Underwood: I have to run a better route

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Underwood: I have to run a better route

FOXBORO -- Caught in the middle of Tom Brady and Bill O'Brien's shouting match during Sunday's game against the Redskins was Patriots wide receiver Tiquan Underwood.

Brady's fourth-quarter interception was intended for Underwood. Instead it ended up in the hands of Washington cornerback Josh Wilson in the back of the end zone.

And it seemed that Brady's comments towards Underwood on the sideline sparked O'Brien to step in and critique the veteran quarterback's poorly thrown pass.
On Monday at Gillette Stadium, Underwood talked about what he could have done differently to prevent both the interception and the heated exchange on the Patriots' sideline.

"As a wide receiver, we must get open and catch the ball," said Underwood. "And if we can't catch it, no one catches it. So I have to just become a defender for Tom there, and don't let the guy intercept the ball.

"It was a good play by the guy, but I know that I've got to run a better route to catch the ball. And if not, I have to bat it down."

Underwood said that he and Brady spoke about the play after the war of words. He also said he wasn't surprised that the exchange took place, even if it looked to be an awkward situation.

"It's just part of the game," said Underwood. "We're all passionate about our job and what we do. It's just part of it.

"It's part of the sport that we play. It's very intense, especially on game day. It's just guys having passion for their jobs. And it's something that we love to do."

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

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A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

Less than a week after announcing his retirement on Instagram, Kevin Garnett was back in the gym with old friends Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.

Cue the comeback rumors? "Anything is possible!"

The tweet from the Clippers called Garnett a “special guest” at the team’s practice on Thursday. 

Rivers, the current Clippers and ex-Celtics coach, told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan last week he was willing to bring Garnett, who has a home in Malibu, to Los Angeles for one last season but KG, 40, chose to retire. So, apparently, the reunion Thursday with Doc, Pierce and Garnett was only temporary.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a former Celtics assistant under Rivers, wants Garnett to join his staff.