Monthly Archives: February 2017

Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr lead NFL injury report

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So it wasn’t as rough as Week 2, but Sunday’s NFL action featured a number of key injuries that will change the depth charts on a number of teams. For the second consecutive week, a Vikings quarterback leads off the injury update. This time it’s rookie Teddy Bridgewater, who injured his ankle while attempting to score from the 1-yard line late in Minnesota’s 41-28 win over Atlanta.

Bridgewater, who had an excellent all-around outing in his first career start, had X-rays that were reportedly negative. He vowed to be ready for this Thursday’s matchup with Green Bay. Early indications are that Bridgewater has suffered a relatively minor sprain, but his status will depend largely upon how much swelling, pain and decrease in range of motion he experiences over the next 24-48 hours. With the short turnaround time between games, Christian Ponder will have to be at the ready to start against the Packers if Bridgewater’s ankle doesn’t heal quickly enough.

The Chiefs are coming off their best performance of the season and are getting a little healthier. Jamaal Charles is expected to play on Monday night after sitting out last week. Alex Smith led an efficient offensive attack last week in the win against Miami. More of the same could help the Chiefs foil the experts’ picks.

Over at USA Today, all seven experts are siding with the Patriots to walk out with a victory. Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post picked the Chiefs, citing New England’s allowance of a league-high 44 pressures on Tom Brady. Five of the eight men of CBS Sports see Kansas City covering the spread, but only John Breech believes the Chiefs will win outright at home.

Here at SB Nation, the Patriots are getting love as evidenced below, although some do believe in Kansas City. For all of our NFL Week 4 picks, go here.
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Kansas City is injured, but is in the process of turning its season around after a 34-15 beating of the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. The Chiefs were surprisingly blown out at home in the season opener, 26-10 by the Tennessee Titans, and lost All-Pro linebacker Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito to Achilles injuries.

It’s easy to tell that this team has a special place in Kraft’s heart

When Taylor underwent surgery, the team sent out a statement saying the quarterback “elected to have surgery.” Now the team appears to be claiming he’s healthy, which could set up a battle if Buffalo decides to move on.

Of course, if the Bills keep Taylor, as Rapoport said is more likely at this stage, that whole paragraph becomes moot.

While other quarterback situations could linger into the summer months, we’ll know whether the Bills are committed to Taylor before St. Patrick’s Day.

Oh, hey, look, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day. The corner spent the season out of football while recovering from ankle surgery and filed a grievance against the Browns, which will be heard on May 16 in Cleveland, per Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. Williams is seeking full payment of his 2016 salary, as well as reimbursement for the cost of his ankle surgery.

On the key moment of New England’s Super Bowl turnaround: “The transformative moment for me was [Julian] Edelman’s catch. When he made that catch I felt really good. Once we tied the game I knew we were going to win.”

It’s easy to tell that this team has a special place in Kraft’s heart, and not just for what had happened at the beginning of the season. It has bolstered an already insane appreciation for Brady, whose legend is growing by the minute in New England. It also has set the bar for Super Bowl comebacks, something we might not see again for decades.

From losing a first-round pick and sustaining almost a million dollars in fines for illegally videotaping opposing teams’ signals from the wrong location back in 2007 to watching quarterback Tom Brady be suspended for four games in 2016 for his role in role in Deflategate, it has not been the smoothest road for the Patriots owner.

Johnson made his first major trade in his new role on Tuesday night

Johnson made his first major trade in his new role on Tuesday night, acquiring Rockets veteran forward Corey Brewer and Houston’s 2017 first-round pick in exchange for veteran guard Lou Williams, according to multiple ESPN sources.

Johnson was drafted by the Lakers in 1979, won five titles with the franchise during the 1980s and recently rejoined the Lakers in an advisory role. Johnson has held positions with the Lakers in the past, including honorary vice president, which he resigned from in June. He has also previously owned shares in the team, which he sold to Dr. Patrick Soon Shiong in 2011.

“It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as president of basketball operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family,” Johnson said in a statement.

How did the Lakers do in their first deal under Magic Johnson? Will Lou Williams help Houston compete in the West?

“Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

Kupchak spent 30 seasons with the Lakers, starting as a player, and was in his 17th as the team’s general manager.

Game Youth Joe Pavelski Jersey Johnson confirmed to Spectrum SportsNet later Tuesday that the search for a new general manager has already begun.

Elite Womens Marshawn Lynch Jersey Trading Donald is likely a non-starter for Los Angeles; a 25-year-old All-Pro is a building block, not trade bait. Then again, so is a 26-year-old All-NBA center. The Kings and Rams aren’t exactly in the same situation just yet, but LA could look to make a move like this (just, you know, better) in 2018 if it looks like their dynamic defensive tackle is not long for the franchise.

Brandon Bostick finds a new NFC North home with Vikings

At the same time, the standard deviations of those estimates are between two and three points per game, so there’s a pretty good chance this effect is nothing more than randomness. More generally, this is why I’m skeptical of record against playoff teams or other similar measures. What they gain in representativeness is outweighed by their loss in reliability. To the extent teams truly have unique abilities against different types of opponents, I don’t think they play enough of those games to truly detect it in most cases.

Back to Utah: Because those games were at home, none of the team’s three recent losses (to the Boston Celtics and LA Clippers, as well as the Dallas Mavericks) actually ranked in the top third in difficulty. And they were bookended by two dominant road wins and a blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers at home Wednesday.

Here’s a graph of the Jazz’s game scores — again, margin of victory adjusted for location and opponent point differential — over the course of the season, along with a five-game average.

Gordon, who came 41 yards shy of breaking the NCAA record for rushing yards in a season this year, seems acutely aware of the perception of his chosen position.
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“There’s a lot running backs out here trying to break that trend,” Gordon said on Thursday. “We’ve been trying to show people all year that we’re being capable of being drafted in the first round. That’s been a lot of our goals and hopefully we can change that.”
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The change would be a dramatic one, considering that in 2014, no running back was taken before the 22nd pick in the second round. That year, the Tennessee Titans selected Bishop Sankey out of Washington at No. 54 overall. In 2013, Giovani Bernard was the first one off the board, taken No. 37 by the Cincinnati Bengals.

How the Boston Red Sox can make Chris Sale even better

As good as Chris Sale was in 2016, the adjustments he made last season could benefit him more now that he¡¯s with the Boston Red Sox.

Sale¡¯s contact rate of 75 percent in 2016 was the second-highest of his career. He threw more hard pitches, which induced more contact. His fastball usage rate was 60 percent last season, compared to 53 percent from 2012-15.

He spread his increased fastball usage around. Sale threw 66 percent first-pitch fastballs last season compared with 58 percent from 2012 to ’15, and 52 percent fastballs with two strikes, compared with 45 percent from 2012 to ’15.

Though he induced more contact, pitching to contact works better when a pitcher has solid defense behind him.

The Chicago White Sox ranked 11th in the American League in defensive runs saved (DRS) in 2016. They had minus-four DRS behind Sale specifically.

They didn¡¯t help him in the pitch-framing department, either. The White Sox ranked last in the majors in strikes looking above average, a statistic that measures success in pitch framing.

Sale ranked 72nd of 74 qualified starters last season in the strikes looking above average metric. This is a statistic that looks at how many strikes a pitcher got versus how many an average pitcher would have gotten, based on the average chance of each pitch being called a strike.

Dave Schultz Limited Jersey How the Red Sox can help

The Red Sox were second in the AL with 54 defensive runs saved last season. They added reigning AL Gold Glove first baseman Mitch Moreland in the offseason. Moreland had seven DRS at first base in 2016; the White Sox¡¯s Jose Abreu had minus-five.

Limited Youth Dennis Wideman Jersey The Red Sox ranked 18th in strikes looking above average, but how that plays out to Sale¡¯s benefit might depend on who the catcher is. Christian Vazquez was 12th in the majors (among 76 qualifiers) in strikes looking rate above average, but Sandy Leon was 56th.

The 49ers who are now coached by Cousins’ former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan

Kirk Cousins, Washington quarterback

Any time a quality quarterback hits the free agent market, he immediately becomes one of the best guys available. If not for Bell’s free agency, Cousins would be the most coveted player who could become available. The 49ers who are now coached by Cousins’ former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, are one team that could be targeting the quarterback in free agency. That alone should push Washington toward signing Cousins to a long-term deal.

Yet the Washington brass still seems indecisive about whether to lock up Cousins, which would cause his cap number for the upcoming season to take off even more, and with three of the most lethal weapons in Cousins’ arsenal (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Vernon Davis) hitting free agency, Scot McCloughan and company need to make a decision sooner rather than later.

But again, if the two sides can’t get a deal done, the franchise tag will certainly be an option again for Washington, which used it last season on Cousins.

Summers is a defensive guy. He had four years of defensive coordinator experience, two at UCF under George O’Leary, and two at Colorado State. So did he at least get the defense going?

Not really. The Eagles fell from 47th to 76th in Def. S&P+. Granted, the secondary had to be completely rebuilt, which is typically the closest thing to kryptonite for a defense, but with the way the offense cratered, Summers could have used a win here.

An experienced front seven was able to do some damage against the run. GASO ranked a decent 55th in Adj. Line Yards, 48th in power success rate, and 33rd in stuff rate.

Southern’s front 7 havoc rate ranked a solid 33rd. The secondary: 123rd. After a decent early defensive showing, opponents managed a 62 percent completion rate and a 144 passer rating over the final nine games of the year.

Johnson is fond of Kupchak, but determined to make an honest assessment of his performance

Game Kids Kyle Schwarber Jersey ALTHOUGH MAGIC IS said to be personally fond of Kupchak, who joined the Lakers’ front office in 1986, about halfway through Magic’s playing career, he’s also determined to make an honest evaluation of the general manager’s performance and abilities in today’s NBA.

A protracted legal battle could be emotionally and materially draining, and it could have a debilitating effect on the Lakers’ ability to operate during the NBA draft and the free-agent signing period this summer.

No decisions will be made in a rush. In their conversation this week, Magic told Jim Buss that he was there to help, but stopped short of engaging in the larger conversation about the future. Magic says he wants to hear how Buss and Kupchak explain their decision-making on draft picks, free agents and trades — both the moves they’ve made and the moves not made. He wants their side of the story.

It’s about a prisoner of war in Vietnam who was locked in solitary confinement for years. To pass the time, he came up with the idea of playing a round of golf every day in his mind. He had never swung a golf club in his life, but he knew it was something that could keep his mind busy for four or five hours at a time. One day, he got rescued and decided to go play his first real round of golf.

Authentic Butch Goring Jersey “And he shot 2 over,” Brooks says.

Really?

“Yes,” Brooks says, with his eyes stretching from ear to ear. “My high school coach told me this 30 years ago, and I’ve heard that story so many times.”

A quick internet search reveals that the tale first appeared in a book in 1975 and later popped up in “A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It’s one of the most retold inspirational stories out there.

Spander was unable to attend Shanahan’s first news conference

He received a contract extension before the 2015 season, but caught only 11 passes for 67 yards and was active for just seven games as he fell out of favor in the Vikings’ offense.

The Vikings had receivers who could play multiple positions as well as on special teams, and the emergence of Adam Thielen in particular helped push Wright to the margins of the offense. The Vikings will have a decision to make on Thielen, who’s a restricted free agent, but they’ll likely push to keep him, which means the 27-year-old Wright could again find himself on the outside looking in.
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He has a cap figure of $3.16 million for 2017, but only $800,000 of that is guaranteed. He could be moving on this spring, and a fresh start might be the best thing for him.

“The worst part about it is I am a forgetful person, besides football,” Shanahan said. “My wallet, I lose regularly. All the quarterbacks, my wife, every friend I’ve ever had, they’re like, ‘Of course, you lost the gameplan.’ I’m like, ‘No I didn’t! Someone jacked me, I promise.’

“No one believed me.”

Eventually, the backpack was returned with everything intact. Shanahan looks back at it and laughs now.

“I messed with Art on that,” Shanahan said, chuckling. “‘What, do you work for [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick or something?’ He didn’t get my joke, though.”

Spander was unable to attend Shanahan’s first news conference. He was tending to his other sporting passion: covering the AT&T pro-am golf tournament at Pebble Beach but they will be reunited soon enough.

Game Kids Ryan O’Reilly Jersey “I was waiting to see him,” Shanahan said. “We have a bond now.”

Vote: Who was the biggest snub in this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame?

There had never been two running backs inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the same year until the class of 2017 was announced on Saturday night. Both LaDanian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis were selected along with Kurt Warner, Kenny Easley, Jason Taylor, Morten Andersen and Jerry Jones. Andersen paves the way as the first kicker in the Modern Era ever chosen.

Manny Ramirez Authentic Jersey One of the biggest surprise snubs of the night might arguably be Terrell Owens, who was in his second year as one of the finalists. His numbers shout Hall of Fame; so, what’s the deal? Well, Owens had trouble sticking with teams despite his unbelievable reception numbers. He played for five teams over 15 seasons with 15,934 receiving yards (second-highest all time) and 153 receiving touchdowns (third-highest all time).

Kyle Palmieri Authentic Jersey Among other big snubs? Joe Jacoby and Alan Faneca. Jacoby’s numbers should let him strut into the hall, with Faneca’s numbers not too far behind. But with the competition of the two, it made making the list that much harder.

Jacoby has been on the ballot for a whopping 19 years and was a finalist for the second time. Jacoby started 148 of his 170 regular-season games and appeared in 21 playoff games. He also helped the Washington Redskins win three Super Bowls. Faneca was a six-time All-Pro player with a Super Bowl ring. He started 201 games.

John Lynch snagged the GM position for the San Francisco 49ers this week, but that wasn’t coupled with a Hall of Fame selection. Lynch was a finalist for the fourth time and missed the list despite accumulating a Super Bowl ring, nine Pro Bowl nods and 191 career starts.

So who do you think was the biggest snub for this year’s Hall of Fame inductees? Cast your vote now!