1. The Patriots figure to play Tom Brady very sparingly Thursday night. So this will be a Hoyer-Mallett production. In recent years, Bill Belichick has given one player the bulk of the work in the first game and then given most of the second game to the other. So watch for that but don't draw depth-chart conclusions from it. When Hoyer's in there, it will be important for him to build on what's been a solid start to camp. Very competent, very accurate, smart and reliable football have been the order of the day when he's under center. Mallett? Different story. His accuracy is an issue. Watch to see not only whether he completes passes, but where on his receivers he puts the ball and the difficulty of the throws.
2. We're all terrified of a fallwinter without Ed Hochuli's two-minute explanations of why additional time needs to be put on the clock. Nobody wants to miss Jerome Bioger calling a "hoading" penalty. And it won't be football season without Jeff Triplette butchering the result of a game by Columbus Day. Even scarier, though, are the devils we don't know. The replacement officials for the locked-out regulars. Thursday night, we'll get a load of their work. I will reserve smarm until after kickoff. But there's no doubt that the regular officials are rooting for their replacements to make like the football version of Lt. Frank Drebin in Naked Gun 33 13.
3. Stevan Ridley won the early portion of camp at running back. Shane Vereen's been playing better. Watch to see if Ridley looks competent in blitz pickup. Check to see if Vereen can make some plays that signal promise.
4. Brandon Bolden
5. Hightower versatility
6. 5 and 6 DBs
7. Interior line
8. Solder and Cannon
10. schefter mallett
It didn't take much to deduce the Cavaliers were having a rocky offseason, but it appears to be worse than anyone could have thought.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Kyrie Irving recently requested a trade. This comes around the same time as a report that LeBron James was "frustrated" with the team's direction.
In a follow-up post, Windhorst writes that James was "blindsided and disappointed" upon being notified of Irving's wish to leave.
Irving is entering the third year of a five-year, $90 million contract. The first overall pick in the 2011 draft, the 25-year-old point guard averaged a career-high 25.2 points last season.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering what Melissa McCarthy is going to do now that Spicey is gone.
*The debut for Philadelphia Flyers top pick Nolan Patrick has been scratched due to “an infection in his face.” Boy, this kid can’t get healthy, can he?
*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is 100 percent sure that the Winged Wheels will be making a return to the playoffs this season.
*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has hope returning to the city of Houston that they might get an NHL franchise one of these days.
*Travis Yost delves into shooting percentage and some of the nuances when properly trying to break it down statistically.
*There are new season ticket charges for Habs fans in Montreal, and boy are they pissed off about it. Feels like the kind of thing that could push them to riot in the streets or flood 911 emergency lines if the Canadiens aren’t too careful about it.
*Young Blues defenseman Colton Parayko signs a five-year deal with St. Louis to avoid salary arbitration while the D-man taken exactly one pick before him by the Bruins in the draft, Matt Grzelcyk, is going to be hard-pressed to move past the AHL level this season.
*For something completely different: What would Ivan Drago have been doing with his life after his showdown with Rocky in Mother Russia?