Monthly Archives: May 2018

Ziggy Ansah signs franchise tag with Lions

Allen Park — Ziggy Ansah signed his franchise tag on Tuesday, ending any concerns about the Detroit Lions defensive end holding out this summer.

The tag, a one-year deal, will pay Ansah a guaranteed $17.1 million next season.

A first-round draft pick out of BYU in 2013, Ansah quickly developed into one of the league’s best defensive ends. After recording 15.5 sacks in his first two seasons, he fell just short of the franchise record with 14.5 sacks in 2015.

Ansah has battled a number of injuries the past two seasons, but he managed to finish last season strong, with six sacks the final two games.

With Ansah set to be a free agent this offseason, general manager Bob Quinn wasted little time selling the edge rusher to new coach Matt Patricia.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward a no as far as Lucchesi’s sustainability and think he’s a player to trade away rather than acquire, because he’s probably going to face an innings cap after throwing just 139 frames in the minors in only his second pro campaign in 2017, and the league probably will have a better book on how to hit him after he makes a few more starts.

That said, I’m not racing to deal him, because his wide range of outcomes probably includes a ceiling within the top 40 fantasy starters, even if his true rank is probably closer to a top-80 starter.

I think it’s been really good and I think it’s going to continue. I think it’s opened an entirely new dialogue and new sets of things that are being said in a place that guys are having some meaningful and powerful conversations that weren’t happening necessarily in the past. One of the newest Texans, safety Tyrann Mathieu, made it clear that his decision to join the team wasn’t affected in any way by things McNair said last year. I’ve had a chance to sit down with him and talk with him and I think he’s a great man, Mathieu told reporters.

He signed me here to play football. So, that’s my focus. I haven’t really thought much about that. Regardless of how the players privately feel about the situation, they’ve opted for now to say nothing publicly that would distract them from the early stages of a broader goal to reclaim the AFC South from the Jaguars — and to potentially advance farther than they ever have before in the 16-year history of the franchise.

Wall didn’t have much trouble creating for his teammates in the first three quarters of Game 1, dishing 14 assists for 31 points heading into the fourth on Saturday. But the Raptors’ defense came up big at certain points. OG Anunoby helped hold Wall to 1-for-6 shooting early and Beal to 1-for-3 shooting in the first three quarters. Kyle Lowry then helped limit Wall and Beal to a combined 1-for-4 shooting in the fourth, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

And while Lowry (11 points, nine assists, five turnovers) and DeMar DeRozan (17 points, zero in 4:52 fourth-quarter minutes) had their own offensive struggles at times, Toronto got major contributions from its role players. Serge Ibaka had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Anunoby scored 12 points and off the bench, CJ Miles hit four 3-pointers and Delon Wright scored 18 points. The Raptors bench outscored the Wizards subs 42-21. Toronto also hit 16 3-pointers.

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Reggie McKenzie on Khalil Mack: Everything’s been positive

Khalil Mack didn’t report to work with other Raiders players for the start of the team’s offseason work this week, but General Manager Reggie McKenzie says all is well between team and player.

Mack is looking for a new contract as he enters the final year of the deal he signed as a rookie and McKenzie said the defensive force has communicated that desire to the team. McKenzie said the Raiders share Mack’s desire to extend the working relationship for the long term and that no bad feelings have been generated as they work toward that result.

Paul’s final blunder — an unnecessary airmailed pass out of bounds with 8.7 seconds left — could have really bitten the Rockets. But Jimmy Butler, playing with a black wrap on his sore right wrist, airballed a tightly contested 3 that could have tied the score, completing his 4-of-11 shooting night.

I looked like I was with the ‘Bad News Bears,’ Paul said, shaking his head at the uncharacteristic turnovers. But at the end of the day, it’s all about getting the win.

I thought Mitch handled it great, former Bears coach John Fox said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. He’s respected in that locker room. The Bears have gone out and done a good job in free agency, surrounding him with some weapons. I don’t care who you are, it’s not one guy. You need some help around you.

Now with some help, Trubisky should take a step forward this season.

Across the hall, Morrissey adamantly defended his action as accidental.

He’s a big guy, and my stick ended up getting up a little bit on him, Morrissey said. I would never try to do that to anybody. I’m not a dirty player.

Morrissey apologized to Staal later in the game, but that wasn’t any consolation for him or the Wild.

I’m the tallest guy on the ice. He cross-checked me in the neck. There’s not much more you can say. Everyone saw it. I don’t know how no one with stripes saw it, Staal said.

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Jake Arrieta Ks 10 as Phillies open 10-game homestand

It was a Throwback Thursday game at Citizens Bank Park  on Thursday night and  Jake Arrieta turned back the clock to his Cy Young season of 2015.

Arrieta, signed by the  Phillies in mid-March to be a veteran presence and a top-of-the-rotation starter, threw seven innings of one-hit ball as the Phillies pounded the Pirates, 7-0, in the opening game of a 10-game homestand that could give an indication of whether the Phillies could be a contender this year.

More starts like Arrieta provided on Thursday could certainly stamp the Phillies as a team capable of competing for a playoff spot.

I knew I’d be pretty crisp in the bullpen when I had my sinker glove-side going early, said Arrieta, who was making his third start of the season. To be able to do that three starts in was a good sign. Combined with spring training it was only five or six starts, I was a little behind. Now I’m caught up.

Other than being able to locate the changeup a little better, that was as good as I’ve been.

The Phillies provided Arrieta with all the runs he would need in a five-run second inning where they sent 10 men to the plate. Rhys Hoskins started the inning with a home run and Cesar Hernandez added a rare 3-run single as J.P. Crawford – running on the pitch – scored on a hit into the right-center field gap.

The Phillies went ahead 5-0 and never looked back.

As part of the Throwback Thursday promotion, the Phillies wore the powder blue uniforms from the 1970s when they won the National League East three straight years and four out of five.

Arrieta provided encouragement the Phillies could be headed back to the postseason.

The potential ownership group expects conditional approval of an expansion team to be handed down in June and final approval to follow in September following NHL league meetings. The group is targeting the 2020-21 season as their opening season.

Are the Browns leaning toward Josh Allen?

The Browns are expected to take a quarterback with the first overall pick in the draft. It’s still not clear which one they’ll take.

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Stoneman Douglas football players to announce Dolphins’ draft picks

Stoneman Douglas will have a significant presence for the Miami Dolphins during the upcoming NFL Draft.

The family of Parkland shooting victim and Eagles assistant coach Aaron Feis, along with 18 graduating seniors on the Douglas football team, will announce the Dolphins’ draft picks during Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 28. The group will read the picks from the team’s training facility in Davie.

That’s sort of background noise, he said. Something I’m not paying much attention to, I didn’t look at it. Maybe I didn’t have those seven seconds in my life to pay attention to it. I’m not concerned about that.

It’s a challenging situation, Garrett said, via SportsDay. A lot of different factors go into these kinds of decisions. The guidepost for all of this is what’s in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. That’s why we made this decision.

We wish Dez nothing but the best going forward. He’s a special guy. I love him. I will always love him. The impact he has made on this franchise has been significant.

Additional quotes from Garrett on Bryant, as culled by The Dallas News’ Jon Machota, indicate the Cowboys head coach has been in contact with the longtime Cowboys receiver. Garrett also addressed why the Cowboys waited so long to cut Bryant loose.

Miles made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the second and DeRozan added seven as Toronto broke its playoff record for points in a half by taking a 76-58 lead at halftime.

Wall scored 14 points in the third while Toronto shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range, allowing the Wizards to cut it to 100-90 heading to the fourth.

Wizards: Wall went 11 for 11 at the free throw line. … Ian Mahinmi was called for a flagrant foul on a driving Ibaka in the second. … Lawson made his Wizards debut in the first, replacing Wall.

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There are many types of heroes, and they come from all walks of life. One of the people who has long been a hero to me is Chris Borland.

Borland’s story is well-known. He retired at the end of the 2014 season at the age of 24 because of concerns over the long-term effects of football on the brain. He was one of the best young linebackers in the NFL after a college career as an All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at the University of Wisconsin.

Retiring in his prime was a brave thing to do for a player whose life was dedicated to football. But he has rededicated himself to being an advocate for mental health since leaving the NFL. According to his bio on Athletes for Care, He has partnered with The Concussion Legacy Foundation, Gridiron Greats, and worked with The Carter Center. Borland is founder and CEO of T Mindful, a company aimed at integrating meditation into athletics. 

Chris Borland made something clear in his interview: He supported Kaepernick and Reid and still does.

I support [Kaepernick] because he was always protesting systemic racism and police brutality, Borland said. That’s all he was protesting. I always admired him and Eric for what they did. They were truly brave men, and they are now.

I’d add that a player of Colin’s caliber not playing is wrong. For the people who say what he’s doing is un-American, he spends so much of his time helping kids—helping a lot of people—get better lives. There’s nothing more American than that.

A veteran player thinks he knows why the NFL is so afraid of Colin Kaepernick. A team executive thinks Saquon Barkley is still going first. The New York press thinks the Giants might skip taking a quarterback with the No. 2 pick. All these theories and more in this week’s 10-Point Stance. 

You may have missed the latest news regarding one of the league’s most discussed players, but the news is important because it raises a question: Why is the NFL still so scared of Colin Kaepernick?

Is it because he’s radioactive to a team’s brand? If so, why did the North American head of Adidas say he wants to sign Kaepernick if he returns to the NFL? Is Adidas in the habit of signing athletes who won’t help them sell product?

Is it because of the looming collusion case? Maybe. But also…if a team signed Kaepernick, the collusion case might end.

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Marlon Mack wants to show Colts he can be the top dog in backfield

The Colts won’t have Frank Gore in the backfield this season and that means they are set to have a new No. 1 back for the first time since Gore joined the team in 2015.

Of the players currently on the roster, Marlon Mack would appear to be the one who will get the first shot at grabbing that title for the 2018 season. The 2017 fourth-round pick ran 93 times for 358 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie and said the spot left open with Gore out of the picture is one he’s going to do all he can to grab.

But Stafford remains the one who can make the difference, and in a way, he already did. By agreeing to the extension, he allowed the Lions to preserve their franchise tag, and they used it on defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who officially signed Tuesday.

Stafford can be a polarizing figure around here because stellar numbers haven’t translated to stellar seasons. No, he’s not a top-five quarterback. But yes, he’s better than his critics suggest, considering he’s never, ever had a consistent running game, or a dominant offensive line. He’s also played in 112 consecutive regular-season games, third-longest streak among active quarterbacks.

I think there is, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, when asked if the Dolphins have the ammo to just up five or six spots from 11. I think you can always make a deal to move up. It all depends on how much you want to give up. You see some deals with some teams, we may think that they gave up a lot to get up there.

And then other times, you’re like, ‘Wow, they didn’t give up enough,’ Grier continued. If teams want to move up or down, depending on what they want to do…We had a situation here in the past where we made a trade in the first round and really didn’t give up a ton for a player. At the end of the day, I think you can move up and down fairly easily. But you also still need someone to want that player or move out of that spot.

That situation, of course, was the trade for Dion Jordan in 2013, when the Dolphins only needed to part with a second-round pick to move from 12 to 3. That, of course, ended up being a bad pick — perhaps the worst in franchise history.

Some of the numbers back Lue up. Even so, this strategy feels exploitable for any team prepared to take what the defense gives.

And that, more than anything, is what the Pacers do. They have a lot of clever, versatile players. They adapt.

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