Patriots

Beckett: We made mistakes in the clubhouse

675976.jpg

Beckett: We made mistakes in the clubhouse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two weeks ago, Josh Beckett, making his first public comments about the disastrous end to the Red Sox 2011 season, was strident and seemed more angry about the fact that information was leaked than anything else.

Sunday morning, facing questions from reporters, Beckett took a slightly more contrite stance while addressing last September.

On the way things ended: "Nobody was more disappointed than the players were. I didn't pitch well. That was the bottom line. The last two starts against Baltimore, they weren't good.''

On the clubhouse behavior and misdeeds: "I'm not saying that we didn't make mistakes because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse. But the biggest mistakes I made were not pitching well against Baltimore. I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there. I just didn't execute pitches when I needed to.

"We made mistakes in the clubhouse and that's about as far as I'll go talking about the clubhouse . . . I'm upset with myself for the lapses in judgement. But there's also some ill-feelings toward some people.''

On whether as the acknowledged leader of the staff, he should take more responsibility for the clubhouse scandal: "I can only speak for myself here. I had lapses in judgement; I can't speak for anybody else. I want to try to keep it at. I can't speak (for other starters); I want this to be about me.

"I had things going and I got distracted and I think that was the biggest thing for me, going forward, that I would change, just not to be distracted.''

Asked to elaborate on being distracted, Beckett was asked if he was referencing becoming a parent, he repeated: "I was distracted.''

On his conditioning and apparent weight gain by the end of the season: "I never missed a workout . . . I was ready to pitch every time I pitched and I didn't execute pitches in my last two starts.

"I put on a little bit of weight. I don't have a reason for it, but it happened. I'm looking forward to going forward from here.''

On whether he understands the fans' anger: "Absolutely. I've been a fan of (teams), too. It stinks whenever things don't go the way they're supposed to go. We were a really good team and we were the best team in baseball for about five months. It sucks the way things ended and yeah, we're just as let down as they are.

"That doesn't make it right, but we were very let down as well.''

On needing to win back the fans: "I think we need to earn that trust back. I think they're the best fans in baseball. There's some good and some bad, but I think they're the best fans in baseball and I definitely think we need to earn that trust back and the way we have to do that is just go about the business the way we have in previous years and win ballgames. That's probably going to be the best way.''

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

marsh_patriots_112117.jpg

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

usatsi_10402885.jpg

Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE