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11/04/2011 - 12:43pm
Fired Sox coach Page: 4 players fell off track

Dave Page, who was fired as Red Sox strength and conditioning coach this week, joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday and talked about issues with players failing to adhere to the physical conditioning program leading up to the team's September collapse.

Page said the starting pitchers -- the most publicly criticized members of the team this offseason -- did not stand out as a group that was not following the program. "I think for a lot of reasons that he team in general, we were just, from a physical, fundamental and mental preparation, we just didn't have it every night," Page said.

Page did not name names, but he did reference four players as standing out for their failure to adhere to the conditioning program.

"We got to the end of the year where we had four guys -- without naming names -- we had four guys that we thought didn't make it to that part of the season where we hoped they would be: one position player -- an...

11/04/2011 - 12:10pm
Page: Beckett was concerned over weight
By: DJ Bean

Former Red Sox strength and conditioning coach David Page, who was fired this week, joined Mut & Merloni to discuss the circumstances of the Red Sox slip both physically and in the standings as the 2011 season wore on. 

Page said an eye-opening moment for him came in the final series of the season in Baltimore, when he asked a player why they weren't giving as much.

Recalled Page: "I said, 'Hey, what's going on here? It seems like you've pulled the plug a little bit. Why?' He looked down at the ground and looked back at me and said, 'I don't know why. I can't answer that question.' [That] was kind of a shock." 

Page also said that upon being fired, he received a text message from a player taking responsibility for his fate. 

Said Page: "He texted me and said, 'I feel this is all my fault."

Starting pitcher Josh Beckett got noticably bigger over the course of the season, something Page said...

11/04/2011 - 12:04pm
Belichick: 'I don't remember' practice fights

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick had no recollection Friday of a reported allegation that he paid practice squad players to start fights in practice during his time as head coach of the Browns.

Former Patriots, Seahawks and Cowboys defensive lineman Chad Eaton, in Thursday's Dayton Daily News, said Belichick paid him to start fights in practice when he was a member of the Browns’ practice squad in 1995. 

"I don't remember that," Belichick told a pool reporter following his weekly Friday press conference.

“If practice was going slow, he’d look at me and just say, ‘It’s time,’” Eaton alleged. “He wanted me to get on somebody’s [case] and start a little fight. I was known for that and it paid off on Fridays. There’d always be some extra money in my locker. Practice players don’t make much, so I really appreciated it.”

Eaton played from 1996-2000 with the...

11/04/2011 - 11:38am
Only Fletcher, Thomas miss Pats practice

FOXBORO -- The Patriots practiced in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields and all players were present except linebacker Dane Fletcher and offensive lineman Donald Thomas. 

Fletcher is rehabbing a thumb injury while Thomas was expecting the birth of his child on Friday. Fletcher hasn't practiced since before the bye and missed his first game of the season last week in Pittsburgh. 

Wes Welker, who is nursing a sore neck after a hit late in the game on Sunday, was on the practice field for a second straight day after missing Wednesday.

Former Cowboys and Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson was also on hand at practice, chatting with Bill Belichick for several minutes on the sidelines beforehand. Johnson is now a pregame NFL analyst for FOX, which is carrying this Sunday's Patriots-Giants game nationally on its network at 4:15 p.m. ET. For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/...

11/04/2011 - 11:33am
King: Pats pass rush a 'Scotch tape' job
By: DJ Bean

Peter King of Sports Illustrated joined Mut & Merloni Friday, discussing the Patriots secondary and Bill Belichick's recent history of drafting. 

The Patriots have placed a great amount of emphasis on cornerbacks in the last four years, and while King said he understands why, he noted that a reason the Patriots defense is not as strong is because the team has not invested enough draft picks in front-seven players.

"I totally understand the emphasis on looking for corners. … If you don't have good corners to protect your defense from all of these quarterbacks -- the young kids, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder and the guys early in their careers --- you're going to get killed," King said." I totally, absolutely understand that. But … I've got to think that if there's somebody there like  [Scott] Pioli, who used to get in arguments with him and used to challenge him on things, that someone might...

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