The Patriots are preparing to face the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m. Though the weather is projected to be almost 80 degrees at kickoff time, New England prepared for the game with a practice in the snow on Thursday.
Despite the 11 inches of new snow in Foxborough, Bill Belichick said the team had a “good, productive day” and is “ready to go.”
Bart Scott doesn’t buy the Belichick-rookie quarterback narrative: With the Patriots-Dolphins matchup on Sunday, Bill Belichick gets another opportunity to face a rookie quarterback. Historically, the Patriots’ coach has dominated first-year signal-callers, with New England’s recent 45-0 win over the Chargers with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert as an example.
Yet not everyone believes it’s down to Belichick’s game-planning. Speaking on ESPN morning program “Get Up!”, former Jets and Ravens linebacker Bart Scott explained why he thinks it’s more circumstantial than tactical.
“When you have numbers, you can push whatever narrative you want,” Scott began after hearing about the Patriots’ historic success against rookies. “The reality is most times when a team has a rookie quarterback starting, it’s because they’re the best player on the team. You think about they’re usually on a team that picked low in the draft, and they have a horrible team. I remember going against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady with Mark Sanchez, didn’t matter. You know why? Because he was on a good football team.”
Sanchez, drafted by the Jets in 2009, won his second career NFL start against the Patriots (and went on to defeat them in a playoff game a season later).
Looking at the current matchup, Scott noted that he likes Miami’s chances.
“Tua Tagovailoa is on a good football team,” said Scott, “so I don’t think he’s going to have any problem looking at the team, looking at the tape in which the Patriots represented themselves against the Rams the previous week.”
Alongside the Dolphins offense vs. the Patriots defense is the opposite matchup, with the Miami defense facing Cam Newton and the New England offense. Scott views Miami’s close-fought loss against the Chiefs in Week 14 — in which they intercepted Patrick Mahomes three times — as a favorable indicator,
“You think about [the Dolphins’] secondary went blow-for-blow against the best, arguably the number one offense in the game,” said Scott of facing Kansas City. “This is going to be like a week off. This is going to be like going against the scout team. Cam Newton has a 78 QBR, 10 interceptions. I’m not worried about anything that the Patriots offense has to present to the Miami Dolphins defense.
“Flores understands all of the Jedi mind tricks that Bill has,” Scott said, using Star Wars terminology. “We understand [Belichick] is a Sith Lord, but he’s out of moves. He has no more moves on the chessboard, and it’s time for Miami to claim their stake, and say, ‘You know what? This is our division now. We have a much better than you have.'”
Trivia: The Celtics selected Paul Pierce 10th overall in the 1998 NBA draft. Who was the first pick in that year’s draft?
(Answer at the bottom).
Hint: He ended up playing his final NBA game with the Celtics in 2007.
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Marcus Mariota stepped in at quarterback for the Raiders on Thursday: Las Vegas ultimately lost the game, but the former second overall pick showed flashes of his talent.
What a performance from Marcus Mariota.
He ties the game at 24 with 6:16 remaining! #RaiderNation
— NFL (@NFL) December 18, 2020
Tiger Woods and his son, Charlie: The 11-year-old already has a swing similar to his father’s, and has reportedly inherited some of his trash-talking too.
Home on the range. 🏌️🏌️ pic.twitter.com/KnSM6bPrmk
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 17, 2020
On this day: In 2014, the Celtics traded point guard Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks along with Dwight Powell in exchange for Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, a 2016 first-round pick (used to select Guerschon Yabusele), and a 2016 second-round pick (used to select Demetrius Jackson). Boston was also given a $13 million trade exception.
As a self-contained trade, it was monumental in terms of being a tone shift for the Celtics. Rondo, so often the part of trade rumors, was finally dealt, officially bringing an older era of Boston basketball to a close. As the final remaining member of the 2007-2008 title-winning team, Rondo’s exit cleared the stage for new team leadership and direction.
In a larger sense, the trade was another stepping stone for Danny Ainge’s effort to stockpile talent and possible trade assets. Crowder, for example, would fit in perfectly with Brad Stevens’ style of basketball, contributing to multiple playoff runs before being traded in the 2017 blockbuster to acquire Kyrie Irving.
Daily highlight: Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, on top of fighting off the field to help organize free meals for children in England, is also a prolific goal-scorer. He applied the finish after a well-worked sequence of passes in a 3-2 win over Sheffield United on Thursday.
Trivia answer: Michael Olowokandi
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