Belichick: No time to re-write the playbook


Belichick: No time to re-write the playbook

FOXBORO -- In the words of Bill Belichick, Tuesday was a Friday at Gillette Stadium, as the Patriots deal with a short week and prepare for the New York Jets on Thursday night.

It makes sense. But it also means their preparation time is limited.

"It's about as quick as you can turn it around," said Belichick on Tuesday. "So, the Colts game's behind us. We're already right in the middle of the Jets preparations, and as we know, there's a lot to get ready for there."

So how do you cram it all in?

"We just review the situations," said Belichick. "These are the things we've seen them do, these are whatever happen to be their plays, their coverages, their blitzes. We talked about things that they like to do situationally, first down, second down, red area, kickoff return, kickoff coverage, those kind of things. And just consolidate it and boil it down. We were going to show 40 plays. Now, maybe we show them 10 or 15 in that particular situation this week. We just don't have the time."

Factoring into that shortened week of preparation is the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who broke his forearm on Sunday.

When asked how big of a loss Gronkowski is to the Patriots offense during this shortened week, Belichick was unsure as to how it would all play out.

"Other people are going to have to contribute," said Belichick. "We'll see how it goes. I don't know. We'll see how it goes."

Belichick then sounded confident in the way his offense runs as a whole, with or without any specific individual. But then again, he has to be confident in this offense. Because there's simply not enough time to re-write the script before Thursday night.

"We're not going to put in a whole new offense in a day and a half," said Belichick. "We may make some adjustments, but we've done what we've been doing for a while, and we've had some success with it. So, we'll find a way to continue to do the things that we know how to do, and if we have to make some adjustments, we'll make some. But we can't try to change everything in a couple days."

Whether that's a good thing or not for the Patriots, remains to be seen.

Celtics bench hurting with Smart out


Celtics bench hurting with Smart out

The Boston Celtics don’t reveal a ton about what happens behind their closed-door practices, but there were a couple of significant narratives that developed in the preseason.

Chief among them was the development of the bench which on many occasions, outplayed the starters.

Leading the second team surge on many days in the preseason was Marcus Smart, whose absence during the first two games of the season has been obvious.

Smart suffered a left ankle sprain injury in the Celtics’ final preseason game, an injury that reported at the time would sideline him for a couple of weeks.

A few days later, Smart confirmed the report by indicating he would be out of action for two weeks from the time of the injury.

That puts his return to the floor being Nov. 3 at Cleveland which would mean he would be missing the first four games of the season.

One of the reasons why the second unit had so much success against the starters, was the rhythm they developed playing with and off one another.

Trying to re-establish that on the fly without Smart has proven to be challenging at times for Boston’s second unit.

In the season-opening win over Brooklyn, Boston’s second unit was called upon to simply hold down a lead in the fourth quarter that peaked at 23. But the lead steadily shrunk and head coach Brad Stevens was forced to bring his starters back into the game.

And last night at Chicago, the second unit was never able to deliver the kind of impact-making plays that Boston’s backups can do.

But it goes beyond what Smart can do on the floor when he plays. Like most of his teammates, Smart’s presence has a way of allowing his other teammates to get into a rhythm and get accustomed to whatever role they are asked to play.

Without him, everyone’s job shifts just a little bit.

“They’re trying to figure it out on the fly,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “They had a few practices, maybe one tough day of practice without him; it’s tough. They’re trying to figure it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in the game.”

New photos show Sandoval has lost weight


New photos show Sandoval has lost weight

The last time a bunch of pictures of Pablo Sandoval made headlines, it was not a good sign for the Red Sox. The latest batch isn’t so bad. 

Sandoval became the story of spring training this season when photos -- specifically a Boston Globe one of him throwing -- revealed he’d gained significant weight. The veteran third baseman was surpassed by Travis Shaw for the starting job and began the season as a bench player. 

After three regular-season games, Sandoval was put on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. He was then shut down for the season in May due to shoulder surgery. 

In a tweet and story posted by FC Barcelona, a smiling -- and noticeably thinner -- Sandoval could be seen attending the club’s final training session. 

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.