Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Bills’ defensive performance was strong, if not up to the Texans’ standards

The Niners went into their matchup with the Eagles badly in need of a big win after enduring rumors and intrigue this week surrounding Jim Harbaugh’s hold on his team, the locker room and his job.
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The San Francisco defense came up big for Harbs, suffocating a previously explosive Eagles offense to the tune of 213 total yards and 3.8 yards per play. The Eagles, who led the NFL in rushing last season, could only manage 22 yards on 12 rushes. Nick Foles looked out of rhythm and out of sorts all game, throwing two picks while passing for 195 yards on 21 of 43 attempts (48 percent). Could this be a jumpstart for a San Francisco defense that has struggled early on this season?
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As for the Niners’ offense, the run game clicked on all cylinders as they went for 218 yards on 42 attempts, but the passing game was a mixed bag. Colin Kaepernick continued to flash with brilliant plays, only to contrast them with ugly throws and poor clock management.

Kap went from making a brilliant improvisational throw like this …

The Bills didn’t get much help from their sophomore quarterback. Manuel made a clutch play to find Mike Williams for an 80-yard touchdown that pulled the Bills within three points of the Texans, 20-17, in the fourth quarter. Take out that play, however, and Manuel managed just 145 yards passing on 43 attempted passes — that’s 3.37 yards per attempt.

The Bills’ defensive performance was strong, if not up to the Texans’ standards. The Texans’ running game was anemic, and though Ryan Fitzpatrick was more efficient than Manuel, he wasn’t necessarily more effective. Fitzpatrick threw just one touchdown to two interceptions.

The Bills didn’t have Watt, however. The former Wisconsin walk-on was perhaps the biggest game changer in the NFL on the day.

Watt was everywhere on the day. Though he didn’t record a sack, he racked up seven quarterback hits as part of the Texans 16 on the day. Watt must be game planned for, as much as any player in the league. If we were to give the MVP trophy at the quarter-season mark, Watt would be given serious consideration.

DeMeco Ryans named to Niners’ coaching staff

As the Niners continue to work feverishly to catch up with the rest of the league on offseason activities, Kyle Shanahan’s coaching staff is taking shape.

San Francisco announced the addition of seven new assistants to the staff: John Benton (offensive line), Daniel Bullocks (assistant defensive backs), Michael Clay (strength and conditioning assistant), Stan Kwan (assistant special teams), Vince Oghobaase (assistant defensive line), Adam Stenavich (assistant offensive line) and DeMeco Ryans (defensive quality control).

Jennings started 12 of 13 games played in 2016 but had his snaps heavily cut into by Paul Perkins, especially down the stretch when the team began to trust the rookie more. Jennings compiled just 593 yards last season, but earned a miserable 3.3 yards per carry average. He never topped 875 yards in three seasons with the Giants. Cutting Jennings saved Big Blue $2.5 million in salary-cap space.

After being selected in the seventh round in 2009 by the Jaguars, Jennings has been a career committee back in Jacksonville, Oakland and New York. Turning 32 next month, Jennings said he still believes he can play, even if some doubters believe his eight-year pro career is over.

“Everybody’s going to have opinions,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of people from the couch that have ideas, the Twitter world, Instagram and social media. But for me, I have to be able to look into the mirror every day.

Jennings added that he’s hungry to prove he still has gas left in the tank.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “And when you have a chip on your shoulder and you got the work ethic and you combine those two, you’re going to be successful.”

Reminder that the Nationals got Ross in that same Trea Turner deal

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Those are good, valuable seasons! Yet they¡¯re so, so underwhelming compared to the Stephen Strasburg Spectacle that¡¯s usually on every fifth day, where a mythological pitching beast shows us all the wonders of physical form and the upper limits of athletic ability. Max Scherzer has been roughly as valuable for the Nationals over the last two years as Strasburg has been over the last four.

This is the season, then. My evidence is this: dunno, seems right.
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I¡¯m not selling you on this, am I? OK, fine, then all of the above optimism, but shoveled in the direction of Joe Ross, if you prefer. But after a couple seasons of Max Scherzer being lonely at the top, this is finally the year that Scherzer/Roark/Strasburg/Gonzalez/Ross is as ridiculously productive as it feels like it should be.

Reminder that the Nationals got Ross in that same Trea Turner deal, just because.

The ACC¡¯s total remains at 10, as Syracuse falls out, as Georgia Tech won the first of two late meetings with the Orange in Atlanta on Sunday night. Clemson replaces the Orange, even after a close loss at Miami on Saturday afternoon dropped the Tigers to 4-10 in the ACC. If non-conference scheduling matters, which is a safe assumption thanks to what we learned during the Committee¡¯s sneak preview, then Brad Brownell¡¯s squad will get a serious look. Four RPI top 50 wins, including non-league ones over South Carolina and UNC Wilmington help, as do victories over SEC bid contenders Georgia and Alabama.

2016 NFL Combine results: 40-yard dash times for offensive linemen

Limited Mens Ted Ginn Jr Jersey The 40-yard dash draws more attention than any other workout or drill at the NFL Scouting Combine, regardless of what position happens to be taking part. For offensive linemen, the most important drills are those which measure explosiveness of the lower body and strength in general — the position-specific drills and bench press always get plenty of attention.
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But people still sure do love it when offensive linemen get out there and run the 40-yard dash. While the offensive linemen are typically the slowest of the positions at the combine and it’s easy to make fun when watching them run, they’ll still obliterate the average joe when it comes to the drill.

Agility and strength are much more important than speed, but that didn’t stop most of the top offensive line prospects from running it this year. The slowest player was Brett Boyko of UNCL, who ran a 5.60, while the fasted player was Ali Marpet, who dipped just below five seconds at 4.98 seconds. Top prospects like Brandon Scherff and T.J. Clemmings managed it in 5.05 and 5.14 seconds, respectively. Both of those times are on the high end.

It all set up the game itself, where questions of whether Westbrook would even pass to Durant were legitimate. As Westbrook made his way to check in about midway through the opening quarter, the building buzzed. It took only about a minute before Westbrook gave Durant the eyes.

Durant made a cut across the lane, Westbrook fired a pass his way, cut behind it and Durant lobbed it up for a Westbrook dunk. “He was open, so I threw him the lob,” Durant told sideline reporter David Aldridge at the half. A timeout was called shortly after, and as the two made their way to the bench, led by DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green, a mock cheer broke out. Someone threw water on Durant. It was clear: The ice appeared to have been broken. The awkwardness was real and felt by everyone around All-Star Weekend, nobody more so than the players.

Jonathan Villar making switch to second base for Brewers

Limited Bruce Irvin Jersey After playing only 14 games at second base in his brief major league career, Jonathan Villar better get used to it. He will man the position for the Milwaukee Brewers moving forward.

The 25-year-old Dominican burst onto the scene for Milwaukee last season, hitting .285 with 19 home runs, 63 RBIs and 38 doubles. He led the majors in stolen bases with 62.

“Our hope is, and I really believe, that this is going to be the best position for him on the field,” manager Craig Counsell said about Villar’s potential at second as the Brewers gathered for their first full-squad workout Friday.

It’s not that you didn’t win, but that the system is flawed. And though it may be true — that every goal should be worth the same — that belief expends great effort clutching at straws. Losing on away goals is the Arsenal of defeats. The fourth place is like a trophy of losses.

Limited Charcandrick West Jersey Beating Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern, the eventual Champions League winners, 0-2 at their own stadium. Needing three goals to progress after, and this is a shocker, a disastrous first leg, Olivier Giroud scored within the first three minutes of the game. But that’s not enough. Arsenal must take you to the brink, only winning by one goal would have been merciful to Arsenal fans. Three goals were needed, so it is only reasonable that Laurent Koscielny scores in the 86th minute to dare the fans to imagine the possibility of another goal. That dreaded flash of hope again. Maybe this would be the time that the elusive goal that sends Arsenal through finally happens. It wasn’t.

Instead of being the guy, he became just a guy. At first, folks wrote it off as an ordinary slump. After all, Harper had always been a streaky hitter, and MVPs don’t just suddenly go in the tank. But bad days begat bad weeks, which begat bad months, which begat …

Russia beating Turkey 42-0 in hockey ranks as one of the most impressive sports blowouts ever

Russia played Turkey at the European Youth Olympic Festival and the result was one of the most impressive sports beat downs of all time. After 60 minutes of hockey, Russia won 42-0. Video of the game speaks for itself.

There is no way in hell this game was remotely fair. Turkish Hockey Federation president Bulent Akay was quick to explain why his country was defeated so easily and why jokes were unfair.

“These guys are the national team of the future,” Akay added, noting that whereas 87,000 children play ice hockey in Russia just 579 play in Turkey.

So yeah, Russia has 150 times the number of kids playing hockey — this math isn’t tough to work out. Enough about why Turkey lost, let’s appreciate how it happened.

We’re not here to argue that. My job today is to do something different, something unexpected. I’m here to argue that of all the teams in baseball, the Cardinals deserve a unique brand of sympathy. This isn’t just a team losing one of its best young pitchers right before the season starts, which is horrific, regardless of the team. This is a team that loses one of its best pitchers every year.

No team should have to deal with this, and yet the Cardinals have come through these unforeseen quicksand pits with division titles, 100-win seasons, and even a championship. Part of the reason, again, that cardinalfreude can be so amusing is that they won’t stop winning. There’s always a Stephen Piscotty. When the old Allen Craig breaks down, they send him into the shop and rebrand him “Randal Grichuk.” They’ll do the same thing with the new model.

they shook off defenders on comeback routes and they got out of their breaks on out patterns

The veteran receiver is coming off his first 1,000-yard-receiving season, which was also the Rams’ first since 2007, and will now be an unrestricted free agent. Chances are that the Rams, now under the direction of the offensive-minded Sean McVay, will move on. They’ll prioritize other targets in free agency, perhaps the likes of DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Stills and the real prize, Alshon Jeffery. Britt may be better off moving on, too. He’s an eight-year veteran, coming off his third season with the Rams, and may want to pair with a more established quarterback than Jared Goff.
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His limited route tree is a big factor in why he wasn’t more involved in the offense. Perriman ran 320 routes this past season and caught a pass on just 10.3 percent of them, which ranked 64th in the league among wide receivers with at least 30 catches. He is more of a project than the Ravens anticipated. Coaches had to start with the basics with Perriman, teaching him how to properly line up in a stance.

The Ravens’ top receivers in the past — specifically Smith and Derrick Mason — were able to get open on their route-running ability and didn’t rely solely on their speed. They were able to get off the line for slants, they shook off defenders on comeback routes and they got out of their breaks on out patterns.

“The thing that I like most about it is now I know exactly what I need to work on,” Perriman said. “I am excited.”

Youth Jaelen Strong Jersey Ross: “So what it was … I walked up, you know, I was finna perform and do a few records. So I walked up where [DJ] Sam Sneak was at, and of course, I began drinking again. I been drinking since the listening event. I went from the Belaire Rose — I had some nice Belaire Rose — and I had some pineapples and strawberries in it. That was excellent.

“And then, you know, when I went to the other event, I switched it up, and went to the brown, you know I mean?”

NHL records highest All-Star Game ratings since 2004 with move back to NBC

Michael Hutchinson Limited Jersey It¡¯s not a surprise that the NHL All-Star Game took a backseat to the NFL Pro Bowl in terms of ratings last weekend. After all, the NFL dominates everything in the United States, from the Pro Bowl to the lead up to the Super Bowl.

Even so, the NHL gained ground on themselves this year all thanks to a move to broadcast television. According to NBC Sports Group, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game had 2.28 million viewers across both NBC and its digital platforms, with 2.262 million of those coming from NBC alone.

This year was the NHL¡¯s first All-Star Game broadcast on national TV since 2004 when ABC held the rights. The straight viewership alone went up 42 percent from last year, and the overnight rating ¡ª which measures viewership that occurs on the same day of the original broadcast ¡ª reached 1.6, also the NHL¡¯s highest All-Star rating since 2004.

Viewership hit a peak at 2.529 million while the Metropolitan Division and the Pacific Division clashed in the All-Star Tournament final. It¡¯s not a surprise either that the league¡¯s biggest markets for the game were Pittsburgh (6.1 rating) and Buffalo (5.3 rating).

Elite Mens Michael Floyd Jersey The move back to broadcast clearly helped the NHL, even more so than last year¡¯s success spurred in part by the John Scott effect that gave NBCSN their highest-ever All-Star ratings.

Fleury, 32, is the more likely of the pair to be shipped off by the deadline. Murray represents the future of the Penguins in net and already has a hand in bringing a Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh at 22 years old. Homegrown goaltenders are hard to produce within a system and even harder to find on the market, so moving a centerpiece like Murray this young would be a disastrous move on the Penguins¡¯ part.

the Mack deal ended up being a no-brainer and arguably the single-most important free-agent acquisition of last offseason

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“We went through every department along with culture in football ops and discussed, at multi layers, how we wanted to run this organization from a football-operations standpoint. And it was the best thing that we could have done, because there’s never any ambiguity about it. And if we ever do, we go back to our corporate-knowledge platform and discuss about everything that we’ve discussed and how we built the team. And if it needs to be adjusted, it’s adjusted together. Again, I’m so proud of that.”

Quinn pointed to a number of instances when it was as if two minds thought as one. Of course, the Mack deal ended up being a no-brainer and arguably the single-most important free-agent acquisition of last offseason. Mack signed a five-deal for $45 million, with $28.5 million guaranteed.

Al Macinnis Jersey “What’s nice about it is, Thomas has a very clear understanding of the financial side and what we could add, where, for me, that’s not my strength,” Quinn said. “I can tell you how we use them. But he’s the one that’s educated me on [the cap]. With my background as an assistant coach, you don’t deal with any of that. He was really the one that helped guide my thinking of ‘This, or this.’ So that made it clear for me.”

Minnesota’s Super Bowl hopes were dashed in the Wild Card Round after Blair Walsh missed a potential game-winning 27-yard field goal against the Seattle Seahawks. However, the Vikings were a covering machine in 2015, including in that playoff loss (Vikings lost 10-9 as 4.5-point underdogs). Eleven of the Vikings’ 17 games had point spreads of three points or fewer, with Minnesota going 9-2 ATS in those games. Only one game featured a spread of more than a touchdown — a Week 14 game in which they lost 23-20 as 10.5-point underdogs against Arizona. It looked like the Vikings would continue to be covering machines in 2016, as they started 5-0 overall and ATS, but they only covered four of their final 11 games this season.