Brady knows playoff wins are hard to come by

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Brady knows playoff wins are hard to come by

FOXBORO -- Much has changed among Patriots personnel since the team's last title. 
Quarterback Tom Brady, however, persists. 
As one of just three players (Vince Wilfork and Deion Branch being the other two) who were on New England's 2004 Super Bowl Champion roster, Brady has a unique perspective on the postseason. He knows the tragedy, the triumph, and every shade of feeling in between. 
One thing he's grateful for? Going through the gamut with head coach Bill Belichick. 
"He is very consistent," Brady said. "I think there is one thing you can always expect about coach Belichick: he is going to give you everything hes got. Whether its this week, or you come to our passing camp in May, he coaches just as hard. 
"And I think that is why we have been able to make improvements over the course of the year. Because it is not like, Ok guys, this week is not that important. It is always like, Look, this week is important because it is only going to build on next week."
Belichick has similarly commended Brady for being steadfast. Clearly, it counts for a lot: Brady is not just the only quarterback among the four still playing who's won a Super Bowl, he's the only one who's even been to a Super Bowl.
Doing the time, earning trust, has earned him a bit of breathing room on the field. 
"I think over the years Ive gained flexibility within what my coaches allow me to do. I see certain looks and I know to get to a particular play that may be better." 
"Sometimes it doesnt always turn out that way," he grinned ruefully. "Those are the ones you go to the sideline and coach yells at you for changing the play. But when everything goes right, I think it is real positive for our team. That is part of the experienced part that really pays off; youve been in enough situations to understand what may work and what may not work."
His experience has become more varied in recent seasons. 

Brady's earliest years might have tricked him into thinking winning is easy; hoisting three Lombardi Trophies by age 27 might do that to a guy. But he has learned in the years since -- via six playoff losses that include two Super Bowl heartbreaks -- that easy has nothing to do with it.  "Believe me, I have thought about that a lot myself," he admitted. "It's hard to win the Super Bowl, no question. We have made it there, since Ive been here, five times. It is hard to get to this point; it is hard to get to the AFC Championship game. You need a lot of things to go your way over the course of the year. 
"I think we are fortunate to be in this game and have this opportunity. There are a lot of things that need to happen positively over the course of a long season to have this chance and I am glad we have it."

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”