Patriots

Which major moves over the last year have been the biggest?

Which major moves over the last year have been the biggest?

Big moves only happen so often. Yet dating back to last Halloween, the regularity with which they’ve occurred throughout Boston’s major four teams has been comical. 

The latest came this week, when the trade of Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers brought to mind confusion that had struck Pats fans a season ago with the Jamie Collins trade. 

Those have hardly been the only big deals made dating back to last Oct. 31. Counting only the real biggies (apologies to the Addison Reeds and Marcus Morrises of the world), here’s an attempt at organizing what by my count has been 10 huge shakeups for Boston sports teams: 

EARTH-SHATTERING

Trading for Chris Sale

Trading for Kyrie Irving 

These are the two biggest, because the biggest change you can make to a team is to add or subtract a franchise player. Both Sale and Irving qualify as such. Plus, the assets moved in the deals show more of a commitment to now than to the future. In the case of the Sale trade, it meant moving more prospects. In the case of the Irving deal, it meant setting the team up to take over as the East’s top team once the Cavs disbanded. 

MASSIVE

Trading first overall pick, drafting Jayson Tatum 

Trading Jimmy Garoppolo 

Signing Gordon Hayward

All three of these moves teeter on belonging in that top section because there’s a good chance in each case that we’re talking about a franchise player. Hayward’s addition has obviously been diminished by the combination of injury and the fact that he wasn’t the biggest star acquired by the team that offseason. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Tatum became a franchise player based on what he’s shown through seven games. Garoppolo could be a stud for the 49ers; his departure obviously has twice the impact given what it means for Tom Brady. 

REALLY BIG 

Firing Claude Julien 

The 2016-17 Bruins were a fledgling team with Claude Julien at the helm, and though he’s widely regarded as the better coach between he and Bruce Cassidy, Julien’s ouster was followed by a spike in shooting percentage that took the B’s from 1.05 points in the standings per game to 1.37 and the team’s first playoff berth in three seasons. The jury on that move should remain out, however, as the Bruins dealt with inconsistent play and injuries en route to a 4-3-3 start this season.

BIG 

Trading for Brandin Cooks

Trading Jamie Collins

The Cooks trade would rank way higher for other football teams, and though he’s one of the team’s best players, he still ranks behind some of the best to ever play the sport in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. 

As for the Collins move, it was certainly shocking, but between the lack of return and the fact that they didn’t go on to miss him, it’s hard to look at it as major in hindsight. 

MEH

Firing John Farrell/Hiring Alex Cora

Released Pablo Sandoval 

If there’s no bigger move than adding or subtracting a franchise player, where would you put subtracting a player being paid what would ruin more thrifty franchises? Eh, low. The Red Sox can always afford it. 

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Report: Gisele tried to get Brady's friend to convince Tom to retire

Report: Gisele tried to get Brady's friend to convince Tom to retire

This past spring, Gisele Bundchen tried to have Tom Brady's college friend, former kicker Jay Feely, convince the Patriots quarterback to retire, according to a Sports Illustrated story.

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Here's that anecdote from Greg Bishop's profile of Brady in this week's SI: 

Last spring Brady and his family vacationed with retired kicker Jay Feely, a close friend from their college days at Michigan. This being Brady, Feely prefers not to disclose the locale, but he does share that Brady’s wife, the supermodel Gisele Bündchen, spent time on that trip “trying to get me to convince [Tom] to stop playing.” And, Feely adds, “‘she was dead serious.’”

Feely says he looked at his friend and told him, “Play as long as you can.” Brady smiled back and winked.

Brady has been pretty adamant about wanting to play until he's 45. At about the same time as the story Feely told SI, Bundchen spoke about a concussion she said Brady suffered last season. And Brady tried to clarify that in training camp this past summer by basically saying it was nobody's business. Expect plenty more of the how-long-will-you-keep-playing questions next week at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. 

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Belichick: Tuesday a 'major working day' as Patriots prep for Eagles

Belichick: Tuesday a 'major working day' as Patriots prep for Eagles

FOXBORO -- Tuesdays are generally very important days at Gillette Stadium. That's when the finishing touches are being put on the game plan for the coming weekend so it can later be disseminated to players who then go to work on it throughout the remainder of the week. 

This Tuesday, two Tuesdays before the Super Bowl, is a little different. The Patriots have plenty of time to game plan so there's not the time crunch of a normal week. 

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But because the Patriots aren't all that familiar with the Eagles, they're getting down to business anyway.

"Every year is not the same but in this particular case, today is very much of a major working day, and I would say kind of a catch-up day for us because we just don't know very much about Philadelphia," Bill Belichick said during a conference call.

"You know, other years when we had played a team more recently like Seattle, who we had played two years before but in a regular season game, but there was some carry over from that or in the [New York] Giant years where we had played those teams in the regular season, there was a little bit less of an acclimation to the opponent this week because we had some background with them. In this case, we really don't know very much about Philadelphia." 

The Patriots played the Eagles two seasons ago, but that was a very different team than the one they'll see in Super Bowl LII. Back then, Chip Kelly was Philly's head coach and Pat Shurmur its offensive coordinator. Sam Bradford was the quarterback. Billy Davis ran the defense. 

Now? Now it's Doug Pederson's show. Frank Reich is the offensive coordinator. Nick Foles is the quarterback. Jim Schwartz runs the defense. 

There's plenty the Patriots will be familiar with. Schwartz worked in Cleveland for Belichick in the mid-90s. LeGarrette Blount is one of Philadelphia's top two backs. Chris Long has helped provide the Eagles with depth on the edge. Kamu Grugier-Hill is one of their top special-teamers. Ronald Darby is a corner the Patriots saw twice last year when he was with the Bills. 

But with new schemes and new personnel to learn, Tuesday is being used as a key preparation day as the Patriots try to figure out how to handle their next opponent. 

"It's a lot to sort out and then pull together pretty concisely because, again, for all those games that we look at – let's call it 18 games, just to pick a number – I mean that's probably 2,500 plays in all three phases of the game and there's just going to be 160," Belichick said. "So they can't do everything that we've ever seen them do any more than we could run everything that we have experience running . . . 

"We have to be prepared for a lot of things but at the same time, we can't be overly distracted by things that either have a low percentage chance of coming up or probably wouldn't be the type of thing they would do against us. We try to eliminate some of those and make sure we work on the things that we feel are most problematic or may be most likely to occur."

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