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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Brady Quinn says Broncos had a lot of Luck - 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings - Week 1 - Buckeye Hoops

GQ: Brady Quinn Debunks Year Of The Tebow: 'We've Had A Lot Of ... Luck'
Probably why Brady Quinn will never see the field for any team is because he is a baby and doesn't work hard. Typical Notre Dame Alum, crying the blues and very overrated!!!!!
The Tim Tebow debate has raged into the off-season, and by now we know the usual detractors: guys like Terrell Suggs, Nick Barnett, Shawne Merriman, Brady Quinn ...
Wait. What?
That's right, in a thoroughly reported feature by Yahoo! Sports NFL writer Michael Silver in the March issue of GQ, one of the Tebow critics is actually fellow Denver Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn.
And it's not just one subtle jab, either. Early in his piece, Silver gets Quinn talking about how Tebow got promoted to starter:
Early in the season, there was a game when Kyle [Orton] got hurt and the coaches were calling for me to go in, but Kyle got up and finished the game out. So I was the second-string guy. Then, a few weeks later, they decided to put Tim in. I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ’cause they were chanting his name. There was a big calling for him. No, I didn't have any billboards. That would have been nice.
Silver continues on with an oral history of the season, sprinkling in choice quotes from the likes of Kurt Warner (who compares Tebow to a character in the Bible) and Suggs (who calls Tebow "terrible").
Then it's back to Quinn, who demystifies Tebow's late-game prowess:
The entire game, the defensive line is chasing the quarterback around, and that wears down the pass rush. Meanwhile, the defensive backs are chasing receivers, but you only throw eight passes, so they start to feel lazy. It only takes that one play, that one big pass, for a touchdown.
To be sure, others in the story feel similarly. Merriman, of the Bills, tells Silver, "His teammates are making him look a lot better than he is." Suggs, of the Ravens, says, "No matter how many bad games Tim Tebow is gonna have, it’s 'He’s great.' I'll never understand it."
But the most glaring quotes -- though not the most hard-hitting -- come from Quinn.
In one passage, Broncos star linebacker Von Miller gives credit to the team -- "I mean, you could just see our team's resiliency in action. Nobody was giving up" -- and then Quinn offers a different reason for the Broncos' surge: "We’ve had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply."
Now, Quinn isn't saying anything that hasn't been thought by pretty much everyone. Tebow didn't win football games with dominance or cunning. It's hard to pin his leadership on anything other than his all-world will and, as Warner suggests, "divine intervention." But in this story we have everyone in the Broncos organization, from coach John Fox to president John Elway to Miller, saying all the right things. Then there's the backup quarterback, Brady Quinn.
And not everything Quinn says is about football. The former Notre Dame star also questions how Tebow prays.
"If you look at it as a whole," he tells Silver, "there's a lot of things that just don't seem very humble to me. When I get that opportunity, I'll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?"
Will Quinn get that opportunity? Fox says he wants two new quarterbacks to contend for the top job in Denver in the fall. So despite leading his team to a playoff victory, Tebow will have plenty of headwinds when training camp opens.
And it's likely not all of the doubters will be outside the Broncos complex.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings - Week 1

1 Jimmie
Johnson 7
Last Week: 8 21 The 48 team spent the winter refurbishing aspects of the team it had been afraid to touch during The Streak. What they didn't do was mess with the core leadership group atop the pit box.
2 Kevin
Harvick 1
Last Week: 3 19 Another year, another third-place points finish. They're hoping the addition of crew chief Shane Wilson, with whom Happy won the '06 Nationwide Series title, will put the black Bud car over the top.
3 Carl
Edwards 1
Last Week: 2 26 A lot of people seem convinced that Cuz will suffer from the same crushing emotional letdown that plagued Denny Hamlin last season after fumbling away the Cup in 2010. I am not one of those people.
4 Matt
Kenseth --

Last Week: 4 20 The Wisconsin Kid has rediscovered the groove missing since crew chief Robbie Reiser's promotion out of the team. It'd be just like Mr. Stealth to get a second Cup nearly a decade after his first.
5 Jeff
Gordon 6
Last Week: 11 18 It's Drive For Five: Part 11 as he races toward fall's 20th anniversary of his Cup debut. The Artist Formerly Known As Wonder Boy is giddy about sharing a shop with new teammate Kasey Kahne.
6 Brad
Keselowski --

Last Week: 6 14 Psst. Hey, Brad, if the season starts to founder, you can always break the other leg. That seemed to work pretty well last year.
7 Denny
Hamlin 3
Last Week: 10 14 Hambone ended last season with momentum -- four top-10s in the final six races -- and was the big winner of Silly Season, landing just-crowned Cup champion crew chief Darian Grubb.
8 Dale
Earnhardt Jr. 1
Last Week: 9 12 In 2009, he finished 25th in points. In 2010, he finished 21st. Last year, he finished seventh. So spare me all the "Junior is washed up and should retire" emails. And yes, I get those all the time.

9 Tony
Stewart 8
Last Week: 1 19 He'll win races and make the Chase, but he can't replicate what happened last year, right? If things do go south, at least new crew chief Steve Addington has had plenty of practice being yelled at.
10 Kasey
Kahne 5
Last Week: 5 15 This is really the first time Ol' Blue Eyes has been in a financially stable ride since 2007. Time to finally cash in on all that early-career promise and potential.
11 Greg
Biffle 7
Last Week: 18 10 Speaking of early promise, the Biff is entering his 10th, perhaps watershed, Cup season. The clock is ticking on his push to become NASCAR's first Trucks-Nationwide-Cup triple championship winner.
12 AJ
Allmendinger 1
Last Week: 13 10 The Dinger's five-year career arc -- with points finishes of 43rd, 36th, 24th, 19th, and 15th -- would seem to be timed out perfectly with his arrival to Penske Racing. Stay tuned.
13 Kyle
Busch 7
Last Week: 20 18 I'm not saying he won't be near the top of the Power Rankings most of the summer. He probably will. But, by fall, he'll likely be right back here. The past four years, his average points finish is 10.75. For reals.
14 Ryan
Newman 2
Last Week: 12 17 The good news? The Rocket Man dodge his annual springtime slump. The bad news? It happened in the fall instead. Until he can eliminate slumps altogether, he'll keep bouncing on the Chase bubble.
15 Jeff
Burton 1
Last Week: 14 5 Kind of feels like now or never for The Mayor, doesn't it?
16 Clint
Bowyer 9
Last Week: 7 16 The Pride of Emporia, Kan., joins MWR via a salary tiff with RCR. Crew chief Brian Pattie is here because he was tired of testy JPM at EGR. Will a change in alphabet, er, address, do the two some good?
17 Marcos
Ambrose 1
Last Week: 16 12 You know he's good on road courses. But did you realize that he also earned 10 top-10s on ovals, including four of the last eight?
18 Paul
Menard 3
Last Week: 15 8 Posted eight top-10s in last year's 36 races, one more than the seven he had scrounged up over his previous 147 starts.
19 Martin
Truex Jr. 2
Last Week: 17 12 Remember what I said about Biffle and Burton entering watershed years? And what I said about Biffle and Kahne needing to finally cash in on their potential? All of that applies here.
20 Juan Pablo
Montoya 1
Last Week: NR 8 And here.

Thinking Out Loud About Recent Struggles on the Hardwood

By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was a tough weekend for Thad Matta and his Buckeyes, who dropped their second game in a week to a school from the state of Michigan.

That is not going to sit well in Columbus, where I could not help thinking out loud about some of Ohio State’s recent struggles on the hardwood.

1. Ohio State lost two games in the last week it should have won. Take nothing away from the job Michigan State and Michigan did to close out those games, but these Buckeyes should never, and I mean never, lose a game when they allow fewer than 60 points. They gave up 58 to the Spartans and lost by 10, at home. The gave up 56 to the Wolverines and never once took the lead in Ann Arbor.

2. Give Michigan credit for some of the big plays made down the stretch to win that ballgame. They didn’t play a great game either, but they came up with the 3-4 plays they desperately needed when the game was on the line. Freshman PG Trey Burke made the two biggest baskets, but John Beilein is thankful to have two seniors like Stu Douglass and Zack Novak to knock down clutch shots at the end of the shot clock. That was the difference in the game.

3. Burke is quickly become one of the best guards in the Big Ten, regardless of age. The turnovers have to come down if the Wolverines are going to take the next step as a program, but what’s not to like about the youngster from Columbus at this point? After scoring three points in his first career game at Michigan, Burke has been in double figures 24 of the last 26 games, including 17 and five against the Buckeyes. He is a high-volume shooter right now (14 shots to score 17 points), but he is also the kind of creative force that Ohio State is lacking on offense. His ability to take defenders off the dribble creates chaos and forces defenses out of position the way Mike Conley Jr. used to do for the Buckeyes. It’s what I expected Shannon Scott to bring to Ohio State this season, and who knows, maybe he still will in the future.

4. Things are stagnant for Ohio State on offense. People are more than willing to put Ohio State’s recent failures at the feet of senior William Buford, but the reality is that nobody on the team is moving around or getting good looks on anything except the pull-up three. That doesn’t bode well for a team that cannot shoot the threeball consistently. There was a time not to long ago when the Buckeyes were among the best in the country at sharing the basketball. It was incredible to watch the way they made the extra pass and moved the ball around to find the open shooter. There was none of that Saturday in Ann Arbor. Instead, it was a lot of one-on-one basketball, and it’s difficult to play one-on-one in the Big Ten because the referees don’t know when to call a charge or a block.

5. Sullinger is having a great statistical season, but this is really starting to effect him. Everything for Sullinger is now backing down a guy or trying to roll off a defender and hit a fall away shot. Remember when Sullinger would dominate the offensive glass with putbacks? It’s a lot harder to putback your own shot, although Sullinger still manages to do it. They have nobody else who can get to the basket other than Buford, and his game is a mess right now.

6. Deshaun Thomas is turning the corner in a big way. The one enjoyable aspect of this team right now, other than Craft’s defense, is the play of sophomore Deshaun Thomas. If nothing else, Deshaun is living proof that an ugly freshman season can turn into a solid sophomore campaign. He has always been a natural scorer, but last year his game was all over the place. He is still going to have a few games where he just doesn’t have it, but Thomas is averaging almost 15 points and five rebounds per game this season. He has scored double-figures in 10 of his last 12 games and he is coming off the first double-double of his career.

7. Expect to see a lot more of those as Thomas matures. The kid is one of the most natural offensive rebounders I have ever seen, but Thomas said Saturday that Thad Matta challenged him about his defensive rebounding. Of his 126 rebounds this season, 64 have come on the offensive end while only 62 have been defensive. Compare that to Sullinger, who leads the team with 69 offensive rebounds and 160 defensive rebounds. Only Amir Williams (24 and 29) even approaches the ratio Thomas has on the boards. If he commits himself to rebounding at the defensive end, he could lead the conference in scoring and rebounding next season, assuming he’s back.

8. Maybe it is time to give LaQuinton Ross a chance. I have never been aboard this bandwagon and I hesitate to even write these words, but after what we have see this past week, what could it hurt? Maybe Ross is not ready to play big-time defense. So what? They have defenders. Maybe he isn’t much of a rebounder. They have that too. Maybe he is just an immature kid who needs time on the bench before he’s ready to step out there, but how can they know for sure without at least giving him chance?

9. The same goes for Jordan Sibert. Yes, we have all seen Sibert in action, and no, it wasn’t pretty. He was supposed to be the team’s spot-up shooter from behind the arc, but instead is shooting less than 27 percent from long-range. That is not going to get it done, but I think it’s a mistake to write him off completely. This is a kid who knocked down four threes when they played Northwestern back in December. He is just 1-for-12 from outside since then and has played one minute or less in eight of the last 10 games. Matta and his staff get to see Sibert in practice every day, so they may have a better idea of what is going on, but this team is desperate for someone to start hitting shots.

10. Next year’s team could be very interesting. I’m not ready to start thinking ahead to next year just yet, but the Buckeyes could have an interesting team next year. It seems almost impossible that Sullinger would decide to return for a third season in Columbus, although I don’t doubt his desire to win a title or his need for another year of rounding out his game. But the NBA drafts on potential and Sullinger has been a lock for the top-10 for two years now. The same cannot be said for Thomas, who would probably fall to the middle or later part of the first round if he left. Assuming he stays, it will be interesting to watch what players emerge to surround Thomas, Craft and Sam Thompson, who has all but cemented himself as a future starter for the Buckeyes. If the team is going to be any good, they will need guys like Amir Williams and Shannon Scott to take a big step forward.

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