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Thinking out loud: Cam Newton couldn't be more perfect for Patriots

WEEI logo WEEI 9/25/2020 John Rooke
a group of men playing a game of baseball © Provided by WEEI

Thinking out loud…while trying to remember what comes after “Beta” in the Greek alphabet…


·       Ok, show of hands.  Who still thinks bringing Supercam into Foxboro wasn’t a good idea?

·       I’ll question your sanity, sensibility and dock your already-addled brain at least two marbles – if you answered “me!”

·       What else do you need to see?  He’s got all the ingredients to be successful – size, strength, athleticism, motivation, good looks, je ne sais quoi (does that count?), and for now, good health.

·       Kinda like someone else we used to know.

·       Rookestradamus tried to tell us this over the summer.  I laughed.  We all laughed, at least a little.  In his Patriot beginnings, Cam Newton has become the FIRST QB in NFL history to accumulate more than 500 yards passing and four rushing touchdowns in the first two weeks of a season.

·       Tweet of the Week I, from @ralphDrussoAP: “That the rest of the NFL basically handed Newton to the Patriots is just infuriating.”

·       Who’s laughing now?  Or hatin’?  If you’re hatin,’ then you’re not rootin’ for the right laundry pile.

·       The “Patriot Way,” whatever it may be…is as prevalent as it’s ever been.

·       And is Newton’s presence an ‘upgrade’ over the last couple of years at the position?  What do your eyes tell you?

·       Zero issue with the play call at the end of the Seattle game, even with Josh McDaniels taking blame.  Hindsight is 20-20 and easy for us mere mortals, but maybe a good, ol’ TB12 sneak up the center for old times’ sake might have been enough of a changeup to fool the Seahawks?

·       ESPN’s numbers: Supercam had converted 16 of 20 (80%) of his rushes from an opponent’s one-yard line before getting head-over-heeled.  It was also his first carry this year from inside the five that didn’t go for a first down or touchdown.

·       Also overlooked:  Newton’s 397 passing yards were his most in a game since a pair of 400-yard performances in his rookie season of 2011, in his first two games as a pro.

·       Somebody needs to get Bill Belichick a mask that will fit his face, don’t you think?

·       Not buying the whole ‘wow, but don’t you feel better about the Patriots now?’ thing after losing that thriller Sunday.

·       It was tremendous theater.  But truthfully?  No.  The defense has a long way to go, it was bullied up front – and the strong suit, the secondary, broke down in the back…getting singed like the edges of a burnt piece of toast.

·       But the offending cook, Russell Wilson, might just be the best QB in the game today.

·       And don’t look now, but the Raiders are 2-0, and looked pretty good in beating what’s probably a better New Orleans team Monday.

·       Allowing 7.2 yards per play, Boston Sports Journal reported it was the worst statistical performance for a Patriots’ defense in two years, and just the 18th time since 2001 a Bill Belichick-coached team allowed 7.1 yards or more per play.

·       In a base defense, the Patriots can usually measure up.  Not so much when they’re forced to nickel and dime things.

·       The kicking game is a definite issue as well, although it’s silly to think Nick Folk was the reason for the loss.  He wasn’t.

·       The running game was missing a key component to having success, but a punishing debut against Miami turned into mush against Seattle.

·       That they were in it at the end, stopped at the goal line after trailing by double-digits in the 4th quarter, shows this could still be a better-than-many-expected season.

·       That probably should have been a double-digit, blowout loss.  But since when are Patriots fans interested in hollow victories?

·       I don’t know about you, but I love the fact Pete Carroll can be relied upon to come up with a brain fart when it comes to play-calling in the clutch.

·       He will forever be the Grand Poobah of “Overthinkers Anonymous.”

·       New England could still use another receiver, despite Julian Edelman’s performance and solid games from N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd.  Russell Wilson threw TD’s to FIVE different receivers.

·       Not sure I ever remember feeling as deflated before a game as I was Sunday – maybe as we all were Sunday – upon hearing the tragic news affecting James White.

·       Week Two NFL takeaways:  1) Injuries.  A lot of them for San Francisco, devastating for several; while the caliber of play has been solid, the lack of preseason conditioning could be a factor on the injury front; 2) fake crowd noise still blows, although Carson Wentz getting ‘booed’ off the field in Philly without fans was LOL funny.

·       Takeaways, Part II:  1) The Atlanta Falcons are forever cursed – blowing a 20-point lead at home to Dallas; 2) the NFL, and its players, appear to have figured out how to carry on through Covid.

·       Tweet of the Week II, from @ESPNStatsInfo: “The Falcons had 39 points with zero turnovers in their loss against the Cowboys. Entering (Sunday), teams were 440-0 when scoring 39 points with 0 turnovers since 1933, when team turnovers were first tracked, according to Elias.”

·       Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott has filed a trademark for the term “FEED ME.” He has shown off his new stomach tattoo and intends to launch a clothing line.

·       Not for nuthin’, but I’ll be trademarking the term “BITE ME.”  I will draw the line at a stomach tat.

·       NFL TV ratings are down, definitely.  Patriots-Seahawks Sunday night was down two points (nearly five million viewers) from Week One (Cowboys-Rams) and a whopping eight million viewers down from Patriots-Steelers last season.

·       The Patriots this week did have competition on the tube from the Primetime Emmy Awards and the NBA Playoffs…with no such challenges during Week Two a year ago.

·       But, I get it.  After we intoned here last week that some fans were beginning to resent the social “messaging” going on by athletes today, comes word from the Fox TV network they’re ready to pony up $2 billion to keep their NFL package of games.

·       That almost doubles what Fox is presently paying.  Seems to me the TV-types feel as if there will be a large case of amnesia plaguing the public after the coronavirus is through with us.

·       Deion Sanders – yes, THAT Deion Sanders – is the new head football coach at Jackson State.  Probably the first time in the history of the sport where the head coach is still a better player than anyone on his roster.  Just sayin’.

·       It hasn’t been an easy first year for Big Ten Grand Poobah Kevin Warren.  But maybe he has a sense of humor?

·       First game out of the chute on the Big Ten’s return Oct. 24 – Nebraska at Ohio State.  Both schools were the biggest whiners when the league originally cancelled fall football.  Cornhusker players, you might recall, filed suit against the conference so they could play.

·       Poor Nebraska.  If this feels familiar, it should.  Remember, the Huskers bolted the Big 12 ten years ago because they felt they were mistreated.  Now?  A $55 million annual conference payout softens whatever abuse they feel.

·       Shock of the Week: The Pac-12 votes to play fall football in November.  Ditto for the Mountain West in late October.  Please note the definitive use of sarcasm.  But these moves will help put some order into college hoop schedules across the country.

·       I don’t think the Elmhurst community on Eaton Street – a large gateway into Providence College – had “Coronavirus Epicenter for Rhode Island” printed on Chamber of Commerce brochures.

·       Coincidentally, the Tri-State region (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) added Rhode Island back onto its list of requiring travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days.

·       But when the Dominican Friars roam the campus on a golf cart, serenading shut-in students like they did this week…you know the community at least has a heart.  Pretty cool to see – and hear.

·       This apparent “culture of defiance” for some college students, locally and elsewhere, should result in a “culture of packing up and moving back in with Mom and Dad to see how you like that.”

·       More than three-quarters of colleges who have any students on campus will send them home by Thanksgiving – which is the primary reason the college basketball season is scheduled to tip-off Nov. 25th – and not the original date of Nov. 10th.

·       And – the sport will have Thanksgiving Eve to itself.  Which is saying something in our present-day plethora of sporting choices.

·       Is Brown’s Ivy-ness the reason we’re not hearing about a possible “Providence bubble” with PC, URI and Bryant?  The Ivy League has said they won’t hoop until January.  A shame.

·       Mohegan already has three potential bubbles in the works.  Vegas, DC, Indy, Houston, Atlanta, Lincoln, NE and Rock Hill, SC (Winthrop) – not to mention Asheville, NC (for the Maui) and eight ESPN sites in Orlando, FL also have bubble sites in the planning stages.

·       The State of Connecticut, however, is worried about the Huskies’ programs traveling in and out of state and bringing other teams in during a travel ban to so-called Covid hotspots.

·       UConn’s Rentschler Field is also hosting MLS’ Toronto FC for “home” games beginning this weekend, like the Toronto Blue Jays playing home games in Buffalo this summer.

·       Georgetown has pulled out of the Wooden Legacy moved from Anaheim to Orlando for this year.  Florida is presently in Washington DC’s ‘no fly zone.’  UCLA, Kansas and Virginia are the other three teams – which could also be a reason for the Hoyas’ about-face.

·       DePaul has reportedly opted out of the Las Vegas Invitational, with New Mexico, Grand Canyon and Santa Clara.

·       Thanks to Kevin McNamara for the dime – and kudos to former Friar Alpha Diallo as he prepares for his first pro basketball season in Greece’s A1 League with KAE Lavrio.

·       Forbes reported this week the Big East league hoop schedule should start in mid-December, and CBS Sports sez it’ll be December 12th.  Not everyone can commit to that date yet, however.

·       Somewhat surprisingly…games will be scheduled for campus sites and downtown arenas as per ‘normal,’ pending local restrictions.  It appears that while bubble or pod play is an option, it is not a primary one.

·       Because the season isn’t starting until Nov. 25th, it appears the Gavitt Games matchups between the Big East and Big 10 won’t take place this year.  Conference play is the priority for both – and the previously scheduled games were to run Nov. 11-14.

·       The Mountain West/Atlantic-10 Challenge is also getting called off for the year.  URI was to have hosted Boise State in Kingston.

·       Less than a month before Big East basketball practices formally get underway: 1) Villanova; 2) Creighton; 3) Seton Hall; 4) Providence; 5) UConn; 6) Marquette; 7) Xavier; 8) DePaul; 9) St. John’s; 10) Butler; 11) Georgetown.

·       Where’s your beef?  It’ll be tough to knock out the top two.  3 through 7 are somewhat interchangeable, as are 8 through 11.  Seven look dance worthy, but that’s today.  Tomorrow is another day.

·       Cuts like a knife: UMass announced a university-wide workforce reduction, which will include 57 athletic department staff members reducing work hours or taking furloughs.

·       Which could be a factor in the school reversing course and announcing a limited fall football schedule this week, beginning in mid-October.  That, and 1800 coronavirus tests over the past 13 weeks with only two positive results.

·       UConn, also an independent in college football these days, will not be following the UMass lead.  We think.  115 teams out of 130 in FBS are now back on the gridiron, pending the MAC.

·       And THE Ohio State University, even with football starting back up, sez it’s facing a $107 million deficit due to the pandemic.  As such, salaries, furloughs and layoffs are coming.

·       Two Friars teaming up in Chicago?  Sounds great, but wondering if Billy Donovan will keep Kris Dunn around?  Dunn isn’t taking part in voluntary workouts this fall with free agency looming. If the Bulls don’t give him a qualifying offer, Dunn becomes an unrestricted free agent.

·       Better late than never for Gordon Hayward.  But Jayson Tatum comes up small, again, when the Celtics need him most in Game Four with a scoreless first half.  Which was ugly.

·       If you’re not good enough to guard Tyler Herro (wait, wut?) – how about someone running him off a back-pick and teaching him the finer points of physical play?  Should slow him down, at least.

·       I know you didn’t miss this:  Ex-Friar Doris Burke’s NBA Finals’ assignment as the first woman to do game analysis may have been a landmark announcement…but we know better.  Doris’ ability to break things down simply and explain what you see with relative ease…is a unique asset.

·       The NHL (and AHL) had been targeting Dec. 1 as the start of the new hockey season.  Now, commish Gary Bettman sez the date for the NHL is TBD.

·       Reason?  They’re hoping for fans to return in some capacity, as attendance at games comprises 50% of league-wide revenue.

·       The NBA, sez Adam Silver this week, likely will begin again after January 1st.

·       Tampa Bay Rays = AL East champs.  Qualifies as a wow and a whoa, doesn’t it?

·       You probably know about the Red Sox workforce reductions – laying off 10% of fulltime staff and more than 40 employees in baseball ops and the business office not having their contracts renewed for next season.

·       The reductions of the workforce on the field have been, well, obvious.

·       Tanner Houck is most definitely NOT the Yankees’ Daddy.  Maybe he can be their dominatrix.

·       Hey, the rivalry is still over – for now.  But the Sox gotta have something after 12 straight losses.

·       Does anyone think J.D. Martinez figured out who Mario Mendoza is?

·       And before you get caught up in “well, they finished the season ok,” the Red Sox will most likely end up in LAST place in the AL East for the 4th time in nine years.

·       That is a systemic issue, solved only from up above.  And I don’t mean from Heaven-in-the-sky.

·       Is Bryson DeChambeau’s US Open win a sign that pro golf has, once-and-for-all, turned into “grip-it-and-rip-it?”

·       Anyone else notice the Stanley Cup Finals have two Sun Belt teams playing each other for the first time?  Oh, Canada.

·       FDR. JFK. LBJ. W. MJ. TB.  Anyone referred to by just their initials, where everyone knows who you’re talking about, complete respect.  Especially RBG.

·       Gale Sayers was about as good as it gets for a running back when I was a kid.  And when the movie “Brian’s Song” was released about his relationship with Chicago Bears’ teammate Brian Piccolo, who was dying from cancer, I had a hero.  Sayers died this week at age 77.

·       My buddy “Big E” sez he was in the grocery checkout line and the cashier was particularly frazzled. The scanner malfunctioned, the drawer wouldn’t open, coins were spilled, her mask kept slipping.  When it came to his order, she told him it was an even $40 bucks.

·       Hoping to calm her apparently frazzled nerves, “Big E” said, “well, that’s a nice, round figure!”  And the cashier snorted, “you’re not exactly svelte yourself, big boy.”

·       Having once been a Greek fraternity member (Beta Theta Pi), I should know what comes after Beta in the alphabet.  But I needed a refresher.  It’s Gamma.  Looks like an upside down “L.”

·       Figures.  2020 has been the epitome of an upside-down year.  We haven’t had a major health pandemic hit us this hard in more than 100 years.  And with Tropical Storm Beta striking Texas this week, we haven’t had this many storms actually hit the U.S. since 1916.

·       The 21st Century equivalent of a one-two punch, I suppose.  At least we haven’t taken a right-cross in New England.  Yet.

·       Scott emailed to say: “You have all these NBA players wearing the word "equality" in multiple languages and having phrases expressing equality. You have the NBA embracing the equality message. YET, superstar players still get superstar preferential treatment like avoiding a 6th foul, getting fouls called in their favor, etc. Doesn't seem too equal to me.”

·       I think I get your point, Scott.  The NBA is still gonna NBA when it comes to the treatment of certain players within a game.  It’s been that way for decades.  But of course, the players wearing social messages are referring to their treatment outside the game – which is a big difference.

·       Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here!  Would appreciate the follow on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and join in on Facebook, ...

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.


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