Talib ready for first playoff experience

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Talib ready for first playoff experience

FOXBORO -- Following Wednesday's practice, Aqib Talib was asked if he believed in momentum heading into the playoffs, regarding the Patriots defense posting its first shutout since 2009 in Sunday's regular-season finale.
"I believe in preparing for your next opponent," said Talib. "And I know we're going to have a pretty tough next opponent. So, we're going to do a good job of getting better as a team this week, and preparing for that next team, when it's time to."
Sounds like something a Patriot would say. Sounds like he gets it. Sounds like a veteran who's been there before.
Only, Talib actually hasn't been there before.
In his four-plus seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Talib never played in a playoff game. Now, after being acquired by the Patriots during the season, he's trying to get ready to prepare for his first postseason experience.
"I never got a chance to participate in the postseason," said Talib after Wednesday's practice. "My first chance, I'm definitely looking forward to it."
When wide receiver Wes Welker was asked about the advice he'd give someone who has never experienced playoff football, he said, "I think everybody's tired at this time of year. And you've just got to push through and amp it up another level for the playoffs, and really get that adrenaline going."
Talib said he hasn't picked anyone's brain about what the playoffs are like. He's not concerned though. He believes he's ready to jump right in. Because that's truly the only way he'll get to know.
"I've never been to the postseason, but I'm not a rookie or nothing," said Talib. "Once we get out there and the game starts, it's still football.
"I mean, there was a point in time where they had to see for their selves," he said. "So, I'm just going to have to see for myself what it's like."

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.