Brady: Not much of a break during bye week

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Brady: Not much of a break during bye week

Well, here they are again. After eight weeks, the Patriots are 5-3, just as they were last year. Easy to say that Tom Brady and Friends should be 8-0 considering their three close losses, but they're not. They're 5-3. Not perfect, but still good enough for first place in the AFC East.

Brady made his weekly call in to WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show on Monday to explain that the Patriots are what their record says they are.

"We're at where we really deserve to be," Brady said. "I don't think we've played any better than our record. We don't deserve to be anything better than we are. Look, every team can go, 'Wow, without these plays we could be undefeated.' Every team can say that. But we're not, and there's a reason why. It's not like we've played great football over these last eight weeks. There is a lot of improvement we need to make. There is a lot of things we can do better. We need to get some guys healthy. We have to get everybody moving forward and make a big push here in the second half because this is where the best teams really start to show themselves."

The Patriots seemed to make their push early with a 45-7 drubbing of St. Louis in London on Sunday.

"Thats what were hoping every week," Brady said. "We played pretty well. I thought all the guys contributed. The guys were really focused. We had a good week of practice there and went over there and executed against a good team, a team that beat Arizona and beat Seattle. They have quite a few good players on their team. It just wasnt their day and we capitalized on some of their mistakes. It ended up being, certainly not an easy game, but in the second half it was well under control."

Brady was 23-for-35 for 304 yards and four touchdowns against a normally-stout Rams pass rush. He credited his tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer for keeping him clean.

"Phenomenal job on two guys who can rush, who can really do the job, and guys that are really the heart and soul of their defense," Brady said of Rams ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn. "Nate and Sebastian have done that all year. Ive never had to worry about the defensive end or a pass rush. Its just something Ive never really had to think about. It seems like we play good ends every week, and they really step up to the challenge. They did a great job."

Now the Patriots go into their bye week. Time for some rest, right? Actually, no, not really.

"There's not much of a break, to tell you the truth," Brady said. "It's hard when you play quarterback to get away from of it. I'll talk to Josh McDaniels 50 times these next three days and then we practice on Thursday and I'm not sure what we have planned after that. This is still football season. This isn't mid-February, so I'm still thinking about what we need to do better, what I need to do better, my role on the team and things I can improve on."

Reports: Celtics engaged on Porzinigis trade talks but asking price is 'massive'

Reports: Celtics engaged on Porzinigis trade talks but asking price is 'massive'

In the hours leading up to the draft, the Knicks continue to talk to teams -- including the Celtics -- about a trade for Kristaps Porzingis but are seeking a "massive" return, according to multiple reports. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical reports that the Celtics are among several teams so far unwilling to meet the Knicks' price.

Knicks president Phil Jackson is said to covet Kansas forward Josh Jackson in the draft, who many have speculated the Celtics could take with the No. 3 pick. CSN Celtics Insider Sherrod Blakely, on the Toucher and Rich this morning, proposed a potential C's package of tonight's No. 3 pick, next year's Brooklyn pick, Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown as a potential haul for Porzingis. 

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe termed what New York is seeking as "massive" and Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Celtics "remain in pursuit."

Frank Isola of The New York Daily News says it's "the moon and two Brooklyn picks," i.e. the haul Blakely proposed - this year's No. 3 and the 2018 first-round pick from the Nets that the Celtics own from the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett deal, Brown and Crowder. Also, the Celtics taking on the remaining two years (at more than $18 million per) of Joakim Noah's contract from the Knicks could factor into the deal.

Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell gets a new deal . . . with Scholastic Books

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Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell gets a new deal . . . with Scholastic Books

Second-year Patriots receiver Malcolm Mitchell already had a children's book published before he was drafted last year. Now he has a three-book deal with children's book publisher Scholastic. 

The three books will include a newly-illustrated edition of his self-published first crack at the children's book genre, "The Magician Hat," according to the Associated Press. That will come out in May of next year and be followed up by two more original works. 

Mitchell has been a children's literacy advocate since before joining the Patriots. That he joined a reading club -- made up mostly of women twice his age or more -- was quickly seized upon by multiple media outlets in the build-up to last year's draft as one of the feel-good stories in that year's class of prospects. 

Mitchell has founded a youth literacy initiative called Read With Malcolm, and he's the Patriots "Summer Reading Ambassador," encouraging young students to read as much as possible during the summer months. He hosted reading rallies across New England that began in Roxbury, Mass. back in March and finished up last week at The Hall at Patriot Place.