The 2011 All-Turkey Team

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The 2011 All-Turkey Team

Before the SRO offices close down for the holiday, I'm required by Internet law to offer you a commemorative Thanksgiving-themed post.

So please enjoy. And everyone have a great day.

Boston's Five Biggest Turkeys of 2011

The Big Gobbler: Shaquille O'Neal

There are rumors that, as a child, this turkey was dropped in a vat of radioactive waste, resulting in the 7-foot, 400 pound, mutated turkey beast that you see today.

But we won't hold that against him.

It should also be noted that during his time in Boston, The Big Turkey (as he likes to be called) performed an extraordinary amount of charity. In fact, he celebrated last Thanksgiving by delivering more than 400 of his own kind to the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.

Sadly, more than half of those turkeys were ultimately eaten by Glen Davis but it's the thought that counts. And on that level, this particular turkey's head was in the right place.

But when it came to basketball and the Boston Celtics, the Big Drumstick (as he likes to be called) had nothing. He can blame Danny Ainge for trading Perk, he can blame the President for ruining Rondo, he can blame Big Baby for being selfish, Nate Robinson for being immature and Father Time for messing with the Shaquilles tendon. Bottom line is this:

By the end of last season, the Big Gizzard (as he likes to be called) was in a perfect spot:

He had the spotlight; everyone begging for his return. The table was set for this turkey to become the hero he always claimed to be.

But he was cooked.

The Reluctant Turkey: John Lackey

This turkey will have you believe that he's not a turkey at all. "I'm a stallion!" he'll gobble. "I'm only here because of every one else! They did this to me!"

Don't believe him. He's a turkey.

For sure.

And from what I hear, he's not very happy with your cooking strategies for Thursday: "The guy doesn't know what he's doing!" Lackey said in a recent interview. "He's pre-heating the oven to 350, when he knows I prefer 355. He's got this nasty old baster that he's trying to stick up my butt. And would you believe that his roasting rack isn't even stainless steel You believe that crap? Goddamn amateur!"

Hmm... You know what? Screw it. Nothing's worth that kind of headache. Put Turkey Lackey on the shelf until Thanksgiving 2012. Maybe by then he'll be a little easier to deal with.

The Texas Turkey: Josh Beckett

This is one tough Texas turkey. He waddles to the beat of his own drum. He plays by his own rules. He cares not for your portion control!!

He's one of the most talented turkeys on the farm, which makes his baggage all the more frustrating but also far more forgivable. Make no mistake, if the Texas Turkey returns to his previous form, the world will move passed his September gobble job. Of any turkey on this list, he's the one with the best chance of escaping with his head still connected to his body.

But he'll have to get in shape.

Maybe he thought those extra pounds would increase his market value. Instead, it just made him more ripe for the picking.

The Boss Man Turkey: Larry Lucchino

This product comes with a specific label: Not 100 real turkey.

That's because he's also part sly fox and slippery snake. His great, great grandfather was a spotted hyena. The Boss Man's a little bit of all things nasty, but at this time of year, it's his "turkiality" which shines brightest.

The sad thing is that it doesn't have to be this way. The Boss Man Turkey's actually unbelievably smart and capable. Even by human standards. He could be a hero in Boston; in many ways, he should be. But that ego leaves a disgusting taste in everyone's mouth.

Tip for consumption: Use extra salt.

The Tweeting Turkey: Chad Ochocinco

The Tweeting Turkey is a sympathetic figure.

He thought this was going to be heaven; and he, one of Brady's Angels. Instead, he's been a disaster. A frustrating, confusing and seemingly irrevocable disaster.

Still, it's hard to stay particularly mad at this foul fowl. After all, he doesn't want it to be this way. He's tried hard to avoid it. Unlike these other guys, Ochocinco's struggles and shortcomings have cut to his core. He's genuinely affected. All he wants are more and more chances to prove he's worth keeping around.

But Thanksgiving's not a very forgiving time for turkeys.

Especially when they don't know the plays.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

After a 3-0 start, the Ravens dropped a 28-27 decision to the Raiders in Baltimore. That started a four-game skid for Baltimore which included back-to-back losses at the Jets and Giants. But they got back on track against the Steelers and have won four out of five with their only being to the Cowboys. It’s hard to get a clean read on who they really are. 

They had narrow, early-season wins over crap teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville. They had a narrow loss to an outstanding Raiders team and were close with the Cowboys but got run over late with Dallas scoring on its last five possessions. They are coming off their most impressive team win, a 38-6 triumph over the Dolphins. 

This game is a big one in the AFC race not just because it’s a divisional leader but also because it will be a common game between the Patriots and Raiders. The Raiders already beat Baltimore. 

The Pats need to keep pace in a tiebreaker they currently trail. Weird schedule quirk? The Ravens have had only one road game that required a long commute since September. That was the game at Dallas. They just played six of their last nine and four of their last five at home.

LAST 5

Ravens 21, Steelers 14
Ravens 28, Browns 7
At Cowboys 27, Ravens 17
Ravens 19, Bengals 14
Ravens 38, Dolphins 6

OFFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

More than half of Joe Flacco’s 323 completions have gone to three players: tight end Dennis Pitta (61 catches), wide receiver Mike Wallace (57) and wide receiver Steve Smith (54). Those players are 31, 30 and 37 respectively so it’s a veteran group.
Flacco is 114 of 159 (72 percent) with nine touchdowns and three picks in Baltimore’s last four games. He has 15 TDs and 11 picks this season.

The Ravens don’t run it much: 502 pass attempts, 287 rushing attempts. Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon are the lead backs. West has carried more than 15 times in a game on three occasions this season.

Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been playing very well as has the rest of the Ravens offensive line in recent weeks. Still, Baltimore is just at 34.1 on third down conversions.

DEFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

The Ravens have allowed 207 points this season, tied with the Patriots for lowest in the AFC and just behind Seattle (194) overall.
Baltimore’s allowing just 33.3 percent conversions on third down and only 3.4 yards per carry.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing 64.1 percent of their passes and have 21 touchdown passes and 14 picks against the Ravens defense. Ten of the Ravens 14 picks came against the Browns, Jaguars and in last week’s rout of Miami.
 
WHERE ARE THEIR HEADS AT

"I just think they've got a great team. They've got Tom Brady. They've been the best team in the conference, and it's going to be our toughest challenge of the year." – John Harbaugh, Ravens coach, on Monday night’s matchup

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

The Boston Celtics are used to this playing without a key starter thing, so tonight’s game at Orlando won’t be all that different than most of their games this season.
 
Isaiah Thomas will not play tonight against the Magic due to a right groin injury he suffered in Monday’s 107-106 loss at Houston.
 
Thomas flew back to Boston Tuesday night.
 
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters he is leaning towards having Marcus Smart, who filled in earlier for an injured Jae Crowder, start in place of Thomas.
 
The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Rockets game, but Thomas continued to play on as he knocked down a 3-point shot just moments after he first began grimacing while holding the groin.
 
Following the loss, Thomas acknowledged the injury did bother him for the rest of the game as he finished with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting.
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” Thomas told reporters. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who was named to his first all-star team last season, has been even more dynamic offensively this year.
 
He leads the Celtics with a career-high 26 points per game and has been ranked among the NBA’s top 10 scorers most of this season.
 
It is too soon to tell if the injury will sideline him for one game, or whether he’ll be out for an extended period of time.