Bruins

Amount of money Penn St. paying to Paterno's estate

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Amount of money Penn St. paying to Paterno's estate

From Comcast SportsNetHARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State has agreed to provide millions in payments and benefits to Joe Paterno's estate and family members under the late football coach's employment contract, although a family lawyer says the Paternos did not sign away their right to sue.The school turned over four checks Thursday worth more than 3 million for bonuses that covered the season, bowl game and entire career, according to a university spokeswoman.A breakdown provided by Penn State included the use by Paterno's family of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years and 900,000 from television and radio revenue from last season. Half the broadcast revenues were paid in February, and the rest will be paid later this year, the school said.Paterno family lawyer Wick Sollers issued a statement Thursday saying there has been no settlement but rather "a straightforward payment of moneys indisputably owed to the Paterno estate. The university had requested that the family agree to a full release in return for the payments under the contract. That request was declined and no release was signed."Without a release, Paterno's estate could still sue under the contract or some other reason, if it wishes.School spokesman Bill Mahon described it as the university and Paterno's estate finalizing the remaining payments that were due to the longtime coach, who was fired in November in the wake of former assistant Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sexual abuse charges.Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85.The university also said it would pay the coach's widow, Sue Paterno, 1,000 a month for life, and provide her with on-campus parking and access to university hydrotherapy equipment.Other elements of the package include a final paycheck of 34,000, a death benefit of 51,000 and 350,000 -- payable over five years -- under a 1986 consulting agreement. The university also agreed to forgive 350,000 in outstanding loans and debt. No explanation was provided regarding Paterno's debts to the school.While the school said in a news release that the total value of the package was "over 5.5 million," added together the various elements are worth about 6.7 million. The stadium suite was valued at 1.5 million.The university's breakdown said his contract was amended in August to include a 3 million career bonus if he retired at the end of the season, the payment that constituted the largest part of the money his estate received Thursday. After Sandusky was arrested, Paterno announced he planned to retire at the season's end, but he then removed as coach by the trustees, who have said a "failure of leadership" on his part contributed to their decision.Mahon said the trustees decided to honor the terms of Paterno's contract as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 season."That contract recognized Coach Paterno's decades-long contributions to our football program and to the entire university," Mahon said.Paterno spent six decades at Penn State and 46 seasons as head coach, winning two national championships and becoming the face of the university.Sandusky is awaiting a June trial on 52 charges for alleged abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period, allegations he has repeatedly denied. Also charged were athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, accused of lying to a grand jury and failing to report suspected child abuse. They also await trial and have denied the allegations.The scandal also led to the departure of university president Graham Spanier, who remains a faculty member.

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, 'happy he can move on'

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, 'happy he can move on'

BOSTON – It was the final piece of closure for former Bruins coach Claude Julien when he made his return to TD Garden for the first time as the bench boss for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Julien stood on the visiting bench, watched a first period video tribute of appreciation for his 10 years guiding the Bruins and then received the warm, thankful ovation from the B’s fans that still very much appreciate his efforts that resulted in a 2011 Stanley Cup title. 

Unfortunately for him and the Canadiens he also presided over a lifeless, limp effort from his Montreal club in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins where his team simply couldn’t derive any emotion or juice from his return to Boston. Julien said in both French and English that that his Habs simply “laid an egg” on the road, and that was disappointing for him given that Montreal already has its back against the wall for a possible playoff spot. 

Instead Julien’s biggest bright spot in the game turned out to be the video tribute from the Bruins midway through the first period, for which he was greatly appreciative. 

“It’s always something that you kind of dread a little bit because it’s a little emotional, and at the same time [you’re] trying to keep your emotions intact there so you can coach a game and stuff like that. But, you know, I appreciate what they did for me,” said Julien following his second loss to the Bruins in five days. “As I said, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about this organization that gave me the opportunity to spend 10 years here. At the same time I’m kind of happy it’s over so we can move on now, but that doesn’t mean you forget what’s happened here. It’s always going to be with you. But now I’m in another chapter of my coaching career, and I’ve got to think about that.”

Julien’s counterpart, Bruce Cassidy, called the video tribute a “classy move” by the Bruins organization after the game had been settled, and there’s no doubting it was the right move for a coach that won over 400 games during his 10 years leading the Bruins. It was also the final chapter in his Bruins book as Julien now has completely moved on to his new gig guiding the Canadiens where it seems like his work is most definitely cut out for him. 

Will the real Jaguars defense please stand up?

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Will the real Jaguars defense please stand up?

FOXBORO -- Are we giving the Jaguars defense too much credit?

The numbers, on the surface, paint Jacksonville's defense as one of the best the NFL has seen in years. They finished the season as the league's top passing defense in terms of yards allowed, and they were second when it came to points allowed, total yards and sacks.

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Then there are the postseason awards that have been bestowed upon their defensive regulars. Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson have all been named Pro Bowlers. Ramsey and Campbell are First-Team All-Pros, while Bouye and Telvin Smith are Second-Teamers. Campbell is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. 

So why, then, is there this lingering feeling that the Jaguars defense isn't all it's cracked up to be? They allowed Ben Roethlisberger to heave his way to 42 points in the Divisional Round. In Week 16, they gave up 44 to Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners. Hell, Blaine Gabbert and the Cardinals put up 27 and beat them in Week 12. 

Those results don't exactly scream "all-time defense." So what is Jacksonville? Overrated? Properly rated? 

One thing is for certain: The Jags played an easy schedule. The combined winning percentage of their opponents in 2017 was a league-low 44 percent. And when it comes to the defense in particular, they had the second-easiest schedule in the league, according to Football Outsiders. It didn't hurt that they were able to play the Colts with Jacoby Brissett, the Texans before Deshaun Watson became a star and after he got hurt, and the NFL's No. 23-ranked Titans offense. Twice. Each. They also got the Ravens (No. 27 offense), Jets (No. 28), Bengals (No. 32), Browns (No. 24) and Cardinals (No. 22). Add it all up and that's nine games -- more than half their schedule -- against bottom-third NFL offenses. Two more games came against a Houston offense that featured starting quarterbacks Tom Savage and TJ Yates. 

When you dig into the analytics it's harder to find ways to poke holes in Jacksonville's credibility as a top-tier defensive unit. Pro Football Focus grades the Jags as their No. 1 defense, and it's really not close. Football Outsiders calls them their No. 1 defense in terms of DVOA. Even when you factor in some of its recent performances -- like letdowns versus the Steelers and Niners -- Jacksonville is still the league's No. 4 defense in weighted DVOA, which is adjusted so that games that were played earlier in the season are gradually less important. 

At the same time, the analytics can be occasionally unkind to the Jaguars. Football Outsiders has them ranked as one of the most inconsistent defenses in the league. According to their variance statistic, Jacksonville is the fourth most inconsistent defense in football. A deeper dive into the numbers has also located an apparent soft underbelly of the Jaguars defense. Per Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis, the Jaguars are dominant against three-receiver sets -- No. 1 in the league, in fact -- but they're the No. 23 defense in the NFL when it comes to defending personnel groupings that feature one or two wide receivers. That would explain, in part, why the Titans (who Sharp rated as the least-likely team to employ three-receiver sets this season) and Niners (who went with more "21" and "12" personnel looks late in the season) were able to beat the Jaguars. 

The most difficult argument against the legitimacy of the Jaguars' defensive rankings is the talent they put on the field on a weekly basis. Their roster, defensively at least, stacks up with some of the most imposing defensive units in recent memory. The Seahawks had four First and Second-Team All-Pros on their defense in 2014. The Broncos defense had five Pro Bowlers in 2015. The Jaguars have five players who were named either All-Pros or Pro Bowlers or both this year, and they probably should've had a sixth in pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, who recorded 12 sacks (eighth in the NFL) and a league-best six forced fumbles. 

The verdict? The Jaguars defense is loaded with blue-chip players. It will be the best unit the Patriots offense has seen this year. But they have been inconsistent, they have holes -- which we touched upon in this week's Quick Slants the Podcast with Jerod Mayo -- and there remains the very real possibility that Tom Brady and his teammates will light up the Gillette Stadium scoreboard on Sunday. 

Now, is Brady healthy? Good question. Will he have enough time to throw? We'll see. But if the answer to both of those questions is "yes" (or "enough"), then the Patriots should be headed to Minnesota. This Jaguars defense is very good, but it's far from inpenetrable.

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