Patricia: Getting to know Talib is 'great'

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Patricia: Getting to know Talib is 'great'

There are a lot of questions regarding Aqib Talib since the Patriots traded for him, just not many answers.

That should change now that the cornerback's suspension was lifted Monday by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

After giving reporters little on his conference call last week, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia finally surrendered his initial impressions this Tuesday.

"I had the opportunity to meet with him yesterday and just get caught up a little bit. That was all good," Patricia said. "Obviously were evaluating as the week goes, but were excited to get going with this week and get ready for Indianapolis. Well certainly see how that goes. But as far as getting a chance to get to know him, it was great. Professional, the guys been in the league, so no problems there."

Part of the hubbub surrounding Talib involves the fact New England made a move at all. The NFL's trade deadline is notoriously quiet. For the Patriots to go after a veteran cornerback -- and a wildcard because of off-field issues -- signals acquiescence to the serious needs of the secondary.

Last year the pass defense gave up the second-most yards in the league at 293.9 per game. Apparently, rising to No. 29 (285.3 average yards allowed) after another half a year isn't good enough after all.

It's hard to imagine Talib won't help.

But it won't be because the job is easy. Patricia was asked if cornerback is an easier position for a traded player to slide into. As to why, the reporter pointed to the independent work, the isolated match ups that are covered there.

Patricia sees it differently.

"I wouldnt really say hes an individual working on his own because as a defensive unit youre going to work together as an entire group because all the pieces work together in a scheme," he explained. "Its different for every position. If youre in the middle between two guys at linebacker and youre trying to communicate to both ends, its going to be a different dynamic than if youre to a particular side where youre communicating to one or two players inside of you right or left. Its obviously all a little bit different.

"I dont really think you can say that any position in the NFL is easy to step into. Obviously all the positions have fundamental skills and techniques along with different scheme responsibilities. They all have quite a bit of work that goes into playing them."

After a long wait, Talib hit the books this week. He'll see how it all translates on the field at Wednesday's practice.

As for how fast he learns, where he lines up, and how well he fits in with the Patriots . . . Those questions could be answered Sunday.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?