A closer look at Ryan Mallett

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A closer look at Ryan Mallett

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - In the bizarre lockout world of the NFL, there's been a cloak-and-dagger feel to the proceedings.

Who can talk to whom for how long? What can players leave the building with? How long can team-incoming rookie relations last?

With that backdrop, media met with a couple of Patriots this afternoon in the dim, gray, concrete concourses of Gillette Stadium. The first was quarterback Ryan Mallett. His issues are well-documented. His talent as well.

The fact that several quarterbacks were taken ahead of him didn't slip his attention.

"When there are six other guys at your position taken ahead of you, theres going to be(an intention to prove people wrong)," said Mallett.

We got a little bit more on his background on Saturday.

On the offense at ArkansasThe Arkansas offense is pro style. Were under center, were in the shot gun, were making protection calls, were audibling. Were doing all that. Terminology is obviously going to be different from team to team, so thats going to be the biggest obstacle as well as learning the new plays, the new defenses of the NFL.

What was his redshirt season between Michigan and Arkansas like?It was productive and tough. Productive in the way that I could get really into the playbook and learn really everything in and out of it. It was hard knowing that I couldnt go play. I didnt have the chance to play because of the rule. No matter what I did, I couldnt get on the field. So, that was probably the hardest part of that year.

Without training and minicamp, how will he accelerate to the faster pace of the NFL?You practice harder. You train harder. You train faster, as fast as you can every rep whether its running, whether its throwing, whether its a drop back, a lift, you do it as hard as you can every time.

What does he like about being a quarterback?The thing I like about the position is you get to lead a group of guys during the practice, during the game, the final minute of the game, whatever it is. Youre responsible for the 10 other guys on the field and yourself to get things done right. And thats what I really enjoy about the position.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.
 

Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

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Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report for Sunday's game with the Rams is out. While they'll be without one big name, but their others are still very much in play. 

Rob Gronkowski, who was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday, has been ruled out. Jordan Richards, who is dealing with a knee issue and has not practiced this week, will also be held out of action on Sunday. 

Tom Brady (knee), Julian Edelman (foot), Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder) and Chris Hogan (back) -- all of whom practiced on Friday -- have been listed as questionable for the Rams game at Gillette Stadium. Special teamer Nate Ebner (concussion) returned to practice on Friday and is also questionable, as is Trey Flowers (shin) and Elandon Roberts, who popped up on the injury report with a jaw issue Friday. 

Special teams captain Matthew Slater missed Friday's session after participating on both Wednesday and Thursday. He's been ruled as questionable. Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton is also questionable after missing his second straight day of practice with an illness.

If Slater and Ebner are at all limited this weekend, coupled with the loss of Richards, the Patriots kicking game would be significantly impacted. Hogan took reps as the team's personal protector on the punt team earlier this week and may fill that role should Ebner miss time.