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Reports: Celtics waive R.J. Hunter, give final roster spot to James Young

R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter

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.

The team’s decision came down to Hunter vs. James Young, a pair of shooters who have thus far underachieved.

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.

His dad, Ron Hunter, told the Boston Globe that R.J. Hunter will move on. Hunter turned 23 on Monday.

“He’s disappointed,” Ron Hunter said. “For a kid to get waived on his birthday isn’t the best way to celebrate your birthday. But he understands this is a business and there will be another opportunity for him.”

The Celtics drafted Young, 21, with the 17th pick in the 2014 draft. He has averaged 2.2 points in 60 career games.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was the first to report the news.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Bill Belichick goes over the finer details with Eric Rowe and it pays huge dividends

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

Eric Rowe (left) was in coverage on Darrius Heyward-Bey during Sunday’s game at Heinz Field. (Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports)

One of the reasons Bill Belichick pays such meticulous attention to game film before planning for his next opponent is that he’s always anticipating something paying off that could play a key role in the game.

Late in the first quarter Sunday, his film work on the tendency of Steelers receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to hold down a defender’s arm when going up for a ball.

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’s left arm preventing him from fully turning around. Instead of defensive pass interference at the Patriots’ 30, the official threw the flag and called offensive pass interference on Heyward-Bey.

“I talked to the official about that play and I talked to Eric about that play because that’s something that we had talked a lot about during the week with our corners on deep balls,” Belichick said in a Monday conference call. “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.

“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’t look, which was kind of confirmed when I talked to Eric about the play as well. I couldn’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’s a little tougher. The official had a much better view of it from the other side of the play so that’s what he called.”

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.

“I just wanted to make sure that we were playing the play properly,” Belichick added. “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’s why he made the call. That was one that I’d say of all the other calls in the game, I don’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.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Ryan Spooner skates at center, Malcolm Subban recalled from AHL as Bruins return to practice

Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence for Monday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence for Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

BRIGHTON — 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’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena brought about just that for a slumping forward group.

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.

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.

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.

Heinen has yet to record a point and has two shots on goal in four NHL games played.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on the ice for the Bruins for the third straight skate.

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.

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. 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Bill Belichick explains in great detail how his coaching staff will be there for Stephen Gostkowski

Stephen Gostkowski

Stephen Gostkowski

When Bill Belichick says he has faith in Stephen Gostkowski to “work through” his struggles, the Patriots coach is going to offer more than just moral support.

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.

“I can’t speak for other teams. I think Joe’s very knowledgable about the techniques of kicking,” Belichick said. “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’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’t think it’s any different than coaching any other position. Things you don’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.”

Belichick then recalled how he’s had the chance to learn how to coach different positions from some of the greatest to play.

“Some of that certainly comes from the players, especially when you coach good players at the position that you’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.

“There’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’s very knowledgeable on that, as was Scott O’Brien. I have a lot of experience with that myself. That’s what coaching is. You don’t know, then you’ve got to find out. Nobody knows everything. No coach knows everything about every position. Maybe a guy’s played it for a decade, he might be well-versed in that position. But I’d say for the most of the rest of us that haven’t done that, things you don’t know, you’ve got to learn, you’ve got to find out, you’ve got to figure them out.”

Gostkowski has missed extra points in back-to-back games after not missing in a regular season game since 2006. He’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’s motion when striking the ball on field goals and extra points.

“I think they’re definitely different. I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Belichick conceded. “It’d be like a golfer, you’ve got to be able to hit a sand wedge, you’ve got to be able to hit a 5-iron, you’ve got to be able to drive, you’ve got to be able to putt. That’s what kickers and punters do. There’s plus-50 punts, there’s field goals, there’s kickoffs, there’s back-up punts, there’s punts against a heavy rush, there’s punts against a six-man box where the gunners are getting double-teamed. And just like golf, there’s wind conditions and not wind conditions and so forth.

“It’s not like you’re standing out there on the driving range and banging the ball away every time, especially on place kicks. You’re dealing with a center and a holder and timing on the play so it’s not like you’re just placing the ball down there on the tee and kicking it like you are a golf ball or a kickoff. Yeah, they’re definitely different. Whether it’s a punter or kicker you’re talking about, they have to master different skills, different kicks, different types of kicks, different things that are specific to their position.

“Just like every other player and every other athlete, for the most part, has to do. Basketball players can’t [just] shoot free throws. You have to make some other shots, too. That’s part of the position, being able to do the things that are required at that position and, yeah, they’re not all the same. But I don’t think they’re all the same for anybody.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Knee Jerk Reactions, Week 7: Patriots vs. Steelers

Things to consider while realizing the rest of the NFL sees the Patriots sitting at 6-1 and knows exactly how everyone on “The Walking Dead” is feeling right now:

— Before we begin, understand I am in a state of post-traumatic stress from the season premiere of “The Walking Dead.” I promise, no spoilers. Just know that as you’re reading this, I should be curled up in a ball under my bed or seeking grief counseling. But I do it for you. Just don’t responsible for anything I say. Thank you.

— This is one of those wins where if you look at it close up, doesn’t feel all that impressive. You faced a back up quarterback, at times made him look like 1999 Kurt Warner and let a team hang around longer than you should have. But hit the “-” button on this one’s Google map a few times, and it looks better. On the road, the Patriots didn’t play their best game by any means, fumbled twice and dropped two perfectly thrown third down passes (one followed by a duck hooked 25-yard punt) and still won by double digits. Sure, they need to clean it up, but if you can find much negative in this, there’s a career waiting for you in the field of campaign attack ads. Or Boston sports journalism.

— I’m fascinated by Josh McDaniels’ approach to this one. We all know the McOffense can shape-shift at will like Mystique. And you’d assume its at-rest, default setting (its Rebecca Romijn/Jennifer Lawrence mode) would be the Rob Gronkowski/Martellus Bennett combination, create mismatches and chuck the ball all over the place. But in Pittsburgh, Gronk and Bennett rarely saw the field at the same time. And usually when they did, either one stayed in to block (the long catch by Gronk to set up the final touchdown) or was a running play (the three tight end look with James Develin they pounded LeGarrette Blount behind to kill the clock in the fourth). For the most part, McDaniels preferred a Posse look, with one running back, one tight end and three wideouts. It says everything about how stocked his toolbox is that he can use them the way he did and still put up four touchdowns despite the turnovers and drops.

— Of course, now that the battle station we call Gronk is fully operational, he alone is enough to make defenses suffer complete meltdowns. Consider his touchdown catch. The Pats ran a three man route combo I’ve seen called “Parachute,” where Danny Amendola ran a deep curl, Julian Edelman a shallow cross and Gronk ran the “chute,” a go route. The play side safety was Sean Davis, who left the seam to go help on Amendola and looked like he simply wanted no part of covering Gronk. Which makes zero sense football-wise, but perfect sense when it comes to self-preservation.

— More than anything, the gameplan seemed to be about pushing the Steelers front-seven around. And it succeeded. They used a lot of traps and zone blocks. Blount’s first touchdown was a stretch run where Nate Solder rode L.T. Walton into the interior of the line, Gronk came across the goal line to snowplow Mike Mitchell and Blount cut back against the grain for the score.

— The first touchdown was a perfectly blocked screen to James White, set up by David Andrews engaging Ricardo Mathews before slipping outside and Joe Thuney submarining Lawrence Timmons. All done with Gronk out of the play, split out as a wide-Y on the back side of the play.

— I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t single out Marcus Cannon for praise. Right now he’s in a two-man race with White for the most improved player on the club. I’m glad I said it, because I need to be able to live with myself. I can’t afford the extra rent.

— I really appreciate the NFL running those “Football is family” ads where a player does some woman’s job so she can go get her breast cancer screening. I’m looking forward to the one where a guy goes to help out Josh Brown’s wife so she can get treated for broken bones and contusions.

— There are few things in this life that bring me as much joy as watching Mike Tomlin make indefensibly stupid decisions. Throwing the challenge flag on a Gronk non-fumble that wouldn’t have gotten him possession of the ball unless Industrial Light and Magic doctored the replay with CGI. Down by 11 in the fourth quarter, he opts for a 54-yard field goal try instead of trying a fourth-and-2.

— Not to mention Tomlin’s team’s general lack of situational awareness. On that first Blount touchdown, his defense got set with all the urgency of the old lady in front of you in the express line paying with a check. And with the clock running down, his offense ran like the first rehearsal of a kindergarten play. Between Tomlin bellyaching last year about his headset going haywire in Foxboro, Ben Roethlisberger claiming the Pats defensive linemen were moving too much and his defensive coordinator saying the Patriots cheat, it couldn’t happen to a nicer coach. Keep worrying about Bill Belichick pulling fast ones on you instead of fixing your own failings, Dr. Foreman.

— I get people’s frustration over the Patriots defense. I don’t share it, but I do get it. They’re about keeping points off the board. And they succeed. In this NFL, giving up 16 points on the road is a win any way you look at it. I know it’s ugly sometimes. There’s no forgiving surrendering two, third-and-10 first downs to Cody flipping Hamilton. But it works.

— The Patriots D fights like the Russians did against Napoleon and Hitler. They gave up miles of ground, let the enemy get deep into their territory, then toughened up in the red area and, when it mattered most, inflicted millions of casualties. And, they’ll get even tougher when winter comes.

— Despite the lapses, like Hamilton and that 51-yard flag route by Antonio Brown over Malcolm Butler, I thought the secondary played pretty well. As Billy Zane told Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” you can be blasé about many things Rose, but not an end zone interception in single coverage. Butler also added a nice pass defensed versus Xavier Grimble on a third-and-4 to hold the Steelers to a field goal. And showed some real grit and balls on a reverse when Pittsburgh had numbers out in front of the runner, so he took Maurkice Pouncey head on. Add a Pat Chung pass defensed against LeVeon Bell at the goal line and some outstanding tackling (Chung against Grimble to force a punt on the first possession) and the fact that one of the touchdowns was that obligatory amazing sideline balancing act they get burned by once a week, and I think they’ll grade out better in the film room than in the court of public opinion.

— It’s been a good three bullet points since I dumped on the Steelers for their general dumbassery. So let me point out that Darrius Heyward-Bey complained about an offensive pass interference call where for his entire pattern, he beat Eric Rowe with a bat wrapped in barbed wire. Sorry. I promised no “Walking Dead” spoilers. I’ll say no more. Moving on …

— And before I move off the topic of Pittsburgh stupidity, you had to love the crowd booing the unnecessary roughness call when Artie Burns (the NFL’s “Least Football Player-y Name” winner for 2016) tackled Chris Hogan with a body slam that would’ve gotten Kurt Angle DQ’d from King of the Ring.

— This week’s Applicable Movie Quote: “This is where we grab ’em by the nose and kick ’em in the ass!” – “Patton”

— Another note about the way the defense played. It’s worth pointing out that Landry Jones is not the worst backup quarterback in the world. Granted, he’s got that weird thing going where his mustache doesn’t reach his beard. And when his chinstrap covers the beard he looks like he should sitting in a primered van parked next to a playground. But he could start for several teams. So there’s no shame in holding him to 16 at home.

— There is no one who’s more excited about having Brady back than Julian Edelman. Every time he catches a pass for a first down (which he did a lot of Sunday) I half expect him to bring the ball back to Brady in his mouth, wagging his tail.

— Though I don’t think Brady feels the same way about Malcolm Mitchell. After that play when he was running for his life then launched an ICBM, only to watch from his back while Mitchell broke off his route, Brady shot Mitchell a stink eye the likes of which we haven’t seen since Scott Chandler became invisible to him.

— With the Pats on a roll like this, and a bigger, better, stronger, faster, less stoppable roll seeming to arrive any second now, there is literally no team in the NFL I’d rather see them facing right now than Buffalo. That win over a wounded Jacoby Brissett that the Bills Mafia practically held a parade for has to be avenged.

Jerry has a book! “From Darkness to Dynasty: The First 40 Years of the New England Patriots” has been called “the perfect book for any reader who is a die-hard Pats fan.” It’s available now online and at bookstores everywhere. Details and scheduled book signings are at JerryThornton.net.

wendysOctober 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 WEEI.com/return.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Tim Hasselbeck on K&C: Josh Brown situation ‘just sad all the way around’

Tim Hasselbeck

Tim Hasselbeck

ESPN’s Tim Hasselbeck checked in with Kirk & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Josh Brown situation, among other NFL matters. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.

Hasselbeck, a former NFL quarterback, was asked how he would feel if Josh Brown was on his team and he had to share a locker room with him.

“Well, here’s what I would say, and just for full disclosure, not that I am friends with him, I don’t have the guy’s phone number or anything, but I have been around Josh a couple of times,” Hasselbeck said. “I’ve actually been around his family a couple times. You don’t always know is all I can say as a player. I am not speaking for an investigation from the league or anything like that, but you just don’t always know what is going on someone’s personal life. Just, you don’t. I think when you’re in the locker room, you tend to give people the benefit of the doubt in terms of how they are and how they live or what they are really about. So look, listen, reading the stuff that I guess became available last week — whether I was reading about stuff from Greg Hardy or any of these other players that it’s happened with in the past — yeah, I think at that point, I don’t think you necessarily judge somebody as much you just go, ‘Wow, this actually isn’t the guy that I knew.'”

He was then asked if he was surprised when he found out about Brown’s domestic violence history.

“Listen, I don’t know that we want to get into this, but I didn’t know the guy was abused as a kid,” Hasselbeck said. “I thought there was a lot that was surprising there. Listen, I am going to be candid about this and maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’ve met him and his wife and his daughter and I think more than anything it’s just sad. It’s easy sometimes to look at guys with football uniforms on and that’s who they are — there’s a lot of lives affected on all this stuff and I think it’s just sad all the way around.”

Lastly, Hasselbeck was asked if he was surprised by the way the NFL and the Giants have handled the situation, especially considering the Giants re-signed Brown after they knew what he did.

“Again, I don’t know the process of gathering all the information on that stuff and I don’t know what those guys do and you never know, a lot situations you go to the Greg Hardy situation — there’s cooperation and there’s not cooperation on the other side of it, so me personally I don’t know any of those details,” he said.

Added Hasselbeck: “I think we would all agree that it would have been good for everyone to have the information to make a decision that was the right decision. It doesn’t seem like that is the case. I’ll grant you that. Like I said, I think it’s sad all the way around. It’s really sad all the way around. I’m sure that everyone feels like it would have gone differently.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady: Patriots have ‘Trump’ and ‘Clinton’ audible calls

Tom Brady said the Patriots have audibles for both Trump and Clinton. (Stew Milne/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady said the Patriots have audibles for both Trump and Clinton. (Stew Milne/USA Today Sports)

During the Giants and Rams game played in London Sunday morning, the microphones on the field caught one of Eli Manning’s audible calls being named “Trump.”

The Patriots are a team that make a lot of calls at the line of scrimmage and on Kirk & Callahan Monday morning, Tom Brady said the team has a call similar to that and even has one called “Clinton.”

“Oh, really? We have a call like that too,” Brady said. “We have a call.”

Added Brady: “We do. Trump and Clinton, we have two calls.”

(Click here to see more of what Brady had to say in his weekly interview.)

The quarterback noted how important the calls are to the Patriots offense and sometimes he doesn’t like how they get picked up on television.

“Certainly a lot of people watching, so they listen to everything,” he said. “They have the microphones and you can pretty much hear everything. Obviously there is a lot of communication that goes on up front. It goes for both teams. A lot of mechanisms of your offense is based on what you say.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady on K&C: Patriots offense will feature different players each week

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Kirk & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s 27-16 win over the Steelers, among other things relating to the Patriots offense. To hear the interview, visit the K&C audio on demand page.

Julian Edelman had a season-high nine catches for 60 yards, while Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett combined for just five catches. Brady said that was because of the way the Steelers played defense, as they didn’t want the tight end duo to have a big day.

“[Edelman] had a lot of opportunity based on how they really chose to play us,” Brady said. “We had some good matchups there in the middle of the field and I tried to get it to him. He was able to make some plays and really get into the defense, show his run after the catch. It was a very productive day for him. We really needed it. They made it tough in a lot of ways for our offense to really create big plays, but we had a lot of those plays underneath and Jules was a big factor in the game.”

Brady said the tight ends didn’t complain much as they know how the offense works.

“They really don’t. I think for our offense right now, I think it’s going to be different players each week,” he said. “They understand. They all want the ball. They are all working hard to get open. Sometimes the coverage that the defense is playing dictates where you throw the ball and if they are not in that position, they are all smart enough to know that’s not when they are going to get it. I think [the Steelers] were pretty intent on not letting Gronk and Marty have big days yesterday.”

Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point for the second time in as many games and he’s now missed a kick in six of his last eight games dating back to the AFC title game last season. Brady isn’t concerned, though.

“I just think you show support and encouragement,” he said. “He’s a great kicker. He’ll find his rhythm. I don’t think anyone is really worried about that. He’s one of the best kickers that has ever played the game. I have 100 percent confidence he will find his rhythm.”

Running back LeGarrette Blount had his third game of 100 or more yards rushing this year as he finished with 127 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. The quarterback noted how important it’s been for Blount to get off to a good start this year.

“He’s off to an incredible start,” Brady said. “He’s just running with quickness. He’s running with power. I think he’s making really good decisions back there. I can see — I have great perspective when I hand the ball off and I turn around and see where the holes are. It’s tough, he’s a 250-pound back and when he’s running at a guy 1-on-1, it’s not like those 200-pound safeties or corners are thinking, ‘Man, I’m really going to square LG up and knock the crap out of him.’ They are just trying to get him down and I think LeGarrette does a great job of taking advantage of their hesitation because they aren’t quite sure. He can run over you, he can jump over you. He has the agility to start out and break in, start in and break out. He did that on the touchdown run in the fourth quarter where he makes a guy miss completely.

“I think he’s doing a great job. It’s fun to see. It’s great to have an offense like that. If they are going to decide to really force us to get those running looks, then we have to run it as efficiently as we can and we did a great job of that yesterday.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

On what the Steelers did vs. Patriots on defense: “It’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. I don’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 and whoever was in the middle of the field got a lot of opportunity.”

On Gronkowski’s touchdown catch: “I thought that was a great job by Josh [McDaniels] just kind of understanding how the flow of the game was. A few things started to reveal itself and we thought ultimately that would be a good play just based on the coverages they were playing. Gronk had No. 21, who is their safety but was playing linebacker on that particular play, and he had him man-to-man. Gronk really split the defense and there were two safeties back there and Gronk split them both and was right at the hash there and made a great catch and run. That was a big play in the game because they had a lot of momentum. For a bunch of series’ there in the second and third quarter we didn’t do much and they ended up making it a one-point game and then we handled it off to LeGarrette a bunch who made a bunch of plays and then Gronk had the big touchdown. That was a big play in the game.”

On if Bennett gets frustrated not getting the ball: “He and I have a great relationship. Again, I think he is a very smart guy and he understands, like I said, when he should get the ball he knows it just based on the route and the defense. He sees all those things. Everyone wants the ball and you have five eligible skill players and you have Gronk and Julian and Danny [Amendola] and [Chris] Hogan and James White and [Brandon] Bolden, obviously Marty. I am trying to get everyone involved and just like I said, sometimes based on the play they get it and get the look and sometimes they don’t. The Cleveland week for example we got a lot of looks and that was great. He’s had some great games for us. We’re going to need him over the course of the whole season. I’ve had no problem — I never have a problem with a receiver wanting the ball. They all want the ball. I understand that too. I do my best to try and spread it around. … Yesterday I think they were pretty intent on not letting Marty and Gronk have 180 yards catching between the two of them so they forced us to throw it underneath and the players that were in those underneath positions got the ball most of the time. I thought we could have done a better job really executing and putting pressure on them. We had some turnovers, some lack of execution in the passing game that kind of got us off the field or else we would have more opportunity. If you keep putting pressure on the other team and you keep taking those throws underneath, then they start to get a little uncomfortable and they take some chances and that is when you have the opportunities.”

On if he would enjoy playing for Rex Ryan: “I love who I play for [Bill Belichick]. I think he’s the best ever, so I don’t want to play for anyone else. I respect Rex a lot as a coach because I think he does a good job of really having his guys ready to go. He always plays us tough. They may lose to other teams and whenever they play us it’s a tough game. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and he brings a very different element to the league and I think they really like that. Obviously the owners  who hire him like that a lot. I think he’s a great coach and he has great defensive schemes. He’s always given us problems and I’m sure we’ll be in for a dogfight at Orchard Park this week.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady on K&C takes hard stance against domestic violence: ‘I have no respect for that’

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

One of the biggest topics in the NFL over the past few years and even more so this week with the Josh Brown situation is domestic violence.

Brown was suspended only one game to start the season, but then more information came out this past week, which forced the NFL to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list. Brown didn’t travel to London over the weekend for the Giants game against the Rams.

On his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan on Monday morning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked a few questions about Brown’s situation and domestic violence.

The quarterback took a hard stance against the issue.

“I grew up with three sisters, I was very fortunate to learn from a loving father and a loving mother how to treat and respect women,” Brady said. “I have a daughter of my own and domestic violence is a horrible issue. It’s a tragedy when it happens. Any type of abuse or bullying of people who can’t defend or fight for themselves, I have no respect for that. Like I said, the NFL, they claim to take tough stances and this is their situation. This is their situation to deal with. I’ll let them deal with it. Like I said, I was very fortunate to grow up with sisters, a mother — I condone no part of that. That is absolutely something I would never be apart of or do. It’s a terrible tragedy.”

Brady was also asked if it’s frustrating that Brown only received a one-game suspension and he received a four-game suspension for being “generally aware” of deflated footballs in the AFC title game in 2014.

“I think it is the league’s issue,” Brady said. “Obviously, there is a lot of controversy with that. I’m trying to stay out of all that. I will let them handle it. I think that is their responsibility. I certainly don’t condone any part of domestic violence. I think it is a terrible, terrible thing. I think the league, they have to handle those types of things.”

Added Brady: “I’m just going to stay in my lane. Like I said, it’s up to them to decide whatever they want to do. I’m just going to try try and stay out of any kind of my opinion. I certainly have opinions, I just don’t really care to share them.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Giants CB Eli Apple caught in middle as his mother rips owner over domestic violence; Derrick Rose returns to Knicks

Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:Pro football
NFL: Houston at Denver, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Calgary at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. (NHL)

SUNDAY’S RESULTS:
NFL: Patriots 27, Steelers 16
NFL:
Cardinals 6, Seahawks 6
NFL: Buccaneers 34, 49ers 17
NFL: Giants 17, Rams 10
NFL: Eagles 21, Vikings 10
NFL: Dolphins 28, Bills 25
NFL: Bengals 31, Browns 17
NFL: Jets 24, Ravens 16
NFL: Chiefs 27, Saints 21
NFL: Colts 34, Titans 26
NFL: Lions 20, Redskins 17
NFL: Raiders 33, Jaguars 16
NFL: Chargers 33, Falcons 30
NHL: Oilers 3, Jets 0 
NHL: Rangers 3, Coyotes 2 
NHL: Islanders 6, Wild 3 
NHL: Ducks 4, Canucks 2

AROUND THE WEB:

Eli Apple

Eli Apple

— After the mother of Giants rookie corner Eli Apple criticized Giants co-owner John Mara on Twitter last week, Apple reacted to her posts on Sunday.

“My mom’s very vocal and that topic is very important to her, so I can understand where she was coming from,” Apple said. “But at the same time in my position I just have to do my part and play football and do what I can do.”

Annie Apple, a domestic violence survivor, criticized her son’s boss for his handling, or mishandling, of Giants kicker Josh Brown’s domestic violence against his wife.

In an article for SI.com on Sunday, Annie Apple further expressed her disgust.

“The comments made by John Mara, owner of the New York Giants, were insensitive, dismissive and callous,” she wrote. “How are you a so-called champion of domestic violence but lack basic compassion for a victim? Yes, this man signs my son’s checks as I’ve been reminded on Twitter. Mr. Mara owns the New York Giants. He doesn’t own Annie Apple. Wrong is wrong. And Mr. Mara’s comments were unapologetically wrong and hit at a raw place.”

Apple stressed on Sunday he spoke with his employers and assured them he is committed to the team despite his mother’s anger.

“I talked to them, let them know my mom, her reactions like that sometimes are like that, she’s her own person, she’s going to do that, so I’ve just got to do my job,” he said. “I just made sure I talked to everybody, man, just let them know, whoever is concerned.”

Apple returned from a groin injury Sunday to play in his team’s 17-10 win over the Rams in London.

Derrick Rose returned to Knicks practice Saturday after being found not liable in his weeks-long rape trial.

Rose said it felt “like heaven” to be back on the basketball court and said he “just wants to hoop.”

“I got through my little situation, but I’m happy to be focusing on nothing but basketball,” Rose said.

And he has returned ready to get back into his craft.

“I’m very confident, man,’’ he said. “I really believe that’s why I’m here — to hoop. I still have a lot of confidence in my ability.”

Though he missed basketball, the only thing he regrets missing during his trial was his son’s birthday.

“Out of all this, the only thing that hurt me was missing my son’s birthday party and birthday,” he said. “Those were the two things I was worried about the most — not being there with my family.”

Rose likely will start in the Knicks’ season opener in Cleveland on Tuesday.

— For the first time since 2014, an NFL game ended in a tie.

When the Cardinals and the Seahawks went to overtime Sunday night tied, 6-6, Arizona’s kicker Chandler Catanzaro only needed a 24-yard field goal to secure the win. He missed when his kick hit off the left upright.

Then Seattle kicker Stephen Hauschka needed to make a 27-yard field goal for the win. He missed with a kick that went wide to the left.

The last time an NFL game ended in a tie was two years ago when the Panthers and the Bengals tied, 37-37.

The two missed field goals came on the same day Colts kicker (and former Patriot) Adam Vinatieri broke the NFL record for consecutive field goals with his 43rd.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Right now, I stink.” — Stephen Gostkowski, after missing an extra point for the second week in a row

THIS DAY IN SPORTS HISTORY: The Red Sox beat the Rockies, 13-1, to take Game 1 of the 2007 World Series. Dustin Pedroia becomes the first rookie to lead off a World Series game with a home run. Josh Beckett struck out nine batters and got his fourth win of the postseason.  

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge