Ryan letting turnover ratio get in way of common sense


Ryan letting turnover ratio get in way of common sense

Winning the turnover battle is nice, and does translate to wins, but it hasn't translated to wins nearly enough for the Patriots this season.

New England leads the AFC with a plus-10 take-awaygive-away ratio. Baltimore (plus-7) and Houston (plus-5) come in second and third, respectively.

In their three wins, they've won the turnover battle.

In two of New England's losses, however, they still won the turnover battle (Arizona, Baltimore). In the loss to Seattle, each team turned it over twice.

That's going to happen when your defense gives up big-yardage passing plays on a consistent basis, especially in crunch-time situations. It's also going to happen when your offense can't stay on the field late in games.

But even so, when Jets coach Rex Ryan was asked how he could possibly draw up a game plan that doesn't involve his quarterback throwing for the majority of the time on a weak Patriots secondary, he stirred the conversation in a direction that defended that decision (if he makes it) by complementing the Pats offense and using turnover ratio figures . . . hmmmm.

"Well, with us personally I think you have to be balanced," Ryan said. "The one thing about New England, every year they get criticized for their pass defense, what they rank, and all that. But it's not about that. The Patriots play complementary football where obviously they have the number one offense in football: Scoring offense, total offense, everything else offense. So what you do is you try to win the turnover battles and when they do, this team, their record when they win the turnover battle is, you know, phenomenal. So that's something that they do that kind of gets overlooked."

Ryan said that the Patriots are 39-4 when winning the turnover battle and 8-10 when they lose it since 2008. Fine. But as noted above, the Pats are winning the turnover battle this season, but wins aren't coming at the same rate. Perhaps it's when those turnovers occur that are the difference. The Patriots have been known as an "opportunistic" defense over the years, but it hasn't been on display a whole lot this season.

The plus-10 ratio shouldn't be the reason New York doesn't throw on Sunday.

The Pats have 16 takeaways, tops in the AFC, but 10 are from fumbles. Four fumbles have come from the quarterback, four from running backs, and two from receivers.

That leaves six takeaways via interception, still good, but four came in one game against the Bills.

That could indicate that it's the Patriots front line and rush defense (ranked 8th in the NFL at 82.7 yards per game and tied for first in NFL in rushing fumbles lost) causing the majority of issues for offenses.

And since Ryan brought up "pass defense and what they rank", it might be a good idea to remind him that the Patriots rank 28th in the NFL giving up an average of 288.8 yards per game. They give up 23.5 completions per game (22nd most in NFL) and give up an average of 12.3 yards per completion (29th most in NFL).

Not taking advantage of that would be the biggest give-away of all.

Tatum 'can't wait' for new challenge with Celtics

Tatum 'can't wait' for new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON – While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder … we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?


BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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0:41 - Tom Curran, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul and how that trade can actually have an affect on the Celtics plans.

5:06 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to talk about if the Celtics are the front runners for Paul George, what would be too much to give up to the Pacers, and why it’s important to sign Hayward before trading for George.

11:21 - Evan Drellich joins from Fenway Park to discuss Rick Porcello getting his 10th loss of the season and if the struggling offense might be a season-long problem. 

14:58 - Tom Curran and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Nate Burleson saying that Julian Edelman is the most under-appreciated receiver in the last 10 years.