Wakeup Call: 'Roll Tribe!' is the new rallying cry


Wakeup Call: 'Roll Tribe!' is the new rallying cry

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, January 4:

Yes, that's the same Travis Pastrana who won all those gold medals in the X Games. (AP)

It's just a lovefest between the Indians and their newest outfielder, Ohio native Nick Swisher . . . who may have coined a new rallying cry ("Roll Tribe!") at his introductory press conference. (AP)

Need an outfielder? Looks like Justin Upton's available. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

So why are big names like Michael Bourn, Rafael Soriano, Kyle Loshe and Adam LaRoche still on the market? Let Theo Epstein explain. (CSN Chicago)

Yeah, yeah, he signed a contract and all that. But Darren Oliver says he won't return to the Blue Jays unless they give him a raise. (Hardball Talk)

The best part of Sergio Romo's arrest? His promise "to conduct myself in the future in the 'San Francisco Giants Way'." (Hardball Talk)

Arizona's still unbeaten . . . (AP)

. . . thanks to the refs, who -- according to College Basketball Talk's Rob Dauster -- blew a last-second call that should have given Colorado the upset. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

There was a brief time this fall when it looked like an Oregon-Kansas State bowl matchup would decide the national championship. Unfortunately for the Ducks, their 35-17 victory over the Wildcats last night only got them a Fiesta Bowl trophy. (AP)

Was Oregon's win Chip Kelly's going-away party? (NBC's College Football Talk)

If it was, expect boyhood friends Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner -- a.k.a., owner of the Eagles and CEO of the Browns -- to be squaring off over who gets to hire him. (College Football Talk)

Looks like Oregon's already chosen Kelly's replacement. (College Football Talk)

We lead off today's college-to-NFL exodus with Florida State's Bjoern Werner, regarded as a potential Top 10 pick. (College Football Talk)

Next up: Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell (with Dion Sims about to follow). (College Football Talk)

Pitt lineman Arthur Doakes has been suspended for the BBVA Compass Bowl -- never heard of it, but it's the third straight year the Panthers have played in it -- because of a violation of team rules. (College Football Talk)

Ron Turner, who's been out of college coaching since being fired by Illinois in 2004, is leaving the NFL to become head man at Florida International. (AP)

Don't expect to see much of Steve Stricker on the PGA Tour this year. (AP)

If you're still interested . . . (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

As nightmarish as it is for the rest of us, the NHL lockout's been a dream come true for this kid. (CSN Washington)

Kimmo Timonen is worried how his 37-year-old body, coming off back surgery, will respond to a condensed 48-game schedule. (Pro Hockey Talk)

The Penguins think they'll respond quite well, thank you. (AP)

Phil Jackson's finally taking Jeanie Buss to the altar, 13 years after their first date. (AP)

The Knicks snapped the Spurs' seven-game winning streak in pretty convincing fashion. (AP)

Elbow, schmelbow. Justin Smith says he's playing when the 49ers host their NFC semifinal-round game on Jan. 12. (CSN Bay Area)

So that explains it! (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

If last year's coin toss is any indication, Sunday's Seahawks-Redskins game could be pretty interesting. (Pro Football Talk)

And Brandon Browner, back from his four-game suspension, is lookng forward to it. (AP)

That's six career Offensive Player of the Month awards for Peyton Manning, yet another NFL record. (AP)

Didn't take long for Ray Lewis to line up his next gig. (CSN Baltimore)

Count John Madden among those who thinks Chuck Pagano's experiences in Baltimore give him an edge as he prepares the Colts for Sunday's game against the Ravens. (CSN Baltimore)

Speaking of Colts' coaches -- assistants, anyway -- Indianapolis has given the Bears permission to interview Bruce Arians. (AP)

Guess there really were no hard feelings: Andy Reid's set to hire Juan Castillo, whom he -- or at least the Eagles -- fired as defensive coordinator in October, on his next staff. (CSN Philly)

And it looks like that reunion will take place in Kansas City. (AP)

The Cardinals, thought to be the odds-on favorite in the Reid Sweepstakes earlier this week, have moved on; now they're getting ready to interview ex-Chiefs coach and current Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley . . . who, incidentally, was also Arizona's offensive coordinator during its 2008 Super Bowl run. (AP)

The Eagles head West in their search for a new coach. (CSN Philly)

Lovie Smith to Buffalo? Maybe. (Pro Football Talk)

Josh Brent was drunk when he got into the accident that killed Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown Jr., but the Medical Examiner's Office says Brown was sober when he died. (AP)

Pastrnak faces hearing for check to head of Rangers’ Girardi

Pastrnak faces hearing for check to head of Rangers’ Girardi

Bruins forward David Pastrnak will have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday over his check to the head of the Rangers’ Dan Girardi in the Bruins’ 5-2 loss Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The hit came when Girardi reached up to catch a puck in the neutral zone 10:55 into the second period and Pastrnak came in hard and sent his left shoulder into Girardi’s chin. Pastrnak received a two-minute penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Girardi left the game as part of the NHL concussion protocol, but later returned.

It’ll be the 20-year-old Pastrnak’s first hearing with the Department of Player Safety. 


Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots


Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots

Before I make the following point, I'd like to make one thing clear to my sensitive readers: I do not believe the Denver Broncos are better than Patriots. I do not believe they have “passed'' the Pats. Please, Patriots fans, when New England goes into Denver and wins on Dec. 18 and/or the Pats beat them again in the playoffs, save your emails and calls. Don't get your panties in a bunch. You're still the best.

However, as we assess the pathetic state of brainpower across the NFL, the Broncos are one of only a few teams that deserve mention alongside the Pats. Perhaps they're the only one.  As their recent handling of their quarterback situation shows, especially from a coaching standpoint, Gary Kubiak and John Elway have proven they know what they're doing -- and how many teams in the league can you say that about?

In Denver, Brock Osweiler actually looked like a quarterback with a future. In Houston, he barely looks like he belongs in the league. That's about coaching, scheme and culture. It seems that somewhere between the silly letterman jackets in Houston and his second crack in Denver, Kubiak got a clue. Last year, he managed Osweiler to a 5-2 record before sitting him and somehow winning a Super Bowl behind the noodle-armed Peyton Manning. This year, he has another marginal talent, Trevor Siemian, off to a 5-1 start in his first season under center.

There are many NFL coaches who didn't hit their stride until their second job, and you have to wonder if Kubiak falls in this camp. I actually saw him put down his playsheet with his offense on the field the other night and thought, maybe he's starting to get it. He looked more like a head coach and just a little less like an offensive coordinator. 

Either way, Kubiak has displayed an excellent touch with a string of mediocre quarterbacks. And from the original decision to shut down Manning, to the insertion of Osweiler, to the reinstatement of Manning, and then the ultimate handing of the job to Siemian, he and Elway have pushed all the right buttons. If Paxton Lynch turns into a player down the road, look out.

Of course, Kubiak hasn't had much to do with his defense, which has been the domain of Elway, the architect, and to a lesser extent, Wade Phillips, the coordinator. Elway remains one of the few executives to build a championship team largely through free agency, and some of his moves have been so cold-hearted, so debated at the time, that only Bill Belichick could relate.

Who else fires a coach who led you to four division titles and a Super Bowl berth (John Fox), and then follows that up with a title? Who else lets go of BOTH quarterbacks who led you to a title and follows that up with a division lead?

It's moves like those that led ESPN to display a stat montage late in the game on Monday depicting Elway as ``the Don.'' (Wonder where they got that idea from?). Think about it.  Who else in the league -- what coach, executive or owner -- gets that kind of ``mastermind'' treatment? I don't think anyone else deserves it other than Belichick and, in second place, Elway. Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore would be a distant third; or perhaps Pete Carroll and John Schneider in Seattle deserve mention.

Regardless, as the ESPN graphic showed, the Broncos' record since Elway took over in 2011 is now 63-24, second in the league over that time only to the Pats (67-20). Denver is also one of just four teams to make the playoffs every year during his tenure (the Packers, Pats and Bengals are the others). Like the Pats and Seahawks, he's been to two Super Bowls and won one. And like the Pats, he has won his division five straight years.  

Perhaps that all comes to an end this year, and it sure looks like Denver will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to earning home field over the Pats come December. But for now, in a league where there are no equals to Belichick, it's almost refreshing (to me, anyway) to consider someone who at least belongs in the conversation. 

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN New England.