Kraft: Solder 'a team guy all the way'

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Kraft: Solder 'a team guy all the way'

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; If we didnt learn enough about Nate Solder during Thursdaynights conference call, the Patriots 2011 first-round pick was presented tothe media at Gillette Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Solder walked from the tunnel to an elevated stage at the50-yard line with Robert and Jonathan Kraft. A personalized Patriots jersey wasthen presented to the offensive tackle.

It was then that Robert Kraft told a story that, in a way,summed up what Solder is all about.

Every year, when we come down, I say, Give me a story that I can tell the mediathat we chatted about,' said Kraft. ' Whats special about this connection? AndNate said, Well, in my name, Solder, theres no I. Im a team guy all theway. So that just says it all.

Solder had a 6 a.m. flight this morning, and said that hesbeen living by the minute since he got that phone call from the Patriots onThursday night.

As sleep deprived as he was, Solder wasnt hiding the factthat he was everything a typical New England Patriot stands for. He proclaimedhimself a team guy that leads by example.

By the time everything got wrapped up last night, afterbeing drafted, its been a pretty long day for me, said Solder. I flew outhere, and meeting these coaches, and meeting these owners, has been a realhonor and privilege.

Ive always been rooting for the Patriots, because theyvehad a lot of great years. It hasnt been hard to be a fan of the Patriots.

I think Mr. Kraft was the one that kind of pointed out the impressiverecord that they have here at this stadium, he said. So that was the firstthought that came to mind. They win a lot of games here. They do things righthere.

Solder said he realizes he has a lot of things to improveupon, but wouldnt touch on any specific area, comparing it to adjusting to thecollege game, coming out of high school.

Ive never really paid too much attention to analysts,said Solder. Ive always felt that Im a strong, powerful player, but I alwayshave things to develop and get better at.

Its safe to say that he wont have to improve his huntingskills. Not because hes a great hunter, but because there isnt much huntingin Massachusetts.

Solder had traveled miles and miles while in Colorado, tohunt for elk. But in his hunting career, hes only shot 1 elk, and it happenedto be just a few miles away from his house.

Its funny, because I probably have been hunting for about10 or 15 years, chasing after elk, and Ive only shot one, joked Solder. Sothat tells you how good of a hunter I am, I guess.

And forget football and hunting, Solder nearly playedbasketball in college, at the Dartmouth College. But luckily for him and thePatriots, he choose to stay in Colorado and play football.

I chose football as the route that I would take, saidSolder. And Im so glad that I did, because it was a great five years atColorado, and I love the sport, and Im happy to be here today.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.