Curran's Quick Hits: Remember Darius Butler?


Curran's Quick Hits: Remember Darius Butler?

Last week, Darius Butler had two interceptions one returned for a touchdown and a fumble recovery in the Colts win over Jacksonville. If the former Patriots second-rounder has anything resembling a competent game Sunday at Gillette expect this from Patriots fans. And he will be starting with Colts corner Jerraud Powers landing on IR this week.

I dont understand how Dan Fouts can pronounce virtually every word correctly except Wilfork. Wilfert? How do you get there? Is it a linguistic blind spot? "Honey, can you get me a fert, I just dropped mine on the floor." "Make sure you keep right at the fert."

So Ryan Fitzpatrick says Brandon Spikes is a punk. Can anyone step back, objectively look at the way the guy plays on the field and think otherwise? He took a cheap shot on Bills tight end Scott Chandler in the first meeting between the teams, a low-rent head shot from Chandlers blind side. He eye-gouged his way to infamy at Florida.

Hes not simply out there trying to leave an impression or send a message. He tries to injure. But the hit on Fitzpatrick while illegal was unavoidable. And the Patriots defense is better with him than without him.

But hes also in his own world. Witness the Fred Jackson fumble at the 1-yard line on Sunday. As the discussion between officials ensued, Spikes tilted his helmet back on his head. When he saw a replay of the fumble, he took his helmet off and started gesticulating. Chief. Put the helmet back on. Thats a 15-yard penalty if the officials were paying attention.

Finally, Jay Cutlers concussion is on him. The rules protecting quarterbacks were installed to make sure they were covered when they were doing something else i.e. throwing. A quarterback who slides late or pushes the notion hes about to become a runner and still tries to throw is an abuse of those protections.

Speaking of fumbles, how can the NFL continue to leave unaddressed the post-fumble chaos that ensues two to three times per game? The guy who falls on the fumble is the guy who emerges from the pile with it about 60 percent of the time. Meanwhile, instead of trying to determine who was on the ball first, officials are peeling players off the pile who show up 10 seconds late looking to bellyflop on the pile and twist fingers. I know this isnt a foolproof solution, but officials need to put up a hand signaling that the loose ball portion of the play is over and any player joining the fray or pile will incur a 15-yard penalty for his team.

I am rooting so hard for Jon Gruden to fill one of the head coaching vacancies this offseason. He was fun in the booth for about three weeks.

The poor Chiefs. Anyone see them get called for a group celebration penalty exulting over a defensive touchdown that got called back. Pretty much encapsulates their season.

With Ben Roethlisbergers right shoulder in disrepair, the hierarchy of the AFC changes again. Its going to be between the Texans, Patriots and Ravens the rest of the way.

Jets linebacker Calvin Pace before the game in Seattle: Were looking for that truly defining moment to our season, and this has got to be a defining moment for us, because we cant be 3-6, that just cannot happen. I believe in the guys. I think adversity really does show what your character is, show what your team is all about.

And defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson: Yes, we will be playing postseason football this year . . . Were going to get (Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson) rattled. We know theyre 4-0 at home, but were not worried about whats going on over there in Seattle . . . Were going to go in there and pretty much set the tone.

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

BOSTON – It took until his 43rd game in the NHL to finally score his first goal with the Bruins, but Rhode Island native Noel Acciari said it made him appreciate it all the more when that moment finally did arrived on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Acciari finished off a Riley Nash feed on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush that gave the Bruins an insurance goal they badly needed in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

Then David Pastrnak hit Acciari with a shaving cream pie to the face during the NESN broadcast as a way to commemorate his teammate’s big scoring moment, and Torey Krug immediately fished the puck out of the net to make certain that Acciari would get it.

So it was the best of both worlds with the team-oriented Acciari, who watched his Bruins win to go right along with his hallmark scoring moment that he’ll remember forever.

“Your first NHL goal is a special feeling and to finally have it, you know, like I said before I couldn’t have done it without the other guys, the other four, five guys on the ice. But it feels good,” said Acciari, who has a goal and four points in 24 games this season in Boston. “It just shows you how special it is. It’s not going to come the first game you play; it could come 10, 20, for me probably over 40, but it still feels the same.”

Clearly it’s more about providing a physical, heavy and aggressive opponent when Acciari suits up for the Black and Gold, and it’s less about providing offensive production that’s really a bonus from the fourth line. The focus on throwing hits, aggravating opponents and playing with extra energy have been a big part of Acciari’s game since his return from Providence, and that is absolutely been by design.

“I think I kind of strayed [from my strengths] when I got back from my injury – I kind of strayed away from the hitting game,” said Acciari. “Just getting in on the fore-check and, you know, just kind of getting back to that down in Providence was huge and kind of get my confidence up down there helped out a lot. So when I got the call up I was ready for anything.”

He’s certainly played like he was ready for anything while posting a goal and two points along with a plus-4 in his first four games back for the Bruins organization. Acciari did all of that while leading everybody in Tuesday night’s game with eight registered hits in the win over Nashville. So the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Acciari gave a pretty good example against the Predators of just what he can do with steady ice time and the trust of his teammates as all of the hockey clubs in the East gear up to finish strong for the playoffs.

Now all Acciari has to do is continue to play consistently, punish opposing players and chip in a little offense from time and time as he carves out a permanent role on Boston’s fourth line, and helps his team win a few along the way. 

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Mike Florio joins Quick Slants to discuss the problems of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, and the latest NFL rule changes.