Smith-Kaepernick situation stirs up Brady-Bledsoe memories


Smith-Kaepernick situation stirs up Brady-Bledsoe memories

FOXBORO -- When San Francisco starting quarterback Alex Smith got injured this year his backup was pressed into service.
But that backup, 25-year old Colin Kaepernick, played well, well enough that the starter's job was no longer guaranteed.
Sound familiar?
Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe might think so.
In March of 2001, Bledsoe signed a 10-year, 103 million dollar contract with New England. He never got to earn that new money with the Patriots, however, as a tackle in the season's second game sheared a blood vessel in his chest. Brady stepped in under center. When Bledsoe recovered, he found the climate in New England quite changed.
You know the story.
In light of the 49ers upcoming visit to Gillette, Brady reflected on his mindset during the experience.
"Individually, as a player, you just focus on what you have to do to help the team win. I mean, that's your role. When you're on a team, you're supposed to support the team in whatever way the coach needs you to support the team. So, when you're not playing you support the guys who are playing -- you help out in practice. When you get your opportunity you try to go in there and support the team by playing.
"Ultimately, it's about winning games, it's not about an individual. It's about doing what's best for the team. When you play, you've got to play well."
San Francisco's Smith, who suffered a concussion November 11, was medically cleared for play 11 days later. But it's Kaepernick who started the next four games. It's Kaepernick who will start against the AFC East champion Patriots this weekend.
Might Smith be angry? Is it at least awkward?
Brady was asked what it was like when the backup starts by choice, not necessity.
"That was a long time ago for me. But there was nothing like that on our team. I had great support from all the quarterbacks, especially Drew, at the time. I don't really know what's going on in San Francisco."
Bledsoe might not have been a monster, but he was no saint.
You may remember No. 11's reaction when, after New England's November 18, 2001 loss to the Rams, head coach Bill Belichick said Brady would get most of the quarterback snaps for the rest of the season.
"I look forward to the chance to compete for my job," Bledsoe had said.
But the job was Brady's.
Looking at it now, his view sounds flatly analytical. Easy to do after a decade, perhaps.
"Like I said, you just try to focus on your job. There's a lot of players that you count on; they depend on you and you depend on them. It's a team game. That's why the best teams win the most important games, because they've got a group of players that are committed to doing their job. Like I said, if your role is to play quarterback, your role is to play quarterback; you've got to do as best you can. If your role is to play scout team quarterback, that's what your role is.
"Until that role changes, you've got to do the best you can do."
It's safe to say Brady has done ok with the opportunity he got.

Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions. 

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.