Jon Lester might own the broadest shoulders on the Red Sox. And yesterday the big left-hander sounded ready to bear the responsibility of leadership on them.

While there will be much debate today about just how truly sorry Josh Beckett is or is not for the disaster that befell the Red Sox last September, in truth, Beckett's a sideshow.

The story with far greater long-term implications is Lester.

In the span of 20 minutes, one of the central figures in the beer and chicken clubhouse scandal managed to brilliantly walk about a dozen fine lines. He expressed contrition without pandering. He firmly set his sights on 2012 without downplaying the significance of 2011. He blamed no one but himself for his performance.