Month: January 2017

Peyton Manning is the Broncos’ offense at this stage

At what point does a quarterback go from being young and worth developing to being an also-ran? At 27, we may be about to find out with Mallett. He’s battling with Hoyer, a free agent signee who really fell apart as last season progressed. If Mallett can’t hold Hoyer off, is he worth keeping around going forward? Further, it’s hard to get excited about the future in Houston with Hoyer as a starter.

Location: Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Center, Dove Valley, Colo. & Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.

Player you’ll be buzzing about: DE Malik Jackson — Jackson is in the final year of his rookie contract. He’s set to become a full-time starter this season and will want to show the team he should remain a starter.

What to watch: Peyton Manning is the Broncos’ offense at this stage, and as he gets older all eyes will be on how his throwing arm is holding up in areas like velocity and accuracy. Unfortunately for Manning, the biggest question mark on the team is its offensive line. Four of the five starters from the end of 2014 are gone, and the Broncos will be conducting battles at multiple positions.

Most important position battle: Manning won’t be around forever and the Broncos insist they want to run a more balanced offense. That means they’ll run it more, but will it be C.J. Anderson or Montee Ball carrying the football the most?

Player you’ll be buzzing about: RB Latavius Murray — In his second NFL season, Murray only carried the ball 82 times, but he made the most out of them with two touchdowns and a 5.2 yards per carry average. Although it’s still too early to know what Murray can do as a full-time starter, the Raiders could have a real superstar on their hands.

The NFL’s grittiest offensive role players

Authentic Womens Marcus Stroman Jersey Sure, the quarterback is far and away the most important and high-profile player on a football team, but to put together a consistent winner, you need 11 players on each side functioning as a unit. But teams need more than just those 22 players. They need second and third receivers, a solid left guard, an in-line tight end — in other words, teams need a few out-of-the-spotlight guys who do the dirty work, the special assignments to be successful.

So, who are the league’s best role players?

How will the Rams juggle a young offensive line? St. Louis drafted four offensive linemen this year and used a 2016 pick to select Isaiah Battle in the supplemental draft. The right side of the Rams’ offensive line is being rebuilt. The expecation is that second-round pick Rob Havenstein will be the starter at right tackle and third-round pick Jamon Brown will start at right guard.
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But what happens if they struggle in the preseason? Then draft order goes out the window and fourth-round pick Andrew Donnal or sixth-round pick Cody Wichmann could get a shot. The Rams will also use training camp to begin figuring out who starts at center between Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones and Demetrius Rhaney.

Last season the Browns had the league’s worst run defense, surrendering an average of 141.6 yards per game. In an effort to remedy it, the team drafted Danny Shelton in the first round and signed free agent Randy Starks.

The expectation is that Shelton will settle in as the starter at nose tackle and veteran Desmond Bryant will start at one end spot. That leaves Starks to fight for the starting three-technique end position against John Hughes and Xavier Cooper. The Browns gave Hughes a four-year contract extension and used a third-round pick on Cooper, so clearly they like both.

The Chiefs will add a running back to compete for playing time

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Change is coming to Denver’s offensive line and no position in the starting five is without a question mark. Center Matt Paradis is the only guarantee to return as a starter, but he’s scheduled to have surgery on both hips this offseason. The other four spots could all be in flux, especially at tackle, where Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson both underperformed after the Broncos signed both in free agency last March. Okung has a $1 million option bonus due in March that would kick in the final four years of his contract and guarantee him $21 million, so he’s not expected to receive that bonus. Stephenson, too, will have his 2017 base salary of $4 million guaranteed if he’s on the roster March 13 and beyond, so the Broncos will give a long look to that decision as well. — Jeff Legwold

Jordan Crawford: ‘They really rely on you’

Authentic Eugene Sims Jersey Remember when a young college player dunked on LeBron James during a summer basketball camp in 2009 and Nike confiscated videotapes of the incident, purportedly to keep embarrassing footage of its star pitchman under wraps? That player was Crawford, a sophomore at Xavier University who would go on to be an NBA first-round draft pick a year later. The Detroit native then played four seasons in the NBA, suiting up for the Hawks, Wizards, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.

In 2014, his career path led to China, where he signed with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers for a reported $2 million.

“I was intrigued by, of course, the money, and the span of the season,” Crawford said. “But from a basketball standpoint, I was intrigued because they really rely on you. I wanted to see how good I really was. They want the Americans to be the best players on the floor.”

Crawford played in only five games with Xinjiang, scoring 49 points in his last game before returning to the United States with a severe eye infection. Still, the veteran shooting guard made enough of an impression for Tianjin to bring him in last season, and he rewarded the Gold Lions by leading the league in scoring at 43.1 points per game.

It was NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas

Nowitzki is a worldwide known basketball name. He is the Mavs¡¯ all-time leading scorer, the 2011 NBA Finals MVP, the 2007 NBA MVP and a two-time FIBA Europe Player of the Year. Basketball also introduced him to his wife.

The two met at a charity event for the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Project on a snowy night in February 2010. It was NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas. The Senegal-based nonprofit used basketball as a platform to engage youths in academic, athletic and leadership programs.
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The bewildered first-grader tried to piece together what had left his family so broken. Someone, he was told, had been killed. Panicked, he began counting heads in his grandmother’s den. Was it a member of the family? A friend up the street?
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Grady took his young son by the hand and drove him home in his patrol car.

“And that’s when he told me all about this Dr. King guy they were all talking about,” Rivers says. “It was the first time I had ever heard of Martin Luther King.”

When Rivers went to Proviso East High School and made the basketball team, his father sat in the front row of the bleachers, his badge gleaming, to remind his son what was expected of him.

“My brother and I loved going to headquarters and seeing the holding cells,” Rivers says. “Sometimes, you’d see people you knew in there.

“My dad always told me, ‘Let me tell you something, son. If you are on the other side of those bars, I’m not doing anything to get you out.'”

Saints vs. Packers 2015 online: Start time, TV schedule and how to watch online

Heading into the final week of the preseason, the starters for the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers will spend most of the Week 4 game on the sidelines. With the Packers hosting the Saints on Thursday, backups and rookies are still fighting for a spot on the final 53-man rosters.

This will be the first time these two teams come together in the preseason since 2004, but it will mark the ninth time they’ll do so. The Saints and Packers met last October, resulting in a Saints blowout win.

The New York Giants had a tenuous safety position heading into Friday’s preseason game, and coming out of it things were even worse. Rookie Landon Collins left the game with an injury, and on Saturday, head coach Tom Coughlin confirmed he has an MCL sprain and will need to miss some time, as reported by It seems like a mild sprain, but it’s possible he won’t play again this preseason.

Then there’s Mykkele Thompson, who left the game with an Achilles injury. Coughlin also confirmed that Thompson’s injury was more serious, and that he’ll miss the entirety of the regular season. New York’s secondary was already a big question mark, and now it’s even worse. In addition to the safeties, cornerbacks Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride sustained injuries in the game. Neither injury seems long-term but they could miss some time.

In my day you had to earn it, which is why Im not even going to make eye contact with my son untill he proves to me that he can either physically dominate me in a wrestle, or by sleeping with a prettier girl then I ever have.

The Chargers are also 2-2, and will be happy to see Mike Vick at quarterback rather than Roethlisberger

Two of the three losses for the Seahawks came in road games against two teams that are still undefeated, and Seattle has led in the fourth quarter of all five games this year. While that presents some concerns about the team’s ability to close out wins, it also suggests this still a Seahawks team that can compete with the NFL’s elite.
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If Calvin Johnson hadn’t fumbled a foot from the goal line we would be looking at 4 blown leads by the Seattle defense. Something is missing

There are legitimate problems for the Seahawks, who haven’t done a good job protecting Russell Wilson and don’t have the NFL’s top defense for the first time since 2011. Still, two wins is enough to keep the Seahawks in the wild card race in the NFC and there’s plenty of time for the team to battle back to a winning record.

Like the Ravens, it’s difficult to imagine any AFC North team keeping up with the Bengals, and it’s going to be especially tough for the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger. On Monday night, Michael Vick will have a chance to lead Pittsburgh to an upset win over the San Diego Chargers, but even if he can’t pull it off, the Steelers aren’t toast.

The Chargers are also 2-2, and will be happy to see Mike Vick at quarterback rather than Roethlisberger — they need a win with a game at Lambeau Field coming next. The problem for San Diego is that its run defense is allowing 4.9 yards a carry — 31st in the NFL — and that’s not good when you are about to face a team that has Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams and Vick.

Chris Ivory Authentic Jersey If they can’t find a way to at least slow down Pittsburgh’s running game, the Chargers won’t be able to put pressure on Vick as a passer, and that’s when he struggles.

When San Diego has the ball, its biggest concern will be protecting Philip Rivers. Pittsburgh has been able to get to quarterbacks at a decent clip, but when the pressure isn’t there, the secondary has had problems.

the Dolphins proceeded cautiously with Wake, using him exclusively as a situational pass rusher to start the season

Wake couldn’t tell you who goofed, “but, obviously, something was missed,” he said. “I’m the same guy, or I was the same guy, when I got here in 2009 that I was at Penn State. I didn’t have a growth spurt or go do anything dramatic. More or less, I’m the same guy.

You know? I mean, this is me. I kind Elite Mens Robert Golden Jersey of laugh to myself and say, ‘Whatever the process is, I figured out a way to slip through the cracks.’ But even then, I knew I was a tremendous football player. I knew I could get the job done. But getting somebody to give you that opportunity, well, that’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to deal with. Obviously, I’ve shown somebody made a mistake.”

That this time, perhaps, he wouldn’t defy Gerald McCoy Womens Jersey the odds. Wake refused to go out like that. The same pit-of-his-belly fire that fueled Wake’s rise to the top of the NFL after being snubbed repeatedly enabled him push through rehab and get back in the game.

Wisely, the Dolphins proceeded cautiously with Wake, using him exclusively as a situational pass rusher to start the season. Once the restrictions were removed, Wake took off after returning to the starting lineup in Week 6.

Running back Jay Ajayi isn’t going to run for 200 yards again, as Pittsburgh has had plenty of time to get a game plan ready. Quarterback Matt Moore doesn’t scare me like Connor Cook does, as Moore has started more than 20 games and has a good record in them.

This was a very hot team until it ran into New England in Week 17. Miami has a chance to hang around but only if Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and the defensive line get after Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh has too many offensive options, though, and I think the Steelers pull this out. Big Ben is 5-1 at home so far this season. He makes it 6-1.

I understand that Eli Manning and the Giants have gone into Lambeau and won in the postseason in 2007 and 2011, but I’m not sure that matters much. Eli is the most important player left from those teams, and he’s not going to shrink from the big stage anyway. The question is: Can a very good Giants defense make Aaron Rodgers good, not great?

Hoiberg was hired to revolutionize the Bulls¡¯ offense

Further evidence that something is wrong comes from Marc Stein¡¯s Friday report that Hoiberg is the NBA head coach with the hottest seat as we approach the midway point of the season. I wrote back in November that this could be the first season in a long time without a midseason firing, provided Alvin Gentry could survive New Orleans¡¯ awful start. Stein¡¯s researchers determined that the last season without a firing was 1970-71, 46 years ago!

Limited Mens Paulo Orlando Jersey I didn¡¯t even include Hoiberg on my list when I wrote that piece, in part because the Bulls started well and in part because the Bulls gave Hoiberg a huge amount of guaranteed money in 2015. He has at least $15 million in guaranteed salary remaining (including this season). Plus, the Bulls are still paying Tom Thibodeau after firing him in 2015. The idea that Hoiberg would be at risk seemed (and seems) absurd.

But Houston¡¯s .882 win percentage in December wasn¡¯t just a run of luck. Rather, it was a perfect storm created by general manager Daryl Morey, drawn up by new head coach Mike D¡¯Antoni, orchestrated by James Harden, and supported by a tailor-made, hand-picked cast that¡¯s propelled Houston into serious contention for a deep playoff run.

And it¡¯s those complementary pieces, behind Harden¡¯s historic run, that catapulted the Rockets into a league-best month to end 2016.
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When tests revealed Capela suffered a small fibula fracture in his left knee, the Rockets community collectively held its breath. After all, their center wasn¡¯t just a rim protector, but an effective screener whose rolls collapsed the defense and created additional passing lanes for Harden.

Philip Rivers will attempt to play through flu

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is under the weather, but he’s active and will start against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rivers came down with the flu late in the week, which is severe enough that the Chargers promoted Brad Sorensen from the practice squad and plan on having the third-year quarterback ready. Rivers will make his 157th consecutive start this week, which is second behind Eli Manning among active quarterbacks.

Rivers has been one of the few steady things in a chaotic Authentic Youth Jarret Stoll Jersey season for the 3-9 Chargers. Through 12 games, he has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 3,713 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions, averaging 7.4 yards per attempt. Rivers is on pace to reach the 4,000-yard mark for the seventh time in his career.

Although Rivers has been a rock under center for San Diego, the Curley Culp Authentic Jersey same can’t be said about his receiver corps. Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman have been ruled out this week, leaving Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown alone atop the depth chart. Brown was just signed this week and has yet to play a snap in the 2015 season, which should give you an idea of how desperate the Chargers have gotten at receiver.

I think the overall mindset of your team is important to consider here. If you’ve been grinding out wins, sitting guys might signal a time to rest and it would be hard to ramp it back up for the playoffs.

The third factor is the age of your resting starters. If these players are veterans who know the ropes of what’s coming up, it makes more sense to rest these guys because they won’t be blindsided with having to ramp back up for the playoffs. They will know how to properly handle the time off and be ready to roll.

Does a team have a bye week or not? Factoring in the long layoff has to play a part in this decision. Do you want to lose the rhythm of your team by sitting guys from the end of Week 16 until the Divisional round? It would be almost three weeks until they see live game action again.

I was part of this situation in 2013. I was the starting right guard who played right tackle in a meaningless Week 17 game. We, the Chiefs, were locked into the fifth seed.

2016 NFL Draft order: Titans reclaim first overall pick

Limited Cameron Erving Jersey The race for the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft is once again wide open. With the Cleveland Browns winning on Sunday, three teams now sit at 3-10 on the season.

Cleveland’s win moves the Browns from first in the draft order last week to third this week. The Tennessee Titans move up to the top pick followed by the San Diego Chargers at second.

The three teams are separated by strength of schedule, the first tiebreaker considered in the draft order. If those are the same, conference record then division record are used. If all of that is equal, a coin flip takes place at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. The strength of schedule below uses full-season schedules.

San Diego at second is noteworthy. While the top of the draft will have good choices to fill the Chargers’ needs — specifically along the offensive and defensive lines — there will be a quarterback at that spot. Both Paxton Lynch of Memphis and Jared Goff of California should be available, assuming both go pro. Is this the offseason where the Chargers seek the eventual replacement for Phillip Rivers?

Limited Derek Holland Jersey If Tennessee gets the No. 1 pick, and it’s likely considering their strength of schedule, could they option off the pick? If not, Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil or Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa should be in play for the pick.The possibilities at the top of the draft look intriguing.

Amid reports that O’Brien risked losing the Texans’ locker room if he chose to stick with Osweiler, the team has announced that Savage will start in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans. It will be valuable NFL experience for Savage as the playoffs loom.

Savage has played in just four NFL games in his three-year career, and Houston will want to avoid getting bounced in the first round in embarrassing fashion, like they did last season in a 30-0 shutout by the Chiefs.