Patriots working to eliminate last-second scores

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Patriots working to eliminate last-second scores

The Baltimore Ravens have recently enjoyed sneaking in a punch before the bell.
Last Saturday against Denver, quarterback Joe Flacco turned the tide with a lightning-quick drive. It looked certain Baltimore would enter the break down 21-14 to the Broncos. But any offensive frustration from earlier in the half disappeared as Flacco completed passes of 11, 15, and 32 yards to get the Ravens into the end zone. The game-tying drive took all of 40 seconds.
Which is longer than the "series" that tied the game at the end of regulation.
With Denver up 35-28 and 31 seconds to play. After one incomplete pass and a 7-yard rush, the Ravens were facing third-and-3 from the 30 and had zero timeouts to work with. Flacco threw up a 70-yard prayer that flew faster and farther down the sideline than a pair of Denver defenders and got caught by receiver Jacoby Jones.
The Patriots have watched the film.
"We never want to do that," head coach Bill Belichick said. "We always think that the end of the half can get a little different than the rest of the game because of situational play and also sometimes offensively teams change their method of attack and what theyre doing and how theyre doing it and that kind of thing. So you have to adapt and adjust to what they do."
As the Ravens are enjoying their last-second scores, New England has been allowing them.
The Patriots had a 17-3 lead in last weekend's Divisional Playoff against Houston with more than three minutes left before halftime. Quarterback Matt Schaub used more than half of the time to drive his team 47 yards on five plays for a touchdown. The series made it a one-possession game.
"We have to do what were doing better," Belichick said. "Its definitely a point of emphasis and Im sure it will be important in this game. Well definitely work on it."
Belichick doesn't think his defense let down its emotional guard when the Texans scored before the break. He said it's not so much about the Patriots failing to maintain their mental toughness as it is about execution. Plain and simple."We were trying to do the right things and we did some things that were good, but then we did some other things that werent as good as they need to be. Houston was able to take advantage of some of the things we were doing."
A sense of urgency is added now as there's no next week's game to fix problems for. Allowing those touchdowns, as the Patriots did for Houston, won't fly against Baltimore.
"Its a combination of better coaching, better playing, maybe better preparation, and hopefully it will be better this week."

Dombrowski: Red Sox not eyeing 'significant' deal at deadline

Dombrowski: Red Sox not eyeing 'significant' deal at deadline

While some reports nationally have the Red Sox in search of a dramatic deal in the run-up to next Monday's non-waiver trade deadline, Dave Dombrowski hardly sounded like someone seeking a blockbuster to improve his club.

"I'm not necessarily looking to make something significant,'' said Dombrowski, ''because we've already added. We have five solid starters. Could they be better? If we have five All-Stars, we're better. But we have five guys we like. Our offense is the best in baseball as far as run production is concerned. Could we better? Sure. Will we be open-minded? Sure. But I don't see that there's a driving force (to do something).''

Certainly, there seem to be plenty of interested trade partners, as Dombrowski revealed that on Monday alone, the Sox received five different trade proposals that they hadn't received before.

"So that's why this time is year is interesting,'' said Dombrowski. "We also have some very good young players in our organization, so some teams are looking for those players. And I can say we're not close to making any trades right now.''

If the Sox have an area of weakness at this point, it's the bullpen, thanks to a season-ending injury to Carson Smith, a long-term injury for Koji Uehara and the current DL stint for closer Craig Kimbrel.

"I think our bullpen will be fine,'' Dombrowski predicted. "We're dealing with a tough situation, for the simple fact that we've had a lot of injuries. (Junichi) Tazawa's up and he's back and pretty much getting to the point where he can get back to his normal routine. Kimbrel threw the ball very well today; I wouldn't be surprised if he joined us relatively soon.

"So all of a sudden, you've got (Matt) Barnes, (Brad) Ziegler, we brought up (Joe) Kelly, (Robbie) Ross has thrown the ball very well for us. Can it be better? Sure. You listen to anything at this point. But. . . I know people keep saying 'They've got to add somebody, they've gotta add somebody.' But they forget that we're getting Kimbrel back and we just got Tazawa back.

"You look at it and if those two guys weren't back. My answer would be yes, we need to do something. But I think we're more in a position where we're open-minded but it's not a necessity.''

Some teams have called on Clay Buchholz, currently relegated to a mop-up role in the bullpen. But Dombrowski said Buchholz still has value to the Sox.

"He's real good protection for us (in the rotation),'' he said. "I thought he threw the ball the other day as well as I've seen him throw it all year. And I know, if you just looked at the stats, you'd say, 'He didn't do very well.' Unfortunately, we missed a couple of balls that were catchable. I thought his stuff was outstanding so he's got a place to help us.''

 

Edelman, Amendola, Lewis, Vollmer to begin camp on PUP list

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Edelman, Amendola, Lewis, Vollmer to begin camp on PUP list

Training camp practices begin on Thursday for the Patriots, but the team will be without a handful of projected starters when workouts begin. 

Receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, running back Dion Lewis, tight end Clay Harbor and offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer, Shaq Mason and Tre' Jackson will all begin on the active/physically unable to play list. 

All players on active/PUP will count against the team's active 90-man roster, but none will be eligible to practice until they come off of the PUP list. Players can be removed from PUP at any time. 

Lewis, Harbor and Mason all participated in spring practices at some point, but their inclusion on the PUP list indicates that they could use more time to heal. Edelman, Amendola, Jackson and Vollmer were not spotted during spring practices that were open to the media. 

Other players who were not seen during spring camps -- such as Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Nate Solder, LeGarrette Blount and Josh Kline -- have not been added to the PUP list at this time and could be available for camp when practices begin.

Farrell: Sox may have to manage Betts' knee condition for rest of season

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Farrell: Sox may have to manage Betts' knee condition for rest of season

BOSTON -- After missing two-and-a-half games due to soreness in his right knee, Mookie Betts was back in the lineup for the Red Sox Monday night.

Betts was removed from Friday night's game after four innings when he experienced soreness in the knee. The knee had been bothering him since the beginning of the second half of the season.

The training staff drained some excess fluid from the knee Saturday, reducing the swelling that had taken place.

"I was able to run at full speed [Monday],'' said Betts. "We were able to get the swelling out with ice and whatnot. I tried to stay off of it (for the weekend).''

"He feels better than he has the last couple of days,'' said John Farrell.

Farrell said the Sox might have manage the condition for the rest of the season.

"I don't fully expect this to vanish,'' said Farrell. "The biggest thing is that there was a little buildup of swelling. Once that subsided and was removed, that's where he's feeling the freedom in his knee and he's ready to go tonight.''