Monthly Archives: January 2017

Things went downhill from Week 3, when the Packers lost Jared Cook to an ankle injury

“I knew that 4-6 was going to be a big deal to our local media, to the national media, because we’re a team that’s expected to make the playoffs every year,” Rodgers said. “I just wanted to reassure guys in the locker room that to me, everything was still in front of us. Sometimes, you need to kind of infuse confidence into a situation where to most people it would seem like there’s a total lack of confidence and no light at the end of the tunnel.

“I knew what I was doing. I was hoping to take some of the pressure off of some of the guys and put it on myself. I knew I had to play better. And to me, when I said, ‘run the table,’ it was a wake-up for me as well that I’ve got to get my stuff together and I’ve got to play better because they’re expecting me to play better than I’m playing right now.”

Things went downhill from Week 3, when the Packers lost Jared Cook to an ankle injury.

By making those decisions, though, coaches can have an enormous impact on winning and losing games. All the work a coach puts in during those 80-hour weeks can be for naught if he makes a hyperconservative call and swings his win expectancy negatively by 30 to 40 percent on game day. There’s no other equivalent thing a coach could do during the week that would be similarly damaging, outside of telling his starting quarterback to stay home or preventing anybody from watching film.

Let’s take a step back through the recent history of the four coaches remaining in this year’s playoffs and sort through who we would want on the sidelines if it were our favorite team lining up in the conference championship game.

To be clear, though, this is strictly an analysis of decision-making. We’re not arguing about who does a better job of installing an offense or teaching players fundamentals, because that happens out of view. And with these four, there’s an obvious candidate in first place and an obvious one in last place, even if his team came through despite some sloppy decision-making last week …

Matt Ryan led the NFL in Total QBR for the first time in his career

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“Instead of getting loaded down thinking, ‘In this coverage I’m going here, in that coverage I’m going there,’ with so many hybrid players, so many variations of schemes and so much pressure up front and all the things that defenses can do, the way to combat all that is to see spots,” Ryan said.

A lot of people ripped him for that statement. It seemed like a regression or a waving of the white flag — nonsense that a spread quarterback would say. What quarterback reinvents himself by announcing that he no longer reads defenses? But when the season started, and Ryan began to light up opponents at a rate unprecedented in his career, it was clear that this wasn’t a concession at all. It was a breakthrough.

The Chiefs will add a running back to compete for playing time. Unless Jamaal Charles demonstrates he can be the same back he was before his most recent torn ACL, the Chiefs will draft a fast, versatile back. Their limitations in the backfield, particularly in not having someone who could outrun defenders, were on display this season without Charles. That’s in part why Tyreek Hill played some out of the backfield late in the season. — Adam Teicher

The Raiders will let Matt McGloin walk in free agency. Earth-shattering prediction for a backup quarterback? Well, it represents a tectonic shift, at least, in the streets of Silver and Blackdom in that McGloin has been in Oakland since 2013 and has started seven games. But after he was ineffective and banged up at Denver, the Raiders rolled with rookie Connor Cook in their playoff game at Houston, signaling the team is ready to go with Cook as Derek Carr’s backup going forward. Especially since McGloin had been the highest-paid QB on the roster at more than $2.5 million in base salary in 2016, and Carr, rehabbing from his broken right leg, is in line for a huge extension this offseason. — Paul Gutierrez
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The Chargers will move on from cornerback Brandon Flowers. The team can save $9 million in cash by releasing Flowers, who missed the last six games of the 2016 season due to lingering concussion issues and could be contemplating retirement. The Chargers have two Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett, along with improved depth in Craig Mager, Trovon Reed and Trevor Williams, making 30-year-old Flowers expendable. — Eric D. Williams

Brock Osweiler wasn’t great, but the Texans also missed some obvious opportunities.

In O’Brien’s case, the CBS coverage repeatedly reminded us that he had said he wanted to just try to keep things close until the fourth quarter and then hope to catch a break or force a turnover to win. The problem was that his team had run out of breaks to catch by then, and his incredible pass defense had gassed out after harassing Brady for most of the night. O’Brien’s team was close in the fourth quarter and then gave up 10 unanswered points without ever seriously threatening the opposition.

O’Brien’s breaks instead came earlier in the game, and despite fielding what has been a dismal offense all season, the former Patriots offensive coordinator failed to take advantage of some rare missteps by his former employers.

Limited Mens Philip Rivers Jersey You could forgive O’Brien for kicking a field goal on fourth-and-4 from the Patriots’ 15-yard line in the first quarter, but coaches in his shoes need to go for it on fourth-and-1, even when his team is on its own 37-yard line early in the second quarter. The Texans were down 14-3 and ran the risk of being overrun with a stop, but they also run that same risk against a great offense by punting.

He came back for the final two games of the season but left Saturday’s game early with the biceps injury.
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A 2011 first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs who was in his second season with Atlanta, Clayborn has 4.5 sacks this season, second on the team behind Vic Beasley Jr.’s 15.5, which leads the league.

Fantasy football tight end bust candidates in 2015

Before anyone takes to the comments in order to point it out: Yes, this fantasy football busts column just last year was the same one that led with Rob Gronkowski as its poster boy. Not the wisest of decisions. But that’s the thing about deciphering sleepers and busts in the fantasy biz. The term “bust,” for whatever reason, gives off the notion of falling flat on your face rather than failing to live up to the expectations decided beforehand.

I guess in todays selfie world, you have to make a big deal out of saving your children from a lifetime of psychological damage that comes along with getting a trophy at the age of 6. Whatever happened to taking away a kids trophy from your 6 year old son just because its the right thing to do? If Harrison really understood what effective parenting was all about he would of taken those giant faux-phies and thrown them into the trash silently without demanding that the world gives him a pat on the back for it.

Heck, when I was a kid my parents took stuff away from me all the time but you didnt see them writing a letter to the editor about how they threw away my porn, or gave my dog back to the pound because I didnt set a hard enough edge during football practice.

Plus you talk about a humble brag folks, by rubbing this bit of parenting in our faces he’s basically saying, “Hi this is James Harrison and Id like to let the world know that I had sex on two seperate occasions six and eight years ago not to brag.” When you think about it, children are just a participation trophy for having sex.

Although its unfair, Dannys diminuitive appearence gives his linemen a feeling that they’re trailing by about 5 points with 95% of precincts reporting so they mobilize at the grassroots level and start opening up lanes for the little guy.

It’s time to stop thinking of Christian Hackenberg as a No. 1 pick

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After a summer in which he was being touted by some as a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg flopped in Penn State’s season debut Saturday.

Hackenberg’s play was grimmer than his performance — 11 for 25, 103 yards and an interception — may lead you to believe. The interception came, surprisingly, when Temple’s rush was minimal. On a second-and-2 third quarter play, Hackenberg dropped back, looked to the right and threw toward receiver Chris Godwin. Temple defensive end Sharif Finch jumped in front of the pass, intercepting it and returning it back to Penn State’s 1-yard line. The play exposed one of Hackenberg’s critical flaws, which is targeting a receiver and getting tunnel vision. He didn’t notice Finch and surrendered a game-changing turnover when the score was tied, 10-10.

The assembled tapes would typically include three shots, one for the down and distance, a shot of the signals and close up of a cheerleader’s skirt or top.

Alshon Jeffery Authentic Jersey Patriots employees would go through a visiting team’s hotel looking for playbooks and other materials left behind. They would also send a staffer into an opponent’s locker room to steal play sheets with the first 20 scripted plays on them.

Stealing signals wasn’t always an advantage, but it did help them against the less sophisticated teams, like the Dolphins and Bills.

Again, it seems like most of the league’s owners were aware of many of these details. You can certainly understand why they’d be peeved by Goodell letting Kraft and the Patriots walk in 2008, and deciding to “stomp” the tapes.

The NFL world was reeling on Tuesday morning in the wake of the ESPN report. The Patriots released a statement immediately, pushing back on some of the allegations laid out in the article.

Steelers vs. Patriots 2015 picks and predictions: Clean sweep for New England

The New England Patriots have Tom Brady back in the fold. That may have convinced the experts to side with the defending champs as they kick off the 2015 regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Despite the drama surrounding DeflateGate (and the renewed attention as the result of Tuesday’s Spygate revisited report), the Patriots enter the year with a realistic shot at back-to-back titles. No team has accomplished that feat since they did during the 2003 and ’04 seasons, but the Seattle Seahawks came a yard short this past Februrary.

How? By employing security personnel in the locker room? By installing a bevy of cameras?

“I don’t think you can police a locker room like that,” Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “What’s next, hallway monitors? Escorts to the bathroom? They’re men. It’s up to educating them and them doing a better job with that education. You teach them and expect them to be pros. Everyone has squabbles. But knowledge is power.

Youth Connor Shaw Jersey “Let’s be real, football is an edge game. You’ve got to be kind of an edge person to play it. When you are at a BBQ people may say, ‘Let’s go in the backyard and shoot hoops.’ Or, ‘Let’s go back there and toss a Frisbee.’ Nobody suggests going into the backyard and running full speed and hitting each other as hard as they can. So, this is just a part of it and it surfaces in a variety of ways. You think you’ve seen a lot in this game, but there is always more that can happen to a football team. You get the right character with the right talent and you have the right locker room.”

NFL executives say that creating that combination is an increasing challenge. Some of them view many of today’s young players as part of a generation who grew up as especially spoiled athletes. They are incessant me-first personas, executives say. Some NFL general managers rarely visit their locker rooms.

the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers play in London’s O2 arena on Thursday

Jordan Mills Kids Jersey “Obviously, the game is different if they didn¡¯t shoot as well as they did. That¡¯s what they do. Avery [Bradley] got going, Horford was, to me, the real killer. It¡¯s a tremendous learning situation for Joel guarding a very unusual type of 5-man, and I give Al credit and I reference the importance of Joel learning from this.”

Horford, quiet in recent games, got to be the hero but seemed almost mesmerized by the way Stevens put him in position to shoot. Horford recalled how the Hawks struggled with Stevens’ plays coming out of timeouts last season during the playoffs.
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We find a uniquely light schedule for most teams this coming week — just eight teams play as many as four games. The Bulls are the lone five-game team of the week, thus they net one of three perfect ratings for the upcoming slate. Streaming from Chicago with players like Nikola Mirotic and Michael Carter-Williams could prove productive for managers in weekly formats. Joining the Bulls in the “10 Club” are the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, as each enjoy four-game schedules with some inviting matchups.

As for unfavorable upcoming schedules, the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers play in London’s O2 arena on Thursday. Given the obvious travel demands of this international affair, each team is limited to this one game next week, thus they prove avoidable for streaming. If you are holding on to C.J. Miles as a shooting specialist, for example, it could make sense to instead source Chicago’s Doug McDermott or the Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic, given far richer respective schedules.

the team faces three games in four nights against three Metro division rivals above them in the standings

To start off, let¡¯s look at prior extensions for players like Carlos Martinez. That is, pitchers three years away from free agency. We¡¯ll look at the date they signed, how productive they were before their extension, the money they received, and, if applicable, their projected earnings in arbitration according to MLB Trade Rumors¡¯ very useful method for projecting arbitration salaries.

We get three recent cases, followed by four cases occurring at least six years ago. The earlier cases are from a long time ago in baseball market terms, but we can at least adjust for inflation. Lance Lynn¡¯s deal didn¡¯t buy out any free agent years, but it at least gives us information on how his arbitration years should be valued, as Carlos and Lance had nearly identical projections for first time arbitration salaries.

Limited Youth Malik Jackson Jersey Harden notched his seventh triple-double of the season, torching Los Angeles for 30 points (10-of-15 shooting), 13 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in a 140-116 beatdown of a hobbled Clippers team on Friday.

He recorded his 10th assist at the 3:30 mark of the fourth quarter, and head coach Mike D¡¯Antoni immediately took his MVP-caliber point guard out of the game. The Rockets piled on 140 points, a season-best for the high-octane Houston offensive attack, and Harden¡¯s squad picked up its eighth win in the last 10 games to advance to 25-9 on the season.
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To make matters worse, officials ejected Clippers guard Austin Rivers in the second quarter for what looked like accidental contact with the baseline referee. Moments later, Clips coach Doc Rivers got tossed for walking onto the court and shouting at the official who tossed his son.

Raiders vs. Broncos 2015 final score: Khalil Mack is the reason Oakland can be great

The Oakland Raiders are a 6-7 football team after beating the Denver Broncos on Sunday, 15-12, and they deserve to be. For all of their improvement this season, they have still been inconsistent from week to week. They’ve hovered within a game of .500 for most of the season as a lot of mediocre teams do.

J’Marcus Webb Mens Jersey But unlike a lot of mediocre teams this season, the future is bright for the Raiders. Sunday’s game against the Broncos was further proof.

Justin Gilbert Mens Jersey The offense that had scored at least 34 points in three straight games from Weeks 7 to 9 was as bogged down as it has been in recent weeks, albeit against one of the best defenses in the league. What made Sunday’s game unique was the play of the defense. The Broncos had several opportunities to run away with the game, shutting out the Raiders until the third quarter.

Khalil Mack was the best player on the field, and he made sure that Brock Osweiler and company never had a rhythm. Mack had five sacks on the day, tying Howie Long’s franchise record. Osweiler didn’t have a bad game — there shouldn’t be a Brock-or-Peyton controversy yet — he just had little time to find any of his targets, who too often dropped passes.

To say the Giants have a hard time finishing games this season would be a pretty big understatement. If each of this season’s games ended 75 seconds earlier, the team would be 9-3 instead of 5-7. The last time Eli Manning faced the Dolphins, back in 2011, he threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns, but he had receiver Victor Cruz downfield to account for nearly a third of those yards.

Last week, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 9-for-19 passing and just 86 yards and made more than a few questionable decisions in the pocket. The offensive line was able to give him some more time in the pocket and only allowed one sack on the day — a dramatic improvement from earlier this season. With the way Tannehill played against the Ravens, the Dolphins will rely more of their run game, which has finally gotten some attention lately.