Bounty architect joins the Titans

752648.jpg

Bounty architect joins the Titans

From Comcast SportsNetNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gregg Williams knows he's got to prove himself every day.The former Saints defensive coordinator said he received a "great rebirth" Thursday when he was reinstated by the NFL and hired by the Tennessee Titans after serving a nearly yearlong suspension for his role in the New Orleans bounty scandal.But now that he's back in the league, he'll have to change the way he's done things in the past."I've got a very positive outlook on things," Williams said. "I understand and respect the game an awful lot, and the past is the past and what I'm talking about doing right now is creating a resume from this day forward."Williams took the first step when the Titans hired him as a senior assistant coach for defense. Williams thanked Commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstating him while speaking at a news conference."I take full responsibility and apologize for my previous actions, and I've used this year to reorganize my life and put focus on positive energy and positive ways to inspire and coach and motivate in this profession," Williams said, reading from a statement."I'm grateful for this opportunity."The league issued a statement saying that Goodell cited several reasons for reinstating Williams, including Williams accepting responsibility for his role in the bounty program, his commitment to never be involved in any pay for performance system and pledging to teach safe play and respect for the rules."The commissioner emphasized that Williams must fully conform to league rules and will be subject to periodic monitoring to confirm his compliance," the NFL said in its statement.While he was out of football in 2012, Williams started his path back.He said he spoke to football players from the Pop Warner level up to high school over the past year. He also worked with his charity, traveled and tried to improve himself including losing about "a kindergartener" when challenged by his sons to lose weight.Williams, suspended indefinitely last March, now is the last person involved in the scandal to be reinstated by league. New Orleans coach Sean Payton had his suspension lifted on Jan. 22.Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six. Four current or former Saints players were also suspended after an investigation found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned.Williams coached for the Saints between 2009 and 2011 and was hired as defensive coordinator by the St. Louis Rams in January 2012 before being suspended. Williams had been free to look for a new job in the NFL since the playoffs started, and now he is returning to the team where he got his start in the league back in 1990 as a quality control assistant.Titans coach Mike Munchak said he spent the past month trying to figure out how to improve his coaching staff and a defense that set a franchise-record giving up 471 points. He immediately thought about Williams, so Munchak said he called Goodell for a long talk to learn about the bounty situation and Williams' status.Munchak said hiring Williams on a one-year contract was "the right thing to do.""What better place for him to come back to for a second opportunity after making some mistakes and to recharge his career going forward," Munchak said."He knows we're going to do things the right way. He knows how we do things. I think he knows changes have to be done maybe in some of the ways he's done things in the past. I think we're on the same page. I think we're excited about the opportunity."Still, this is the NFL, and Williams said an aggressive approach on defense is what people get when he gets a chance to help."It's been my thought process as a player, as a coach, in all the years I've been doing this is that I'd rather be aggressive than passive," Williams said. "And sometimes the fastest approach to getting a job done is being more aggressive, and that can be a style of defense, scheme of defense, attitude of defense. ... I feel like that will always be a huge tenet of the National Football League."How well this move works for both the Titans and Williams remains to be seen.The Titans missed the playoffs in Munchak's first season on a tiebreaker in 2011 before slumping to a 6-10 record in 2012. Fans have not been happy that Munchak has kept Jerry Gray as coordinator after a season when Tennessee also gave up at least 30 points in seven different games and ranked 27th in yards allowed.Munchak previously made only one move on his defensive staff, firing linebackers coach Frank Bush and moving Chet Parlavecchio from assisting with special teams to linebackers coach."The bottom line guys is winning next year," Munchak said. "We know that."Williams and Gray have worked together for years first in Tennessee, then Williams took Gray with him to Buffalo when hired as the Bills head coach in 2001 after four seasons as Tennessee's defensive coordinator under then-coach Jeff Fisher. They worked together in Washington between 2004-07 before Williams went to Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008 and then the Saints.Gray said he told Munchak to bring Williams on in when asked for his opinion of a man who's like a brother. When pressed on who will make the defensive calls in games this season, Gray pointed questions to Munchak who said Gray is the coordinator making the calls "right now."Notes: The Titans face a deadline Friday where they could release Chris Johnson and avoid guaranteeing 9 million of the 10 million salary due in 2013. Munchak said they will be honoring both Johnson's contract and that of safety Michael Griffin, who is due 6.2 million this season.

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

red_sox_rays_pedroia_092516.jpg

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.

HONORING BIG PAPI

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.

 

Carlo, Heinen and DeBrusk highlight young B's lineup for preseason opener

boston-bruins-brandon-carlo.jpg

Carlo, Heinen and DeBrusk highlight young B's lineup for preseason opener

The Bruins had already let it be known that Tuukka Rask, David Pastrnak and David Backes wouldn’t be playing Monday night in their preseason opener vs. the Blue Jackets. 

Instead, all three will participate in their first day of training camp practice on Monday morning, and the Bruins will ice a young, prospect-laden group against Columbus at TD Garden.

“[Camp] has been really good,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “There are a lot of new faces around here, so we’re just getting them to understand how we want to play. I think they did a good job with it and they should be ready to go [against Columbus].”

Here is the lineup of players expected to suit up for Boston’s preseason opener on Monday night: Brandon Carlo, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Seth Griffith, Colton Hargrove, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Anton Khudobin, Sean Kuraly, John-Michael Liles, Zane McIntyre, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, Tyler Randell and Jakub Zboril. 

Carlo, Cehlarik, Heinen and DeBrusk are all serious candidates to threaten for an NHL roster spot, and these preseason games will be a big test to see how roster ready they might actually be at their precocious young age.

The Bruins haven’t said when the first cuts of training camp are expected, but one round of early cuts are expected next week perhaps after Wednesday night’s preseason home game against the Detroit Red Wings.

“We’ll see how tomorrow night goes and then make a decision [on a lineup] for Wednesday, but I think we’ll try to give all the guys a pretty good look and go from there,” said Pandolfo.