Monthly Archives: January 2017

Rodgers did something similar to “run the table” two years ago

“I will never bet against him when he’s like that. He’s playing at a level where he can compensate for the shortcomings defensively, the almost nonexistence of a running game. He can compensate and put them into a position to win a Super Bowl.”

“I knew what I was doing,” Aaron Rodgers said about the bold prediction he made after the Packers’ Week 11 loss to the Redskins. “I was hoping to take some of the pressure off of some of the guys and put it on myself.”

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is a business book. It’s about the problems teams face as they try to “row together.” Rodgers calls it a “phenomenal read for anybody in a leadership position.”

“One [part] that especially talked to me about this team,” Rodgers said, “was communication and conflict and being comfortable having issues with teammates and resolving them and moving forward in a positive way and not having that fear of conflict, which I think alienates and isolates individuals. Being comfortable talking to people and letting them talk to you about issues they have and being constructive and positive in your reaction to that.”

Rodgers did something similar to “run the table” two years ago, after Green Bay started 1-2 and the town was in a panic. He went on his then-weekly radio show, “Tuesdays with Aaron,” and spelled out the word, “R-E-L-A-X.” The Packers won 11 of their next 13 games, earned a first-round bye and beat Dallas in the divisional round before losing at Seattle in the NFC Championship Game.

“I don’t think it gets recognized, the leadership and type of teammate he is,” McCarthy said. “If there’s ever a period of time that exemplifies it, it’s right now.”

The question is whether the pair will be able to keep up their play

Dumervil made three straight Pro Bowls as a Bronco before a fax machine snafu caused him to leave the team and pair with Suggs in Baltimore. The pair was instantly successful with 19.5 sacks as a duo in 2013, then stepped it up even more with 29 sacks in 2014.
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The question is whether the pair will be able to keep up their play. Neither player is the up-and-coming superstar that the 26-year-old Houston is. Dumervil is 31 and entering his ninth season, while Suggs is 32 and entering his 13th. Still, it’s hard to argue with their production and there haven’t been signs of slowing just yet.

But it turns out, the Patriots have the 4th most cap space in 2015 locked up in their tight ends and wide receivers, and they’re behind just the Lions, with Johnson’s megacontract, the Broncos, with Thomas’ franchise tag contract, and Washington, with the dual-megacontracts of Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson. New England is a nose ahead of the Cowboys, with Bryant’s franchise tag contract and tight end Jason Witten’s contract.

Per the Rule of 51 (essentially counting salaries for the most expensive players during the offseason), the Patriots have $27.2 million in cap space, or 19.0%, in receivers Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Matthew Slater, Aaron Dobson, and Brandon Gibson, and in tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, and Michael Hoomanawanui.

Youth Dan Williams Jersey But why is this okay? Why does the concept of the Shiny Hood Ornament not apply? It’s because the Patriots haven’t splurged on a player and they’re allocated their resources across a handful of top players.

And these teams will do better when we switch to non-financial metrics such as social media following. But for the current “revenue premium” model these teams just don’t price high enough. In a way, these teams with massive season ticket waiting lists are the most supportive of their fans.

Randolph Morris has been part of three CBA championship teams for Beijing, along with Marbury

“They come here, and they think it’s just going to be easy and they’re going to average 30 or 40 points,” Morris said. “It’s very difficult. It’s not that easy to just come over here and dominate. You can’t cheat the game and think you’re not going to put the work in and you’re going to dominate just by being American.”

As one of the longest-tenured Americans in the CBA, Morris is able to reflect on the recent evolution of basketball in China. He has seen a notable rise in attendance, a great increase in financial resources and considerable upgrades in arenas and facilities. Morris said he’s proud to have played a role in that advancement and appreciates the opportunities he has received in China.
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“That’s one of the cool things I’ve gotten to see is the steady growth and being a part of that growth, knowing that we had a profound impact on the basketball scene,” Morris said. “We can look back and say, ‘We were here before it got huge. We were [part of] the grassroots process.’ ”

OVER THE SUMMER, TMZ caught Ryan in Beverly Hills. As you might imagine, it was awkward. Ryan, polite and earnest in front of a camera, is not exactly a TMZ guy. His wife, Sarah, was so nonplused that she dropped behind him on the sidewalk, drifting almost out of view. TMZ stalked Ryan around Rodeo Drive, making small talk, and the weirdness of it left only one question: What was Matt Ryan, the least L.A. guy ever, doing in L.A.?
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It turned out Ryan was doing for the first time what Tom Brady has done every offseason since 2013, what Drew Brees and Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer have also done in recent years: He was visiting with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux, two of the more renowned quarterback gurus.

coaches and players alike have seen significant improvements from Gunter

“Over a period of time, you gain confidence in guys who go out and do their job,” Capers said of Gunter this week. “He’s improved over the course of the year, so we’re expecting him to step up and he has to play big for us Sunday.”
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Which is why if Capers decides to shadow Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in this Sunday’s divisional playoff game, he’s almost certain to turn to Gunter again. At 6-foot-2, Gunter has the size to match Bryant (also 6-2) even if he lacks the speed of Randall or Rollins.

Youth Cornelius Lucas Jersey “When you draw up a corner, that’s how you draw him up to look like that,” Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels said of Gunter. “And he definitely plays with that chip on his shoulder from not being drafted, and really that chip on his shoulder is what you really respect about him the most.”

It was also frustrating, though, to see both teams coach and make conservative in-game decisions. Pete Carroll and Bill O’Brien each faced opportunities and repeatedly chose the “safer” bet, which didn’t do their respective teams any favors. Both head coaches managed their games like they were the favorites, ignoring the matchups they were facing in the process. It’s a lesson they’ll want to keep in mind this time next year, and one that Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, in particular, should heed against Dallas on Sunday.

By their very nature, underdogs have to take risks. Playing a favorite — especially a large favorite like the Patriots — heads-up is asking to be overwhelmed. Underdogs have to find what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as “David strategies” against Goliaths such as the Patriots and Falcons on the road. It’s one of the weird psychological paradoxes of the NFL: Teams rarely admit they’re not the favorites, but they do often note that there are many out there who doubt them.

Philip Rivers, Chargers agree on 4-year contract extension

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced on Saturday. It’s a four-year extension that will keep him with the team through 2019. The deal is worth approximately $84 million in new money, with $65 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

That means Rivers is just about on par with the other highest-paid quarterbacks of the league. All of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees are making an average of at least $20 million per season, and Rivers’ deal fits right in that tier. Rodgers still leads the group with an average of $22 million per season.

Rivers was already set up for significant payday, but the numbers likely went up when Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton both signed massive contracts. Tannehill is earning an average of $19.25 million per season through 2020 with the Miami Dolphins, while Newton is making more than $20 million per season in Carolina with his five-year, $103.8 million extension.

Kickers have made nearly 93 percent of 33-yard field goals over the last five years, so it remains to be seen if this rule change will dramatically affect how the game is played. So far this preseason, clubs have converted 4 of 13 two-point conversions.

If those numbers hold out into the regular season, the two-point conversion probably won’t become a bigger part of the game. NFL coaches are generally a conservative bunch, and the extra point remains a high percentage play. But it can no longer be taken for granted, as Parkey reminded us Sunday.

Butler will likely be one of the Patriots’ top two cornerbacks

Last season, the team’s defense was dominant in the second half of games. Over the last nine contests, including the playoffs, the defense allowed a mere 12 fourth-quarter points. Perhaps the best example of this came in the Super Bowl, when the Patriots¡¯ secondary depth allowed the coaching staff to deploy Malcolm Butler on to the field for Seattle¡¯s final play.

This year, Butler will likely be one of the Patriots’ top two cornerbacks, despite the fact that the undrafted second-year player only has one career start under his belt. He’ll be joined in the secondary by Logan Ryan and reclamation projects Bradley Fletcher and Tarell Brown.
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A subpar secondary has been one of the few issues Bill Belichick hasn’t been able to coach himself out of either. From 2010 to 2012, for example, the Patriots allowed the third-, second-, and fourth-most passing yards in the league, respectively.

Herman Edwards Authentic Jersey The Bills have a lot of depth at running back, as Karlos Williams, Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon are expected to be active Sunday as well. The club cut veteran running back Fred Jackson two weeks ago.

Bryan Stork (C, Patriots):

The defending Super Bowl champions will take the field Thursday night without starting center Bryan Stork, who has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return. Stork can begin practicing in Week 6, but won’t be eligible to play in games until Week 8.

Stork, 24, has suffered three concussions in three years, and didn’t play during the preseason. The former fourth-round draft pick solidified the middle of the Patriots offensive line last season once he was inserted into the lineup in Week 4, and his absence leaves a huge hole. New England is expecting to start two rookies at guard, Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason, and now the center position will be influx to kick off the season as well. Veteran Ryan Wendell could take Stork’s place at center with Josh Kline and David Andrews possibly finding their way into the mix as well.

Bradshaw’s career has also been plagued by injuries, mainly to his lower legs

“All I know is we won the game,” McCown said on Sunday, via Cleveland.com. “That’s cool stuff and when you’re done playing, that’s cool things that you can look back on and be proud of, but for me, there’s other things that I want to be the first Browns quarterback to do and that involves stuff with our team, so that’s where my mindset will be.”

It’s hard to ignore McCown’s strong play against Baltimore in Week 5, when he completed 36 of 51 passes for 457 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions. In three full games, McCown has thrown six touchdowns and one interception, though his play has only been enough to lead the Browns to a single win.

Elite Womens Mats Zuccarello Jersey He only attempted eight passes in Week 1 due to a concussion, then gave way to Manziel in Week 2. Manziel led them to the other win, and created a brief quarterback controversy when fans started chanting for the former Heisman winner during a Week 3 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Elite Womens Nickell Robey Jersey Bradshaw’s career has also been plagued by injuries, mainly to his lower legs. He has only played 16 games once in his eight years, and that was five years ago for the New York Giants.

This season, he’ll be teamed up with Frank Gore, who is having a decent season, but hasn’t been explosive and has had to carry the entire running game. The Colts’ ground game is averaging 92 yards per contest, which ranks just 24th in the NFL.

Or maybe you prefer his pass on third-and-7 in the third quarter when he launched a 38-yard ball while going backwards to James Jones on the left touchline with Kenneth Acker none the wiser? Throwing a bomb with no backlift into a window that small is the glitch that broke the football matrix. At that moment, Rodgers might as well have been plucking bullets out of the air with his bare hands. The defenders would have been in the right to question whether they should have taken the blue pill and pursued some other vocation instead.

The Houston Texans dominated with their defense in a 27-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday to kick off the NFL playoffs

Below are win probability charts that help tell the story of every game in the 2016 NFL postseason. The most recent charts will be added to the top of this post shortly after games conclude. Check back in for a look at the biggest moments from the playoffs.

Win probability measures the chance that a team will win a game, given a particular combination of circumstances including score, time remaining, field position and down and distance. Win probability is based on a model built on actual outcomes of NFL games from recent seasons that featured similar circumstances.

The Houston Texans dominated with their defense in a 27-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday to kick off the NFL playoffs.

This was a game that turned quickly and in an unlikely way, as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney recorded his first career interception (in either college or the pros) at the 12-yard line a little more than midway through the first quarter. That play added nearly 12 percentage points to the Texans’ win probability. It was the most impactful play of the game, a play that led to Lamar Miller’s 4-yard touchdown run.

“I’m just a tight human. I’m no Gumby at all,” the Detroit Lions receiver told ESPN.com this week. “You look around at some of those guys in here and they are very flexible. Like Marvin [Jones is] a very flexible guy who can move very well and Calvin [Johnson] was a very flexible guy, or it seemed like it at least.
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“I’m just not that guy.”

Authentic Youth Logan Thomas Jersey Those shaking moves are what he used to do in his backyard growing up in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

“My brother’s always been crazy athletic,” said Tate’s brother, Wesley. “He just, everything, from baseball, basketball to football and everything — he’s always been a step above everyone else. It’s not really anything new. It’s just something I’ve grown accustomed to growing up together.”

But those releases, man, they continually annoy Tate, and he never feels like he consistently gets it.

Connor Cook enters Raiders vs. Broncos in place of an injured Matt McGloin

The Oakland Raiders were already without quarterback Derek Carr, who broke his fibula in Week 16. Now, they¡¯re missing backup Matt McGloin, who started in Carr¡¯s place against the Denver Broncos in Week 17. McGloin was replaced by rookie quarterback Connor Cook, who is seeing his first NFL action of the season.

Cook was drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Michigan State University. Sunday marks the first time he¡¯s played in a game for Oakland since the final week of the preseason.

Limited Mens Taylor Mays Jersey During the preseason, Cook completed 31 of 56 passes for 368 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.

We already know which AFC teams will be playing next week, but the AFC West title and top seed are still to be determined. The Raiders suffered a devastating blow when quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg last week, then saw backup Matt McGloin leave this week with a shoulder injury. Oakland¡¯s loss to the Broncos coupled with the Chiefs¡¯ win in San Diego gave Kansas City the AFC West title, and pushed the 12-4 Raiders to the No. 5 seed.

In the NFC, there were a few teams battling for two open spots. Washington was eliminated with a home loss to the Giants, putting the Packers and Lions both in before their Sunday Night Football tilt. Green Bay outlasted Detroit for their sixth straight win to capture the NFC North title and the No. 4 seed in the conference.
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In draft order news, the Browns locked up the No. 1 overall pick by losing to the Steelers in overtime.LeSean McCoy was thought to be out for the game but went back to the sidelines.

Philadelphia tried making this a game again when DeMarco Murray ran in for a 4-yard touchdown

Washington could’ve extended its lead at the end of the first half, but Cousins took a knee instead of spiking the ball with seconds left on the clock. Washington instead went into the locker room leading, 16-10.

Washington extended its lead to two possessions when Cousins found Chris Thompson in the end zone. Philadelphia tried making this a game again when DeMarco Murray ran in for a 4-yard touchdown, but Murray gave the ball right back on the Eagles’ next drive, muffing a handoff that led to a fumble return touchdown for DeAngelo Hall.
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Sam Bradford doesn’t look like the answer at quarterback. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are sorely missed in the receiving corps. The running game has been in shambles since Kelly jettisoned LeSean McCoy, and Murray is the biggest free agent bust in recent memory. The defense is getting worse by the week.

The consistent pressure generated by the defensive front has allowed the secondary to take more chances. The cornerbacks alone have produced three interceptions over the past two weeks, including a pick-six last Sunday. The secondary could get a boost against the Cardinals if top corner Sam Shields returns from a concussion.

This is a pivotal game for Green Bay in other ways. While the team has banked wins over likely playoff teams — Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings — most of those victories came when those clubs were struggling. The Cardinals, conversely, are playing perhaps their best football. A win for Green Bay could rebuild the team’s confidence, not to mention keep them alive for a first-round bye.

Authentic Allen Hurns Jersey That game ended in favor of St. Louis after the Seahawks fought back with 18 points in the fourth quarter to take the lead late. A Seattle fumble late in the fourth gave the Rams a tie and sent it to overtime, where they kicked a field goal and stopped the Seahawks on fourth down to walk out with the 34-31 victory.