Belichick expects Texans to blitz often


Belichick expects Texans to blitz often

FOXBORO -- It's Saturday. But for the Patriots, today is Friday. And just two days before Monday night's showdown against the Houston Texans, Bill Belichick did his best to try and break down the Texans' defense, and what their scheme will be at Gillette Stadium.

"Yeah, a lot of man coverage, a lot of pressure," said Belichick before Saturday's practice. "Its mostly all man coverage, really. In the end, even the zones are matched so, yes, theyre very disruptive up front. A little bit of secondary pressure, but not a lot. Its more linebacker pressure and man coverage. Thats what they do."

And that pressure comes often, according to the Patriots' coach, when asked if the Texans like to blitz a lot.

"Oh yeah, they do," said Belichick. "They bring five a lot and they bring six some, but they bring five quite a bit. J.J. Watt isnt always in the same place. He flips sides in their base defense depending on the formation. Then in their sub defense, they usually line him up to the offensive right. They run a lot of games with him so even though hes lined up in one spot when the ball is snapped, he can be rushing out here or out there, its not always straight ahead.

"They do a good job of running games with a four-man line," he added. "They also mix in games with their fifth rusher so your left guard, your left tackle, your center, really anybody can end up on anybody because of the multiple games that they run in passing situations. You can say, OK, were going to help him here, but after the ball is snapped, he might not even be there. There is plenty of that. And Antonio Smith is active in there and Connor Barwin and Whitney Mercilus now or Brooks Reed. Those guys are all pretty fast too. Its easy for them to run games and switch rush lane responsibilities because theyre fast enough that they can get there. Its not just taking a slow guy and looping him around. Those guys are fast enough to loop around and still get the quarterback. Its hard to say, This guy is going to double him, because hes not just a sitting duck."

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)