Patriots 'complementary' play leads to stout defensive performance


Patriots 'complementary' play leads to stout defensive performance

FOXBORO -- Seeing the Patriots record a season-high seven sacks in Sunday's 28-0 win over the Miami Dolphins, it would seem as if most of the praise for New England's first shutout since 2009 would be going to the defensive line following the game.

But as Patriots players pointed out, the defensive success is complementary.

"Oh yeah, they were coming, they were coming, to say the least," said cornerback Kyle Arrington, when asked about the pressure up front. "Those guys are great, though. They put so much effort in during the week, and it shows up on game day all the time. We are fortunate to have those guys up front.

"We work off each other," added Arrington. "We play complementary football all the time. We do our best to. Those guys get a pass rush for us, or we hold up on the back end and give them some time to get there. So, it works out. It works in both ways."

Bill Belichick was also quick to credit everyone on the defense for the shutout, not just the defensive line that forced seven sacks.

"They did a good job, but its team defense," said Belichick. "Guys were covered, the quarterback had to hold the ball, they helped the pass rush. Guys rushed well, guys covered well. When the receivers are open, it doesnt matter what your pass rush is. If you make the quarterback hold the ball, then that helps the pass rush. It was good team defense.

"We did a good job in the running game. There were some long-yardage situations, and of course, we got ahead in the game, that obviously made them have to throw more, so that worked in our advantage too. It was good team defense today.

"Again, I couldnt single anybody out," added Belichick. "The guys in the back end played well, the guys up front played well. It was a big turnover to start the game, put us in good field position early. Of course, Donta Hightower jumped on that fumble down there on the goal line which we had several fumbles against them in the last game and only recovered one so it was good to be able to get that one."

Rookie Justin Francis recorded three of those sacks. Still, Belichick wouldn't even single him out after his first three NFL sacks.

"Again, I think some of that is overrated," said Belichick. "There were several times when one guy came in and flushed the quarterback out and somebody else got him. If we get him as team, we get him. But they all did a good job Justin, Chandler Jones, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Trevor Scott, Rob Ninkovich they all did a good job."

Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida


Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

Tiger Woods, recovering from his fourth back surgery in the last three years, was arrested on DUI charges Monday morning in Jupiter, Fla.

Woods, 41, is the winner of 79 PGA tournaments in his career (including 14 majors). He was stopped this morning at around 3 a.m. and booked at 7:18 a.m. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

Physical problems have plagued Woods in recent years, but he said last week "unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again." However, he will need months to recover from his most recent surgery.

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Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.