Waiting for Carl Crawford


Waiting for Carl Crawford

It's only Tuesday and I'm already Bobby Valenitine'd out for the week.

Honestly, I don't know what it is, but if I hear one more person write or talk about his criticism of players, his alleged beef with Ben Cherington or the fact that he invented the wrap, there's a good chance I lose my mind and start drop kicking strangers like I'm Izzy Alcantara.

It's a long season, guys. Everyone take a breath! And let's talk about something else: Carl Crawford.

From the moment we found out that Crawford had offseason wrist surgery, the expectation was that he'd start the season late. How late? We didn't know, but didn't expect it would be very long. Maybe a few weeks?

And while that wasn't ideal, we figured that would was still leave him enough time turn around his Red Sox career, before he's swallowed into the abyss with John Lackey, Dice-K and that mannequin in a baseball uniform standing awkwardly in the corner. (Oh wait, that's JD Drew.)

Anyway, these days there's still reason to believe that Crawford can find salvation. The Sox still expect him to be ready before the end of April, and that's more than enough time to have a season. Look at David Ortiz. He's taken April off for the last four years, and has still put up great numbers.

But while it might be too early to really worry about CC's season, let me just say that his recovery process have been exhausting. Check out this chronology of how Crawford's spent his spring, and try not to break a sweat. (Info from Rotoworld)

220: Carl Crawford is cleared to swing a bat.

221: Crawford takes 15 swings off a tee.

227: Crawford takes soft-toss swings.

33: Crawford concedes he may have pushed himself too soon.

34: Crawford has his sore left wrist examined by Sox doctors.

35: Crawford is shut down for 5-7 days.

39: Crawford makes 35 throws from a distance of 60 feet.

319: Crawford takes 20 swings off a tee.

321: Crawford doesn't swing, but runs the bases.

327: Crawford will do bunting drills.


Listen, I know that wrist injuries are delicate, and when you consider that Crawford thought taking 15 swings and some soft toss qualified as "pushing himself too soon," you can understand why the Red Sox have slow played his more recent work load.

So while I won't criticize the nature of his rehab (although when you read it all together, it's pretty funny), it goes without saying that we're still waiting for Carl Crawford to turn the corner on this injury.

That even though there's still hope that he can put this speed bump behind and have a respectable season, very little has happened to increase our optimism.

But hey, at least it took our minds off Bobby Valentine for almost 500 words.

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

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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