Anderson making most of new start

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Anderson making most of new start

FOXBORO -- Losing Andre Carter and his 10 sacks is a blow for the Patriots defense. But Mark Anderson, one of the rushers who'll be called on since Carter ripped his quad on Sunday, has nine sacks this year.
In other words? Anderson as a replacement is not ideal. But better than if New England had nobody who could get to the quarterback. "If you lose somebody like Andre, that's a very key player to our defense," said Anderson. "But my role is not going to change. I'm still gonna go out there and play hard. Conditioning and preparation don't change. One of our soldiers went down but everyone has to step up."Andersonhit a career crossroads during the lockout. A fifth-round pick from Alabama in 2006, he rolled up 10 sacks as a rookie. But his production in Chicago dipped to the point he was an October release by Chicago last season. He spent the remainder of 2010 in Houston then was a free agent. He's had a bit of a rebirth here in New England. "This has been an opportunity for me to start fresh," he explained. "It was a great thing for Bill (Belichick) and Mr. Kraft to consider me during the lockout and when the season started. I just try to go out there and have fun and make the most of every opportunity."Since he's only signed through the end of the season,does he have a sense he's entering a new phase in his career?"Whenever you get the opportunity (you have to maximize)," he explained. "I got a great opportunity here with New England and I know I have to make the most of the opportunity because I'm blessed to even be put in this situation. I'm having fun. Fun is the only word to describe what's going on right now."

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.
 

Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

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Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report for Sunday's game with the Rams is out. While they'll be without one big name, but their others are still very much in play. 

Rob Gronkowski, who was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday, has been ruled out. Jordan Richards, who is dealing with a knee issue and has not practiced this week, will also be held out of action on Sunday. 

Tom Brady (knee), Julian Edelman (foot), Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder) and Chris Hogan (back) -- all of whom practiced on Friday -- have been listed as questionable for the Rams game at Gillette Stadium. Special teamer Nate Ebner (concussion) returned to practice on Friday and is also questionable, as is Trey Flowers (shin) and Elandon Roberts, who popped up on the injury report with a jaw issue Friday. 

Special teams captain Matthew Slater missed Friday's session after participating on both Wednesday and Thursday. He's been ruled as questionable. Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton is also questionable after missing his second straight day of practice with an illness.

If Slater and Ebner are at all limited this weekend, coupled with the loss of Richards, the Patriots kicking game would be significantly impacted. Hogan took reps as the team's personal protector on the punt team earlier this week and may fill that role should Ebner miss time.