Belichick seeing the positive in rookie Bolden

854655.jpg

Belichick seeing the positive in rookie Bolden

Preseason Game 2: Eagles.
With several starters sitting, and the all-important Game 3 just four days away in Tampa, a big opportunity was laid out for rookie Brandon Bolden.
Stevan Ridley went into the preseason as the guy to beat for the No. 1 running back spot. Shane Vereen, back from the injury that plagued him last season, showed well against New Orleans.
Bolden's spot on the roster is less secure. But with some special teams work there could be one to win, according to Bill Belichick.
On a Tuesday evening conference call, New England's bench boss said Bolden and the other backs will have to fight it out.
"I can't control how the players play -- that's up to them. What we can do is coach them, and teach them to the best of our ability, and prepare them for when they do play. In practice, getting them repetitions and making sure they understand their assignments But the players have to go out and perform.
"I can't tell you how that competition's going to work out, whether it's going to be a couple guys, or a few guys bunched up close together, or if somebody's going to separate from the group or not."
Bolden getting several reps against Philadelphia is part of the process.
"We tried to play those guys last night and, in a lot of cases, just left them in the game, so they played on first, second, and third down. In a lot of cases, it wasn't a third down substitution. We did it more by groups that had practiced together rather than by down to try to help ourselves evaluate those players on all three downs and not necessarily pigeon-hole them into one situation."
The undrafted rookie finished with seven rushes for 14 yards. The number would have been higher if he hadn't run backwards on a red zone draw for a loss of seven.
In the second quarter, Bolden muffed a punt. Philadelphia recovered both the ball and the game's momentum, taking the ball from New England's 24 into the end zone on three plays.
Bolden failed to recognize a fair catch situation on his next punt return try and got bulldozed.
It wasn't all bad. But those plays mentioned can't be ignored when evaluating personnel. To Bolden's credit, Belichick noticed more of the positive.
"I think Brandon competed well and he definitely showed up with some positive plays in the kicking game and also offensively. We'll take a look at different people doing different things, trying to see what kind of depth and versatility we have with some players before we decide for sure to lock in to one particular spot or we use that person's versatility in a couple different spots. I think that's what we need based on the make-up of our roster.
"There are a lot of things that he can learn from and will probably execute better next time," Belichick concluded. "Overall, I think, a positive performance. But not perfect."
Bolden has to hope, in the end, it's good enough.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rawls leads Seahawks to 40-7 rout of Panthers

panthers_seahawks_thomas_rawls_120416.jpg

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rawls leads Seahawks to 40-7 rout of Panthers

SEATTLE - Behind Thomas Rawls bouncing off and through tacklers and a big-play punch from Tyler Lockett, the Seattle Seahawks rediscovered their offensive star power on Sunday night.

It came at a significant cost to their defense.

Rawls ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Lockett took a reverse 75 yards for a score to open the second half and the Seahawks routed the Carolina Panthers 40-7 on Sunday night.

Click here to read the complete story

Troy Brown: Greatest Show on Turf lost to 'greatest team on [bleeping] Earth'

Troy Brown: Greatest Show on Turf lost to 'greatest team on [bleeping] Earth'

Move over, Larry Bird and David Ortiz. Troy Brown is joining the party.

Bird was the inaugural member of Pottymouthed Boston Athletes Speaking In Public group; in 1981, he enlived the Celtics' City Hall Plaza celebration of their NBA title by quipping, "Yeah, Moses does eat [blank]" after spotting a sign in the crowd that declared Moses Malone of the just-vanguished Houston Rockets ate . . . well, you know. In 2013, he was joined by Ortiz, though Big Papi's expletive was emotional and from the heart: Days after the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured 264, Ortiz thundered "This is our [bleeping] city" to a stunned, and then delighted, Fenway Park crowd honoring the first responders to the tragedy.

And now we have Troy Brown.

The Patriots honored their 2001 Super Bowl champions, who not only kicked off the Patriots dynasty but jump-started Boston's decade-and-a-half of athletic dominance, at halftime of Sunday's win over the Rams. It proceeded as expected -- you knew you were going to hear Robert Kraft's "We are all Patriots" again (and again, and again) -- until Brown took the podium.

“The best fans, we got them," he began. "The best coach, we got him. The best owner, we got him. The most rings, we’re working it.”

Pointing to the group of 40 or so ex-teammates who had gathered for the occasion, he continued: “This is the original group of guys who did their job. The Optum Lounge, the nice seats and the scoreboard" -- in other words, Gillette Stadium -- "is here because of this group."

It was the group that upset the Rams -- a.k.a. The Greatest Show On Turf -- in Super Bowl XXXVI. And, in the end, Brown couldn't hold his tongue.

"Fifteen years ago, the Greatest Show on Turf lost to the greatest team on [bleeping] Earth.”

Larry and Big Papi? You've got company.