Telfair: 'Still the same P2'


Telfair: 'Still the same P2'

It was like a flashback to Boston Celtics practice five years ago.

As Paul Pierce pulled up for a shot in Fridays game against the Phoenix Suns, Sebastian Telfair leapt to contest it.

Telfair, who played for the Celtics during the 2006-07 season, said Pierce hasnt changed since his time on the team.

Still the same 'P2', Telfair told following the Suns 79-71 win. Hes one of the best players in the league. Hes always going to be aggressive. He definitely can score on anybody.

He paused before continuing with a laugh, But I locked him up tonight on that one possession I had on him.

Telfair, 26, was traded by the Celtics to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett deal in July of 2007. Since then, he has played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and is now a backup point guard for the Suns. He is averaging 3.9 points and 0.9 assists.

Feels like a long time since playing for the Celtics, Telfair said. This is my eighth year in the league now, so time is definitely flying. Im still young so Ive got a long time to go. But hopefully Ill get one of those rings like the Celtics got.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.