The Nationals are replacing Danny Espinosa and Ben Revere with a full season of Trea Turner and Adam Eaton

The Nationals are imperfect, of course, just like most teams. Their bullpen, which has helped with their demise in previous postseasons, is weaker. Werth and Zimmerman are in the lineup to start the year, and it¡¯s not like Derek Norris or Wieters are coming off excellent offensive seasons. There could be a soft spot at the bottom of the order.

The Nationals are replacing Danny Espinosa and Ben Revere with a full season of Trea Turner and Adam Eaton. They¡¯re replacing 2016 Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg with the upgraded 2017 versions. They¡¯ll have the flexibility to make tough decisions that flummoxed them last year. And, sure, they¡¯ll have depth behind the plate, which is the almost-exciting news that got me thinking about their roster in the first place.

George Johnson Game Jersey Expectations were high for the Nationals before the 2015 season, and everything fell apart. Expectations are modest this year, perhaps as modest as I¡¯ve ever seen for a team coming off 95 wins, but they shouldn¡¯t be. It¡¯s not the Cubs alone on an island.

And then, poof. App State was App State again.

Glenn Gronkowski Game Jersey The Mountaineers have won 27 of 32. They’ve done it by being themselves, and looking at what they return this fall ¡ª quarterback Taylor Lamb, running back Jalin Moore, leading receiver Shaedon Meadors, two all-conference offensive linemen, six defensive starers (including their TFLs leader and best ball defenders) ¡ª there’s no reason to think much will change.

App State has questionable depth in certain areas (offensive line, nose tackle, linebacker), which means a targeted run of injuries could be costly. But barring an extended appearance by the injury bug, this should again be at least a top-70 team. And we¡¯ve already gotten to the point where ¡°top 70¡± feels underwhelming.

Power conference 5-seeds should be happy there isn’t a 68-team college football tournament. The Mountaineers would take them down.

NFL Combine 2016: Quarterback drills

While no actual football is played at Lucas Oil Stadium during the NFL Scouting Combine, players will be asked to perform drills specific to their respective positions. In the case of quarterbacks, that means throwing routes to unfamiliar receivers in front of a cavalcade of team scouts.

The significance of the combine position drills has taken a hit in recent years as an increasing number of top players have elected not to participate. Instead, many choose to run those drills at their pro days, school-run mini-combines that allow the player additional control over the proceedings. This is especially prevalent among elite-level quarterback prospects who prefer to throw passes to receivers they’re familiar with.

Devin McCourty Game Jersey The drills themselves are fairly straightforward. Players are asked to showcase their three-, five- and seven-step drop backs and make throws. Their pass catchers are designated to run either a slant, out, in, corner or go route before the snap. Scouts look to see how well the quarterbacks time their passes relative to their footwork and the receivers’ movements. They also monitor how a particular prospect’s throwing mechanics change based on the drop back and what route they’re throwing to.

When Quinn was in Seattle, he was the benefactor of having defensive lineman Michael Bennett on the roster. Bennett was capable of moving around, rushing from the inside, outside and even standing up as a linebacker. Quinn could see his own version of Bennett in Fowler.

At the start of his Florida career Fowler played in a 3–4 and was used as an end. By his junior season, Fowler was in Florida’s hybrid buck position shifting between playing linebacker and on the line. Fowler said that versatility is helpful.

Joe Namath Game Jersey “I can play anywhere from linebacker to being a D-end to going in the trenches and playing the three technique,” Fowler said. “I can do a lot for a team and I caused a lot of fits for the offense.”

Mozeliak remembers the strange feeling of mourning Taveras amid the hope that typically blooms around teams this time of year.

“Every decision you make has consequences. When you talk to your kids, you talk to your wife, you talk to your players, you talk to your husband, you just have to talk about consequences,” Marlins president David Samson said. “Sometimes, you don’t get a second chance. That’s the saddest part of this, is there’s no second chance. The permanence of that is what rings in my ear every day.”

Matt Duchene Game Jersey Mozeliak remembers discussing drunk driving with his club shortly after Taveras’ death. Even that wasn’t the first time the Cardinals had had to do so, even in the previous 10 years. Pitcher Josh Hancock was drunk when he died in a car crash in St. Louis in 2007.

Mozeliak remembers the strange feeling of mourning Taveras amid the hope that typically blooms around teams this time of year.

De’Vondre Campbell Authentic Jersey “The players are vibrant, there’s life everywhere you look, especially in the spring,” Mozeliak said. “The grass is green, the leaves are on the trees. Then you’re trying to understand and really square up what death means. It’s not easy.”

Corey Seager is young and strong and awesome and might go from third in the MVP voting as a rookie to first as a sophomore. This young kid Julio Urias already pitches with the poise and confidence of a veteran All-Star, and he is ready for his own breakout campaign. They have an elite closer in Kenley Jansen, the deepest roster in the majors, a good manager in Dave Roberts and a front office and ownership ready to acquire that final piece at the trade deadline.

Those stats obviously are impressive, and it’s exciting to contemplate what he will do next on an individual level. We know what’s missing from his résumé, and while everyone is discounting the Angels, don’t discount them so quickly with the best player in the game. They’ve gone all-in on defense, and if the rotation can stay healthy, the Angels are going to surprise. Then maybe Trout will have his moment in the World Series, when his back is turned away from home plate, running full speed into an endless field of green to make a catch that lives on forever in YouTube lore.

New coach Tim Jankovich was always pegged as Brown’s successor

You could make the accusation that I’m inclined to love this picture because it’s of me. But trust me, this drawing is bigger than me — it’s bigger than all of us. Especially when you consider that Rubenstein’s day job is to make videos for this very website. He’s been able to become the greatest living artist in the entire world in his spare time.

I was on a train from New York City to Washington, D.C., on Valentine’s Day when this image came through in the form of a Slack message from Ryan Nanni, another one of my colleagues here at SB Nation. I’d seen a few of Rubenstein’s drawings before and admired his work (though I didn’t yet realize the extent of his brilliance). Earlier in the day I’d told Nanni that if he could get Rubenstein to draw a picture of me — so that I could hang on by my desk in place of a name plate — I’d never ask him for anything else as long as I lived.

New coach Tim Jankovich was always pegged as Brown’s successor. He gave up a head coaching job at Illinois State in 2012 to serve as Brown’s lead assistant, and showed his chops by going 7-0 during Brown’s suspension last year. This team is the realization of a shared vision with Brown, a roster full of versatile players who play a brand of position-less basketball on offense without sacrificing anything at the other end.

Every starter for SMU stands between 6’6 and 6’8. Four starters shoot at least 42 percent from three-point range. It’s an elite rebounding team on both ends, currently placing at No. 4 in offensive rebound rate and No. 18 in defense rebound rate. While the Mustangs are No. 19 in the AP Poll this week, the computers like them even more, with KenPom’s rankings putting them at No. 12.

How much money are the Texans willing to spend on a veteran?

Drafting the next starter is possible, but it’s a crapshoot that’s hard to trust and the Texans don’t have the best picks to work with.

Adding talent through the draft isn’t a bad idea, but relying on a rookie to be a significant upgrade from Osweiler is a difficult ask. The best and most realistic option to hope for immediately better quarterback play is to add a veteran passer in the offseason.

How much money are the Texans willing to spend on a veteran?

No matter what Houston decides to do in the offseason, Osweiler will count at least $19 million against the team’s salary cap in 2017. It could be $25 million if Osweiler isn’t on the team and that means sinking any more money into the position will be tough.

While the New York Giants led all teams in salary cap dedicated to the quarterback position in 2016 with $25,588,400, the Texans are primed to soar well over that mark if a veteran is added.

He just couldn’t get anything going and Barcelona couldn’t either. His era is unfortunately coming to a close, as they all do, and it seems fitting that this Barcelona cycle is ending with him as well. They will regroup and rebuild for a new round of dominance, and they will do so without Iniesta. They will have to find someone else to run the show. But the truth is that only Iniesta can do what Iniesta does. Barcelona will have to build a different identity after him.

Bennett didn’t win pretty with the Cougars, and he hasn’t with Virginia, either. But he has won — quite a bit, actually. He’s 252-111 in just his 11th year as a head coach. Since the start of 2013-14, he’s 107-25.

The Cowboys have run into that exact problem with Romo

Dallas is about $10.5 million over the 2017 salary cap before signing any of its unrestricted free agents, but the Cowboys will create cap space by making a few expected restructurings. By cutting the base salaries of Crawford, Frederick and Smith to $1 million and converting the rest into signing bonuses, the Cowboys can free up $23.3 million in 2017 cap space. Restructuring deals like this can come back to bite a team if the players lose their effectiveness or if the team suddenly wants to get rid of a player for off-field or injury concerns, but that’s a risk Dallas is clearly comfortable running.

Make a decision on Tony Romo. The Cowboys have run into that exact problem with Romo. Let’s be clear about what their options are here. They’re not going to carry Romo on their roster with a $24.7 million cap hit for 2017 under the possibility that Dak Prescott might get injured. That’s not an insurance policy; it’s buying a Porsche and keeping it in the garage in case you crash your Camry.

(No shade toward Prescott or Camry owners.) It’s not economically feasible, given the Cowboys’ cap situation, and it would just push the eventual cap hit of moving on from Romo into the future. It’s also a false construct to suggest the Cowboys will be bare behind Prescott if Romo leaves; Dallas can sign a credible backup in free agency.

In 2015, Kendricks inked a four-year, $29 million contract extension with the Eagles. However, the 26-year-old did not live up to expectations in 2015 or 2016. He racked up 82 tackles in 2015 and only 28 in 2016. He only rushed the passer nine times in 2016.

Elite Mens San Diego Padres Jersey In December, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Kendricks does “rush well” when asked why the 26-year-old doesn’t receive many opportunities to blitz.

Elite Mens Pekka Rinne Jersey “He is a good blitzer. A lot of it has to do with times he’s in there. When he was in there when they were in their two tight end packages, a lot of that is max protection. Blitz another guy in max protection, you’re going to isolate your corners a little bit more.”

Capitals invite UAE women’s hockey player to practice with them

A few months ago, Washington Capitals legend Peter Bondra made a trip to the United Arab Emirates for a short stint as a coach for the Pavlikovsky Hockey School in Abu Dhabi.

That¡¯s when he met UAE women¡¯s national hockey team member Fatima Al Ali, who made him reconsider his own hockey skills.

The NHL invited Al Ali to Washington, D.C., this week as part of their ongoing ¡°Hockey is for Everyone¡± month. On Tuesday, Al Ali got to meet Alex Ovechkin for the first time and had the same reaction you or I would have.

So this was Fatima Al Ali¡¯s week: traveled halfway around the world, impressed Alex Ovechkin and the best team in the NHL with her hockey skills, and got a signed hockey stick from Ovi himself.

Upon graduation from high school in 1947, the Detroit Tigers offered him a minor league contract, but he decided instead to join the U.S. Marine Corps. Ilitch served from 1948-1952 at Parris Island, Quantico and Pearl Harbor. Ilitch took great pride in serving his country and credits the values and discipline he learned while serving keys to his success as a businessman and entrepreneur.
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Dwight Lowery Game Jersey After discharge from the Marines, the Tigers again offered Ilitch a minor league contract; he played shortstop in the minor league system for four seasons (1952-1955) making it to AAA and hitting over .300, until a knee injury ended his baseball career. He later worked as a door-to-door salesman until he and his wife Marian saved enough money to open the first Little Caesars in Garden City, Michigan on May 8, 1959.

Those arrows will bounce off the armor of a man convinced he did what was right

With more time to reflect on the Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation, former coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday that he believes both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch can be NFL starters — but there’s room for only one to do so in Denver.
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Kubiak, who stepped down as Broncos coach on Jan. 2, was making the rounds at Super Bowl week in his hometown when he addressed the team’s upcoming decision. Kubiak picked Siemian this past season, after Lynch had been selected in the first round of last April’s draft.

“That’s a good problem to have,” Kubiak said when asked if he believed it would be difficult for the Broncos to manage the quarterback competition while trying to repair the offense. “The strength of the young part of the football team is those two kids. I think they’re both going to be starters in this league, but it’s like I told them: Only one can be the guy there, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they do and compete. I’m going to be watching like everybody else.”

But there is no shaking Roger Goodell on this issue. As frustrating as it might be, the Patriots won’t be sticking it to him or to the league or to anyone else if they win Super Bowl LI. Those arrows will bounce off the armor of a man convinced he did what was right.

Youth Brian Campbell Jersey “We do our job when there is a violation,” he said. “We apply the process and the discipline and we came to the conclusion that was supported by the facts and by the courts. So from our standpoint, we understand when fans who are loyal and passionate for a team object and don’t like the outcome. I totally understand that. That’s not an issue for me.”

Gabe Newell is the closest thing the video game industry has to a Steve Jobs

THE WASHINGTON STATE Gambling Commission is housed in a boxy office park in Lacey, about an hour from Seattle, and run by David Trujillo, a no-nonsense agent who’s spent a career policing tribal casinos.

His staff of roughly 100 employees investigates crimes from money laundering to dogfighting, and though his budget has been cut 20 percent in the past three years, he says, “We’re doing our best to keep up.”

Early in 2016, Trujillo’s staff came to him with concerns related to another of his jobs: enforcing the state’s ban on internet gambling. Trujillo, 53, doesn’t play video games and didn’t know anything about Counter-Strike. But he was dumbstruck when his staff told him about all the money flowing into the casino sites in the form of Valve’s skins.

One of the arguments often used to justify skins gambling is that virtual items aren’t a real currency and thus aren’t subject to traditional gaming laws. That’s why the major skin gambling sites and skin cash-out sites have typically remained separate — so the gambling sites can maintain that all that’s being wagered are virtual items. But Trujillo didn’t buy a word of it. If skins were easily being exchanged for dollars, and people were winning and losing real money, he believed it was gambling.

Once it became clear to Elijah that he needed more money, he began sneaking into his parents’ wallets while they were asleep and taking photos of their other credit cards. He figured that if he spread his charges across several cards, no one would notice. “I just kind of thought, ‘YOLO,'” he recalls.

At the same time, a friend also showed him how to buy sketchy discounted $100 gift cards online and exchange them at Wal-Mart for Steam gift cards and coupons. He did that on six occasions. On his seventh try, a cashier got wise and said she was going to talk to her manager. “I ran away,” he says. “Nothing ever happened.”

Ray McDonald charged with domestic violence, child endangerment, false imprisonment for May arrest

The on-going saga of former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald continues. The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office has filed multiple charges against McDonald in connection with his arrest on May 25. The DA has charged McDonald with misdemeanor domestic violence, felony false imprisonment, child endangerment, and violating a court order to stay away from the victim. According to Eric Branch, if convicted, McDonald faces up to three years in prison.

McDonald was arrested after being accused of physically assaulting the victim while she held a baby. McDonald allegedly broke through a door on the night question. False imprisonment is described as the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. This charge can arise in a situation where a person grabs hold of another person during a domestic violence situation, and refuses to let go. Choosing to let go a short time later does not negate the previous false imprisonment.
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Naturally, many have moved on from that, but it shows how little some in the NFL care about players actually behaving themselves. The more talented a player is, the more chances they get after screw-ups. McDonald was arrested for domestic violence last summer, and is also dealing with a sexual assault civil suit that could eventually be followed by criminal charges. Even if he does not do any jail time for any of this, the odds of him getting back in the NFL are somewhere between slim and none.

Elite Chris Baker Jersey This certainly hurts the chances of a relocated team happening, especially in 2016, but it’s not a death sentence by any means. There’s no word on whether the other venues are going to respond, and it’s possible that one or more of them have at this stage. The league has asked the venues to submit proposals by Aug. 5, in advance of another owners meeting in Chicago to discuss options regarding the Los Angeles market.