Cherington excited to see Valentine, Sox in action

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Cherington excited to see Valentine, Sox in action

BOSTON -- Its been almost two months since Bobby Valentine was named manager of the Red Sox, and general manager Ben Cherington has been using that time to get to know his manager better.

Nothings really surprised me, Cherington said before Thursdays Boston baseball writers dinner. Hes a creative guy, open minded. Its been helpful to work with someone who has an open mind as to how our roster comes together because we had to have an open mind this off-season and he certainly has that. So I dont know if that surprised me but its been nice to work with someone who thinks about those things.

Other than that, no surprises. Hes working really hard. Hes been in Boston a lot, working out of the office, watching video all day long to get to know our players better, obviously talking to players a lot, meeting players. So I think hell be as familiar with this team as anyone could be by the time we get to Fort Myers.

Cherington expects some changes in Valentines spring training camp, compared to what the team had for the last eight seasons with former manager Terry Francona.

There are aspects of the game he feels very strongly about, which I think well see some emphasis on, Cherington said.Hes working with bench coach Tim Bogarand the rest of the staff to schedule those days. Well have a better sense when we get down there but I think the days will be a little bit different.

I think that he also believes in getting the work done as efficiently as possible, and not just being out there standing around to waste time. But there may be aspects of the game that he wants to emphasize more, certainly fundamental aspects of the game that he wants to spend more time on in spring training. Theres usually a way to do that without extending the day too much.

Im really looking forward to seeing him and the staff in actionand the new facility I think will provide some energy for us I hope and most important, this goes back to the beginning of the off-season, but I truly think our players are ready to put last year behind them and spring training in front of them. To do that, at least in a formal sense. So I think thats something were all looking forward to. We still have some work before we get down there.

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.