Brady: Team focused on Jets, not Gronkowski


Brady: Team focused on Jets, not Gronkowski

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady knows exactly what he'll be missing Thursday night.

"There's only one Rob Gronkowski," he said of the injured tight end. "There's only one of those in the league."

But the quarterback's Tuesday message was clear: New England will carry on.

"Other guys just have to step into that spot and do a job, that's what it comes down to," he said. "That's football and every team deals with it at one point or another. He's a tough guy to replace, but that's what we need to do."

Though "replace" was the word Brady chose, it's not quite what he meant. Other Patriots players will play the position, swapping body-for-body, but nobody is expecting Gronkowski's production to be replicated exactly.

For the record, he had six catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns the last time New England faced the Jets.

Brady pointed out that different tight ends have different strengths and weaknesses. It's his job as quarterback to elevate the strengths.

"You know the guys that are going to be in there playing that roll -- Visanthe Shiancoe, and Michael Hoomanawanui, and Daniel Fells -- they have to go out there and do the best they can do. That's why they're on the team, that's why we have 53 guys on the roster so everybody can contribute in one way or another."

That's where the book closed on Gronkowski. Brady diverted every other question about the tight end back to New England's next game.

With such a short week, there's simply no time to think about anything else.

"I just, honestly . . . I've been thinking about the Jets," he said with a smile. "I haven't been thinking about when he's coming back. He's not playing this week, so we've got to go out there and win without him. There's a lot of guys that are capable of making plays for us, and that's where my attention is focused -- on the guys that are going to try to help us win this game."

Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions. 

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.