Patriot Ponderings:

pearl harborBob Kraft sat down with the Herald prior to Sunday’s game and told how excited he was about the upcoming season. The reporter wrote: “One place they derived some extra cash for such purposes was through the trade of six-time Pro Bowler Mankins. It freed up $6.25 million in cap space this season, as well as $7 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016. The fans’ disappointment in losing Mankins wasn’t lost on Kraft.

“He was one of the best players, probably the second-best lineman in the history we’ve existed. After John Hannah, I think he’s the second-best offensive lineman,” Kraft said of Mankins. “As a fan, I hated to see him go. I want to see all my great players retire as Patriots. Unfortunately, this is the part of the business that’s most difficult.”” 

The article also noted: “I think we have a pretty good team,” Kraft said last week with the assuredness of a man holding a straight flush. “I’m very excited about this season.””

I wonder how he feels now. The Patriots stunk out the house with its loss to Miami 33 -20.

I wrote about Kraft unloading Mankins and putting the six million dollars in his pocket. I said it was a terrible move. What turns out even worse is the way the media handled it.

Kraft’s answer: “unfortunately, this is part of the business” is let passed without anyone daring to probe further. What business is he talking about? The business of putting more money in his pocket? That’s all he could have been referring to because the trading away of the fearsome Logan Mankins had no other rationale. It was a terrible move for the team. Why is the media so craven when it comes to Kraft. Couldn’t one of the reporters have said, “I thought the business is supposed to be putting a winning team on the field? How does taking away such a person as Mankins accomplish that?”

Or for that matter question Belechick. He issued a statement that the trade of Mankins was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”   How is trading a person Belechick himself described “as the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate” in the best interests of the team.You know what, not one member of the media challenged him on this. Rather the opposite occurred, the sports media sycophants each tried to outdo the other one in explaining how trading Mankins was a wise move.   

I noted how John Henry betrayed all the Red Sox season ticket holders by selling off his best players in the middle of the year and giving up on the season. At least we know why Henry did it, he wanted  to put the money into his Liverpool soccer team so he could spend $26.5 million signing Mario Balotelli. I’m not sure the Red Sox season ticket holders are happy about their money being spent on Liverpool but as Bob Kraft would say its ”part of the business.”

When I criticized Kraft and Henry before for what I thought was a betrayal of the trust put in them by their season ticket holders who pay up front upon an implied warranty that the best team possible will be fielded, some people commented that I was anti-business. What I’m anti is not business but business men who promise one thing to raise money and after having done it do another.

I pointed out that the Mankins trade was awful. He started to play for the Patriots in 2005. He played in 130 games and started in all of those games. From 2010 through 2013 he was an All Pro and started in the Pro Bowl.  He was the cornerstone of the offensive line and the one who gave quarterback Tom Brady the ability to play at the high level he did as he entered into his thirties.

Trading Mankins the team captain was a blow to everyone on the team especially Brady. No one on the team can complain because the NFL owners like Vladimir Putin punish people for doing it. Bill Belichick always the good soldier likewise must support the owner’s decision. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

I wrote before that Brady doesn’t need the money. He plays the game now for the glory of claiming another championship. He played over the last seven years knowing his close friend Mankins had his back side covered and could keep the troops fighting effectively in times of stress.

Now with Mankins gone Brady has lost that support. He is aware he is more exposed to injury. His feelings of danger increased when he saw that his offensive line was as effective in stopping the Miami front four defensive players as the goal posts the wind.  The leader who could be depended upon to rally the troops is no longer on the field of battle.

Here’s what is clear at this point. The Patriots won’t go undefeated. Brady has lost some of his confidence. There’s no quit in him but he doesn’t want to go through life as a cripple which will happen if he has no protection. The defense like the old gray mare ain’t what it used to be. Another game or two like that for the defense you can kiss Vince Wilfolk goodbye.  Kraft knows nothing about football if he thinks you can tear the heart out of a team and think it will still win.
























8 thoughts on “Patriot Ponderings:

  1. Matt, I enjoyed your take on the Mankins trade. I feel you have made some valid points. The sad thing about alot of this is that the average family can’t really afford to take a family of 4 to even a game without it being like a trip to vegas, It’s sad to see the prices at fenway..Also remember Tom Brady had a great o-line and an even better defense during those superbowl days..not so much anymore.

      1. Doubting:

        I agree. He’s worried about his protection and his well-being. He usually senses people rushing him but yesterday a guy came right up and hit his arm freeing the ball without him even sensing him. He’s lost a step in a league where that is a big thing.

  2. Hey Matt -~ What is so wrong about making money ??? Haven’t we all tried to make as much money as we could to support ourselves and our families ??? You sound like a socialist “nobody should have more money than me” !!!

  3. ++ “Or is all this just another installment in the long-running series titled “American Complacency,” in which rule-breakers, thugs, common criminals and others whose behavior is over the top and over the line never get called out for their actions?”++

    Let’s all just toss Kraft and Henry in with the criminals because they dare to operate their entertainment businesses as, well, businesses. Forget the three World Series championships and the three Super Bowls, these pirates have earned our undying scorn for making decisions without asking the fans!

    I would understand being disappointed if ANY of the Patriots’ castoffs had made any posittive waves after leaving the team. Remember all those Super Bowls won by Wes Welker, Lawyer Malloy, Ty Law, Assante Samuel and Drew Bledsoe after they left new England? Neither does anyone else.

    Logan Mankins, a great Patriot who might even make their Hall of Fame, hyper-extended his knee in his first game for the Bucs. Getting old? Maybe. I’m glad we were able to get TE Wright in return.

    Beloved Wes Welker has been adequately replaced by Edelman.

    The Sox dumped $250M in salaries in mid-2012 when Beckett, Gonzales and Crawford were sent to the Dodgers and wrote off the 2012 season. Of course, they then won the World Series the next year. Beckett will probably retire (torn labrum) and Crawford is still an under-performing head case. Gonzales? He’s still playing well. All in all, a great trade.

    I have taken the tack that I will trust the owners of these two spectacularly successful franchises to continue to use their intimate knowledge of their own businesses to continue to be successful. Until and unless they go all Jeremy Jacobs or Billy Sullivan on us, I am comfortable with that. I don’t pretend to know what Beichick and Cherington know.

    If it makes you feel better, Kraft would not have traded Mankins (or McGinness or Vrabel for that matter) because he LOVES his guys. Thank the gods that Belichick is a prickly, unsentimental, even unlikable guy with a genius for building football teams.

    Oh, and there will be 15 more games this regular season and we probably won’t lose them all. We might even win the vast majority (history tells us).

    I realize that it’s the hated Globe you are really aiming at, but the Sox and Pats shouldn’t be collateral damage.

    1. Jeff:

      You seem to suggest your semi-Gods Henry and Kraft has some sort of crystal ball to look into to see that the players will suffer injury shortly and they wisely decide to trade them. I don’t deny they have given us good teams over the past years but I’m sensing a shift in their attitude toward making money rather than making the fans happy. As for Jacobs, how can you complain about him, didn’t he just come up with a winning team.

      Actually, I shouldn’t write about the Patriots at all. I’m watching them less and less because the commercials drive me nuts especially the ones that are repeated over and over again. So I’ll let them be and wish them the best, as you know I expect them to win big next week, but if they don’t I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold back on my lamenting the Mankins deal.

  4. What do the Boston sportswriters have to say for themselves, anyway? Or are they too busy kissing up to the owners of whatever team you name?

    How long can such a cozy arrangement between teams and sportswriters go on before fans’ outrage takes the city by storm?

    Or is all this just another installment in the long-running series titled “American Complacency,” in which rule-breakers, thugs, common criminals and others whose behavior is over the top and over the line never get called out for their actions?

    1. GOK:

      As far as I can tell you don’t want as a sports writer to get on the bad side of the owners of a team. Those guys love the free food and rubbing shoulders with the players. If they get too naughty it’ll all be taken away from them. The fans don’t care as long as they can read something about “their team.” The owners know they have long lines of people wanting to be season ticket holders so even if some feel cheated there are many others who would like to stand in their place.

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