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10/31/2011 - 2:27pm
Wilfork: Bodden's release didn't impact Pats

Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, in his weekly interview on The Big Show, said that the absence of released cornerback Leigh Bodden was not to blame for New England's poor defensive performance in a 25-17 loss to the Steelers on Sunday.

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not," Wilfork said of whether Bodden's release on Friday affected the defensive effort. "Coach is always making decisions that is best for the team and the organization. ... Everybody is focused on going out and doing our job. We didn't do it well, of course, but at the same time, I think we prepared well. We just didn't execute the way we wanted to."

Wilfork suggested that he believes the Patriots have the potential to be an elite defense, even as he cautioned that the unit must improve. However, he suggested that the team failed too often in third-and-long situations, at times when "we had them right where we wanted to." 

The lineman...

10/31/2011 - 1:53pm
Sox decline options on Wheeler, Atchison

The Red Sox announced that they were declining their contract options on two right-handed relievers, Dan Wheeler and Scott Atchsion.

Wheeler, 33, is now a free agent. He went 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA and 1.115 WHIP, along with 7.1 strikeouts and 1.5 walks per nine innings. While he struggled early, he was one of the Sox' most effective relievers from mid-May through early-September, with a 1.53 ERA over a span of more than three months. However, a forearm injury (from which Wheeler has now recovered) in September prevented him from being an effective contributor down the stretch, as the Sox' bullpen collapsed.

Wheeler is a Type B free agent, meaning that if the Sox offer him salary arbitration and he declines in order to sign with another team, the Sox would be in line for a draft pick in the sandwich round. That status likely played into the Sox' decision to decline his option.

Atchison, meanwhile, spent the year shuttling between Boston and...

10/31/2011 - 12:52pm
BC's Finch earns ACC weekly honors

Boston College sophomore running back Rolandan Finch was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week for his play in Saturday's 28-17 victory over Maryland. Finch rushed 39 times for 243 yards, the most by an ACC player this season. He also scored two touchdowns.

Finch's 243-yard performance ranks third in BC history, behind on Montel Harris' 264 yards vs. NC State in 2009 and Phil Bennett's 259 yards vs. Temple in 1972.

BC (2-6, 1-4 ACC) returns to action Thursday night with a game against Florida State (5-3, 3-2) at Alumni Stadium.

For more BC news, visit The BC Blog.


10/31/2011 - 12:24pm
Lucic: No change needed with roster
By: DJ Bean

WILMINGTON -- With the Bruins sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference and coming off three straight losses, there has been speculation regarding what moves can be made to improve the defending Stanley Cup champions. General manager Peter Chiarelli reportedly has been working the phones, and the possibility exists that the team could call up a player from Providence. 

Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who led the team with 30 goals last season, said after Monday's practice that he doesn't feel change to the roster is needed.

"I think we've proven that this group works. If you look into it too much, you can almost go [crazy] if you read into it or look into it too much," he said. "This group works, and the only way we're going to start working again is if we start playing like a group again. I think that's our biggest challenge right now. 

"We need everyone going at the same time and everyone being on the same...

10/31/2011 - 11:21am
Branch: Steelers got away with 'extra stuff'

Patriots receiver Deion Branch stopped by for a visit with Mut & Merloni at Gillette Stadium as part of WEEI's Patriots Monday and talked about Sunday's 25-17 loss to the Steelers.

The Steelers played more man defense than many people expected, but Branch isn't one of those people.

"I wouldn't say it was a surprise, no. They did what they were expected to do," he said. "There were some times that they played man in the past and did some different things.

"Obviously, we just didn't match the intensity of the game. Just overall, their guys came out with a lot of energy, and we didn't do the same thing. We didn't match the energy at all. As an offense, we didn't take control of the game like we normally would. Getting off the field, three-and-outs, we had a bunch of three-and-outs. A lot of flags. And it seems like I'm talking about the same thing every week. But it is what it is. That's what we're doing. We're killing...

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