Postcard 20

Postcard 20

FOXBORO -- Another Gronk-less day - and Lloyd-less and Hernandez-less - as the Patriots took the field for the 20th day of training camp.

With Gronk, it's just been a matter of rep management. With Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, I'm not sure that's the case but I'm leaning toward that being the case.

WEATHER
Warm, peekaboo sunshine. Let's go low-to mid-80s - Paoletti says cloud cover was "good."

WHAT THEY WOREFull pads for all the kids.

WHAT THEY DID
1:45-1:52: A review of some blocking assignments on kickoff returns.

1:52-2:12: Walkthrough reps with a lot of variety in the personnel groupings along the offensive line.

2:12-2:40: Running, position stretching, position drills.

2:40-2:46: 1-on-1 route running for receivers and DBs

2:47-3:08: 11-on-11

3:08-3:15 - Barrel toss for QBs, special teams works on situational kickoffs.

3:15-3:37 - Offensive and defensive lines worked on tandem blocks and rushes; 7-on-7 for the rest

3:37-3:39: 1-on-1 tackling

3:39-3:46: Special teams work, field goals

3:46-4:00:11-on-11

WHAT WE SAWJames Ihedigbo got back in action after a couple days off.

Others who did not practice: Spencer Larsen, Eric Kettani, Daniel Fells, Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Hix, Alfonzo Dennard, Visanthe Shiancoe, Markus Zusevics, Tracy White, Gerard Warren, Jonathan Fanene, Malcolm Williams, Myron Pryor. Brian Waters still hasn't reported. Which reminds of an uncomfortable exchange between personnel man Nick Caserio and Mike Reiss. Reiss asked if the team knew whether Waters was playing in 2012 or not. Caserio said he had no updates. Reiss reminded Caserio that he wasn't asking for an update, just a yes or no response. Caserio double-talked in a small circle.

Logan Mankins wasn't in full pads. Julian Edelman wasn't wearing anything on his wrist after he appeared to ding it on Monday.

Zoltan Mesko appeared well-caffeinated. He was playing hacky-sack with the other kickers, sprinting past the rest of the team (and doing a pose-down) at the end of sprints, patting Ross Ventrone on the head after a good play, dunking over the goal post, running downfield to down punts at the goal line and feigning pain when hit with a blocking pad. Busy.

Matt Slater had the catch of the day in the right side of the end zone on a deep ball by Tom Brady. Slater went up and plucked the ball one-handed away from Devin McCourty.

Corner Marquice Cole dinged himself going to the ground while defending Jabar Gaffney downfield. It appeared trainers were looking at his shoulder.

Scott O'Brien, the special teams coach, was high energy all day.

Kyle Arrington showed some excellent change-of-direction coverage sticking with Julian Edelman during 1-on-1s.

Patrick Chung had a near pick of Tom Brady along the right sideline when Brady tried to jam a ball in to Edelman.

Derrick Martin, a safety, wiped out hard on some downfield coverage. A lot of guys were slipping during the early portion of practice.

Deion Branch had the second best catch, beating Kyle Arrington on a leaping crossing pattern.

The first offensive line for Brady in 11-on-11 was Nate Solder, Donald Thomas, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald and Marcus Cannon.

Ryan Mallett did not have a good day. He messed up a screen badly, having to throw it away. His accuracy has not been on a significant uptick. He seems very wristy on his throws, as if he curls his hand too much inward. He wasn't so sure I knew what the hell I was talking about when I mentioned it to him. Maybe I don't. But any port in a storm, Ryan.

Of course, Mallett was the only guy to get one in on the barrel toss. So skills competition? He's your guy.

Trevor Scott had another play where he showed up with a strip sack of Brady. The defensive line and secondary won by a ton in the passing game on Tuesday. Among the other turnovers, Steve Gregory picked off Brady on a pass headed for Welker. Chung eventually picked Brady one-handed in the end zone. A wobbly Hoyer pass was tipped and picked by Martin. And Nate Ebner picked Mallett in the two-minute drill.

A few direct snaps to various "quarterbacks" Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen.

Marcus Cannon and Marcus Fortson had to run penalty laps during the tandem blocking stuff. Chandler Jones decleated Derek Dennis.

The three quarterbacks worked on sprintout passes.

There was a lot of situational stuff again - very specific (ball on the 20, nine seconds left, one timeout) and a lot of two-minute.

Brandon Bolden made a terrific one-handed catch on the sidelines on a high throw by Mallett.

Stevan Ridley coughed it up after a reception. His second fumble in two days.

WHO'S HOTShane Vereen. Very smooth again. Just looked fast and comfortable on the reps he got, particularly in the passing game.

Steve Gregory-Patrick Chung. The pair is really locking down the middle of the secondary and it's more than evident they need to see some different competition because they are locked in right now.

WHO'S NOTStevan Ridley. Two fumbles in two days is not the way to quell angst over the post-Benny ball security in New England.

Ryan Mallett. He's gonna retire this category.

The passing offense. Tight coverage on receivers who weren't uncovering, forced throws, wobbly throws, bad timing. Yuck.

WHAT THEY SAID"Ow! Hey!" -- Not Sure. But someone yelled it on a middle run by Shane Vereen. It's just not an exclamation you hear very often on a football field.

Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity'

Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity'

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.