Chiefs moving on in light of Cassel's injury


Chiefs moving on in light of Cassel's injury

FOXBORO -- The Patriots' defense is dealing with plenty of injuries. But Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley was quick to point out that his team is dealing with some significant injuries of its own entering Monday night's game at Gillette Stadium.

Perhaps the Chiefs' biggest injury was suffered by quarterback matt Cassel last Sunday in a loss to the Denver Broncos.

Cassel will miss his return to New England on Monday night, and it won't be because he's soft.

"He's a tough, tough guy, and has played through a lot of aches and pains here, since we've been together," said Haley. "I think he's most devastated that he's not going to be able to play, period, for our team. Because he's such a big part of our team, and the guys count on him. And he's a prideful, prideful, competitive guy that wants to play every week, and he's proven that.

"It's been impossible to really take him out of the lineup, barring maybe an organ removal ,and a couple of those things," added Haley. "It's disappointing to him, and I know we've got high goals and expectations for this year. And he'll just have to be on the sideline, rooting his teammates on, which I know that he will."

Replacing Cassel will be quarterback Tyler Palko. It will mark Palko's first career NFL start. And while some adjustments must be made to Kansas City's offensive attack because Palko throws left-handed, the Patriots' banged-up defense will see a similar offensive style from the Chiefs.

"Obviously, we've got a lefty, so some things are going to change," said Haley. "But Tyler's a drop-back quarterback, much like Matt. They have similar skill sets, so I don't think that we can dramatically make a whole bunch of adjustments, other than little tweaks here and there."

The Patriots will have to make some tweaks of their own, on the defensive end, as it doesn't look like cornerback Devin McCourty will be able to play on Monday night, after leaving Sunday's game against the Jets with a shoulder injury.

But still, the Chiefs know that the Patriots will make the proper adjustments, regardless of personnel.

"Their secondary has had some injury issues that they continue to fight through, but they're a competitive, tough group that makes plays at the right time, when they need them most," said Haley. "That has really helped their team win a bunch of games here.

"I think McCourty's a really good player," added Haley. "He plays physical, tough. But we've had our own share of injuries as New England has. Coach Belichick is one of the greats for a reason. And one of the key things to being a great coach in this league, and at any level really, is to develop your players that aren't necessarily frontline players, that are ready to play when they need to. I don't have any doubt that coach Belichick and his staff will have that done.

"So it's hard for me to look and say, well, we have a huge advantage in any area really."

Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers


Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers

BOSTON – Before Brad Stevens addressed the media before the Celtics faced the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday afternoon, he had to take a moment to make sure he wouldn’t forget anyone who wasn’t able to play.
Yeah, the list was a pretty long one.
Tyler Zeller, Demetrius Jackson and Jonas Jerebko will not play tonight due to sickness. And Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will also be out with a timetable that’s starting to feel like it’ll be longer than anyone would want.
“I don’t anticipate Avery this week at all,” Stevens said. “He still has some soreness. Obviously we’re concerned about the long-term impact of a sore Achilles; what it means on that foot but also what it means when you compensate off it. But he’ll be back when he’s ready but I think he’s still a little bit away.”
Bradley, the team’s top on-the-ball defender and No. 2 scorer this season at 17.7 points per game, will be out for the sixth time in the Celtics’ last seven games because of the Achilles injury.
Replacing him in the starting lineup will be Marcus Smart whose status for tonight’s game wasn’t a sure thing.
On the Celtics’ pregame notes package, Smart was listed as probable with a sore right ankle injury. I asked Stevens about Smart’s status a few minutes ago, and he said the 6-foot-4 Smart will play tonight.
In his 15 starts this season, Smart has averaged 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent on 3's - all of which are better than what he produces when coming off the bench. 

Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”


Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”