Bruce Arians doesn’t want Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans to hit the panic button.
After publicly criticizing Tom Brady following the Bucs’ Week 1 loss to the Saints, the head coach poured cold water on concerns of early trouble between the pair.
“Tom and I are fine,” Arians told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t really care what other people think. So it’s just what he and I think. We left the stadium fine. We showed up today fine. There ain’t nothin’ to talk about.”
Tampa Bay lost Brady’s first game with the team, 34-23 to New Orleans, with the future Hall of Famer throwing for 239 yards and two touchdowns, along with two picks. Arians didn’t hold back after the underwhelming debut.
“He looked like Tom Brady in practice all the time, so it’s kind of unusual to see that in a ballgame because they didn’t do things that we didn’t get ready for,” Arians told reporters Monday. “Everything they did, we thought we were ready for.
“One [interception] was a miscommunication between he and Mike,” Arians told reporters following the loss. “He thought Mike was going down the middle — it was a different coverage — Mike [Evans] read it right. He should have been across his face, but Tom overthrew it.
“The other one was a screen pass with an outlet called. He threw the outlet and it was a pick-six. Bad decision.”
Arians later corrected himself, saying Evans was at fault for the first interception, but former Packers star Brett Favre cautioned Arians against hanging Brady out to dry the next day.
“I think the last person you want to call out after the first game of the year is Tom Brady,” Favre said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Now, maybe they had a mutual truce going into the game, going into the season, ‘Hey, I’m going to be hard on you. I want the guys to know we’re going to treat you the same even though technically I’m not, so are you OK with it?’ If they have that truce, great. If not, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.
“Bruce Arians is the head coach, he’s gonna do it the way he wants to do it — and I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong — but what’s happened in New England for so many years is that it worked,” Favre said. “And I’m not saying that it’s the right formula, but it certainly is one of the right formulas. I just don’t see any good that comes out of calling your quarterback out.”
Arians said during camp that Brady “gets cussed out like everybody else,” to which Brady replied “I’m used to it!” on Twitter. Despite Favre’s concerns, Arians still seems at ease about his coaching style and the Bucs’ prospects.
“I was amused when they handed us the Lombardi trophy in July,” he said Wednesday. “But, yeah, it’s part of the business. You go with it. It’s one week at a time, one day at a time. We win a few games, everybody will be back on the bandwagon, happy [laughs]. It’s just part of the game.”
Giants’ putrid offensive line is doing one thing right
He likes it.
No, not the performance. Not the production. Certainly not the results.
But at least Marc Colombo, the Giants’ offensive line coach, likes the attitude of his group amid all the losing.
“I love that they’re pissed off,’’ Colombo said Tuesday. “That’s the type of group we want. They came out and played physical. Again, it’s tough to play really physical in the passing game. We have to do better in the run. Period. That’s where we’re falling short right now. It’s going to alleviate a lot of stuff in the passing game. That’s something we have to do. We have to do it early. We can’t wait to crank it up.’’
That about sums it up. The Giants are last in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 56.7 yards per game. Until they solve this glaring issue, they will never be a competent offensive unit. It was more of the same in the 36-9 loss to the 49ers. The Giants had 66 rushing yards, but 49 of them were from Daniel Jones. Their three running backs got 17 yards on 10 attempts.
Nick Gates has not played well at center. Cam Fleming has not done much at right tackle. Fans are interested in seeing Matt Peart (for Fleming) and Shane Lemieux, a guard from Oregon who is learning how to play center, for Gates.
“Well, we give these guys opportunities every week in practice and the starting five had a really good week of practice last week,’’ Colombo said. “Obviously it didn’t translate to the game. These guys are young. We didn’t have an offseason. To them it’s really like the third friggin’ preseason game. They just have to keep developing. We’re going to keep giving them shots in practice and it all comes down to how you practice. If a guy is going to practice hard, it’s a balance between continuity and playing the best five, so we’re going to keep pushing in practice, create competition, and see where it shakes out.’’
Starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers lasted only nine snaps on defense against the 49ers before he was forced out with an ankle injury that occurred on the extra-point block team. Joe Judge said a day later Peppers was going to be evaluated “day by day.’’ Peppers escaped serious injury, but he likely will not be able to make it back for Sunday’s game in Los Angeles against the Rams.
The Giants signed CB Madre Harper off the Raiders practice squad.
“Right now I don’t know a lot about him,’’ defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said. “Coach Joe took a look at him and really liked his physical skill sets and his demeanor as a player and thought he was a guy who we would benefit from having him on the roster. So I’m excited to work with him and get to know the kid.’’
Harper went undrafted out of Southern Illinois after getting kicked off the team at Oklahoma State early in the 2017 season. At the time, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Harper “stepped out of our culture a little bit.’’
Masahiro Tanaka’s Yankees legacy is clear even with uncertain future
Masahiro Tanaka was pitching like the ace he was imported to be when he suffered an injury that led to, of all things, defining his time as a Yankee as durable and dependable.
Is that time nearing an end?
Tanaka is scheduled to start Wednesday night in Game 2 against the Indians in the playoffs’ first round. Any start this season could be Tanaka’s last as a Yankee. He is a free agent after the season and he conceded when he made his final regular-season start in Buffalo that it entered his mind that it could be at least the last non-playoff start as a Yankee.
“I just thought to myself it has been seven years and it has been a quick seven years,” Tanaka said Tuesday before Game 1. “It is kind of an end to a chapter in a way, just that thought of being there for a good seven years that is what came to my mind in Buffalo.”
It was better than good. Tanaka cost $175 million between salary and posting fee and the Yankees believed they were purchasing a No. 1 starter. That evaporated when his elbow began aching in his 2014 rookie campaign. But what emerged was worth every penny to the organization — a cross between Andy Pettitte’s reliability and Orlando Hernandez’s big-game sturdiness.
It is why the Yankees will almost certainly want to retain him in tandem with Gerrit Cole to steady a rotation that is breaking in youngsters such as Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and Jordan Montgomery and reintroducing Luis Severino. And Tanaka has always seemed to love being a Yankee, embracing with joy and accountability the intensity and frequent big games.
So the money is going to be on a reunion. But how money is spent this offseason will be a relentless major league storyline. Teams took in less revenue in this COVID-19-impacted season. Already most have seen that season-ticket renewals for 2021 fall any place between down and a disaster. And there are no certainties even of crowds next year. So who knows who will spend and how much?
Aaron Boone said he hopes Tanaka is back, citing him as a “great example for any player watching to want to latch onto … he is super prepared. Takes great care of himself. Obviously, he is completely dedicated and great at his craft. It is fun watching how precise he is and how precise he expects himself to be. Coupled with, if you get to know Masa, he is completely beloved by his teammates. He really has a great sense of humor. I have had a joy getting to know him and manage him. He’s just somebody who carries a tremendous amount of respect in the room and is still a great pitcher. He’s been a very consistent Yankee performer in all his years here.”
Constancy became the hallmark once dominance faded.
Through 18 starts of his first Yankee season in 2014, Tanaka was leading the AL in ERA (2.51), striking out better than a batter an inning and was on the way to being rookie of the year and perhaps a Cy Young winner. Then word came he had a small tear in his elbow. What followed was belief that maybe the dominance was gone and Tommy John surgery would be needed.
He was never a No. 1 starter again. But this is where Tanaka became Pettitte. He was a trustworthy No. 2 or 3 starter who like a metronome kept taking the ball. He never needed Tommy John surgery. His 153 starts from 2015-20 are 18th in the majors. He has a 114 ERA-plus as a Yankee — Pettitte was 115.
And, like Pettitte, you could put him in a playoff game without fear he would blink. But in that arena, he was even more like El Duque because of a combination of guile and tenacity. He could remake himself on the mound, depending on what he had that game — heck, last season he abandoned his previous key pitch splitter because it wasn’t obeying and succeeded behind his slider.
In eight playoff games, Tanaka has a 1.76 ERA, never having pitched fewer than five innings, never giving up more than three earned runs and five times having given up zero or one. Most famously, with the Yankees down 2-0 in a best-of-five Division Series, he shut out the Indians for seven innings in Game 3 in 2017 to ignite the Yanks to rally to win the series. It was reminiscent of Hernandez’s seven shutout innings in Game 4 of the 1998 ALCS when the Indians led two-games-to-one and the Yanks were teetering on wasting a 114-win season.
“The most important thing about pitching in a big game like this is to try to be yourself,” Tanaka said.
Who Tanaka has been as a Yankee has changed over time — from ace to dependable, big-game stalwart. Even with the downgrade, he was worth every cent.
‘Foresight’ in ‘Warzone’: What it does, why people think it will unfairly ‘feed the rats’
“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” unexpectedly added a new killstreak in “Warzone” on Tuesday that is being criticized on social media by fans of the game mode.
The “Foresight” streak, which can be picked up from the ground in bunkers following the Season 6 update, allows players to see every circle location for the remainder of a match. People who get the streak, then, have a massive tactical advantage over everyone else.
Campers in particular could use “Foresight” to set up where the safety zone shrinks to and pick off targets as they are pushed into the area.
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Season 6 also brought an underground subway system to the Verdansk map, though that introduction is less controversial than the “Foresight” streak.
Here are some of the Twitter fan reactions to the “Warzone” killstreak change:
Campers have a new best friend 💀
— Gabby 🏳️🌈 (@ItGabby_) September 29, 2020
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