Scott Cordischi On Sports: Beware of the Rookies
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
For those of you who are old enough (mid 40’s and older), you probably remember Southern California police officers Danko, Webster and Gillis as “The Rookies” on ABC in the mid 1970’s. Maybe 40 years from now, Patriots fans will remember Jones, Hightower and Wilson as New England’s version of “The Rookies.”
Yes, one game does not a career make or, as Bill Parcells would say, “let’s not put these fellas in Canton just yet.” Still, it was quite an NFL and Patriots debut for first round draft picks Chandler Jones (Syracuse) and Dont’a Hightower (Alabama) and second round pick Tavon Wilson (Illinois).
That trio helped the Patriots new-look defense stifle the Tennessee Titans in a 34-13 win in Memphis Sunday.
Wilson rotated in with safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory and finished the day with 4 tackles, 2 passes defended and 1 big interception. As great of a performance as that was, he may have been outshined by his rookie counterparts who combined to produce the play of the game for New England in the second quarter.
With the Pats leading 7-3 early in the second quarter, Titans’ quarterback Jake Locker dropped back to pass in his own endzone. As he stepped up into the pocket, Chandler Jones was speed rushing by Locker’s left tackle on his way to strip-sacking the Titan’s QB. There to pick up the fumble at the 6-yard line was Don’t’a Hightower who rumbled into the endzone to give the Pats a 14-3 lead, deflating the home crowd at LP Field.
It’s no secret that, while the Patriots have had one of the most dominant offenses in the NFL for the past 5 years, New England has been subpar defensively which has cost them at critical times in the postseason.
Will this year be different?
It’s far too early to tell. But the early returns suggest that the Patriots’ defense may much more of a force to reckon with than it has been in quite some time. And who would have thought that it would be thanks in large part to “The Rookies?”
-The Patriots performance in Tennessee Sunday is just further affirmation that what happens in the preseason means absolutely squat!
-The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger was making a lot of noise about the fact that Bill Belichick and the Patriots may have been deemphasizing Wes Welker who is in a contract year on Sunday. I say, let’s wait until we’re midway through the season before we revisit that subject because I have a feeling that #83 will be a very big part of what the Patriots do offensively moving forward.
-Love him or hate him, it was great to see the old Peyton Manning back Sunday night as he made a successful debut in Denver. The NFL is a better league when he is at his best. Or, as Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin said after his team was beaten by Manning's Broncos Sunday night, "he's Peyton! And the old Peyton is back."
-While there seems to be an overemphasis on the officiating to start the season for obvious reasons, it says here that the replacement refs acquitted themselves quite nicely in week 1 which certainly swings the pendulum of perception in favor of the NFL.
-Speaking of the dispute between the NFL and its officials, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the league is expecting a prolonged lock-out and, because of that, has gone so far as to map out a schedule for the replacement refs through week 5 of the season.
-With the disparity between the large revenue and small revenue teams in Major League Baseball today, did you ever think it would be possible for the Boston Red Sox to have a worse record than the Kansas City Royals? Armageddon is finally here Red Sox Nation!
-I’d be willing to bet that only diehard tennis fans can tell you who won this year’s US Open men’s singles title. Or maybe the gool folks of Great Britain.
-While we shower Patriots coach Bill Belichick with praise here in New England, it’s safe to say that the Harbaugh brothers (Jim – head coach SF 49ers, John – head coach Baltimore Ravens) know what the heck they are doing as well. The Ravens have been a perennial AFC power under John and what Jim has done with the 49ers franchise in his 1+ year at the helm is nothing short of amazing!
-Am I the only Red Sox fan who isn’t excited about the prospect of John Farrell being the team’s next skipper?
-Having spent last Sunday at Snooker’s in downtown Providence, I can honestly say that it is a hot spot to catch all the NFL action this fall and winter.
-While sports fans throughout the country are all fired up about the start of another NFL season, the NHL is quietly heading toward what could be a work stoppage. With no progress being made, it appears that a lockout may be inevitable which is a shame for all of you puckheads out there.
-Did I ever mention to Yankee fans that the Baltimore Orioles are my second favorite baseball team?
-UMass facing Denard Robinson and Michigan this weekend at The Big House is the equivalent of a 1-legged man entering an ass-kicking contest.
-I guess there’s still a little gas left in Randy Moss’ tank after all.
-Did you see where Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said that he was “relieved” for former teammate Josh Beckett who was traded to Los Angeles? Someone should tell Lester that we’ll all be “relieved” when he extracts his head from his gluteus maximus and starts pitching like the pitcher we thought he was before the embarrassment that was last September and this entire 2012 Red Sox season.
-I can honestly say that if I didn’t play the addictive game “Words With Friends,” I would have no idea what the word “QI” means.
-The Brown University football team opens up its 135th season of intercollegiate football Saturday in Worcester, Massachusetts at Holy Cross. The Bears home-opener is one week from Saturday when Harvard visits Brown Stadium for a nationally televised game under the lights starting at 4:30pm.
-That was some performance by RG3!
-Not that anyone is rooting for Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder.
-The true test for Tony Romo and the Cowboys will be to see if they can sustain success following their impressive opening night win over the Super Bowl Champion NY Giants.
-Speaking of New York, were the Jets playing possum in the preseason or is Buffalo not as improved as many people think that they are?
-And it’s not the “New York football Jets!” If I hear another nitwit say that again they should have their rights to watch the NFL revoked. It was only the “New York football Giants” back in the day because they had to distinguish between the New York Giants baseball team and the New York Giants football team. That was until the baseball team moved to San Franciso following the 1957 season.