Patriots

The 2011 All-Turkey Team

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The 2011 All-Turkey Team

Before the SRO offices close down for the holiday, I'm required by Internet law to offer you a commemorative Thanksgiving-themed post.

So please enjoy. And everyone have a great day.

Boston's Five Biggest Turkeys of 2011

The Big Gobbler: Shaquille O'Neal

There are rumors that, as a child, this turkey was dropped in a vat of radioactive waste, resulting in the 7-foot, 400 pound, mutated turkey beast that you see today.

But we won't hold that against him.

It should also be noted that during his time in Boston, The Big Turkey (as he likes to be called) performed an extraordinary amount of charity. In fact, he celebrated last Thanksgiving by delivering more than 400 of his own kind to the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.

Sadly, more than half of those turkeys were ultimately eaten by Glen Davis but it's the thought that counts. And on that level, this particular turkey's head was in the right place.

But when it came to basketball and the Boston Celtics, the Big Drumstick (as he likes to be called) had nothing. He can blame Danny Ainge for trading Perk, he can blame the President for ruining Rondo, he can blame Big Baby for being selfish, Nate Robinson for being immature and Father Time for messing with the Shaquilles tendon. Bottom line is this:

By the end of last season, the Big Gizzard (as he likes to be called) was in a perfect spot:

He had the spotlight; everyone begging for his return. The table was set for this turkey to become the hero he always claimed to be.

But he was cooked.

The Reluctant Turkey: John Lackey

This turkey will have you believe that he's not a turkey at all. "I'm a stallion!" he'll gobble. "I'm only here because of every one else! They did this to me!"

Don't believe him. He's a turkey.

For sure.

And from what I hear, he's not very happy with your cooking strategies for Thursday: "The guy doesn't know what he's doing!" Lackey said in a recent interview. "He's pre-heating the oven to 350, when he knows I prefer 355. He's got this nasty old baster that he's trying to stick up my butt. And would you believe that his roasting rack isn't even stainless steel You believe that crap? Goddamn amateur!"

Hmm... You know what? Screw it. Nothing's worth that kind of headache. Put Turkey Lackey on the shelf until Thanksgiving 2012. Maybe by then he'll be a little easier to deal with.

The Texas Turkey: Josh Beckett

This is one tough Texas turkey. He waddles to the beat of his own drum. He plays by his own rules. He cares not for your portion control!!

He's one of the most talented turkeys on the farm, which makes his baggage all the more frustrating but also far more forgivable. Make no mistake, if the Texas Turkey returns to his previous form, the world will move passed his September gobble job. Of any turkey on this list, he's the one with the best chance of escaping with his head still connected to his body.

But he'll have to get in shape.

Maybe he thought those extra pounds would increase his market value. Instead, it just made him more ripe for the picking.

The Boss Man Turkey: Larry Lucchino

This product comes with a specific label: Not 100 real turkey.

That's because he's also part sly fox and slippery snake. His great, great grandfather was a spotted hyena. The Boss Man's a little bit of all things nasty, but at this time of year, it's his "turkiality" which shines brightest.

The sad thing is that it doesn't have to be this way. The Boss Man Turkey's actually unbelievably smart and capable. Even by human standards. He could be a hero in Boston; in many ways, he should be. But that ego leaves a disgusting taste in everyone's mouth.

Tip for consumption: Use extra salt.

The Tweeting Turkey: Chad Ochocinco

The Tweeting Turkey is a sympathetic figure.

He thought this was going to be heaven; and he, one of Brady's Angels. Instead, he's been a disaster. A frustrating, confusing and seemingly irrevocable disaster.

Still, it's hard to stay particularly mad at this foul fowl. After all, he doesn't want it to be this way. He's tried hard to avoid it. Unlike these other guys, Ochocinco's struggles and shortcomings have cut to his core. He's genuinely affected. All he wants are more and more chances to prove he's worth keeping around.

But Thanksgiving's not a very forgiving time for turkeys.

Especially when they don't know the plays.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

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Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

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Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.