Patriots

Tebow beaten but advances his reputation

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Tebow beaten but advances his reputation

DENVER -- Tim Tebow generated 287 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. The threat of Tebow's legs and his ability in running Denver's unique offense probably led to even more of the yards the Broncos gained. Early on, Tebow looked good. Denver led their game against the Patriots 16-7 early in the second before the turnovers started. And even though the Broncos lost and had their six-game winning streak snapped, Tebow only advanced his reputation. The Broncos were a victim of circumstance. The circumstance being three second-quarter fumbles -- one of which was offered by Tebow -- that led to 13 Patriots points. When teams give the ball away, things happen. Points are scored, game plans are scrapped, offensive diversity is lost. The young Broncos did that and paid the price. But turnovers are correctable physical mistakes. In other words, Denver didn't lose because of a lack of talent or Tim Tebow's limitations. They lost because they made mistakes that were -- in large part -- their own doing. "I think all in all we hung with them physically, but mentally I thought there were certain areas as far as dropping the ball on the ground and the turnovers were really the big difference," said Broncos coach John Fox. "You're not going to be minus three against the New England Patriots and win very many ballgames. Having played them very many times, I know that to be true. ... But the reality is, we're not at the stage where we can overcome minus three (turnovers)."

The somewhat tepid support Tebow has gotten from Fox and John Elway should continue to get stronger after a game like Sunday's. And it seemed to, at least from Fox' perspective. "It's usually a lot more fun when you win, but I thought he improved," Fox said of Tebow. "He'll continue to improve. This was a setback no doubt about that, but sometimes setbacks are setups for bigger things to come. That's the way we'll approach it."Can Tebow compete when the opposition is capable of scoring 30 very easily?"I can't predict that," said Fox. "He's gotten better every week. Six or seven weeks ago people said that he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, but I think he does that. I think he can do that. I don't think that's why we lost the game tonight."He absolutely wasn't. But because the pregame made this all about Tebow, the postscript must as well. And the surface investigators will say Tebow lost to Tom Brady. Fine. That's what we're living with and we all know that. But if you enjoy football for football, you saw an intriguing player with unique skills forcing an experienced team to sweat and adjust. And you saw a young team get overwhelmed by the best player of his generation in Brady.

"I said it before the game, he is still the best out there in my opinion," said Broncos corner Champ Bailey. "When you make mistakes against a guy like that, he is going to make you pay. That is pretty much what happened all day.He knows his guys; he knows where everyone is going to be. He is the best all-around quarterback that I know. That is what you expect out of him; he has been doing it for years."Despite the Tebow onslaught in the runup to the game that seemed to get the Patriots as a whole sideways, there was little doubt Brady respected Tebow the player if not the hypemongers. He shared a moment and some words with Tebow after. "He was very complimentary. He was very nice," said Tebow, who is redefining nice. "What a great quarterback, and what a class act he is, and for a lot of young quarterbacks, he does a lot of great things to look up to and try to emulate."And Bill Belichick's words?

"He was very nice. He said very nice things, as well, and he's always been very supportive," related Tebow. "He just said that he believes in me, and to keep fighting, and he's proud of how I played and stuff like that. It's very nice coming from a coach like that."

The Book of Tebow is still being written. And Tim, 12:18 will be all about lessons learned and not being too generous with thine enemies.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?

0:43 - Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley talk about Bill Belichick saying it’s “incomprehensible” that people expect the Patriots to be on the same level as last year at this point in the season.

11:55 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley discuss J.R. Smith’s comments about the Celtics not being a threat to the Cavaliers.

15:38 - Abby Chin, Chris Mannix, and A. Sherrod Blakely join BST from Cleveland to talk about Marcus Smart and the Celtics failing to agree to a contract extension, making him a restricted free agent in July. They also preview Tuesday’s Celtics-Cavaliers season opener.

19:25 - Reports say Alex Cora is the frontrunner for the Red Sox managerial position, but Brad Ausmus interviewed for the position on Monday. Who is the right man for the job? Tom Giles and Michael Holley discuss.

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

BOSTON – When Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job in 2013, he knew what he was getting into.
 
Yes, the Celtics at that time were rebuilding which usually means years and years of slow but steady progress – if you’re lucky.
 
And then after maybe a few years of struggling to win games, a breakout season occurs and just like that – you’re back in the playoffs.

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 But here’s the thing with the Celtics.
 
While most rebuilding teams spend years working their way towards being competitive, Stevens hit the ground running and in just four years, he led the Celtics from being a 25-win team to one that was just three wins away from getting to the NBA Finals.
 
He has the kind of basketball resume that’s impressive on many levels.
 
But Stevens knows good isn’t good enough in this town.
 
“We’re here in Boston,” he said. “Winning is good, but hanging one of those (banners) up is what it’s all about. That’s what makes this such a special franchise.”
 
And for Stevens, a franchise where the expectations for success under his watch have never been greater than they are now.
 
Boston only returns one starter (Al Horford) from last year’s squad which advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after having won an East-best 53 games.
 
However, they added a pair of All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to join Horford. In addition, they drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
 
Boston also has a slimmed-down Marcus Smart (he lost 20 pounds from a year ago) as well Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier who will both benefit from having another NBA season under their belts.
 
And while it’s a small sample size and consists of just two teams (Philadelphia and Charlotte), the Celtics breezed their way through the preseason with a flawless 4-0 record which included at least one game in which they did not play their usual starters which shows how impactful their depth may be this season.
 
That success can only help, especially with a challenging schedule that includes seven of their first 11 games being on the road. 
 
Still, the potential of this Celtics team has never been greater than it is right now since Stevens took over in 2013.
 
And just like the increased expectations of the team, the same can be said for Stevens who is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA.
 
Marcus Morris will begin his first season with the Celtics, but had a lot of respect for Stevens well before he was traded to Boston from Detroit this summer.
 
“You hear a lot of good things about him from other players,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “And once you get in here and start working with him and seeing what he does every day, you see what they’re talking about. He’s a good coach, man.”
 
This team’s success will hinge on how the players perform, but there’s an added element of pressure on Stevens to find the right combinations that will position the Celtics for success.
 
“We have a lot more guys who can do a lot more things on the court, so it will be a little more challenging for us to figure out how to best play with each other, and for Brad to figure out which combinations are the best ones,” Boston’s Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “But we’ll figure it out. Brad’s a really good coach, a really smart coach. And on our team, we have a lot of players who are smart, high basketball I.Q. guys. We’ll be OK.”
 
Basketball smarts aside, the Celtics’ success will hinge heavily on how quickly they can bring a roster with 10 new players up to speed quickly.
 
It’s still early, but players like what they’ve seen from the collective body in terms of team chemistry.
 
“I think that’s the beauty of a lot of guys on the team,” said Gordon Hayward. “It’ll be different each night with some of the different roles we play.”
 
Which is why the Celtics, while lacking experience as a team because of so many new faces, are still seen as capable of winning because they have a number of players who can impact the game in many ways.
 
But as good as they are, it still comes back to Stevens doing a good job of putting them in the best positions to find success individually as well as for the Celtics team.
 
When you look at how time with Stevens jumpstarted Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s careers, or how it helped revitalize the career of Evan Turner, it’s obvious that he has the Midas touch when it comes to getting the most out of players.
 
For Boston to have the kind of success they believe they are due for, it’s going to take the contributions of many.
 
And even that might not be enough.
 
But having the path being bumpier than expected is something Stevens embraces.
 
“Here in this league,” he said. “You have to love challenges.”

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