Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Chargers have been searching for help at running back for years

To say New England has a messy cornerback situation is an understatement. Gone are Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington and their combined more than 2,000 snaps from last season. If New England wants to make a Super Bowl run, it may need to hope the gamble on somewhat unproven talent pays off.

Will third-year man Logan Ryan be able to be the team’s top cornerback? Will Malcolm Butler emerge or simply be one of those players who had a career-defining Super Bowl and nothing more? Can Bradley Fletcher turn things around after struggling in Philadelphia? Why did the Patriots wait until the seventh round before drafting their first cornerback, Marshall’s Darryl Roberts? That may be too many questions to answer during training camp for a team looking to make another title run.

Player you’ll be buzzing about: LB Denzel Perryman — It would be easy to go with running back Melvin Gordon, the team’s first-round pick, but second-rounder Perryman is explosive and will be trying to show the team he deserves a starting role early.

What to watch: The Chargers have been searching for help at running back for years, and they took advantage of the strongest running back draft class we’ve seen in a long time and picked Gordon. Quarterback Philip Rivers is still the guy who will drive the offense, but Gordon is loaded with potential and the Chargers should have a balanced attack next season. However, there’s the question of whether anybody will step up at tight end after Antonio Gates was suspended for four games.

Most important position battle: Defensive line — The Chargers have Corey Liuget, but outside of him they need to get the defensive line depth sorted out. Sean Lissemore and former Bronco Mitch Unrein are a couple of other names to watch.

For more on the Chargers, check out Bolts From The Blue.

Cops disciplined after wrongfully accusing Raiders safety Nate Allen of masturbating in his car

Multiple Fort Myers police officers were punished for their involvement in the arrest and detainment of Oakland Raiders defensive back Nate Allen back in February, according to Michael Braun of Allen was held for hours on Feb. 16 after being wrongly accused of masturbating in his vehicle.

Allen was cleared of any wrongdoing on March 12 after an investigation into his arrest and detainment launched in late February. Allen has notified the city of Fort Myers and its police department that he intends to sue over the incident.

A settlement would certainly be a weird ending to all of this, especially after weeks of reports teasing that an appeal decision was imminent. Roger Goodell likely doesn’t want to cheapen the NFL’s stance on disciplinary matters like DeflateGate, and Brady has to like his chances if proceedings go to federal court. The league likely wouldn’t be satisfied in a reduced suspension and Brady’s team doesn’t want a suspension of any length.

Authentic Mens Kris Draper Jersey At the moment, the league and Goodell don’t appear to be in a favorable position. If Brady’s suspension isn’t overturned, a lot of things can happen, and most of them seem to favor Brady. The NFLPA has certainly not backed down from the league.

Authentic Mens Mason Raymond Jersey “I hope they do the right thing, I hope they exonerate Tom and overturn his suspension,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said, via Pro Football Talk. “But if they don’t we’re prepared to take the next step, whatever that next step might be.”

I would include Cleveland’s Joel Bitonio and Dallas’ Zack Martin in this group as well, but they seem to have gotten quite a bit of hype already. Chicago’s Kyle Long had a strong sophomore season as well.

Mitchell isn’t concerned with the issue affecting the team, adding, “It’s the AFC championship

Game Womens Todd Bertuzzi Jersey Mitchell isn’t concerned with the issue affecting the team, adding, “It’s the AFC championship. We’re not getting distracted by anything like that.”

The incident probably won’t affect the game. The Patriots and Steelers don’t need the proverbial bulletin board material to elevate their play. The storyline will dissipate by the weekend. Patriots players must know Tomlin’s words were benign.

But clearly Brown owes Tomlin a solid. Ten catches and a touchdown would suffice. And Brown has had success against New England with 94.3 receiving yards per game over a four-game stretch.

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter pointed out, the league could fine Brown for violating a social media policy that prohibits messages from 90 minutes before a game through postgame interviews. Any fine would be considered minor.

Sunday night, the branding backfired.

Still, teammates don’t view Brown as a problem.

“He’s Antonio Brown. He’s the celebrity on the team,” safety Robert Golden said. “He’s the ‘Dancing With The Stars’ guy. He’s an entertainer. He entertains us and we enjoy it.”

The incident gave Patriots players the chance to respond, with wide receiver Julian Edelman telling WEEI about Tomlin’s comments: “That’s how that team is run.”

Game Womens Terron Armstead Jersey The condescension might just rally the Steelers, similar to Terry Bradshaw’s “cheerleader guy” comments regarding Tomlin that fired up the locker room.

As if the locker room needs more heat.

Doc Rivers has been active in sharing the message and values of Dr. King with his family and players

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Austin Rivers will refrain from posting a tribute to Martin Luther King on social media on the occasion of his birthday. “I feel like it comes off as unauthentic,” he says.

Doc Rivers has been active in sharing the message and values of Dr. King with his family and players.

Instead, he will take a moment to thank Dr. King for the opportunities he has provided people like the Rivers family.

“Without Martin Luther King, especially someone like me, whose mom is white and dad is black, where would I be?” Austin says.

Although race wasn’t a big deal to Nowitzki and Olsson, it became a topic when their relationship became public.

Nowitzki and Olsson made their first big public appearance on July 13, 2011, when they were on the red carpet at The ESPYS awards together. They received a lot of comments on Twitter when he kissed her after winning an award during the televised show. The Twitter chatter was not necessarily negative, but it was race-related.
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Jessica Nowitzki is the daughter of a Kenyan mother and Swedish father. Her mother is from Nanyuki, Kenya, a market town located northwest of Mount Kenya that was founded by British settlers and is the home of the Kenya Air Force. Jessica was raised in Sweden with her younger twin brothers, Marcus and Martin, who are both who are both professional soccer players in England who also have played for the Swedish National Team.

Sometimes, when Austin drives to the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista, he finds himself cruising down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It snakes for several miles, dotted with beauty supply stores, bail bondsman shops and tired houses in need of a fresh coat of paint. It is one of more than 700 streets in America named after Dr. King.

Jarryd Hayne puts rugby league skills to use, busts 53-yard run vs. Texans

Jarryd Hayne is trying to make an impact for the San Francisco 49ers after the Australian rugby league star quit his sport to attempt an NFL career — and so far that bid is going quite well. Hayne had a few runs for modest gains before busting this one loose, a 53-yard gash that left several defenders in the dirt.

The big question surrounding his transition to the NFL was how his skills would translate. So far he’s shown he can hit the gap, and he’s got a pretty good stiff arm too. That’s a nice start.

Daniel Herron and Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
If things break right for the Colts this year it could be a tremendous offense, with two quality tight ends, about a hundred decent receivers, maybe the game’s best quarterback and Frank Gore heading up the running game. But Gore looked clearly past his prime in San Francisco last year, and another year of tread on the tires probably won’t help that. Herron and Ballard both had productive times in their past — Herron finished strong last year, while Ballard had a strong 2012 before injuries ruined his 2013 and 2014. If Gore is done or close to it, both guys might flash in 2015.

Reggie Bush, San Francisco 49ers
Sure, he’s going low in drafts as is. You aren’t structuring your roster around him. But I’d argue that the only reason anyone should be drafting Bush is if they already drafted Carlos Hyde, and even then I’m not really sold. He’s a proven brittle player who is clearly on the wrong side of the aging curve. Last year, he could barely get on the field, and couldn’t do much when he did. Now he’s joining a San Francisco team that, if we’re being kind, might only be a tire fire. If you draft Hyde, you need a handcuff. Otherwise, there’s way more downside to Bush than upside.

NFL locker rooms can be a combustible mix

In the Giants’ 2012 training camp, Jason Pierre-Paul dumped teammate Prince Amukamara into a tub of ice water as teammates hooted and as then Giants punter Steve Weatherford videotaped and posted it. In November 2013, then Dolphins player Richie Incognito bullied teammate Jonathan Martin in unsavory ways. And this summer, then Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali punched and broke the jaw of quarterback Geno Smith in the Jets locker room.

These three incidents helped put a spotlight on NFL locker rooms, the culture, the environment, what makes a good one, what makes a bad one and what exactly is permissible.

History says the locker room is the players’ sphere. Their place of refuge. Theirs to mold.

“Everybody has a different perspective,” former NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington said. Arrington played most of his seven-year NFL career in Washington.

“When you have the right kind of locker room, it’s a different feeling. It’s sort of easy to describe a bad one. It’s kind of hard to describe a good one.”
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NFL locker rooms can be a combustible mix, a blend of races and religions and personalities that either divide or coalesce. Few in the NFL deny that what happens in these locker rooms, like in practices, often transfers to games.
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This view, and recent locker room blowups, are causing NFL teams to twirl, to dance with new locker room visions. Is it only the players’ domain to run and shape? How much should management and coaches try to influence their locker rooms? Should they attempt to micromanage and control it?

An NFL team that is not asking these kinds of questions and creating clear answers is a team that will crumble and sink this season.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up numbers reminiscent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In his fourth year in the NBA, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up numbers reminiscent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain. Here’s a look at Antetokounmpo’s accomplishments ahead of the Bucks’ game Friday night against the New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).

Elias Sports Bureau research Elite Mens Mike Alstott Jersey shows that Antetokounmpo is on track to become the seventh player to improve his per-game averages in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in each of his first four seasons (note that blocks and steals were first tracked in 1973-74). He would be the first player to do so since Rod Strickland from 1988-89 to 1991-92.

On draft day in 2013, Antetokounmpo Jake Ryan Womens Jersey weighed 196 pounds. Since then, he has put on nearly 30 pounds of muscle and is listed at 222 pounds this season.

He leads the NBA with 13.6 points per game in the paint. His 85 dunks this season rank fourth in the NBA behind three true centers.

All of that said, while loaded with young talent, the Wizards are struggling at times to play to their potential.

The first issue the Wizards face is ball movement. Wall is clearly one of the most talented point guards in the league — his 46 percent assist rate ranks behind only Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Chris Paul — but the offense can still devolve into isolation after isolation, in turn stopping the ball from moving to the best shot opportunity.

Assist rate paints a clear picture for the Wizards. When their number drops below 56 percent for a game (which is about league average), they win only a quarter of their games as opposed to their 67 percent winning percentage when they are above a 56 percent assist rate.

the Habs have some large contracts coming off the books at the end of next season

A¡¯s fans don¡¯t like their team¡¯s owners. That¡¯s far from a unique stance for sports fans, but here it¡¯s particularly justified. We spent a decade with an ownership group whose cheapness was so legendary that it helped foster the development of an entirely new quantitative-based strategic model. Then they sold to a new group, and we spent the next decade with about the same level of cheapness but also active efforts to move the team out of Oakland. And all the while, we watched as the neighboring Warriors went from generational laughingstock to historic greatness within five years of shifting from their clown show owner to a more skilled and focused top dog.
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Butler also hit 21-of-22 free throws, which is the highest total in the NBA this season. He oddly got his 50th point of the night on a free throw that was from a technical foul on Charlotte coach Steve Clifford. Butler wasn¡¯t only scoring he points, he also finished with 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and a block to go along with this second-highest scoring night of his career. He previously scored 53 against the Sixers in January 2016.

Meanwhile, NBA players are also scoring a heck of a lot of points this year.

Youth Chris Jones Jersey Bulls’ Jimmy Butler becomes 8th player this season to hit 50 points, tying NBA’s record for most different players to hit 50 in one season.

The Bucks beat the Thunder at home and Giannis Antetokounmpo was incredible, per usual. He finished the night with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and one great road win for this young Milwaukee team.

Colts’ record divisional winning streak ends after loss to Jaguars

The Indianapolis Colts had an NFL record 16-game winning streak against their divisional rivals snapped on Sunday. The Colts fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 51-16, the worst ever loss to an AFC South opponent for Indianapolis.

Indianapolis set the record for consecutive divisional wins back in Week 5, when they defeated the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. They won that game, 27-20, and picked up win No. 16. The previous two wins were in the previous two games as the Colts played their AFC South rivals in three consecutive games.

They beat Tennessee, 35-33, but the closest was the game against Jacksonville, which went to overtime and ended 16-13 in favor of the Colts.

The Colts’ winning streak extended all the way back to December of 2012, when they beat the Texans, 28-16. Since then, they have been dominant in the division as a whole, though this year has been a little different. Indianapolis fell to 6-7 on the year with the loss to Jacksonville, and the division is still up in the air.
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Kids Chuck Foreman Jersey Another obscure but highly impressive record: With Tyler Lockett’s two touchdown receptions for the Seahawks — pushing his total to five on the season — he became one of only two rookies in the league’s history with at least five receiving touchdowns plus a kick return touchdown and a punt return touchdown, joining legendary Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, who did that in 1965. Good company.

Khalil Mack tied a Raiders single-game sacks record held by Howie Long with five sacks against the Broncos on Sunday, igniting an Oakland defense in the upset. Mack is the first player this season to get five sacks in a single game, besting Cameron Wake, who recorded four sacks in Week 6 against the Titans.

Robert Turbin finally scored a rushing touchdown! When he rushed 22 yards for paydirt in Dallas’ 28-7 loss to the Packers, the former Seahawk and Brown running back broke the longest streak of carries to start a career (268) without a rushing touchdown in NFL history.