Monthly Archives: November 2016

Ben Roethlisberger sees HOF shot for himself, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers

With four Super Bowl titles and nearly 140,000 passing yards among them, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers make the 2004 quarterback draft class one of the game’s best ever.

Roethlisberger sees potential Hall of Fame ceremonies for each. When asked whether all three players will make the Hall, Roethlisberger said with a smile, “I hope I am.”

The first three QBs taken in the 2004 draft — Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger — have panned out pretty well.

“I assume [Manning is] going to make it with everything he’s accomplished,” said Roethlisberger, whose Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) host Manning’s New York Giants (8-3) on Sunday.

I’m not mad, Seahawks. I’m just … disappointed.

Are the Seahawks one of the best teams in the league? I think so. Will they be better when Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett are back? Of course. Though I fail to see how that excuses the offense’s performance Sunday against a bottom-10 defense. Does the win against the New England Patriots in Foxborough prove they can beat anybody, anywhere? Absolutely. But this is the third time in six road games this year that they’ve failed to score a touchdown.

The Seahawks get the benefit of the doubt because of what they’ve done in past years. They could end up winning it all. But the fact is, they’ve put as much hot garbage on tape this year as any other contender. And when it comes to the issue of trust, that puts the 2016 Seahawks in the wrong bucket.

Here’s what else we did and didn’t learn in Week 12 — on the question of trust.
Youth Nikola Mirotic Jersey
Game Youth Tony Gonzalez Jersey On top of all of that, the perceived villain is Fisher — the man many fans have long been clamoring be fired. And on top of all that, the perceived victim is Dickerson — the organization’s most important alum, because he was the last Rams star in L.A., because he remains so invested and because fans love him so much for his brutal honesty.

49ers to let Mike Iupati test market, Reggie Wayne is mulling retirement, and other NFL news

One of the cornerstones of the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco was the massive, mauling offensive lines that paved the way for Frank Gore and the running game. The unit did regress this past season, but even with Mike Iupati’s struggles, the 49ers are a better team with him than without him. Unfortunately, keeping Iupati will be a tall order, and the 49ers will let him test the open market, according Kyle Beckerman Authentic Womens Jersey to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.

Iupati was one of two starting offensive linemen drafted by San Francisco in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The other, right tackle Anthony Davis, received a long-term extension before the 2013 season. Iupati had to wait, and now his market may prove to be too competitive for the 49ers to match. Still, even if the team loses Iupati it should return the other four members of the starting line.

“He could end up being Fran Tarkenton or fall by the wayside. We will have to see if he can get it together off the field, but you have to get a quarterback. You are in a division with Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton. … I think you have to look at Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson in the second round. They could be there, and in a few years they could wind up having been deserving of a top-15 or 20 pick.”

Kiper continued to speak about Petty and Grayson, who are two of his favorites in the draft. While Landon Donovan Authentic Womens Jersey he has Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston as the only two first-round quarterbacks, Kiper believes both could become quality starters. However, Kiper cautioned the quarterback class is “very weak.” saying there are only seven with draftable grades.

“Bryce Petty could be your third or fourth quarterback off the board. I think he’s third off the board, his arm really helps. It’s kind of a battle between him and Garrett Grayson of Colorado State and Brett Hundley of UCLA.”

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell wants to be ‘100 percent’ before returning

After receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his sore left knee that will keep him sidelined for a minimum of two weeks, Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard D’Angelo Russell said he was remaining patient and cautious about eventually returning to the lineup.

“I definitely don’t Adam Joseph Duhe Authentic Womens Jersey want to force anything,” Russell said Saturday at the Lakers’ training facility in his first public comments since the injection. “I feel like I’ve got to be 100 percent perfect before I step back on the floor.”

Russell, the Lakers’ second-leading scorer (16.1 points per game), said his left knee has been bothering him on and off since the start of the season, though he didn’t think it was too serious.

“Of course, it gives us confidence,” Butler said of finishing 4-2 on the trip. “We don’t think about it, but I don’t see why we couldn’t have went 6-0 on this trip if we do what we were supposed to be doing. But I think we’re all fine with 4-2 — we’ll take it. Now we got to go home and win some more games. This trip is over with.”

The Bulls accomplished something on this trip that eluded them Andre Branch Authentic Womens Jersey throughout much of last season: They beat teams they were supposed to beat. Hoiberg called it “a great sign” that the Bulls finished off the lowly Sixers at the end of such a grueling part of the schedule.

“When you’re on the road for 12 days, you come out either loving each other or hating each other,” Hoiberg said. “And I think our guys grew and they got closer. They spent a lot of time together. We’ve now played more road games than any team in the league. Now we got to go back home and come out and play with that same type of urgency, same type of effort. And continue to hopefully play well and give ourselves a chance on a nightly basis.”

Butler averaged 28.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists over the six-game trip. He also was a combined 51-for-58 from the free throw line, getting to the rim seemingly whenever he wanted. The excitement he has created within his own game has caused a positive electricity within the locker room.

Ralph Branca more than just ‘shot heard ’round the world’

Sixty-five years later, it remains the most famous home run in major league history: Bobby Thomson’s blast to win the 1951 pennant for the New York Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Ralph Branca, who died Wednesday at age 90, had Ed Dickson Authentic Jersey to live with the burden of surrendering that home run and always did so with grace and dignity. In part because the game featured the two city rivals, in part because of Russ Hodges’ call, no two opposing players became so linked. We remember other famous home runs, but aside from perhaps Kirk Gibson and Dennis Eckersley, the pitcher eventually fades a bit into the background.

“But when you get right down to it, when you get into the experience of being in the playoffs, there’s really nothing like it,” Amaro said by phone. “The heart rates are going to be faster. Your thought process and the way you go about your business, your routines, they’re going to be pretty well elevated. Our players, I’m not sure if they were particularly overwhelmed, but certainly it’s a different experience.

“As far as Jackie and Mookie are concerned, listen, they’re aggressive players. They play with confidence. Were they a little more heightened as far as their emotion was concerned? I hope so because they’d be inhuman if they weren’t. It’s just a matter of going through the process and getting used to it.”

Victorino played for the Red Sox from 2013 to ’15, during which time Bogaerts, Bradley and Betts broke into the big leagues. In particular, he is a big Betts backer, having presciently compared him in 2014 to Pittsburgh Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

Like most observers, Victorino is bullish on Boston’s chances of returning to the postseason next year. As much as he wants to see the Red Sox learn from their failure against the Indians, however, he cautioned against the notion that they will automatically be better for having gone through a playoff series.

“The team that we had [in Philadelphia], the individuals that we had, we learned from that Fozzy Whittaker Authentic Jersey defeat and we made ourselves better,” Victorino said. “The same guys came back in 2008 with the same fire, the same desire, the same master plan to go and win the World Series. Now, fast-forward to the Red Sox. Yes, it was their first real experience with the postseason. But it’s how do you take that and implement it into the next year. Are they going to buy into it and turn it into greatness?”

The Broncos have surrendered one 300-yard passing game this season

The Broncos have surrendered one 300-yard passing game this season — to the Saints’ Drew Brees — and it was in one of the three games cornerback Aqib Talib missed with a low-back injury. Talib’s value in the defense can’t be denied. He says he’s ready to return to the lineup in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, but until he makes a tackle or two, there is still some question about his readiness. He practiced fully Monday and has moved well on the practice field, but back injuries can be unpredictable, so the Broncos have their fingers crossed, because they need Talib at his left cornerback spot for their defense to be its best.

If they didn’t know it already, the Chiefs learned the value of cornerback Marcus Peters Christian Covington Authentic Womens Jersey last week, when he didn’t play against the Buccaneers. Quarterback Jameis Winston picked apart a secondary that included two first-year starters at cornerback. It’s no coincidence the Chiefs failed to get an interception against the Bucs for the first time in five games when Peters (hip) wasn’t in their lineup. The Chiefs are hopeful he’ll be able to play on Sunday night in Denver, but his status early in the week is still undecided.

Hey, it’s a game of chants and emotion. Even team owner Dan Snyder, caught by cameras way too often DeAndre Hopkins Authentic Womens Jersey over the years as a glum figure while watching from his box, let it flow as his team put the wraps on the 18-point win against the Packers.

He became Dancin’ Dan, swaying in his box like nobody was watching.

You can’t blame Snyder for getting caught up in the moment. It seems that after so many false starts, they are building something sustainable for the long haul, with McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden calling the shots.

The defense could go into Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers without two of the four starters in their secondary. Free safety Earl Thomas and right cornerback DeShawn Shead are both dealing with first-degree hamstring strains. They’ll be evaluated throughout the week, but coach Pete Carroll said the injuries generally take 10 to 14 days to recover from. Given that the Seahawks have a three-game lead in the NFC West, they might be cautious with both guys to make sure Thomas and Shead are healthy down the stretch. Thomas has never missed a game in his NFL career, and Shead has started every game this season.

LeSean McCoy underwent thumb surgery last Sunday but is expected to play in Week 12 against the Jaguars. Wide receiver Robert Woods is doubtful because of a knee sprain suffered in last Sunday’s win over the Bengals. Top receiver Sammy Watkins is eligible to come off injured reserve and play against Jacksonville, although coach Rex Ryan did not yet know Monday if Watkins would return to practice this week.

He dunks on you unnecessarily, then yells at you as you struggle to regain your balance

Weirder still was the fact that Westbrook hadn’t tried to break someone’s body and spirit. He was playing well, but he was being suspiciously benevolent.

Then of course, with almost no time left in the game, he made sure that Capela’s phone was going to be flooded with “you alright bro? I’m here if you need anything” texts.

I like to imagine that before Westbrook Draymond Green Authentic Womens Jersey caught the ball, he thought, “Yeah, just take the foul and end the game.” Then, when he got the pass and saw Capela under the rim, dark Westbrook whispered to him:

“Muhammad Ali is such a cornerstone of me as an athlete because of what he represented not only in the ring as a champion but more outside the ring — what he stood for, what he spoke for, his demeanor,” James told USA TODAY Sports. “I think of him every day. Without his passion and goals and morals, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here today talking to you about it.”

The donation is part of a long string of philanthropic endeavors by James, who has steadily given back to his hometown Akron community since coming into the NBA.

Most notably, James will be paying for more than 1,000 kids to go to college — part of his “I Promise” program. The LeBron James Family Foundation had already helped local kids from third to seventh grade, but his announcement that he would cover tuition for kids who met grade and community service requirements took that a step further.

The exhibit focuses both on Ali’s many accomplishments in his boxing career, as well as his social activism in politics and the community.

“I am overwhelmed by the incredible generosity LeBron James has shown,” Ali’s wife Lonnie said in a statement. “This exhibit will enable children visiting the Smithsonian to learn more about Muhammad’s work outside of the ring, particularly his humanitarian Festus Ezeli Authentic Womens Jersey work and stance on social justice for all people. … I know that if Muhammad was alive today he would be honored.”

Future focus: Where things look better and worse across the NFL

There is no choosing in the NFL. It is not a win-now or win-later league. Outside of maybe the Browns, every team in football went into 2016 thinking that they had a shot at winning a playoff berth this season. Just about every team (again, outside of the Browns) is trying to win over the next seven weeks of the NFL season. (Even the Browns might appreciate a win or two right now.)

Every coach and general manager is under pressure to Jason Hanson Authentic Womens Jersey win now, but there’s also almost always some sort of internal pressure to win later, too. We don’t think about the later part of the calculation because we’re so focused on the day-to-day operations of each team that the bigger picture puts in context. A team can enjoy little success in 2016 and still manage to build the team for the future; others can field a playoff team this year but have to mortgage their future or lower their ceiling.

“My brother sent me a text the other day saying my percentage is up because of my Lasik eye surgery,” Paul said. “I was laughing, but my doctor did the surgery — who was amazing by the way — his other clients, he said their percentages actually went up the next season.”

Could Lasik really explain why Paul is shooting so well? Let’s take a look.

Mike Mularkey’s group is coming off the single best performance of the season; the Football Power Index gave the Titans a game score of 100 for their blowout win over the Packers last week in Nashville. For all the grief Mularkey took for building his “exotic smashmouth” offense (including from me), the Titans have an attack that works for them. They have two useful running backs in Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray, who is having a resurgent season. They may have one of the best pairs of tackles in football at the moment in Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin, which has helped steer open space for Murray & Co.

The jury is still out on developing Marcus Mariota — Mularkey’s offense doesn’t need Mariota to make big plays weekly, but the former Oregon star still struggles under center. Mariota’s QBR is 29th in the league when he takes a snap under center, but when he moves to the shotgun (or pistol), it leaps to sixth. The defense also has fallen to just 27th in DVOA after an impressive start, but they can fix that Jason Jones Authentic Womens Jersey in the offseason by moving on from sub-replacement talent like Perrish Cox at corner. At the very least, there appears to be stability with some hope of promise here for the first time in years. That alone is a plus.

The Packers have made minor changes in the past by reassigning play-calling duties or changing coordinators, but it looks more and more like they need to make a major change to get back to their previous heights. Rodgers isn’t going anywhere, and his presence leaves the Packers with a perennially high floor, but it also seems clear that their ceiling isn’t what it looked to be as recently as September 2015.

There was no downside to that decision — the Ravens would either give up two points or have to punt again after a minimal markoff for a holding penalty.

It’s time the Cubs embrace their true identity: baseball superpower

It has been a few weeks now, and the Chicago Cubs are still World Series champions. And if history is any guide, everything familiar about the identity of the fan base and organization will be erased as the price of that title. The Cubs can no longer mask a century of incompetence with curses, afternoon drinking and low expectations. They’ve always had the resources of a superpower — and now they have to start acting like one.

The Cubs can now go back to being the power they once were, for from 1906 to 1945 Chicago went to the World Series 10 times and won it twice. But the opportunity to shed the underdog image will come at an enormous cost: the identity the franchise has Authentic Devin Smith Jersey cultivated for the past half-century as a great place to start the bachelorette party before the North Side pub crawl kicks into high gear.

Perhaps Chicago’s transition to superpower won’t be as harsh as in Boston, where agony was replaced by pink hats, expensive seats and Authentic Dion Bailey Jersey gentrification (though Wrigleyville already has a leg up on the latter). Maybe the team will maintain its old identity even if it dominates, because so many of its celebrity fans are comedians, and because the beer has always flowed during weekday baseball when everyone else is being killed by office meetings. As expectations undoubtedly rise for the Cubs to stay on top, maybe Chicago will do something truly remarkable: win big while still being best known for having a good time.

Add in three four-hit games and 40 two-hit games, and Seager was second in the National League with 57 multihit games. That’s not second among NL rookies; it’s second among all players in the league. Now that is one heck of a season.

Even with his slower-than-expected April, Seager was the Dodgers’ most consistent offensive performer, producing before most of his teammates, then continuing to deliver when the offense finally hit its stride around midsummer.

He kept on hitting into the postseason, with two home runs in the division series against the Washington Nationals before his bat cooled. He hit just .205 in the playoffs, although he still managed to wedge in a three-hit game in the NLCS, one of his two multihit games in that round.

“You’re going to have your learning curves; it happens to everybody,” Seager said. “It’s going to happen. You have to accept it and make the adjustments and ask for help and not be afraid of asking for advice and not have to think you have to do it all yourself.”

He leaves no avenue for success unexplored. Never has.

Robert Griffin III could be cleared to practice on Wednesday

Quarterback Robert Griffin III could be cleared to return to practice with the Cleveland Browns as early as Wednesday, a league source told ESPN.

Earlier, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported sources told her the team was discussing Griffin’s possible return to practice this week.

The Panthers are fragile up front. Without Kalil and Oher they have struggled in the running game and with protection. They rushed for only 99 yards against the Chiefs’ 27th-ranked run defense, with 54 of that coming from Newton on a season-high 12 carries.

Newton was sacked twice a week Brooks Reed Authentic Womens Jersey after being sacked five times in a 13-10 victory over Los Angeles. The running game produced only 59 yards against the Rams.

That the line has been thinned down to two fourth-round picks (right tackle Daryl Williams and center Gino Gradkowski, who wasn’t drafted by Carolina), a third-round pick (right guard Turner) and two undrafted players (left tackle Mike Remmers and left guard Andrew Norwell) might have something to do with this.

“It’s part of it,” Rivera said. “We’ve Chris Chester Authentic Womens Jersey got guys we feel pretty good about. We’ve just got to make things happen.”

The same thing happened in 2014. The Panthers were decimated by injuries up front early and started 3-8-1. Only when the offensive line solidified did they go on a late four-game winning streak to win the down NFC South.

Perhaps they’ve gotten as much as they can out of that group that then began a 30-game streak of 100 straight games with 100 yards rushing. The Panthers now have failed to top the century mark in three of their past six games.

The record reflects that.

Gettleman loves his big men who he calls “Hog Mollies,” but he’s spent high draft picks only on the defensive side.

It may be time for that to change if the Panthers want to give Newton what he needs to have a long, productive career.

And to avoid moments like the end of a 20-play drive that ultimately may define this season.

Pete Carroll: Rex Ryan should ‘coach his own team’

Rex Ryan’s sideline confrontation with Richard Sherman didn’t sit well with Pete Carroll.

The Buffalo Bills coach castigated the Seattle Seahawks cornerback on Monday night after Sherman reeled in a third-quarter interception. The big play followed a controversial sequence at the end of the first half in which Sherman went offside and ran into Bills kicker Dan Carpenter’s leg but was not called for roughing the kicker.

The defense is looking like a Chase Utley Youth Jersey dominant one. The Ravens roughed up Cody Kessler, Josh McCown and anyone else the Browns wanted to put in at quarterback. Baltimore forced three turnovers and would have shut out the Browns if not for safety Eric Weddle losing Cleveland’s No. 3 tight end in coverage.

The Ravens have one of the best kickers in the league in Justin Tucker. He remains perfect and continues to hit from anywhere on the field, converting field goals of 25 and 40 yards Thursday.

Where the Ravens have concerns is on offense, which sounds a little peculiar considering they piled up 396 yards of total offense against the Browns. But Baltimore was shut out in the first half by the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense, and quarterback Joe Flacco was picked off twice to stall drives. The offensive line is beat up, losing left guard Alex Lewis to an ankle injury after already being without Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda.

The Ravens certainly are not apologizing for leading the Steelers (4-4) by a half game; the Bengals (3-4-1) are right behind.

“They’re having a lot of fun in the locker room,” Flacco said. “One of the toughest things to do in the world is win a game in the NFL. So when you win them, you enjoy them all.”

The Ravens will get a chance to really prove themselves Chuck Klein Youth Jersey Chase Utley Youth Jersey
after a 10-day rest when they play the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 20. Until then, Baltimore has earned the right to be in first place. It’s hardly ever easy, but that’s the Ravens way.

“It’s a huge, huge building block for us,” safety Eric Weddle said. “It gives us a lot of momentum going into next week against one of the best teams in the league.”