Edelman helps Pats to victory in multiple ways

594808.jpg

Edelman helps Pats to victory in multiple ways

FOXBORO -- Earlier this month, Julian Edelman was charged with one count of indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping a woman at a Boston nightclub.

Some believed it would have resulted in his release from the New England Patriots. Those people were wrong.

And several weeks later, Edelman isn't just "still on the roster." He's playing a role in Patriots wins, like he did on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Edelman finished Monday's 34-3 win at Gillette Stadium with two punt returns for 81 yards a touchdown. That 72-yard punt-return touchdown came with 9:24 left in the third quarter, and put New England up 24-3.

At that point, the game was out of reach. And afterwards, he spoke to the media, but only talked football.

"I've been advised not to talk about it," said Edelman, when asked if he'd like to comment on the assault and battery allegations.

Edelman said he uses football as a way to escape from all the noise that's come with his off-the-field issue.

"It's been pretty challenging, but all I can do is come out here and get away from everything else, and focus on my job," said Edelman. "And that's what I've been doing."

On Sunday night, his job was more than returning punts. Edelman also saw plenty of time on defense, mainly in third-down sets.

"I'll do whatever I can to help the team," said Edelman. "We were a little thin, and I'm not going to say no to an opportunity."

Edelman played a handful of defensive snaps in garbage time last week, but other than that, just a few times he played safety as a freshman in high school.

"It's definitely a new experience," said Edelman. "But like I said, whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to go out there and try to do my best.

"It's tough because you've got to do stuff going backwards. You've got to be fluid. I mean, those guys are good. It's tough. Just a totally different experience."

Returning punts is nothing new to him, though. With his third-quarter punt return touchdown, Edelman became the fourth Patriots player with two or more punt returns for a touchdown, just one behind the leader, Troy Brown.

Edelman called Brown the "swiss army knife" after Sunday's win, acknowledging that Brown was a receiver who also returned punts and saw some time on the defensive side of the ball.

But both players are better known for their punt return skills, and Edelman proved that tonight, even if he also finished the game with a solo tackle.

Bill Belichick has been known to bring on players who can play multiple positions, and Edelman is proving to be one of those players.

"Well, he's learning how to play defense," said Belichick. "Hes got a long way to go, but hes working hard, he's getting reps and he's getting better at it. Weve been talking about the return game for quite a while. I feel like weve been close to breaking off a big play one block away or one better hold-up or just one thing, and we got it today. Our punt return team has been doing a good job. Theyve been working hard, weve been close, and it was satisfying for them and for all of us, really, for that to happen, because I do feel like weve been close.

"Those guys work hard and Julian has worked hard trying to make it happen . . . It was a big play in the game, I think it really I dont want to say put it out of reach but it certainly put a big gap in the game."

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

patriots_martellus_bennett_112716.jpg

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.