Pats Pound Bears, Hockey Heats Up
By Alex Hirsch
BU News Service
The New England Patriots hosted the Chicago Bears in what was supposed to be a real test of the new Patriots secondary. The team spent just under 20 million this offseason on corner back Brandon Browner and All-Pro Cornerback Darrelle Revis, and this was the first real test of the tandem.
The Bears have arguably the best 1-2 punch at receiver in the NFL with 6’4” All-Pro Brandon Marshall and 6’3” Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery. The two were no match for Browner and Revis as they were held to a combined eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Revis has clearly returned to his old form. He blanketed Marshall all day and ended the game with an interception to boot. This is the third receiver in four games that has found themselves stuck on the infamous Revis Island.
Revis is not the only player rounding into form for the Patriots as it seems to look like Rob Gronkowski is fully healthy. The stand-out beast of a human being had a career day, hauling in all nine of his targets for 149 yards and three touchdowns. When Gronk is playing like this it opens up the whole offense. There simply is no one in the league that is capable of covering a healthy Gronk. It is almost unfair.
There are a few names out on the trade market that could be of interest to the Patriots; Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson and Running Back Doug Martin of the Buccaneers, and more notably Running Back Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks.
All three of these players would be a huge help in key areas of concern for the Patriots. The main focus would be at running back now that starter Stevan Ridley is out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.
A quick profile on Martin and Lynch:
Marshawn Lynch: One of the elite running backs in the game, the Seahawks have reportedly grown tired of the Lynch’s eccentric behavior. This was the case for Lynch when he was in Buffalo as well. But, Lynch is still one of the best overall running backs in the league and possibly the best power back in the league, which is what the Patriots need. Lynch is average 4.3 yards per carry this season and does not shy away from contact. He is an upgrade in every area Stevan Ridley was good at. He is in his contract year, and with the Seahawks essentially notifying the league that the two will be parting ways, he may be able to be had at a discounted price.
Doug Martin: After an amazing 2012 rookie season where he had over 1,800 all-purpose yards, Martin tore his ACL last season and has not looked like his old self this season. This could be one of two reasons; he is no longer the same player he once was or his tumultuous offensive line is not providing him any running room. That is the risk you take when trading for Martin. The upside is that he is still very young and has plenty of miles left on his tires. He is not the power runner that Lynch of Ridley are, but still an upgrade to the running back position for the Patriots.
The Patriots typically do not make high profile trades. Belichick likes to find bargain deals and both these players require the Patriots to give up something of value. How valuable is the question and is it worth it?
From these eyes, you pull the trigger, especially if you can get Marshawn Lynch. If it means trading a second round pick (probably would not cost that much) then do it. The Patriots would then have one of the top offenses in the league. Martin is a little riskier, but still worth a shot.
Not much else of high note in the Boston area right now. The hockey season is still young and the Bruins will have to find a way to stay afloat without Captain Zdeno Chara, who will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. They will look toward Doug Hamilton to really step up, and he did Saturday as the Bruins pulled to .500 beating the Maple Leafs 4-1. Hamilton scored and had two assists.
Boston University Hockey had their home opener this weekend, and won back-to-back games over Michigan and Michigan State. Freshman phenom Jack Eichel notched a goal on his birthday against Michigan, giving the sold-out crowd a glimpse of things to come this season.
The Celtics get ready to tip-off Wednesday night against the Nets for the season-opener, in what promises to be a bad, but fun season. Do not expect many wins from this team, but there is a lot of young talent and it will be entertaining to watch the likes of Marcus Smart, James Young, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. Head Coach Brad Stevens will surely have these youngsters playing with passion and fire.