From Comcast SportsNetKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The new starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs is a former first-round draft pick on a one-year deal whose career thus far has been a disappointment.His backup is a team captain whose long-term contract made him the face of the franchise.Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel announced Monday that Brady Quinn will be under center when the Chiefs play Oakland on Sunday, and Matt Cassel will serve as the backup for the foreseeable future after struggling mightily through the first five games of the season."I felt like the most impactful move I could make to get everybody's attention was to change the quarterback," Crennel said. "I think that will get everybody's attention, and hopefully that impacts the team because the quarterback position is the one that has the spotlight on him."Crennel said he informed both quarterbacks he was making a change Monday morning. The rest of the team learned of the move shortly before practice."Look, I'm excited about the opportunity," Quinn said. "There's always pressure, but pressure is what you make of it. As a quarterback in this league, you're used to it."The acquisition of Cassel in a trade with New England was the first major move that Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli made after taking the job in Kansas City. His second was to sign Cassel to a 63 million, six-year deal that still has two years remaining.Quinn is playing on a one-year deal worth 1.5 million."Am I going to say I'm happy about the situation? Absolutely not. I'm frustrated," Cassel said after practice. "But at the same time, I'm a team captain on this team. I care about this team and again, as we move forward, I'm a big boy. I'm not going to hang my head. I'm going to do what I've always done, which is work hard -- work tremendously hard."Quinn started for the first time since 2009 in a loss at Tampa Bay two weeks ago, when Cassel was still feeling the effects of a concussion sustained the previous week against Baltimore.Crennel said at the time he wasn't planning to make a permanent move, but he reconsidered after spending the bye week evaluating both quarterbacks, and coming to the realization that Kansas City desperately needed a spark following a 1-5 start."I'm not saying Matt Cassel is the reason we are where we are," Crennel said. "We need to coach better and we need to play better, and if we do those things, we can be better, but my biggest deal was my gut was telling me we need to impact that team by changing that dynamic."Cassel, who missed the end of last season with a hand injury, hasn't been nearly as good as he was two years ago, when he led the Chiefs to the AFC West title and was voted to the Pro Bowl.He was completing just 58.5 percent of his passes for 230 yards per game, and had thrown nine interceptions against five touchdown passes. He'd also lost five fumbles, and his 14 turnovers in total are more than all but five teams in the league."I can't tell you I saw this coming," Cassel said, "but at the same time, when you're 1-5 and your team is struggling and your coach wants to find some way to spark the team, he felt like this was the best way to do it, so he made the decision."Quinn was just 22 of 38 for 180 yards with two interceptions in a 38-10 loss to Tampa Bay. But the former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns also seemed to show more poise and arm strength, and the two interceptions were passes that could just as easily have been caught by his own guys."Maybe there was a little rust because I hadn't been in a full-game scenario in the regular season in a few years," Quinn said, "but I felt pretty good out there."Crennel said he doesn't want Quinn to be looking over his shoulder, so "there will be no quick hook or anything like that." After playing the Raiders on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City hits the road for games against San Diego and Pittsburgh."I don't think the team has lost confidence in Matt," Crennel said. "It's just one of those things where the circumstances we're in, you have to decide what you want to do to change it, and I decided to change the quarterback."Crennel also said he wasn't considering long-term ramifications when making his decision, such as whether the franchise will trade for a quarterback or select one early in the draft. His focus in making the change was simply to give the team an immediate, much-needed boost."The only future I thought about was this coming Sunday," he said.
BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out.
Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings.
Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers.
Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA.
This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA.
You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s.
The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.
"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."
And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league.
One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time.
And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken.
“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”
BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons.
But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to.
Maybe he’s growing up.
Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team.
And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league.
I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office.
“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”
With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office.
This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six.
“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”
First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived.
“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”