Price shows strides he's made at wideout

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Price shows strides he's made at wideout

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Opportunity seized.With Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco and Brandon Tate on ice Thursday night, Taylor Price heated up.The second-year wideout who was basically redshirted as a rookie (he played only in the season finale and caught three passes), had 5 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in the rout of Jacksonville.What's the difference between August 2010 and August 2011?"Knowing the plays, knowing the system, knowing my teammates that much more," said Price. "I got a late start last year, which didn't really help. This lockout really helped me improve, knowing my playbook, staying in shape, just learning the game of football, really getting my head in the film and really just diving in, knowing what I'm supposed to do on every play, and how to practice and play."On his touchdown catch, Price showed how putting practice into a game situation helps.

"Its a baseline in-cut," Price said of the 11-yard score in the second quarter that made the score 13-6, New England. "Quarterback Brian Hoyer made the right read, put the ball in the spot and Ive got to get myself in the back of the end zone, tap the feet down and be ready to catch, squeeze the ball and drag the feet.

There was more to it than that. Hoyer's throw was behind Price who had to plant, open his body and reach behind himself to make the grab on his fingertips. It was a remarkable catch because the ball was probably a full six feet off target.

Price said that receivers coach Chad O'Shea works with the wideouts on catching bad balls and adjusting their bodies to them in frequent drills.

"Taylor had some good plays, made a couple good catches," Bill Belichick said in what amounts to a testimonial for the normally taciturn coach. "I thought that was a tough catch he made in the end zone for a touchdown. He had a couple run after catch plays down the sideline there on the hitch pattern when he broke a tackle there by the corner.
"But again, he's done some of those things in practice the last couple weeks, but it was good to see it happen in the game. I think hes been very competitive in practice in training camp this year. The year has made a big difference for him."

The hitch was a 50-yard hookup with rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett. Jammed between that catch and the touchdown was a 20-yard slant catch-and-run where Price again adjusted to a ball thrown behind him.

I know Ive got skills," said Price, who could challenge at any of the wideout spots for time. "I believe in myself. I know Ive got the talent to play at this level. Its just about going out there and showing these teammates, getting the trust of these teammates and the coaching staff and showing that I can play. Im going to keep doing that and Im going to keep getting better.

He's on his way to doing that.

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.