Belichick: Preparation key for new players


Belichick: Preparation key for new players

FOXBORO -- The Patriots moved cancer survivor Marcus Cannon from the reservenon-football injury list to the 53-man roster this week. Coach Bill Belichick could give no timetable on when the offensive lineman might see field action, but the activation inspired a big-picture question: How do new guys get game-ready?

The subject is timely for the Patriots, who started two practice players, safety Sterling Moore and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, last weekend against the Jets. Belichick emphasized it was not entirely a trial-by-fire situation.

"All the players practice with the team every day, so whichever guys, whoever is on the team, they take reps in there just because they have to be ready to play," said Belichick. "We all know that who goes out there on the first play of the game, there could be somebody out there different on the second or third play of the game so everybody has to be ready.

"We try to give everybody on the team as many reps as we can but certainly some reps so theyre prepared to play whether thats because of circumstance or because of a rotation or something like that. That consistency gets built through practice repetitions thats what practice is, its preparation for the game."

Circumstance gifted Moore and Tarpinian Sunday's playing time.

Starting safety Patrick Chung (58 tackles, one interception) suffered a foot injury in Week 10. Brandon Spikes (44 tackles in seven games) is the lost first-string linebacker, out with a strained MCL. With the Patriots defense already ranked last in the NFL, the Jets were expected to continue their winning streak at the expense of New England's depleted 'D.' And that was before 2008 third-round pick Antwaun Molden came in for 2010 Pro Bowl cornerback Devin McCourty, whose shoulder Moore separated via a friendly fire tackle.

But the Patriots survived.

The defensive line, led by Andre Carter's franchise record 4.5 sacks, did its job. The "scrubs" -- expected by so many to explode into shards of anxiety on impact -- didn't screw up anything. Tarpinian had four tackles; linebacker Tracy White (17 combined tackles last season) had four. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had just one passing touchdown.

Preparation: Belichick stressed it for a reason. Also, he doesn't just heap the extra work on his assistants. He said Wednesday that he is as involved as possible and relishes the opportunity.

"It's one of the advantages, honestly, of being a head coach is you can kind of go wherever you want to go. If you want to work with this group, you can work with this group; if you want to work with that group, you can work with that group. It's kind of nice.

"If there's anything I want to try to convey to a particular player or a particular group, and it doesn't make a difference if it's new guys or old guys, whoever they are, I have no problem going into that meeting room, calling them into my office, sitting down with him, whatever it is and trying to tell them, 'Look, this is what I think's important this week, or this is what we think you can better, this is what we're looking for from you, this is something that's going to change, here's what's going to happen.' I'd say I try to do it on a weekly, but I'd say it's more of a daily, basis."

These days, the Patriots need it.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)