Postcard 20

Postcard 20

FOXBORO -- Another Gronk-less day - and Lloyd-less and Hernandez-less - as the Patriots took the field for the 20th day of training camp.

With Gronk, it's just been a matter of rep management. With Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, I'm not sure that's the case but I'm leaning toward that being the case.

WEATHER
Warm, peekaboo sunshine. Let's go low-to mid-80s - Paoletti says cloud cover was "good."

WHAT THEY WOREFull pads for all the kids.

WHAT THEY DID
1:45-1:52: A review of some blocking assignments on kickoff returns.

1:52-2:12: Walkthrough reps with a lot of variety in the personnel groupings along the offensive line.

2:12-2:40: Running, position stretching, position drills.

2:40-2:46: 1-on-1 route running for receivers and DBs

2:47-3:08: 11-on-11

3:08-3:15 - Barrel toss for QBs, special teams works on situational kickoffs.

3:15-3:37 - Offensive and defensive lines worked on tandem blocks and rushes; 7-on-7 for the rest

3:37-3:39: 1-on-1 tackling

3:39-3:46: Special teams work, field goals

3:46-4:00:11-on-11

WHAT WE SAWJames Ihedigbo got back in action after a couple days off.

Others who did not practice: Spencer Larsen, Eric Kettani, Daniel Fells, Sebastian Vollmer, Kyle Hix, Alfonzo Dennard, Visanthe Shiancoe, Markus Zusevics, Tracy White, Gerard Warren, Jonathan Fanene, Malcolm Williams, Myron Pryor. Brian Waters still hasn't reported. Which reminds of an uncomfortable exchange between personnel man Nick Caserio and Mike Reiss. Reiss asked if the team knew whether Waters was playing in 2012 or not. Caserio said he had no updates. Reiss reminded Caserio that he wasn't asking for an update, just a yes or no response. Caserio double-talked in a small circle.

Logan Mankins wasn't in full pads. Julian Edelman wasn't wearing anything on his wrist after he appeared to ding it on Monday.

Zoltan Mesko appeared well-caffeinated. He was playing hacky-sack with the other kickers, sprinting past the rest of the team (and doing a pose-down) at the end of sprints, patting Ross Ventrone on the head after a good play, dunking over the goal post, running downfield to down punts at the goal line and feigning pain when hit with a blocking pad. Busy.

Matt Slater had the catch of the day in the right side of the end zone on a deep ball by Tom Brady. Slater went up and plucked the ball one-handed away from Devin McCourty.

Corner Marquice Cole dinged himself going to the ground while defending Jabar Gaffney downfield. It appeared trainers were looking at his shoulder.

Scott O'Brien, the special teams coach, was high energy all day.

Kyle Arrington showed some excellent change-of-direction coverage sticking with Julian Edelman during 1-on-1s.

Patrick Chung had a near pick of Tom Brady along the right sideline when Brady tried to jam a ball in to Edelman.

Derrick Martin, a safety, wiped out hard on some downfield coverage. A lot of guys were slipping during the early portion of practice.

Deion Branch had the second best catch, beating Kyle Arrington on a leaping crossing pattern.

The first offensive line for Brady in 11-on-11 was Nate Solder, Donald Thomas, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald and Marcus Cannon.

Ryan Mallett did not have a good day. He messed up a screen badly, having to throw it away. His accuracy has not been on a significant uptick. He seems very wristy on his throws, as if he curls his hand too much inward. He wasn't so sure I knew what the hell I was talking about when I mentioned it to him. Maybe I don't. But any port in a storm, Ryan.

Of course, Mallett was the only guy to get one in on the barrel toss. So skills competition? He's your guy.

Trevor Scott had another play where he showed up with a strip sack of Brady. The defensive line and secondary won by a ton in the passing game on Tuesday. Among the other turnovers, Steve Gregory picked off Brady on a pass headed for Welker. Chung eventually picked Brady one-handed in the end zone. A wobbly Hoyer pass was tipped and picked by Martin. And Nate Ebner picked Mallett in the two-minute drill.

A few direct snaps to various "quarterbacks" Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen.

Marcus Cannon and Marcus Fortson had to run penalty laps during the tandem blocking stuff. Chandler Jones decleated Derek Dennis.

The three quarterbacks worked on sprintout passes.

There was a lot of situational stuff again - very specific (ball on the 20, nine seconds left, one timeout) and a lot of two-minute.

Brandon Bolden made a terrific one-handed catch on the sidelines on a high throw by Mallett.

Stevan Ridley coughed it up after a reception. His second fumble in two days.

WHO'S HOTShane Vereen. Very smooth again. Just looked fast and comfortable on the reps he got, particularly in the passing game.

Steve Gregory-Patrick Chung. The pair is really locking down the middle of the secondary and it's more than evident they need to see some different competition because they are locked in right now.

WHO'S NOTStevan Ridley. Two fumbles in two days is not the way to quell angst over the post-Benny ball security in New England.

Ryan Mallett. He's gonna retire this category.

The passing offense. Tight coverage on receivers who weren't uncovering, forced throws, wobbly throws, bad timing. Yuck.

WHAT THEY SAID"Ow! Hey!" -- Not Sure. But someone yelled it on a middle run by Shane Vereen. It's just not an exclamation you hear very often on a football field.

Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

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Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

BOSTON -- Phil Jackson will be the first to admit he has made some mistakes during his tenure in the New York Knicks' front office.

Among the miscues was a deal that would have landed them Jae Crowder.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson told the website, www.todaysfastbreak.com.

Jackson later revealed that in conversations with Boston leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, he was given an option to either keep the second-round pick which was to be conveyed to Boston from Dallas, or take Jae Crowder and allow Boston to keep the second-round pick from the Mavs.

"I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo (Anthony)," Jackson said. "So I took the (second-round) pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early.”

Ouch!

With Crowder left out of the six-player deal between New York and Dallas, the Celtics were able to engineer a trade with the Mavericks six months later that sent Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, draft picks and what many believed at the time to be a “throw in” player by the name of Jae Crowder.

Less than two years later, Crowder is the lone player acquired by Boston in that deal who remains on the Celtics roster.

And as we have all seen, Crowder is far from just a warm body on the Celtics’ roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward has emerged as a core member of this young, up-and-coming Celtics squad, a key to Boston going from being a team rebuilding just three years ago to one that’s poised to be among the top teams in the East this season.

And the play of Crowder has been a significant part of that growth.

Last season was his first as an NBA starter, and the 26-year-old made the most of his opportunity by averaging career highs in just about every meaningful category such as scoring (14.2), steals (1.7), assists (1.8), rebounds (5.1), field goal percentage (.443) and starts (73).

Meanwhile, Early has had a pair of injury-riddled seasons which have factored heavily into him seeing action in a total of just 56 games (9 starts) while averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and a woeful 26.3 percent on 3s.

“While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us,” Jackson said, “He still has the potential to be a valuable player.”

That said, Jackson knows he screwed that deal up, big time.

Even with the potential Early brings to the game, Jackson concedes, “I should have taken Crowder."

 

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

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Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.