Monthly Archives: November 2016

Unselfish Julio Jones wants to make sure others are playoff-ready

Authentic Bradley Roby Jersey Wide receiver Julio Jones wants the Atlanta Falcons to keep spreading the ball around, and there¡¯s a good reason behind his line of thinking.

Jones is going to have an impact on any game, whether it means 200-plus receiving yards, drawing a couple pass-interference penalties or even opening up running lanes by blocking down the field. But Jones sees getting his less-experienced teammates more involved as imperative at this juncture of the season, with the 7-4, NFC South-leading Falcons on track for the playoffs.

“Nah, I don¡¯t care about touches. I¡¯m great,¡± Jones said coming off a four-catch, 35-yard game in a 38-19 win over Arizona. ¡°It¡¯s great because other guys are stepping up and making it happen. You can¡¯t expect those guys to do it — let¡¯s say you get to the playoffs, playoff run, whatever — you can¡¯t expect those guys, ‘Oh, I want these guys to step up now and make these plays.¡¯ That¡¯s why you have to get them involved now throughout the year and let them build their confidence up as well to say, ‘We¡¯re going to make these plays. We can all make these plays.¡¯”

At first he received only support. He stayed in Virginia and skipped work for 54 days, and during that time the other members of the LOB sent him daily text messages, and a few Seahawks practiced in his jersey.

That took only two weeks. The Seahawks’ defense was a mess and it lost the first two games, so Chancellor largely caved on his negotiations and booked a sudden flight to Seattle to rejoin a team in disarray. He played under the exact same contract he had been given before, paying him about $5 million in the 2015 season instead of the reported $9 million he wanted. He was rusty and resentful — and worried about what his teammates thought of him. He stopped giving pregame speeches. The defense seemed disjointed. The Seahawks struggled to a 2-4 start and eventually an early playoff loss.

“All year, that connection of the team just wasn’t there,” Chancellor says. “This team revolves around a core of 10 or 11 guys, and when there’s division at the core, the whole team goes bad. I think guys just felt abandoned, like I hadn’t been there for them, and they had to suffer and lose games because of it.”

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The St. Louis Rams released seven-year veteran defensive lineman Kendall Langford on Thursday

With Kevin White having one of the better combine of all the participants, there is a sentiment that he could have surpassed Alabama’s Amari Cooper on many big boards. The Oakland Raiders are Brad Davis Authentic Womens Jersey projected universally to want a receiver at the No. 4 spot, giving second-year quarterback Derek Carr a legitimate weapon.

Kiper believes if Cooper is bypassed by Oakland, there will be a potential frenzy of activity by teams hoping to move up for him.

“If Cooper is there, and Todd McShay has him falling to the St. Louis Rams at No. 10, I think there would be a trade. If he gets past the Raiders with Kevin White going there, I could see Kansas City or Cleveland jumping up to get Cooper. You can’t just let him fall all the way to the 10th pick.”

“He is open to returning to the Vikings,” Nelson Peterson said. “He hasn’t closed the door (and said), ‘I won’t play for the Vikings.’ He hasn’t demanded a trade.”
Nelson stated that much of Adrian’s problem with the franchise stems from chief operating officer Kevin Warren’s position last season, along with his subsequent promotion.

“Kevin Warren was a major player in the push last year to not have Adrian reinstated,” Nelson Peterson Brad Guzan Authentic Womens Jersey said. “We had our sources that we knew that Kevin wasn’t working for Adrian to get him back on the field and was working to keep Adrian off the field.”

Peterson was put on the commissioner’s exempt list following a Week 1 win over the St. Louis Rams when he was indicted on a felony abuse charge. Peterson ultimately pleaded no contest to reckless misdemeanor assault on Nov. 4. Commissioner Roger Goodell then suspended Peterson for the remainder of the 2014 season and said the star could not apply for reinstatement until April 15.

Currently, the NFLPA is suing the league to get Peterson reinstated, effective immediately. A judge’s ruling is expected to come sometime in early March.

Smith was the team’s second-leading receiver in 2014 with 49 catches and 767 receiving yards, hauling in a career-best 11 touchdowns last season. Baltimore currently has an estimated $5.7 million in cap space for 2015, according to Over the Cap.

As a die-hard Buffalo Sabres fan dismayed by what the clutch-and-grab era has done to hockey

I love that offenses seem to be way ahead of defenses in the opening month.

As a die-hard Buffalo Sabres fan Mitchell Schwartz Authentic Womens Jersey dismayed by what the clutch-and-grab era has done to hockey — with my Sabres having already endured seven 2-1 games this month — I can only applaud a 149-106 final score for the sheer audacity Golden State imposed on the Lakers with 47 assists on 53 made baskets.

I relish sitting in a restaurant on a random Wednesday night, looking up at a TV and then struggling to keep my drink down when news of Kevin Love’s 34-point quarter dribbles across the screen.

And in case Love’s outburst made you curious about the highest-scoring quarters in league history …

We talked about the various challenges of the early season, Harrison Barnes’ development, Dirk Nowitzki’s legacy, what it’s like to coach under Cuban and why one of our shared favorites –- former Cavs, Rockets, Celtics and Clippers coach Bill Fitch -– belongs in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. A link to the full convo is enclosed for your holiday weekend listening pleasure, but here are some highlights:

He was sure the team was done with him, one way or another. Now he’s in the Lakers’ starting lineup and considered one of their best perimeter defenders and most reliable scorers.”

Young was ranked 16th on the Player Rater among shooting guards as of Friday, just Nick Foles Authentic Womens Jersey ahead of the likes of Evan Fournier and Devin Booker. Available in fantasy free agency in nearly 60 percent of ESPN leagues, a heavy dose of minutes and shots on the league’s most improved offense should see Young continue to provide unexpected vale this season.

Matchup ratings are based on a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup). These are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team’s year-to-date and past 10 games’ statistics, their opponents’ numbers in those categories and their performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played. The column to the left lists the team’s total number of games scheduled, as well as home games, and lists the overall rating from 1 to 10 for that team’s weekly schedule.

he was drafted in the 12th round by the Washington Nationals

In the case of July 23 against the Reds, Ray’s fWAR would be the same, no matter the order the third inning played out. It would be almost exactly the same, regardless of whether the third baseman botched the play in the first.

The question is whether Ray deserves to be treated as “normal” on those things FanGraphs WAR strips out. In his career, he has allowed a BABIP nearly 50 points higher than the league average — and the highest BABIP A.J. Klein Authentic Jersey in baseball during that time (minimum 250 innings). He has been significantly worse with runners on base, which means he has been more prone to sequences like the one above that lead to runs.

Either Ray is still flushing the bad luck out of his system — a reasonable, if uncertain, assumption — or he has individual deficiencies that FanGraphs WAR doesn’t pick up.

That’s still a mix-and-match outfield (Guillermo Heredia is part of the picture as well) without one big bat, but Dipoto has given Servais a lot of platoon possibilities. Seattle’s rotation is now Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, Ariel Miranda and Nathan Karns, with no obvious depth and Iwakuma and Paxton two high injury risks. The estimated payroll is already at its 2016 level, so adding another starting pitcher likely means a significant payroll increase for 2017. But given the ages of Cano, Cruz, Iwakuma and Hernandez, Seattle has to be all-in for 2017. I would expect twitchy-finger Dipoto to make another deal for a starting pitcher.

Marte: After playing well in a 57-game call-up in 2015, Marte was a huge disappointment, posting a .287 OBP and making 21 errors. He’s still very young as well — he played the entire season at 22 — but lacks power and an aggressive approach hurt him in 2016. Marte is a good athlete, and if he can improve his patience at the plate, like he showed in 2015, there’s some potential upside here. Nick Ahmed is a plus defender but can’t hit, so Marte should take over as the starting shortstop.

Haniger: A possible sleeper, Haniger is a right-handed-hitting outfielder Andrew Norwell Authentic Jersey with enough range to play center. He’ll be 26 in December, but he could be a late bloomer after adding a leg kick during the 2015 season (more on that here from Dave Cameron at FanGraphs).

The NFC playoffs could look a lot different this season

NFL kickers have missed on just 10 out of 251 field goal attempts 33 yards or shorter this season. However, on Sunday alone, NFL kickers missed TWELVE extra-point attempts. The extra point, as of the start of the 2015 season, is the distance equivalent of a 33-yard field goal.

Obviously, it’s not equivalent in a lot of other ways, because A.J. Bouye Authentic Womens Jersey otherwise these professional kickers wouldn’t be turning to pudding when they line up for a one-point kick. In Week 11, NFL kickers were a perfect 23-for-23 on field goal attempts of 33 yards or shorter — and 41-for-47 on field goals of any distance. But 52-for-64 on extra points.

Jared Goff is a project … and that’s OK

Washington could franchise Cousins again for next year, but it will cost them at least $23.94 million to do that. The more likely outcome is that he does get that long-term deal this time, and that it at least challenges — if not surpasses — the $24.594 million average annual salary of Andrew Luck’s new deal with the Colts.

Cousins isn’t the only quarterback playing himself into unheard-of money this season. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, signed through 2017, could get a contract extension next summer that pushes him well past that $25 million average. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has two years left on his deal. But based on the way this season has gone so far, when those guys try to set benchmarks in their next contracts, it could be Kirk Cousins whose deal they’re trying to beat.

Or becoming one of those full-time “rover” teams that plays only road games. Tampa Bay is 1-4 at home this year and 4-1 on the road, including wins at Atlanta, Carolina and, most recently, Kansas City. Jameis Winston said after the game that the Chiefs fans’ in-game Akeem Dent Authentic Womens Jersey chant fired him up because it was the same one he used to hear at home games at Florida State. Bit of a research failure by the Chiefs’ fans, that.

Cornerback Brent Grimes played just five snaps against the Chiefs before suffering a thigh injury and leaving the game. With Jude Adjei-Barimah’s four-game suspension that was just handed down, this team could be very thin at corner. Also, backup center/guard Ben Gottschalk has been placed on injured reserve. With Evan Smith still recovering from a knee injury and Joe Hawley also still dealing with knee issues, Gottschalk’s loss hurts there and at guard, especially if Kevin Pamphile is still in the concussion protocol. He has already been out two weeks.

Russell Westbrook smashed a completely unnecessary dunk all over Clint Capela

This is savagery. This is hellbent fury unleashed upon Clint Capela for no other reason than Russell Westbrook felt like posterizing someone before the game ended. This is maniacal basketball.

Let’s take a quick step back. 1. The Thunder have a three-point lead. 2. They have the ball. 3. There’s seven seconds left, and all they need to do is run out the clock. Westbrook could have caught the inbounds pass, spun around in the corner for a couple of seconds, and waited for the Rockets to intentionally foul him for two free throws that could ice the game. Under conventional logic, Westbrook should have done just that.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau voiced his frustrations John Paxson Authentic Womens Jersey in the postgame press conference.

Just 10 games into their season, Thibodeau and the Timberwolves still have plenty of time remaining to solve the third-quarter mystery.

Curry was impressed with Drake’s trash talk, even if it didn’t ultimately affect his 35-point evening.

“He tried to come with his A-game, take us out of our game,” Curry said. “Those are just the kind of fun back-and-forth moments that you have with guys that you know.”

Green also fired off this zinger.

Draymond: “Drake’s boots cost them the game tonight.”

Obviously none of this is a serious beef between Drake and the Warriors. It’s just the two sides having some fun with it.

“These are the nights where we just agree to say whatever needs to be said, then Kirk Hinrich Authentic Womens Jersey we’ll put it all behind us,” Drake said. “We’ll go out and pretend it never happened.”

Well, maybe except for KD, who actually looked sort of pissed. Drake might need another jersey next time he visits the Bay Area.

Is Lasik the reason CP3 is playing like an MVP this season?

In leading his team to an NBA-best 10-2 start, Clippers point guard Chris Paul has been arguably the league’s best player. Behind career-high 45.8 percent 3-point shooting, Paul leads the NBA in player efficiency rating (PER) and Basketball-Reference.com’s win shares.

Earlier this week, Paul offered Dan Orlovsky Authentic Womens Jersey an unlikely explanation for why he’s off to such a hot start: corrected vision. Paul shared with reporters that after years of faking his way through eye tests and squinting to see play calls from the sideline, he underwent Lasik eye surgery over the summer.

There’s plenty of analysis on what’s going right and wrong for teams this season, but let’s take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Ignore, if you can, as much of the win-loss stuff from 2016 as possible. Just think about each team’s plan over the next five seasons from an (informed) fan’s perspective. Does the plan seem better now (or more likely to succeed) than it did back in August, before the season started? I’ll try to answer that question in these capsules, but we won’t know for sure for a few years.

Inexplicably, Boger did not call holding at all. But if he had and thus the warning would have been given, the Ravens would not have been able to repeat the play to take off more time. If they did it a second consecutive play, they would have been (presumably) penalized for a palpably unfair act. The clock would have been restored to its original time.

You might shake your head at the idea of the NFL accounting for intentional penalties, but the league has no choice but to assume that competitors will seek every edge they can. Manipulating rules isn’t the NFL’s idea of a good time. (No jokes, please.) And in some cases, a single specific act judged to be palpably unfair can reverse the outcome of a play or even a game.

“Goal-tending” a field goal — jumping to knock the ball away from the crossbar — is named Darius Slay Authentic Womens Jersey as a palpably unfair act in the rulebook. So is holding a substitute on the sideline until just before the snap or shortly thereafter, giving him a free run to the ball because he is likely to be unaccounted for.
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Crushing Drake, Stephen Curry keeps pace in topping Raptors

“Drake Night,” an annual acknowledgment by the Toronto Raptors of hip-hop artist Drake, was Wednesday at Air Canada Centre, and it was ruined.

The sold-out crowd had the Golden State Warriors to thank for that.

The fans in attendance on Drake’s Authentic Brian Winters Jersey night were mute and in disbelief going into the break. Everything was going the Warriors’ way.

But it didn’t start off so well for Golden State. The Warriors came out sluggish and out of sync. Prior to imposing their will, Curry and Zaza Pachulia had a two-on-one break in the second quarter, and Curry bounced the ball to his big man, who went up wildly for a layup. The ball rolled around the rim and looked as if it would spin out, but it eventually found the bottom of the net. It appeared as if it would be one of those nights when nothing comes easily.

Klay Thompson added 15 points, and Green supplied 11 Authentic Bruce Carter Jersey points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks. Lowry ended with 24 points and five assists for Toronto.

Drake, the Raptors’ global ambassador, was seen talking trash all night from his courtside seat near the scorers’ table. He was sporting a long-sleeved T-shirt with a picture of ESPN’s Doris Burke on the front and the caption, “Woman Crush Everyday.”

The Raptors didn’t end up crushing Golden State, though.

“He’s been talking junk for a couple of weeks now,” Green said of Drake. “Talking about how they were going to beat us and that it’s Drake Night. He may be a little disappointed. The shirt was nice, the shirt was really nice, but his boots were so bad, and I was a little disappointed in his outfit overall.”

The Raptors did outscore the Warriors in the third and fourth quarters, which illustrates the importance of that defensive effort in the second quarter.

“The second quarter was great,” Kerr said. “It was one of the best quarters we’ve played, and it’s probably the only quarter we played tonight the way we want to play … that was the key to the game.”

Golden State has taken 13 of its past 15 games against the Raptors. Toronto wrapped a brutal two-game stretch, having played the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers the night before on the road.

Then Goff will have an early game on the road against New Orleans

He struggled in the preseason, going 22-of-49 for 232 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and three fumbles, hardly looking comfortable with the speed of the game. He began the regular season as an inactive third-stringer and was promoted to backup for Week 2. But as the regular season began, Rams coaches began to praise Goff’s development.

About mid-October, offensive coordinator Rob Boras said Goff was “not asking rookie questions anymore,” a clear indication he was finally grasping the offense. And after Goff got all the first-team reps during the Rams’ bye week, Boras praised the way he Sam Koch Youth Jersey translated it onto the field — the quickness with which he got in and out of the huddle, the confidence he displayed as he approached the line of scrimmage, the accuracy with which he delivered passes.

The Rams’ offense has been lifeless of late, in desperate need of a spark. The Rams are dead last in the NFL in points per game, with a quarterback who has shouldered the game’s lowest Total QBR for pretty much the entire season. Lately, their defense has been dominant and their special teams play has been a major positive. But the offense has held them back. They stopped their four-game losing streak by beating the Jets on Sunday, but it came by a 9-6 score because their offense couldn’t capitalize on three separate drives into the red zone.

Now the Rams will be at home, in front of the Shareece Wright Youth Jersey same Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum crowd that began a “We Want Goff!” chant nine days earlier, and Goff will not carry the burden of a long losing streak.

This was never really about Keenum, who handled a difficult situation admirably and at times actually played well. It wasn’t about Goff’s ability, because that can be difficult to decipher from a handful of scout-team reps. This was about Fisher having the confidence to pull the trigger; about growing comfortable with the unknown of a rookie quarterback who is only one month removed from his 22nd birthday.

Five rookie quarterbacks have started at least one game in the NFL this season, but all of them — Carson Wentz with the Eagles, Dak Prescott with the Cowboys, Jacoby Brissett with the Patriots, Cody Kessler with the Browns and Paxton Lynch with the Broncos — were thrust into the role because of unforeseen circumstances. Goff comes out of a Cal system that ran an air raid offense in which he never had to communicate plays from the huddle, take a snap from under center or make so much as a third progression.

Jackson could end up being KU’s best perimeter defender

This team is different. Or rather, that team was different — the youthful outlier in Self’s otherwise balanced personnel portfolio. For most of Self’s tenure, KU’s success has been built not merely on talent acquisition but on player development, that gradual, old-fashioned process of incremental, collective improvement. Despite significant year-over-year Rees Odhiambo Authentic Jersey personnel losses — Ellis graduated after a sterling, four-year career, and a host of others, including Selden, Cheick Diallo, Jamari Traylor, Brannen Greene and Hunter Mickelson, are gone too — the 2016-17 edition is still very much that kind of team, led by seniors (Frank Mason III, Lucas) and juniors (Devonte’ Graham) at its core.

Where the massively hyped Wiggins (and Embiid) needed to dominate from the outset, Jackson has the luxury of integrating with a group of players who have already pretty much seen it all. That is, fittingly enough, a perfect forum for his game — itself a combination of star-level athletic prowess and the kinds of contributions that don’t make YouTube mixtapes.

“The thing about him is — and I think Richard Sherman Authentic Jersey this is a good thing — sometimes you go watch somebody play, and right away after 10 minutes, they’re making every shot, and you just go, ‘Wow,'” Self said of Jackson. “Josh is a guy that the more you watch him, you go, ‘Wow.’

Their frustration didn’t subside as the game went on, either – especially for Rex Ryan.

With the game on the line and the Bills trailing 31-25, Tyrod Taylor scrambled to his left, attempting to buy time to allow his receivers to come open. He unleashed a pass in the direction of Robert Woods in the middle of the end zone, but it was off-target and broken up by Earl Thomas. Game over.

On the near side of the field, Richard Sherman could be seen leveling a Bills receiver. At first glance, it looked as though the hit was blatantly obvious illegal contact. Had it been called, the Bills would have been given 5 yards and an automatic first down, thus extending the game. Only, it wasn’t a flag because Sherman is a defensive savant.

He wasn’t penalized because once the quarterback leaves the pocket, illegal contact against receivers is no longer enforced. That doesn’t mean DBs can grab and hold receivers, preventing them from breaking free, but making contact with them is perfectly legal. Sherman understood that rule – which many cornerbacks probably don’t – and used it to his advantage.

Much will be made about the officials’ missed calls at the end of the first half, and of Sherman’s seemingly illegal play at the end of the game. While the former is debatable, the latter is not. It was a perfectly legal hit, and a brilliant play by one of the best cornerbacks in the league.