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Archives for: January 21, 2017

They have several options in-house, including Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and Koda Glover

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If there was one subject Alex Rodriguez was always game to talk about, it was this: Who are the greatest players of all time?

He was curious about what reporters/potential Hall of Fame voters thought and, given his vanity, it was always easy to tell he wondered where he ranked among baseball’s legends.

After his yearlong PED suspension in 2014, the ongoing conversation shifted. A-Rod softened his edge, acted a little more vulnerable, and re-calibrated, wondering now if he could still make the Hall at all.

They have several options in-house, including Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and Koda Glover. But let’s be realistic: If the Nationals are going to earn a world championship for their 92-year-old owner, Ted Lerner, they’re going to need a better option. The best options out there for them are either free-agent Holland — if they’re convinced he’ll be close to 100 percent a year after his Tommy John surgery — or a trade with the White Sox for Robertson.

The problem in making a trade is that the Nationals already overpaid for Adam Eaton in terms of prospects. They should have expanded that deal to get Robertson, because now it’s almost impossible for them to land Robertson without including top prospect outfielder Victor Robles — which they are not going to do. Going to the Rays to ask about Colome would be a solid alternative, but the Rays’ asking price makes that deal highly unlikely.

The third freshman, Lauri Markkanen, would have started regardless. Like Ball and Leaf, Markkanen has not only met but exceeded the already-high expectations for his first (only?) collegiate season.

The second? The 2016-17 Wildcats are pretty darn good in their own right, too. More than that, they’re good for similar reasons the Bruins are eyeing a national title: the unexpected excellence of freshmen.

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NFL players at every position headed for big paydays

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Chris Paul’s frustration was evident as the LA Clippers guard walked off the court after injuring his left thumb during a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Paul’s injury (a torn ligament that will require surgery and keep him out six to eight weeks, as the team announced Tuesday) wasn’t yet diagnosed, he knew that yet again he was going to be sidelined while he was playing some of his best basketball.

TNT’s broadcast crew of Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller recognized the emotion, which included Paul kicking at a chair — they’d seen it last year, when Paul broke his right hand during Game 4 of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Without Paul and fellow All-Star Blake Griffin, the Clippers lost to the Blazers in six games, bringing their postseason to an early end yet again.

Cousins is one of 27 quarterbacks with more than 16 starts over the past two seasons. Of those, only Tom Brady and Matt Ryan rank higher than Cousins in Total QBR. Of the 13 teams ranked 20th or lower in points allowed over that span, the Redskins and Oakland Raiders are the only ones with winning records. Washington still might see Cousins as a fourth-round pick who has improved but might struggle without such a strong supporting cast.
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Trending: Up because Cousins is coming off another strong season and the Redskins’ options are limited.

While four NFL teams charge forward into the playoffs’ championship round, 28 others are plowing through evaluations for free agency and hoping to make their teams better.
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The 32 players below are headed for big paydays this offseason after playing out their contracts in 2016. I’ve highlighted them on a position-by-position basis, with notes on each and explanations for which direction each player is trending.

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The Nowitzki family’s next trip to Africa might include Nowitzki playing in a basketball game

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Elite Kids Peter Forsberg Jersey “We didn’t go there originally, but they knew,” Doc says. “When you go to school, the kids tell you.”

He didn’t specifically mention Martin Luther King in trying to navigate the complicated burden of race with his young children. Maybe, he says, he should have.

“But my message came from what Dr. King stood for,” Doc says. “So much of that involved mental toughness. Austin has needed some of that. He’s been called every name in the book — black, white, Mexican — he’s heard it all.”

The father’s advice to his son had a familiar ring to it: Turn away. Don’t respond. The minute you respond, they win. Grady’s advice to Glenn, born from Dr. King’s teachings, was now being passed from Glenn to Austin.

“We don’t want them to just grow up [in Dallas]. We were gone for three months this past summer. We want to show them different cultures, different languages so they can grow up, become educated and make educated decisions when they’re older on where they want to live, what they want to do.”

The Nowitzki family’s next trip to Africa might include Nowitzki playing in a basketball game.
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The NBA and the National Basketball Players’ Association hosted the first NBA game in Johannesburg on Aug. 1, 2015. Nowitzki wanted to play, but didn’t because he was previously committed to attend a friend’s wedding as best man. Several sources expect another NBA exhibition game to take place in Africa this summer. If so, Nowitzki would like to play in it.

“I’m trying to pull it off. I heard it was a great event to go to,” Nowitzki said.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for The Undefeated. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.

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Rams CB E.J. Gaines reportedly out for season with foot injury

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St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines will miss the entire 2015 season after undergoing foot surgery, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Gaines suffered a Lisfranc injury early in training camp when a teammate stepped on his foot. He did not play in the Rams’ first preseason game against the Raiders Friday night.

Jenkins and Johnson, both entering their fourth season in the league, are solid players, but Gaines’ injury is still a big loss for the Rams.

So, that left 28 upstart breakout-type running backs vying for a place at or near the top of their roster’s depth charts in reality and on fantasy football teams. Of those 28, exactly half (14) of them got more than 50 carries during the season, with ten of them breaking the 4.0 yards per carry mark (meaning, most kept pace with their preseason performances). I don’t know if a 50% “hit” rate on my benchmarks is good or bad, but that’s about where I landed.

Of course, if we’re talking about true “breakout” players, we need to narrow this list down to the cream of the crop.

Hill came in to Cincy as a second-round pick and made a quick impression, capped by a solid outing in preseason Week 4 against the Colts where he carried the ball 20 times for 90 yards while adding six catches for 70 yards. He eventually unseated Giovanni Bernard as the starter for the Bengals, finishing the second half of the season as the NFL’s second-leading rusher in that timeframe behind only DeMarco Murray (775 yards in Weeks 9-17).

The undrafted rookie out of Buffalo had an impressive preseason for the Chargers — 64 yards on seven carries in Week 1 then 71 yards on 16 carries in Week 4. When Danny Woodhead went down for the year, Oliver got his shot. He made the most of it, showing surprising power on his way to a team-high 582 rushing yards at 3.6 YPC. His average gain per carry was a little disappointing but he made up for that with 36 catches for 271 yards and a touchdown.

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Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls ran 27 times for 161 yards

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In his first postseason game, Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls ran 27 times for 161 yards.
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He was asked what it meant to break Marshawn Lynch’s franchise record for rushing yards in a playoff game.

“It means a lot. Marshawn? Marshawn Lynch?” Rawls said before taking a long pause. “Looked up to him. Still do.”

During the regular season, the Seahawks struggled to maintain any kind of consistency from their run game. They averaged 3.95 yards per carry (24th in NFL) and had 10 games in which they failed to rush for at least 100 yards. From 2012-15, that happened just nine times total.

Past research has found that both scoring and totals have steadily increased over the past 14 seasons, but that hasn’t been the case under certain weather conditions. That point becomes readily apparent when you compare the performance of overs in indoor versus outdoor stadiums.

We’ll minimize his crime by calling it “an incident,” then “off-the-field trouble,” then, as we do with stars such as Ben Roethlisberger, nothing at all. We’ll say, as ESPN’s own Brent Musberger did about Mixon during the Sugar Bowl, that we’re rooting for him (without mentioning his victim). We’ll get it wrong so many times.

Womens Jonas Valanciunas Jersey But every now and then, we’ll get it right, and when we do, it’ll matter. Thousands of stories like Tyreek Hill’s unfold every day, and they’re never discussed on a national stage. But on a Sunday night in November, that’s exactly what happened. For 30 seconds, Cris Collinsworth talked about domestic violence and made millions of people uncomfortable. And when the game resumed, that feeling remained.

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That is the proper perspective out of Irving

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Elite Youth Patrick Marleau Jersey To borrow James’ word: absolutely. That is the proper perspective out of Irving.

But in the short term, having a night like Irving did back where he grew up is simply good for one’s basketball soul. Not to bring up Phil Jackson’s old stirring of the pot, claiming that Kobe Bryant threw his high school games when they were blowouts so he could feel the pressure of having to make plays that matter in the fourth quarter, but ask just about any player what’s more fun and they’d rather leave the court having impacted the outcome down the stretch than having things be decided by halftime.

“I know you guys may be angry with me, but I’m used to it because I have a black wife and three mixed kids, so I’m used to people being angry and argumentative,” he reportedly said.

“I don’t think we’re at or near the point where 3s will top out,” Vandeweghe said. Team officials and analytics gurus agree almost universally.
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The jump in three-shot fouls — i.e., shooting fouls on attempted 3s — has outpaced the rise in overall attempts, per ESPN Stats & Information. Turnovers are down, perhaps in part because teams are taking more 3s early in the shot clock, according to NBA.com shot-tracking data. At the same time, steals — live-ball turnovers that lead to layups and dunks — have held steady.

Offensive rebounding and free throws have stabilized after years of consistent decline. Maybe there is a floor for those “other” paths toward points, even as teams launch more and more 3s.

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Durant has soundly slid into a Warriors¡¯ defensive scheme that thrives on switching

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First off, outdoor games make money. They¡¯re held in larger venues so they can pack more people in, and the spectacle is a draw. Throw in an alumni game and some fan events, and the concept is a cash cow. Select teams with a national fanbase, and you¡¯re nearly guaranteed decent ratings on NBC or whatever network is airing the game.

You can complain about the teams participating all that you want to, but the league chooses the teams that they do for a reason. The Red Wings or Blackhawks are going to draw people to the game. The Columbus Blue Jackets are not.

Limited Youth Phil Esposito Jersey Durant has soundly slid into a Warriors¡¯ defensive scheme that thrives on switching, something Adams envisioned when the team signed its star forward in the offseason.

The Packers won that game, and they will host the New York Giants, while the loser, the Lions, will travel to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

In the Divisional round, the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys will be in action after earning first-round byes, sitting at the top of the AFC and NFC, respectively. The Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons also earned byes as the second seeds in each conference.

Accordingly, the top seeds will play the lowest winning seed from the Wild Card round.

This all leads up to the conference championship games on Jan. 22, where the winners will earn a trip to Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Harold Jones-Quartey Limited Jersey Here¡¯s the complete playoff schedule below, as it is known. All times are Eastern.

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Isaiah Crowell knows why the Browns are 3-10

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The Cleveland Browns hadn’t even reached 120 rushing yards in a game in 2015 before grinding out 230 yards in a 24-10 win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. It was easily the team’s best rushing performance of the season and Isaiah Crowell thinks it’s a long time coming for a team that’s already eliminated from the postseason.

Crowell, 22, racked up 145 rushing yards with two touchdowns on 20 carries, notching the first 100-yard rushing performance of his career. Rookie Duke Johnson also tallied a season-best 78 rushing yards on 13 carries.

While Ryan wouldn’t explicitly say that the officials made the incorrect call, Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman was seen telling officials they are a “disgrace to the league.” Running back Boobie Dixon also didn’t have much problem saying the play was called incorrectly, via Matthew Fairburn of Syracuse.com:

Ertz said after the game that it was the collision that freed him up, but didn’t say that it was an illegal collision. At his press conference on Monday, Chip Kelly said that Huff intended to run a slant route and was Sam Bradford’s first option, but contact with Leodis McKelvin diverted him into the contact with Graham and Bradford threw to Ertz in the flat instead.
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The Bills outgained the Eagles 412 yards to 348 and also dominated the time of possession by more than 10 minutes. However, Buffalo was called for 15 penalties compared with just five for the Eagles, which Ryan said was ultimately the reason for the loss.

After dropping the game, the Bills are two games behind the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers for the two wild card spots in the AFC, making the postseason a long shot. The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 6-7 and stayed in a tie with Washington for the NFC East lead.

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The Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings have been excluded after playing on Thursday night

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Limited Omer Asik Jersey Julio Jones will have two touchdowns and go over 100 yards receiving. Jones was limited to 35 yards on four catches in last week’s win against the Cardinals. In the three games he has been held to under 30 receiving yards this season, Jones has responded with 100-yard efforts the very next game, including a franchise-record 300 yards against the Panthers. It’s unclear how much Jones will see Marcus Peters, considering Peters typically stays at the left cornerback spot.
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Tyreek Hill won’t score three touchdowns again, but the Chiefs seem to have little choice but to shoot for that goal. Hill leads the Chiefs in touchdowns this season with seven. No other Kansas City player has more than three. In their past four games, Hill has accounted for all of their offensive or special teams touchdowns other than two by wide receiver Albert Wilson and one from quarterback Alex Smith.

Need some help setting your fantasy lineup? NFL Nation reporters are here to help with predictions for every Week 13 game. The Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings have been excluded after playing on Thursday night.

Good luck in Week 13, everyone!

Sure, it’s different hands, eras and situations, but how did Gannon fare the week after he led a comeback with a bum finger?

He completed just seven of 28 passes for 130 yards, no touchdowns and an interception while getting sacked five times (he left the game for a series and was replaced by Bobby Hoying after one second-quarter sack) in a 16-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

But three years later, Gannon was the NFL MVP and helped lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl and their most recent winning season … until Carr and the Raiders beat the Panthers to improve to 9-2 last week.

“Gruden wanted somebody to run his system and had already clashed with Jeff George,” Kennedy said at the time. “Rich seized the opportunity.”

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