One-on-one with Theo: 'Sox can make a run'

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One-on-one with Theo: 'Sox can make a run'

Theo Epstein's in Chicago, but that doesn't mean he's not keeping an eye on his old team.

And he's not as down on the Red Sox as many people here.

"April was difficult," he told CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam in a one-on-one interview at Wrigley Field on Friday. "It almost seemed like a continuation of last September, and it was really hard. But they did a great job battling through. The Sox suffered a lot of critical injuries and still managed to fight their way back to .500."

And now?

"I think they're in a position in the A.L. East where once they get their guys healthy, they can make a real run at it," he said. "I think stabilizing the starting rotation's been a key for them. Having Clay Buchholz bounce back from his tough start and getting on track, and having Felix Doubront emerge, has been huge for them. And if they can have the other starters step up, they're going to be in a really good position when they get healthy."

On other issues, Epstein said the following:

On the aftermath of last September's collapse: "When that happens, it's important to be honest about it and step back and learn from it. And from what I can tell, everybody has. It was nobody's proudest moment, but what's important is what happens next."

On what he'll remember of his time in Boston: "When I look back on it, I feel lucky to have been a part of a group of people that helped change the organization for the better. Had a lot of success in scouting and player development and maybe changed the way people thought of Red Sox teams . . . I feel like we left the organization better than we found it. Obviously did some things that are historic in nature, and enjoyed ourselves. It wasn't perfect, but it was really good. We set a really high standard that, in the end, proved to be impossible to live up to all the time. Proud of the group of people that were involved in helping make all that happen."

On Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who also interviewed for the Red Sox job last offseason: "Dale's done a great job. It's been difficult circumstances. We haven't given him the '27 Yankees, exactly, to work with. Despite a lot of the losses, he's maintained a really even-keeled nature, set a really high standard for his expectations for the players. He's one of those rare managers who can pull off being really well-liked by the players, but also respected."

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.