O'Brien talks of 'professional' relationship with Brady

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O'Brien talks of 'professional' relationship with Brady

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Bill O'Brien doesn't know anything about the house under construction in Cali, how things went in Rio or why Tom Brady shaves his armpits. The relationship between O'Brien, the Patriots' offensive coordinator, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback is about the business of football. Asked Saturday afternoon how the two men get on, O'Brien said, "I'm going into my fifth year here. It's a good relationship. It's a professional relationship. It's a relationship (where) there's a lot of communication. It's all football. We talk all the time. I think there's a lot of trust and -- again -- you're talking about a guy that works really hard, it's important to him. (He's) a prideful guy so there's just a bunch of trust there and good communication and I think it's been a good relationship."It has. After a somewhat rocky 2009 when O'Brien was in his first year as OC after Josh McDaniels left and Brady was coming back from a blown left knee, 2010 was brilliant for both guys. The Patriots led the NFL in scoring and Brady was the league's first unanimous MVP. O'Brien pulled the levers on an offense that incorporated three new tight ends (two of them rookies), two undrafted running backs and a returning wideout (Deion Branch) that took over for another future Hall of Famer (Randy Moss). O'Brien didn't hold the OC title though. He was just the "de facto." Now he gets to put it on his business card if he wants. But he doesn't want. "We have a really strong staff as a whole that works very well together," said O'Brien in explaining that the title really means nothing. "We're all in it together, we each have different roles. I'm the guy that collects the paper and puts it in the right stack. It's a collaborative effort."With this compressed camp and another new wide receiver -- Chad Ochocinco -- to roll into the offense, O'Brien's got a plateful. Fortunately for the Patriots, their new OC (same as the old OC) has shown he can get it all covered.

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.