Pats backup QB's role-play to mirror Eagles' style

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Pats backup QB's role-play to mirror Eagles' style

The quarterback styles of Tom Brady and Michael Vick are well documented and very different.

For that reason, you can bet that it's a little tougher for the Patriots to replicate an offense that will be similar to that of the Eagles' come Sunday, meaning the Pats defense could be in for a few surprises.

Bill Belichick isn't going to have Brady play the part of Vick and waste precious practice time that is obviously needed with the offense -- specifically Brady's wide receivers.

That's where backup quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett come in.

No, those QB's aren't scramblers either -- and of course neither have the skills that somebody like Vick has -- but they can at least offer probable scenarios for the Patriots defense to respond to.

"We try to get it, yeah, we try to get it with the quarterbacks running around, whether its Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer running around some," Belichick said. "Some of their plays are conducive to that their bootlegs plays and roll out plays and things like that, where it's just part of the play.

"But there are also other plays where we tell them if it breaks down to scramble around. Of course we cant simulate his speed and athleticism; I don't think anybody really can, but we can at least build an awareness of it and try to simulate it the best we can, but it's not quite the same."

As far as how the Patriots plan on defending Vick, it's yet to be determined. The pass rush has been an improvement as of late on the Patriots' defensive line, but getting to either Vick or Vince Young will take some extra work.

"Well, the players who are pass rushing the quarterback have a responsibility to keep him within the framework of the pocket," Bill Belichick said. "Depending on what the defensive call is, sometimes we have a person assigned to a scrambling quarterback; sometimes we dont, again depending on what defense we're in and what the call is. Weve done that both ways. If we assign somebody to him, then obviously that guy has him and the other people can be more aggressive in the rush."

To keep Vick or Young in check, the Pats will need to come around from the edges (think Andre Carter and Mark Anderson) and keep them in the pocket. Don't be surprised if you see a linebacker or two "spy" on Vick, waiting for the potential scramble and rush. We've all seen what he can do with just a few yards of open space.

"If we don't assign somebody to him, then everybody has to be more lane conscious," Belichick said. "It's kind of like, on a smaller scale, a punt return, where somebody has to be outside, somebody has to be inside and you have to keep the ball leveraged."

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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