Darren Hartwell

Patriots' Julian Edelman sounds eager to move on from Tom Brady questions

Patriots' Julian Edelman sounds eager to move on from Tom Brady questions

Julian Edelman and Tom Brady were inseperable for much of the past decade, so it's fair to wonder how the New England Patriots wide reciever feels about losing his longtime quarterback to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's also fair of Edelman to want to put the Brady era behind him.

The veteran wide receiver gamely fielded questions about Brady in a video conference Monday but seemed intent on spinning the narrative forward rather than harping on the QB's absence.

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"Obviously it's a little different (not having Brady around), but you've got to move on and understand this is a business," Edelman said. "You wish him well. That's when you instantly start thinking about what you have to do to prepare yourself to go out and contribute and help the team for the upcoming year.

"We've played a lot of ball together. I love him to death, but the train keeps moving, as it will when I'm not playing here or something. I mean, it always keeps going. So, we've got to worry about the people we have here."

Edelman and Brady won three Super Bowls together during their 11 seasons as teammates, and Brady was instrumental in Edelman's rise from converted college quarterback to Super Bowl MVP.

But reports have indicated the 34-year-old wide receiver is motivated to prove he's not just a product of his quarterback, and that motivation peeked through Monday.

"There's a lot of guys that are passionate for football," Edelman said. "Of course Tom has a passion that's a very big one. But he's moved on and he's somewhere else.

"We're worried about the passion of the players that are on this team right now, and I can tell you right now, there's a lot of guys that are very passionate and very hungry."

One of those players is new quarterback Cam Newton, who's expected to replace Brady as the Patriots' starter. Edelman and Newton linked up for workouts earlier this summer, so if he lamented the loss of his former QB, he didn't do so for long.

Patriots' Josh McDaniels raises notable strategy concern of games without fans

Patriots' Josh McDaniels raises notable strategy concern of games without fans

Bill Belichick isn't the only New England Patriots coach who leaves no stone unturned.

Among the many adjustments the Patriots will have to make this season, they may have to play games in empty stadiums, as the continued spread of COVID-19 could prevent fans from attending games in 2020.

New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked Friday how a fan-less atmosphere may change how he runs the offense, and he gave a pretty revealing answer.

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"If it's quieter, I think there's some things you probably have to protect," McDaniels told reporters in a video conference. "You can't change your language. It's like, if we know English, we can't teach them Spanish before Week 1.

"I think you probably will self-scout yourself a little bit more with the television copy (of the game film), because they have the mics all over the place. So, you have to be careful (about) how much of what you're saying is easily detectable. I think it's more about protecting yourself and not giving everything away week after week."

McDaniels makes a good point: A quiet stadium without fans means teams could eavesdrop on opposing offensive coordinators to listen to their play calls, either during the game or while watching the television replay on film.

Under normal circumstances, offensive coordinators usually cover their mouths with their play sheets to prevent teams from reading their lips, but that precaution might not be enough if an in-stadium microphone picks up what they're saying anyway.

It's unclear how McDaniels and other coordinators will guard themselves against this potential subterfuge, but it's no surprise that Bill Belichick's longtime coordinator is considering all scenarios entering an unprecedented season.

NBA odds: Celtics' title chances rise as East playoff picture gets clearer

NBA odds: Celtics' title chances rise as East playoff picture gets clearer

The Boston Celtics needed a few days to find their bearings in the NBA bubble. But now that they're on the right track, they could be staying Orlando for a while.

The Celtics locked themselves into the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed Sunday with a 122-119 overtime win over the Orlando Magic. The victory was their third in a row after routing the Brooklyn Nets and stomping the defending champion Toronto Raptors.

One of the Celtics' major rivals, meanwhile, is heading in the other direction. The Philadelphia 76ers just lost All-Star guard Ben Simmons to a knee injury that could sideline him the entire postseason and fell to the No. 6 seed in the East with Sunday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Both the Celtics and Sixers have three seeding games remaining, but as it stands now, they'd face each other in the first round of the NBA playoffs, a matchup that Boston actually might welcome with Simmons sidelined.

In short, things are looking up the C's -- and the sportsbooks have taken notice. Here are DraftKings Sportsbook's latest 2020 NBA championship odds as of Monday morning:

1. Milwaukee Bucks: +250
2. Los Angeles Lakers: +260
3. Los Angeles Clippers: +310
4. Toronto Raptors: +1000
5. Houston Rockets: +1300
6. Boston Celtics: +1600
7. Denver Nuggets: +2500
8. Miami Heat: +2500
9. Dallas Mavericks: +4000
10. Utah Jazz: +4000
All other teams have odds worse than +4000

The Celtics entered the bubble with +2000 odds to win the title but now sit at +1600, closely behind the Raptors and Rockets.

As for the Sixers? They also had +2000 odds prior to the seeding round but have plummeted outside the top 10 to +5000 after Simmons' injury.

The Bucks, Lakers and Clippers have long been the three most serious title contenders. The Celtics have held steady as a dark horse, though, and recent developments have strengthened their championship case: Kemba Walker has looked great while ramping up from a knee injury, while Jayson Tatum has shaken off some early rust to return to All-Star form.

Boston can take its foot off the gas during its final three seeding games with the No. 3 seed wrapped up. But once the postseason begins, it's full speed ahead toward Banner 18.