The Patriots are second in Nfl in payroll with $122 million

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The Patriots are second in Nfl in payroll with $122 million

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:18 pm

The Patriots are second in Nfl in payroll with $122 million that includes Salary Cap

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Re: The Patriots are second in Nfl in payroll with $122 million

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:25 pm

osted: 5 hours 25 minutes ago
Super Bowl X-factors: These players could be the difference

NFL.com

Below we look at one player from each team's unit in the Super Bowl that could be the difference in the final outcome.

Super Bowl X-factors
Offense
Matt Light, OT
While Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Laurence Maroney are the household names, members of the Patriots' offensive line are just as responsible for the team's success. The most experienced of the bunch is Light. The seventh-year veteran out of Purdue has started every game for the Patriots in five of the last six seasons (he missed 13 games with an injury in 2005) and is responsible for protecting Brady's blindside. With the spread formations the Patriots employ, Light is often left by himself to block some of the league's best pass rushers. In the Week 17 meeting at New York, Light struggled some with Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, and though he did not give up a sack, Umenyiora was able to pressure Brady. Light's battle with Umenyiora looms large in the rematch.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
After getting only six carries in the Giants' first 14 games, the rookie tallied 151 rushing yards on 17 carries in the Giants' playoff-clinching win over Buffalo in Week 16 and has not looked back since. The seventh-round pick is averaging 13 carries and 54 yards a game in the playoffs and has become a key factor during New York's surprising playoff run. He has shown an ability to grind out tough yards (he picked up a key first down on third-and-1 in the Giants' victory over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game) and he also has the speed to break it all the way (he had an 88-yard touchdown run in the Bills game). He missed the Week 17 matchup vs. the Patriots with an injury and could pose problems for an aging New England linebacker corps.

Defense
Mike Vrabel, LB
The veteran linebacker is the only player on either team to have scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and he actually has two. He has expertly moonlighted as a tight end in goal-line situations, but this space is reserved for his elite defensive abilities. He had a career year in his 11th season and finished with 12½ sacks. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time and had five forced fumbles to go along with his impressive sack total. He was held at bay during the Week 17 matchup with the Giants, tallying only two tackles and no sacks. But on the biggest stages it seems to be Vrabel who comes up with the biggest plays. If he can make a few momentum-changing plays, look for the Patriots to seize control.

Sam Madison,CB
Prior to this season, Brady traditionally struggled against the Dolphins defense. One of the main reasons for that was the presence of Madison. The former Miami cornerback has confidence against the league's preeminent quarterback, and he played well in the first meeting between the Patriots and Giants before leaving the game with an injury. His ability to read Brady and use his experience and guile to cover up for mistakes could play a major factor for the Giants defense. When on an island, Madison must be able to hold his own in one-on-one coverage, and his skills to do so are imperative if New York is to pull off the upset.

Special teams
Kelley Washington, WR
While the free agent signings of Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth got far more attention, the addition of Washington has also proven critical. Though he does not receive any action on offense, the former Bengal has turned himself into a special teams ace. He has two of his team's top special teams plays this season. His blocked punt in a Week 15 win over the Jets helped set up an easy touchdown for New England in what turned out to be a close game; and his acrobatic tap of the ball at the goal line prevented a touchback in the AFC Championship Game against the Chargers, flipping field position around in the Patriots' favor. Those are the sorts of overlooked plays that allow a team to go unbeaten.

Domenik Hixon, WR
The young kickoff returner paid huge dividends in the first matchup, and he is positioned to make a similar impact in the Super Bowl. Hixon had a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Week 17 meeting and has the most return yards in the playoffs by a wide margin. In games where one team seems to have a clear advantage, a big return can swing the momentum in the underdog's favor. Hixon is also an alert special teams player, having recovered a key fumble by teammate R.W. McQuarters in the NFC Championship Game, and his heady play in the kicking game could give the Giants an unexpected edge should some bizarre event unfold in the least predictable of all phases -- special teams.

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Re: The Patriots are second in Nfl in payroll with $122 million

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:29 pm

A change in philosophy for the Yankees brass

Under the Boss,the Yankees went year to year with players eligible for salary arbitration.This is taking a page out of John Hart's book with the Indians when he locked all of their key players in the early 1990's.

The Yankees didn't do this with Bernie,Jeter,Petitte,Rivera,Posada,etc

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Re: The Patriots are second in Nfl in payroll with $122 million

Post  RedMagma on Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:48 pm

Q & A: Kat O’Brien of Newsday


http://mlbfleecefactor.com/2008/01/24/q-a-kat-obrien-of-newsday/

Posted on January 24th, 2008 by The Biscuit

Fleece Factor recently had the distinguished privilege of sitting down with Kat O’Brien of Newsday in New York to discuss all things Yankees. O’ Brien serves as a beat writer for the team and keeps a daily blog of the Yankee universe that is a must read. Her blog can be found here.

O’Brien, a Notre Dame grad, began covering the Yankees this past season for Newsday. Before her time in NY, O’Brien covered the Texas Rangers for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Fleece Factor - Everyone’s favorite storyline that seems to never end - where do you see the Johan Santana story ultimately ending? Does he get dealt or does Minnesota just end up holding onto him for now? If he gets dealt, where to? Could he be in pinstripes or do you buy Hank’s proclamations that the Yanks are out of it?

Kat O’Brien- I think Johan Santana does ultimately wind up getting traded. It’s been my feeling all along that the Yankees would wind up with him. I’ve become less and less convinced of that, though, and could see the Mets winding up with him. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point. I don’t feel like Hank Steinbrenner has ever been utterly convinced not to get him, and I think anything could happen. The Yankees’ rotation, as is, could be great but there is a lot of risk involved.

Fleece Factor - With Joba pitching so well in the 8th last year, do you see any way he stays in that role for 2008? Seems awfully risky to try and go with Farnsworth and Hawkins as your set-up men, correct?

Kat O’Brien- As the Yankees are currently constituted, I see Joba Chamberlain as a starter with Ian Kennedy likely the odd man out. Chamberlain will have innings/pitch limits, though, which could mean some time in the bullpen.

I would definitely be concerned about using Kyle Farnsworth as a set-up guy, but I do think LaTroy Hawkins was a good pick-up. Between the two of them, one should be able to set up.

Fleece Factor - Aside from the young trio of starting pitchers, there is a lot of age on this edition of the Yankees. Did you see this as a problem last season and do you think they will suffer from it in 2008?

Kat O’Brien - There certainly is a lot of age among the starting position players and part of the rotation (Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte). Most of those players are at such a high level, though, that you’d still take them over most alternatives. For instance, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter may all bein their mid-30s, but their level of play surpasses that of most competitors.

One concern with players as they get older is that they may need more days off and may be more prone to minor injuries. Overall, though, I don’t think it’s too big of a worry.

Fleece Factor - Looking at the Yankees right now, do you see a team that could contend with the Red Sox in 2008 or do you think they need a few upgrades to get to that level?

Kat O’Brien- I think the Red Sox look like favorites on paper, but as Jeter so frequently points out, the games aren’t played on paper. The Yankees are definitely within the ballpark that they could be better than the Red Sox.

Fleece Factor - Clearly, a lot of Yankees were included in the Mitchell Report as users of Performance Enhancing Drugs. A) Does the organization seem to care all that much about the high number of players (both past and present) that have been “outed” as cheaters? B) How do you think the fans and media will handle the Pettite admission that he did use HGH?

Kat O’Brien- Regarding the large number of Yankees named in the Mitchell Report, I don’t think anybody in the organization is pleased about that. However, I think they believe that the fact that McNamee and Radomski are both from New York is the reason so many Yankees and Mets were named. If someone from Chicago or LA or Kansas City had been an informant, I think there would have been a lot of players named from those cities.

I doubt people will be too hard on Andy Pettitte, given that he admitted trying HGH and that it was a mistake. It also, as it stands, was a brief use and not for a long period of time.

Fleece Factor - Were you surprised that A-Rod will be playing 3B for the Yankees this upcoming season after all the “threats” from Hank this offseason?

Kat O’Brien - I guess I’ve learned never to be surprised about anything that happens with Alex Rodriguez. He’s tough to predict. I never had a strong feel for whether he would be back or not, though after the opt-out and the manner in which it happened, his return did surprise me.

Fleece Factor - What do you see as the one storyline of the 2008 Yankees that nobody seems to be talking much about?

Kat O’Brien - I think one topic not really being discussed is how different things will be with Joe Girardi as manager and not Joe Torre. I think that change will be felt in many ways, large and small.

The other big topic is the rise of the Steinbrenner sons (both Hank and Hal) in the organization, and what that means for decisions in the organization. Will it change how much money the Yankees traditionally spend? Will it affect the pursuit of free agents? What impact will it have on whether or not Brian Cashman remains with the Yankees?

We thank Kat O’Brien for her time and hope to bring you more of her insight in the near future.

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