Top five annoyances of the week


Top five annoyances of the week

By Michael Felger

Five things I'm annoyed by this week:

1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady claiming they aren't watching the Jets on HBO's Hard Knocks.

I call bullcrap, especially when it comes to Belichick. The material is too good, too rich. There are too many opportunities to make fun of people he and the Patriots truly dislike, from Rex Ryan to Mike Tannenbaum to Woody Johnson. Why would he pass that up?

Then there's the whole business of getting a glimpse at what the Jets are up to. You mean to tell me Belichick once went to the trouble of directly defying the NFL by taping the Jets coaches on the sidelines, but he wont turn on the TV and get a free look into their meeting rooms?

Spygate cost him 500,000.

Whats HBO cost?

Whatever it is, it seems to me Hard Knocks provides better "value."

2. Pink hats cheering for the return of Johnny Damon.

Weren't you the same frauds who booed him out of Fenway Park a few years ago? Oh, that's right. He was a Yankee! I forgot. You expected him to leave that 12 million on the table just because he played for the Red Sox.

Get a clue.

3. The assumption that Brett Favre will have the Vikings back in Super Bowl contention.

Brett Favre had a tremendous season in 2009. No question about it. But do you understand what an aberration that season was for him? He was garbage just one year before, throwing as many interceptions in the final THREE GAMES for the Jets (seven) as he did all last season for the Vikings. And, yes, he had another good year for the Packers in 2007, but that one was preceded by back-to-back seasons in which he stunk (20 touchdowns, 29 interceptions, 70.9 QB rating in 2005; 18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 72.7 QB rating in 2006).

Based on his recent track record, then, Favre is much more likely to crap the bed this season than have another MVP-caliber campaign. Those are just the facts.

Not that you'll ever hear them on ESPN.

4. The fact that I'm beginning to think the Patriots could be really good this year.

I know the preseason means less than nothing, but I can't help it. ThePatriots have that "look" right now. I've seen it before, and I knowenough to respect it. They're sharp. They're more energetic. It lookslike they have some young kids who can play. Questions remain atoutside linebacker, defensive end and on the coaching staff, but who inthe NFL doesn't have questions?

I came into training camp believing the Pats would reside outside of the league's elite this season. Now I'm not so sure.

5. The Jets.

Between Tannenbaum bragging about player acquisitions (Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, etc), Ryan bragging about his scouting ability (enough with "the Terminator" already) and special-teams coaches bragging about getting a punt blocked in the flipping preseason opener, Hard Knocks is becoming insufferable. Entertaining, but insufferable.

We get it, guys. You've got some good players. You might have a good team. Good job. You don't need to remind us every five minutes.

E-mail Felger HERE and read his mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)