Monthly Archives: February 2017

RGIII, Jay Gruden dismiss report of ‘alienated’ locker room

Washington head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Robert Griffin III dismissed a report that Griffin had “alienated” the locker room. The report, from ESPN’s Britt McHenry, came out despite evidence showing that the Washington players were more incensed by the team opening the locker room to media after practice last week.

Following Washington’s loss to Minnesota Sunday, Griffin’s first game since a Week 2 ankle injury, Gruden called McHenry’s report “totally false,” according to The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg.

It’s quite possible that Kaepernick hit the ground or crossed the goal line before losing the ball. The problem is that the referees needed conclusive evidence to overturn the call. The entire substance of this play happens in between a forest of human beings, with bodies and arms and limbs obstructing the view of the cameras.

It’s impossible to say with 100 percent certainty what happened here. If you’re a 49ers fan, you probably see a player down. If you’re a Rams fan, you probably see a fumble. But with the evidence provided, there’s no way to be completely sure of what happened in the middle of that pile. It might not be fair, but the refs couldn’t overturn their ruling on the field. And the Rams came away with a 13-10 win.

THAT said: we’re not really sure how this Michael Crabtree catch on the play before was not ruled a touchdown:

The nose touches the ground, but Crabtree has control of the ball when that happens. The refs didn’t rule this incomplete, they ruled it down at the half-yard line, which doesn’t make sense. But when Crabtree tucks the ball into his body, it’s across the plane. This really should’ve been a touchdown.

San Francisco fans can feel slighted by both of these plays. But with the former play, the refs did the best with the evidence they had. With the latter, it’s not really clear what they were looking at.2

Browns have 11 picks, will be busy again in April

Authentic Youth Kenyan Drake Jersey Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, right, laughs as he answers questions during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Berea, Ohio. Jackson has experience as a head coach, knows the AFC North and has fixed quarterbacks. Jackson, who waited four years for his second crack at leading an NFL team, has been hired as Cleveland’s next coach, the struggling franchise’s eighth since 1999 and sixth since 2008. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is on the left. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
AP
Friday¡¯s official announcement of compensatory picks for the 2017 NFL Draft allowed the Browns and other teams around the league to close the books on some previous business, specifically in finalizing trades and in knowing the exact spot in the order of certain picks they hold in this year¡¯s draft.

Jonathan Cooper Mens Jersey As previously outlined, the Browns had agreed to send a third-round compensatory pick to the Patriots, if they got one, before last year¡¯s trade deadline to acquire linebacker Jamie Collins. They did receive a compensatory third-round pick, No. 103 overall, so that goes to the Patriots.

What Peterson may not want to admit, however, is what athletes often can¡¯t admit to themselves: He¡¯s getting old. Yes, he led the league in rushing in 2015, but even that year he was beginning to slow down toward the end of the season: Over the last eight games of 2015, counting the playoffs, Peterson averaged just 3.67 yards per carry. And at the start of 2016, before he suffered the torn meniscus that would allow him to play in just one more game all year, he was even worse: Peterson totaled 31 carries for 50 yards before suffering that meniscus tear in Week Two.

So while Peterson may have no doubt that he can return to form, it¡¯s easy to understand why others doubt him. Every athlete gets old eventually, and for Peterson, that time has come.

‘ Miguel Montero, Joe Maddon make peace over pasta

It was baseball¡¯s version of a peace summit. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and catcher Miguel Montero finally cleared the air, months after Montero was critical of his skipper in an ESPN Radio interview the day the Cubs celebrated their World Series victory.

On Monday night, they got away from the clubhouse to clear the air over an Italian dinner in north Scottsdale, Arizona.

¡°We both wanted to talk to each other,¡± Montero said Tuesday. ¡°This is 2017. We turn the page. We both agreed on that. All I said was, ¡®Let me in. I want to be part of it. You can trust me.¡¯¡±

Montero has slowly seen his career transition from being a starting catcher to a backup — eventually becoming pitcher Jake Arrieta¡¯s primary receiver last season. But when Maddon turned to rookie Willson Contreras to catch Arrieta in the playoffs, Montero bristled at the lack of communication.

Both parties say that¡¯s now in the past, and they got together to do more than just hash it out and break bread.

Game Mens Tyson Barrie Jersey ¡°It was about [the] present and the future,¡± Maddon said.

Montero, 33, is accepting his role as Contreras¡¯ backup this year, probably his last as a Cub. While Montero’s contract will bring him $14 million in 2017, he wants to continue playing baseball beyond this season. He also doesn¡¯t want to be known as a clubhouse cancer. He told Maddon he¡¯s willing to do whatever the manager asks.

¡°I got a lot off my chest because I care so much for the game,¡± Montero said. ¡°I care so much for the team, whatever it takes for me to help. If Wilson needs a break and [Clayton] Kershaw is pitching for the other team, put me in. That¡¯s my job. I accept it.¡±
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Super Bowl 2016: How many people with the winning team get rings?

Super Bowl 49 is just about here, which means some lucky ring-maker is incredibly excited and about to be incredibly busy. The Lombardi Trophy is the symbol of winning the NFL’s top championship, but that goes to the owners themselves and is property of the team. Players and staff are given Super Bowl rings as collectible mementos to symbolize their victory (and, in the case of the losing team, their loss — more on that later).

Super Bowl rings are, more than anything, simply impressive to look at. They’re totally impractical to wear and clash with every outfit known to mankind, but there’s no mistaking them at any visible distance. You know what they are and you know what they mean: that person was part of a Super Bowl-winning team.
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If you want to bet, bet on showy and not subdued — and bet the over.

Elite Womens Eddie Lack Jersey If there’s one regrettable thing about these interviews, it’s that I wish people didn’t view them as a “bizarre” or “weird.” Oi is funny in these moments because he made it apparent that his English isn’t good, and he committed himself to a bit that was built around that fact, a bit that was meant to make people laugh and connect with him, because he has no other way of expressing himself that would be good for the crowd or for TV.

He obviously has a great sense of humor about his English — here he is in 2016 giving a similar, humorous interview — and if he’s interested in learning more, I wish him the best of luck on that (and in winning pool tournaments), and hopefully we’ll see him on TV more.

This under-the-radar deal has to be considered in tandem with an equally unremarkable deal made by GM Jim Rutherford a year earlier, when he acquired Ian Cole from the St. Louis Blues for Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick. The defensive corps was supposed to be the Penguins’ Achilles’ heel last spring, but it turned into a strength as they won their first Stanley Cup since 2009, allowing an impressive 2.29 goals per game through four rounds.

Based on his first bullpen session of the spring, there was optimism for the former.

Wacha’s new strength was apparent in the trust the 6-foot-6 righty had in his slightly thicker legs, Matheny said. The manager could see it, too, in the fluidity with which Wacha delivered his fastball from a shoulder injured badly enough six months earlier that it sent ripples of concern through the organization.

“He looked, to me, as right as I’ve seen him in a long time,” Matheny said earlier this week.

Wacha’s was a talent seemingly so profound that only an injury could have derailed it, but, as happens too often in this game, an injury did. Like another towering right-handed pitcher, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Brandon McCarthy, Wacha is dealing with a recurring stress fracture of the scapula. It’s unclear why Wacha and McCarthy share the unusual injury, though their length is suspected. McCarthy is 6-7.

Are the Cubs positioned to repeat, or is another contender ready to steal the crown? We examine where MLB’s elite stand heading into 2017.
“A lot of guys in here maybe had to think of how they were going to navigate it, because it was something we had never done,” Allen said. “But as you get into it, you just listen to your body. For me personally, everything went well. I’m right on schedule, like any other year.”

After pushing themselves to the limit in the postseason, the Indians could be susceptible to the same workload-related impact that has hindered other playoff clubs in recent years. Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom suffered through injury-riddled seasons after pitching the New York Mets to the 2015 World Series, and Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito all endured significant ERA spikes following the San Francisco Giants’ 2012 title run.

Way-Too-Early NFL Power Rankings: Patriots No. 1 in 2017?

The Patriots won Super Bowl LI in dramatic fashion, but we’re already looking toward next season. Which teams are poised to make big leaps? Here’s our way-too-early 2017 hierarchy. The Lions can lock in a cheaper price by signing Ansah now in lieu of going year to year. They can also buy (relatively) low after a disappointing season. Ansah missed three games with a high ankle sprain that continued to bother him during the year and finished 2016 with just two sacks, down from the 14.5 he posted during his breakout 2015 season.

Jason Spriggs Mens Jersey The Patriots are at risk of losing both LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett in free agency this offseason. Which other teams will look different next year?

Chuck Bednarik Game Jersey They’re still sweeping up the confetti at the Super Bowl, but the 2016 NFL season is over. Kaput. That means it’s time to look ahead with 10 rock-solid, ironclad predictions for 2017.

A quick check of the flight schedule at Austin Straubel International — yes Green Bay has an international airport — shows direct flights both departing to and arriving from Minneapolis.

Yet based on the way former Green Bay Packers players end up with the Minnesota Vikings and not vice versa, it almost looks like one of those you-can’t-get-there-from-here situations.

For a while, it seemed like an annual thing, the Vikings picking up someone from the Packers. Darren Sharper (2005), Ryan Longwell (2006), Robert Ferguson (2007), Greg Jennings (2013) and Desmond Bishop (2013) were among those who went directly from Green Bay to Minnesota.

Floyd was claimed by the Patriots

While I believe he would be a good fit in new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme, I could understand if Te’o wanted to take a look at his options. The Notre Dame product has missed 26 games over four NFL seasons with the Chargers due to various injuries. An unrestricted free agent, Te’o may want to explore a fresh start with another organization.

Floyd added: “I have tremendous respect for Bruce — B.A. He’s been a great coach to me my whole time there. Always a straight-forward coach, which I really loved. He came up to me and told me what the decision was from upstairs. I took it with a grain of salt and moved on.”

Game Youth Tom Johnson Jersey A day after getting cut on Dec. 14, Floyd was claimed by the Patriots.

He was sitting at home when his agent called to inform him of New England’s move. Floyd said he then put on the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” on repeat and played it throughout his house that day. He took a red-eye flight from Phoenix to the Northeast. When he landed at 5:30 a.m. the next day, Floyd said the temperature was about 20 degrees.

With free agency less than a month away, it’s a good time to take a look at who the Green Bay Packers have returning and what they might need to add this offseason at each position.

The Giants still have Paul Perkins, who they selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and took over as the team’s main back in the final few weeks of the regular season. Perkins played in 14 games, starting one of them. He had 112 carries on the year and 456 rushing yards, showing some promise for the Giants.

Game Youth Seattle Seahawks Jersey However, it seems clear the team will be targeting a running back this offseason. Adrian Peterson had mentioned the Giants as a possible suitor if things don’t work out in Minnesota for him.

Warriors vs. Thunder odds 2017: Westbrook, Oklahoma City home underdog for Saturday

The Oklahoma City Thunder are 0-5 straight up and against the spread in their last five games against the Golden State Warriors. Russell Westbrook and the Thunder will try to spoil Kevin Durant’s return to Oklahoma City this Saturday night.
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Oklahoma City is a 6.5-point home underdog at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In the last five games between these two teams, Golden State has an average margin of victory of 14.2 points per game.

The Thunder took advantage of a tired Cleveland Cavaliers team that was playing its third game in four nights on Thursday night, running over the Eastern Conference’s top seed with a 118-109 victory.

Oklahoma City will be in a similar situation on Saturday, coming into the game off of a day off while the Warriors will be playing their third game in four nights and their second game of a back-to-back.

With their win over the Cavaliers on Thursday, the Thunder improved to 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS over their last four games.

Since 2010, Oklahoma City has been a home underdog of four points or more only seven times. The Thunder are 6-1 ATS over that stretch with two outright upsets per the OddsShark NBA Database.

Fatigue may not be too big of an issue for the Warriors despite their tough schedule as they have won each of their last two games in blowouts, allowing Steve Kerr to control the minutes of his stars.
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Dont’a Hightower won’t visit White House because he’s ‘been there, done that’

Dont’a Hightower won two national championships during his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide and in five NFL seasons with the New England Patriots he already has two Super Bowl wins. So, another trip to the White House is something he’d rather just skip, he told ESPN’s SportsCenter on Wednesday.

“Been there, done that,” Dont’a Hightower said, also noting he didn’t go to White House in 2014 w/ Pats. Had previously been with Alabama.

Hightower, 26, also didn’t go to the Patriots’ victory parade through Boston on Tuesday.

The Patriots’ trip to the White House has been under the microscope, and tight end Martellus Bennett and defensive back Devin McCourty already announced they won’t make the trip due to their disapproval of President Donald Trump.

McCourty joins teammate Martellus Bennett, who confirmed shortly after the game that he’d follow through on his initial claim that he would not visit a Trump White House in the event of a Super Bowl victory.

Sure, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took some subtle shots at Goodell when accepting the trophy, but wearing a shirt with the league commissioner depicted as a clown is a whole other level.

The mayor said there is “zero tolerance” for public drinking or smoking amid the festivities planned for Tuesday.
And the Pats were all like ..

Despite the presence of three of the seven largest major metropolitan areas in the nation and remarkably easy transit between them, the Northeast Corridor between Washington D.C. and New York has gone largely underutilized by national powers (and is perhaps underrated by the recruiting services).

Ryan wants to be an annual championship contender like his Super Bowl LI counterpart

Maybe Ryan will hit 5,000 passing yards next season after falling only 56 yards shy in 2016. Maybe he’ll complete almost 70 percent of his passes again. And maybe he’ll lead the league in passer rating for a second consecutive season. But more important than any of those individual statistics, Ryan wants the Falcons to continue their winning ways. He wants to put this team in position to win the NFC South title every season, as Carolina was before 2016.

Ryan wants to be an annual championship contender like his Super Bowl LI counterpart, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
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Being considered an elite quarterback with the likes of Brady, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh¡¯s Ben Roethlisberger is the least of Ryan’s concerns. But he shouldn’t have to worry about it, if he ever did. He’s already there.
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He has an MVP trophy — and, with one more victory, a Super Bowl title — to prove it.

The unit ultimately finished the season ranked first in the NFL for fewest points allowed per game (15.6 average), although some critics still asked, “Have they truly played any top quarterbacks/offenses?”

It all ended up coming together for the Patriots, and Brady steered the direction. Once the Patriots arrived in Houston, the emotion of the season seemed to bubble over for Brady. During media night, his first night in Houston, Brady was nearly brought to tears in his meeting with reporters at the Super Bowl when a 7-year-old had asked him which person was his hero.

It was his dad, but Brady couldn’t explain why. His eyes welled up, his voice cracked. That type of raw, poignant emotion has never been seen before from Brady in that setting, and it was quickly discovered why that was the case.