Patriots

Wakeup Call: Pete's not pumped and jacked about this

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Wakeup Call: Pete's not pumped and jacked about this

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, January 14:

BASEBALL
Call it confidence, or call it whistling in the dark. Either way, Adrian Beltre thinks the talent-ravaged Rangers can still compete in the A.L. West. (AP)

Losing isn't all that loveable, is it, Theo? (AP)

Rafael Palmeiro says he "made a mistake" at the end of his career that "basically wiped out everything I did for 20 years". The mistake? Accepting what he says was a tainted B-12 supplement from teammate Miguel Tejada that, he says, caused him to test positive for steroids. And here you thought it was wagging his finger at a bunch of Congressmen, right? (CSN Baltimore)

It's not a surprise, but it's still sad. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Not bad enough that Michigan lost its first game of the year. It also happened on the same weekend Duke lost, which will probably prevent the Wolverines from moving up to No. 1 in the polls. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
In today's installment of Declaring For the NFL Draft, we have Texas' Brandon Moore and three players from Alabama. (AP)

Speaking of Alabama, Nick Saban received a congratulatory phone call from President Obama for the Crimson Tide's national championship. (AP)

Now that Ohio State is eligible to compete for the national title again, Urban Meyer would like you to curb your enthusiasm. (AP)

GOLF
Your weekend winners: Russell Henley (in his PGA Tour debut, no less) at the Sony Open . . . (golfchannel.com)

. . . and Louis Oosthuizen at the Volvo Champions. (AP)

The Masters folks like Ryo Ishikawa so much, they keep inviting him back. (AP)

HOCKEY
Brian Boucher is proving you can go home again. And again and again and again . . . (CSN Philly)

Ilya Kovalchuk is coming home, too -- well, he's leaving his home in Russia to come back to the Devils, but you know what I mean -- and Lou Lamoriello never doubted it for a second. (AP)

It's only been a day, but new Capitals coach Adam Oates has a big fan in Alex Ovechkin. (CSN Washington)

They're not big fans of Scott Gomez in Montreal, though. (AP)

And now for a little familial self-promotion: The NBC Sports Group will air 70 NHL games on NBC and the NBC Sports Network during the shortened regular season. (nbcsports.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
Dwight Howard returns, and so do the Lakers' winning ways. (AP)

That's 12 in a row at home for the Spurs. (AP)

And six in a row overall for the Nets. (AP)

But the Blazers' winning streak is over at nine, thanks to Kevin Durant and the Thunder. (AP)

Don't go counting on a new team just yet, Seattle. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

You may not be crazy about Mark Cuban, Dirk, but he likes you. (Pro Basketball Talk)

How in the world can a pro athlete go on a 15-day fast during his or her season? And I bet you expected me to make some Honey Nut Cheerios crack, right? (Pro Basketball Talk)

Come on now, Bulls, sing with me: You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative . . . (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
When the Falcons finally win a playoff game, they give you quite the bang for your buck, don't they? (AP)

Even though his Seahawks lost, the legend of Russell Wilson continues to grow. (AP)

To me, the icing-the-kicker stunt does nothing more than give a professional kicker two chances to make one kick . . . which is why Atlanta is moving on and Seattle is going home. But Pete Carroll says Matt Bryant shouldn't have been allowed to take the first kick, the one he missed, and that's why he was so mad. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Ravens' Super Bowl win? The Colts beating the Giants in overtime in '58? Sorry; when it comes to great Baltimore football victories, everything takes a back seat to what happened Saturday in Denver. At least in Ray Frager's mind. (CSN Baltimore)

But to the Broncos, it's "like a bad dream that keeps playing over and over". (AP)

That's General Flacco to you, pal. (Pro Football Talk)

After getting beat pretty soundly Saturday night in San Francisco, there could be big changes coming for the Packers. (AP)

Brian Billick, Eagles? Really? (CSN Philly)

TENNIS
Venus Williams cruises in her first match at the Australian Open. (AP)

As does Maria Sharapova. (AP)

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.