LONGSHOTS: Raiders say ďNo MossĒ in fight with talented wideout
by Dave Long
If I were doing my Saturday morning radio program on (plug, plug) WGAM (1250 and 900 AM) this morning and counting down the biggest stories from a rather interesting week, hereís what they would be:
Patriots on the Move over the Weekend: The whole In Bill We Trust thing got a workout last off-season when Willie McGinest, Deion Branch, David Givens and Adam V walked. While it all made big-picture fiscal sense it hurt in the short run. Ironically Vinatieriís departure hurt the least, although it is worth noting he was money in the bank in helping the archrival Colts become Super Bowl champs. Not having McGinest hurt when Junior Seau went down and wide receiver was a problem all year.
So while I give him credit for being daring, In Bill We Trust is going to get a major test again this year. Last year it was about the salary cap. This year itís character. Bringing in Randy Moss is risky. I know the talent is tantalizing, but itís not the same as Corey Dillion, who was a work horse that caused problems out of frustration from always losing in Cincinnati. Moss has been extraterrestrial, but has now been booted off two teams for his attitude. The price for a team with a zillion second-day picks and a drastically reduced new cap number makes it a low end gamble. But, with him already blaming the media for his reputation, he sure doesnít sound like a Patriot to me. So this bears watching.
Then there is taking Brandon Meriweather with the 24th pick. Heís the latest in a long line of talented Miami players with nefarious activities in their past. In addition to a shooting that was deemed self-defense, he was center stage last fall during Miamiís amazing brawl with Florida International. Coach Bill says it was a mistake and everyone deserves a second chance. I agree, BUT, from the ivory tower I sit in a long way from the scene of the crime, stomping on a guy seems like a thuggish street instinct much more than, say, Kermit Washington whirling to deliver a devastating punch to peace-loving Rudy Tomjanovich after catching a glimpse of a guy running at him from behind in the blur of a brawl. Iím hoping it was just a mistake made in a flash, but bringing in him and Moss seems an odd departure from a formula thatís worked to near perfection in the Belichick era.
Monarchs Finally Rule in Round One: Monarchs El Presidente Jeff (the) Eisenberg (ís have it) got two reasons to sleep better over the weekend. First, he got the annual ďwhy donít people go to the playoffs after filling the joint in the regular seasonĒ newspaper story out of the way, and second, the Monarchs finally won a playoff series. You know the latter had to happen sooner than later; we all just hoped it was going to be this century. Happily that turned out to be the case and now itís on to round two to test out my theory, which says theyíll have an easier time playing their game now that the monkey is off their back. I know, people on the team pooh-pooh that theory and say there was no pressure, but Iím sticking to it. And maybe it was a coincidence, but Brian Boyle, who scored the series when they were a tiny mistake away from coming home for Game Seven after blowing a three-game lead, has been here, what, two weeks? So he really didnít know anything about the Curse of Howard Baldwin. That doesnít mean the series with Providence will be easier, by the way, just easier to just play the way they play best. Regardless, see you in round three.
Sebastian Telfair: Does anybody out there think if Sebastian Telfair averaged 20 a game Wyc Grousbeck would have e-mailed the media after his gun-related arrest to say heís no longer a Celtic? Heís got a right to expect players to act appropriately, but this seems a convenient way to say the trade for him was a colossal blunder by Danny Ainge. Iíve been a vigorous supporter of Dannyís and despite a 24-win season I still donít think theyíre that far away from being decent. But I did say it was a horrible trade because Telfair wasnít as good as what they had at the point already. That turned out to be true and will be exacerbated when Brandon Roy, who they could have had with the 7th pick, wins NBA rookie of the year next month. Itís a reminder that when drafting (or making a trade with a pick), itís almost always a bad idea to stretch to fill a need, rather than take the best player available. Roy would have been a nice chip for the trades that need to happen to get them back to the Promised Land, like the following deal.
My NBA Draft Scenario Fantasy: Iím saying this here because if it falls this way I want to be the first to say I thought of it. If the Celtics get the first pick and Charlotte gets number two, Iím trying to make a deal that lets them take (gulp) Greg Oden in return for Emeka Okafor and their pick. Iíd then take Kevin Durant to make it a 21st-century version of Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for Joe Barry Carroll and the 10th pick which cemented three NBA titles. I wouldnít give up Gerald Green, Al Jefferson or Paul Pierce, but anyone else can go, which probably means it wonít get done. Iíll admit, though, if I were the GM and it somehow happened, Iíd lay awake at night worrying that Oden might become a Russell-like force ó which is the reason Charlotte might just make that deal.
Baseball 20 Games In: Almost forgot about this, but if this were a radio program, Iíd have to say Iím out of time, so weíll have to get to that next week. Although, Iíll leave you with this: the Yankeesí being in last place has made Roger Clemens, at least, five million more dollars. The question is will he get them before or after George impulsively fires Joe Torre?
Dave Long is host of Home Team Saturday with Dave Long and Company, 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday morning on WGAM (1250 AM in Manchester and 900 AM in Nashua).