Next Man Up: Edelman Out For Season
By Kevin Skirvin ’18
Julian Edelman, wide receiver for the New England Patriots, went down with a torn ACL injury this past Friday against the Detroit Lions. Edelman was turning upfield when his right knee buckled in a non-contact tear. He went to the ground immediately, grabbing the back of his knee in pain. It was only two minutes into the contest.
Edelman played a full 16 games last year for only the second time in his career, finishing 2016 with over 1,100 yards. Number 11 will be missed most on third downs, where he led the team in targets (49), receptions (28), yards (192), and first downs (24). He was by far and away the number one target for quarterback Tom Brady while tight end Rob Gronkowski, who, by the way, is already looking like his old self so far in 2017, was recovering from back surgery. So while the loss of Edelman hurts, it certainly does not appear to be anything New England can’t handle.
“Julian is a great competitor, works hard, is tough, does all the things that you ask him to do. So I feel badly for him, of course”, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Saturday. “We hope that he will have a speedy and complete recovery, but the team will have to move on and compete this season without him. It is unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.” Belichick will no doubt continue to preach his “next man up” philosophy to the locker room.
Wide receiver is arguably strongest spot on the depth chart for New England, and with WR Chris Hogan beginning to emerge as a star, it looks as though history will continue to repeat itself here in the Northeast. But who plays the slot? Hogan has proved himself useful out wide, where he will most likely be paired with former New Orleans Saint Brandin Cooks for a serious deep ball threat. Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels can put Gronk wherever he wants, but no way does he risk overusing him at the slot position. That leaves veteran WR Danny Amendola, who has quietly been one of the most clutch receivers for the Pats over the past few seasons, but he has never been the kind of guy to go out and steal the show. If there were ever an opportunity for him to do so, that time is now.
PCI: Who is the Best in the MLB?
by Kevin Skirvin ’18
Boston Red Sox
The 2016 Cy Young award was handed to Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox. Last season Porcello pitched a total of 223 innings, the most in a single season during his career, and racked up 22 wins along the way. Porcello elevated his status in the MLB to being considered one of the elite pitchers on the mound. While critics shout to the heavens how Detroit’s Justin Verlander was more deserving of the award, the fact of the matter is this: Porcello is the defending Cy Young Award winner, and he’s also the third best starting pitcher for the Sox.
The acquisition of Chris Sale from the White Sox this offseason was a monumental move towards success. It was the classic, “focus on today, worry about the future later” type of move, as Boston gave up the unanimous number one prospect in Yoan Moncada. Sale is going to be the ace in 2017 that David Price was supposed to be last year. Price has caught a lot of hate for his “disappointing year” in 2016, but it was only considered such because that’s the potential Price has.
As for the rest of the lineup, the Sox have an excellent mix of veterans, like Dustin Pedroia, combined with the future of the league in Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts. Obviously, losing one of the greatest hitters of all time is not ideal, but Hanley Ramirez has been looking great and should fill in the DH spot just fine. Holding that disappointing first round playoff exit close, the Red Sox are on to 2017.
by Sam Scanlon ’19
Becoming back-to-back champions is an incredibly difficult feat in any sport. Before last season, the last time the Chicago Cubs were crowned World Series Champions was 108 years ago—as back-to-back champions.
Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks are an outstanding pitching trio for the Cubs. A dominant pitching staff is crucial to have in order to claim a World Series trophy. The Cubs have exactly that as they have emerged as one of the top performing pitching rotations in the MLB.
This talented squad finds its core in the infield with a perfect combination of youth and depth. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo lead the charge as great two way players that double as offensive powerhouses and defensive weapons. Also, Addison Russell, Javier Baez, and Ben Zobrist bring the defensive flare as they provide their share of lockdown defense along with offensive spark. With the three of them seeing time, the depth of the infield gives the Cubs a major advantage.
After missing practically all of the regular season last year due to injury, Kyle Schwarber is back in the lineup and will be a huge asset in a solid group of outfielders. If he remains healthy all season, he will definitely improve the lineup.
The Cubs have all the intangibles and have a great looking team in terms and depth. As the MLB Vegas odds see the Cubs winning again, it is certainly tough to bet against them this year.