Belichick: We have a lot of respect for Henne

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Belichick: We have a lot of respect for Henne

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick gave current Jaguars, former Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne a heaping plate of respect Wednesday morning.  "Henne does a good job of reading coverages and getting the ball to the weak point of the coverage," Belichick said. "He uses Jordan Shipley and Marcedes Lewis in the inside part of the field. He uses his backs and check downs well. He certainly can get the ball to the perimeter with Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. He does a good job of spreading the ball around or taking where the defense is light, he does a good job of attacking there. 
"Hes also a pretty decent athlete. He can move around back there. There have been times where hes under pressure, hes able to escape and run or use his quickness in the pocket to then set up and throw the ball downfield and make a completion or make a good play."
Here's the thing: Belichick has to say these things. But Henne wasn't even Jacksonville's first choice. 
On November 21, Jaguars starter Blaine Gabbert was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a forearm injury. The second-year quarterback had struggled as a rookie with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This season he was barely better, bringing his completion percentage up from last year's 50.8 to 58.3 after 10 games. 
Still, teams don't usually give up first-round picks after less than two seasons. When Henne got the job it was because the Jaguars had no one else to give it to.  
Here's what the statistics say in the days before the Patriots travel to Jacksonville. 
Henne ranks dead last among the NFL's 35 quarterbacks in completion percentage (51.9). His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 85. The Jaguars rank 31st in first downs (226) and third down conversion percentage (28.6). New England has more than double the points scored this season than Jacksonville (506 to 219).  
"I dont think he gets locked in on one thing. With Henne, you really have to defend everything," Belichick continued. "You have to defend all the receivers, you have to defend the short balls, you have to defend the play-action, the deep balls, a little bit of scrambling. I think he does a pretty good job at everything. Thats really the hardest thing for a defense, when you have to defend everything as opposed to just nailing it down to, This is what he likes to do and its this small thing that theyre pretty good at, but its just that one thing." 
"Hes certainly done it well against us. Hes had some of his best games against us, so we have a lot of respect for Henne."
The Henne-led Dolphins were 1-4 against the Patriots. Of his career numbers, the quarterback has thrown for the most yardage against New England with 1,346. He also has the most touchdowns against Belichick's defenses with six, but has six interceptions to match. 
Who says Belichick isn't a nice guy?

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

BOSTON – The last 2 1/2 games for the Celtics have come without Isaiah Thomas (right hip) and it has certainly been a factor in Boston trailing Cleveland 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals heading into tonight’s must-win for the Celtics to keep their season alive.
 
There have been rumors that if the series with Cleveland were closer, maybe that would lead to a return to the floor for Thomas.
 
“No. No way. He’s done [this season],” Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s "Toucher & Rich" show this morning.
 
Ainge said there’s still swelling in the hip, and it probably won’t go down enough for doctors to make a determination whether surgery is needed for another couple weeks.

Thomas was in New York City earlier this week visiting a hip specialist. He's expected to consult with at least two more before making a decision as to what's the best course of treatment.
 
“Everybody agrees if there’s anything that needs to be done to it surgically, it helps...if the inflammation goes down,” Ainge said. “The recovery [time] would be quicker.”
 
The injury initially occurred on March 15 against Minnesota.
 
Ainge said he didn’t become too concerned about it until after Thomas re-aggravated it in Game 6 of the second-round series against Washington and was questionable to play in Game 7.
 
“I was worried going into the Cleveland series that he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2,” Ainge said. “And Game 2 in the second quarter it was clear he was in a lot of pain. No way we could go out and allow him to play the second half.”
 
Boston was blown out 130-86 in Game 2. In the first half, Thomas had two points and six assists, while missing all six of his shots from the field.
 
Ainge said there was “a lot” of irritation and inflammation around the affected joint in Thomas' right hip.
 
“It had gotten worse from the MRIs he had before,” said Ainge, who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”
 

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was diagnosed with and successfully treated for lymphoma in 2015, today announced a new ticket program, “Farrell’s Fighters,” that invites patients being treated for the disease and their family to a game each month throughout the season.
 
“It was a challenging battle going through the treatment a few years ago, and beyond the support of family and friends, one of the things that helped me get through it was the escape I found in the game of baseball,” Farrell said in a team statement. “I hope this program can provide a positive, momentary break for the patients and their families from the daily rigors of treatment, and for baseball to be a tonic for them, as it was for me.”
 
In addition to VIP seats at the game, the program will include a meeting with the Red Sox manager, a tour of the ballpark, the chance to watch batting practice, and lunch or dinner in the EMC Club restaurant.
 
“Farrell’s Fighters” will launch with patients from Massachusetts General Hospital, where Farrell was treated in 2015, but will expand to include other area hospitals. The first patient to take part in the program is Nate Bouley, 42, of Sudbury, Mass., who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, and is in remission for the third time. Bouley, his wife, and two children will attend the Red Sox-Mariners game Sunday.