Blog en Sources: Red Sox scouting chief Amiel Sawdaye joining Mike Hazen in Arizona <!--paging_filter--><p><div id="attachment_94040" style="width: 160px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href=""><img src="" alt="Amiel Sawdaye" width="150" height="211" class="size-full wp-image-94040" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Amiel Sawdaye</p></div>The front office wheels are turning.</p> <p>According to multiple major league sources, Red Sox vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye is slated to become the Arizona Diamondbacks assistant general manager. Sawdaye joins former Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen, who left to run baseball operations for Arizona.</p> <p>The University of Maryland graduate joined the Red Sox as an intern in 2002-03 before becoming a scouting assistant in 2004-05. Sawdaye was named assistant amateur scouting director in 2005, serving in the position until &#8217;09.</p> <p>Sawdaye took over as the director of amateur scouting in 2010, replacing current Chicago Cubs assistant GM Jason McLeod, running the Red Sox&#8217; amateur drafts during the drafting of players such as Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw, Blake Swihart, Michael Kopech and Sam Travis.</p> <p>It is unknown if the Red Sox will formally replace Hazen&#8217;s GM position, with pro scouting director Gus Quattlebaum and international scouting director Eddie Romero among those mentioned as candidates for promotions.</p> Blog red sox Other Tue, 25 Oct 2016 02:51:23 +0000 2651231 at Rex Ryan on Patriots-Bills rematch: ‘I don’t know how much more important it could be than this one’ <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_112134" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="wp-image-112134" src="" alt="Rex Ryan knows how important Sunday's game against the Patriots is. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)" width="400" height="289" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Rex Ryan knows how important Sunday&#8217;s game against the Patriots is. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)</p></div> <p>Sunday&#8217;s Patriots-Bills game in Buffalo could have been a battle for first place in the AFC East if the Bills would have taken care of business Sunday in Miami.</p> <p>Instead, after the Bills&#8217; loss to the Dolphins they are 4-3, while the Patriots are 6-1 and now the Bills must win to have any sort of shot at the AFC East title this season.</p> <p>Rex Ryan knows how big of a game it is.</p> <p>&#8220;I don&#8217;t know how much more important it could be than this one,&#8221; Ryan told reporters Monday <a href="" target="_blank">via ESPN&#8217;s Mike Rodak</a>. &#8220;I could lie to you and say it&#8217;s not important, but this is a critical game for us. There&#8217;s no doubt about it. Does it break your season if you lose? I hope I don&#8217;t have to worry about that. We got to find a way to win this game.&#8221;</p> <p>It&#8217;s also the first meeting following the Week 4 matchup where the Bills beat the Patriots 16-0 at Gillette Stadium, but the Patriots were without Tom Brady. Also, there was a pregame dust-up between the Bills&#8217; secondary and Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell when the two ran on to the field on the Bills&#8217; side during pregame warmups.</p> <p>&#8220;These two teams don&#8217;t like each other, there&#8217;s no question about that,&#8221; Ryan said. &#8220;But I don&#8217;t think there was a real fight, you know? A real fight would be outside in a parking lot, you know what I mean? Then you really got something to write about. But that thing was hardly a fight.&#8221;</p> <p>For more Patriots news, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> Blog patriots Other Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:42:08 +0000 2650866 at Upbeat Bill Belichick praises Malcolm Butler’s week of practice in locker room following win over Steelers <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_113027" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="wp-image-113027" src="" alt="Bill Belichick was satisfied with his team following Sunday's win. (Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports)" width="400" height="281" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Bill Belichick was satisfied with his team following Sunday&#8217;s win. (Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports)</p></div> <p>A good week in practice generally carries over to games.</p> <p>That appeared to be the message Bill Belichick gave to his team following the Patriots&#8217; 27-16 win over the Steelers Sunday in Pittsburgh.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">(Click here for the complete video courtesy of</a></p> <p>&#8220;How &#8217;bout Malcolm? You catch &#8217;em in practice, you catch &#8217;em in the game. How &#8217;bout that,&#8221; Belichick said referring Malcolm Butler&#8217;s interception in the first quarter. &#8220;It all starts right there.</p> <p>&#8220;Way to run the rock LG [LeGarrette Blount]. That is the way to run the rock. Great job. Look fellas, it&#8217;s tough to come in here and win. It&#8217;s a battle. Every time. It&#8217;s tough to come in here. It&#8217;s a tough football team. They&#8217;re well-coached, they&#8217;re disiplined. Fast, and they&#8217;re big. It&#8217;s a good job here, alright. Division game on the road, doesn&#8217;t get any bigger than this. It&#8217;s a good job here today, fellas.&#8221;</p> <p>The Patriots are now 6-1 on the season and will play in Buffalo next Sunday.</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 23:14:23 +0000 2650591 at Patriots release DL Anthony Johnson from active roster, CB Vinnie Sunseri from practice squad <!--paging_filter--><p>The Patriots made two roster moves on Monday as they released defensive lineman Anthony Johnson from the active roster and cornerback Vinnie Sunseri from the practice squad.</p> <p>New England now has an open roster spot on the 53-man roster and an open spot on the practice squad.</p> <p>Here is a portion of the release from the team:</p> <p><em>Johnson, 23, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Miami Dolphins on May 12, 2014, out of Louisiana State. The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder, made the Miami 53-man roster as a rookie and played in seven games, recording two tackles and recovering one fumble. He was released by Miami at the end of training camp in 2015 and was signed by the Washington Redskins’ practice squad in November. Johnson was released by Washington on May 2, 2016. He was signed by the Patriots on May 9, 2016, and began the season on the 53-man roster. Johnson was released on Sept. 26 and was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 28. Johnson was signed back to the 53-man roster on Oct. 15. He has played in four games with one start for the Patriots and posted nine total tackles and two passes defensed.</em></p> <p>Sunseri, 24, was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round (167th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Alabama. As a rookie, he played in nine games and finished with one defensive tackle before finishing the season on injured reserve. Sunseri spent the entire 2015 season on injured reserve. After being released by the Saints on April 25, 2016, he signed with New England on July 24, 2016, before being released at the end of camp and being signed to the practice squad.</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 23:01:51 +0000 2650596 at Afternoon Delight: Artist ‘paints’ National Anthem <!--paging_filter--><p><iframe src="" width="600" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Get in on the ground floor of this video before it goes viral. I literally got chills at the end. I wasn&#8217;t familiar with Joe Everson&#8217;s work before this, but already to me he is the best artist since the late, great Bob Ross.</p> <p>&#8216;Murica.<br /> <em><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-9762" src="" alt="wendys" width="100" height="78" /></a>October marks the return of two legends: Wendy’s Original Taco Salad is back and so is our favorite quarterback. Wendy’s is celebrating these two historic returns by giving you a chance to win $12,000 in cash. Enter to win and see complete rules at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</em></p> Blog general Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:57:03 +0000 2650361 at Stopwatch: Steelers gameplan forces Tom Brady out of quick release <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_113022" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="wp-image-113022" src="" alt="Tom Brady averaged 2.21 seconds from snap-to-throw vs. Steelers. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)" width="400" height="273" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Tom Brady averaged 2.21 seconds from snap-to-throw vs. Steelers. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)</p></div> <p>After looking back at 2015&#8217;s Week 1 meeting between the Patriots and Steelers, it seemed like Sunday would be a game featuring Tom Brady&#8217;s quick release.</p> <p>The Steelers are a team that blitz a lot, so to combat that Brady had his quickest release time of the entire season of 1.85 seconds from snap-to-throw in last year&#8217;s meeting.</p> <p>Sunday was a different story as Brady averaged 2.21 seconds from snap-to-throw by our count, which doesn&#8217;t include sacks or penalties.</p> <p>The increased time had a lot to do with the Steelers&#8217; gameplan of not blitzing and focusing on taking away Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett in the passing game. For the most part, Brady was quick with his release in the pocket, but on a few plays the Steelers defense forced him to scramble and also, Brady only attempted 26 passes.</p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s a team that going into the week is a 60-70 percent blitz team. Six or seven or every 10 snaps they are blitzing and they hardly blitzed us at all,&#8221; Brady said on Kirk &amp; Callahan Monday morning. &#8220;I don&#8217;t think they wanted the 1-on-1 matchups in coverage, so they always had help over the top of each of their defenders, which leaves room in the middle of the field, which is why Julian [Edelman] and whoever was in the middle of the field got a lot of opportunity.&#8221;</p> <p>Once again, Brady was solid when getting rid of the ball quickly as he was 11-for-13 in the game when getting rid of the ball in less than two seconds.</p> <p>His release times will be something to watch this week against the Bills as last season Brady was ultra-quick in the big win in Week 2 averaging 1.99 seconds from snap-to-throw, but then in the second matchup averaged 2.45 seconds, his second highest total of the season.</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:05:37 +0000 2650306 at Bill Belichick on D&H: We still have faith in Stephen Gostkowski <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_79069" style="width: 160px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="size-full wp-image-79069" src="" alt="Bill Belichick" width="150" height="220" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Bill Belichick</p></div> <p>On WEEI&#8217;s Dale &amp; Holley with Thornton on Monday afternoon, Patriots coach Bill Belichick reiterated his support for kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Belichick said that the struggles that have plagued Gostkowski are pretty much par for the course for <em>anyone</em> who has spent time in the NFL.</p> <p>“I think all players go through periods of time every year when they maybe aren’t as good as they are at other times. Coaches go through that too,&#8221; he said. &#8220;We all have to work though it — I don’t think there’s any shortcut. Just do what we believe, and keep working hard and try to improve it. Nobody else is going to change it. We all have to do it ourselves. I think every player feels like that. There are certain parts of the year where things are going better than they did in another part. If they’re not going good, then you do something to try and change that course.”</p> <p>Belichick was asked about the challenge of kicking at Heinz Field, a notoriously difficult place for kicking.</p> <p>&#8220;Part of the issue there is just the swirling wind,&#8221; he said. &#8220;Sometimes the wind moves the ball and sometimes it doesn’t. In all honesty, you can stand in different parts of the field and the wind is blowing in a different direction. You feel like it’s at your back, and then you walk a little ways, and then, all of a sudden, you feel the wind change. It didn’t feel like it felt 30 yards in a different spot. Both kickers kicked on the same field and both had trouble.”</p> <p>Belichick also weighed in on a number of other topics:</p> <p><span id="more-113016"></span></p> <p><strong>On the fact that Patriots quarterbacks haven’t thrown an interception through seven games:</strong> “I don’t think any quarterback wants to throw an interception. I don’t think any coach wants that either. Look, there will be some tight throws, and I think that a quarterback has to have confidence to make those throws. That’s definitely going to happen. I think they gain that confidence on the practice field where they throw that ball in practice and realize it’s little too tight. Or against this coverage, there’s not enough room to get it in. I’d much rather have that happen in practice than happen [in a game]. And so would they. Sometimes, those things happen in practice or in training camp, preseason games. That kind of thing. I think that’s the time as coach, when you kind of want it to happen; you want the quarterback to feel confident on which ones he can get and which ones he can’t. That’s the time to do it, rather than these games.”</p> <p><strong>On Patrick Chung reaching 100 career games:</strong> “I think Pat, first of all, he’s a very good football player. But he’s also very well-conditioned. He’s one of our best conditioned athletes. He plays a lot on defense. He plays in the kicking game. And he can do, really pretty much whatever we ask him to do. He’s got really good endurance. He’s tough. He’s mentally tough. He’s physically tough. He’s a good tackler. He’s good in run for us. He’s good in coverage. He’s got a lot of good skills. He’s very good in the kicking game. We can use him on every single special team, if wanted to, but we can’t, because we choose not to because of his role on defense. But there was a time where he was on every special teams. … A very dependable tackler. Very good in run for us. For the last three years, he’s been a very solid coverage player for us. He does a lot of things well. I don’t think it’s any accident. he trains ell. He’s in good condition. And he’s a good football player.”</p> <p><strong>on the Bills:</strong> “They’re an explosive team, kind of like Pittsburgh. They’re very fast. The receivers are fast. They have a great running back, like Pittsburgh does. And the quarterback is very athletic. They do a great job on the running game. i don’t know if they lead the league in rushing, but they’ve got to be up there. They gain a lot of yards running the ball; they have several different runners and they have a lot of different ways of doing it. They have the wildcat, they do it with an unbalanced line. They run option plays. Read zone. All those things. It just gives you a lot to defend. Again, they’ve hit some explosive plays with their big-play receivers, including [Charles] Clay. They have a lot of weapons. Really, that’s the same team we saw last year. I’d say that’s pretty much the team this year. They just weren’t able to get that kind of production against Baltimore. But in the other game, I mean, we held them to 16 points, but they moved the ball on us, they converted third down. They ended up kicking some field goals, but they moved the ball. It’ll be a challenge for us.</p> <p>“Defensively, their defense is very similar to what it was last year. They get [Marcell] Dareus back and they have Kyle [Williams] inside and they have good edge players like [Jerry] Hughes. Zach Brown is having a good year for them. He’s leading the league in tackles. He, along with Preston Brown, give them two good inside linebackers. They’e been strong in the secondary — those guys have been healthy all year. [Ronald] Darby missed one game but he’s been out there with [Stephon] Gilmore and [Nickell] Roby in there at the nickel positions. [Corey] Graham does a good job at safety. There’s a lot of carryover, a lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball, and they’re very explosive on offense.”</p> <p>To listen to the complete interview, check out the <a href="" target="_blank">Dale &amp; Holley page</a>.</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:58:35 +0000 2650181 at After Patriots rush for 140 yards, Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier rips Steelers’ run defense <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_113012" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="wp-image-113012" src="" alt="Ryan Shazier and the Steelers struggled to stop LeGarrette Blount. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)" width="400" height="339" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Ryan Shazier and the Steelers struggled to stop LeGarrette Blount. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)</p></div> <p>In the wake of Sunday’s loss to the Patriots — and the fact that LeGarrette Blount ran for a season-high 127 yards against the Steelers — Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier ripped his team, saying that the Steelers’ run defense is “garbage.”</p> <p>“He’s a big guy, he’s a good runner, but we didn’t get blocks,” <a href="" target="_blank">Shazier said of Blount’s performance and Pittsburgh’s response</a>. “We didn’t make tackles. Everyone is responsible. We have to hold each other accountable. We have to make sure we can be the defense we can be. Right now, we’re looking like garbage. This is terrible right now.”</p> <p>It was the second straight game where an opposing running back finished with at least 120 yards against Pittsburgh.</p> <p>“We’re normally known for stopping the run, but, if teams feel like they can get 100 or 200 yards rushing on us every game, they’re going to continue to run,” Shazier said. “If we keep playing like this, they’re going to keep doing this. We have to make sure when we come back we’re going to force them to stop running the ball and do whatever we want them to do.</p> <p>“Right now, they can do whatever they want to do. and that’s going to hurt us. We’re going to continue to lose if that happens.”</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:45:56 +0000 2649966 at Malcolm Subban becomes next man up for Bruins after Anton Khudobin leaves practice with injury <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_57333" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href=""><img class="wp-image-57333" src="" alt="Anton Khudobin left Monday's practice with an undisclosed injury. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)" width="400" height="267" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Anton Khudobin left Monday&#8217;s practice with an undisclosed injury. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)</p></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">BRIGHTON &#8211; Less than two weeks into the season, the Bruins may be down to their third goaltender. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Bruins took to the ice for a Monday practice at Warrior Ice Arena already down starting netminder Tuukka Rask (general soreness). Out for the third straight skate, Rask’s absence put Anton Khudobin in the starter’s crease and forced the Bruins to summon Malcolm Subban up from the Providence Bruins. But when practice finished, it was Subban that was the only goalie left standing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Injured as the rest of the team hit the ice, Khudobin dropped his blocker and went to the B’s bench for further examination by the training staff. In what appeared to be a hand/wrist issue, the 30-year-old looked to be in great discomfort before he exited back to the locker room and did not return. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have no update on him yet,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Khudobin after practice. “I have not heard, obviously. He got injured and couldn’t practice. I haven’t heard anything back yet.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the 22-year-old Subban at the other end by himself, and the loss of Khudobin, who has two losses and an .849 save percentage on the year, the Bruins are undoubtedly short on goaltenders. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is hockey. We deal with it on a day to day basis,” Julien said of the mounting goaltending injuries ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Wild. “If we have to make some adjustments and we have to have different personnel, we’ll deal with it when we have more of an update.”</span></p> <p>The club is still without an update on Rask, too, according to their coach.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He’s still day to day, so nothing’s changed there,” Julien confirmed of Rask. “I don’t know what his situation is for tomorrow. I can’t give it to you because no decision has been made on him.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If both Rask and Khudobin are unable to go tomorrow, Subban, despite the slow start of an 0-3-1 record and .878 save percentage in four AHL games this year, including a 30-of-34 performance in an overtime loss against the Albany Devils on Sunday, would be the next man up for the club. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Not the way you want to start the season,” Subban admitted of his start with a new-look, more inexperienced P-Bruins team this year. “But to be honest, last game I felt a lot better. That game didn’t go to the way I wanted to, but we were playing a hot team and I thought I played pretty well.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Subban, whose 2015-16 season was cut short by a fractured larynx, finished this past preseason with two wins and a .904 save percentage in three games for the Big B’s, and feels his effort is there. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I feel pretty good. I feel like I’m battling,” Subban said of his mindset throughout the slow start. “I feel like the biggest thing right now is just to battle. It’s not the first time I’ve faced adversity, and it’s not gonna be the last time, so I don’t feel to down on myself right now, to be honest.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And in their final home game before a four-game road trip with stops in New York, Detroit, Florida, and Tampa, the Bruins are not going to look for style points from their third goaltender if called upon. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re in a situation here where we’ll see what happens here,” Julien said of Subban’s recall and availability for tomorrow. “If he’s going in goal, he’ll go in goal. It’s as simple as that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a coach, there’s one thing that worries me: stop the puck, I don’t care how you do it, just stop it,” Julien continued. “I’m not a goalie coach, so as a coach I’m demanding on [the goalie] making the saves, and the goalie coach can work on the techniques.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Subban has posted a 45-31-15 record, with a 2.46 goals against average and .916 save percentage in 99 career games in the American Hockey League. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A first-round draft pick (24th overall) in 2012, Subban has skated in one NHL game to date, a Feb. 20, 2015 loss to the St. Louis Blues, a game in which he received an early hook after he allowed three goals on just six shots against in 31 minutes of action.</span></p> Blog bruins Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:11:26 +0000 2649771 at What to do with Stephen Gostkowski? 5 examples where patience paid dividends with a veteran kicker <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_101099" style="width: 360px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="wp-image-101099" src="" alt="Stephen Gostkowski has struggled this season. (Elsa/Getty Images)" width="350" height="489" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Stephen Gostkowski has struggled this season. (Elsa/Getty Images)</p></div> <p>Stephen Gostkowski is in a slump.</p> <p>The veteran kicker, who has been so dependable over such an extended period of time for New England, has missed three field-goal attempts and a pair of extra-points this season. Despite the fact that <a href="" target="_blank">he’s been one of the most accurate field goal kickers in the league over the last decade</a>, the misses this season, combined with a botched extra-point in last year’s AFC title game, have sparked some concern among New Englanders.</p> <p>“I stink right now,” <a href="" target="_blank">Gostkowski told reporters</a> after Sunday’s win over the Steelers, a game where he missed an extra-point attempt. “That’s just the bottom line.”</p> <p>For what it’s worth, Bill Belichick doesn’t sound like a guy who is ready to move on from his kicker.</p> <p>“Nobody works harder than Steve. Steve’s a very talented player. He’s mentally tough,” Belichick said after the game. “We’ll work through it. [Pittsburgh] is a tough place to kick. I’m not making any excuses, but the kicker on the other side of the field had trouble too. But we have to have to make them.”</p> <p>The 32-year-old Gostkowski has been a big part of New England’s success over the last decade. The former college baseball pitcher is a two-time All-Pro who is the third-most accurate kicker in the recent NFL history. Of course, there’s a flip side to that sort of consistency, as even the slightest bump will raise eyebrows.</p> <p>The bottom line? Because of his past, Gostkowski is held to a higher standard than most kickers. This is a guy who has dealt with pressure since he first arrived in Foxboro and was anointed as the successor to <a href="!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/vinatieri17s-1-web.jpg" target="_blank">You Know Who</a>. (A guy who <a href="" target="_blank">had struggles of his own, for what it&#8217;s worth</a>.) He’s self-aware enough to understand the reality of the situation.</p> <p>So what to do? Setting aside the obvious financial ramifications of cutting one of the highest-paid kickers in the game, history says there’s something to be said for letting the situation play out. There are plenty of kickers who have hit a slump a few years into their career, figured out their problems, and managed to come back strong. Here are five examples of veteran kickers who have stumbled but rebounded:</p> <p><span id="more-113005"></span><strong>Justin Tucker:</strong> After connecting at 85 percent or better over his first three years in the NFL — good enough to land him a spot as a first-team All-Pro in 2013 — Tucker hit a divot and missed seven field-goal attempts in 2015. (To be fair, six of those missed were from 50 yards or more.) To this point, he’s been able to bounce back and hit on all 18 of his field-goal attempts to open 2016.</p> <p><strong>Steven Hauschka:</strong> The Bay State native had a three-year run that was as good as any kicker in the recent history of the game, hitting on 89 percent of his field-goal attempts for the Seahawks. Then, he suffered through a rough 2014, missing six field-goal attempts and finishing at 83 percent for the year. He’s managed to bounce back; in the year-plus since his forgettable 2014, he’s missed just four field goals.</p> <p><strong>Ryan Longwell:</strong> In his fifth year in the league (2001), after connecting at at 85 percent success rate on his field goals, he was miserable, going 20-for-31 (65 percent) for Green Bay. But in eight of the next nine seasons, he was at 83 percent or better for the Packers and Vikings, including two seasons where he was better than 90 percent.</p> <p><strong>Matt Stover:</strong> Stover, who kicked for Belichick in Cleveland in the early 1990s, carved out a niche as one of the more dependable kickers in the league over a 19-year career. In 1998, in his eighth year in the league, he missed a career-high seven field goals for the Ravens. Two years later, at the age of 32 he was a first-team All-Pro and made a trip to the Pro Bowl after going 35-for-39 for 90 percent from the field.</p> <p><strong>Jason Hansen:</strong> Hansen rode a roller coaster over the course of his 21-year career career, all with the Lions. In 1994, he missed nine field-goal attempts with Detroit, but three years later, he was a second-team All-Pro in 1997 after he connected on 90 percent of his field-goal chances. He also reached the Pro Bowl in 1997 and 1998.</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:47:43 +0000 2649716 at Julian Edelman on OM&F: Patriots preparing for ‘tough environment’ in Buffalo this week <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_94899" style="width: 160px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="size-full wp-image-94899" src="" alt="Julian Edelman" width="150" height="208" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Julian Edelman</p></div> <p>Julian Edelman joined Ordway, Merloni &amp; Fauria on Monday to look back at Sunday&#8217;s win over the Steelers and also ahead to this Sunday&#8217;s game in Buffalo against the Bills. To hear the interview, go to the <a href="" target="_blank">Ordway, Merloni &amp; Fauria audio on demand page</a>.</p> <p>New England fell to the Bills 16-0 at home in Week 4, but Tom Brady didn&#8217;t play in the game. Edelman noted how a lot of things have changed since that game and the Patriots need to get ready for a tough environment.</p> <p>&#8220;With Buffalo, they are a confident team,&#8221; Edelman said. &#8220;They are going to be in there and treat this game [importantly]. Any time you go to Buffalo, it&#8217;s always a very tough environment. Bills Mafia is going crazy. There&#8217;s beers being thrown. There&#8217;s freaking everything going on over there. It&#8217;s going to be a tough environment.</p> <p>&#8220;The last time we played them, that&#8217;s in the past. You learn from the stuff you didn&#8217;t do right, but it&#8217;s a different time of the year. It&#8217;s a different situation, there&#8217;s different players on both teams playing now and different players on both teams that aren&#8217;t playing now. It&#8217;s one of those things that we&#8217;re going to have to have a really good week of practice and that is what it comes down to, especially when you play the Bills with a spin the dial mentality.&#8221;</p> <p>As for this past Sunday, Edelman had a season-high nine catches, which were partly because of the style of defense Pittsburgh played.</p> <p>&#8220;We were out there and we were just taking what they were giving us,&#8221; Edelman said. &#8220;That&#8217;s what happens when you play against a zone like that, so you just have to dink-and-dunk. We got good production from our running game. It was a pretty decent day. We had a couple of drives that were negated either by a penalty, or turnover, but other than that we just have to keep on improving and working to get the team in sync.&#8221;</p> <p>Every week it seems the Patriots have had a different player leading the way, which is a good problem to have according to Edelman.</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s a good problem to have as a team is when you have a bunch of guys that can make plays,&#8221; Edelman said. &#8220;You look at James White, I mean he&#8217;s been doing very good this year. LG [LeGarrette Blount] has been running the ball well. Gronk is Gronk. Marty B [Bennett] has been making big plays. [Chris] Hogan has been making big plays. [Danny] Amendola has been coming in situationally making big plays. Malcolm [Mitchell], he&#8217;s made plays. There&#8217;s guys that are just making plays. Any time you have that is just going to strengthen the offense, so you don&#8217;t really go to the quarterback, especially that guy and tell him you&#8217;re open because he usually finds the guy that is open.&#8221;</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:21:56 +0000 2649596 at Reports: Celtics waive R.J. Hunter, give final roster spot to James Young <!--paging_filter--><p><div id="attachment_73120" style="width: 160px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="size-full wp-image-73120" src="" alt="R.J. Hunter" width="150" height="232" srcset=" 97w, 150w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" /><p class="wp-caption-text">R.J. Hunter</p></div> </p><p>The Celtics have trimmed their roster for the start of the regular season, and former first-round pick R.J. Hunter was the final casualty, according to multiple reports.</p> <p>The team&#8217;s decision came down to Hunter vs. James Young, a pair of shooters who have thus far underachieved.</p> <p>The Celtics selected Hunter 28th overall in 2015, but he never cracked the rotation or established himself as consistent enough a marksman to stick. He shot just 36.7 percent overall and .302 on 3-pointers.</p> <p>His dad, Ron Hunter, <a href="">told the Boston Globe</a> that R.J. Hunter will move on. Hunter turned 23 on Monday.</p> <p>&#8220;He&#8217;s disappointed,&#8221; Ron Hunter said. &#8220;For a kid to get waived on his birthday isn&#8217;t the best way to celebrate your birthday. But he understands this is a business and there will be another opportunity for him.&#8221;</p> <p>The Celtics drafted Young, 21, with the 17th pick in the 2014 draft. He has averaged 2.2 points in 60 career games.</p> <p>ESPN&#8217;s Jeff Goodman was the first to report the news.</p> Blog celtics Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:20:15 +0000 2649591 at Bill Belichick goes over the finer details with Eric Rowe and it pays huge dividends <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_113001" style="width: 410px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="wp-image-113001" src="" alt="Oct 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (88) catches a touchdown pass against New England Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan (26) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports" width="400" height="271" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Eric Rowe (left) was in coverage on Darrius Heyward-Bey during Sunday&#8217;s game at Heinz Field. (Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports)</p></div> <p>One of the reasons Bill Belichick pays such meticulous attention to game film before planning for his next opponent is that he&#8217;s always anticipating something paying off that could play a key role in the game.</p> <p>Late in the first quarter Sunday, his film work on the tendency of Steelers receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to hold down a defender&#8217;s arm when going up for a ball.</p> <p>With just over two minutes left in the first quarter and the Steelers at their own 30, Landry Jones lofted a ball deep down the left sideline for Heyward-Bey. Slot corner Eric Rowe was tight in coverage. Rowe looked up before he got to the receiver but as he got closer to his man, Heyward-Bey held down Rowe&#8217;s left arm preventing him from fully turning around. Instead of defensive pass interference at the Patriots&#8217; 30, the official threw the flag and called offensive pass interference on Heyward-Bey.</p> <p>&#8220;I talked to the official about that play and I talked to Eric about that play because that&#8217;s something that we had talked a lot about during the week with our corners on deep balls,&#8221; Belichick said in a Monday conference call. &#8220;We always talk about it but we specifically talked about the situation this week and so when that play came up right in front of our bench. I felt like I had a pretty good look at it.</p> <p>&#8220;What the official told me was that the receiver grabbed Rowe when he tried to look back for the ball and held him so he couldn&#8217;t look, which was kind of confirmed when I talked to Eric about the play as well. I couldn&#8217;t see that. I was a little bit behind. I saw more of the back of Eric and not as much of the front where evidently he was grabbed a little bit. You can kind of see it on film but it&#8217;s a little tougher. The official had a much better view of it from the other side of the play so that&#8217;s what he called.&#8221;</p> <p><span id="more-113000"></span></p> <p>The 40-yard swing was crucial, as the Patriots eventually forced the Steelers to punt and the Patriots took the ensuing possession and punched in another touchdown for an early 14-0 lead.</p> <p>&#8220;I just wanted to make sure that we were playing the play properly,&#8221; Belichick added. &#8220;And what the official told me was that we were and he thought that Rowe was trying to turn but he was being grabbed by the receiver, by Heyward-Bey, from turning around. And that&#8217;s why he made the call. That was one that I&#8217;d say of all the other calls in the game, I don&#8217;t think there was much conversation about any of those but that particular one I actually did discuss with the official there because it took place right on our sideline. There was a timeout so I had a minute to talk about it.&#8221;</p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:10:20 +0000 2649416 at Ryan Spooner skates at center, Malcolm Subban recalled from AHL as Bruins return to practice <!--paging_filter--><div id="attachment_54647" style="width: 160px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-54647" src="" alt="Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence for Monday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena." width="150" height="223" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence for Monday&#8217;s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.</p></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">BRIGHTON &#8212; Two days after Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said he needed time to “digest” the group’s 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden before he considered any line changes, Monday&#8217;s practice at Warrior Ice Arena brought about just that for a slumping forward group.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Forward Ryan Spooner, a healthy scratch against the Devils last week and one of two scorers last game (a power-play goal scored with No. 51 back on the first unit), found himself back in a gray sweater in the middle of the team’s third line for the first time since last season. The 24-year-old Spooner tallied 13 goals and 49 points as the team’s third line center a year ago, 32 of which came at even strength, and has recorded one goal and one assist with 11 shots on goal in four games played on the wing this season. Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes, both of whom are pointless with a minus-5 and a combined 15 shots on net, remained on the wings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Riley Nash, who has manned the third-line center spot for the last three games, was also on the ice and in a gray jersey as well, though it was Spooner that took the first line rushes with the group. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Spooner’s move back to his natural position for practice plugged first-year pro Danton Heinen, a scratch on Saturday, back to David Krejci’s left as the winger opposite David Backes on the right. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Heinen has yet to record a point and has two shots on goal in four NHL games played. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on the ice for the Bruins for the third straight skate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Rask out and Zane McIntyre returned to the Providence Bruins late last night, Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban was recalled this morning and was on the ice with the big club. Subban has posted an 0-3-1 record and .846 save percentage in four games with the P-Bruins this year. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Subban would last as the only goaltender as Bruins practice, too, as Anton Khudobin left the ice and did not return after he appeared to injure his right hand/wrist. </span></p> Blog bruins Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:36:38 +0000 2649286 at Bill Belichick explains in great detail how his coaching staff will be there for Stephen Gostkowski <!--paging_filter--><p><div id="attachment_94945" style="width: 160px" class="wp-caption alignright"><img src="" alt="Stephen Gostkowski" width="150" height="215" class="size-full wp-image-94945" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Stephen Gostkowski</p></div>When Bill Belichick says he has faith in Stephen Gostkowski to &#8220;<a href="" target="_blank">work through</a>&#8221; his struggles, the Patriots coach is going to offer more than just moral support. </p> <p>Belichick was asked about his kicker again on Monday in a conference call with reporters. Belichick was asked how much special teams coaching support there is with the Patriots. Starting with special teams coordinator Joe Judge, Belichick made it clear that Gostkowski is not in the battle alone. </p> <p>&#8220;I can&#8217;t speak for other teams. I think Joe&#8217;s very knowledgable about the techniques of kicking,&#8221; Belichick said. &#8220;I know when I became a special teams coach and coached special teams for many years as an assistant coach, and I continue to be involve with it as a head coach, that&#8217;s one of the things I had to learn. I had to learn how to coach those individual specialists, the snappers, the kickers, the punters, the returners. I don&#8217;t think it&#8217;s any different than coaching any other position. Things you don&#8217;t know, you need to learn. The things you do know, you need to be able to teach to the players, however you acquire that information.&#8221;</p> <p>Belichick then recalled how he&#8217;s had the chance to learn how to coach different positions from some of the greatest to play. </p> <p>&#8220;Some of that certainly comes from the players, especially when you coach good players at the position that you&#8217;re coaching, you can learn a lot from them, just like I learned a lot from many of the players that I coached. Going back to people like Dave Jennings as a punts or Carl Banks or Lawrence Taylor or Pepper [Johnson], guys like that, as linebackers with the Giants. However you acquire that information, you acquire it and you have to be able to convey it and teach it to the players and recognize technique or judgment.<br /> <span id="more-112998"></span></p> <p>&#8220;There&#8217;s a whole host of things that go into performance but all the things that are related to those, [you need to] be able to figure out which ones are the most important and which ones need to be corrected and so forth. I think Joe&#8217;s very knowledgeable on that, as was Scott O&#8217;Brien. I have a lot of experience with that myself. That&#8217;s what coaching is. You don&#8217;t know, then you&#8217;ve got to find out. Nobody knows everything. No coach knows everything about every position. Maybe a guy&#8217;s played it for a decade, he might be well-versed in that position. But I&#8217;d say for the most of the rest of us that haven&#8217;t done that, things you don&#8217;t know, you&#8217;ve got to learn, you&#8217;ve got to find out, you&#8217;ve got to figure them out.&#8221; </p> <p>Gostkowski has missed extra points in back-to-back games after not missing in a regular season game since 2006. He&#8217;s 9-for-12 in field goals. In Week 1, Gostkowski was named AFC special teams player of the week, not just for his three field goals but his precision with kickoffs that pinned the Cardinals deep in their territory. With the amount of emphasis on different types of kickoffs, Belichick was asked if that could be affecting Gostkowski&#8217;s motion when striking the ball on field goals and extra points. </p> <p>&#8220;I think they&#8217;re definitely different. I don&#8217;t think there&#8217;s any question about that,&#8221; Belichick conceded. &#8220;It&#8217;d be like a golfer, you&#8217;ve got to be able to hit a sand wedge, you&#8217;ve got to be able to hit a 5-iron, you&#8217;ve got to be able to drive, you&#8217;ve got to be able to putt. That&#8217;s what kickers and punters do. There&#8217;s plus-50 punts, there&#8217;s field goals, there&#8217;s kickoffs, there&#8217;s back-up punts, there&#8217;s punts against a heavy rush, there&#8217;s punts against a six-man box where the gunners are getting double-teamed. And just like golf, there&#8217;s wind conditions and not wind conditions and so forth. </p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s not like you&#8217;re standing out there on the driving range and banging the ball away every time, especially on place kicks. You&#8217;re dealing with a center and a holder and timing on the play so it&#8217;s not like you&#8217;re just placing the ball down there on the tee and kicking it like you are a golf ball or a kickoff. Yeah, they&#8217;re definitely different. Whether it&#8217;s a punter or kicker you&#8217;re talking about, they have to master different skills, different kicks, different types of kicks, different things that are specific to their position. </p> <p>&#8220;Just like every other player and every other athlete, for the most part, has to do. Basketball players can&#8217;t [just] shoot free throws. You have to make some other shots, too. That&#8217;s part of the position, being able to do the things that are required at that position and, yeah, they&#8217;re not all the same. But I don&#8217;t think they&#8217;re all the same for anybody.&#8221; </p> Blog patriots Other Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:33:37 +0000 2649341 at