NFL’s best teams draft defensive players early

The last time the New England Patriots or Atlanta Falcons drafted an offensive skill-position player in the first round of the NFL draft, it was to grab Laurence Maroney in 2006 and Julio Jones in 2011, respectively.

Since then, the two teams that appeared in Super Bowl 51 have focused predominantly on scooping up defensive talent early in the draft.

Those problems might return now his ex-foe is an opponent once again.

Remember what happened the last time The King and Stephenson went head-to-head in a playoff series? Here’s a clue: LeBron was on the Miami Heat then, and Stephenson was on the Pacers?

Need another hint? OK. One player had more than their fair share of oxygen in their personal space.

Now you’ve got it. But Stephenson’s air-blowing antic wasn’t the only piece of history these two have between each other.

You can argue it was James who got Stephenson tossed out after having some words for Dwyane Wade during that same 2014 playoff series.

That’s probably because Lance couldn’t help but call The King a choker in their 2012 playoff series.

That was the same series three Heat players barged into the Pacers locker room looking for Stephenson and Juwan Howard almost fought him.

There’s some history here between James and Stephenson, and the Cavaliers’ forfeiture of the No. 1 seed has borne the sequel in a once buried beef. Now, we get to see if Lance has some extra tricks up his sleeve.

Devin McCourty, Chris Long elaborate on decision to skip White House visit

Following the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl win, Devin McCourty and Chris Long announced they would skip the traditional White House visit due to the election of President Donald Trump.

In a video titled StandingPats (Be Patriots) released on Friday, McCourty and Long elaborated on their decision alongside New England fans after discussing their comeback victory against the Falcons.

I really do believe that probably at the end of those two years, it will be it, Robison told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Itll be about my time to call it, but well see how I feel when I get there. … But I would say that more than likely, that will probably be the time that Im going to have to lay things to the side and get ready for life after football.

Robison agreed last month to rework his contract and take a pay cut in order to stay in Minnesota. He will earn a base salary of $7.5 million for the next two years with $5.15 million guaranteed, which is an overall $1.4 million pay cut.
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Robison, who turns 34 this month, has spent his entire 10-year career with Minnesota and is now the longest-tenured member of the Vikings. He logged 7.5 sacks in 2016 to bring his career total to 56 sacks.
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Im voting for Westbrook because I believe that he offered the most value to his team from start to finish through all the minutes of all 82 games. He started strong, remained consistent through the dog days, and finished in hyperdrive. I came to this decision late and I cant even say for certain that Westbrook was the best player in the league when we have all this data that makes compelling cases for all of the other contenders.

Portland could possibly see Jusuf Nurkic return

“We shot a video that just highlights everything that I’ve been talking about decision-making, how things happened in my life, how things unfolded,” Rice said. The guys get to hear it from me, how it unraveled.”

Womens Chandler Jones Jersey This is the first time Rice has formally worked with the NFL since the elevator video became public in September 2014. The segment he worked on with the NFL will be a short component of what is generally an hourlong program for all its employees.

“I’ve been building relationships with [the NFL front office], and it’s a mutual thing,” Rice told ESPN. “The NFL has a great platform, they reach a lot of people. It’s part of our responsibility to reach out for not the on field opportunity but off field too.”

Before we get to the most important takeaway for the Blue Jays, and why they should be worried, I let you sift through the sortable table. Here are all the teams that started the season 2-10 or worse:

Before getting to individual hitters whose barreled fly ball hang time improvements suggest their potential for power breakouts in 2017, we need to look at the overall trend. What’s interesting to note is that the average hang time of barreled fly balls has not perfectly mirrored the overall home run trend in recent seasons.

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Why would the NHL and IOC even think of moving to the Summer Games then?

The insurance costs and travel are a big problem, no doubt. Fixing that is something I can’t do with words, but I can foresee an instance the NHL and IOC would agree to some sort of deal. The NHL wants to play in Beijing in 2022 and if the IOC loses money on amateurs in 2018, both sides are likely warmer with coming to terms.

It’s not perfect and it’s not really a solution to this plan but hey, I’m a writer with a laptop not a miracle worker.

Jordan Reed Womens Jersey I caught up with Rucker — who was spotted crying when the Gamecocks made it to Final Four after beating Florida at Madison Square Garden last weekend — about how many times he messed up during that concert, how psyched he is that both the men and women of South Carolina are in the semifinals of March Madness, and why South Carolina is better than North Carolina.

Jonathan Huberdeau Womens Jersey (Let the record show that I did not ask questions solely using Hootie and the Blowfish lyrics — “Did your tears fall down like rain?” — but I also didn’t not think about it. This interview has been edited and condensed.)

So this is pretty exciting, your team is just killing it this season.

Fans of the NBA who only pay attention to the tournament to catch a glimpse of the future of their league will likely be disappointed in the “lack of star power” at the Final Four. The fact of the matter is that if we’re talking about actual production at not next-level projections, almost all of the tournament’s biggest stars are going to be in Phoenix.

Monk runs off screens like J.J. Redick but can score off the dribble like C.J. McCollum

The Knicks are pushing the Triangle offense full time. That means they need a shooting guard who can score both on and off the ball. Malik Monk fills that need.

Monk runs off screens like J.J. Redick but can score off the dribble like C.J. McCollum. He’s come up big for Kentucky multiple times in the season. The Knicks need a guard like him as an electrifying perimeter scorer.

It wasn’t just Schaub’s unprecedented string of pick sixes, although those were crippling enough. That absolutely anemic 6.6 yards per attempt number speaks to a guy who was unwilling and unable to vertically challenge defenses. This was a problem that savvy Texans observers probably picked up on during the second half of the 2017 season, as his performance began to differ drastically from earlier seasons. Below are Schaub’s vertical passing numbers (passes throw 20 yards or more down the field), with 2008 through the first half of 2017 contrasting with the last half of 2017 and his 2017 season:

Adding Monk all but ensures the end of Derrick Rose’s tenure in New York, one many consider a foregone conclusion. Adding the Wildcats scorer at the rookie max also leaves New York with enough cap space to add a veteran free agent but not another maximum contract.

Whereas the Buckeyes tended to change formations and personnel groupings to suit the play in 2016, Wilson’s offenses usually line up in standard sets and then run or pass based on how the defense responds to the formation.

The Buckeyes would pack things in and run option tactics for multiple plays in a row, then spread out into an empty set to throw. They’ve defined balance as the ability to do either with excellence.

Wilson’s offenses usually stay in 11 personnel sets (three WRs and a tight end) in either a single-back set with a TE or a two-back set with an H-back. They will use multiple formations, but the offense is designed around balance in every formation.


A playmaker is headed to the Mile High City in our writers’ mock draft.

A quick glance at the roster of the Denver Broncos, you can quickly decipher the team’s biggest needs. The team still doesn’t have a franchise left tackle, don’t have legit lead running back, and could use an upgrade at tight end.

Romo will be designated as a post-June 1 cut, which means the Cowboys will be able to spread his $19.6 million in dead money over two seasons.

The Cowboys released a statement Tuesday afternoon about Romo’s release and wished him well in this next phase of his career.
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“Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field,” owner Jerry Jones said in the statement. He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history.
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“We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves.”

Head coach Jason Garrett commended Romo for his “relentless spirit,” and said Romo has had a significant impact on Garrett’s life.

“It has been one of the great privileges of my life to work with Tony Romo, one of the greatest players in Dallas Cowboys history,” Garrett said.

The post-June 1 designation means Dallas gets an extra $14 million in cap space this year, but not until after June 1. Romo’s cap hit will be assessed over two seasons. The Cowboys will absorb $10.7 million in dead money against the cap this year and $8.9 million in 2018.

The Cowboys could have placed Romo on the reserve/retired list, and by choosing to release him instead, they no longer hold the rights to him. If Romo decided to come out of retirement, he would be free to sign with any team.

About a man’s game

There is something jarring and strange about being near a NFL-sized person as a full-sized adult. We don’t generally see people of Vince Wilfork’s considerable personal width in our day-to-day lives, and the unique star power of Robert Griffin III, whatever it’s worth on the football field, is not something found at most workplaces. For all the For They Are Modern Gladiators mythos and branded awe that surrounds every NFL thing, there is also the difficult physical fact of these people — men, to be sure, but also bigger and stronger and faster than other men, and so seemingly just different. But of course they’re just men, because what else could they be?

On the final play, with New England 17 yards away, Tom Brady fired a pass into the end zone only to be intercepted. However a flag came down, and replays showed Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly clearly tackling the intended receiver, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski with the ball in flight. However, the flag was picked up.

Game Kids Vincent Jackson Jersey After the game, referee Clete Blakeman explains why the flag was put back in the pocket, courtesy of

Game Kids Spencer Paysinger Jersey “There were two officials that came in. One was the umpire and the other one was our side judge and there was a discussion at that point as to the, in essence, the catchability of the ball due to it’s location. So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and, in essence, it was immediately at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”

The Vikings weren’t ready to quit, however.

Washington had a chance to tie the game at the 4-yard line with less than 40 seconds to go in regulation, but the Vikings’ defense forced three straight incompletions to hold on for victory.

Griffin was outstanding in the first half, throwing three touchdown passes on 16-for-21 passing for 179 yards. Alfred Morris had 88 yards rushing and the Redskins appeared to be on their way to an easy victory with a 24-14 halftime lead over a 1-7 Vikings squad.

The Vikings weren’t ready to quit, however.

Christian Ponder shook off an interception on his second pass of the game to turn in a strong performance. He hit tight end John Carlson, who was starting in place of the injured Kyle Rudolph, for a 28-yard touchdown pass to bring the Vikings within six points. He then led the Vikings to the one-yard line on the next offensive possession.

Ponder took a hard hit on his left shoulder that forced him out of the game, but Matt Cassel took over and aptly handed the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who ran in for a one-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 28-27 lead.

Neal Coolong from Behind The Steel Curtain believes it’s time for a new direction on defense after the team’s latest shellacking:

LeBeau can, and should, live on the cloud of other Steelers legends, regardless of what happens this season. He could take the high road, and leave this season amid the respect he deserves. But the continued stubborn insistence that this defense A) Has players good enough to run it and B) Works in a successful manner has now reached the point of ridiculousness.

It’s fitting a unit so completely overmatched by the new elite NFL style allowed the most points in its franchise’s history. Unfortunate, but fair. It may simply be time to move on.13

Bengals vs. Ravens 2017 final score: Andy Dalton struggles in overtime loss, 20-17

The Cincinnati Bengals traveled to Baltimore needing to secure a win over the Ravens and extend their lead in the AFC North. Instead they leave Sunday afternoon with an overtime loss, 20-17.

Watch Online: Thursday Night Football can be streamed with a valid cable subscription via NFL Network Live.Verizon subscribers can watch games live with the NFL Mobile app (subscription required). NFL Game Pass offers live online broadcasts to users outside the USA.

More on the matchup: The Tennessee Titans face Andrew Luck for the third time in the quarterback’s career. He struggled the last time the teams met, completing 47 percent of his passes and posting a 50.6 passer rating. The Colts defense stepped up as a third-quarter interception scored the game-winning touchdown. Thursday’s game will hinge on whether Chris Johnson can step up for Tennessee. Jake Locker had been placed on IR, making the running game of special importance to the Titans. Johnson has been inconsistent in 2017, but then again so have the Colts. Indianapolis has beaten the league’s best, and struggled against teams like Oakland and St. Louis, making this a fascinating matchup.
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Golden Tate made a touchdown catch so impressive you briefly didn’t dislike him just before halftime and gave the Seahawks a twenty point lead. Did you make plans before the season to attend a Falcons playoff game? Because you can probably cancel those now.
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Here’s the shortest way to explain the thorough beating Seattle delivered. The Falcons averaged 4.2 yards per play and gained 226 yards overall. The Seahawks averaged 8.7 yards per play and gained 261 yards overall … on first down.

Yadier Molina demands apology for Adam Jones’ comments about WBC party plans

Team captain Yadier Molina wants United States outfielder Adam Jones to apologize to Puerto Rico’s players for saying they were planning a postgame party in San Juan before the World Baseball Classic championship game was even played.

Juan Samuel Kids Jersey Molina made his comments to ESPN’s Marly Rivera during Thursday’s parade in San Juan, less than a day after Jones told MLB Network that Puerto Rico’s postgame plans sounded a little premature and inspired the United States’ dominating 8-0 victory.

It’s been a frustrating season in that regard for sure, Stamkos said. Obviously, with the expectation of ourselves, never mind what the media had to say about us before the year. A lot of them picked us to go deep, but we felt like we were capable.

Authentic Barry Church Jersey You can’t control injuries, and that slowed us down for sure, and we didn’t play to our capabilities. Then the trade deadline happens, and we see what happens there, and we go on this run probably not a lot of people thought we could do just to get even and back in the picture. Now we lose a few, and everyone’s writing us off again. We’ll continue to battle to the end, but it’s been tough to watch, especially when we know what the potential of this team is.

The Lightning have 10 games remaining and are five points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

I just wanted to show my quickness, that I’m smooth, I can do everything, Lattimore said. Because I didn’t do anything at the combine. … [The hip flexor] wasn’t really bad, but they told me just not to try to hurt myself by going back out there.

So I just had to show them that what I can do. I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because I knew I wasn’t injured like that. I was just ready to show them what I can do.