Bill Belichick Makes Surprising Admission About Patriots’ 2020 Roster

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Bill Belichick surprisingly acknowledged this week that his New England Patriots roster lacks veteran depth because of the team’s salary cap situation.

During an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio, Belichick was asked by host and former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis why the Patriots are playing a larger number of young players this season.

“You’re right, Charlie,” Belichick replied, as transcribed by ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “We’re playing more young players than we’ve played in the past. A combination of reasons. We were pretty heavily invested in our team in the past few years. From a salary cap standpoint, we didn’t have much flexibility at all. I think that was obvious on the Cam Newton contract.”

Newton, who signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, is occupying just over $1 million in salary cap space. The former NFL MVP can earn up to $1.75 million though incentives. His contract ranks 48th among NFL quarterbacks in average annual value, according to Over The Cap.

“Then we had some opt-outs, so we lost some players there that would normally have given us significant amount of playtime,” Belichick continued. “And then like every year, a couple guys are banged up and we’ve missed some guys here and there in certain games. I think when you combine it all together, there is opportunity there, and some of that opportunity has gone to younger players.

“Again, because of our cap situation — in this particular year, this is kind of the year that we’ve taken to, I would say, adjust our cap from the spending that we’ve had in accumulation of previous years. We just haven’t been able to have the kind of depth on our roster that we’ve had in some other years. That’s provided some more opportunity for younger players. So it’s a combination of all the reasons.”

More:
Patriots Injury Report: Two Wideouts Out Vs. Bills; Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson Both Questionable

The Patriots currently have the sixth-most cap space of any NFL team — upward of $22 million, per Over The Cap. But nearly all of that was created late in the summer, when a league-high eight Patriots players opted out of the season due to COVID-19 and the team received more than $6 million in salary cap credits from Antonio Brown’s and Aaron Hernandez’s grievance settlements.

The Patriots eschewed big-money additions this offseason, focusing instead on mid-to-low-level veterans like Damiere Byrd, Adrian Phillips, Brandon Copeland and Beau Allen. Since the season began, they’ve lacked talent and quality depth at wide receiver, tight end, linebacker and defensive tackle. They also entered the year without a proven backup at offensive tackle but have survived there thanks to positive contributions from sixth-round rookies Mike Onwenu and Justin Herron.

Of the 28 Patriots players who have played an offensive snap in 2020, 13 are in their first or second season. Others like Byrd, Ryan Izzo and Jermaine Eluemunor are playing much larger roles than they had in years past.

With Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry both ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, all six of New England’s available receivers will be undrafted players: Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and practice squadders Isaiah Zuber, Kristian Wilkerson and Mason Kinsey.

New England is less reliant on youth defensively (seven of the 24 players who have seen snaps are first- or second-year pros) but has needed to fill out its D-line with practice squad call-ups in nearly every game this season and is extremely shallow at linebacker.

The Patriots sit at 2-4 following their first three-game losing streak since 2002 and could effectively fall out of contention for the AFC East title with another defeat Sunday in Buffalo. They’ll have a chance to clear additional cap space and acquire assets ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline if they so choose, with cornerback Stephon Gilmore and left guard Joe Thuney standing out as particularly valuable trade chips.

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Patriots Vs. Bills Preview: What To Watch For In Week 8 Matchup

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MLB Rumors: Cubs Will Consider Re-Signing Jon Lester After Declining Option

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Jon Lester’s run with the Chicago Cubs might not be over just yet.

The Cubs on Friday officially declined the veteran pitcher’s option for the 2021 season, which makes him a free agent.

Lester signed the seven-year deal prior to the 2015 season and has been one of Chicago’s more reliable pitchers in that run, helping guide the Cubs to a World Series victory in 2016.

But despite declining his $25 million option for next season, the Cubs have not ruled out trying to bring him back, according the MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Jon Lester $25M option declined and Cubs will pay $10M buyout. In this environment, this one was obvious. Cubs will consider trying to re-sign.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 30, 2020

Next year will be Lester’s age-37 season. He went 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA last season, and posted a 77-44 record with a 3.64 ERA in his six years with Chicago.

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MLB Rumors: Cubs Will Consider Re-Signing Jon Lester After Declining Option

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John Ross Addresses Trade Rumors, Takes Apparent Shot At Bengals

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Maybe Carlos Dunlap wasn’t the only person unhappy with their situation in Cincinnati.

For a while now, Bengals wide receiver John Ross has been named in trade rumors. The speedy wideout has yet to reach his full potential since Cincy exhausted the ninth overall pick on him in 2017, and while some of that certainly is due to injury problems, you also could argue he’s been in a bad situation.

In a since-deleted tweet, FOX 19’s Jeremy Rauch wrote: “Ross doesn’t show any confidence and has been left behind others in work ethic and preparation and the staff isn’t sure Ross ‘likes football.’”

Ross caught wind of it and responded (which is what prompted Rauch to ax his tweet).

It’s not a secret that i have requested a trade. Trade me if this how y’all feel. I’m healthy and eager to play. I know I can be productive. It’s hard to love something when your not actually participating in it. Believe me, its not football that i don’t like. https://t.co/IlUg270jbI— Hank Moody (@WatchJRoss) October 30, 2020

Hmm…

The 24-year-old has played in just three games this season, posting a mere two receptions for 17 yards. He hasn’t played since Week 6.

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John Ross Addresses Trade Rumors, Takes Apparent Shot At Bengals

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2020-21 Big South Basketball Preview

LWOS continues its conference previews with the Big South Basketball Preview. The league saw a fierce battle between Radford and Winthrop for the title last season. Both teams ended up tying for the regular-season title. However, when the dust settled in the conference tournament, Winthrop emerged as the champion. The Eagles have more than enough returning to repeat, but there are some much-improved teams that will be on their heels in 2020-21.
2020-21 Big South Basketball Preview
11. Presbyterian Blue Hose
Key Returners: Michael Isler 
Key Losses: Cory Hightower, Chris Martin, Ben Drake
Key Newcomers: Will Ferguson (JUCO), Rayshon Harrison
Presbyterian enters year two of the Quinton Ferrell era extremely young. He is essentially having to build the program from the ground up. Suddenly, sophomore Isler is the team’s best player after averaging 7.9 points per game and making 28 starts. However, there is some promising talent in the incoming recruiting class. Still, this is nothing more than a rebuilding year with lots of growing pains expected for the Blue Hose.
10. Hampton Pirates
Key Returners: Davion Warren
Key Losses: Jermaine Marrow, Ben Stanley, Greg Heckstall
Key Newcomers: Najee Thomas (JUCO), Dajour Dickens (Old Dominion), Marquis Godwin (Old Dominion)
It is not often that a team has two players averaging 20+ points per game in a season. However, Hampton had just that in Marrow (24.8) and Stanley (22) last year. That duo helped the Pirates make a surprise run to the Big South Tournament Final. Both have moved on, meaning this is a program that will need a new identity. A pair of Old Dominion transfers in Dickens and Godwin will become eligible in time for league play. Still, the Pirates will most likely make a steep drop in the standings.
9. Longwood Lancers
Key Returners: Juan Munoz
Key Losses: Shabooty Phillips, Jordan Cintron
Key Newcomers: Zac Watson (UC Riverside), Jermaine Drewey (JUCO)
Longwood enters 2020-21 in a tough spot after losing three starters and their top rebounder. Munoz can be the Lancers’ playmaker, but everyone else around him will need to step up for this team to perform well. UC Riverside transfer Watson comes to Longwood after seeing his role reduced with the Highlanders. He averaged a serviceable 6.1 points and four rebounds per game as a freshman. However, his addition will not be enough for this team to make a push for anything substantial this season.
8. Campbell Camels
Key Returners: Cedric Henderson Jr., Jordan Whitfield
Key Losses: Cory Gensler, Ja’cor Nelson
Key Newcomers: Duane Moss (Chattanooga)
It was to be expected that Campbell would take a step back after Chris Clemons graduated. The Camels fell to tenth place, but some improvement should be expected this season. Henderson and Whitfield have stepped into the leadership roles for this team. However, the overall depth of this team is a concern. Having everyone get their feet wet last year will be beneficial, but that should only lead to a slight bump in the standings.
7. Radford Highlanders
Key Returners: None
Key Losses: Carlik Jones, Travis Fields, Devine Eke
Key Newcomers: Jamal Burke (JUCO), Bryan Hart (D-II), Dante Moses (JUCO)
Radford essentially enters 2020-21 with a clean slate. All of the key pieces from the past few season’s success are gone. However, the biggest loss is reining Big South Player of the Year Jones, who decided to transfer to Louisville. To plug the holes, the Highlanders are looking for incoming transfers to help out while the younger players develop. A lack of overall roster experience at the Division I level means Radford will take its lumps this season while retooling for the future.
6. Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
Key Returners: Jaheam Cornwall, Ludovic Dufeal, Kareem Reid
Key Losses: Jose Perez, Eric Jamison, Nate Johnson
Key Newcomers: Jacob Falko, Christian Alexander
Gardner-Webb is another Big South program with lots of youth and inexperience heading into the season. Outside of Cornwall, Dufeal, and Reid, everyone else on the roster is either a freshman or a transfer. While that returning trio can keep the Runnin’ Bulldogs competitive, there will still be plenty of struggles expected as well. Fans should look at this season as a way to build towards a title run in a year or two. However, that does not mean Gardner-Webb could not surprise a few teams.
5. High Point Panthers
Key Returners: John-Michael Wright, Eric Coleman Jr.
Key Losses: Curtis Holland III
Key Newcomers: Jaden House, Lydell Elmore (D-II)
High Point had a lot of freshmen minutes played last season. However, that experience should help the Panthers be one of the most improved teams heading into 2020-21. John-Michael Wright earned a Big South honorable mention nod after averaging 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game as a freshman. Furthermore, his playmaking ability alone will be enough to keep High Point in games and vault him up the all-conference list. Tubby Smith has a core that will push the Panthers towards the top of the league sooner rather than later.
4. USC Upstate Spartans
Key Returners: Everette Hammond, Tommy Bruner, Nevin Zink
Key Losses: None
Key Newcomers: None
USC Upstate is another team that will benefit from the experience its roster got last year. The Spartans have a talented backcourt. Hammond led the team with 14.5 points per game in 2019-20, while Bruner earned an all-freshman team spot with 14 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. However, there is a good mix of experience and depth beyond those two, meaning this is a team that will show vast improvement. The Spartans will give the teams at the top a run for their money.
3. Charleston Southern Buccaneers
Key Returners: Phlandrous Fleming Jr., Deontaye Buskey, Ty Jones
Key Losses: Dontrell Shuler
Key Newcomers: None
Charleston Southern has a senior core that makes them a title contender this season. Phlandrous Fleming could be the preseason favorite for player of the year. He is an all-around talent that can win games on his own if needed. However, the frontcourt has its own key guy in Jones, who averaged 10.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 2019-20. The Buccaneers should be in the mix throughout the season, but still might be a step behind the top two. Still, they are a sleeper for taking home the Big South title.
2. Winthrop Eagles
Key Returners: D.J. Burns, Chandler Vaudrin
Key Losses: Hunter Hale, Josh Ferguson
Key Newcomers: Toneari Lane, Kelton Talford
This will be the most controversial pick in the league. Winthrop has the talent to repeat, but that does not mean they are a shoo-in. The loss of Hale hurts, but guard play is the strength of this team. Ferguson’s loss hurts more, as that leaves the frontcourt a little thin. However, that will open the door for young pups Lane and Talford to get some playing time. Vaudrin and Burns make a nice one-two punch, but time will tell if that is enough to repeat. Luckily for the Eagles, experienced guards help mid-major programs thrive.
1. UNC Asheville Bulldogs
Key Returners: DeVon Baker, L.J. Thorpe, Tajion Jones
Key Losses: None
Key Newcomers: Evan Clayborne (North Carolina Central), B.J. Marable
UNC Asheville returns all five starters and will take another leap forward this season. That consistency along with the treasure trove of riches in the backcourt makes them the preseason pick for the Big South title. Baker is the playmaker on this team, but the other talented guards will make them difficult to defend. The frontcourt is a little more concerning, but grad transfer Clayborne should help with that. The Bulldogs are set to compete for league titles over the next two seasons, with 2020-21 being when they announce themselves to their conference foes.
2020-21 Big South Basketball Preview Award Projections
Player of the Year: Phlandrous Fleming Jr., Charleston Southern
Fleming’s talent was discussed in the Buccaneer’s section, but here are the stats to back it up. He averaged 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game in 2019-20. It starts to get scary to think about how he could improve on those heading into this season, but it is likely. It is not out of the question to find Fleming averaging a double-double by season’s end.
Defensive Player of the Year: Phlandrous Fleming Jr.
Defense was a huge area of improvement for Fleming last season, increasing his blocks per game by almost a full block from his sophomore to his junior year. That helped him take home last season’s defensive player of the year honor. There is no reason to think he will not repeat this season. Capturing this award again would be great, but capturing player and defensive player of the year will etch him in league history.
Freshman of the Year: Rayshon Harrison, Presbyterian
Harrison gets the nod here because of Presbyterian’s roster situation. There is a high-percentage chance that he will be starting in the Blue Hose’s backcourt right away, meaning growing pains are probable. However, that will provide him plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent. The incoming freshman averaged 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and two assists per game as a senior at Legacy Early College in Greenville, South Carolina.
Coach of the Year: Mike Morrell, UNC Asheville
Morell has had to build the Bulldogs up from scratch in his two years at the helm in Asheville. Last season saw an 11-win improvement from his first season in 2018-19. This season may see the Bulldogs eclipse 20 wins and bring home a Big South title. That kind of three-year turnaround would make him more than worthy of this honor.
Big South First-Team Projection: Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (Charleston Southern), DeVon Baker (UNC Asheville), L.J. Thorpe (UNC Asheville), John-Michael Wright (High Point), D.J. Burns (Winthrop)
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Patriots Vs. Bills Preview: What To Watch For In Week 8 Matchup

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Cam Newton called this Sunday’s game “a must-win” for the New England Patriots. He’s not wrong.

The Patriots have lost three consecutive games for the first time since 2002, scoring 10, 12 and six points in those three defeats. They’re 2-4, multiple games below .500 for the first time since 2001.

A loss this week to AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills could effectively drop New England out of contention in a division it’s dominated for the last two decades. Win, and they’re right back in the fight with nine games still to play.

This is a game that could decide the Patriots’ season and, with the NFL trade deadline just three days away, even the future of the franchise.

THE DETAILSTime: Sunday, 1 p.m. ETLocation: Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.TV: CBS

Sunday’s forecast calls for rain and heavy winds that could exceed 40 miles per hour. Those conditions could benefit the Patriots, who boast one of the NFL’s top rushing attacks, against a Bills defense that’s been one of the league’s worst at stopping the run.

THE ODDSThe 5-2 Bills are pegged as four-point home favorites over the Patriots, who have not lost in Buffalo since 2011.

New England is 2-4 against the spread this season. Buffalo is 3-4 ATS.

LAST WEEKThe Patriots had their doors blown off by a banged-up San Francisco 49ers team, losing 33-6 in their most lopsided home defeat of the Bill Belichick era.

New England failed to score a touchdown for the first time since 2016 — and the first time with their preferred starting quarterback since 2013 — and benched Newton early in the fourth quarter.

Newton’s final line: 9 of 15, 98 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions.

Defensively, the Patriots allowed 197 rushing yards and dozens more on behind-the-line swing passes. The game was an abject disaster on both sides of the ball for Bill Belichick’s club.

The Bills got back in the win column after back-to-back losses to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, but they didn’t look overly impressive, trailing a winless New York Jets team at halftime before pulling out a 18-10 victory.

More:
Why 2-4 Patriots Still Have Fighting Chance In Competitive AFC East Race

INJURY REPORTTo say the Patriots are limping into this game would be accurate.

New England ruled out two of its top receivers Friday in Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion), plus reserve defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion).

Eleven more Patriots players are listed as questionable, including top cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore — who did not practice Friday — and J.C. Jackson:

OLB Shilique Calhoun (knee)S Kyle Dugger (ankle)CB Stephon Gilmore (knee)DT Lawrence Guy (ankle)RB Damien Harris (ankle)OL Justin Herron (ankle)CB J.C. Jackson (knee)TE Dalton Keene (knee)G Shaq Mason (calf)OLB John Simon (shoulder)G Joe Thuney (ankle)

Dugger missed last week’s game, and Thuney and Herron both exited early with injuries. Thuney has not missed a start in his NFL career.

More:
Patriots’ Offensive Line Merry-Go-Round Is Constant Reminder Of Injury Issues

Gilmore’s absence from practice Friday casted doubt on his availability for Sunday. With the trade deadline coming Tuesday and Gilmore’s contract situation making him a prime candidate for movement, there’s a chance the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year already has played his final game in a Patriots uniform.

The Patriots could get two potential defensive contributors back for this game, as D-tackle Beau Allen and rookie linebacker Josh Uche are eligible to return from injured reserve. Those both have been positions of weakness for New England this season and could benefit from Allen’s size and Uche’s athleticism.

Special teamer Cody Davis also is eligible to come off IR after returning to practice this week.

The Bills ruled out starting guard Cody Ford and cornerback Josh Norman and listed seven as questionable:

DT Vernon Butler (groin)DE Jerry Hughes (foot) S Micah Hyde (concussion)DT Quinton Jefferson (knee)CB Cam Lewis (wrist)LB Matt Milano (pectoral)G Brian Winters (knee)

Butler and Hyde did not practice Friday. Lewis and Milano were limited. Norman, Milano and Hyde all are starters on Buffalo’s underperforming defense.

PLAYERS TO WATCHCam Newton, Patriots quarterbackEach of Newton’s last three games has been his worst in a Patriots uniform. How can the former NFL MVP get back on track? Given the expected weather conditions and the status of New England’s receiving corps, letting Newton run might be the best course of action.

Despite missing one game and dialing back his rushing opportunities last week, Newton still leads all Patriots in carries (50) and yards (244) and has scored five of the team’s eight rushing touchdowns.

Bills coach Sean McDermott is familiar with Newton’s skill set, however. McDermott was Carolina’s defensive coordinator for Newton’s first six seasons with the Panthers and successfully limited the QB in their only meeting to date.

More:
Cam Newton’s Lesson From Patriots’ Losing Streak? ‘Pick Your Expletive Up’

Josh Allen, Bills quarterbackAllen’s stat line in Buffalo’s first four games: 71.0 percent completion rate, 331.5 yards per game, 8.96 yards per attempt, 12 touchdowns, one interception, 122.7 passer rating.

Allen in Buffalo’s last three games: 63.1 percent completion rate, 230.7 yards per game, 6.23 yards per attempt, four touchdowns, three interceptions, 81.4 passer rating.

The third-year QB looked like a legit MVP candidate early on. Recently? Not so much. Allen also has had little success against the Patriots in his career, completing just 48.4 percent of his passes with three touchdowns, five picks and a 56.4 passer rating in three meetings (all Bills losses).

Jakobi Meyers, Patriots wide receiverWith Harry and Edelman unavailable, Meyers should draw into the starting lineup alongside veteran Damiere Byrd. The 23-year-old showed some promise as an undrafted rookie last season and was one of the Patriots’ best offensive players against San Francisco, catching four passes for 60 yards after Harry’s injury.

New England’s receiving corps Sunday will consist of Byrd, Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and some combination Isaiah Zuber, Kristian Wilkerson and Mason Kinsey, at least one of whom likely will be elevated from the practice squad.

More:
These Young Patriots Receivers Could See Opportunities Vs. Bills

Stefon Diggs, Bills wide receiverThe former Minnesota Vikings star has had a massive impact on Buffalo’s offense, ranking in the top five in the NFL in both catches and receiving yards this season. Losing Gilmore would make this matchup significantly more difficult for New England, though the conditions could neuter Buffalo’s potent passing game.

The Bills have had the NFL’s third-most efficient air attack this season by DVOA but rank 32nd in rushing offense.

Damien Harris, Patriots running backHarris has been New England’s lead back since Sony Michel landed on IR three weeks ago, and he’s been solid in that role, averaging 5.4 yards per carry on 33 attempts.

The Alabama product downplayed his ankle injury Friday, saying he’s “fine.” He could see a heavy workload this week against a Bills team that ranks 21st in rushing yards allowed per game, 23rd in yards allowed per carry, 26th in run defense DVOA and 32nd in Pro Football Focus’ run defense grade.

The Chiefs kept the ball on the ground against Buffalo two weeks ago and were dominant, racking up 245 yards on 46 carries. The Patriots already have one 200-yard rushing performance on their record this season.

More:
Should Patriots Be Buyers, Sellers Or Neither At NFL Trade Deadline?

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Revolution Preview: Host Desperate D.C. United In 2020 Home Finale

On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the New England Revolution will host D.C. United in the final home match of the 2020 regular season. New England enters the match with a 7-6-8 record and a playoff spot clinched while D.C. is 5-10-6 and in theory, has a shot at making the playoffs with two spots still open. So for D.C. this is a must-win game and for the Revs the need to move up into the top six and out of the play-in games makes this a critical match as well.

This D.C. United team is a tad different than the one New England played on September 27th. The main difference is the removal of manager Ben Olsen. Olsen was fired as the D.C. United coach on October 8th and ended the longest coaching stint in D.C. United history. D.C. fired Olsen after a 2-9-5 start. Since Olsen’s termination D.C. United has gone 3-1-1 with Chad Ashton taking over as the interim coach.

 “D.C. United has had a great run as of late,” said Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena. They’ve won their last three games, they’ve positioned themselves to be in the playoffs, so they’re going to come in here and be well prepared and gives us all we can handle. I believe this will our fourth time we’re playing each other this year, so both teams know each other and it’s going to come down to which team can execute better.”

Familiarity With D.C. United

The Revolution have faced D.C. United three times previously in the 2020 season and own a 2-0-1 record and an all-time record of 29-34-15. At home, the Revolution have always taken care of business against United with an 18-10-9 record in Foxboro.

As mentioned previously this is a big match for both teams. D.C. needs three points to potentially move up into a playoff position and New England needs points to move into the top six. For the Revolution specifically, their final match of the year is at the Philadelphia Union, one of the best teams in MLS and a team that has historically dominated New England. Once concern against playing a hot D.C. United team is the fact that the Revolution are one of the worst home teams in all of MLS.

Revolution Opponents Park The Bus At Gillette

Teams at Gillette tend to park the bus on the Revs and then look to get out on the counter and score. This strategy has turned out draw’s left and right and one-goal losses as well. New England in nine home matches the Revolution have a PPG of 0.88 versus a road PPG of 1.75. This is driven by a genuine lack of goals with an average goal’s for 0.66 (1.33 on-road) and 0.88 goals against (1.00 on-road).

 “I wouldn’t say they’re anti-soccer tactics. They’re soccer tactics. There’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat. Teams at times establish themselves with a defensive posture. The last two teams we’ve played are very good defensively, and they’ve been successful, especially Nashville. It’s all part of the game. The challenge at our end is to play better, executive better. In the game against Red Bull [on Wednesday], I think there were some occasions where we could’ve been a little cleaner to try to finish off a play and weren’t able to do that. That was the case at Nashville as well. The other part of it, two of our better-attacking players have been out in Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil. As they get back into our team and get fitter and healthier and all of that, they’re going to help us to finish out the regular season and hopefully establish ourselves in the playoffs.”Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena on if this tactic is “anti-soccer”

D.C. Likely To Drive Team Bus Onto Gillette Turf

For fans hoping that D.C United doesn’t park their bus on the field on Sunday you may be a bit disappointed. D.C. is focused on getting results and based on their roster the only way for them to do that at Gillette is the tried and proven formula of lacking creativity in their play.

Photo Credit: Nashville SC, John Dolan

“No, they definitely don’t have that,” said Arena when asked if opposing teams have the obligation to have any sense of creativity. “And I’m not saying they don’t. You’re the one making those points. The obligation a team has is to try to get a result. I don’t think D.C. United will come in here on Sunday and play a wide-open game. They’re going to do everything they can to get at least a point out of the game. It’s our challenge to counter that. That simple.”

Revolution Need To Find Early Goal To Open Up D.C. United

At the end of the day if teams keep on playing you the same way you need to make adjustments to your gameplan and find that breakthrough goal. On Sunday the team that scores first will likely be the winner. New England should look to come out on the front foot, find an early goal, and hopefully D.C. United opens up from there.

 “It’s always tough going against a team that’s going to sit back when we’re on our home field,” said New England Revolution forward Tajon Buchanan. “It’s tough to break down but with the players we have and moving off the ball or just keep going at their back line, we’ll get our chances. Every game we’ve played at Gillette we’ve gotten our chances, it’s just being cleaner in front of the net and trying to execute on our chances to finish them off.”

Need To Pick Up More Points As Revolution Have Higher Goals

The Revolution are skidding into the finish of the 2020 MLS season with an 2-2-1 record in their last five matches but 0-2-1 in their last three matches. Last time out the Revolution were handed a brutal 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls as the team conceded a trade-mark late goal that cost them much-needed points. On the flip-side that loss cost the Revs the opportunity to relish the clinching of their MLS Cup Playoff spot.

 “I think D.C. is going to be a hard game. “They’re still fighting for their spot. We’re clinched but at the same time, we want to be a little higher than where we are. This is a huge game, especially at home. We haven’t been getting a lot of points at home so this is going to be a massive game. I think it’s one of our rivalries so we have to go out there and make sure that we’re performing to our best ability. I think we’re not playing 90-minute matches. I think we’re always making mistakes at the end, getting caused by corner kicks, free kicks, something. We need to be a little better on those things and if we do that we can definitely win any games. But at the same time, we need to be mindful that this is what playoffs are going to be like. It’s going to be a 1-0 game or a 1-1 and then we go to PK’s or something. We have to be prepared for that and do everything we can to make sure we’re winning these games.”New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez

Revolution’s Gustavo Bou Slowly Working Back From Hamstring Injury

From a health perspective the only players officially “not medically cleared” by the team are Luis Caicedo and Cristian Penilla. Forward Gustavo Bou is considered to be a game-time decision with the team slowly working him back after suffering set-back in his hamstring a few weeks back.

The Revolution will take on D.C. United on Sunday at 7: 30 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcasted locally on NBC Sports Boston, 98.5 The Sports Hub, and nationally on ESPN+.
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Patriots’ Bill Belichick Remembers Travis Roy

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Travis Roy clearly left an impact on everyone he met.

The former Boston University hockey player, who was paralyzed 11 seconds into his first collegiate shift in 1995, died Thursday in Vermont surrounded by his family.

Boston Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy, Bruins president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney all released statements on Roy.

And New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick remembered the hockey player Friday during his video press conference.

“First of all just on behalf of the team, pass along our condolences to Travis Roy’s family,” Belichick said, via the Patriots. “He’s been such a great inspirational story to all of us. Nationally, but certainly in this area. His positive outlook and the way he handled his difficult situation was just incredible. Glad I had an opportunity to interact a little bit with him and his foundation. Just a sad day for a kid that went through so much and handled it in an incredibly positive way.”

An inspirational story to all of us.On behalf of the team, Coach Belichick extends condolences to the family of Travis Roy. pic.twitter.com/ChunR8NmGT— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 30, 2020

Well said.

Roy was 45 years old at the time of his death.

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Netminder Henrik Lundqvist Makes Social Media Debut In Capitals Jersey

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After spending 15 years in New York, it most certainly is strange to see Henrik Lundqvist anywhere else.

The longtime New York Rangers netminder took to social media Friday with a clip of himself practicing in his new Washington Capitals gear.

For more on the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner, check out the “Need To Know” video above, presented by People’s United Bank.

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NHL, College Hockey Community Pay Tribute To Travis Roy On Twitter

The post Netminder Henrik Lundqvist Makes Social Media Debut In Capitals Jersey appeared first on NESN.com.

NBA Rumors: League, NBPA Don’t Agree On Start Date For 2020-21 Season

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There reportedly is a bit of a tug of war going on between the NBA and its Players Association.

The league on Friday extended its deadline (for a fourth time) to serve notice on terminating the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this time to Nov. 6, to allow more time for negotiations between the NBA and NBPA, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski also indicated that players aren’t keen on the league’s ideal start date for the 2020-21 season.

“There’s still a gulf between NBA and NBPA on a start date for the 2020-2021 season,” Wojnarowski on Friday reported. “NBA wants pre-Christmas; NBPA still preferring mid-January. Economic issues remain significant, including escrow withholding on player salaries w/ revenues down b/c of no fans.”

In ongoing discussions, the NBA apparently proposed a shortened 72-game season that begins on Dec. 22. Training camps would commence around Dec. 1 and the campaign would be wrapped up by the start of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

On the flip side, that is a relatively quick turnaround for teams that took part in and made deep runs in the playoffs, and many are opposed to that option. Veterans of the Los Angeles Lakers, who recently won the NBA Finals, reportedly may skip the beginning of the season all together.

Instead, players are pushing for a start date closer to Martin Luther King Day, with free agency opening up Dec. 1.

The NBA’s plan would help the league get its normal calendar back on track by the 2021-22 season, but according to Wojnarowski, the option of pairing a later start date with a shortened schedule hasn’t been discussed.

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NBA Rumors: 2020-21 Schedule May Be Released In Halves Without All-Star Weekend

The post NBA Rumors: League, NBPA Don’t Agree On Start Date For 2020-21 Season appeared first on NESN.com.

Who Will Manage Red Sox In 2021? Jen McCaffrey Breaks Down Squad’s Options

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The Boston Red Sox manger position currently remains vacant.

Following the 2020 season, the Red Sox announced they would not be bringing back Ron Roenicke, and have since interviewed at least eight candidates.

Jen McCaffrey, Red Sox beat reporter for The Athletic, joined “NESN After Hours” on Friday night to discuss the squad’s options.

To hear what she had to say, check out the video above, presented by People’s United Bank.

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MLB Rumors: Red Sox Contacted Alex Cora ‘Multiple Times’ About Manager Job

The post Who Will Manage Red Sox In 2021? Jen McCaffrey Breaks Down Squad’s Options appeared first on NESN.com.