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. 

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end


BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

0:41 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and DJ Bean discuss the Celtics 16-game winning streak being snapped by the Miami Heat.

6:05 - Tom Curran and Mike Giardi talk about Tom Brady missing practice due to an Achilles injury and Randy Moss’ chances to make the Hall of Fame.

11:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the mental and physical fatigue that the streak had on the Celtics and if there is a sense of relief that the streak is over.  

16:11 - With it being the 5th anniversary of the Butt Fumble, we compare it to other embarrassing sports moments in history. 

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

When you reflect upon Boston’s 16-game winning streak which came to an end with Miami’s 104-98 win on Wednesday, there were moments in just about every game that played a major factor in their success.

So it was only fitting that in the Miami loss, it would be a whole lot of little things that ultimately brought the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history to a screeching halt.

  • Al Horford missed a pair of free throws.
  • Marcus Smart split a pair that had he made both, would have tied the game up in the fourth quarter.
  • Jayson Tatum had his only turnover of the game, in the fourth.
  • Terry Rozier had a rebound that he could not corral and bounced off his hands out of bounds.

And that doesn’t even factor in the missed open shots and unforced turnovers that collectively played a major role in Boston’s winning streak being a thing of the past now.

“I turned it over, we missed some free throws . . . we had some unfortunate things happen,” Tatum told reporters following the loss.


Even with the loss, the Celtics (16-3) still boast the best record in the NBA.

Kyrie Irving has elevated his all-around play to a level to where he’s legitimately in the conversation as a league MVP candidate.

Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the league’s top rookies from his draft class.

“As you could see, they kept hitting us, hitting us, until we were knocked out,” Irving said. “They deserved that win tonight.”

Disappointed with the loss, but it was not at all surprising to head coach Brad Stevens who has been raising concerns about his team’s attention to detail for the past few games and sensed it would catch up to them sooner or later.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said. “But we do have a lot of resolve. I can’t say enough about our guy’s will to come back. It’s incredible we were able to erase that lead that quickly and give ourselves a chance.”

Indeed, the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a single point in the fourth quarter. But unlike previous games, Boston couldn’t find a path to victory.

“We’re just going to continue to learn and continue to get better,” Irving said. “It’s the same things echoed when we were winning. Just continue to get better and understand, there’s still a lot for us to accomplish going forward.

He added, “It was a good streak, and it’s finally come to an end.”