Curran's Game Day Walkthrough

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Curran's Game Day Walkthrough

The Bills were a vogue pick to turn the corner in 2012 and start a run of success. Now, with a 3-5 record that seems quite likely to be 3-6 by nightfall Sunday, the Buddy and Chan Show is entering its blue period. And that includes trying to determine if the quarterback sucks permanently or if he's salvageable.
One of my favorite columnists, Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News, puts Ryan Fitzpatrick in the crosshairs today. And that's only because Bills general manager Buddy Nix put Fitzpatrick there earlier in the week when Nix said of the quarterback decision, Let me be as honest as I can. I think we really need to address it this year."

I picture Buddy cleaning a shotgun as he says this and old Fitzy The Dog asleep at his feet, head resting on Buddy's shoes, unaware that the party is nearly over.

But Fitzpatrick knows that, despite his six-year, 59 million deal, the posse is closing in. Sullivan asked Fitzpatrick if he is playing for his future now.

I mean, I . . . I cant do that, he said. I cant go into a game and say, I need to play well or else. Im a guy that was a seventh-round pick. Ive waited for an opportunity for a long time, and now I have this opportunity.

I understand what happens in the NFL. I understand that its a performance-based business for quarterbacks. You have to win games or else. I understand all that. I appreciate this opportunity as much as anybody, because I had to wait a long time to get it."

The Bills as a team are in desperate straits and Nix has nudged Fitzpatrick out in front of the angry masses. And that's the dynamic the Bills bring in to Foxboro today.

The only college team that I believe could have legitimately beaten a professional team was the 1990-91 UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team. Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt, read this article to gain a little appreciation of them. But that's basketball. Five guys, the physical demands wholly different than football. I bring this up because there's been conversation about whether Alabama could beat an NFL team. They could not. They almost lost to LSU. Saturday, they did lose to Texas A&M. I really like this Alabama team and enjoy watching it, but the myriad pieces on a football team -- offense, defense, special teams -- and the strength and physics of the game at the NFL level would make it impossible for a college team to even be competitive with the worst NFL team.

Two good pieces in the Boston Globe today. Greg Bedard's highlighting of relevant excerpts in a new book called, "Coaching Confidential: Inside the Fraternity of NFL Coaches, by New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers. I'll let you read Bedard's summation but there is a lot here from Robert Kraft about his relationships with Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. There's a bit of spin from Kraft on the long-ago dustup with Parcells over draft pick Christian Peter that I'll delve into later this week.

The other is a sitdown between Shalise Manza-Young and Tom Brady delving into Brady's health so far this season (fit as a fiddle).

One other quick Brady-related note: that question about him dressing funny that I posed . . . it was at the end of the press conference and I really don't care how he dresses. And when I asked him later if he was offended, he said, "You know me better than that . . ."

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.