Tebow beaten but advances his reputation

615076.jpg

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.

Could Chris Sale's altercation open the door to get him at a lower cost?

usatsi_9342435.jpg

Could Chris Sale's altercation open the door to get him at a lower cost?

Chris Sale -- this year’s American league starting pitcher in the All-Star game -- was a late scratch and sent home before his scheduled Saturday start.

This of course comes after the White Sox have begun to listen to offers for their bonafide ace -- including the Red Sox.

Preceding the game, the White Sox released a statement from senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn explaining that Sale’s removal was “due to a clubhouse incident before the game.”

After ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the altercation was with staff from the front office and had nothing to do with his teammates, there was another report that the issue pertained to the throwback uniforms the White Sox planned to wear for Saturday’s game.

Fox’s Ken Rosenthal has additionally been told the issue “was bigger than that.” 

Sale is a huge addition to any starting rotation -- never mind the Red Sox staff.

His stats are without a doubt impressive. An All-Star every season since 2012 thanks to his career 2.95 ERA and 10.1 K/9 -- this year posting a 3.18 ERA and 8.7 K/9.

But numbers can be deceiving -- especially with players playing for a small market club. That’s not the case with Sale though. While the White Sox haven’t contended in the postseason with the lefty, there’s no denying that Chicago isn’t a small market by any means.

The jump from Chicago to Boston is nothing compared to players coming from places like Miami or Atlanta -- or San Diego. So Sale presents a good fit in terms of approach -- in addition to having good stuff.

The incident makes Sale come across as a prima donna, the fact that the issue went past the uniforms shows there could be a deeper issue at hand -- and not so much an indictment of his mental make-up.

Additionally, this altercation could open the door to get Sale at a lower value. If it was that bad that he was sent home, it could take a lot more than a stern talk and hand shakes to resolve the issue, giving interested teams a much better chance to obtain the Cy Young candidate.

However, if the Red Sox do manage to strike a deal with the White Sox, they’d be wise to throw someone else on throwback nights.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

Mookie Betts' injury likely just a short-term issue

Mookie Betts' injury likely just a short-term issue

BOSTON -- After leaving Friday night’s game with right knee soreness, structural damage has been ruled out regarding Mookie Betts, but he could still be out for a bit.

Testing was done on Betts’ knee, removing any doubt of a deeper issue, revealing it was just build-up of fluid, causing swelling in his knee.

“Day-to-day is the status. It may take a couple for him before he’s back to us.” John Farrell said. “Everything points to this being a short-term situation.”

Betts explained that his condition had improved from Friday night, but -- much like Farrell -- doesn’t know how quickly he can bounce back. He wouldn’t make a definitive statement on whether or not he’d be available Sunday.

“It feels pretty good now,” Betts said. “We’re going to do some treatment on it, make sure everything is good and hopefully get back out there.”

Betts joins the list of pivotal players unavailable in Saturday’s game, including Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara who are both on the DL.

Farrell couldn’t commit to a timetable for when he expects Uehara should be back, but hopes he’ll be available during the regular season.

“We’re hopeful of that,” Farrell said when asked if he thought Uehara would be back before the postseason. “There’s no number of day’s that says Koji’s going to put a ball back in his hand . . . To give you a time frame, it’s too early to tell.”

Kimbrel, on the other hand, has bounced back well, and is expected to throw his first bullpen Sunday or Monday. The hope is that he’ll throw twice off the mound before the trip to the West, which would set him up for a simulated game.

“We need to get some PFP involved -- just some change in direction, fielding the position,” Farrell said on Kimbrel. “But in terms of amount of time missed, and that fact that he’s able to as get aggressive right now in long toss. I would think it would be on the shorter end of appearances if it’s even more than one. He feels very good. If he wasn’t making the ultimate decision medically [he’d] probably say ‘Give me the ball tonight.’ That’s how good he feels -- that’s encouraging.”

 

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

boston-bruins-danton-heinen.jpg

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program.