The Patriots' decision to try an onside kick in the final 2 12 minutes Sunday when they were trailing by six -- rather than kicking deep in the confidence would stop the Steelers and force a punt -- told Ty Law and Troy Brown everything they need to know about Bill Belichick's trust in his defense.
"He doesn't trust them at all," said Law, the former Pro Bowl cornerback. "And would you? I wouldn't trust them, to be honest with you."
"That showed it all to me," concurred Brown, a long-time standout wide receiver with the Pats. "You got three timeouts . . . and you got well over two minutes to go in the ballgame and you don't kick it away and try to play defense behind it? No, you don't trust them."
"Just for one stop?" added Law. "You need one stop to get the ball back in Tom Brady's hands? No, you don't trust your defense."
But both felt that while Belichick must shoulder some of the blame for not putting together a defense that can perform at championship levels, the players have to look in the mirror, as well.
"It's up to the players to perform," said Law. "At some point you got to go out there and make a play."
BRIGHTON, Mass. – He hasn’t been cleared to play just yet, but fourth line energy guy Noel Acciari is closing in on a return to the Bruins lineup.
Acciari joined in for a Bruins morning skate for the first time in 14 games at the end of last week, and practiced with the team again Monday for a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. The 25-year-old has missed almost exactly a month with a lower body injury, and said he can thankfully now see the light at the end of the injury tunnel for a healthy return to the B’s lineup.
“It was getting lonely with all the guys on the road, and with me just skating with Frankie [Vatrano] and Zee [Chara],” said Acciari. “It’s great to be back out there with the guys, and it’s good to be back. Each skate I feel a lot better out there and just trying to get my conditioning back. Just being back with the guys is a great feeling, and it’s a big help.”
The fourth line has been okay in Acciari’s absence, but it seemed to be lacking the same kind of energy and hard edge the Providence College standout provided when he was healthy. That was part of what led the B’s to call up the similarly rugged Anton Blidh from Providence at the end of last week, and could provide some interesting energy line options when Acciari is ready to return.
“I’ve played with [Blidh] before, I’m used to him and I know what he brings to the table just like he knows what I can do,” said Acciari. “So it would work out well [if we played together] I think.”
Acciari has two assists and a plus-1 rating along with four penalty minutes while averaging 10:01 of ice time in 12 games this season, and proved to be very good at unnerving opponents simply by playing all-out all the time.
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