Thursday, February 28, 2008

So, Congress finally got around to asking the Justice Department to look into whether or not Roger Clemens committed perjury. It seemed fairly obvious that this was going to be the end result of that he said-he said fest into which the hearings of two weeks ago degenerated in short order. The only surprise was the delay between the hearings and the request.

Personally, I think it had something to do with the fact that Congress was desperately searching for some other charge to file against Clemens. Alas, interrupting a legendary orator like Henry Waxman in the midst of a contralto harangue full of sound and fury but signifying nothing is merely a violation of Robert's Rules for Order. Even though Robert's Rules are the tools which do little more than protect the elected officials from the electorate, an ordinary citizen can't be punished for breaching them.

This case should be fairly interesting in so far as what the result will be. But I am sure that the process by which said result will be obtained won't be tremendously interesting. Yes, no side in this sad little mess has any reasonable claim to credibility. But I don't think I'll be flying to my set to see if Andy Pettitte's story on his own HGH usage habits changes for the third time since his name was included in the Mitchell Report. I would like to see whether the NYPD service record for Brian McNamee sees the light of day any time soon, but I'm not big on hoping for miracles.

Of far greater importance and interest to me at the moment is a nugget in Peter King's Monday NFL column this week. Generally, I avoid Peter King like the plague because he's a New Jersey d-bag and one of the less than shining lights of NBC's dismal NFL Sunday Night studio show. But the guy I go to for my Red Sox info told me that there was an interesting little tidbit about the Dom Capers hire.

I am unhappy with myself for missing the Capers hire on the tickers when it was announced. To me, this is a great sign. It's a panic move on the part of the Patriots. It looks superficially like an insurance policy, a possibility which Peter King is quick to dismiss, in case Belichick should be forced to step down or face suspension for his role in the ongoing signal taping soap opera.

On that level, it would make some sense, since the Patriots had no one on staff with head coaching experience and McDaniel would have caused the knuckle-dragging troglodytes who root for the Patriots to mutiny had he inherited this team. Dean Pees may or may not have potential, it's hard to say as the presence of Belichick overshadows any fair understanding of what he's brought to the table as defensive coordinator. And who knows when this situation will resolve itself?

One thing is sure, it didn't make very much sense for the Patriots to enter the official NFL league year 2008 (starting with free agency and the draft process) without a viable candidate in house. Even if Capers isn't on any one's short list for a quick fix or permanent replacement, his presence means they won't have to make a panic move should Belichick have to leave town for a while.

The reason I like this move is that it shows the Patriots organization is scared at some level. Whether they are afraid of the end result of Arlen Specter's half-assed witch hunt or afraid that it's "Katy bar the door" time for the dynasty is another matter. Hiring a defensive assistant with experience with another branch of the 3-4 tree to serve under a less experienced defensive coordinator cannot bode well for the current coordinator's confidence.

The defense isn't getting any younger in the front seven. Assante Samuel is out the door, and some Pats fans aren't too upset considering he didn't intercept Eli Manning when he could have salted the game away. But that leaves you with fearsome shutdown corners in Ellis Hobbs and Randall Gay (who might be leaving town himself). Yes, in the piece I mentioned, Peter King proved with the case of the 49ers this past season that cornerbacks aren't a great investment compared to a solid pass rush.

When you think that Richard Seymour has quietly become the Manny Ramirez of the Pats defense and that Vrabel is getting older and much more likely to submit a season like he did in 2006 than another like he did in 2007, things all of a sudden look a little bleak in Foxboro. Of course, Adalius Thomas is still around and maybe he can get his statistical production mojo back if the Pats are forced to use him more like the Ravens did.

In another Pater King related comment, I want to address another column he wrote recently, predicting that Matt Ryan will be a better pro than JaMarcus Russell. I find that particularly amusing. One of the rationales for King's claim is that Ryan played and produced his impressive stats with a supporting cast that will not play pro football while Russell played with some of the best players in the nation and several future stars. That is a weighty argument.

However, doesn't it produce it's own weighty counterargument? Even if Matt Ryan played with players that won't make it to the NFL, should he not be expected to play at a high level any way, given the nature of his competition? For the last few years, as much as I hate to admit it, the SEC has been, top to bottom, the best and most competitive conference in college football. The ACC has been in a down cycle.

And on top of that, while both teams play cupcakes in the nonconference schedule, LSU plays Championship Subdivion powers and BC plays teams from the notoriously weak Northeast. And let's not forget, Russell torched an ND team in the Sugar Bowl that managed to send several players on to the NFL (Ndukwe and Landri among them). Matt Ryan struggled to lead BC to a win over a very depleted ND team this year, even though he threw outlet passes to his tailback that reminded people of a very old Joe Montana (the one in those terrible NFL Network diner ads, not even the one who played for the Chiefs).

If I were to give you ten things I think, items one through eight right now would be that Peter King is a d-bag. Item nine would be that anyone who actively reads Peter King to gain insight into the seamy underworld of the coffee nerd should be disenfranchised. And last but not least, item ten would be: "I hoped you enjoyed the dynasty, Pats fans" because it's over.

Here's some Roy Orbison music to help cushion the blow.

The song is called The Comedians. I particularly like the line: "It's always something cruel that laughter drowns." In this instance, the cruel thing will be the decline and fall of the Patriot empire and the laughter drowning it will come from me and the overwhelming majority of NFL fans who have grown tired of the Pats and their fans.

And in one last note, we need to join forces with Sports Guy Nation in a new crusade. Bill Simmons is launching a mock-campaign to replace the GM of the Milwaukee Bucks. I'm not taking the side of the trade that says a guy has to come from an NBA background to run an NBA team. I'm taking the side of the trade that this loudmouth who has never slid into second base in his natural life (not including that rich, full life he leads in his own mind a la Walter Mitty) ought to put his money where his mouth is just one time before he dies.

As a bonus, here's a tools of note feature. I inadvertently typed in Roger's Rules instead of Robert's Rules when I googled the parliamentary procedure portion of what I wanted to talk about tonight. I guess I had Clemens on the brain and I was still chuckling from the Simmons piece. But I happened to stumble across this goldmine of sayings that are too obvious and banal to be considered cliches.

This fellow, Roger J. Wendell, has a website defending 3.8 billion years of organic evolution. And on this website, Roger J. Wendell has his own quaint rules for order. After reading them, it's just too easy to make fun of him. So all I have to say about them is this: if he's the last line of defense for 3.8 billion years of organic evolution, then 3.8 billion years of organic evolution is in for a world of pain.

Bill Simmons just might be the greatest basketball mind in the world today. I doubt it, but I am obliged, as a Catholic, to believe in miracles. But here's the thing, let's say a team were to give him a shot, since he boasts that he has at least some of the answers to fix each and every team in the league at the moment. What happens when he picks up the phone or approaches a GM from another team at league meetings? Are they really going to forget his arrogant columns? Are they going to be impressed by his soprano twittering? Are they going to be intimidated by J Bug and D Bag and Joe House and the rest of his insane clown posse? I doubt it, and I hope I get to see him fail.

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