Smarts and efficiency set Tebow apart

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Smarts and efficiency set Tebow apart

DENVER - The go-to number when discussing Tim Tebow's quarterbacking (aside from the wins) is his completion percentage.How can a guy win six straight games in the NFL of 2011 when he's completing only 48 percent of his passes? It's the worst in the league. But the stat that helps explain why he is successful - and it's a stat that goes back to Florida and likely before - is giveaways. Tim Tebow doesn't turn the ball over. In his eight starts, he's been intercepted twice and thrown 11 touchdowns. He's fumbled three times. His interception percentage is one percent. Best in the NFL. Josh Freeman's thrown 18 picks. Cam Newton's thrown 16. We could go on. But being at the bottom of the league in completion percentage is a lot worse if some of those incompletions are caught by the other team. Tebow's are not. Hence, his very capable defense is not put in bad situations one or more times per game as the rest of the league's defenses are. And how often are we told that turnovers and red zone play are the key indicators for wins and losses? (Lots). Another stat? Not only is Tebow 32nd in completion percentage, he's also 32nd in rushing. Among all rushers. He's got the second-most yards among quarterbacks behind Newton's 554. Tebow's got 517. Look at it this way, on those 91 runs, he's averaging 5.5 per carry. Add the 517 yards rushing to the 1,290 passing and you have a player who's got 1,807 positive yards from scrimmage and five turnovers (he's lost three fumbles). And he's done that in eight starts. This is how Tebow has operated though. In college, he threw 88 touchdown passes and 16 picks. There were 40 games in which he was the Gators' true starter in the SEC where he played under scrutiny, pressure and against the best competition and athletes in college football. That helps explain why he's so good in end-game situations as well. By way of comparison, Mark Sanchez had 15 starts at USC. And he threw 14 picks in those games. Tebow is a more experienced, tested, smarter and productive quarterback than he's been given credit for. And even though his completion percentage is down, he's a pretty complete player.

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.
 

Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

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Brady, Bennett, Edelman questionable for Sunday vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- The Patriots injury report for Sunday's game with the Rams is out. While they'll be without one big name, but their others are still very much in play. 

Rob Gronkowski, who was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday, has been ruled out. Jordan Richards, who is dealing with a knee issue and has not practiced this week, will also be held out of action on Sunday. 

Tom Brady (knee), Julian Edelman (foot), Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder) and Chris Hogan (back) -- all of whom practiced on Friday -- have been listed as questionable for the Rams game at Gillette Stadium. Special teamer Nate Ebner (concussion) returned to practice on Friday and is also questionable, as is Trey Flowers (shin) and Elandon Roberts, who popped up on the injury report with a jaw issue Friday. 

Special teams captain Matthew Slater missed Friday's session after participating on both Wednesday and Thursday. He's been ruled as questionable. Defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton is also questionable after missing his second straight day of practice with an illness.

If Slater and Ebner are at all limited this weekend, coupled with the loss of Richards, the Patriots kicking game would be significantly impacted. Hogan took reps as the team's personal protector on the punt team earlier this week and may fill that role should Ebner miss time.