Curran on Patriots mental toughness, defense

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Curran on Patriots mental toughness, defense

The Patriots walked out of New York with a convincing victory over the Jets, and now they have ten days to get themselves rested.  Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran believes the team has showed significant mental toughness over their recent stretch.

Overall, what this team has done in the span of time that it had to go to Seattle, come back home and play the Jets, then go over to Wembley and play there. They have shown a lot."  said Curran. "This is a very mentally tough team.  You don't see them making a spade of mistakes the way the Jets did."

The team may be mentally tough, but is the defense better now in comparison to earlier in the season?"

"I believe it is.  It's still going to be a team that has it's difficulties especially in coverage." continues Curran. "What Brandon Spikes brings to the field is something this team hasn't seen since Rodney Harrison went away.

"I'm not going to go give high-fives to Matt Patricia, but the defense is playing better, and I give the players a lot of credit for that."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.

Now-and-again Fun League? NFL lightens up on touchdown celebrations

Now-and-again Fun League? NFL lightens up on touchdown celebrations

Roger Goodell announced on Tuesday that the NFL would ease off its restrictions on touchdown celebrations going forward. 

"Just as NFL teams use the offseason to get better, at the league we use this time to listen to players, coaches, officials and fans about how we can continue to improve our great game.," he said in a statement. " . . . Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: we are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays."

Using the football as a prop, celebrating on the ground and group celebrations will all be allowed after scores under the new policy.

"Offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and those directed at an opponent, will still be penalized," Goodell explained.