The Browns’ 2018 schedule features another uneasy path for a franchise coming off an 0-16 season that set a rebuild in motion with new GM John Dorsey in the offseason.

Bottom line: This is Cleveland, so there are no easy games on the schedule. If you look at the first six weeks of the last two seasons, Cleveland had six one-score losses. If the Browns can flip one or two of those into close victories regardless of competition, it could build some momentum in the right direction. Here is a not-so-fun fact for Browns fans: Cleveland is 1-18 in openers since returning to the NFL in 1999, and that includes 13 straight Week 1 losses and an 0-14 record at home. A Week 1 victory would be a giant step in the right direction. Record prediction: 4-12

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Rosen tried to decline the invitation to the NFL Player Association’s “Rookie Premiere” so he could stay in Arizona and practice, but was told he couldn’t.

That decision sparked some back-and-forth on Twitter between ESPN and the union over a report that one player wanted to, and created some confusion about what could and couldn’t be done by players.

The event is voluntary, but players are told that by rule, they can’t work out with their teams during the event if they choose to skip it. (Which keeps teams from making them “volunteer” for their “voluntary” workouts instead.) But the CBA says that teams must permit rookies to attend the event, and doesn’t specify that they can’t be at the team facility if they don’t go. There’s a side agreement between the league and the union on the matter, and the league sends out a memo each year saying that players invited to the event can’t practice during that weekend.

“They’re new members of the NFL and say, ‘Hey, I want to stick around and practice,’” said Ahmad Nassar, president of NFL Players, Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the union. “We understand that and so does the NFL. The reality is we can’t force them to come.”
cardinals_001

Leave a reply

The Cleveland Indians have struggled on offense to begin the season, only six times (in 23 games through April 26) scoring as many as five runs, the third-fewest such instances in the majors, but things could be looking up for their bats entering Week 5.

That’s great news for Jose Ramirez, a .320/.363/.560 hitter against lefties since the beginning of last season, Francisco Lindor, .298/.356/.512 in the same split, and Edwin Encarnacion, .228/.382/.426. For those seeking a weekly plug-in — especially those going with the streaming-catchers strategy in ESPN standard leagues — Yan Gomes (96.6 percent available) is well worth adding considering his .248/.333/.504 slash line against lefties since last season.

The then-36-year-old offensive coordinator hugged his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Tim Tebow, one last time and left for Starkville, Mississippi, where he’d settle in for the long haul of rebuilding a floundering Mississippi State program that had averaged less than four wins in its previous eight seasons. Its facilities were widely regarded as among the worst in the SEC, and the roster was in need of a significant upgrade, having failed to sniff a top-25 finish in any of its previous three recruiting classes. And if all that wasn’t daunting enough, Mullen’s wife, Megan, was due to give birth to their first child in a matter of weeks.

He has a special live-dribble package, and his ability to go get his midrange jumper at will, along with his positional size, have allowed him to remain a scoring threat in the half court despite playing almost exclusively inside the arc.

He maintains fairly sound mechanics when he’s in his comfort zone — in or just outside the paint with the ability to use his dribble to generate rhythm and confidence. While his release point is still different than when he shot 41.3 percent from 3 with Washington, his progress is noticeable, and the results should continue to improve as his career progresses.

The limited range is hurting Fultz more off the ball. He rarely spots up beyond the 3-point line, either diving to the rim or finding a body to screen. His body language doesn’t exactly suggest that J.J. Redick should fire a quick swing, even though he’s wide open:

Where Mississippi State was a slow build that allowed Mullen to lie in the weeds of the SEC and compete at a high level once every two or three years, Florida is the opposite. It isn’t a “developmental program,” as he described his previous job. With an abundance of resources, history and expectations, he had to hit the ground running in his return to Gainesville.
canucks_001

Leave a reply

The Cowboys play in the NFC East, but there’s definitely a Southern feel to their 2018 schedule. Dallas will face all the teams from the NFC and AFC South, adding five 2017 playoff teams to the slate in addition to Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia twice.

“Pop, if you’re watching out there, we love you. Our whole team and coaching staff has been thinking about you every day. Your team reflected who you are tonight. They battled every step of the way and that was a big-time fight and we’re lucky to get out of here.”

Durant led the Warriors with 25 points. Thompson scored 24 — including 17 in the first half — and Draymond Green set a playoff high with 19 rebounds to go along with 17 points.

Ginobili, who turns 41 in July, finished with 10 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. He shot 3-of-7 from the field, hitting 1-of-4 from 3-point range. He can pick up the option on his contract and return to the franchise for which he has played since 2002-03 or perhaps retire.

“I’ve been contemplating retirement forever,” Ginobili said. “Nothing has changed. I just don’t know. I’ll let a month, two months go by and then I’ll see how I feel. I’m not the type of guy that makes decisions on the fly, when you’re upset, hurt or whatever. I usually let it sink in and see how it feels.”

Said Kerr, Ginobili’s former Spurs teammate: “I’m hoping that’s not his last game. I just told him I hope he keeps playing because he’s been just amazing for the league and so fun to watch night in and night out.”

Plumlee is expected to return to basketball activities this summer and be ready for training camp in the fall. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists for a Nuggets team that narrowly missed out on the postseason.

The 28-year-old Plumlee was acquired by Denver as part of a deal in February 2017 that sent center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Plumlee signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Nuggets last September.

Bucks center Thon Maker smiled while acknowledging there are still moments in games when Antetokounmpo makes plays that his teammates are in awe of.

“He showed that tonight,” Maker said. “He proved to himself he’s comfortable where he’s at. He’s humble, he knows what he’s capable of. He said it this morning that he’s going to take shots he’s comfortable with, not shots he don’t work on. I said it this morning as well; you rarely see superstars say that. They say they’re taking all the shots, they’re going to put the team on their shoulders. There’s ways to do that, but he knows where he wants the ball, where he wants to shoot the ball from. He knows what he works on, and he has a game plan. So you trust a guy like that. You trust that you’re going to get the ball back to him.”
dolphins_096

Leave a reply

NBC provided a tremendous third-look replay Friday, one showing Bruin Brad Marchand’s skate lifting the blade of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s stick as Patrice Bergeron scored the game’s first goal. “Best seat in the house” promise fulfilled!

After the commercials, we were told the play stands. The Packers next kicked the PAT. The game then again was unplugged for commercials. Imagine sitting in the rain in Green Bay for that!

“We think that the rule is in a good place right now,” NFL officiating director Dean Blandino told the NFL Network last week. “Maybe there is another tweak that we can make in the rule to make it easier to understand. But I don’t anticipate any major changes.”

The NFL’s long-overdue return to Los Angeles becomes reality this offseason when the Rams hold their first workouts in the city since getting approval in January to move back to the place they abandoned 21 years ago.

I wanted desperately to stick with my previous mock selection of Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes, but the signing of Mike Glennon eliminated the need for a QB like Mahomes at No. 3. The Bears utilized free agency to upgrade at safety (Quentin Demps), wide receiver (Kendall Wright, Reuben Randle and Markus Wheaton), cornerback (Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper) and quarterback (Glennon).

He played just three games last season because of a knee injury. Peterson last rushed for 1,000 yards in 2015 when he had 1,485. In his career, he’s had seven 1,000-yard seasons, including 2,097 in 2012.

If the Falcons are suffering from a Super Bowl hangover, someone forgot to tell tight end Austin Hooper, who caught two passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

If the Bears have proven one thing under John Fox, it’s that no one knows how to draft late-round running backs better than they do. Last year, Jordan Howard was one of the top rookies in the NFL after being selected in the fifth round of the draft. This year, the Bears have a budding star in Tarik Cohen, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.

The Falcons had no answer for the shifty Cohen, who totaled 113 yards from scrimmage (five carries for 66 yards on the ground and eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown through the air). Cohen must have been watching the Chiefs-Patriots game and taking notes on Thursday when Kareem Hunt played, because Hunt was the only offensive rookie who was more impressive in Week 1.

“In this case, they had a team that potentially stole three Super Bowls, and they issued a verdict in four days. Does that sound like the NFL was trying to get to the bottom of anything?”nike-youth-cardinals-039

Leave a reply

At the same time, San Jose backup Aaron Dell has permitted only two goals in three consecutive contests, all wins. While we don’t expect the Sharks to recklessly topple their goaltending hierarchy, you might see a little more Dell and a little less Jones while the club’s No. 1 regains his rhythm. Shelf Jones for other netminding fantasy options, if possible, until then, and by all means enlist Dell in relevant spot-start and daily fantasy situations. The Sharks have a back-to-back set with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks this Thursday and Friday.

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns (23.2 percent): While Josh Gordon continues to draw the headlines in Cleveland with good reason, Coleman is also a wide receiver with promise. While he went catchless in Week 13, Coleman has at least 9.4 points in PPR scoring in the other three games since he returned from a hand injury. In a deeper league or a 12 team league in which you start three wide receivers, Coleman has value.

Tis the season … for NFL coaches and general managers to be fired. The onslaught started this week with the Giants’ duo of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese becoming the first out the door.

New York is a surprising team to be leading the firing charge. The Giants are similar to the Steelers as family-held teams that believe in organizational stability and are never quick to make changes. But co-owner and team president John Mara had seen enough of the quagmire his team had fallen into, especially in light of McAdoo’s poorly executed benching of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
eagles_035_be44ad623b1f93a9-180x180

Leave a reply

For all the talk about Bryce Harpers knee and Jake Arrietas hamstring, the piece of flesh that will have the most to say about which National League team reaches the World Series might be a postcard-size portion of Clayton Kershaws lower back.
Youth Florida Panthers #68 Jaromir Jagr Reebok White Away Authentic NHL Jersey
“My situation was better because I had a year to redshirt and I was able to be in the playbook,” Francois said. “It’s a tough situation for him. Going into battle not knowing a lot of the playbook because you just got here is a tough task. Seeing him battle and have that grit amazes me.”

Last season, Francois led the Seminoles to 10 wins, directed six fourth-quarter rallies (including four wins) and threw for the fifth-most yards in school history (3,350).

“At first the injury was very devastating and detrimental to me and my family. We worked so hard to get here,” Francois said. “Every athlete gets hurt, though, and you have to take the bitter with the sweet.”

On Tuesday, right at the NFL trade deadline, word got out that the Panthers had depleted Newtons cache of offensive options even more. No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, out, to the Bills. Two draft picks, in. Technically, it was a trade; Jakub Kindl Authentic Jersey or would have fit, too.

Go figure. There were teams with extra receivers either being shopped around or drawing interest (hey, Steelers and Dolphins). The team that barely has any to spare lets one of its more important ones go.

Drake averaged 5.4 yards per rush as a rookie, but in limited chances this season the Alabama product has really struggled, albeit in a mere 10 rushes. Since Williams is more of a pass-catcher, the Dolphins should make this a time-share, which fantasy owners absolutely despise. If choosing which one to roster in fantasy, Drake should go first, but it seems unlikely he’ll earn weekly flex status anytime soon, Authentic Markus Granlund Jersey so one might simply be better off ignoring the Dolphins.

Leave a reply

It wasn’t too long ago that the vultures were circling over Snead as Goff was labeled a probable bust, but the GM was given a reprieve by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and executive VP of football ops/COO Kevin Demoff. Snead has rewarded their confidence.

The Rams are the surprise team of the year thus far, sitting atop the NFC West at 3-1 with defending division-champion Seattle coming to LA for a Week 5 showdown. Few saw this coming from a team that went 4-12 last season, fired its coach and produced one of the NFL’s lowest-rated quarterbacks in Goff. Not helping was the fact that Snead had traded a king’s ransom to the Titans in order to move up to the top spot in last year’s draft for the right to select the Cal QB ahead of Carson Wentz, who had a far superior rookie season.

So Andy Dalton is back to his old streaky tricks, good in low-pressure games against bad defenses. Still, the Bengals’ inability to run with Joe Mixon or anybody else will make it hard on the QB to win more meaningful games.

Don’t be surprised if Jay Cutler, Jay Ajayi and the rest of the offense start to figure things out quickly in Miami. The pieces are there; the play-calling needs to get more aggressive to take advantage of Cutler’s ability to get the ball deep to DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills.

Here comes Mitchell Trubisky and a chance for the Bears to be more effective offensively to compliment a defense that isn’t terrible.

Jacoby Brissett has given the team consistent fight while Andrew Luck is out, but unfortunately, he can’t do anything to help the defense.
jets_044

Leave a reply

The Browns, whose players participated in some of the most visible national anthem protests in the preseason, took a novel approach in their season opener against the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Before the national anthem, the stadium’s video screens played a video discussing racial inequality in the U.S. Afterward, the players stood on the field for the national anthem.

Haden had been under contract for $11.1 million this season, $11.2 million next season and $10.5 million in 2019, though he was not subject to waivers and was free to sign with another team beginning Wednesday after 4 p.m. ET.

Haden missed a number of games over the past two years with various injuries, including a concussion, finger injury and a groin issue. Still, the 28-year-old was expected to be a key component in the Browns’ defense.

Instead, he’ll face his former team Sunday at 1 p.m. ET when the Steelers visit Cleveland.

Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season isn’t finished, but after Sunday’s results, it’s not too early to overreact to what happened in the opening games. Every team that won is not headed to the Super Bowl. Every team that lost is not headed to the No. 1 overall draft pick.

In some cases, there is legitimate cause for panic. In others, there is some reason to celebrate.

The rest lie somewhere in between. Here’s supporting or debunking the most popular overreaction for each team.11

Leave a reply

NFL teams have made 30 trades since Aug. 1, more than twice the average for the same period over the previous five years. There are multiple reasons why.

Who will be the first QB to lose his starting gig? Who’s playing for a big contract next offseason? We checked in with NFL execs for their thoughts on which quarterbacks have the most to prove heading into the regular season.

Predictions! That’s right. The NFL season is mere days away, which means it’s time to zip ahead four months and tell you what will happen in 2017 so you don’t have to go to the trouble of waiting to find out.

Many players, coaches and rookies will have great years, but you’re wondering which ones will have the best years. And we’re here to tell you.

A crack panel of our experts pulled their minds together to try to predict who will win the league’s end-of-season awards. Below are the top picks for everything except MVP, which we’ll reveal in the preseason edition of our NFL MVP Poll on Wednesday. For now, you can whet your appetite with these tasty morsels.

Methodology: We tabbed the panel of 12 experts who will vote in this season’s NFL MVP poll. Each nominated their top three candidates for the six awards included below. First-place votes are worth three points, second-place votes are worth two, and third-place votes are worth one. Reminder: These are just predictions.

The most unexpected element in Week 1 for the Chiefs was the superb all-around play of rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt rushed for 148 yards, caught passes for 98 more and scored three touchdowns. Priest Holmes is the only other Chiefs player to hit those numbers all in the same game. While Hunt can’t continue that pace, he can be a consistent threat for the Chiefs. “I saw probably the same thing . . . at camp every day,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “He’s a load and you know he is talented and he’s a smart kid, which helps in that position.’’
steelers_131

Leave a reply

Ducks fly together, and so do the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. On Tuesday, the Wings announced one of many themed nights scheduled for their upcoming season, and jerseys from Disney’s famous hockey movie that spawned an actual NHL team are one of them.

These jerseys, nearly identical to the movie jersey with a replica of their mascot, Slappy, instead of the famous duck, will be worn on Dec. 22 against the Toledo Walleye.

Coach Jack Del Rio typically keeps to his policy of not commenting on injuries and the Raiders are not required to file an injury report with the league until Wednesday.

— Quarterback Derek Carr had his jersey No. 4 retired Saturday night at halftime of Fresno State’s 66-0 home win win over Incarnate Word.

“I can’t tell you how much this means to me,” Carr said during a halftime ceremony. “I dreamed of this moment as a little boy, and now it’s finally happened.”

Carr holds 27 school passing records as well as 21 record in the Mountain West Conference.

But, he said, he was “very logical about it all.” Even with his rather limited knowledge of NFL football, he knew punters were drafted rarely, and that the entire league might have four or five job openings a year. He prepared himself for a handful of workouts and perhaps a few tryouts. There was no major draft party.angels_024

Leave a reply