Wednesday, January 30, 2008 is back online

UPDATE: Our main site -- -- is back up and running. Thanks to our readers for your patience while we overcame our technical difficulties.

Patriots' Green strives for consistency

Standard-Times correspondent
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A quick look around the Patriots defense will reveal big contracts and impact personalities to spare.
Take Tedy Bruschi, the recognized spirit of the defense, the team’s inspirational leader. Or have a glance at Mike Vrabel, who led the team in sacks and serves as a part-time tight end in goal-line situations. That Junior Seau guy has been around a long time, and is just retirement and five years away from having a bust in Canton.
You also might notice the likes of Richard Seymour, Adalius Thomas, Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel, and with good reason. They’re all stellar.
Just don’t stop looking, because you might miss a key cog in the Patriots’ pass rush.
“ Jarvis (Green), he’s probably our best pass rusher,” said Pepper Johnson, New England’s defensive line coach.
Sure enough, Green is second to just Vrabel in sacks, tied with Thomas at six, to go along with his 39 total tackles in limited action
“ I’m trying to be consistent every time I’m out there,” Green said. “The season can have a lot of ups and downs, and I started the season really hot, but I came down a little bit. I just want to be more consistent out there.”
The fact that seven different Patriots had at least two sacks in the regular season is a testament to how balanced the team’s pass rush is.
“ That’s just how our team works,” Johnson said. “On our team, everyone plays. Everyone has a part to contribute. And it’s not just on defense. Look at Mike Vrabel, filling in at tight end. Vince Wilfork is on the field goal team. That’s just how the NFL is now.”
“It’s all about everyone knowing their roles on this team,” Green said. “I know my role, and I try to do my job and listen to what the coaches are telling us.”
“We’ve been effective on the pass rush because we have a lot of guys with a lot of different talents,” Johnson said. “If we can move guys around, we can keep things fresh.”
Green is quick to remind that it’s the coaches, after all, who are responsible for the Patriots multifaceted look.
“ The coaches are always putting things together, getting on us, and preparing,” Green said. “They’re the reason we’re in the position we are. They’re out there breaking down film and coming back to us with a game plan.
“The coaches are working 100 hours a week, every week. We’re not. Remember that, they’re out there 100 hours a week.”
Still, in the end, coaches coach and players play. And when given to opportunity, Green has excelled when his number is called.
“ He keeps working at getting better, and he did a great job starting early in the year when Richard Seymour was out,” Johnson said. “If you have a guy that good on the pass rush, what’s the point of keeping him on the sideline? If there’s a situation where we feel the pass rush might work, we’ll throw him in there to be more effective.”

Belichick/Piolo team create blueprint for success

Standard-Times staff writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - When Bill Belichick accepts a new job, he immediately pulls the lever on a three-step transition plan.

Step 1: Fold and pack several hundred gray sweatshirts. Step 2: Secure Bon Jovi records for transport. Step 3: Hire Scott Pioli.

Pioli, the Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel, was the first man Belichick hired when he got the job from Robert Kraft in 2000, knowing that Pioli would help him hire the rest.

"Scott and I have a great working relationship," Belichick said. "Even though there are times we disagree, we are always able to work it out and be honest. It doesn't matter who is right or who is wrong, it's important that we get it right at the end. That's one of the things I really appreciate with Scott. He works very hard. He's well prepared. Nobody spends more time and diligence at his job than Scott Pioli does."

As the man who finds and acquires talent for Belichick, Pioli is largely responsible for revolutionizing front-office thinking in the NFL today. He and Belichick have created a blueprint that maximizes efficiency in the salary cap and relies largely on smart draft decisions.

His success in New England has drawn the attention of other organizations, including the Giants last season, but Pioli said he hasn't considered leaving the Pats.

"They're have been questions and temptations, (but) so far this is where that I wanted to be," Pioli said. "This is a good situation. We're winning football. Because of what my title is, people have a perception. I know how things go inside. I'm happy with the situation (and) the way
things are right now. We're up for our fourth Super Bowl (and) we've been here eight years. It's a pretty good situation."

Giants General Manager Jerry Reese, who's found a lot gems for the Giants in the draft, acknowledged that Pioli's work has had an influence throughout the league.

"You are always looking around the league and seeing what you can do. This is a copycat league," Reese said. "You kind of sit back and marvel at what (the Patriots) have done because I don't think this league is built for teams to be this dominant six or seven years in a row. They continue to put a tremendous product on the field and my hat is off to them."

If the Patriots are going to maintain their position among the league's elite teams, Pioli has a lot of work to do in the offseason. As New England stands on the precipice of perfection in Super Bowl XLII, the team is also days away from a flurry of decisions that will shape the franchise in coming years.

The most obvious issue confronting the Pats in 2008 is Randy Moss. After a Pro Bowl season in which he caught a record 23 touchdown passes and helped the Pats score a record 689 points, Moss adds a rare dimension of greatness to the offense.

It's a safe bet the Patriots want him and back, and Moss said Wednesday that he'd like to finish his career in New England.

"As a New England Patriot, I would love to finish my career just for the fact of they have everything that you want in a football organization," Moss said. "With Coach Belichick and his coaching staff, we have a lot of fun. The fun that we have is not on the field, it's in the locker room or hanging out at guys' houses and stuff like that. The team concept is not just on the field, it's outside the locker room. For me to be able to say that I would love to become a New England Patriot and
finish my career here, that is something that I can really believe in."

But it will take some money to keep Moss in Foxboro. After earning about $3 million this year, he stands to make a raise. The Pats have about $10 million free under next year's cap. Some contracts will probably be adjusted to inflate that figure, but the Pats may have to franchise Moss
(for more than $7 million), so they can keep other teams from making offers while they try to hammer out a long-term deal with the receiver.

Cornerback Asante Samuel, who has 16 interceptions over the past two seasons, will be an unrestricted free agent. After earning $7.79 million this year as the team's franchise player, he stands to make considerably more on the open market, and it's doubtful the Pats will commit that
kind of money to a defensive back.

Samuel's departure may just be the start for an aging defense. Linebacker Junior Seau, who turned 39 this month, has hinted at retirement. Safety Rodney Harrison (35) and linebacker Tedy Bruschi
(34), aren't as likely to leave, but it wouldn't surprise anyone if they also decided to retire in the wake of a Super Bowl victory.

But Pioli and Belichick also have the No. 7 pick in the draft via a trade from the 49ers, and that's one place the Pats have excelled in finding players. Pioli attributes that success more to his time on the field as a defensive lineman at Central Connecticut State than his time in the front office.

'I don't think that there is this great epiphany (that) all of a sudden you learn all this information (on) how to evaluate players," Pioli said. "If you play the game the whole time that you go through the
process, you learn about football. As a player, you learn how to evaluate players that you're getting ready to play."

Contact David Brown at

2 dead in Cape Cod crash

BOURNE, Mass. (AP) — State police say two men were killed when a car went off Route 28 in Bourne and rolled over in the median.

Police say 23-year-old Eliseu Fernandes of New Bedford was the driver of a 1997 Honda Civic that was traveling southbound shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday when the car left the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A passenger, identified by police as 45-year-old Antonio Silva of New Bedford, died after being taken to Falmouth Hospital.

Police say the accident remains under investigation.

Casino Watch blog: Foes back in action


After a couple of months of apparent hibernation, CasinofreeMass is making noise again.

The coalition of groups opposing Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to open three resort casinos in the state is planning its second regional forum since it launched operations in October.

The new forum is scheduled in Andover on Feb. 6. "Why Should You Care if Casinos Come to Massachusetts?" will feature state Sen. Susan Tucker, former New Hampshire state Sen. James Rubens and representatives of The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling.

The forum was announced on CasinofreeMass’ Web site earlier this week. It’s the first time the Web site has been changed since it was posted on Oct. 29.

While the Web site always has allowed individuals to sign up for the group's newsletter, nothing has been delivered so far. I signed up for it in early November, but still haven't received anything. (Maybe they figured out who I am and decided not to let me know what's going on.)

The group’s first and, so far, only public forum was held in New Bedford on Nov. 12. About 150 people turned out for the event, which organizers called a huge success.

Since then, however, the anti-casino forces have been largely silent, even as the governor launched a new offensive. In recent weeks, he has included casino revenue in his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, pitched his plan to highly sympathetic labor leaders and promised that his administration would lobby individual legislators.

Administration officials say they expect legislative hearings on the plan to begin in March.

The announcement of the forum lists its sponsors as CasinofreeMass and the League of Women Voters. The league was listed among the coalition’s charter members when it was launched last year.

Nader eyes 2008 presidential bid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ralph Nader is considering seeking the presidency — again.

The consumer activist and political gadfly kicked off an exploratory presidential campaign Wednesday with the launch of a new Web site that promises he'll fight "corporate greed, corporate power, corporate control" and asks people to donate $300 each.

Nader sought the White House in each of the last three presidential elections: He ran on the Green Party ticket in 1996 and 2000, and as an independent in 2004.

Edwards ends bid for White House

Associated Press Writers

NEW ORLEANS - Democrat John Edwards bowed out of the race for the White House today, saying it was time to step aside "so that history can blaze its path" in a campaign now left to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"With our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November," said Edwards, ending his second campaign in a hurricane-ravaged section of New Orleans where he began it more than a year ago.

Edwards said Clinton and Obama had both pledged that "they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency."

"This is the cause of my life and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause," he said before a small group of supporters. He was joined by his wife Elizabeth and his three children, Cate, Emma Claire and Jack.

It was the second time Edwards sought the Democratic presidential nomination. Four years ago he was the vice presidential running mate on a ticket headed by John Kerry.
Four years later, he waged a spirited, underfunded race on a populist note, pledging to represent the powerless against the corporate interests.

He finished second in the Iowa caucuses that led off the campaign, but he was quickly overshadowed — a white man in a race against the former first lady and a 46-year-old black man, each bent on making history.

Edwards said that on his way to making his campaign-ending statement, he drove by a highway underpass where several homeless people live. He stopped to talk, he said, and as he was leaving, one of them asked him never to forget them and their plight.

"Well I say to her and I say to all those who are struggling in this country, we will never forget you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you," he said, pledging to continue his campaign-long effort to end what he frequently said was "two Americas," one for the powerful, the other for the rest.

The former North Carolina senator did not immediately endorse either Clinton, seeking to become the first female president, or Obama, the strongest black candidate in history. Both of them praised Edwards — and immediately began courting his supporters.

"John Edwards ended his campaign today in the same way he started it — by standing with the people who are too often left behind and nearly always left out of our national debate," Clinton said.

Obama, too, praised Edwards and his wife. At a rally in Denver, he said the couple has "always believed deeply that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose," Obama said.

"So while his campaign may have ended, this cause lives on for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America."

The impact of Edwards' decision will be felt in one week's time, when Democrats hold primaries and caucuses across 22 states, with 1,681 delegates at stake.
Four in 10 Edwards supporters said their second choice in the race is Clinton, while a quarter prefer Obama, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo poll conducted late this month.

Edwards amassed 56 national convention delegates, most of whom will be free to support either Obama or Clinton.

As expected, Edwards said he was suspending his campaign rather than ending it, but aides said that was simply legal terminology so that he can continue to receive federal matching funds for his campaign donations.

An immediate impact of Edwards' withdrawal will be six additional delegates for Obama, giving him a total of 187, and four more for Clinton, giving her 253. A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to secure the Democratic nomination.
Edwards won 26 delegates in the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina contests.

Under party rules, 10 of those delegates will be automatically dispersed among Obama and Clinton, based on their vote totals in those respective contests. The remaining 16 remain pledged to Edwards, meaning his campaign will have a say in naming them.
Three superdelegates — mainly party and elected officials who automatically attend the convention and can support whomever they choose — had already switched from Edwards to Obama before news of Edwards' withdrawal from the race.

Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife's recurring cancer diagnosis. In a dramatic news conference last March, the couple announced that the breast cancer that she thought she had beaten had returned, but they would continue the campaign.

Their decision sparked a debate about family duty and public service. But Elizabeth Edwards remained a forceful advocate for her husband, and she was often surrounded at campaign events by well-wishers and emotional survivors cheering her on.

The campaign ended as it began 13 months ago — with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden.

Photo caption: Democrat John Edwards announces he is withdrawing from the presidential race in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, today. Edwards who announced his candidacy in New Orleans returned to the Hurricane Katrina damaged Ninth Ward to exit the race for president. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Patriots blog: Moss hung up on Packers' hang-ups

Standard-Times staff writer

SCOTSDALE, Ariz. — You’re probably aware that the Patriots are in the Super Bowl and the Green Bay Packers are not.

You may also be aware that New England acquired Randy Moss after the Packers failed to complete a deal for the former Oakland receiver.

Speaking this morning at the team hotel, Moss explained that the deal that brought him to New England, where he caught an NFL-record 23 touchdowns this season, was made possible by some attitude the Packers gave him when they were trying to work out a contract with Moss and a trade with the Raiders.

“They were telling me that they were going to somewhat take a chance on me,” Moss said. “But if you do come here, these are the things that you have to watch out for and be on your best behavior, and Donald Driver’s the top receiver here, so don’t come here trying to step on his toes, and I didn’t think that was right.”

Even though Packers quarterback Brett Favre was lobbying hard for Green Bay to acquire Moss, the receiver said he was turned off by the team’s approach.

“The Packers were really talking a lot about the wrong things and not the right things,” Moss said. “And when they started talking more about the wrong things, I just hung up the phone and didn’t want to talk to them any more. … I think Brett wanted me I don’t think the Packers organization really wanted me."

Contact David Brown at

Patriots blog: Talking about talking

Standard-Times sports editor

SCOTSDALE, Ariz. — Add Ellis Hobbs to the list of Patriots players responding to Plaxico Burress' prediction of a 23-17 Giants win.

During the Patriots' media session this morning, Hobbs said he has to respect Burress, who he figures to cover Sunday, for making the statement.

"It is what it is. The one thing I admire is he had the confidence to say it," Hobbs said. "Obviously you know how this team works, we let our play do the talking, but if that's how he feels, he can say it."

As for how much effect Burress' call will have on the outcome, Hobbs doubts it's a factor.

"It's been proven time and time in the sports world, guarantees can be (fulfilled), but it's also been proven that when they go down," he said, "they go down hard."

New Bedford firefighters contain West End house fire


NEW BEDFORD — Firefighters extinguished a West End house fire that broke out just before 7:30 a.m. today.

The fire appeared to have started in a vacant first-floor apartment at 1383 Pleasant St.

Firefighters put out the fire within 15 minutes of arriving and were able to contain the blaze to the living room. There was some reported water damage in the basement and smoke damage to the second-floor apartment. There were no injuries.

A woman who lived on the second floor said she left the house after seeing smoke coming underneath her door.

Fire officials at the scene did not give a suspected cause of the fire, saying that it was still under investigation.

Neighbors standing outside on the sidewalk speculated the fire might have intentionally set. A police detective was seen leaving the house holding tin containers marked with “evidence” tape.
Firefighters left the scene by 9:30 a.m.

Recent arrests from New Bedford

Click here to view the New Bedford arrest report

Giuliani to drop out of Republican presidential race, back McCain

Associated Press Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Rudy Giuliani told supporters Wednesday he's abandoning his bid for president and backing Republican rival and longtime friend John McCain.

Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican and adviser to Giuliani, said the former mayor called him this morning to tell him of his plan.

Giuliani "will be announcing his endorsement today," said King.

"I expect him to be fairly active for McCain. There is a real friendship and respect between the two," he said. A similar call took place between Giuliani and New York Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

"I spoke with Rudy Giuliani this morning and he confirmed that he is dropping out of the race and will endorse Senator John McCain for president," Bruno said in a statement.

Once the Republican presidential front-runner, Giuliani suffered a debilitating defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary.

The former mayor finished a distant third to the winner, McCain, and close second-place finisher Mitt Romney. After the results, Republican officials had said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement.

Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Giuliani stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.

"I'm proud that we chose to stay positive and to run a campaign of ideas in an era of personal attacks, negative ads and cynical spin," Giuliani said as supporters with tight smiles crowded behind him. "You don't always win, but you can always try to do it right, and you did."

Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to debate at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley on Wednesday night.

"I haven't talked to him," McCain said as he boarded a campaign charter plane Wednesday morning. "I'm going to talk to him today when we meet."

Separately, Giuliani said as he prepared to leave Florida for California Wednesday he was "not yet" ready to announce his intentions.

Tuesday's result was a remarkable collapse for Giuliani. Last year, he occupied the top of national polls and seemed destined to turn conventional wisdom on end by running as a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights, gay rights and gun control.

The results seriously decimated Giuliani's unconventional strategy, which relied heavily on Florida to launch him into the coast-to-coast Feb. 5 nominating contests.

But Florida proved to be less than hospitable. His poll numbers dropped and key endorsements went to McCain.

Surveys of voters leaving polling places Tuesday showed that Giuliani was getting backing from some Hispanics, abortion rights supporters and people worried about terrorism, but was not dominating in any area.

McCain, addressing his own supporters moments later in Miami, gave Giuliani a warm rhetorical embrace, a possible prologue to accepting Giuliani's expected support.

"I want to thank my dear friend, my dear friend Rudy Giuliani, who invested his heart and soul in this primary and who conducted himself with all the qualities of the exceptional American leader he truly is," McCain said. "Thank you, Rudy, for all you have added to this race and for being an inspiration to me and millions of Americans."

Giuliani hung his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on his leadership. His stalwart performance as New York mayor in the tense days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington earned him national magazine covers, international accolades and widespread praise.

Steadfast in a crisis, as a candidate Giuliani was a bundle of contradictions, so much so that he liked to joke that even he didn't always agree with himself.

A moderate-to-liberal New Yorker who backed abortion rights, gay rights and gun control in a party dominated by Southern conservatives, Giuliani became a Republican mayor of an overwhelmingly Democratic city. Campaigning for national office, he claimed to have created the most conservative government in the most liberal city in America.

After earning a reputation as a tough-talking, even abusive executive, Giuliani the presidential candidate was mostly mild-mannered in debates, even as those around him got meaner.

Giuliani, 63, first gained prominence as a crime-busting federal prosecutor in New York City. Jailing mob bosses, Wall Street executives and corrupt politicians helped propel his next career as a politician, but it wasn't an immediate success. He lost the first time he ran for mayor in 1989 before winning in 1993.

As mayor, he fostered a take-charge image by rushing to fires and crime scenes to brief the press, but some critics felt he was more concerned about taking credit from others for what became a historic decline in the city's crime rate during his tenure.

A bout with prostate cancer and the very public breakup of his marriage with second wife Donna Hanover — she first learned he was filing for divorce when he made the announcement at a televised news conference — forced Giuliani to withdraw from a race for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2000. The messy divorce was revisited in awkward detail once he re-entered politics.

With no working strategy in his presidential campaign, no primary victories and dwindling resources, the mayor's third-place finish in Florida spelled the end of his run, even if his crestfallen supporters couldn't believe it.

"They'll be sorry!" a woman with a New York accent called out to the mayor as he spoke. "You sound like my mother," Giuliani joked.

Check here for updates

Due to some technical issues with our Web servers, we'll be posting news updates in the short term to this blog.

We are optimistic the issue can be resolved in a reasonable amount of time, but in the interim, check this link for news updates from