Month: February 2017

Cousins was used to a slower tempo in Sacramento that played to his strengths.

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Could this finally be the year? Sergio picked up a nice win in Dubai over Henrik Stenson in early February. El Nino seems more comfortable in his own skin playing golf than ever before, but it¡¯s still been almost 10 years since he won a PGA Tour and European Tour event within the same season. With his former rival old and broken, is it possible we could witness Garcia¡¯s best year ever at age-37? Keep an eye on him in Mexico.

Authentic Tyler Ennis Jersey ZILLER: There’s still time. Not much, but the other teams in play for No. 8 aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire. There’s just no room for error. That happens when you start the season 2-10.

I find it interesting that both Cousins and Davis are getting big numbers. The three games have actually been a spot-on microcosm of Boogie’s career to date: huge numbers two out of every three games (the other an absolute stinker), foul trouble (which probably cost New Orleans a game on Sunday), and losses all around. It’s worth noting that his plus-minus has been better than that of Davis in two of the games. But he’s going to be graded on actual wins, not ephemeral victories at this point.

FLANNERY: Yeah, there’s no more grading on a curve for Cousins. He either contributes to a winning team and culture or he gets hammered for not making it happen.

And, I think that’s fair. Lord knows we don’t need to re-litigate the Kings’ years but Cousins’ issues lay somewhere between full blame and complete absolution depending on one’s perspective. That cover is gone now, even though the Pels have made their own share of weird roster calls.

I’m a little concerned about pace of play. Cousins was used to a slower tempo in Sacramento that played to his strengths. The Alvin Gentry Pels want to get up and down, which plays into AD’s. What gives here?

The Raiders and Giants showed signs of life, and both teams are still worth watching despite their low rankings on this list

The Falcons gave up a lot to select Julio Jones in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but it was seen as a great deal given the offensive talent already on the team. And it has indeed turned out to be a good deal, as Jones and Roddy White formed the most feared wide receiver duo in the league. But White has struggled this year, and the Falcons offense looks just as bad as the rest of the team.

Jones, on the other hand, has been good throughout. In fact, he is having his best season yet, with 82 receptions for 1,169 yards and five touchdowns entering Monday. He had a huge game against the Packers and was the lone bright spot in Atlanta’s offense, finishing with 11 receptions for 259 yards and a touchdown. His impressive TD made it a 10-point game in the fourth:

The Raiders and Giants showed signs of life, and both teams are still worth watching despite their low rankings on this list. New York has a budding superstar in Odell Beckham Jr. The LSU product went off this week to the tune of 11 catches for 130 yards and touchdown. He also returned four punts for 49 yards and rushed for 9 yards. The rookie just about connected on a 60-yard bomb downfield on an end-around throw, but it was broken up.

Meanwhile, Derek Carr looks like the real deal, and he slung it while connecting on 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns in an upset victory over the Niners. He looks like the answer the Raiders have been looking for in terms of a franchise quarterback, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.

Limited Mens Ndamukong Suh Jersey One last thing for this week that might be noteworthy: The Jaguars aren’t the worst team in the NFL anymore, and they’re probably not even the worst team in their division at this point. That distinction might belong to the Titans, who have now lost seven straight.
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I still think Manziel is a bit of a turd whose attitude will ultimately have to change before he can maximize his talent, I’m also sure that he is going to be just what the doctor ordered for the Browns when he gets his shot. The whole locker room is going to get excited about playing again, and that’s enough of a reason to hand him the reins.

Kudos to Sanu for answering the questions with a level head.

Essentially, if the Vikings wanted Patterson to remain on the team (he’s a free agent this spring), they would need to ensure that he would see playing time as a wide receiver despite years of evidence to the contrary.

Everyone knows Peterson is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss all but three games last season so he does not have the bargaining power. Everyone knows Peterson is about to turn 32, which is up there for a player at his position. Time will tell what happens, but for now we’ll be subjected to the same, bland game of ping pong both sides have been playing for weeks.

“I mean, the thought (why aren’t we running the ball?) crosses your mind, but as a player you do what the coach tells you to do,” Sanu said. “He’s called plays like that throughout the season all the time. He’s been aggressive, we’re an aggressive team, so we go out there and we do what we do.”

Kudos to Sanu for answering the questions with a level head. Translated across any other profession, we would not expect a CEO to candidly talk about a failed merger every time he appears in public, nor would we expect the chef whose restaurant was destroyed by a zero-star review to be congenial about it. This has the potential to be a life-altering moment in time for every player on that Falcons team, but at the moment, they seem to be handling it far better than expected.

“It’s gotten better,” Sanu said of the lingering what ifs. “But there are times I wake up like…”

McCown, 37, will be a valuable commodity this offseason. While his career might be at the point where he’s an emergency starter or sage veteran backup, those positions are not taken lightly by teams breaking in rookies or looking to make a Super Bowl push.

The “four or five” teams should not be difficult to figure out, and more could come out of the woodwork as the spring progresses.

LeGarrette Blount feels like he could play for ¡®100 more years¡¯

LeGarrette Blount turned 30 in December, and that¡¯s typically a negative milestone for NFL running backs. Blount is unfazed. He said he feels like he could play for 100 more years.

During an appearance on NFL Total Access on Monday, Blount said that despite his age, he has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Game Kids Mika Zibanejad Jersey ¡°On that point, I feel great,¡± Blount said. ¡°I¡¯m in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to.”
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First of all, the oldest person on record, Jeanne Calment, had her age verified at 122 years and 164 days at the time of her death. If Blount plays 100 more years, he would exceed that mark by over seven full years, which seems unlikely.

Secondly, and more practically, running backs typically don¡¯t last long past age-30. Frank Gore, Darren Sproles and DeAngelo Williams are all 33, and they¡¯re still playing, but those three are the oldest running backs in the league right now. The concept of a 130-year-old running back seems like bit of a stretch.

Blount, of course, was not being literal. He was simply expressing his desire, as he looks toward free agency, to remain with the Patriots.

“I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England,” Blount said. “I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I’ve become close with a lot of the guys.¡±

If you noticed freshman Rubino last year, it was while he was missing two kicks during the Tennessee game. Upon return from Knoxville, though, he was mostly fine. He missed only the one PAT and was perfect on field goals inside of 40 yards.

James was nowhere to be found on the court in the fourth quarter as the West pulled away

Authentic Kids Kerry Wood Jersey Three years ago in New Orleans, Wall was “dunker of the night” under the short-lived team format for All-Star Saturday night that replaced the usual head-to-head competition. On Sunday, he was better off sticking to dunks. Wall had three of his trademark left-hand flushes, including one that saw him dribble through traffic, but missed a pair of layups. Wall also had a game-high four steals.

Like Antetokounmpo, James was nowhere to be found on the court in the fourth quarter as the West pulled away. He didn’t even get off the bench. James had some lowlights, missing a layup and having an alley-oop he tried to bounce off the ground stolen. But he also made one of his two 3-point attempts from very deep and had several impressive dunks, including one in which he went off the backboard to himself with power.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Seahawks appeared ready to move on from Lynch. Last offseason, the tailback threatened a holdout if the team did not renegotiate his contract. While the team ultimately gave him a little extra money for 2014, it appeared the two sides were headed for divorce. It was reported in October that Seattle had grown tired of Lynch’s behavior and was transitioning to Russell Wilson as the leader of the locker room. With young backs Robert Turbin and Christine Michael in tow, it seemed Lynch was playing his final season in the Pacific Northwest.
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However, Lynch delivered a spectacular season. He rushed for over 1,300 yards and a career-high 13 touchdowns. He also set personal bests for receiving yards (367) and touchdown catches (four). Accordingly, the Seahawks have shifted direction on Lynch’s future with the team.

Perhaps the only thing preventing Lynch from signing a new deal is the possibility of retirement. Lynch, who is dealing with chronic back issues, has considered hanging up the cleats for good. If he does walk away, Lynch leaves $7 million in base salary and roster bonuses on the table.

The 2017 season will be equally challenging for Royals assistant GM Rene Francisco

Once, Wheeler was routinely lumped into the same future-ace class as the other monsters in this rotation. That was a long time ago. Other than a one-inning rehab stint last year, Wheeler last pitched in 2014, had Tommy John surgery in March 2015 and had a frustrating summer of setbacks that eventually wiped out what was supposed to be his comeback season.

Game Womens Tramaine Brock Jersey Wheeler is easing his way back this spring. Despite the blitz of tabloid headlines this week, he believes he’s merely working his way through “a little early soreness.” And since he has dealt with so many issues over the last two years, “I kind of know how to tell the bad [soreness] from the OK and worse,” he said. As upbeat as both he and his team are that he’s finally healthy enough to pitch again, he probably has more to prove than anyone in this group — especially considering that both Robert Gsellman (2.63 ERA in seven big-league starts last year) and Seth Lugo (2.68 in eight starts) look like excellent rotation options themselves.

The 2017 season will be equally challenging for Royals assistant GM Rene Francisco, the man who signed Ventura as a teenager, and the array of coaches who invested so much time and patience in his development and had begun to see signs of greater maturity and commitment.

Shortly before Ventura’s death, assistant GM J.J. Picollo spoke with Dominican field coordinator Victor Baez, who told Picollo that Ventura was as focused as the Royals’ coaches had seen him. Ventura spent more time than ever working out at the team’s Dominican academy this offseason, and he was scheduled to throw his first side session of the winter two days after his fatal crash.
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“He always had that smile, and no matter how mad you were at him, he was going to make you laugh. The impression that people in the game had of him was different than the actual person”

Canadiens GM calls Claude Julien hire a ‘turning point’ for the team

Addressing the monumental coaching change that his Montreal Canadiens wrought on the NHL on Tuesday, general manager Marc Bergevin made it clear that this was not a decision made on a whim.

Instead, two months of major regression and unmet potential started the wheels of change turning in his head. That those wheels hit full speed as the rival Bruins put their excellent coach out to pasture is mere coincidence, Bergevin seemed to insist.

Two days after the Bruins fired Claude Julien, Bergevin met with his top player leaders (captain Max Pacioretty, Shea Weber, and Carey Price) without Therrien present. It set off alarm bells, although our own Canadiens blog preached restraint:

But Fleck was adamant about bringing the phrase with him, obviously given its personal nature as well as how integral it is to his brand.

“We’re working on it,” Fleck said Wednesday while in attendance for the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award, for which Fleck was a finalist. “There’s just some things to go through, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to bring it with me.”

It was also doubtful that a new coach at Western Michigan would want to hang on to the slogan of his predecessor and not try to put his own stamp on the program. With that in mind, it seemed a slam dunk that cooler heads would prevail and a settlement would be reached. Now the boat’s being rowed in Minneapolis.

P.K. Subban sabotaged Patrick Kane¡¯s water bottle while mic¡¯d up at the NHL All-Star Game

Elite Timofey Mozgov Jersey The 2017 NHL All-Star Game has come and gone, but the NHL has released some videos that will surely keep the festivities going throughout the Monday off-day.

Limited Cody Wallace Jersey Most notably, the NHL mic¡¯d up a whole bunch of the All-Stars throughout the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game. One of them was P.K. Subban, obviously. And, as you might expect, he got up to a bunch of antics. Including:

He hasn¡¯t quite progressed in terms of putting up numbers, but it¡¯s impressive that he¡¯s elevated through the Russian system at such a young age. Kayumov doesn¡¯t turn 19 until Feb. 14, and he¡¯s played better in the VHL, so he should get another KHL crack relatively soon. The Blackhawks have some upside here.

Our list is admittedly geared more towards high-upside prospects than guys with a higher probability of being middling players, and that¡¯s what Kayumov is. At this point, he¡¯s a fantastic skater who still needs to show he can put together the rest of his game. That speed is tantalizing, though, and makes him a good project.

Kayumov has split the 2016-17 season between three leagues in Russia. He started in the MHL, the country¡¯s top junior league, before getting a call straight up to the KHL, arguably the second-best league in the world. He briefly struggled there before he got bumped down a level to the VHL, the second division of senior Russian hockey.

The results across all three levels have been mixed, as Kayumov has only 23 points in a combined 42 games this season. As an offensive-first prospect, you¡¯d prefer to see more production, especially at the junior level. Kayumov also spent 2015-16 in the MHL and put up a higher points per game rate (31 points in 39 games).

Damarious Randall recorded three interceptions in 2016 despite missing six games because of groin surgery.

Game Womens Torry Holt Jersey Mike Glennon: Glennon is an intriguing case because he’s actually started 18 games in his career and thrown for 30 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. At 6-foot-6, Glennon is the type of pure pocket passer Shanahan supposedly covets, though he’s only completed 59.4 percent of his career passes. Glennon isn’t likely a franchise solution, but he profiles as the type Shanahan might be able to elevate to solid starter status.

A drafted rookie: Again, Shanahan hasn’t even had a chance to evaluate this year’s draft class and until he does, he won’t be able to determine the direction he wants to go at the position for the long-term. The Niners own the No. 2 overall pick, which means they should have their pick of quarterbacks if there’s one they really like. The early read on this draft class is that there won’t be a signal-caller worth taking that high, though North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer have been mentioned as possibilities in media circles.

The Niners could also wait until the middle rounds to find someone Shanahan believes he could develop while using their top pick to get the best player available. Either way, it’s a safe bet the Niners will spend a pick on a quarterback at some point.

Damarious Randall recorded three interceptions in 2016 despite missing six games because of groin surgery.

But it’s a reminder of just what the Packers are facing at cornerback. And why they finished 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season.
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Gunter, Randall and Rollins were all part of the 2015 rookie class, while Dorelant, Hawkins and Waters were in the 2016 class. All but Randall and Rollins were undrafted.

McDaniels quickly broke into what was easily his biggest smile Monday night

For the most part, as Josh McDaniels answered questions at Super Bowl LI media night, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator kept his poker face.

Whether it was a question about the Atlanta Falcons’ pass-rushers, the pressure of a title game or what it¡¯s like to work for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, McDaniels kept things low-key. And then came: ¡°How do you know when you¡¯re ready to be a head coach?”

With that, McDaniels quickly broke into what was easily his biggest smile Monday night, followed by the heartiest of laughs.
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Josh McDaniels’ experience coaching in championship games — he’s attempting to win his fifth Super Bowl as a Patriots assistant — could help the 40-year-old again land a job as an NFL head coach.
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While the Raiders were partners with Adelson early in the process of getting a stadium in Las Vegas that would be shared with UNLV, there was a growing feeling that NFL owners were not entirely comfortable with Adelson’s involvement. Especially with reports that Adelson wanted a piece of the Raiders as an owner — Raiders owner Mark Davis has said the team is not for sale — or a path to ownership.

“We’ve always said we were going to maintain the integrity of the game by making sure there was a separation between sports gambling and the NFL,” Goodell said. “That is something that we think is imperative for us. We want our fans to know that the game they are seeing unfold on the field does not have any undue influence. We recognize gambling occurs out of the market place.

“But this is something, from our standpoint, we have rules that are in place. The Raiders have not asked us to compromise those rules as it relates to our policies. We will continue to have that separation going forward.”