Vollmer back at practice, still 'day-to-day'


Vollmer back at practice, still 'day-to-day'

By Phil Perry

FOXBORO -- The way Nate Solder played on Monday night may afford the Patriots to be a little more cautious with Sebastian Vollmer's back injury. But Vollmer, who sat out of the Patriots win in Miami, has been practicing this week and hopes he's well enough to play Sunday against the Chargers.

"Good to get back out there," Vollmer said. "We'll have to see about me playing Sunday. So far, I'm out at practice and doing what I can. Trying to get better. When it feels right, it feels right."

Vollmer underwent back surgery while at the University of Houston but would not say that his current injury goes back to his college days.

"Im only looking forward," said Vollmer. "Its day-to-day, well see what happens."

While Vollmer was non-committal when he discussed his status for Sunday, his coach said he expected Vollmer to play -- as well as the team's two other tackles Matt Light and Solder.

"I'd expect all three of those guys to play," Belichick said Friday. "Light, Solder, Vollmer. I'd think they'd all play."

Solder was solid at right tackle going up against one of the best pass-rushers in the league in Miami's Cameron Wake. The rookie from Colorado was called for one hold and allowed Wake one sack, but Solder showed good footwork and often finished plays by smothering Wake into the turf when Wake tried to get low and rush around him.

Vollmer said he wasn't surprised by the rookie's debut.

"You expect certain things," he said. "He stepped up to the plate and had a good game."

He went on to explain that the Patriots emphasize versatility on the line so that when injuries happen, they're able to compensate. It's why Solder -- brought in as a left tackle -- was able to fill in at right tackle. It's also why Dan Connolly made such a quick transition from guard to center when Dan Koppen left Monday night's game with a broken ankle.

"That's what we do in practice and in training camp," Vollmer said. "You learn each position and try to prepare as well as you can for it. Step in and do good."

Follow Phil Perry on Twitter at @PhilAPerry.

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


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.