McDaniels, Pats need time to get in groove

McDaniels, Pats need time to get in groove

By Tom E. Curran

Coordinating an NFL offense is just like riding a bike.

Although it's like riding a bike with 10 other people. And, actually, you don't get to ride a bike at all. You have to tell 11 other people how and where to ride theirs. While 11 guys on enemy bikes try to stop you from successfully riding your bike where you want.

So, while we expect that Josh McDaniels should be able to climb astride the Patriots offense and ride it seamlessly, that's not reality.

As this past Sunday against Arizona showed, the road gets bumpy and wrong turns get made, even if McDaniels and Brady were the yin and yang of the most prolific offense in NFL history back in 2007.

Why isn't it easy to just crank it up again, as the volume of "Bring back Bill O'Brien!" tweets indicated Sunday afternoon.

"You work at it as hard as you can and at the end of the year you probably evaluate where you're level of comfort is," Brady said when asked about getting back in the saddle with McDaniels. "At this point, Josh and I are always communicating and I'm trying as a quarterback to do what I need to do and he as a coordinator is doing what he needs to do.

"When you score 18 points and it's really from not converting on third down and not being great in the red area," Brady added. "It's not that we're not moving the ball. We had quite a few yards in the last game and the first game, it's just a matter of taking care of critical opportunities on third down in the red area, putting touchdowns on the board instead of field goals. You have to be able to score touchdowns. I think that's how you eventually get into the flow of the offense is when you're getting into the end zone. "

The road remains rough this weekend in Baltimore with the Ravens in prime time.

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.