Having played potential foes is a plus, thinks Ridley


Having played potential foes is a plus, thinks Ridley

FOXBORO -- The Patriots played four of the other five AFC playoff teams this season, and went 3-1 in those games, losing only to Baltimore.

They didn't play Cincinnati, but the only way the Patriots would have to play the Bengals, would be in the AFC Championship, if the Bengals defeated both Houston and Denver.

So it's a longshot.

As for the other four teams, having the experience of already playing them this season is certainly a positive, according to at least one Patriots player.

"Absolutely, the more film that we have on whoever we play, the better," said running back Stevan Ridley on Monday. "So, they're going to look at it and put us in a position to go out there and be successful, and we have to execute."

The Patriots have Tuesday off, and will practice Wednesday and Thursday before having Friday through Sunday off.

Ridley was one of the few Patriots players who spoke to the media after meetings on Monday at Gillette Stadium, a day after their 28-0 win over Miami in the regular-season finale.

He said he won't be watching next weekend's Wild Card round.

"I'll be hunting," he said. "I'm going down South, man. So probably not."

But before and after that, the Patriots have work to do. Even Ridley -- who ran for over 1,200 yards this season -- knows that.

"Yeah, coach Bill Belichick's going to have something to say," said Ridley. "But if he didn't, it wouldn't be Coach.

"We're trying to play perfect football," added Ridley. "And that's impossible, of course, but when you make a mistake, you best believe that this is one place that it's not going to slide. He's going to mention it. He's going to try to critique it, correct it, and we'll move forward."

As good as he's been, Ridley still hasn't played perfect football this year. Just look at his four fumbles.

But he didn't lose the football on Sunday. And he scored two touchdowns, helping himself and his team to a first-round bye.

The Patriots will need more of that in two weeks.

"I'm thankful," said Ridley. "The offensive line is doing a tremendous job. I'm blessed. For us to be rolling into the playoffs right now, coming off a game like that, that's what we needed. So we're just going to keep working.

"It's a great feeling when the offense is clicking. And it was clicking on the ground, it was clicking in the air. We had things going. It was just a good day for us, and that only comes through hard work and preparation throughout the week. And that's what we did."

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


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.