Welker: I want to play Sunday


Welker: I want to play Sunday

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- By now, you know the only thing the Patriots can take out of Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium is retained health and a momentum boost heading into the playoffs.

How much momentum you can gain prior to a first-round bye remains to be seen. But staying healthy is nothing to be trifled with. After all, it was in the last regular-season game of 2009 that Wes Welker blew out his knee, forcing him to miss the playoffs . . . as short as they were for the one-and-done Pats.

But the memory of crumbling to the Reliant Stadium turf last week isn't haunting Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. He wants to play Sunday, since he thinks it's better than having two consecutive weeks off.

"Not playing for a week, and taking that week off, it's good for you physically, but at the same time, you want to keep it going," said Welker prior to Thursday's practice. "So definitely, this week is key for us to keep that momentum, stay on top of everything, and be ready to play."

Welker said he hasn't been told how much playing time he'll receive on Sunday against the Dolphins. But he sounds like someone who wants to help finish off the season in dominating fashion.

"I'm here to play football," said Welker. "That's what I get paid to do, and I love playing. So, no matter what's at stake, or what the deal is, I want to play.

"I know people are probably thinking different about that, but I don't worry about other stuff. Whatever Coach Bill Belichick decides for me, that's what I'm going to do. I'm always ready to play."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

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.