Tom Coughlin is not happy with Pierre-Paul video

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Tom Coughlin is not happy with Pierre-Paul video

From Comcast SportsNet
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Tom Coughlin talked about the usual pros and cons after watching the video of the Giants' preseason win over the Jets, and the report on injuries to running back Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley seemed OK. What the Giants coach had a problem with Sunday was a video of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul throwing second-year cornerback Prince Amukamara into an ice bath at training camp at the University at Albany. It was tweeted by punter Steve Weatherford before Saturday's 26-3 win over the Jets, and it contains some inappropriate language. The incident also could be considered either hazing -- although that's odd for a second-year player -- or even bullying. Some might explain it as camp bonding, but Amukamara doesn't look amused. Neither was Coughlin. "I'm learning about that today," Coughlin said. "I really didn't have any information about that until maybe an hour ago, an hour before this conference call. I'm going to look into it; I'm going to talk to the parties involved." It was not clear whether Coughlin had seen the video of Pierre-Paul carrying a non-resistant Amukamara through a hallway as teammates followed, some shouting inappropriate comments. Once Pierre-Paul reaches the ice tubs he seems to fling Amukamara into the water. The cornerback gets out of the water quickly but the look on his face suggests he is upset. "Anything that occurs within this family or within our group should not be a part of any social media aspect," Coughlin said. "I'm going to address that strongly, and I've spent a little time on that this preseason, but I'll look into it further." Giants players were off Sunday. Amukamara told the Star-Ledger of Newark after the game that he was confused getting thrown into the bath since he was no longer a rookie, but he said: "I know it's all love. Yeah, no one ever likes it, especially when it's you vs. eight and no one's helping you. But it doesn't mess up our team morale or anything." While the video attracted the most attention Sunday, the good news for the Super Bowl champions (No. 3 in the AP Pro32) was that Bradshaw seemingly has only a bruised right hand after it hit a helmet and popped a cyst on his hand in the process. Hosley, who made the biggest play of the game returning a second-quarter interception 77 yards for a touchdown, has a case of turf toe on his right foot. It was in a cast after the game. "Hopefully nothing will turn up in terms of all the tests, and then it's going to be something that is going to be very sore," Coughlin said. "There's no doubt. How he is able to deal with it will indicate how fast he can get back on the practice field." Hosley was on the field for only seven plays. The third-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech did not know on which play he was hurt. If there was an area of concern for the Giants, it was their running game, which finished last in the league in 2011. They gained 58 yards on 32 carries, a horrible 1.8-yard average. Coughlin said the Jets used a lot of fronts, more than he expected for a preseason game. "That's going to be very helpful," Coughlin said. "I didn't like it, a lot of it, and we certainly had our share of mistakes, and our second and third guys were kind of swimming a little bit. But I don't think there's any question about the value of it. Having experienced it this early in the season, the benefit will be going forward." Coughlin was not sure how long linebacker Mark Herzlich (hip pointer) and defensive end Adrian Tracy (minor hamstring) would be sidelined.

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will go with four receivers against the Steelers as Michael Floyd has been listed as a healthy scratch for the AFC title game. 

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots had all five of their wideouts -- Floyd, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola -- available to them for Sunday's matchup, but they're opted to use the four who are most experienced in the team's offense. 

Hogan (thigh), Mitchell (knee) and Amendola (ankle) were all listed as questionable going into the weekend, but all have been deemed physically ready to play as their team vies for a Super Bowl berth. 

Floyd had his worst game as a member of the Patriots last week in the Divisional Round against the Texans. On two routes, both slants, Floyd ran the pattern in such a way that there appeared to be some miscommunication between him and quarterback Tom Brady. One was picked off and the other was almost picked. 

Floyd admitted as much last week, saying that there are still intricacies to the Patriots offense that he needs to pick up -- including exactly how Brady wants certain routes run.

Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans last week but felt optimistic soon thereafter that he'd be good to go for the conference championship. Mitchell hasn't played since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 16. 

Other Patriots inactives for Sunday include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back DJ Foster, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, safety Jordan Richards and corners Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones.

Haggerty: For better or worse, Bruins need to make a call on Julien

Haggerty: For better or worse, Bruins need to make a call on Julien

The Bruins coach and leaders in their dressing room spoke out this weekend, and their words all basically spread the same supportive message.

Claude Julien and his longtime players aren’t ready for a change at the head coaching position for the Black and Gold and they hope the longtime bench boss is in Boston for as long as possible after 10 mostly successful years on the job.

Still, it may not go down that way this season with real pressure on B’s management, coaches and the players to end a two-year playoff drought. Things are currently going pretty badly with the Bruins in the middle of a three-game losing streak before facing the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon.

The heat has been dialed up as high as it’s ever been on Julien in his 10 years of employment with Boston and everybody seems to know it.

“Right now we’re all confident in Claude, and we all want to be here and play for him. If [saving Julien’s job] is the extra motivation you need for the games then so be it,” said Patrice Bergeron. “But we’re all professionals and we’re here to win hockey games. I’ve said this before that I’ve been with Claude for 10 years, and he’s the guy that I believe in and that I want to play for.”

Similarly, the Bruins captain has been with Julien for the long haul in Boston and has worked closely with the coach keeping lines of communication open in good, Cup-winning times and bad, non-playoff times. Chara bestowed Julien with every bit the endorsement that Bergeron did, and it’s clear much of the core group wants to keep the longtime coach in place.

“We don’t pay attention [to the chatter]. Claude is our coach and Claude will be our coach. We have confidence in him,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “He’s proven to be a coach that does a lot of good things for this organization. We just have to come up with some wins, battle it and we’re all in this together.”

One thing that’s a legitimate question: Is the devotion of players like Chara and Bergeron toward Julien a defining reason to keep the longtime coach?

There isn’t a sense the Bruins have tuned out their coach, as can happen in dysfunctional NHL situations, but there is a feeling that longtime B’s players with status are pretty comfortable with iron-clad no-movement clauses in their contracts and a relationship with the coach where there’s a level they may not be getting pushed toward very often.

Comfort isn’t always a good thing in an NHL dressing room and it’s felt altogether too comfortable at times in some of those no-show performances from the Black and Gold over the past couple of failed seasons. 

For his part, Julien doesn't think that was the case and intends on continuing to work his way through the struggles with a mix of youth and veteran players who clearly have enough to be a playoff team.

“If we’re going with what we said we were going with and there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, so be it,” said Julien. “I think we put ourselves in a position earlier in the year where we could all of a sudden believe that we’re a playoff team...absolutely. I still think we’re a playoff team. Whether we can do it or not we’ll find out at the end of the year, but my job is to do everything I can to get us into the playoffs and that’s what I’m going to do.

“As far as the [firing] rumors are concerned, they’re out there and I know that. But I don’t worry about it because worrying is wasting a lot of my time. And my time is spent trying to fix things here.”

It would be ridiculous and pointless to compare this season’s Bruins roster to the groups that won Cups, made it to the Finals twice and even won a President’s Trophy in 2013-14. Clearly, this particular roster isn’t as deep, or as difficult to play against, as those talent-stuffed hockey clubs, but this team also has enough high-end talent that they should edge teams like Toronto, Ottawa and Philadelphia out of a playoff spot.

This is where the theoretical move to fire Julien comes into play.

The Bruins are at a critical stage of their season where things are slipping away from them and the team is showing some of the maddening characteristics of the past two seasons.

They are unprepared to play on too many nights. They take opponents lightly on too many nights particularly in the past couple of months. A tiring Tuukka Rask isn’t able to bail the team out as much as he was in the first couple of months. Because the Bruins are being strangled by a roster of immovable players with no-trade clauses and can’t even entertain trading their blue-chip prospects Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, the trade options just aren’t there for Don Sweeney and Cam Neely right now.

It would take a brilliant, creative GM to swing a hockey deal that could pump life back into the reeling Bruins. The B’s front office hasn’t shown those qualities in the past few years running the team. Instead, they have GMs from other teams lining up and making one-sided offers to the desperate Bruins in hopes that Sweeney/Neely will buckle under the pressure to push into the playoffs this spring.

So, the only impactful card the Bruins can play is firing a coach in Julien who probably isn’t the coach of the future when the next generation of B’s prospects is ready to go. The hope is that move can light a fire under their meandering hockey club if it doesn't start reeling off some wins in a row. An argument can be made that a coach such as current assistant Bruce Cassidy could get more out of some of Boston’s younger players they’re relying heavily on this season. The former Providence Bruins coach might fit a little better into the overall philosophy that management is looking to instill.

It might just be that making a coaching change is the best midseason card that Bruins management has to play given all of the circumstances.

Still, the one thing that B’s management can’t do is keep Julien twisting in the wind and answering all the questions about his future with no clear vote of confidence from his bosses. Julien is the winningest coach in Bruins history and led them to their glorious Stanley Cup run in 2011. He’s earned a wealth of respect around the league for the professional, classy way he’s always conducted himself on and off the ice and he won’t be out of work long if/when he is relieved of his duties on Causeway Street.

So, if the Bruins intend to make the move with their coach then they need to do it sooner rather than later.

People around the NHL are watching the Bruins intently to see how they handle this situation with a world-class coach in Julien, and Neely and Sweeney continue to be radio/TV silent, despite the Bruins media requesting to speak with them on Friday morning in the throes of their losing streak.

It’s high time for Bruins management to step up and make a decision on Julien for better or for worse, and treat him the way they’d undoubtedly like to be treated if it were them suddenly in the danger zone should they miss the playoffs again this spring.