Brady warns against complacency with Jets

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Brady warns against complacency with Jets

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a saying quarterback Tom Brady has repeated at press conferences before.

"The season doesn't really start until Thanksgiving," it goes.

If that's the case, New England's real work begins in just two days. The Patriots will play New York on the road Thanksgiving night. A divisional game is no easy way to start grinding out a playoff run, let alone on short rest.

"It feels different than any game you really play," Brady said Tuesday. "We're just trying to put as much as you can into it. These three or four days -- there's just no time for anything other than the Jets. You just try to watch as much film as you can. We're fortunate to have played them three weeks ago, so there's some recall from that previous game and preparation that we put in before that game, but . . . it's definitely a challenge.

"I think we're at that point where every game is bigger than the last one. It was a good win for us against Indianapolis the other night, but now we need to put together another one. This team makes it tough on you, they do quite a few things defensively and they really played us well last time."

Brady believes his teammates will manage fine -- if they stay smart.

"We're just trying to prioritize our time. We don't have much of it; we have to leave tomorrow. Hopefully, everyone is spending it wisely -- not playing video games and stuff like that -- trying to understand our plan and what we need to do," the quarterback smiled. "It's a very tough place to play -- we've always played this team very tough."

New England barely escaped the Jets' last effort, winning 29-26 in overtime. Brady has only had two games this season with a worse completion percentage (61.9) than he did in that Week 7 game. The 6.2 yards per pass is tied for his lowest of the year.

The Patriots quarterback remembers it well, and he's expecting another fight.

"Obviously we didn't execute very well. We had some opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of. And they play really well. They always seem to play us well. There's one game where we beat 'em up pretty good a few years ago, but other than that they've been tight games. That's just the way it always is against the Jets."

Rex Ryan's defense can cause problems even in the worst of times. Brady noted the array of blitz schemes and personnel groupings New York likes to throw at opponents to create chaos.

Of course, many of them are familiar to the Patriots; these two teams have faced off 21 times during Brady's tenure. But any advantage gained must be balanced against the danger of complacency -- exactly why Brady stressed the importance of this short week's work.

"I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence where, 'Oh, yeah, we know this team -- it's the Jets.' But you've got to prepare just as hard," he said. "You may know the players and some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have.

"You just can't take anything for granted against this team. They'll have something new for us. They always do."

First impressions of Red Sox' 8-7 win over Twins

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First impressions of Red Sox' 8-7 win over Twins

BOSTON -- First impressions of the Red Sox' 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday at Fenway Park:
 
Rick Porcello did all he needed to do.

Although he’s still undefeated thus far at home (10-0), Porcello’s start could have easily gone better for him -- especially if Brock Holt catches a few fly balls hit his way.

Regardless, he's 13-2 with a 3.57 ERA and still maintained the title of Boston’s “most reliable pitcher.”

Yes, he gave up five runs -- but four were earned. And Juan Centeno’s “double” that was lost in the sun by Holt should’ve been caught -- accounting for at least one more run.

Porcello had another start where the bullpen was overworked the previous day in a tough loss. Furthermore, his teammates were expected to perform a little more than 12 hours after a rough four-hour contest.

This is a game where the numbers don’t do his performance justice -- but at the same time, Porcello left the bullpen to hold a three-run lead in the final 2 1/3 innings.
 
The Red Sox need Mookie Betts back in right.

If that wasn’t made evident with Michael Martinez’s play Saturday night, Holt made it clear when he couldn’t corral Max Kepler’s deep fly to right in the fourth.

Although the sun could’ve played a factor, Holt got there in time. So the ball has to be caught. Instead, he was too worried about the hip-height wall that he was heading toward at full steam.

Not too mention the fly ball he dropped looking into the sun in the seventh -- which was somehow ruled a hit. As much as the Green Monster is a difficult beast to master, right field at Fenway can be just as difficult.
 
Hanley Ramirez continues to take advantage of pitcher’s mistakes.

The best part about Ramirez’s third-inning, three-run blast was it came on a first pitch changeup -- not exactly something hitters are sitting on out the gate.

Additionally, Tommy Millone’s changeup ran in on Ramirez, instead of away from him -- given Millone is a lefty and Ramirez a right-handed hitter.

If Ramirez gets that pitch a month ago, he rips in foul or rolls over the top of it. Instead, he keeps displaying that he can still pull the ball with power.

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.