By Tom E. CurranFOXBORO -On Friday night, Tom Brady took the bullet for a first quarter strip sack in Tampa, even though right tackle Marcus Cannon's effort on the play was embarrassing. Monday morning, Brady took the blame again. And Monday afternoon in the Patriots locker room, Brady assured me the offensive and the offensive line would be just fine. That's an assertion one will have to take on faith. Because, while the run blocking has been very good at times, the pass protection on the right edge behind Cannon has been scary for three games. On the left side behind Nate Solder, there's been one "good" performance. There's reason to believe they'll be better in the regular season. The middle-of-the-line shuffling will end. Tight ends may stay in longer to afford extra protection. Brady knows how to get rid of the ball quickly and fight another play. But until they're better...they're not better. It is what it is. Bill Belichick was asked during his Monday press conference whether he felt Brady's been getting hit too often. "You never want to see your quarterback get hit but its a function of a lot of things: not getting rid of the ball, protection, routes, so theres a lot of things come into play," said Belichick. "It needs to be better all the way around. I mean, we havent played very well offensively in any game, with anybody, for any length of time so weve got a lot of work to do."Belichick bristled a bit when asked when he'd settle on a clear-cut group of five linemen. "I would say were probably doing the best we can given the circumstances that we have," he stated. "I dont think all of our offensive linemen have been available. Weve had some guys on the roster that have been in different degrees ofhave worked in different ranges or stages and they havent been totally available for one reason or another. It is what it is."What it's beenwith Cannon is a disappointment. He's been fundamentally weak on someplays and - despite being athletic - his lack of fundamentals has put him in places that leave him looking awkward. There's not a lot of insight forthcoming when Cannon's asked how things are going. "We're all bonding together pretty good," he said." Working together and getting everything figured out.We're just out there doing our jobs to the best of our ability, um...there's uhhh, ya know...ummm...that's it." Yup. That about puts a bow on it.
DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.
BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this.
The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent.
- Highlights: Toronto Raptors 101, Boston Celtics 94
- Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan
- Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry
- All-Star backcourt leads Raptors down stretch to beat Celtics, 101-94
“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game. “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”
And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics.
There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan.
“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot.
The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward.
Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.
For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with.
“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”
In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well.
Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards.
“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said.
Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury.
Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.
“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”