McDaniels on ball security: Carelessness will be addressed


McDaniels on ball security: Carelessness will be addressed

On his Tuesday conference call, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was prodded to talk about ball security. Specifically, he was asked if he has a coaching philosophy regarding players who may be struggling in that area.
McDaniels kept his answer as general as the question, but the unspoken context was Stevan Ridley.
New England's No. 1 running back has fumbled in his last two games, against Houston and San Francisco -- two of the biggest games of the season.
In the Patriots' 41-34 loss Sunday night, Ridley lost a ball in the third quarter that the Niners recovered and ran back for 66 yards. The turnover was converted into a touchdown just one play later.
"I think we want all of the skill players to protect the football," McDaniels said. "We work at it and try to emphasize that and generally I think weve done a decent job of it during the course of the season. There are certain times when the defense either gets it out or maybe we dont necessarily possess the type of ball security that we need on a certain play or in a certain game.
"In terms of a particular game or a specific, How many times does the ball need to be away from a players body or how many throws does the quarterback make that the defense touches before you get him out of the game, Ive never really had a specific chart or philosophy on that. I think more or less youve got to try to make sure that each player who touches it is securing it and taking care of it and if you feel like there is too big of a risk, then certainly you need to address it either that day or in the week of practice."
Ridley's 1,105 rushing yards on 252 attempts lead all Patriots ground gains by a lot; the risk has been worth the reward to this point.
But New England doesn't really have a choice, either. Last season, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the roster and leading the charge, Ridley was benched for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl after fumbling once in Week 17 and again in the divisional playoff.
He currently has two weeks to sleep tucked in beside the football. If there is an issue with Ridley's ball security, the Patriots will want it worked out before the postseason.
"If were being careless and the carelessness is repetitive and the ball is obviously not protected, we need to address that as a group; we need to address that and make sure that we try to fix it so that we dont hurt our team."

Monday, July 25: A new home for Isles in Queens?


Monday, July 25: A new home for Isles in Queens?

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while enjoying Alec Baldwin hosting the new “Match Game.” What a throwback that is.

*Larry Brooks asks if there is even one person that would support the New York Islanders building a new hockey arena in Queens.

*Friends to hockey, Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, sat down Montreal Canadiens fan Jonah Keri for a podcast this week.

*A really good piece from 15 years ago by Jon Paul Morosi, back in the days when we both wrote pieces for USCHO, about Jim Prior’s dedication to BU, and to the world of hockey.

*Connor McDavid says that being named the captain of the Edmonton Oilers would be an “unbelievable honor” for the young player.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has the Philadelphia Flyers signing Brayden Schenn to a four year contract.

*Speaking of the Flyers, Sean Couturier has a street named after him in his hometown within the province of New Brunswick.

*For something completely different: if you’re into Andre the Giant drinking stories then this is the article for you.


Pomeranz gets chance to rebound from first shaky Red Sox start


Pomeranz gets chance to rebound from first shaky Red Sox start

BOSTON -- His first start wasn’t exactly what everyone expected.

Now, Drew Pomeranz has his shot at redemption in more ways than just improving on his last start — which won’t take much.

The lefty makes his second start since joining the Red Sox at the tail end of the All-Star break, following a shaky Minnesota series that John Farrell admitted could have easily gone south.

“We’ve come off a couple of days where we’re a pitch away or a swing of the bat away from being in a spot where we’re possibly looking at four consecutive [wins] in this series,” Farrell said after the Red Sox’ 8-7 victory Sunday. 

And each day was a different issue -- with the exception of a blowout win on Thursday night.

Friday had no offense. Saturday had crazy wind, sketchy fielding and another subpar performance from David Price. And Sunday saw a couple of fly balls land that shouldn’t have -- to go with the bullpen nearly blowing the lead.

In fact, the bullpen had a 6.97 ERA this weekend. In 10 1/3 innings of work, they gave up eight earned runs.

Take out Brad Ziegler’s two shutout innings and they almost averaged one run per inning -- which would be a 9.00 ERA.

So, the fielding has been shaky. The bullpen blew a game where the Red Sox scored nine runs Saturday night and nearly did it again the next day when the Sox scored eight.

Add that on to a second outing where you’re trying to win over a city and region after pitching only three-plus innings, and allowing five runs, in your debut, in which the offense had given you plenty of run support, staking you to an 8-0 lead Wednesday night against the Giants (the Red Sox held on to win, 11-7).

And, you were traded for one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball -- who has become even more valuable in everyone’s eyes since you’re debut.

Last, and probably least, the guy who traded to get you -- and expressed he’s had interest in you since you were drafted -- well, you’re pitching against his old team and the guy who -- although on the decline -- has been the face of the Detroit Tigers franchise for nearly a decade in Justin Verlander.

No pressure though.

Welcome to Boston.


Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues


Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

By Dan Feldman, Pro Basketball Talk

Michael Jordan might have never said “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

But that quote has defined him politically.

Whether the perception has been fair or not, he’s clearly trying to change it.

Jordan in ESPN's The Undefeated:

As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

You can read Jordan’s full statement here.