NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
Before I get into the regular Friday mailbag, I have a special announcement to make. This will be my last mailbag here at NEPD and my last column – for now.
I’m pleased and excited to announce that starting on Monday I’ll be writing full time over at NESN.com, which I still can’t get used to saying or putting down on paper, or interwebs, or whatever that this is what I’m doing right now. That means that I got to quit my 9-5 job two weeks ago, and it means that I’ll be doing this. And just this. Full time.
Like I said, I can’t believe it.
It’s been an awesome year and a half here at NEPD and I couldn’t begin to thank James enough for everything that he’s given me throughout that time. There were multiple times over the course of the four years since I graduated from college that I thought I would never get to do what I loved and wanted to do full time, but the excitement and fun of writing at NEPD kept me going. I never would have covered the Senior Bowl without this opportunity, I never would have got to cover the Patriots from the press box without this opportunity and I definitely wouldn’t have the football knowledge that I have today without this opportunity. James has let me write what I want to write, he’s given me amazing ideas, he’s let me write idiotic things and never tried to censor me.
Back in February of 2011 I had quit writing for the Sharon Advocate. I didn’t have the same kind of scheduling freedom at my new job and didn’t have a day off to cover high school sports anymore. I used the excuse that I wanted to write about something I was more passionate about, but I think I was just burnt out. But as I was watching the scouting combine that month, I decided to use the contact section at NEPatriotsDraft.com to see if they could use another writer. I loved the Patriots, I loved the draft, this was a no brainer. Since then it’s been nothing but a blast and I know I could not have found a better website to contact that day.
(Right now is about the time that you should all be thinking of the scene in Mean Girls when Tim Meadows says, “You know, it’s not really required of you to make a speech.” I am Lindsey Lohan, and I was just elected Spring Fling Queen)
I’d like to thank my partner in crime and fellow Editor Mike Loyko as well. There’s no one else I would have rather spent the week of the Senior Bowl with and no one else I would have rather shared a podcast with. Mike’s football knowledge is bar none and no one knows that better than the readers here at NEPD. I’d like to thank Matt Elder over at BuffaloBillsDraft.com as well, his passion and work ethic help steer this network. James, Mike, Matt, Matthew, Eric, Jason, Ryan, Jinx, Derek and all of the future contributors here are going to continue to make this the strongest draft site and draft network in the world. I’d like to give a thanks to the job I just quit as well, for mostly turning a blind eye to the wordpress page constantly open and probably knowing full well that all the typing I was doing wasn’t work related. Obviously thanks to my parents, but they’ll never read this. I’d also like to thank my girlfriend, Jen. Having a full time job, and then a full time side gig as a Patriots/Draft writer doesn’t leave a lot of time for a life, but she’s been nothing but supportive and understanding throughout this extremely busy time in my life. Finally, thank you to all of the readers of this site, all of my twitter followers, all of the commenters here, everyone who’s ever called me stupid or retweeted me or contacted me at all, all of the other twitter football writers, the guys over at AP who taught me to argue on the internet, etc. This couldn’t have been possible without you guys and the egotist in me loves every single chime I get on my TweetDeck from you and every gmail notification of a new site comment.
Yes, I know how insane and unnecessarily long this is. It’ll be over soon, don’t worry.
It goes without saying that all of you will continue to read NEPD with the best Patriots/Draft content on the net. I’d like to ask you to also follow me over to NESN.com. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be writing over there, but I promise it will be interesting, funny and informative. NESN deserves all the thanks in the world for giving one of us internet guys a chance. I promise nothing will change on twitter, I’ll continue to post way too many football thoughts and even more horrible jokes.
Now, what you guys all actually came here for, my mailbag (and there may be a new wildcat play at the end too):
I think Ryan Wendell might be the best center on the team. Wendell looked better than Dan Connolly last year in limited time, but I guess it’s hard for anyone to look bad when you’re blocking in between two All Pros at guard.
At 6’2” Wendell is like the little engine that could among the giants the Patriots have on the offensive line and looks comically small any time that he has to stand between 6’8” towers Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer. Wendell is also a good fit for the Pats due to his athleticism. Logan Mankins and Solder are both very athletic for their positions, and Wendell looks like a spark at center compared to the heavier footed Connolly.
Wendell will never be an All Pro, but neither will Dan Connolly, Nick McDonald or Donald Thomas. I’m confident in Wendell to get the job done at center, and if Waters comes back, I trust in Belichick to make the decision between Wendell and Connolly. I’ve said it before, but last season proved to me that Dante Scarnecchia can pretty much coach up anyone to protect Tom Brady.
That’s one that James will need to be asked, I just hopped onto the already forward moving train and threw in some silly wildcat plays. James is taking over the mailbag next week, so we’re in good hands people.
This might be the best question ever asked on the mailbag. I have a few options.
My first thought is Bobby Jean, because it’s the song that makes me the most nostalgic over something that obviously never specifically happened to me. It’s a theme that we’ve all been through before, loss. The best part of the song is that it was supposedly written about E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt. Thinking about the song being about a buddy, rather than a girlfriend is so much more gratifying and interesting. I think even before I heard that story, I would think about friends of mine, rather than girls, while listening to it. Typically for me, songs are much more about music and melody than lyrics, but Bobby Jean specifically really speaks to me. I’m sure James will be listening to this song over and over on Monday thinking about me. Just kidding.
The next song I think about is the track right before Bobby Jean on the Born in the U.S.A. album, No Surrender. Maybe it’s just because I spent my high school years playing in bands, then college and post college going out on tour with those people and braving the cold and humidity in rickety vans that it speaks to me more than most songs. It’s also one of Bruce’s faster paced songs, which as a fan of punk rock growing up, always resonates with me.
Finally, my favorite song right this second is a little known track called, Ain’t Good Enough For You off Springsteen’s The Promise album, which is previously unreleased songs written in the late 70s. It’s just a fun song that showcases the fact that Bruce threw away better songs than most bands and artists ever wrote.
On offense, my best guess would be Shane Vereen. If he can ever stay healthy he could be a really electric, different part of this offense. Unfortunately, that remains to be seen in Vereen’s brief pro career. My other guess on offense would be Greg Salas. Bill Belichick sees different things in players that are cast off from other teams and Salas was given up on extraordinarily fast in St. Louis. If a WR goes down, I could see Salas doing some damage with Brady.
If we’re including defense as well, I think that Jermaine Cunningham and Ras-I Dowling will have breakout years if they stay healthy.
Little known fact, most NFL coaches are pretty dumb. They put all their super secret wildcat plays up on yousendit and then name the links “INSERT TEAM NAME HERE super secret wildcat plays shhh don’t tell anyone.” You basically just have to google it. The Jets named theirs “ALL THA TIM TEBOW RULES” because Rex Ryan likes the way Bone Thugs n Harmony spell “the.”
Here, I found a super secret Patriots wildcat play just today. This one was named, “Hoodie TE play don’t tell Rex.”
I think that ends my current NEPD run pretty well. I may be back if I’m allowed, so don’t call me Brett Favre if you see my byline around here again.