It's a snap

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It's a snap

By Michael Felger

A few snap-judgments for you as parents everywhere celebrate back-to-school week (best week of the year!):

One man's opinion based on a single, solitary night of viewing: The UFC will become a major force in American sport only if it can figure out a way to get their guys to do most of their fighting from their feet. No one plopped down 50 for the pay-per-view event at the Garden to watch guys practice the ancient art of Jujutsu while lying prone on the mat. We saw too much of that on Saturday, and not enough of the stand-up, bloodbath that the opening Nate Diaz-Marcus Davis fight became.

That bout was barbaric, and it was totally engrossing. I'd pay to see it again.

We've been waiting all season for the Red Sox to declare themselves either in or out of the playoff race. Finally, mercifully, we have our declaration. Talk to you in a couple of months when the Sox start to shape their 2011 squad in free agency.

For now, it looks like a lot of money will have to be spent (Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez) and a lot of tough choices will have to be made (David Ortiz) for the Sox just to get back to where they were this year, which, injuries or not, wasn't good enough. Are you ready for another bridge year?

I guess I'm in the minority on this, but I feel the Patriots' secondary could be good enough if it were playing behind a decent pass rush. You can see glimpses in most of the guys out there, particularly the top 5 of Leigh Bodden, Devin McCourty, Darius Butler (although I'm starting to waver on him), Brandon Meriweather and Pat Chung. They can run. They tackle pretty well. And the coaches are clearly putting a lot on their plate. The only problem and it's a big one is that none have the elite cover skills to cover for a slow and ineffective pass rush.

And make no mistake, the Pats have a slow and ineffective rush. The coaches are clearly trying to scheme some things up, but they just don't have the personnel. The perimeter of the Pats' front seven ends Gerard Warren and Mike Wright and outside linebackers Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess is mediocre at best and atrocious at worst.

There's a lot to like about this team, but the pass rush feels like a fatal flaw.

According to ESPN Boston, the Bruins are still trying to trade center Marc Savard. If it's a pure salary dump, I hate the move. He's too good just to unload for pennies on the dollar. If he's dealt for something substantial (such as a top two defenseman or a top six forward) I'd feel better about it, but still not great. And here's why:

It would ramp up the pressure on the future of the franchise, 18-year-old Tyler Seguin. Think about it. Within months of drafting the kid, the Bruins deal their No. 1 center? The B's can claim in all sincerity that one thing had nothing to do with the other, and even if they're speaking the truth, the symbolism would be unmistakable. It would tighten the screws on Seguin to contribute immediately, and that can't be a good thing. The expectations over Seguin are already getting a bit out of whack. Settle down, people. He's probably a couple years away from being the guy the Bruins need him to be.

But make no mistake, Seguin has created a buzz. And part of it has to do with the fact that very few of us have seen him play outside of YouTube clips. We all want to get to know the kid, and that's going to put a change into training camp and make Bruins preseason games at least worth checking in for.

All I know is that I'll be watching exhibition hockey this fall for the first time in decades.

Remember, Sports Sunday moves to 7:30 p.m. this Sunday, with replays at 11 p.m.

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

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

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Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.

Magic Johnson named Lakers president of basketball ops, Kupchak fired

Magic Johnson named Lakers president of basketball ops, Kupchak fired

Magic Johnson was named the Los Angeles Lakers' president of basketball operations after longtime Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball ops Jim Buss were fired, the team announced.

"Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights [late owner] Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss' daughter, Jim Buss' brother and Lakers president and co-owner, said in a statement. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”

Johnson, the Hall of Famer guard who led L.A. to five NBA titles, said in the same statement: “It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family. Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

Johnson, part of a group that owns MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers, returned to the organization as an adviser earlier this month. Johnson coached the Lakers briefly in the 1993-94 season, going 5-11. 

Johnson's new job with the Lakers won't change his role with the Dodgers, according to the L.A. Times.

The current Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA at 19-39 after finishing with the second-worst mark in the league (17-65) last season. Kupchak was named an assistant GM under Jerry West in 1986 and in 2000 took over for West as GM.