. If that was the case he would have punted in San Diego, right? And I agree, he absolutely goes for it if he had found himself in the same fourth-and-2 spot on Sunday. What would you trust more: Brady and that offensive line finding a way to get three yards or the defense stopping Peyton Manning, who has killed the Pats over the last four years and had just gone up-and-down the field for TDs on the last two possessions?
You take a look at this defense, and you see a big difference from last year. We see speed. The defense is almost last in all categories but yet the team is 8-2. Week after week we see a little bit of improvement from the defense. If they can keep getting better we might be seeing something really special this year.
A: Yup, McCourty and Spikes and Cunningham and Chung and a healthy Mayo equals speed. No doubt this is a group that can make plays that the 2009 defense would not have. And I do buy into the idea that they'll only get better as the year goes on, but there are still serious warning flags here. Terrible on third-down, almost historically bad when it comes to completion percentage allowed, still really struggling when it comes to getting to the quarterback. This isn't a classic "bend but don't break" defense. There has been plenty of breaking. But what they have managed to do is find a way to get that stop or turnover when they have absolutely needed to. Not sure of you can rely on that all season, you know? At some point in the playoffs the defense is going to have to play a great game, not just a game where they make a couple of great plays. Have we seen a complete game from this defense yet?
I believe a lot of the "poor" play by Brady in the second half, as you point out has a lot to do with conservative play calling. Do you really think Brady would rather hand off the ball three times near the end of the game for a three and out if he had his choice? We miss Weis or any half-decent O-Coordinator. If Brady is told to run a run play and it flops all of a sudden he is having a bad day. I say let him stay aggressive not conservative.
A: Well, the Pats didn't just run the ball three times on their final drive, Craig. It'd be tough to blame Brady for that. They ran it twice and then Brady hit Tyjuan Hagler in the chest with a pass that should have been intercepted. A Bledsoe special that no one will remember because it was dropped. And that's OK, but you and I know that if it was Manning that makes that play every Pats fan is screaming how that's a pass Brady never throws.
How does Brady get the blame for the play calling? Minihane says he had a quiet last 30 minutes...going 7-11 (64%). Add in two drops, and he could have been 9-11 (.82%). Boy, have we been spoiled to the point we are raising the bar to where anything less than Superman-like efforts are not good enough.
I know they want to run the clock out with the lead. But, I think doing what has been successful all game and getting first downs will run the clock out better than three-and-out running plays. It's the play calling stalling the offense, not Brady.
Kirk, do you actually watch the games or just look at the stat line when it's over?
Pick it Up
A: I almost always watch the games, unless any of the following happens to be on TV at the same time: A movie with Jim Belushi, any TV show with Jim Belushi and any episode of "Biography" that is about Jim Belushi or features comments from Jim Belushi. So, yeah, if "Taking Care of Business" is on at the same time as Pats-Jets I'm going to be going on the stat sheet only when I write the report card. And that's OK with the WEEI.com brass -- I have a Belushi clause in my contract.
You think Brady played well in the second half? Fifty-five yards passing (on 11 attempts) and what could have been a killer pick if Hagler, you know, could catch isn't exactly what we're looking for from Brady.
Just another example of why Brady is better than Manning. Throws into double coverage when there is no reason to and kills his teams chances of at least a tie. But he has played in more NFL games... great point Minihane.
A: Again, if Hagler makes a not-so-tough catch and James Sanders drops that final INT Brady is getting killed this week. I've written it before and it still is true after Sunday: Peyton Manning has had a better career than Tom Brady. It comes down to this (sorry Thornton but it's true): Manning has played 202 games in his career, Brady 139. That's a 63-game spread, not insignificant. Even if you think Brady has had the better career (which is a perfectly legitimate stance) is this difference great enough to make up nearly four full seasons of Manning? Having watched these two guys over the last decade-plus I just don't see how that could be. If I needed to win one playoff game with my life on the line? Brady. But I'm not sure that's the same argument. I'm not even suggesting that Manning is a better quarterback, but he has had a more valuable career. Four extra years at an MVP level is just a deal breaker for me is all.
(But I'll allow this: If Brady wins the MVP this season -- and I think he's the favorite right now -- and the Pats win another Super Bowl he jumps ahead of Manning on my all-time list. A 4-1 Super Bowl edge would be too much to ignore.)
I think “C” is a generous grade for the secondary. Peyton shredded them all day. I know they had three interceptions, but those were as close to a quarterback giving the ball away as I have ever seen (especially for Peyton). They let Jacob Tamme, Blair White, and Donald Brown catch a total of 15 balls for 142 and 2 TDs. Who? Who? And Who? This secondary, and defense as a whole, still cannot stop anyone on 3rd down. I know that you grade on a week to week basis, but they deserve a D+ at best for letting Peyton with an offense as banged up as the ’09 Red Sox go up and down the field.
A: Fair points, Andrew, but I'm still not sure how much of what we saw on Sunday is because of the secondary or the lack of pass rush. I thought McCourty played well, Butler had moments and the secondary created three turnovers, including one on the final drive that put the game on ice. And I'll agree that the Meriweather pick was a gift, but the McCourty and Sanders INT's were no gimmies. Not easy catches at all.
Kirk, how, HOW can you forget the great Mimi Rogers? Best front porch in Hollywood! Google her. You'll see her greatness from the 1995 movie "Full Body Massage" which is basically a 90 minute movie of Mimi showing off her rack. I still can't believe Tom Cruise kicked that to the curb for the vastly overrated Nicole Kidman.
A: Agreed, not having Mimi Rogers on that list was a disgrace. I'm totally ashamed of myself. Twins of delight and a heavy member of the Minihane solo time rotation in the mid-to-late 1990s. Not having her on my top 15 list renders it totally worthless. And I'll never get the 12 hours I spent putting it together back.
How about Jamie Lee Curtis in 1983's Trading Places? As a young, impressionable 16 year old, the first time I saw that on VHS video in 1985, that was the highlight of my year.
A: She was on the bubble, Todd (along with Sophia Loren, Morganna the Kissing Bandit, Busty Heart, Elizabeth Hurley, Beverly D'Angelo, Joan Severance, Heidi Klum, Kelly Preston, Dolly Parton, Amy Roloff, Phoebe Cates and Lynda Carter. And my pre-2000 rule meant leaving out Joan from "Mad Men," which really hurt. I actually considered grandfathering her in because her character lived in a pre-enhancement world.)
RE: NFL Picks
How can you believe anyone who went 5-9 last week and isn't looking too good in the year to date win column........ LOL.
A: OK, but I bounced back with a 9-7 week AND nailed my lock of the week again (9-2 this season -- in other words, if you had bet $50 million a week on my locks you'd be up $350 million bucks. What else can I do?). So hang in there, the road to .500, the march to mediocrity, the hunt for so-so is still alive. No picks column this week with the holiday, so here's Week 12 (hello, 13-3!):
New Orleans (-3) over DALLAS
NEW YORK JETS (+8.5) over Cincinnati
Pittsburgh (-6.5) over BUFFALO
ATLANTA (-2) over Green Bay
Minnesota (+2.5) over Washington
Jacksonville (+7.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS
SEATTLE (PK) over Kansas City
Philadelphia (-3) over CHICAGO
BALTIMORE (-7.5) over Tampa Bay
DENVER (-4) over St. Louis
INDIANAPOLIS (-2.5) over San Diego
San Francisco (-1) over ARIZONA (worst Monday Night Game ever?)
*HOUSTON (-6.5) over Tennessee
*OAKLAND (-2.5) over Miami
*CLEVELAND (-8) over Carolina
* No lines for these games as of Tuesday night with uncertain QB situations for the Titans, Dolphins and Panthers. Did the best I could.
New England (-6.5) over DETROIT
I think what happened in Cleveland should take care of any trap game concerns. The Pats run the ball (Lions give up 4.6 yards per carry), Brady keeps playing it safe and smart (think 16-22 for 188 and a couple of TDs) and the defense puts a TD on the board (Shaun Hill already has nine picks). Let's call it 31-17, Pats.