Month: February 2017

Rice has upgraded its facilities and shed most of its “You simply can’t win here” reputation.

Bailiff got his first head coaching gig, naturally, back at the alma mater. He won 21 games in three years and took his Bobcats to the 2005 I-AA semifinals, and that was enough to attract a rather desperate Rice. The Owls had gone 45 years between bowls (with only six winning seasons in the process) before first-year head coach Todd Graham brought them to the New Orleans Bowl in 2006 and left for Tulsa. Scorned and scrambling, the program went unorthodox.

The results have been … unorthodox. Bailiff has been known for innovative offenses despite his history as a defensive coach, and he has produced four bowls, a conference title, two 10-win seasons … and three three-win (or worse) campaigns. Either things click or they don’t.
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In the meantime, Rice has upgraded its facilities and shed most of its “You simply can’t win here” reputation.

With his six-year, $78 million contract, Berry now becomes the highest-paid safety in the NFL. Last year, Berry was paid $10.8 million under the franchise tag — good for second in the league, behind Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, whose $62.5 million deal pays him $12.5 million per year. Berry’s deal makes him the richest safety in the NFL, earning $13 million per year.
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Rounding out the top five highest-paid safeties are Harrison Smith ($10.25 mil/year), Earl Thomas ($10 mil/year), and Devin McCourty ($9.5 mil/year).

Earlier this month, Chiefs general manger John Dorsey told Arrowhead Pride that the team had “very positive conversations” with Berry’s representatives about contract talks.

Berry’s agent, Chad Speck, had a slightly different take, though. He responded, “I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘positive’ — but we are talking. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

Eagles vs. 49ers final score: 3 things we learned during San Francisco’s 26-21 win

In a bizarre twist of narratives, it was the San Francisco 49ers’ turn to storm back in the second half while the Philadelphia Eagles struggled down the stretch. After taking a 21-10 deficit in the second quarter, the 49ers outscored the Eagles 16-0 the rest of the way for a much-needed 26-21 win.

Game Kids Vance Walker Jersey Chip Kelly’s offense was anemic for almost the entire game. The Eagles did not cross the 50-yard line until late in the fourth quarter, and gained just 213 total yards on the day. Fresh off a big game against Washington, Nick Foles struggled, going 21-of-43 passing for 195 yards and two interceptions. Foles was under constant pressure behind a makeshift offense line. The running game once again disappointed, gaining just 21 yards on 11 carries between LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles.

Detroit kept this style of play going in a winning effort this week, holding the Jets to 17 points, frustrating Geno Smith all day. The Lions picked him off, forced two fumbles — recovering one — and limited Smith to 209 yards passing on 33 attempts. On offense, even with Johnson severely hobbled and limited, Stafford went 24 of 34 for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He focused in on Golden Tate (eight catches for 116 yards), but threw touchdowns to rookie Eric Ebron and return specialist Jeremy Ross. Even against a tough Jets front, they rushed 27 times and picked up 88 yards.

Offensive breakout notwithstanding, there are still major concerns about Dom Capers’ defensive unit, which, going into this game, was worst in the NFL in rush defense (176 yards per game).

When it comes to the Bears, I remain convinced that they can beat anybody when they’re clicking on offense. As noted, Cutler threw two crucial picks, but this offense and its collection of weaponry remains dangerous heading into the second quarter of the season. Cutler is the definition of a gunslinger, and has Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte at his disposal. Also at his disposal is Marc Trestman, who has done a good job of designing plays like this: an Alshon Jeffery fake end-around switch back that confused the hell out of the Packers’ defensive backs and linebackers.

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Falcons player says Lady Gaga halftime show contributed to Super Bowl meltdown

If Falcons fans are still looking for someone to blame following the biggest meltdown in Super Bowl history, you can go ahead and blame the NFL for scheduling an aggressively long halftime show, and Lady Gaga for taking part.

An NFL halftime is only 12 minutes long during the regular season, which means the players are usually only off the field for about 15 minutes total during halftime.
However, for Super Bowl LI, the league put 30 minutes on the halftime clock for Lady Gaga’s show , which is actually a little longer than 30 minutes if you count the time it took to construct Lady Gaga’s stage, the time it took for the performance itself, and the time to get all Gaga’s equipment off the field once her show was over.

That sound you hear is Gaga album sales crashing in Atlanta.

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Basically, Sanu is saying that the Falcons had some trouble restarting their engines, which, yes, seems like an odd thing for him to say given the fact that Atlanta dominated the first seven minutes of the third quarter.

Again, this is all about combining natural ability with football know-how. Ole Miss was able to draw up plays that worked Engram into space, but if he were a clunkier or more limited tight end, the majority of these options would be off the table.

So, what’s the problem? For Engram, it comes down to his size. He is never going to be an in-line tight end, as Njoku can be (at least in combination with other alignments). Engram’s blocking is less a strength than a bonus to his game, on occasion.

The Nationals survived Bryce Harper’s down year in 2016

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In 1946, Stan Musial hit .365. In 1948, he hit .376. In between, he hit .312 in 1947. In his prime, Mike Schmidt had a three-year OPS string of .967/.768/.950. It happens.

Josh Brown Game Jersey These are some lofty names, but I picked them because that’s the kind of career track that Harper appeared to be on. After a fairly quiet winter by his team, it looks like he really needs a bounce-back season in a big way. The Nationals’ offseason consisted of losing premier closer Mark Melancon without really replacing him, as well as trading away starting infielder Danny Espinosa. The splashy move was dealing away a startling package of prospects, including prized pitcher Lucas Giolito, to the White Sox for Adam Eaton.

The Nationals survived Bryce Harper’s down year in 2016, but whether he can return to MVP form could decide Washington’s fate this season.

If Harper regains his MVP form, maybe that’s enough. But what if he bounces back to something in between 2015 and 2016, or doesn’t bounce back at all? Trea Turner could continue his ascension now that he’ll be the everyday shortstop. The rotation looks strong again, led by ace Max Scherzer. But some of this could be offset if Daniel Murphy regresses, or if aging Ryan Zimmerman or Jayson Werth go into serious decline mode. The dropoff between Washington’s best four or five position players is steep.

Because of this lack of depth, the Nationals shape up fine on paper but don’t reach the same tier as the Dodgers and Cubs. It still feels like Washington isn’t quite maximizing the window it has to win right now, and as we’ll be reminded 953,087 times during the next couple of years, Harper hits free agency after the 2018 season.

Rams grant Sam Bradford permission to seek trade, according to report

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The St. Louis Rams have reportedly given Sam Bradford permission to seek a trade, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Given the young quarterback’s injury history and contract situation, getting worthwhile compensation might be difficult for the Rams, but the team has apparently told Bradford’s agent that he is free to speak with other clubs.
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This year’s group of available quarterbacks — in the draft and free agency — is considered weak, and there are plenty of teams out there in need of a QB. Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, put up solid numbers when healthy, but he remains a question mark because he has missed so much time with injuries. He is still talented, though, and likely will attract a significant amount of attention on the trade market.

Several teams in the top 10 of the draft order — including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets — are seeking upgrades at the quarterback position, but it’s not a certainty that they’ll take either of the top consensus prospects, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. Those clubs might decide that they’d prefer to gamble on Bradford and save their top pick, either for an impact player at a different position or as trade bait for future assets.

There are also a few other interesting teams that pick later in the draft — the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles — who might want to take a chance on Bradford. Each of those teams ranked in the bottom half of the league in passer rating last season and don’t have established franchise quarterbacks on their rosters.

Moving on from Osweiler isn’t as easy as handing over a pink slip

The four-year, $72 million contract for Osweiler certainly looks like a huge error for the Texans, but the good news is that it’s one that Houston can comfortably part ways with once the 2017 season is over. After the upcoming $19 million hit, the Texans can cut Osweiler and absorb only $6 million in dead money in 2018 and $3 million in 2019.

But if the Texans cut ties with Osweiler this offseason, his cap hit will actually rise to $25 million in 2017.

Simply put: Although the Texans can save a ton of cap room by cutting Osweiler in 2018, it’s actually $6 million cheaper to keep him on the roster in 2017.

Houston believed in the talent of the Denver Broncos’ former second-round pick, and may consider spending another offseason trying to get the most out of it. Or at the very least keeping Osweiler as a backup for a new starter.

There was Emmanuel Mudiay’s last minute decision to renege on his college commitment and play professionally in China. There was the program-shaking academic scandal tied to former guard Keith Frazier that led to a harsh one-year postseason ban. Finally, there was the swift retirement of Brown last summer just when it seemed like the team was finally out of the dark.

Brown wasn’t SMU’s only loss. It also had to replace star point guard Nic Moore and its two best big men in Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert. There was no guarantee this team would pick up where last year’s left off, when the Mustangs rode the longest undefeated start in the country to a 25-5 season. That team never got to prove how good it was in the NCAA Tournament because of the postseason ban. This group is showing it’s ready to make up for lost time with its most complete team yet.

As the calendar inches closer to March, SMU is proving it has come full circle as a contender.

Cruz went down with a torn patellar tendon, ending his season early

Mathews has unsurprisingly struggled with injuries, and in a year with an excellent draft class of running backs, Philly could look for a cheaper option to work alongside Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood.

Kendricks fell out of favor and is too expensive, given how the Eagles avoid using him in their sub-packages or as a blitzer. He played only 26.8 percent of the defensive snaps this past season. If the Eagles designate Kendricks as a post-June 1 release and trade or cut Mathews and Barwin, they would free up $16.8 million in 2017 cap space.

Explore the possibility of re-signing Bennie Logan. The Eagles already are spending a lot on their defensive line. They handed out a massive deal to Fletcher Cox and have Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry locked up on second contracts. Including Barwin, four of the seven largest cap hits on Philadelphia’s balance sheet in 2017 belong to defensive linemen. (The other three are offensive tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters and backup quarterback Chase Daniel.)

“In the heat of the battle, they revert to what they know, and that’s the hard thing if they’re not trained through your system,’ he said. “When you play on bad teams you think you have to do something supernatural to make a play happen. No, just do your job. If you do your job and the other 10 guys do their job, you’re going to be OK.”
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Don’t expect the Bengals to deviate from that philosophy this year. Though they might go after a mid-range free agent or two, it’s unlikely they’ll be making a big splash when free agency opens in March.
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Unfortunately, his career took a hard turn south in 2014. During a Week 6 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cruz went down with a torn patellar tendon, ending his season early. It’s one of the hardest injuries for an athlete to come back from, although Cruz was nearly set to make his comeback at the start of the 2015 season. However, he picked up a calf injury while rehabbing the knee, and that resulted in him sitting out the entire year once again.

The victory snapped an eight-game winless streak against the Wild in the regular season that dated back to Jan. 2015

¡°I think the Senators are wary about that. You don¡¯t want to see a guy get traded and find his life somewhere else. So everything I understand is that his price is still high, and they¡¯re not treating him as just a regular depth player.¡±

With names like Dreger and Friedman talking about Lazar in trade rumours, I would believe them. There¡¯s no doubt that Lazar¡¯s name will be talked about until the trade deadline passes or until he gets moved, as he has been a disappointment so far as a Senator, especially this season.

In terms of production, he has never been able to find his scoring touch. He was never a prolific scorer in Junior, although he did have 76 points in 58 games in his final WHL season, so most people believed he could at least be a 40+ point two-way player. That has not happened though, as he has averaged 17 points per season over the course of 172 games.

Even better for the Blackhawks? The victory snapped an eight-game winless streak against the Wild in the regular season that dated back to Jan. 2015. It also brought them within five points of the Wild at the top of the Central, though with two more games played.

The Wild will have a chance for redemption at the end of the month, but one has to look to this game to see what a potential playoff series between these two Central Division rivals would be like.
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However, Toews was a factor for the Blackhawks all evening, as he nabbed a pair of assists to go along with his game-winner for a three-point evening. The first assist in particular is a beauty that Nick Schmaltz buried to put the Blackhawks up 2-0 in the early stages of the second period.

Minnesota was unable to get past Crawford when it was needed the most, but the Wild were given an assist by the officials on this Zach Parise goal that tied the game 2-2 in the second period.
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The Falcons confirmed on Wednesday that they would not retain defensive coordinator Richard Smith or defensive line coach Bryan Cox

Over the past couple of weeks, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith has used Twitter to show his progress in his return from a serious knee injury and nerve damage.

On Wednesday, Smith showed his change of direction some 13 months after undergoing surgery.

Five of the six head-coaching jobs that were open became finalized between Jan. 9 and Jan. 12. The 49ers felt they had the luxury of waiting until after the Super Bowl to hire a coach, and they targeted the top two assistants available. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels removed his name from consideration and decided to stay with the Patriots for another season. The 49ers then set their sights on Shanahan, who coordinated the offense of the Atlanta Falcons that lost in thrilling fashion to McDaniels’ Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
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That gave Shanahan a great amount of leverage, and he’s taking a six-year guaranteed contract and will get significant personnel power in shaping the roster.

Jalen Ramsey Youth Jersey A lot of love. Whether it was defensive coordinator Matt Patricia saying it to linebacker Dont’a Hightower, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels saying it to Blount, Edelman saying it to Brady, or Bill Belichick telling Brady and Blount, this team says, “I love you” a lot.

The Falcons confirmed on Wednesday that they would not retain defensive coordinator Richard Smith or defensive line coach Bryan Cox. The team said Smith could return in an advisory role but that he’s exploring other options.

Sources told ESPN that Falcons coach Dan Quinn started taking more control of the defensive playcalling during the season, and the Falcons showed improvement late in the season and into the playoffs, but still had some hiccups.

The Ravens have missed the playoffs and had non-winning seasons in three of the four seasons

It carries some truth, in that Curry did submit one of the greatest offensive seasons in league history. But it’s not quite satisfactory as an explanation for why a 28-year-old superstar has dropped more than seven points in player efficiency rating, or why he was shooting less than 30 percent on pull-up 3-pointers, his defining skill. It’s an explanation that would make more sense if the expectations were based on a couple of hot weeks, or maybe even a month. It doesn’t make sense in the context of an entire season. There isn’t such a thing as an 82-game hot streak. Occam’s razor suggests the main reason for Curry’s drop-off was, of course, the transfer of power to Durant.

Kerr had resisted admitting as much. Four days before the Christmas Day game, he slyly answered, “Kevin [Durant],” when asked which Warriors All-Star had to undergo the biggest adjustment this season.

Game Womens Marcus Williams Jersey “We do a lot of stuff off the ball,” Kerr said. “So obviously with KD’s arrival, the dynamics changed a little bit. So, Steph has the ball a little less this year. So does KD.”

The Ravens have missed the playoffs and had non-winning seasons in three of the four seasons since they won Super Bowl XLVII. The last time that happened in Baltimore, coach Brian Billick was fired. Owner Steve Biscotti spared coach John Harbaugh this time around. There is institutional respect for Harbaugh’s work. But the general downward trend leaves outside observers to debate where he is headed: for a Bill Cowher-like second wind or for the end of a highly successful tenure that has run its course.

Game Womens Terrence Brooks Jersey The addition of Greg Roman as a senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach could serve as a balance to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s pass-happy playcalls. (The Ravens led the NFL with 679 pass attempts in 2016, while their 367 carries were the third-fewest.) General manager Ozzie Newsome could also help his defense by adding a pass-rusher, as Terrell Suggs approaches his 35th birthday and Elvis Dumervil (33) faces an uncertain future.