Curran: Haynesworth just another personnel whiff

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Curran: Haynesworth just another personnel whiff

Almost two weeks ago, the Patriots heaved their highest-priced cornerback overboard two days before a critical AFC game. Leigh Bodden and his 4 million contract left and the Patriots lost to Pittsburgh.Two days after another Patriots loss, we have another release. Albert Haynesworth, pitched as a low-risk, high-upside acquisition at the end of July, is gone.
Albert's getting canned -- first reported by Ian Rapoport of The Boston Herald --comes less than a day after Bill Belichick's dubious claim that Haynesworth sat the final 24 minutes of Sunday's game because his spot in the rotation never came up. That was a crock. Haynesworth's final play as a Patriots was on a 10-yard Brandon Jacobs touchdown run on which Giants guard David Diehl got Haynesworth turned and -- instead of fighting the block -- Haynesworth tried to swim through it, making the hole for Jacobs to waddle through even larger. There are unconfirmed reports of Haynesworth and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson arguing intensely on the sideline after the play. That argument was said to have been quelled by Jerod Mayo and Bill Belichick. A source told me that, later in the half, Haynesworth approached Belichick to apparently further explain himself and Belichick dismissed him with a wave of his hand. If only Belichick were so easily able to wave away all the problems he's dealing with. The moves the Patriots have made since the end of the lockout have been blunderiffic. Acquiring Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis andChad Ochocinco -- nearly12 million worth of washed-up players. Then banishing Bodden, a move that brings the tally to 16 million. The Patriots released secondary players James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather and Darius Butler -- three guys who were far from All-Pro -- and still have found a way to get worse in pass defense. Go back a little further and see that two of their second-round picks from 2010, Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace, are on the field as much as you and I. See that their third-round pick, wideout Taylor Price has caught exactly two passes and played in three games in his career. The Patriots had another third-rounder to screw up in 2010, but they traded a third and a fifth to Oakland for pass-rusher Derrick Burgess. Burgess is now fishing somewhere in Mississippi. I'm sure the Kraft family is quite affluent, but wasting 16 million onnon-performing employees will cause an eyebrow to rise when it comes time to look at budgetary decisions. Haynesworth is far from the worst personnel move of the last few years. But his failure shines a light on the fact Belichick and his personnel caddies swung and missed so badly on what the team could expect from Haynesworth and do as a defense. He was supposed to be a 4-3 beast for the Patriots, buddied up inside with Vince Wilfork, crushing the pocket back in the face of the quarterback where Andre Carter and perhaps Cunningham would clean up with sacks. Hand in the dirt, go kill the quarterback and all that. None of it's really happened. The Patriots continue to be the league's worst defense. And Haynesworth was better than neither Kyle Love nor Gerard Warren. According to ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss, Haynesworth played 133 of 561 snapsin six games. He was inactive for two. He had six tackles. Messages to Haynesworth haven't been immediately responded to.

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Roughly 12 hours after embattled Bruins coach Claude Julien bristled at a question about his job security and labeled it “shock journalism” in the heat of the moment after a tight loss to the Blackhawks, the B’s bench boss delivered a classy, heartfelt response to the same question.

Julien was asked about it in French by a reporter from the Montreal Gazette, but answered in English because of the “loyalty he feels to the people in Boston.”

In essence, Julien basically said he should be relieved of his duties if he’s deemed to be behind what ails the Black and Gold, but he’s going to keep working to fix things until that day comes.

It was exactly the kind of response you would expect from a coach who's taken the B’s to the mountaintop in his 10 years running the team and will always be respected and loved in Boston long after his coaching days are done.

“How do I deal with all of the rumors and all that is going on? I didn’t feel like [Friday night] was the appropriate time for me to answer that after a game where you’re emotions are pretty high. I wasn’t getting into that, but to be honest with you my job is to coach the hockey club,” said Julien. “Am I worried about my job? No, I’m not. Because it’s not my job to worry about it. My job is to fix things, and my job is to coach this team and do everything I can. If I become one of the reasons that we’re not doing well, then management has to make that decision.

“It’s not my decision to make. I’m not quitting on this team. I’m not quitting on anybody. I’m not quitting on management. I’m ready and willing to go through the hard times, and I said that at the end of last year. If it’s deemed my fault, then I shouldn’t be here, and that’s all I can say.”

While the Bruins roster is clearly less than perfect and has a larger dose of youthful players than in years past, Julien also freely admitted that they should be held to a higher standard after proving many nights that they should be a playoff team. That’s the mandate from Bruins ownership and that’s the challenge that Julien has willingly accepted.

It’s also the challenge that’s falling a bit short now as they’ve lost three crushing games in a row and have fallen behind the Ottawa Senators in the playoff standings, with Toronto also right behind them holding six games in hand.

“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 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.”

Julien and the Bruins are headed to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and will have two games against the red-hot Pens headed into an All-Star break weekend that must feel like a well-earned oasis for Julien at this point in the season. 

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”