Archive for November, 2012

John Rooke, The Obvious Choice To Take Over For Gil Santos

For the past 28 seasons, Gino Cappalletti and Gil Santos have been on the call for he New England Patriots. Every play, every score, every historical moment in that time frame has been delivered by the two legendary broadcasters.

However, radio color analyst Cappelletti officially retired prior to the start of this season and Santos, 72, announced this will be his final year in the booth.

Santos battled a severe case of pneumonia and at one point lost feeling in his extremities, which caused him to be taken to the hospital by ambulance on Feb. 24. He left a rehab center on May 19 with the help of a walker and returned to the booth for the Patriots first preseason game on Aug. 9.

Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who joined Patriots radio broadcasts in a sideline role last season, replaced Cappelletti’s place in the booth. The question remains, who will take over for Santos as the play-by-play man?

For me, the choice is simple, John Rooke.

For starters, let’s take a look at his background: 

– 16 years of Division I college football radio play-by-play experience, including six at the network level

– Two years of pro football experience for the USFL (United States Football League)

– ESPN, NBC Sports, WEEI talk show host experience

– Play-by-play for minor league baseball, MLB, Division 1 NCAA Football / basketball, MLS and NFL

– 20 years inside the Patriots organization

Of course, this is just some of Rooke’s extensive background in the business and most impressive is his 20 years of experience with the Patriots. I think that’s most important for anyone who would step in for Santos, having the right experience and knowing the team as well as the league.

In the Q & A below, I asked Rooke several questions in regards to his job qualifications and how his experience would help him succeed as Santos’ potential successor.

Q & A with the man himself, John Rooke:

What is your best trait that translates to the broadcast booth?

My best trait?  The ability to talk fast, I suppose!  I think I just have an ability to keep up with the play on the field, describe what is happening as a good reporter should do…but most importantly, create a visual picture for those who are trying or hoping to “see” the game through my eyes.  That’s my job, first and foremost.  The basics…and to paint the picture so the listener can see what we see.  If I do that, that’s what it’s all about…and I’m always striving to perfect this trait.

How long have you wanted this particular job?

I’ve always wanted to be an NFL guy.  Even when I was in the NBA!  From the very first time I heard a Dallas Cowboys’ broadcast as a kid.  To be there, describing the play on the field…it leaves me just about speechless.  If I’m fortunate to receive an opportunity, it will be the realization of an almost life-long ambition.

What separates you from other potential candidates for this position?

Good question.  I’m uniquely qualified, in that I’ve covered and worked for this team for more than 20 years.  I’m at the Stadium visiting, talking, covering, reporting 3-4 days per week…I know the organization, the personnel, the people better than most.  I know the ins and outs.  I’ve covered pro football for more than a quarter century.  In short, I’ve got experience.  I’d be surprised to find someone with more, or better, experience and opportunity than I have had.  Shoot, other than Dante Scarnecchia, I have more Patriots’ experience than just about every other person in that stadium.

Obviously you have a tremendous amount of experience, but do you think you are qualified to take over for Gil Santos?

I’m humbled just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Gil.  Gil has been a friend and a mentor to me, and has always been available to offer a kind word or a thought about my work in the college game, or on ESPN, or wherever I might have been working.  I think fans would want someone that knows the team and organization, but also someone who understands what it takes to do a professional job on the broadcast, how to present that broadcast with the proper energy and enthusiasm, and entertain as well as inform.  Gil does that now.  His shoes are very big, but I believe I’m uniquely qualified to fill them.  I would embrace the chance to step into those shoes, and if I’m fortunate enough to be called upon, Patriot fans can rest assured the legacy he has created will remain in place… and grow.

Overall, John Rooke is the most sensible option to take over for Gil Santos for the 2013 NFL season. He has all of the necessary traits, incomparable experience and would be the perfect voice of the New England Patriots franchise moving forward.

Not only is he a tremendous broadcaster, but he is also an incredible human being and I know he would make the most of this opportunity. These reasons and countless others make Rooke the obvious choice to take over for Santos.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHavenor John Rooke: @JRooke0722

On Thursday I saw a video that aired on the NBC “Today Show,” about New England Patriots offensive lineman Nick McDonald and his journey to become an NFL player. The video provides a behind the scenes look into McDonald’s life and illustrates a touching story on a player who has seen more time on the field for the Pats lately as he is beginning to make a name for himself.

NBC’s Alax Flanagan reports in the 3:51 video. Take a look (link here):


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Bruschi: “I would doubt that Gronkowski is out the full six weeks.”

The New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 59-24 on Sunday afternoon, but the victory seems to be a costly one.

Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm on an unfortunate play during the final P.A.T by former Patriots defensive back Sergio Brown. Gronkowski reportedly had surgery Monday morning.

When reports first surfaced post-game that Gronkowski had a broken forearm, the immediate timetable was four-to-six weeks recovery. During ESPN Boston’s weekly “Chat With Tedy”, Jason (Montpelier), asked Tedy the following question.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss four to six weeks after breaking his forearm in Sunday’s 59-24 victory over the Colts. (FILE:USPresswire)

Jason: “My comment answers a previously posted question; why is Gronk in there? And I say he needs to be in there, this is a team that has struggled to close the door in games both offensively and defensively. The coaching staff can’t say play 60 minutes then start pulling people too early!”

I found Bruschi’s response interesting and enlightening, so I decided to pass it along. Here is what the former Patriots linebacker had to say:

Tedy: “Jason, you always leave your starters in on the P.A.T., even on the field-goal block team. When I was playing defense and we were blowing out an opponent, you were told, “You’re out of the game now, Tedy, but you’re still on the field goal block team.” It’s just the way it is in football. The forearm injury to Gronkowski is unfortunate. The projected time for him to miss is 4-to-6 weeks, per some reports. From my experience, it can be significantly less. Mike Vrabel broke his forearm one year. After surgery, they put in one plate and 11 screws. Vrabel missed two games. I know Gronkowski is tough, but Mike Vrabel’s toughness was legendary. So it all depends on the player. I would doubt that Gronkowski is out the full six weeks.”



I tend to agree with Bruschi, this is the type of injury that the timetable can be shortened by the individual player. In fairness, not many people know the severity of the injury, how the surgery went and only Gronkowski can really know how he feels at this moment. While the injury did happen with enough time to recover before a playoff run, it is still very unfortunate and I would have loved for him on the field for the Houston Texans match-up in week 14; a game that will almost certainly have playoff seeding implications.

Coming to Bruschi’s point at the end of his excerpt, I believe there is a slim chance he could play with a cast against the Texans in week 14 or against the San Francisco 49ers in week 15. However, if he cannot return in time for one of those games, I would say he should rest until the playoffs. Let’s not forget Gronkowski was still a little hampered by a nagging hip injury prior to this and he would benefit for some time off.

With the final two games on the regular season schedule being at Jacksonville Jaguars in week 16 and then against the Miami Dolphins at home for week 17, he most likely would not need to participate in games that will have almost no importance to seeding purposes at this point; although, that could change in the coming weeks.

I think Patriots fans should mentally prepare themselves for Gronkowski to return healthy in the playoffs and if he can return to contribute before that, be pleasantly surprised. I am hesitant to rush back Gronkowski after the team did with Hernandez, but like Bruschi said, it all depends on the player. For that, I guess, we’ll have to wait and see.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Patriots Activate Visanthe Shiancoe

The New England Patriots have activated tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

The New England Patriots have activated tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. (FILE:USPresswire)

Shiancoe, who was placed on injured reserve with designation to return on Sept. 5, had less than a week to be placed on the 53-man roster or he would be lost for the season.

The Patriots had an open roster spot after running back Brandon Bolden was suspended four games on Friday for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy.


The addition of Shiancoe to the Patriots roster means the team now has five tight ends; Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui & now, Shiancoe.

New England loves the versatility of these players and having them on the field creates a tough match-up for any defense. Whether these players are by the offensive line, split out wide, or even in the fullback position, it gives the Pats a lot of options.

When Bolden returns, I would expect the team to release one of the tight ends, but they now have four weeks to make that decision. Shiancoe adds a veteran presence with experience blocking and catching. While I don’t think he’ll be targeted too often, he should add a lot of value and more importantly, insurance moving forward with the season.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Bolden Suspended For Four Games

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden has been suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.

After a strong start to his rookie career, Brandon Bolden has had some setbacks in recent weeks. (FILE:USPresswire)

The NFL announced the undrafted rookie running back would be suspended, but the substance has not yet been released to the public. He will be available to return for the Dec. 10 primetime match-up against the Houston Texans.

Bolden most likely wouldn’t have played against the Buffalo Bills this weekend anyways, after missing his third straight practice Friday afternoon. The 22-year-old tailback has been dealing with a knee, lower leg injury since week six. While he is not on crutches anymore, he was still not ready to return.

Regardless of the injury, his suspension begins immediately and will have sometime off. After a strong start for the rookie, the feel good story has now become a big disappointment. I, however, do believe he will redeem himself and should add some fresh legs for New England towards the end of the season.

I would not expect the team to make a move at running back at this time, although that could change depending on injury. More details forthcoming.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Resetting The Patriots Practice Squad

On Tuesday the New England Patriots signed former Alabama linebacker Jerrell Harris to the practice squad, filling the last vacant spot.

The eight-man unit has been a revolving door the past couple of weeks and the team seems to be making a multitude of roster moves between PUP activations, trades as well as week-to-week injury insurance.

Here’s a look at the practice squad as it stands now:

FB James Develin

WR Jarred Fayson

DL Marcus Forston

OL Matt Kopa

CB Sterling Moore

WR Greg Salas

OL Jeremiah Warren

LB Jerrell Harris


Marcus Forston was a darkhorse to make the 53-man roster in pre-season and flashed several times during training camp. The 23-year-old out of Miami could very easily find himself on the roster in 2013 if he continues to progress.

Sterling Moore, from playoff hero to practice squad player in a matter of months. Truth is, as well as Moore played in the playoffs last season, he has struggled mightily thus far and needed to waived. Luckily for the coaching staff, he was not claimed and the team brought him back. He provides decent depth for a secondary that has had many issues in the past few seasons.

Greg Salas is an intriguing player. The 24-year-old was acquired by New England in a trade with St. Louis on Sept. 1 in exchange for an undisclosed future draft choice. He was drafted by the Rams in the fifth-round of the 2011 draft out of Hawaii. He could certainly be in the mix at wide receiver next season.

Jerrell Harris, 23, started five games last season for Alabama, playing alongside Patriots first-round draft choice Dont’a Hightower. While Harris was undrafted, he has spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons so far this season.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Patriots Acquire CB Aqib Talib At Trade Deadline

The New England Patriots have acquired cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a trade deadline deal. The Patriots traded a 2012 fourth-round pick to the Bucs for Talib and a 2013 seventh-round pick.

Could the acquisition of Aqib Talib mean Devin McCourty will permanently move to safety? (FILE:USPresswire)

Talib was a first round pick (20th overall) of the Buccaneers in 2008 and is currently serving a four game suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He currently has one game to go on the suspension, and claims that the suspension was a result of taking an adderall pill without a subscription.

Talib was supposed to be reinstated on Monday after Tampa Bay returned from Oakland, but because his suspension is for four games and not four weeks, he will not be able to enter the Patriots facility until Nov. 12 after the team’s week 10 match-up against Buffalo.

The 26-year-old is very good in press man cornerback, but is not as good a zone corner. He has good size, listed at 6’1 205 pounds, which helps him cover tight-ends. In the past four seasons, Talib has registered 53 passes defensed and 18 interceptions. He immediately gives the Patriots an upgrade at their weakest position on the roster.

Here is ESPN Scouts Inc.’s take:

“Talib is a big corner with very good top-end speed and the kind of foot quickness and agility youd expect from cornerbacks 3-4 inches shorter. He has a nice, clean, compact backpedal and can clear his hips to turn and run with receivers with no loss of relationship. He is quick in transition and drives on balls thrown in front of him with a good burst. He has a tendency to undercut routes and jump on the first move, making him susceptible to double cut routes. He shows good route recognition and the ability to read the quarterbacks eyes from off coverage.”

With the problems the Patriots have had defending the pass this season, I am excited to see what Talib can bring to the secondary. Some consider a fourth-round pick steep, but if he buys into the “Patriot way”, he could certainly be the upgrade that could help New England make another playoff run.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!