Pats free-agent forecast: Defensive line

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Pats free-agent forecast: Defensive line

This is the third in a series of position-by-position looks at the Patriots heading into free agency. Today's position: Defensive line.
Wbo's on the roster?Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Alex Silvestro, Vince Wilfork, Aaron Lavarias, Myron Pryor.Patriots need level?A solid 8.Position overview?The Patriots had a good defensive line group in 2011. With a few moves and some health luck, they'll be fine again in 2012. The defensive tackle group of Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick stands out. Love is underrated and Deaderick's got nice versatility. Wilfork is still brilliant but it's not a bad thought for the Pats to eyeball his successor, either. The Patriots' struck gold on the edge of their 4-3 in free agency last year with Mark Anderson and Andre Carter. Both are now free agents. The team also cycled through veteran DTs Gerard Warren, Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis. Only Warren was reliable. Who's out there?John Abraham, Falcons: Abraham will be 34 this season and what he's got left in the tank would make him merely a rotation guy. Mark Anderson, Patriots: Has to be a priority re-signing for the Patriots. There is the Leigh Bodden Effect to be concerned about -- re-signing your own free agent to a bigger deal then getting disappointing performance -- but the 29-year-old Anderson had 10 regular season sacks and two more in the playoffs. Brodrick Bunkley, Broncos: Excellent against the run but has been a bit of a disappointment over his career. Adam Carriker, Redskins: One-time 13th overall pick revived his career in Washington. Still just 28, has 3-4, 4-3 versatility and is a very intriguing player. Andre Carter, Patriots: Was just outstanding until tearing his quad in December. Consummate pro and a priority re-signing even if he's entering his 12th season. Luis Castillo, Chargers: He'd have to come in on an incentive-charged deal. Gets hurt a lot but is a pro and could be lured as a veteran in search of a championship. Derrick Harvey, Broncos: A first-round pick in 2008 who was a bust in Jacksonville, was as big a bust in Denver. But he's long and fast, fast and long. Kendall Langford, Dolphins: Solid young run-plugger. Miami won't let him go, one supposes. Amobi Okoye, Bears: This kid's still only 24. Went belly-up in Houston and is finding himself with Chicago which wants to re-sign him. Mario Williams, Texans: Too expensive.Other names of note?Dave Ball, Raheem Brock, Red Bryant, Jonathan Fanene, Jeremy Mincey, Sione Pouha, Paul Soliai. Free agent forecast?Re-signing Carter and Anderson should be high priorities. Real interesting names out there like Carriker who could fill the Mike Wright role (high energy, pasty white guy). Making a run at either Carriker or Castillo couldn't hurt. Gerard Warren is always ready to roll, it seems, so the Pats could wait until July on him. The draft is well-stocked with these guys as well so New England probably won't go high-end at all.

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop. 

The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning. 

Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps. 

It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night. 

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

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Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.

"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."

Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".

The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night. 

"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
 
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
 
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.''