Monthly Archives: June 2018

Which teams are most likely to get back to the playoffs in 2018?

Historically, roughly half of the teams that make it to the playoffs one year don’t make it back the next. Which means that plenty of teams that didn’t make it one year make it the next.

So with five of the NFC teams from 2016 not making it back in 2017 (and thus five non-playoff teams from 2016 making it in 2017), which non-playoff teams from last year are the most likely to make it this year?

Through the years, my No. 100s have been players I liked. They may or may not really be the 100th player on the board, but I put them there because I think they will succeed. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes not, but past No. 100s have included current Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Akeem Spence. And Griffin, who had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old, is simply a player with speed, anticipation, smarts and an uncommon desire any team should want in a draft pick.Everything you need to know about the binge-worthy NBA playoffs

Edelman is appealing the suspension, so there’s no official comment from the league yet.

He missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and now the Patriots will have to rely on a new crop of targets if the suspension stands. They also let Danny Amendola leave in free agency, though they have brought in Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason.

Jimmy Butler came into Wednesday’s must-win season finale against the Denver Nuggets on a minutes guideline, according to Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau. After playing just over 20 minutes in his first two games back from knee surgery, Butler racked up 42 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime win and comes into this series having to do everything for a Timberwolves team that has gotten crushed by the Rockets every time they’ve played this year. How far will Thibodeau be able to stretch Butler out now, and how much will Butler be asked to switch onto Rockets MVP candidate James Harden? Those questions will go a long way in determining if the Timberwolves have any chance to steal a game or two in this series.

After several seasons of residing in the league’s upper-middle class, the Raptors asserted themselves in 2017-18 as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They climbed the ladder by injecting spacing and creativity into their offense and by instilling greater discipline in their defense.

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Kenney wasn’t the only politician to show support for the Eagles.

The NFLPA also released a statement Tuesday expressing their disappointment in the cancelled event, saying NFL players love their country, support our troops, give back to their communities and strive to make America a better place.

Despite the backlash, Trump stood by his decision and reiterated his thoughts on the anthem protests later Monday and into Tuesday.

Font (0-3) gave up two runs and two hits while striking out five in 2 1/3 innings in his first major league start. He became the 13th pitcher to start a game for the Rays this season.

An error on third baseman Kyle Seager — Seattle’s first error in 16 games — gave the Rays a scoring opportunity in the third, but Gonzales struck out Matt Duffy with the bases loaded to end it.

Mariners first-base coach Chris Prieto was ejected by hime-plate umpire David Rackley in the middle of the ninth inning.

Mariners: RHP Juan Nicasio was placed on the 10-day disabled list with swelling in his right knee. … RHP Dan Altavilla was also placed on the 10-day DL and returned to Seattle to have doctors check the tightness in his right forearm. … RHP Nick Vincent (strained right groin) will pitch one inning in a rehab assignment this weekend.

Rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar also homered at Citi Field, ensuring the Empire State Building would be sparkling in Yankees team colors. They have won four in a row overall and nine of 10.

The Yanks own baseball’s best record (42-18) and lead with 103 home runs on pace to break the major league mark of 264 hit by the Seattle Mariners in 1997. The Mets, meanwhile rank near the bottom with 62.

On a night when every run scored on a homer, the team with the power-packed lineup from top to bottom launched the winning longball.

Who are you going to try to go after? Judge said. It’s kind of fun to watch.

The Mets built a 3-0 lead on first-inning homers by Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera, but still lost their eighth in a row their longest skid since an 11-game slide in 2004.

I felt all night like we were going to win a game tonight, manager Mickey Callaway said.

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Oliver Luck named XFL commissioner

The XFL has a commissioner, and he’s a recognizable name for football fans.

Former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck will serve as commissioner and CEO of the XFL, the league announced today.

Shazier, who reportedly has regained feeling in his legs and is walking with assistance, was released last week from a Pittsburgh-area rehab center.

I’m taking it one step at a time, but I know the Lord, Shazier said, per CBS Pittsburgh. He has a plan for me, and I definitely feel like I’ll be back out there.

Most of Shazier’s time since suffering the injury has been spent in a wheelchair, but that hasn’t stopped him from making public appearances around Pittsburgh at various sporting events.

The Steelers linebacker even posted a video of himself working out during his recovery.

Both sides have incentive to do a deal with Johnson entering the final year of his contract.

Johnson, 26, led the league with 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns in 2016.

He missed practice time this week with an undisclosed injury that isn’t serious.

Freeman has some miles on the football odometer with 947 carries in four years. He had three seasons with at least 244 carries. He has shown quality vision, has potential to start and should have impact as a receiver.

Some teams have graded him deeper into Day 3 because of inconsistent play and an incident his freshman season when he fought with a teammate. He started playing football late and has room to improve. He also has the coverage skills to get on the field early.

Hosmer had a career year in 2017 by many measures, with 4.0 WAR, a.318 batting average,.882 OPS and 25 home runs — all of which were career highs. Then, in the offseason, the Padres gave him an eight-year, $144 million deal, the most money they’ve ever committed to a free agent. — Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

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Randy Moss (the other one) talks Belmont Stakes

Friday’s PFT Live included a visit from Randy Moss. Not that Randy Moss. The other Randy Moss.

Given all the drama stirred up from the bizarre Kawhi saga and all the tinkering with rotations to get San Antonio into the postseason for the 21st consecutive year, this season is already a success, with Popovich deserving of Coach of the Year consideration. But the real indicator of whether this season has been a success is when, if at all, Leonard returns to the lineup. The Spurs want Leonard back on the floor, but it’s not about what he can do to help them win, according to a league source.

It’s about showing the rest of the team he is committed to San Antonio for the long haul. The team needs to see Leonard in the locker room, in film sessions, on the team plane and at team dinners. Leonard is up for a supermax extension this summer, and a return in the playoffs could go a long way toward alleviating doubts about his long-term prospects in San Antonio.

Woods tried out during the Bears’ three-day minicamp this week. The Maryland product started nine games at safety last season, making 62 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.

Holloway played at Western Illinois after transferring from Liberty. He made 21 tackles and three interceptions last season.

Roland began his collegiate career at South Carolina before transferring at West Georgia. He caught 55 passes for 722 yards with six touchdowns in his final collegiate season.

Playoff Brow. The NBA world will be watching to see what he’ll do in his second trip to the postseason. Davis hopes to make this one last a little bit longer than his first playoff experience in 2015, in which he averaged 31.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 1.3 steals but was swept by Golden State. Can Davis overcome a Portland defense that will spend an entire series geared toward containing him?

Davis did more than just carry the Pelicans after the Cousins injury. He went on a historic tear, leading the Pelicans on a crucial 10-game winning streak. His defining moment in that stretch came against Phoenix, when he detonated for 53 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks, joining Bob McAdoo as the only NBA players with 50 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks in a game since blocks were first tracked in 1973-74, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Brandon Marshall also had old toe injury fixed after injuring ankle with Giants

Newly signed Seahawks receiver Brandon Marshall said Wednesday the ankle injury that ended his 2017 season with the New York Giants also gave him the chance to fix an older injury that had been bothersome for the previous two seasons.

Marshall said that he also had surgery to repair a toe injury that he first sustained during a game against the Oakland Raiders when he played for the New York Jets in 2015.

My first year with the Jets, I hurt my toe in the Oakland game, Marshall said. Knew I needed surgery but it was one of those things where I was going to wait until I retire because a surgery like that it takes five, six, seven months to get back right. I didn’t want to lose my offseason so I was going to wait until I retire. When I snapped my ankle I said ‘well, I’ve got half of the season and then I’ve got the offseason so I might as well do it now.’ That’s the thing that took the longest. Right when I was released from the Giants (on April 19), probably a few days later I was able to run pain-free.

Enjoy this one. Tomorrow is a travel day for a wedding a long way away from home. Although I was tempted to be that guy and tape the podcast from my cell phone device on the plane, one specific passenger (i.e., my wife) would end up sticking the item in a place far more secure than its protective case.

The first words out of my mouth to him upon finding out the John Wooden jersey would be made available to the public was, ‘We have to get this for Purdue University. This jersey belongs in Mackey Arena back at Purdue,’ Brees said.

Brees has given millions of dollars to Purdue during his NFL career, so it’s not a big surprise that he was willing to spend that kind of money on a memorabilia that celebrates Purdue’s athletic history.

Wooden, best known for winning 10 national championships as head coach at UCLA, was an All-American basketball player at Purdue from 1930 to 1932.

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Trump supports new NFL anthem policy, opposes players staying in locker room

President Trump has weighed in on the NFL’s new national anthem policy, saying the owners took a step in the right direction — but warning that the rule allowing players to remain in the locker room could be problematic.

Marshall will now be catching passes from Russell Wilson and joining a wide receiver corps that includes Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett after Paul Richardson left to sign with the Redskins.

Over a 12-year career with the Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, Jets and Giants, Marshall has hauled in 959 receptions for 12,215 yards and 82 touchdowns.

The NFL’s new and controversial national anthem directive is suddenly an issue this offseason, and while he has not yet broached the subject with his players, first-year Giants head coach Pat Shurmur says he knows exactly what he will be doing when he hears The Star-Spangled Banner playing before a game.

I know certainly for me it’s very easy, Shurmur said Tuesday after organized team activity practice No. 4 for the Giants.

That’s what he played in college and what he’s been playing in the NFL, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. He starts there, but he plays a lot of things for us, so he’ll be in all the rooms at some point.

When the Cowboys traded for Austin on the final day of the draft, executive vice president Stephen Jones tabbed Austin a web back. Whatever a web back is.

It’s something similar to the role Lance Dunbar played for the Cowboys, only more.

I don’t care what I’m being called as long as I’m playing, Austin said. That’s all that matters. You can call me anything you want as long as I’m playing.

Austin also likely becomes the team’s punt returner, and the Cowboys could try him as a kick returner, too, although he has only 25 kickoff returns in his career.

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Damarious Randall admits he underestimated Cleveland fan base

Damarious Randall now has the most retweeted tweet of any NFL player, ever. It’s not really a record he wanted.

The Browns new safety’s tweet saying if the Cavaliers win the NBA Finals he’ll buy a jersey for anyone who retweets him has now more than 800,000 retweets.

What Damarious found out is that there’s a lot of passionate Cleveland fans here, and you’ve got to be careful about what you say, Jackson said. I don’t think he meant [to do] any harm. I think he has a love and a respect for [Steph] Curry, obviously. But I think he found out that, hey, look, in this city, it’s about the Cavaliers and LeBron James, and that’s the way we all talk about it.

This is Damarious’ first year with us, and I’m sure there’s a lot of lessons learned. I’ve tried to take our team through those lessons because I think it’s important. So I don’t think we’ll have any more of those [problems] the rest of the way. But sometimes those things do have to happen, so we can remind ourselves exactly what social media can do, and it can put you in a tough spot.

Phillips led Stanford and all FBS defensive linemen in tackles last season with 103. Phillips made 17 of those tackles for losses and added 7.5 sacks on his way to a spot on the All Pac-12 first-team and All-American third team.

The Bills also signed Star Lotulelei and Tenny Palepoi at defensive tackle and re-signed Kyle Williams for a 13th season in Buffalo. Adolphus Washington rounds out the group that will vie with Phillips for playing time during his rookie season.

Will the Rays and Royals seize this moment to significantly stock their system? I will let you know in five years.

I have never been a Roseanne Barr fan — she reinforced my instincts on July 15, 1990, when she stood in the center of Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego and decided it would be funny to stick her fingers in her ears and grab her crotch while shrieking the national anthem before spitting to her right and exiting.

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Rico Gathers working hard to be on somebody’s 53-man roster this season

The Cowboys saw tight ends Jason Witten and James Hanna retire this offseason. It leaves a hole at the position even with their selection of Dalton Schultz in the fourth round.

Rico Gathers, who did not play a regular-season game in his first two seasons, acknowledges the opportunity.

He spent his rookie season on the practice squad after playing college basketball, and a concussion kept Gathers on injured reserve last season.

The biggest thing for me this year is just making it to the regular season, Gathers said. I have to make sure I’m healthy and make sure I’m able to be on somebody’s 53-man roster.

The Cowboys took a flyer on Gathers in 2016, using a sixth-round pick on him. He showed signs of development during the 2017 preseason by catching seven passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the first two preseason games.

But Gathers took a helmet-to-helmet hit from defensive back Kavon Frazier during an August 15 practice, and the concussion ended Gathers’ season before it began.

He was cleared from concussion protocol before Week 7, but the Cowboys elected not to use one of their short-term injured reserve designations on Gathers.

Gutekunst’s old job will now be filled by two people. Jon-Eric Sullivan and John Wojciechowksi have been promoted to co-directors of player personnel. Sullivan was the director of college scouting the last two years and Wojciechowski is making the move from director of pro personnel.

Matt Malaspina will take over Sullivan’s former job and the Packers made several other promotions in the department. They also announced the hiring of former Browns scout Pat Moore and former NFL defensive back Brandian Ross as college scouts.

That’s the worst call of the century, Manziel said. My whole life I’ve been taught to throw it right at the stick that’s marking the down. … I thought I got it there, he (official) told me I was about a yard short. That’s the first time I’ve heard of that, that’s new to me.

So too was running to the locker room at halftime and being told there still was a final play to run despite the clock having run out.

I’m still learning some things up here, he said. There’s going to be some of those growing pains.

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