Belichick: All players must be ready, period

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Belichick: All players must be ready, period

As surprised as you might have been to see Tom Brady look to Shane Vereen for the first play of Sunday's game, Vereen could hardly believe it himself.
The running back didn't know he'd get in until right before kickoff.
No, not at all," he said of receiving fair warning. "They tell us to be ready and thats the one thing I try to do is just be ready when my numbers called."
It was called for the first three snaps of New England's first series. Vereen started with a 10-yard catch, followed it with a 14-yard run, and added another 1-yard run to that.
You get excited," said Vereen. "Anyway I get to help the team, I get excited to do that.
He hasn't had much of a chance.
Before Sunday, Vereen had just six yards total (one rushing, five receiving) to his name. He's played in only four of seven games for the Patriots this year because of a foot injury that lingered from the preseason finale into Week 3. When called to duty on Sunday he ran for 49 yards on eight carries in addition to the 10-yard catch that opened the game.
From 14 offensive snaps on the season to 17 in one night -- that's a decent leap. Head coach Bill Belichick knew Vereen would make it.
"Shane is a good athlete. He's worked hard. He's a smart kid and he had more opportunities yesterday than he's had since the preseason. Like everybody who played yesterday, there are some good things to build on, some things that could have been better, and we'll just keep going forward, keep trying to work on some things and build on them."
Vereen's ability to perform comes from a combination of things, like athleticism and the work put in at practice. Belichick said the coaches approach each player the same way in regard to preparation, no matter what his experience.
If you're put on that football field, you're as ready to go as the next guy. Efficiency is expected.
"It comes down to everybody on our team being ready to go. Period. Just ready to go," he said. "Preparing during the week, getting ready to do their job, then with however many -- whatever opportunities present themselves during the game -- being able to go out there and do it at a quality level. That's what every one of our players prepares for.
"Playing time is not something that a player controls; opportunity isn't something they control. They don't call the plays, they don't know what the defenses are going to be, so those opportunities aren't always 100-percent predictable. The most important thing is the players, every player, is mentally and physically prepared to do their job, to what adjustments have to be made before or after the snap, and go out there and do it."
Vereen can only hope doing that will translate to more opportunities.
He may finally be ready.

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

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Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.

The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.

“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.

“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”

Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.

Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.

To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.

It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.

“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”

It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year. 

Ex-Pats Podcast: Defending Le’Veon Bell; Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live mishap

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Ex-Pats Podcast: Defending Le’Veon Bell; Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live mishap

Dan Koppen, Jerod Mayo, and Mike Giardi discuss the upcoming AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jerod Mayo draws up a plan for defending running back Le’Veon Bell. Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live controversy is also broached.

2:30 Recapping the win over Houston

6:09 Improving pass protection vs Steelers

8:18 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live controversy

13:00 Defending Le’Veon Bell

17:35 Importance of tackling vs Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger

20:19 The rivalry with Pittsburgh

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