Branch: Football isn't meant for everybody to play


Branch: Football isn't meant for everybody to play

Bill Belichick's "suck it up" message regarding New England's short week has been received by the team.
When asked if the compressed schedule is good practice for the regular season's Week 11 and Week 12 games (Indianapolis Sunday, Jets Thursday), Deion Branch answered the affirmative.
Will it be exactly the same? No; managing 90 men for two games in five days adds a layer of intrigue that November will lack. But either way, whatever the month, the players have to take what comes.
"Theres one thing aboutme and Tom Brady were just talking about this game just a while agofootball isnt meant for everybody to play," Branch said in Tampa. "Its a very mentally straining job as far as the game. Only certain guys are picked to play this game and the ones who are chosen, those are the ones that stand out. You have to stand strong through these times here.
"But at the same time were blessed and we also love the game as well."
Branch is a sage veteran among Patriots; this season will be his eleventh in the NFL, seventh with New England. He's a go-to for reporters because of his mellow straightforwardness.
Consider all the ado about this year's receiver competition. The team went out and got Brandon Lloyd, Donte' Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney this offseason. Doubt was cast on Branch's standing.
But as far as he's saying, it's just the same old, same old.
"Trust me, Im dead honest when I say this: Ive gone into each training camp since my rookie season the same as I did this one -- ready to compete and I came in prepared. Just doing everything the coaches ask of me, whether that be special teams, whatever, any position on the football field and making sure I know every receiver position.
"Thats our job and I honestly will say that has been the training throughout my entire 11 years."
A message of its own.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.

-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.

-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.

-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.

-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.

-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.

-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.

-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.

Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach


Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday. 

The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week. 

Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).

Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.