Patriots begin self-evaluation week

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Patriots begin self-evaluation week

FOXBORO -- On Monday, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley said he would be off hunting this weekend when asked if he would be paying attention to the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
That was a day after New England had clinched a first-round bye.
Two days later, the tone inside the Patriots' locker room is "business as usual." And the responses to the "Will you be watching this weekend?" question was somewhat different than Ridley's.
 "I'll watch every game this weekend, closely," said Patriots' safety Steve Gregory after Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium.
"I'll probably watch HoustonCincinnati pretty closely, as I will all the games," said wide receiver Wes Welker. "And make sure I'm trying to stay on top of it all."
But until Saturday, the Patriots have a few days to not worry about their next opponent, mainly because, well, they don't know who that next opponent will be.
So there's no sense in preparing for three teams. Instead, they'll take the time to self-evaluate.
"We'll see how it plays out this weekend," said Gregory. "Right now, we're focused on us, getting some things corrected that we need to get corrected, and getting better.
"You want to narrow down on the things that you need to get fixed. And we've been doing that this week. So it's a good week for us, a big week for us to get better.
"It's just a week that we have an opportunity where we don't have to really necessarily game plan for one team," added Gregory. "It's a week where we can focus on ourselves a lot and get better at some of the things that we need to get better at."
Cornerback Aqib Talib referred to the bye week as a "free week."
"You can work on everything with a week like this," he said. "So, it's big for us."

Wojnarowski: C's, Pacers talking Nets pick for George

Wojnarowski: C's, Pacers talking Nets pick for George

Often times reporting something can shake something loose from another source. That might have been the case Thursday morning. 

Just eight minutes after Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Celtics and Pacers were not in advanced discussions on Paul George because of Boston’s unwillingness to deal the Nets’ 2017 first-round pick, he sent a follow-up saying sources had indicated that the pick was indeed in play. 

George, 26, will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season. 

O'Connor: Zizic would go top-10 in 2017 draft

O'Connor: Zizic would go top-10 in 2017 draft

It seems the Celtics can throw yet another piece onto their treasure trove of assets. 

The Celtics stashed two of their first-round picks from the 2016 draft overseas and in the process have seen 23rd overall pick Ante Zizic establish himself as a very promising NBA prospect. 

The Croatian center, currently playing in the Turkish League, has boosted his stock with a strong season in what’s expected to be his last before joining the Celtics. Appearing on Toucher and Rich Thursday morning, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said that Zizic has improved to the point that he would be a top-10 pick in the 2017 draft. “He looks really good,” O’Connor said. “I liked him last year when I first watched him. I thought, ‘Good energy big man. He’ll have a solid career,’ but then the more you watch him, the more you see. 

“This year, he’s really taken a step forward. All his strengths look better. All the things he was already good at like screening, rebounding and rim-protection, he looks better. But he’s also starting to flash a little bit of a mid-range jumper, and he’s never had bad mechanics, but now that shot’s starting to fall. So maybe he can be more than that energy big man. Maybe he’s a little bit more dynamic than that. 

“If I’m the Celtics, I value him as you’re getting a top-10 pick this yea. I think he’d go around nine or 10 in this draft.”