Patriots changing secondary tough on Bills game plan

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Patriots changing secondary tough on Bills game plan

FOXBORO -- To some people in New England, the moving parts in the Patriots secondary doesn't exactly make them feel as though everything back there is going to be just fine.

But preparing for all the different pieces in the Patriots secondary can be frustrating to opposing coaches. And entering this Sunday's game against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey is having a tough time trying to figure out New England's secondary because of its moving parts.

"The issue with their secondary is they have had so many people beat up," said Gailey in a conference call on Wednesday. "They have struggled to have continuity. You have Devin McCourty playing corner, you have him playing safety, and you have different people in there playing in different spots from time to time.

"The thing that they have been able to do is win and gain a ton of experience with a lot of different people. It is going to improve their secondary overall as time goes on. The moving of people around has created a problem for them as far as making sure everybody is on the same page as far as covering every pass the way I know they would like to, and the way they have done it in the past."

But again, that is also a problem for the Bills, who are trying to game plan for it.

"You do not know who you are going to get where," said Gailey. "You do not know how to read one guy. If you can watch four or five games on a guy, you can sometimes get a read on him. When you do not have that it is very difficult to do."

Report: Celtics express deep trade interest in P.J. Tucker

Report: Celtics express deep trade interest in P.J. Tucker

The Boston Celtics are lining up a consolation prize in the event they are unable to land Bulls guard Jimmy Butler

The Celtics are deeply interested in Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker, according to Sporting News' Sean Deveney. In 57 games this season, the 31-year-old has averaged seven points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists. The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder has played in Pheonix for five seasons. In the year before that, he spent his rookie season with the Toronto Raptors.

Tucker would join a group of shooting forwards in Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Gerald Green.

The addition of Tucker isn't nearly as significant as Butler, but that may be just why the Celtics are interested. Deveney explained Tucker's "amicable" attitude and experience could be a nice fit in the Celtics' already cohesive locker room. Butler is a big splash acquisition that may make a big splash in the locker room, and he would require adjustments from Isaiah Thomas.

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.