Patriots prepare for Ravens' physical play

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Patriots prepare for Ravens' physical play

FOXBORO -- Recent history would suggest that the Patriots are going to put up points on Sunday, and that the team's biggest task is stopping Baltimore's offense from getting in the end zone.

But in order for New England's offense to have success in the AFC Championship, quarterback Tom Brady will need his offensive line to be at its best against a Ravens defense that finished the regular season with the third-most sacks.

"This will be the most physical front we face all year, by far," said Patriots veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters on Thursday. "That's something that, if you watch them, it doesn't take long to figure out that that's what they thrive upon, being physical and really trying to overwhelm you on defense, getting to the ball, going after the football. The way they hit, the way they attack the quarterback, the way they shed blockers, that's definitely an emphasis on their football team.

"It's always our number one job up front," added Waters. "We obviously know that, if we keep him clean, then we have a better chance of winning, by far. So it's going to be a great task for us, but it's the largest emphasis of our job, as offensive linemen."

Logan Mankins agreed, and pointed out that the Ravens pass-rush doesn't just have one or two dangerous players. It's their whole system that allows them to have such a ferocious attack on opposing quarterbacks.

"They're very physical," he said. "They have numerous guys that are at least 350 pounds. They've got some big guys. And that all starts with Ray Lewis. He's played physical for his entire career. Those guys feed off this, and I think that he demands that they play physical also. They're a physical football team, offensively and defensively.

"They have numerous guys across the board that can rush the passer, and they've all got numerous sacks. So, it's not just one guy doing it," added Mankins. "They have a lot of guys that are good at it. And I think collectively, they know how to rush the passer. That's why they're so good."

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’

Price on his return to Red Sox: ’There’s not a better feeling’


BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox. 

Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.

“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”

Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.

“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”

The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.

“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”

Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.

“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press.

Belichick makes surprise address at NCAA lacrosse banquet

Belichick makes surprise address at NCAA lacrosse banquet

It's been well-established that Bill Belichick has a strong affinity for the sport of lacrosse. That the NCAA Division I men's and women's lacrosse Final Fours are taking place at Gillette Stadium this weekend means that the Patriots head coach has an opportunity to be around the highest level of college competition the sport has to offer. 

And he's taking full advantage. 

Not only did he meet with and speak to the Boston College women's team on Thursday, he's also met with the Ohio State men's team, and he took a few minutes to speak to all eight finalists at the Division I lacrosse banquet on Thursday night before the weekend of play got underway.

"I know that for us, fortunately, we've been to a lot of these games, and we've come out on the good side on some and not on the good side on others," Belichick said. "But just the experience, the competition of playing at this level and playing against this type of competition for what's at stake this weekend, it's just an awesome experience for you and your families."

Belichick explained that he had seen all eight teams play at one point or another this year, and he sounded like a fan of them all as he closed his remarks.

"It's really exciting to watch," he said. "You guys play with a lot of class, a lot of heart, a lot of toughness, and that's what I admire. Hopefully, we can play like that this coming year."