Star Lotulelei Says the Panthers “Can Definitely be a Playoff Team”

April 29, 2013 – 5:50 am by Brad Gagnon

The Carolina Panthers were in desperate need of help at defensive tackle, and so they weren’t about to let Utah stud Star Lotulelei keep sliding when he dropped to them in the No. 14 spot Thursday night during the NFL draft. Carolina certainly has high expectations for Lotulelei, and Lotulelei clearly has high expectations for Carolina.

Star Lotulelei joined The Drive on WFNZ in Charlotte to discuss being the first defensive tackle drafted, the Panthers’ defense, the team’s playoff prospects and meeting fellow former Utah star Steve Smith.

On why the Panthers made him the first defensive tackle to be chosen in the draft:

“They took me to the classroom just to see how well I could pick up scheme and how fast I could learn, and I think that definitely [played] a big part. We were doing some chalk talk for a good 45 minutes, almost an hour … so I think that had a lot to do with it. And them seeing what kind of person I am off the field. But as far as on the field, I think what separates me from every other defensive tackle in this class is my explosiveness and my strength, being able to hold the point. I feel like those are my biggest strengths that kind of separate me from everyone else.”

On joining a defense with several good young players:

“Their defense is great. They’ve got a bunch of great leaders. So my part is just to come in there and work hard and to produce and to do whatever the team asks of me.”

On if he thinks the Panthers could be a playoff team in 2013:

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Chael Sonnen: “I’m going to throw him on his back, beat a hole in his face for 25 minutes until he gives up”

April 26, 2013 – 10:00 am by Chris Fedor

This Saturday night Jon “Bones” Jones, the light heavyweight champion in the UFC and quite possibly the best pound-for-pound fighter will take on the undisputed trash talking champion of UFC, Chael Sonnen. That’s who Chael Sonnen is. That’s what he does. He runs his mouth and every now and then he backs it up. The 27-12-1 record isn’t bad and he is always game in a fight, but the last two times he ran his mouth before a fight, both against Anderson Silva, he wasn’t able to back it up. Jones has just one loss in his career and he has taken apart every fighter that has been put in front of him. Sonnen and his big mouth will be next.

Chael Sonnen joined TSN 1050 in Toronto with Mike Richards to talk about the idea that he has gotten under the skin of Jon “Bones” Jones, why Saturday will be different than his recent title fights and if he has a prediction for the fight.

On the idea that he has gotten under the skin of Jon “Bones” Jones:

“That doesn’t help me land a right cross or a left hook in the octagon. I know that fans enjoy that a lot and broadcasters like to talk about ‘you’re in his head’ or terms like that. What is the difference if you’re in his head or not? I still have to walk out there and whip his ass on Saturday night. Whether he’s in my head or I’m in his head, it’s not going to help the judges mark my name. I’m going to have to use my fists and elbows on him.”

You haven’t had much luck in title fights lately so why is Saturday going to be different?

“I don’t know about that. I’ve won the title a couple of times. I dropped my last match. Why is Saturday going to be different? I don’t know that I can answer the question. Why don’t you tune in like the rest of the world and find out?”

Do you make a prediction?

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Mingo Looking to Bring Some Bark Back to the Dog Pound

April 26, 2013 – 9:30 am by Chris Fedor

The Cleveland Browns plan this offseason has been very clear: get after the opposing quarterback. That’s what they identified in free agency. They added defensive tackle Desmond Bryant and outside linebacker Paul Kruger. And that’s what they identified with the 6th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Barkevious Mingo. It loosely translates to quarterback killer. Ok, maybe not. But it would be fitting. Misused at LSU (asked to play a lot of contain against dual threat QB’s) Mingo’s production (just 4.5 sacks) doesn’t look worthy of being a Top 10 pick  to some fans that enjoy eye-popping stats, but his talent warrants his draft position. Mingo’s size, speed, athleticism and explosiveness can’t be taught. He’s a physical freak. The Browns needed a special pass-rusher. And they might have gotten the best one this year’s draft had to offer.

Barkevious Mingo joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Ken Carman and Les Levine to talk about what he has to do to prepare himself to be a starter as a rookie, what he needs to improve on, on his strength, how playing in the SEC prepared him for the NFL and what his message is to Browns fans.

What he has to do to prepare himself to be a starter as a rookie:

“Just get to work and train my body to be ready for rookie minicamp. Get some running in, get some weightlifting in, pick up some weight and just all around football.”

What he needs to improve on:

“With this system being able to effectively drop and cover those guys. Being a defensive end in college I didn’t drop that much, but the times we did I did okay at it, but now just have to get used to doing that more.”

On his strength:

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San Francisco 49ers Move Up to Take Eric Reid in the First Round

April 26, 2013 – 9:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

Jim Harbaugh wasn’t able to nab Eric Reid the first time around. Harbaugh recruited Reid when he was at Stanford, but Reid wound up at LSU. As Harbaugh jokingly said Thursday night, this time Reid had no choice. The San Francisco 49ers traded up to get Reid with the 18th overall pick.

Jim Harbaugh joined KNBR in San Francisco with Larry Krueger, Damon Bruce and Ray Woodson to discuss why San Francisco moved up to take Eric Reid, the 49ers filling a need at safety and if they got a guy who can contribute immediately.

Why was Eric Reid the guy for you guys?:

“A lot of reasons. A lot of good football players in this draft, but we felt he was especially good for us. Somebody that’s a football player. Let’s sum it up that way.”

Did you pay extra attention to the safety spot when Dashon Goldson left?:

“Our scouting department … there’s no film that they don’t look at. One thing about our group, and the coaches as well, is we’re not afraid to look at film. And they look at film of everybody. So, I wouldn’t say double-down on any particular position, per se. We got a great player, great person. Comes from a wonderful family. Had the opportunity to recruit Eric when we were coaching at Stanford, and thought we were right in there. … This time he had no choice.”

Did you draft him with the mindset that he can be versatile and disguise coverages?:

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David Lee Doesn’t Think He’ll Need Surgery, Believes the Warriors Can Beat Denver Without Him

April 26, 2013 – 8:40 am by Brad Gagnon

Coming off a career year, David Lee was supposed to play a huge role if the Golden State Warriors were going to make waves in their second playoff appearance in 19 years. But Lee was lost for the rest of the year when he suffered a torn hip flexor in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, and now the team will have to dig even deeper than usual.

David Lee joined Bucher and Towny on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco to discuss his hip flexor injury, the Warriors being better than the sum of their parts, their resiliency as a team and why he thinks they can still win their first-round series with Denver.

On being forced to the sideline with a torn hip flexor:

“My whole attitude has been, as disappointed as I am, at this point I can’t do anything about it. I can’t change getting hurt, but overall I accomplished a lot this season, as did the team. So now all my energy, my goal is to continue to support the guys and see how far we can take this thing. And I think we can win this series.”

On the Warriors being greater than the sum of their parts:

“We are a team that’s not a top-six team, talent-wise, in the West, but we’re a team that’s performed that way all season and gone through ups and downs, but found a way to pull through and become a playoff team, and now have a chance to win a playoff series. The reason has been because of our chemistry, because of the guys having each other’s backs.”

On this team being resilient:

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Kansas City Takes Eric Fisher No. 1 Overall in a First Round Dominated by Linemen

April 26, 2013 – 8:05 am by Eric Schmoldt

The first night of the NFL Draft came and went Thursday night and, to no surprise, it was a first round dominated by offensive linemen. Three of the first four picks were offensive tackles, including Eric Fisher who went No. 1 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Dion Jordan and Lane Johnson joined Dial Global Sports with Scott Graham to discuss their impressions on draft night, being taken in the top four overall picks of the NFL Draft, how they’ll fit in with their new teams, their rise up the draft charts and the draft experience.

Eric Fisher, on being taken with the No. 1 overall pick:

“What an honor to be the first pick of the NFL Draft. That is beyond a dream come true. I can’t believe this has just happened. It’s so surreal. It’s starting to set in a little bit, but this is so crazy right now. … I honestly did not know anything going into this. I got that phone call. It was such a surprise, such an honor, such an opportunity.”

What do you think it is that made your stock rise so much?:

“I think I answered all the questions. Coming out of a small school, obviously people are going to have questions. What kind of competition did he face? What kind of athlete is he? I think I proved myself at the Senior Bowl, the combine, pro day. … I think I answered all the questions.”

Luke, given all the draft buildup, is there some relief that comes with it finally being over?:

“For sure. I’m happy all this is over. I’m happy I have a team now, and I’m ready to go prove myself.”

Is it a big deal to you that you didn’t go No. 1?:

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Chandler Parsons on Rockets’ Game 2 Loss: “We Feel as if We Let One Slip Away”

April 26, 2013 – 7:20 am by Steven Cuce

After getting blown out 120-91 in Game 1, the Houston Rockets responded on Wednesday night. They went toe-to-toe with the Oklahoma City Thunder, overcoming a 15-point deficit and eventually taking a four-point lead in the fourth quarter. It just didn’t end up being enough in a 105-102 loss.

Houston still has to feel good about its Game 2 performance, although the Rockets let a golden opportunity slip away. Chandler Parsons agrees with that. The Rockets small forward had 17 points in Game 2 and believes Houston is staying positive for Game 3.

Chandler Parsons joined KBME in Houston with Matt Thomas to discuss the Houston Rockets’ tough loss in Game 2, the status of Jeremy Lin, staying positive for Game 3 against the Thunder and the Kendrick Perkins’ no foul call late in Game 2.

How are you guys feeling after the heartbreaking loss in Game 2?

“We are positive today. We watched the film and we did a lot of stuff good, and we feel as if we let one slip away. We’re more than confident, now coming in Saturday, that we can beat these guys.”

How’s Jeremy Lin feeling right now with the chest injury?

“I saw him a little bit. He said it was better than yesterday, but he was in the training room doing rehab and I kind of went in there and watched film and got out. He’s a tough kid and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be back and ready to play. It’s a weird injury.”

You had to still feel good about the Game 2 loss because you played better than you did in Game 1, right?

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Buffalo Bills Pull Off the Shocker By Drafting EJ Manuel No. 16 Overall

April 26, 2013 – 6:25 am by Eric Schmoldt

That the Buffalo Bills were looking for a quarterback was no secret. That the one they took in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night wasn’t named Geno Smith or Ryan Nassib was. The Bills traded down to the No. 16 overall pick and pulled off a stunner — and a head-scratcher to many — by taking EJ Manuel. He was the only quarterback taken on the draft’s first night.

EJ Manuel joined Dial Global Sports with Scott Graham to discuss if he had a feeling the Bills would take him in the first round, if he believes he has first-round talent, taking his game to the next level, his biggest strengths and weaknesses and not becoming a true starter at Florida State until his junior year.

Did you have a feeling that you might be going to the Bills in the first round?:

“I did. I didn’t know that they were going to trade, but I knew something could happen in the draft, where they might go back or a different team might go back later in the first round. Or I may have went early first round. I don’t know. I’m just so excited right now.”

Did you feel like you displayed first-round talent?:

“I knew that from January up until now, things that I could control, I thought we did a great job as far as the team that I had. I had a great team at Florida State. I think, I guess it is first-round talent. I’m just so excited, I’m at a loss for words.”

How different do you think it will be playing quarterback in the NFL compared to college?:

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Doc Rivers Claims he Has No Issue with Officiating, Hopes Celtics Can Channel Emotions in Game 3

April 26, 2013 – 5:50 am by Steven Cuce

The Boston Celtics will look to flip the script this weekend in their home arena for games three and four of their series with the New York Knicks. Tonight, the first Celtics’ home game will be played in Boston since the bombings, and the home squad should be energized.

Doc Rivers knows his team needs to play better in the fourth quarter and is hoping a trip home will do the trick for his veteran team.

Doc Rivers joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to discuss being able to cure the Boston Celtics’ woes against the New York Knicks, the Celtics controlling the tempo of the game, playing an emotional Game 3 in Boston, the status of Kevin Garnett, his comments regarding the officiating in this series and Jeff Green playing with more consistency.

Are you going to be able to fix what happened to the Celtics?

“I would love to say it’s as simple as play harder, play better, but we have to do a lot of things. Both games were completely different except for the score, as far as our scoring. In the second game, the third quarter we gave up [32] points, which meant that we played taking the ball out of bounds, and their pressure affected us. Our defense, though it’s been good, is still tied to our offense. And I would say in the third quarter that was the big part of it.”

Is it a tempo issue?

“For us it is. We have to play at a certain pace to be effective. We have to play better, guys, even if there is no tempo. We cannot bank on pushing the ball up and playing a great pace every single time down the floor. If they are making shots and going to the foul line you are not going to be able to have pace. We have to be better in the half court and we clearly want to play with more pace.”

You haven’t played in Boston since the bombings. Are you worried about the emotions being a distraction?

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Mike Brown Says He Wasn’t In the Picture When LeBron James Left Cleveland

April 25, 2013 – 10:00 am by Chris Fedor

The Cavs turned back the clock yesterday. They introduced Mike Brown as the team’s head coach. For the second time. Just three years after firing him. That’s unheard of. Some people may remember him as the guy with the ever-changing glasses whose first opportunity as a head coach was with LeBron James. Others may remember him as the guy with the really bad offense that continuously got exposed in the playoffs both in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Then there are others that will remember him as a great defensive mind and the guy who took the Cavs to the playoffs five straight years, earned Coach of the Year honors in 2009 and still got fired at the end of the 2010 season despite winning 61 games. Mike Brown has his flaws. His roster is not nearly as good as it was the first time around in Cleveland. He couldn’t win a championship with LeBron James. He couldn’t win one in the one season with Kobe Bryant. It’s hard to see it happening with this group of Cavaliers. But by making this hire, the Cavs are admitting that firing him three years ago was a mistake they were willing to correct. It also makes the Cavs look like a reactionary franchise without a plan.

Mike Brown joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull And Fox to talk about how this deal came together so quick, on the challenge of making the Cavs good on defense again, how being around LeBron James and Kobe Bryant has helped him, whether he thinks he was fired in a last-ditch effort to keep LeBron in Cleveland and whether he thinks there is pressure on him a second time around in Cleveland.

How this came together so quick:

“They reached out to me at the end of last week for the first time and after getting over the initial shock of hearing from these guys again I spoke with my wife and thought about all the things that made this job attractive while I was here to begin with. The level of commitment from Dan Gilbert and his group, the thorough work ethic that Chris Grant and his staff display and you look at the roster with the young nucleus and then with Anderson (Varejao) and then the city and passion that the fans have for not only the Cavs but for all their sports teams, for us it was definitely an exciting thing that we were definitely interested in pressing forward with.”

On the challenge of making the Cavs good on defense again:

“It is going to be a process just from the standpoint of my language is probably going to be different than Byron (Scott), which is different than every other coach in the business. Everyone has their own unique philosophy. It’s going to take some time and take some understanding from our guys and some belief in order to get it right on the defensive end of the floor. Watching this group from afar, they look like they want to win, they look like they want to give you as much as they can and that is all you can ask for to start with. Now from there it will just become a daily process of drilling it, seeing it, and hearing it. Then doing stuff live in practice until we get into game situation to be able to get better and correct those things as we go along.”

How being around players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James has helped him:

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