Demps hopes to get on fast track for Pats

Demps hopes to get on fast track for Pats

By Tom E. Currab

TAMPA - I'm 5-10. With shoes.

So when I stood behind Jeff Demps in a media scrum on Wednesday and realized that he's about up to my nose, I once again found myself marveling at just how amazing these athletes like Demps, Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, Kevin Faulk, Darren Sproles, etc. really are.
Blessed, yes. But - particularly in the case of Demps, who just returned from the London Olympics - wholly committed to doing all they can with the talent given.
Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears was beaming Wednesday after his first padded practice with Demps.
Hes super fast," said Fears. "Just going back to his college history (at the University of Florida),the guy was extremely productive in college. All that is part ofit, but this is the first day weve seen him. So there isnt a whole lot totell you right now except that he got tired running two runs, so I was kind ofa little pissed off at him. Id like to know what type of Olympic training theydo. Its not conditioning for football.
Demps admitted as much after the practice, saying he could be beaten straight up in a 100-meter sprint at that point. That, no doubt, was humility.
No doubt aboutit," said Fears when asked if Demps is the fastest player he's coached. "I havent had anybody that Id say had world-class speed. Ive had somefast guys, but legitimate world-class speed? No.Fears has seen machines on the Patriots teams. Terry Glenn, Bethel Johnson and Donte Stallworth spring to mind. For Demps to be called the hands-down fastest shows just how speedy he is.
What's his prognosis?
Skill guys can play a lot faster than big guys can," said Fears. "Forhim, its mostly just getting his feet up under him, getting a little wind backin his lungs, and getting used to catching the ball. He hasnt touched it insix months, and getting the feel for what he did when he was back in college,getting back in the groove. Im sure it wont take that long for a guy likehim. Hes such a great athlete, just based on what Ive seen on film.Fortunately, this is not a track athlete that's dabbling. Demps is about football, which Fears noted when he pointed out how willing he was in blitz pickup drills.
Demps cited the family atmosphere in New England as a reason he signed here as opposed to with other pursuers like the Bucs and Jets.
He acknowledged he needs to get into football shape and get into the playbook fast to make a contribution.

Demps also is aware that what he's poised to do this season - regardless of his role with the Patriots - is unique.

"It's just a blessing to come from the Olympics and come to a football field," he pointed out. "Not many people do that, so it's just a blessing to do that.

Fears seems to feel a bit blessed himself. Within reason.

Im not going to go overboard," said the coach. "What hes done has beentruly amazing and a great story, but out here, I aint giving him nothing. Hesgoing to earn everything he gets from us. No matter how I feel about him,unless he does it on the field, hes not getting anything else.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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