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More from Jeff Schultz

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Freeman will lead Braves with actions, not words
Freddie Freeman gets his throwing arm loose during spring training Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

12:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

Everybody wanted to know what Freddie Freeman, the Yoda of the Braves’ clubhouse that he is at 25, thought of the offseason tear down. Doesn’t something seem a little wrong with that? He is the Braves’ best player. He signed an eight-year contract extension in 2014, only to see the ...
Can Seitzer avoid being Braves’ next scapegoat?

Updated: 5:21 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

There was a week remaining in the last Braves’ season when hitting coach Greg Walker, worn down by too many strikeouts and hard-headed players, phoned team executive John Hart to announce his exit.“He called me and said, ‘Uncle,’” Hart said. “He had done a good job here. I wanted him ...
By any name, Braves need a different Upton

4:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, 2015

The Upton Formerly Known As B.J. will go by a different name this season and before you ask — no, this does not legally void his contract.Call him anything you want (as if that has stopped you before). Melvin, B.J., the Lesser Upton. It doesn’t matter because the Braves tried ...
Braves have issues but McDowell not one of them
Roger McDowell has led Braves’ pitching staff to major’s top five ERA in six straight seasons. (Kent D. Johnson, AJC)

Updated: 5:57 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015

Roger McDowell seems to be the only member of the Braves’ operation everybody can agree on. He hasn’t been accused of botching lineups (manager) or making bad trades (front office) or failing to improve slumping gazillionaires (hitting coach) or caring more about profiting off a publicly funded stadium development than ...
Will rebuilding Braves give Gonzalez latitude?

12:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015

There is a two-tier pecking order in the Braves’ clubhouse at spring training. Walk through the main door, and a visitor immediately faces the recognizable nameplates about lockers. Turn left, go past a wall that divides the room, and the statuses, and it’s like taking a three-second Greyhound to the ...
Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names
General manager Thomas Dimitroff has fewer responsibilities but still involved in deciding Falcons personnel.

2:24 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015

Any makeover begins with an admission that something went wrong. Whether it was a flawed plan or faulty personnel decisions that contributed to the Falcons’ slide the past two seasons, general manager Thomas Dimitroff conceded as much recently. “I understand the criticism,” the team’s primary architect said. “I understand what ...
Georgia shows why we still can’t assume success
Georgia followed a big road victory Wednesday with a loss at home to Auburn on Saturday. (AP Photo/College Station Eagle, Sam Craft)

5:56 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015

These are the games that perpetuate doubt. These are the forehead-slapping games that follow the listless practices that lead even the head coach to say, “We’ve been smelling ourselves too much.” That wasn’t Georgia turning a corner with a significant win at Texas A&M on Wednesday night. It turns out ...
Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices

2:21 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015

The Hawks go into this weekend as the NBA’s best story, even while the kook show continues to swirl around them. They love their coach. They pass the ball. They play defense. They want to play defense. They dive after loose balls. They pass up open shots because a teammate ...
Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has endured jabs
Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns last season, but Dan Quinn hired for the same position on the Falcons’ staff. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

6:20 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

The advantage to having “Shanahan” as a last name is every other coach knows your lineage. Without his more famous father, Kyle Shanahan probably would not have made it past the secretary when Jon Gruden was hiring a quality-control coach at Tampa Bay 11 years ago, the assumption being that ...
Hawks’ deadline move wouldn’t hurt chemistry
Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) sinks a 3-point shot late in the fourth quarter against the Nets at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on May 14, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

1:46 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015

To the expanding list of ways we have measured growth and success in the Hawks’ organization this season, add this: CNN International sent a crew to Philips Arena for a game the other night. So there you go: They have gone global. They are selling out games. It wasn’t long ...
Tech doing just fine, recruiting rankings notwithstanding
North Gwinnett's Anree Saint-Amour is shown with teammates during signing day festivities at  the College Football Hall of Fame Wednesday in Atlanta.

2:37 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015

According to recruiting “experts” — and I defer to Rivals and Scout in this area, much like I would defer to Mrs. Paul’s when it comes to being experts on seafood — Georgia Tech really stinks in recruiting. Now, I’ve made it no secret that national-letter-of-intent day is my least ...
Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making

Updated: 6:17 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015

Bill McPherson still has the notes more than a decade later. There were thoughts on players, thoughts on how they would be used in that week’s game, thoughts on the opponent.“He was meticulous about everything,” McPherson, the former longtime defensive line coach and pro personnel director for the San Francisco ...
Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Updated: 11:49 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015

Having arrived in Arizona with his legacy being debated and facing the most implausible of accusations – “He’d be nothing if he had to throw a fully inflated football!” – Tom Brady responded to the lampoons as only first-ballot Hall of Famers do. He let the air out of critics ...
Schultz’s short takes
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01:  Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

10:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015

1. Deflate this, everybody: Tom Brady arrived in Arizona as the focal point in an NFL investigation into whether New England intentionally deflated footballs in the AFC title game, in accordance to the liking of the Patriots’ quarterback. He struggled at times against Seattle’s defense, throwing two interceptions and hitting ...
No confusion about pecking order in Super Bowl teams

12:00 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015

There are clean lines in the flow chart in New England and Seattle. There is a befuddling ball of twine in Atlanta. In 2000, New England owner Bob Kraft wanted Bill Belichick as his head coach so much that he traded a first-round draft pick to the New York Jets ...
Blank remains vague on Falcons’ structure

6:19 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Three weeks after throwing a grenade of a news release and having all principals affected by an organizational restructuring take cover in a bunker, Falcons owner Arthur Blank addressed the changes at the top of his team’s directory Friday. And he revealed … almost nothing.Blank, making his annual visit to ...
Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore
Tiger Woods hits out of the rough on the 11th hole during the first round of the Phoenix Open golf tournament on Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

8:08 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

After five knee surgeries, a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back, two stress fractures in his tibia, a bulging disc in his neck, two strained Achilles and two cracked and chipped teeth apparently caused by the Tasmanian Devil of cameramen in the mountains of Italy, most have simply ...
Blount walks out on one team — and into Super Bowl
LeGarrette Blount of the Patriots runs against the Colts in the second half of the AFC Championship game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

6:55 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Two months ago, LeGarrette Blount, one of the least stable personalities in any NFL locker room, walked off the field pouting of his playing time with time left in a game and said, “I quit.” It’s probably the only time the Pittsburgh Steelers were happy about anything Blount said or ...
Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge

8:12 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Dan Quinn is paid to anticipate where attacks will originate and where they’re going. So it follows that in his first major exposure to the media since becoming an NFL head coach-in-waiting — in the tamper-free world of sports hypotheticals — he had little difficult playing read-and-react with a bunch ...
Great or not, Patriots’ legacy forever tarnished
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks to head coach Bill Belichick in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

8:58 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

It says something about a person’s arrogance that he can make statements so absurd — even if delivered with a serious, reptilian cool — that anybody with more than a few brain cells collectively responds: “Hahaha. Oh, you’re serious?” As Bill Belichick morphs before our eyes from an NFL coaching ...
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