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    • 533 posts
    October 17, 2018 11:16 PM PDT
    Maybe the Tennessee Titans are coming up for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the perfect time.

    After a drama-filled week Juuse Saros Jersey , the quarterback says his focus remains solely on football as his team prepares to host the Titans in Saturday’s divisional round.

    During Brady’s tenure the Patriots are 6-1 against the Titans. He has 13 passing touchdowns and one interception in those games – his best touchdown to interception ratio against any opponent in his career.

    He also is 6-0 against Mike Mularkey-coached teams.

    But that hasn’t changed the approach for Brady, who is preparing for his 35th playoff start in the aftermath of recent reports suggesting discord between himself, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft.

    In a joint statement last week, all three men brushed aside any insinuation of strife at the top of one of the NFL’s jewel franchises. Brady reiterated on Thursday that his mind remains on the field.

    ”We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do,” he said. ”We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”

    Patriots receiver Danny Amendola hasn’t noticed any change in Brady.

    ”He’s the ultimate professional and he (makes) his teammates better and he demands a lot,” Amendola said. ”We all want to win for him, and we all want to play hard for him.”

    Tennessee recognizes the challenge it faces against Brady. It opened the week as a 13-point underdog, and prior to last week hadn’t won a playoff game since the 2003 season.

    That doesn’t mean the Titans fear the Patriots.

    ”It’s a playoff game, so it’s not like it’s the preseason where I can go out there, `Oh, it’s Brady,’ and I’m chillin,”’ Tennessee All-Pro safety Kevin Byard said. ”This is a playoff game. So I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana. You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like (Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback) Blake Bortles if I can to try to catch a couple picks.

    ”Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it’s a playoff game. I’m not really looking at it like that.”

    The contrast in quarterbacks will be stark.

    At age 40, Brady is the oldest remaining quarterback in the playoffs. The Titans have the youngest in 24-year-old Marcus Mariota. The 16-year age gap between them is the largest between starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in NFL history.

    Since 2001, quarterbacks making their first or second career playoff start are 0-7 against New England.

    ”I think it just comes down to how well you play,” Brady said. ”At the end of the day, it’s not about old guys are going to win or young guys are going to win Youth Matt Irwin Jersey , the home team, the road team. It’s really going to come down to execution. No one’s going to be able to do it for you.”

    If the Titans have any hope of slowing down Brady, the X factor might be defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

    With Belichick as head coach, he and LeBeau have faced off in the playoffs once: the 2004 AFC championship game that New England won in Pittsburgh, 41-27.

    Brady had two touchdown passes in that game, but was also sacked twice.

    ”The one thing you got to try to do is not let him read you like a book, which he’s very adept at,” LeBeau said. ”Whether you’re pressuring or whether you’re going coverage, if he knows where you’re going, he’s probably going to be pretty effective.”

    Brady isn’t taking anything for granted.

    ”These are fun games to play in,” he said. ”You’re out there, you’re in the position to succeed. Your coaches have put a lot on you. The team’s really relying on you. You’ve got to go out there and make the plays.”

    AP Football Writer Teresa Walker in Nashville contributed to this report.

    Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann finally got to a point that something had to be done to try to fix his troublesome right knee.

    McCann had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday after going on the disabled list for the second time this season, and the third time in less than a year, because of knee discomfort.

    Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com and the Houston Chronicle during a 5-3 win at Texas that the team was optimistic that the surgery would resolve the issue that kept recurring. While not specific about the procedure or a timetable, the GM said he’d expect McCann back in September to get ready for October.

    Manager A.J. Hinch said before the Astros’ 5-3 win at Texas that he and McCann had a long conversation about the knee problems when the team played in Tampa last weekend.

    ”It’s just continually the same issue over and over with his right knee,” Hinch said. ”One of the options is surgery, and he went back to Houston to take care of it.”

    Catcher Tim Federowicz, who made two starts earlier this season when McCann was on the DL Roman Josi Jersey , was promoted from Triple-A Fresno.

    Max Stassi was the Astros’ starting catcher Tuesday night against the Rangers. Hinch said Stassi would get the bulk of the catching during McCann’s absence.

    But Stassi never got behind the plate against the Rangers. He was hit by a pitch on his right (throwing) wrist while batting in the first inning. He stayed in the game to run, but Federowicz went to catch when the Astros took the field.

    X-rays were negative, but Stassi has a bruised wrist and was considered day to day.

    Shortstop Carlos Correa, who has been out since June 26 because of lower back soreness, also was back in Houston. He is eligible to come off the DL as early as Friday, though Hinch wasn’t sure if Correa would be ready to play then.

    ”He’s been reporting to Minute Maid (Park) every day and working with our people there,” Hinch said. ”The good news is that everything has been a step forward. The uncertainty is still we haven’t done any baseball activities yet, so we don’t know how that’s going to impact his timeline until we get home.”

    McCann missed nine games during his first DL stint this season before being activated June 8, the last time Houston played at the Rangers.

    He was also on the DL for 11 days last August because of right knee soreness before the Astros went on to win their first World Series title. McCann played in all seven World Series games.

    His latest DL move was retroactive to Monday, a day off for Houston.

    McCann has hit .206 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games this season. He was in a 1-for-26 slump before going on the DL for the first time this season on May 29. He hit .171 (7-of-41) with one homer and three RBIs in his 13 games in June after returning from the DL.

    Stassi has hit .255 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 49 games for the Astros. Federowicz hit .328 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 38 games at Fresno.

    ”I have a lot of confidence in Stassi and Fed, both with major league time,” Hinch said. ”They’re comfortable, they know our pitchers, they know our program, our preparation, all things that make me feel really good about going into each particular game.”

     

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    January 29, 2019 2:09 AM PST

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