For Protégés of Belichick, the Struggle Has Been Real
Thinking out loud while wondering how many times when watching game film of Matt Patricia’s winless Detroit Lions that Josh McDaniels thanks his lucky stars that he declined the offer to be the Indianapolis Colts head coach and is still calling plays for Tom Brady.
Will Patricia be the next former Bill Belichick assistant coach to fail as an NFL head coach (a list that includes McDaniels)? It’s early, but Patricia’s Lions have certainly not made a favorable first impression with Detroit fans, losing to the New York Jets (48-17) and San Francisco 49ers (30-27).
Next up for the Lions is a home game the Patriots, who are coming off a 31-20 beat down in Jacksonville. Things could quickly go from bad to worse in Motown for Patricia.
While on the subject of former Belichick assistants that have struggled to win outside Foxboro, Bill O’Brien desperately needs a U-turn in fortune for his Houston Texans, who are off to an 0-2 start. This is O’Brien’s fifth season in Houston and his record with the Texans is 32-37, including three playoff games (1-2).
The Texans have games against the New York Giants (0-2), Colts (1-1), Dallas Cowboys (1-1) and Buffalo Bills (0-2) the next four weeks. In order for Houston to make a legitimate push for a wild card playoff berth in the AFC (the Texans aren’t going to beat out the Jacksonville Jaguars for the top spot in the AFC South) it has to win at least three of these games.
After going 4-12 in 2017, another playoff DNQ could have O’Brien sitting on an extremely hot seat in the corner office come January ...
Don’t know what was worse, Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson not knowing Zane Gonzalez, who missed two extra points and two field goals in Sunday’s 21-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints, was reportedly kicking with a groin injury, or Bills’ cornerback Vontae Davis retiring (a.k.a. quitting on his team) at halftime in a game Buffalo was trailing 28-6 and would eventually lose to the Los Angeles Chargers, 31-20.
This probably explains why the Browns are 1-32-1 with Jackson calling the shots, and why the Bills (0-2) could be in a season-long battle with the Arizona Cardinals (0-2) and Browns (0-1-1) for the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft ...
The American League MVP race should come down to a battle between Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Heading into Tuesday’s games, Betts was leading the AL in batting average (.337) and wins above replacement (10.0 WAR), and was second in on-base-percentage (.431) and OPS (1.091). Martinez was leading in RBI (122), hits (176) and slugging-percentage (.628), and was second in homers (41) and batting (.328).
Have to believe Betts will get the MVP nod over Martinez. The continuous Gold Glove play in right field for Betts -- the runner-up to Mike Trout for MVP in 2016 -- will be the deciding factor ...
The stats Chris Sale has compiled this season -- 12-4 record with a 1.92 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 150 innings -- are simply amazing. But Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell -- 19-5 record with a 2.03 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 164 innings -- is my AL Cy Young Award winner.
Reason being, Sale has only pitched 21 innings since July 11 and the Red Sox continued to win without him, while Snell has been the centerpiece of a pieced-together pitching staff that had the surprising Rays’ 17 games over .500 as of Tuesday . . .
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett was tied with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich for the National League batting lead at .318 as of Tuesday. Should Gennett win the batting crown he would be the first Reds player to do so since Pete Rose (.338) in 1973.
The feeling here is the past two World Series winners, the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, will square off in this year’s Fall Classic. In a wide-open NL field, the Cubs will rely on their big-game experience to find a way to win, while the Astros pitching depth is the difference in an ALCS match-up against the Red Sox.
Carmine Frongillo’s e-mail address is cfrongillo @lowellsun.com . Follow him on Twitter @cwfrongi