NE Tailgate: Patriots X-factors against Texans

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NE Tailgate: Patriots X-factors against Texans

After a first week bye, the New England Patriots will face off against the Houston Texans.
Who will be an X-factor against the Texans?
Glenn, Fred, and Steve each looked at who they believe will be difference makers for the Patriots in their divisional round match up with Houston.

Anniversary of Andy Marte trade a reminder that not all prospects hit

Anniversary of Andy Marte trade a reminder that not all prospects hit

In a week that has seen the Red Sox trade arguably the best prospect in baseball, Thursday can serve as a reminder that not all prospects -- even the great ones -- end up hitting. 

Eleven years ago today, the Red Sox traded Edgar Renteria to the Braves, and in eating some of the veteran shortstop’s contract got Atlanta to give them third baseman Andy Marte. 

Andy freaking Marte. Those stupid, stupid Braves.

If you were a baseball fan at the time, you were flummoxed at the notion that the Braves, who were a factory for developing good, young players, would trade the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball from 2005, according to Baseball America. At 22 years old, he was coming off seasons that saw him hit 23 homers in Double-A and 20 in Triple-A. 

“There’s nothing not to like about Andy Marte. He’s and outstanding defender with a chance to be an impact player offensively,” an opposing Double-A manager said of him, per Baseball America. 

Some of the other guys in the top 10 that year? Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir. Sitting one spot behind Marte on the list? Hanley Ramirez. 

And when the Red Sox got Marte, he immediately shot up to No. 1 on the Baseball America’s list of Boston’s prospects. Look at the rest of this list. Hell, there’s a combined 10 All-Star nods between Nos. 2 and 3 alone, and that’s not to mention the American League MVP sitting at No. 5. 

So what did Marte do for the Red Sox? Well, he got them Coco Crisp. After Theo Epstein returned from his hiatus, he shipped Marte, the recently acquired Guillermo Mota (dude got traded three times in six months), Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named later and cash for Crisp, Josh Bard and David Riske. 

Crisp didn’t exactly rip it up in Boston, but Epstein’s (and then-Braves general manager John Schuerholz’) foresight to trade Marte proved wise. Marte spent six seasons in Cleveland, seemingly given every chance to break out, but never played more than 81 games. He was designated for assignment in 2009 and cleared waivers, allowing him to stay with the organization as a Triple A player. The next season was his final one in Cleveland, and he left a six-season stint in with the organization having averaged just 50 games, three homers and 16 RBI at the Major League level. 

Marte would bounce around a bit in the Pittsburgh and Angels organizations, but he didn’t make it back up to the bigs until 2014 on a July 31 callup with the Diamondbacks. He’s now playing in Korea. 

Great prospects often become great players, and the Red Sox’ roster is proof of that. Strikeout concerns aside, there’s not much to suggest Yoan Moncada won’t be an absolute stud. Fans looking for silver lining to losing a top-tier prospect (other than the fact that you could Chris Sale for the guy), can look back 11 years and hope for the best. A lot of people were wrong about Andy Marte.

Rowe: Hamstring injury 'frustrating' after solidifying spot in secondary

Rowe: Hamstring injury 'frustrating' after solidifying spot in secondary

FOXBORO -- The timing of Eric Rowe's hamstring injury was less than ideal.

It seemed as though the Patriots had finally figured out their best combination in the secondary in recent weeks with Malcolm Butler at left corner, Rowe at right corner and Logan Ryan in the slot. Then Rowe's hamstring gave out late in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Rams. 

"I was finally getting into a groove," Rowe said Wednesday. "It does set me back, just me not being out there practicing to keep it going. It is a little frustrating, but that’s part of the NFL. Just another thing I have to take on."

Rowe was spotted in the locker room after the win with ice wrapped around his left hamstring. Even after a chance to watch film of the game, he said he's still unsure as to how he got hurt.

"I’ve played in cold games in college," he said. "I was nice and stretched. I obviously stretch my hamstrings a lot because I do a lot of running. Just one play, a regular play, and I was just running and it came on me. I still can’t figure it out. It is frustrating."

Rowe was inactive following the team's Week 9 bye, but since then he's been close to an every-down player. He did not miss a snap against the 49ers and he played all but one play against the Jets. Against the Rams, he played 33 snaps before his injury. 

Rookie corner Cyrus Jones filled in for the fourth quarter. The Patriots also could use corner Justin Coleman -- who has been active for the last three games -- to help in the defensive backfield should Rowe miss any time. Undrafted rookie corner Jonathan Jones is also an option, though he has been used primarily as a special-teamer this season.

"I’m just trying to take it day by day and get better," he said before Wednesday's practice. "Obviously, hamstrings are nothing to play with. I’m not going to try to rush myself out there and make it worse."

Rowe was present at the start of Wednesday's workout, but he was not spotted during cornerback drills toward the end of the media availability portion of practice. The first injury report of the week will be released later in the day on Thursday.