I asked former Lakers G.M. Jerry West if expectations are too high in L.A. "Way too high," West said. "The [Lakers] have names, and names don't win championships. When I look at this team I see flaws." ... Jimmie Johnson explained why NASCAR drivers have to be careful that conflicts on the track don't carry over after the race: "When you get out of your car and see a bunch of mad crew guys ... especially [if you're a] shorter guy ... you want to get back in the car where [you're] as big as anyone else." ... Vikings QB Christian Ponder grew up admiring how John Elway and Peyton Manning barked orders at the line, but he noted something curious about his fellow signal-callers. "It's interesting that when quarterbacks talk normally, they sound one way," Ponder said. "When they get up to the line of scrimmage they have this voice that's completely different." ... Former Steeler Hines Ward told me no one wears purple around the team the week before Ravens games. "When you put on purple gear," Ward said, "whatever you have is probably going to end up in the trash can."