Jets players rip 'horrible' Tim Tebow

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Jets players rip 'horrible' Tim Tebow

From Comcast SportsNetFLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Rex Ryan doesn't mind his New York Jets players saying what's on their minds. Just as long as they put their names to their comments.An angry Ryan addressed his team Wednesday for some anonymous quotes by players and members of the organization ripping backup quarterback Tim Tebow in a newspaper report."If you're not going to put your name to it, I think that's about as cowardly of a thing there is," Ryan said. "I don't want to get into specifics of what I said, but I did address it with our football team. If you're searching for things to try to drive a wedge through the team, my thing is, I believe in this team."I believe this team is (together), will continue to be and maybe even become tighter. I'm confident that will be the case."A report in the Daily News on Wednesday said that more than a dozen players and members of the Jets organization believe there's no chance Tebow could overtake Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback job -- with one saying of the backup: "He's terrible.""We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses," said Ryan, who encourages his players and coaches to "be yourself" in interviews. "But again, put your name to it. I think people would respect you a lot more for it."The story drew so much attention that not a single question about the Jets' next opponent, the St. Louis Rams, was asked during Ryan's 22-minute news conference.Tebow has remained unflappable all season despite constant questions about his role and how he's used by the Jets, but acknowledged this was a "unique" situation in his career and there was "some frustration and I guess some sadness" after hearing about the story."This is something I can't control," Tebow said, adding that the locker room is filled with "a bunch of awesome dudes.""I can control my attitude, my effort and my work ethic," he added. "Those are things that will never change based on what anybody says."Sanchez, who has taken his share of criticism during his nearly four seasons in New York, supported his teammate."I've been in those shoes," he said. "I feel for Tim. You wake up the next day and you keep playing."Left guard Matt Slauson was one player whose name was used in the report, saying that "it's not even close" in terms of who the Jets' best quarterback is and that he has "all the confidence in Mark," but adds: "We don't really have a choice." Slauson said his comments were made "long ago, months ago" and didn't even remember making them."I feel that Mark is our quarterback," Slauson said simply Wednesday. "That's how I feel."Tebow approached Slauson after hearing about his comments while they were in the trainers' room Wednesday morning, and smoothed things over."It was great," Tebow said. "He's an awesome guy and we have a great relationship. He's someone you love having on your football team."Tebow added that he has been knocked all his life on the football field, constantly told by others what he can't do and using it to try to motivate himself."I always find the good and the positive in every situation," Tebow said, "and the positive of this is to go and work a little harder and build better relationships with your teammates."Tebow was acquired from Denver in a stunning trade in March, with the Jets envisioning using the popular player in key spots on offense. Instead, he has had little impact through nine games, rushing 27 times for 92 yards and completing five of his six passes for 40 yards. Tebow also has not scored with the Jets, and the wildcat package he was supposed to be such a large part of has been inconsistent and mostly ineffective.Ryan and the Jets insist he has made a difference on special teams, though, as New York's personal punt protector because opponents have been forced to account for him since he has pulled off a handful of fakes."We asked him, a former Heisman Trophy winner, first-round pick, a quarterback who led his team to a playoffs that, You know what? We want you to be our personal protector,'" Ryan said. "Everything we've asked him to do, he's done."But with Sanchez mired in a dreadful slump in which he has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions, lost three fumbles and been sacked 11 times in the Jets' last three games, Ryan remains committed to him as the starting quarterback. Many fans and media have been calling for Tebow to take over for Sanchez to, more than anything, provide a spark for the offense.For now, though, this remains Sanchez's team. And Tebow will remain on the sideline for most games, aside from the seven or eight plays he averages."He's a football player and I said that from Day 1," Ryan said of Tebow. "We never brought him in to be the starting quarterback. We already had a starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez. I thought I was clear on that from the day we brought Tim in here."Ryan did, in fact, insist since the offseason that Sanchez was his guy, and he has stuck to that. But the latest locker room chatter presents an issue that the Jets are all too familiar with. In-fighting helped sink New York's season a year ago, with Sanchez and Santonio Holmes at odds nearly throughout.After the season ended, several anonymous players were quoted in a media report saying they were uncertain of Sanchez's leadership abilities and called for the Jets to make a hard push for Peyton Manning."No question it can be harmful," safety Yeremiah Bell said of locker room turmoil. "I mean that's why the story's out there, just to try to break this locker room up and make us kind of go and turn against each other. But that's not what we're all about. We all think the source is not credible and we don't believe we have those types of guys in this locker room. It's just ridiculous to us."Ryan insists keeping his locker room together, something he thinks was a bit exaggerated last year, won't be a problem this time around."This team, in my opinion, is not going to be pulled apart by outside people," Ryan said. "Inside the walls, we're going to be (together), and that's what's going to give us an opportunity. If I'm wrong on that, obviously, that's going to be a different issue. I don't believe that."Some have speculated that the team's infrequent use of Tebow is a reflection of Ryan's true feelings about him, that perhaps he was never on board with bringing him to the Jets in the first place -- and it's owner Woody Johnson who pushed for the popular backup to be here and drum up ticket sales.General manager Mike Tannenbaum told The Associated Press during training camp that he and Ryan kicked around the idea while waiting for a flight, and the two -- along with Johnson and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano -- were excited about the prospect about bringing in Tebow."I absolutely wanted Tim here," Ryan said. "The reason I say that is for the things that we've talked about. I was very honest from Day 1, and I've never gotten off that."

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."

Rise of Stephen Curry assisted in making Chase Center a reality

Rise of Stephen Curry assisted in making Chase Center a reality

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a cool Tuesday by the bay, the Warriors celebrated The House Being Built On The Sweat And Adoration Of Stephen Curry. And it was quite the spectacle, from the church choir warming festivities to the heavy-equipment cranes performing a synchronized dance routine.

After nearly five years of visualizing and planning and plotting and adjusting -- and, above all, turning around a once-hapless NBA franchise -- the Warriors successfully navigated the maze of litigation, coming out reaching for hard hats and shovels.

Construction on what officially will be known as Chase Center, built at a cost upward of $1 billion, can commence because there are no further legal hurdles to clear. The Warriors moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1962, and then to Oakland in 1971, and now they’re packing up and crossing the bridge back to San Francisco.

How did Warriors CEO Joe Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber, who completed the purchase of the team in November 2010, accomplish such an enormous feat?

They planned early. They hired in 2011 a polished dealmaker in president/COO Rick Welts. They were unfailingly optimistic and persistent and adaptable. They listened. They made concessions. They would not and could not, ever, give up.

It’s basically the same strategy that helped them land Kevin Durant, who was the only player at the ceremony.

But there are two more factors that absolutely were critical. One, Lacob and Guber asked for no public money. And, two, they steadily improved their product.

Which brings us back to Curry. The quest for a new building benefitted mightily from the new owners inheriting Curry, who in revolutionizing the sport also revived a dormant franchise. He is the primary reason for the newly robust state of the Warriors, who followed Curry to their first championship in 40 years.

“That gave us tremendous momentum,” Guber acknowledged after the nearly two-hour ceremony in Mission Bay. “It gave us tremendous market awareness. It gave us the strength to know we could hit our numbers. It gave us the strength to know that the San Francisco Bay Area was getting a team that wasn’t a flash in the pan, but one that was built to sustain itself.”

Suddenly, the Warriors were the hottest team in California, no matter the sport. Try walking a block in the Bay Area during working hours without seeing someone rocking Warriors gear. Popularity raises the profile and also has influence.

If the Warriors choose to retain the name “Golden State,” instead of reclaiming the designation “San Francisco” Warriors, as they were known from 1962 to 1971, that also could be traced back to rise of Curry and his ability to lift his teammates and, by extension, the entire region.

Lacob said Tuesday that there’s a good chance the Warriors retain the name “Golden State,” echoing comments made by Welts on the CSN Warriors Insider Podcast of Jan. 5. The reasoning, according to the Warriors, is that the name has become widely recognized and, now, synonymous with success -- much as the former Boston, now New England, Patriots of the NFL.

“We are the Golden State Warriors,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s not up to me, but I don’t want it to change. It’s a unique name; it’s the only one like it in the league. I would like to see that remain. I fully believe we are still the Bay Area’s team, no matter whether we’re playing in Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco.”

There was much joy in the room, particularly on stage, Tuesday afternoon. Along with Lacob, Guber, Welts, Kerr and Durant were San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Chase bank executive Thasunda Duckett. All seven had complimentary things to say, with Durant even facing an artists’ rendering of Chase Center and saying “it’ll be fun playing in there.”

Curry was not attendance Tuesday, though he has appeared a previous gatherings regarding the new building.

Chase Center, covering 11 acres, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019, two years behind the original projections stated by Lacob and Guber back in 2012, long before they secured naming rights. From multiple lawsuits to a major site change to more lawsuits, the road to Groundbreaking Day was fraught with challenges.

The organization overcame them all, with a crucial assist from the point guard.