Patriots

Box Score Bank: 30 Years in the Making

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Box Score Bank: 30 Years in the Making

Over the weekend, the Tennessee Titans announced that second-year QB Jake Locker has beaten out Matt Hasselbeck for the starting job, and will make his first career start in Week 1 against the Pats.

Good for Jake. And good for Bill Belichick, who's no doubt foaming at the mouth over an opportunity to welcome a new QB to the NFL starting ranks.

It got me thinking: Who was the last quarterback to make his first career start against the Patriots in Week 1 of the NFL season?

I know, pretty random. But would you would rather read about the Sox?

So, I started going back through the seasons . . .

And going back . . . and back . . . and back, back, back before briefly morphing into Chris Berman and eventually finding our answer.

So, let's set the Box Score Bank for 30 years ago: September 12, 1982

E.T. was No. 1 at the box office (followed not-so-closely by Rocky III and Porky's). "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago had briefly knocked the Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra" off the top of the Billboard charts. A week later, a man named Scott Fahlman invented emoticons. Three weeks later, Sony launched the first consumer compact disc. Bill Belichick was coaching linebackers and special teams for the Giants. Tom Brady had recently turned five.

And at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, rookie QB Mike Pagel was making his first career against the Patriots in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Final Score: Patriots 24, Colts 13

Pagel, a 22-year-old fourth round pick out of Arizona State, was no match for the Pats and defensive coordinator Jim Mora. Pagel finished the game 7-15 for 71 yards with an INT and a rushing TD, and was ultimately replaced behind center by Art Schlichter (who was eventually replaced by David Humm). Despite the Colts lack of quarterbacking, they actually led 13-10 in the third quarter before the Pats rattled off 14 straight points (a 30-yeard pass from Matt Cavanaugh to Ken Toler, and a one-yard run by Robert Wheathers) to run away with the win.

Pagel went on to have a 12-year NFL career with the Colts, Browns and Rams but never found much success. He retired in 1993 with a career record of 17-36-1.

According to Wikipedia, he now resides in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, and is a project manager for AT&T. He also serves as analyst for the pregame, halftime and postgame shows on during Browns games and offers television color commentary on college games on Fox Sports Network.

Your move, Jake Locker.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

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Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.

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“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."