Posts Tagged ‘Competitiveness’

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t happy with the fights at his team’s practices this week.

Shanahan had to halt practice twice Tuesday after players threw punches at each other, including star linebacker Fred Warner and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Though the 42-year-old coach says he appreciates his players’ toughness, he thinks they’ve crossed the line.

“I want everyone challenging each other,” Shanahan said Friday, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “I don’t care how much crap each other talks; I don’t care how close they get to fighting. They can do whatever they want to get themselves to be as intense as they want and bring the best out of each other, which happens a lot that way. And it’s the same on the field.

“But once you throw a punch, you get ejected, or you get a penalty. And we pride ourselves on, I want people to be irritants, I want people to get as close as they can to all that stuff. I want people to get right on the line where they’re about to black out, but you can’t black out on the football field, or you cost your team.”

The biggest fight this week was between Warner and Aiyuk. It began after a late hit by Warner sent wideout Marcus Johnson into the concussion protocol, Wagoner notes.

“I love the intensity of it,” Shanahan added. “I don’t think you have to fight to be intense, though. Scuffles are scuffles, but then they lead to other stuff. I think that’s why we’ve got a guy in protocol because he took an unnecessary shot on someone, which led to the big fight, and then we had a bunch of haymakers and stuff thrown in there, which only break hands.”

Warner believes his toughness against Aiyuk will help the pass-catcher improve ahead of his third NFL season.

“Specifically with Brandon, I chose him out,” Warner said last week. “I think he’s ready to make that next step into playing at an elite level.”

The new ROH Pure Champion and AEW wrestler Wheeler Yuta was a guest on the latest episode of SiriusXM’s Busted Open Radio, which was recorded before last night’s classic bout with Jon Moxley on AEW Rampage.

Yuta was scheduled to face Jon Moxley on AEW Rampage last night, and he noted that he is no longer scared of the former AEW World Champion.

“Moxley and I have had a few battles before,” Yuta said. “The first one, I don’t know if you could call it a battle. A massacre would probably be a better assessment of that. I think it lasted maybe less than three minutes. But, now, now it’s a different ball game. I’m not scared of Moxley anymore. There’s nothing he can do to me that he hasn’t already done to me.

“He has beaten me down, bruised me, battered me. All I can do now is give my best and show that I deserve to be in there. I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve, I think, tonight. We’ll see. My goal is to earn his respect, and if not, just get that win. Tonight’s definitely a level up for me.”

Wheeler Yuta also disclosed that behind the scenes at All Elite Wrestling there is a positive competitive environment, but realizes that because of the large roster, wrestlers have to level up or get left behind.

“AEW is such a competitive environment, but in the best way possible,” Wheeler explained. “It’s very positive and uplifting, but there’s just so much talent. So much that you have no choice but to either level up or get left behind. So I think being put in the environment has really helped me out and has allowed me to grow both as a wrestler and just a human being.

“Just being around all these people that I respect so much, who have done it for years and years, it’s an environment where you really have to get stronger, get better, or else you’re going to get left behind. So, I think being in AEW has been the best thing for my career.”

Yuta squared off against Bryan Danielson last week and revealed that it was so cool for him to be in the ring with someone that he has looked up to for so long.

“Last Wednesday against Bryan Danielson was so cool,” Yuta said. “It was in the Colonial Life Arena. My parents now live in South Carolina so they were – this is the first time that they’d seen me wrestle since I was like 17-years old. Being in there with someone that I looked up to for so long. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I used to pirate ROH DVDs with his matches on them. Custom Bryan Danielson compilations that I made.

“So it was really cool to be able to have that come full circle, and it was someone that – and to be able to do it in front of my parents, that was really special to me. Parents, a lot of friends were there. It was a great night, for sure.”

New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard believes bat flips and Twitter drama will help make baseball more entertaining.

“It’s fun, but we’re also competitive beings competing at the highest level. So we’re always looking for a way to get the edge on our competition, whether it’s to distract him in some form or fashion,” Syndergaard told GQ’s Clay Skipper when asked about the recent Twitter drama involving Trevor Bauer and Fernando Tatis Jr. “But I think it’s great for baseball, and I think the fans really enjoy it. It’s exciting. People are able to see both of our personalities.

“I think baseball has gotten soft, too. I think there should be some more shit-talking. I agree with what Bauer recently said (about the celebration). He gave up two home runs to Tatis, and Tatis heckled him pretty good. I think that’s awesome. I agree with Bauer, that does not warrant somebody to get thrown at.”

Syndergaard said baseball’s “unwritten rules” – which suggest a pitcher can throw at a batter for celebrating a home run – are dated.

“I think they’re pretty stupid, to be honest,” he said. “Anything unwritten sounds pretty stupid. I think it’s very old school, and I think there needs to be a new-school approach.”

The 28-year-old has never shied away from exchanges like the one between Bauer and Tatis. He was involved in some Twitter drama of his own with the former in February after Bauer signed a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers instead of joining the Mets.

He also shared a video earlier this year in which he called out MLB.TV’s blackout restrictions and referred to Pittsburgh’s baseball team as the “shitty Pirates.”

Tim Tebow hasn’t played in the NFL for nine years, but the former quarterback’s form apparently remains intact.

New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said Tebow’s recent workout with the team was jaw-dropping for the club’s other coaches.

” … (The coaches) said, ‘Wow, this guy (has) ball skills, he’s a great athlete, and he looks like he’s 18 years old not whatever he is, 33,'” Meyer recently told PFF’s Cris Collinsworth.

Tebow’s athleticism isn’t news to Meyer, who gave the Heisman winner more credit when talking to his assistants.

“I said, ‘Guys, you don’t understand. This guy is the most competitive maniac you’re ever going to talk to. Let’s give it a shot,'” added Meyer, who worked with Tebow for four years at Florida. The pair helped the Gators win two BCS national championships together.

The Jaguars reportedly intend to sign Tebow to a one-year deal as a tight end. However, the organization reportedly hasn’t settled on a unanimous decision.

The 2010 first-round pick spent time with four NFL teams over five years, though he only appeared in regular-season games over his first three campaigns. He started 14 contests for the Denver Broncos between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, posting an 8-6 record under center.

Carson Wentz says he appreciated the opportunity to play in Philadelphia.

He’s also ready for a change of scenery.

A little more than one month after hearing he would be traded to Indianapolis and just one day after the deal became official, Wentz finally spoke publicly about how it all went down — being benched, being critiqued and being dealt.

“After the season, obviously, there were a lot of conversations with my agent that went back and forth,” Wentz said on a Zoom call Thursday. “It wasn’t the ending I envisioned. Obviously, this is where we’re at and we’re excited for a fresh start.”

For Wentz, it’s been a quick and harrowing descent from being the No. 2 overall pick in 2016 and the third-place finisher in the 2017 MVP voting.

When the Eagles gave him a four-year, $128 million contract in June 2019, it appeared Wentz would be the undisputed franchise quarterback for years. But when Philadelphia took quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round of last April’s draft, the questions started.

Wentz said he trusted the front office and ownership because they had shown trust in him over the years. Then as the Eagles – and Wentz – struggled through a challenging season, Wentz was benched in favor of Hurts in early December. Wentz never took another snap.

“It wasn’t fun,” he said. “It was difficult, but I did everything I could to support Jalen. I went out there every day on the scout team, it was weird, but I did everything I could to give them good looks.”

And it was just the start.

Reports soon surfaced that questioned Wentz’s competitiveness, whether the 28-year-old who the Eagles traded up twice to draft was fixable — even his ability to get along with teammates.

Wentz tore two knee ligaments diving headfirst into the end zone for a touchdown that was nullified in Week 14 of the 2017 season. He stayed in the game and threw a go-ahead TD pass before walking off the field and later having season-ending knee surgery. He watched from the sideline when Nick Foles led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl win over New England.

The opinions blindsided Wentz, who wouldn’t say Thursday whether he wanted to be traded.

“Anytime you hear those things you want to play detective and figure out who said it. But it really doesn’t matter,” he said. “If it’s out there, then you have to ask yourself how can I learn from it. It’s unfortunate people have those opinions and if any of my teammates didn’t think I was the best teammate, I apologize. I wish I could have been better.”

Colts owner Jim Irsay acknowledged he had some long discussions with general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich about the critiques. Eventually, though, the Colts were not dissuaded.

They sent two draft picks — a third-rounder this year and a conditional second-rounder next year — to the Eagles. The second-round pick will become a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of Indy’s snaps in 2021.

Irsay also said since making the deal Wentz has proven to be extremely competitive and a good leader. In fact, Wentz has already been throwing with two second-year receivers, Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patmon. Irsay also wouldn’t rule out re-signing free agent receiver T.Y. Hilton, a four-time Pro Bowler, after bringing back running back Marlon Mack on a one-year deal worth $2 million.

But the Colts’ long-term success will rest in Wentz’s hands.

“I can’t emphasize how strongly I feel Carson is the man for the job for the Colts at this time,” Irsay said. “I really think he can be that guy that’s going to be the centerpiece for the next decade who can give the Colts a chance at greatness.”

Wentz fills Indianapolis’ most glaring need.

Though he will be Indy’s fourth different opening-day quarterback in four years, his contract could give the Colts stability at the position for the first time since Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury.

Wentz also will be playing behind an offensive line that yielded just 21 sacks last season, compared with the 50 he took in 12 games. And perhaps most important, he’ll be reunited with Reich.

The duo teamed up for Wentz’s first two seasons in the league when Reich was Eagles offensive coordinator.

“Working with Frank, first and foremost, and seeing what he’s been able to do here,” Wentz said when asked why Indy was an attractive destination. “The offensive line, the skill players, what they were able to do last year and being right on the verge of being able to do something special, the area and community.”

As for saying goodbye to Philadelphia, Wentz was reflective.

“I know for five years I gave everything I had,” he said. “It didn’t go the way we all desired it would go, but I poured my heart and soul into it for five years.”

Wayne Gretzky isn’t part of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, but if he were, it sure sounds like commissioner Gary Bettman’s induction would have gotten his stamp of approval.

“What makes the game of hockey so wonderful is the fans, the players, the coaches, the cities that back their teams, the global growth of hockey, the ever-expanding growth of our game in North America and, of course, the competitive balance we are fortunate to have in our league,” Gretzky told Dan Rosen of NHL.com on Tuesday when the 2018 class was announced.

“The commissioner’s vision to give every club a chance to win the Stanley Cup has made our game stronger. His leadership and love for hockey is very evident. And hockey has become more entertaining year after year, thanks in part to his passion for the game.”

Named commissioner in 1993, the NHL has seen massive gains throughout Bettman’s tenure, particularly expansion from 24 to 31 teams, largely in the southern United States. The Anaheim DucksNashville Predators, and Vegas Golden Knights are among the success stories.

Under Bettman, the NHL has also secured cost certainty, introducing a salary cap to begin the 2005-06 season, and boosted league revenues more than tenfold. The average player salary has climbed to more than $3 million a year. However, he’s also presided over three lockouts, including one that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.