Belichick gives Red Sox pre-game talk

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Belichick gives Red Sox pre-game talk

It's no secret: The Red Sox need to turn the page from 2011. Badly.

Who better to talk to the team about moving forward than Bill Belichick? He's Mr. It Is What It Is, the world's most reluctant rehasher, the man whose gaze is constantly focused on the week ahead and nothing else?

Bobby Valentine brought in the Patriots head coach to address the team at Fort Myers before their game on Tuesday night.

"I think he used a little reference to when things dont go right, you can turn the page," Valentine said after the game. "New years are new years, make the best of them that you can make.

"He follows our team. It's not like he just dropped out of Mars to say, 'Hey how you doing?' He kind of gets it.''

Valentine left tickets for Belichick after Belichick explained that he was in the area and looking to see the game. Valentine and Belichick have known each other since Valentine was with the Mets and Belichick was with the Jets so it didn't take a whole lot of convincing to get Belichick to talk to the team before the game.

Belichick is an avid baseball fan and very good friends with former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. He wore a La Russa jersey as he walked through the Patriots locker room one day during the World Series to show his support.

Belichick was close with Terry Francona and sorry to see him leave the Red Sox, but he was also excited for Valentine to get the managing gig at Fenway.

"Love Bobby. Great guy," Belichick said soon after hearing Valentine got the Red Sox job. "Great baseball guy. Love to talk to him. He's got a lot of energy.

"Don't get me wrong, I love Terry Francona. I had a great relationship with Bobby in New York. I went to several Mets games and stuff like that, watched Keyshawn Johnson throw out the opening pitch and all that. Bobby is a wonderful guy. I look forward to catching up with him and seeing him here."

On Tuesday night Belichick sat in the front row behind the screen and stayed for six innings.

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

Belichick impressed by rookie Thuney's work at left guard

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Belichick impressed by rookie Thuney's work at left guard

FOXBORO -- Joe Thuney may not have won the starting left guard job officially, but Bill Belichick says he's on the right track. And for a rookie, that's feat in and of itself.

The third-round pick out of North Carolina State -- you may remember it as the Kevin-Faulk-in-the-No.-12-jersey selection -- has been the first-team left guard since the start of training camp, and he hasn't moved since. Thuney has occasionally taken snaps at center, and the Patriots have him learning multiple spots behind the scenes. But every time Nate Solder has run on to the field as the left tackle, Thuney has been there by his side at guard. 

Even going back to OTAs, held not long after he was drafted, Thuney was the top choice at that position. 

"Joe has done a good job with what we’ve given him," Belichick said. "There was a point where we felt comfortable making that, I’d say temporary move, It wasn’t permanent. But he has handled it well. I think he’s certainly moving towards being able to lock something down at some point. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think he is certainly gaining on it. He has had a good preseason, had a good spring."

What once may have been deemed a temporary move back in the spring -- perhaps due to players like Shaq Mason, Tre' Jackson and Josh Kline dealing with injuries early in the offseason -- now seems like it should be a permanent one.

Thuney's run as the No. 1 left guard has been uninterrupted because his performance hasn't warranted a change. He's held his own against former first-round defensive tackle Malcom Brown in one-on-one practice drills, and he's been the highest-graded player on the Patriots offensive line through two preseason games, per Pro Football Focus. (The only players with higher grades on the team through two games are tight end AJ Derby and defensive end Trey Flowers.)

The man who went viral before the draft for his ability to solve a Rubik's cube in just over a minute has flashed an understanding of how quickly things move on the inside. Plus, playing under unretired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Thuney has been quick himself, both picking up pressures and working to the second level in the running game with aplomb.

Thuney will still have a preseason game or two to solidify his grasp on a starting role, but even for the brief period during which Mason and Kline were simultaneously healthy, Thuney was the choice on the left side of the interior offensive line. Now that Mason is dealing with what's been reported as a hand injury, Jackson remains on PUP, and Jonathan Cooper is still out after suffering a foot injury early in camp, the job seems like Thuney's to lose.

That Belichick even hinted Thuney is "gaining on it" is an indication of just how impressive he's been during his short time as a pro.