Month: December 2017

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Draft days are over: Royce Lewis signs, and Twitter heroes are remembered

Royce Lewis is starting off his time in MLB the way everyone wants to: by making history. The No.1 draft pick in the 2017 class officially signed with the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, between a doubleheader.

The $6.725 million the Twins rolled to Royce is the most any high school player has received. (No word on whether the Prince umbrella giveaway was thrown in to sweeten the deal.) And Lewis is probably the only new signee to comment on the cleanliness of his new city.

Not everyone can have killer storybook spy names like No.425 overall pick Antoine Mistico, and not everyone can have tools like Lewis, but everybody’s got something.

The card for the tweet up there shows us the first sentence of the story, and you can spot the weasel words right away: might be developing some consistency. I haven’t written about someone taking a baseball to the beans for a week, so I might be giving that beat up. Or maybe I’m sitting in a dark room, waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to crumple over in extreme pain.

But I might be thinking the whole endeavor is just too immature to continue. Might be sitting on a cache of rare paintings to sell, too.

Maybe the article doesn’t need that might be, though. Maybe it was just slipped in by accident, and we’re being too hard on it. How does it read when you click through?

Tebow is gradually finding consistency and discipline at the plate. He had hits in three straight games, and in Sunday’s finale at Hagerstown, he walked twice, including once with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of Columbia’s 5-3 victory.

Hey! That does sound consistent. It feels like the kind of consistency that a fella can build on, and certainly not the kind that can be completely obliterated in the very next paragraph.

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Brady badly overthrew a wide-open Chris Hogan and got picked off on the Patriots’ opening drive

Patriots 3, Buccaneers 0 Dion Lewis finally broke the game open with a 33-yard run, getting the Pats in the red zone. The drive stalled from there and New England had to settle for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal, getting the first points of the game.

It hasn’t been the shootout we expected so far, with both teams trading punts and rarely crossing midfield. The most notable thing to happen was Brady appearing to hurt his non-throwing wrist on a sack, though he’s still in the game.

Brady badly overthrew a wide-open Chris Hogan and got picked off on the Patriots’ opening drive, giving the Bucs some nice field position. Tampa was unable to take advantage, going three-and-out on the ensuing drive.

Pence’s camp had to know going into this game that players would kneel. With players kneeling it would give the administration the chance to act, to push the issue back to forefront of the political conversation in a week when the president has been criticized for a variety of things, from his response to the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, to a gun control debate in the wake of another mass shooting, to the ongoing flame war with his own party.

Culture war politics are always about the distraction, a shiny thing to stare at to avoid real, complex issues that require something beyond political orthodoxy to resolve. And this administration thrives on distraction. It’s obsessed.

There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing over whether players Cheap Custom Baseball Jerseys should stand for the national anthem. That’s the great thing about free speech: It protects both sides.

Any fan of an NFL team that could use a spark on offense and big-play ability may find in April that Kirk is the best option.

The Bears’ 2016 first-round pick got the scoring started Monday when he Cheap Dan Marino Jerseys tracked down Sam Bradford, who inexplicably held the ball for more than five seconds in his own end zone.

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The 48-point rout exceeded Denver’s 139-93 (46-point) victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on opening day in 1987.

It’s going to be hard for me to sleep tonight, the Suns’ Devon Booker said.

Yeah, I think it’s rare, Reich said. I mean, I think those players are rare, and I think it’s rare in Carson’s standpoint, and obviously as confident that I feel like that’s no fluke and that there’s further to go down that path to go for him and that he’s going to make it all the way to the end of that path, as confident as I am of that, you’ve still got to go out and prove it every day.

The Redskins pushed above .500 at 3-2 following a 26-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. They jumped out to a 17-0 advantage and had to rally to pull out the victory.

There’s no reason to assume that a football reporter doesn’t understand routes, or that knowing about routes is dependent upon that reporter being a man or a woman. This is just another example of the sexism in sports that women face daily.

Rodrigue issued a statement to the Charlotte Observer:

This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs.

Cam made a mistake. From my understanding there was a conversation, Rivera said. And I would like to talk about the Detroit Lions who we play Sunday.

Here’s a great example of a third down play. It’s cover zero, so everyone is pressing. The Eagles block it up and the center, Jason Kelce, takes two. Wentz avoids the rush, steps up and flings this ball deep to Nelson Agholor, who’s improved by leaps and bounds. Watch how he finishes this play. He didn’t do this last season.

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Raiders, Chiefs look to bounce back Thursday

NFL players are seldom excited to play on Thursday night, but the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders relish the opportunity to get back on the field this Thursday at the Oakland Coliseum after disappointing losses.

Getting beat like we did on Sunday, it probably happened the right way to get the bad taste out of our mouth, Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson said.

The Chiefs (5-1) took its first defeat of the season Sunday, falling 19-13 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While the Raiders’ losing streak includes dropping the past two games at home, the Chiefs find themselves amid several streaks in the other direction. Kansas City owns wins in nine consecutive regular-season road games along with a 12-game winning streak against AFC West opponents. The Chiefs won each of their past five meetings with the Raiders.

It’s pretty impressive because it’s a good division, Del Rio said of Kansas City’s streaks. But they’ve been rolling, they’re playing excellent football.

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr puts the losing streak on his shoulders, acknowledging he hasn’t played his best football.

I need to play better for my team, Carr said. I have no problem putting that on me and making sure that when I show up on Thursday night that I do my best in preparation to put my best foot forward.

In Week 2, they bottled up Kareem Hunt, even though he scored two touchdowns. Take out the 53-yard score, and the Eagles held Hunt to 12 carries and 28 yards. Jim Schwartz 4-3 system allows the DL to jet up the field, which creates issues in the zone run game, and their linebackers can fly.

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Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said the team realizes the stakes for this game.

Winston was downright brutal in the first half, completing just 8 of 16 passes for 71 yards. He was better in the second half, leading the Bucs to a near comeback. But the early damage was done. Winston ended his night with 334 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-46 passing.

Perhaps the Patriots defense finally woke up after being the worst in the league over the past three weeks, but Winston’s performance simply wasn’t good enough. He badly overthrew his receivers, sailing passes over their heads multiple times. He got happy feet in the pocket, panicking and dumping off checkdowns instead of waiting for receivers to get open. He should’ve had an interception that went through a Patriots defender’s hands. He didn’t throw his first touchdown until deep into the fourth quarter, and his heroic comeback efforts were too little, too late.

We’re looking at that. A lot of times you got someone in there, you got a missed tackle, you got everyone else coming through the ball, you got a pileup going and he squirts out. It’s just not acceptable. They shouldn’t happen and we understand that.

A bounce-back win over the Raiders this week coupled with a home win against the Denver Broncos (3-2) next week would give the Chiefs a commanding lead in the division and put them in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s top playoff seed at the season’s midpoint.

We understand where we’re at, we understand what happened Sunday, Smith said. I think a little bit you’re flushing that. You realize what a big game this is — on the road, short week, division game, Raiders. I think that’s enough said. We’ve got to go full steam ahead, do whatever we can to get a win.

The short week, however, presents a different set of challenges. Del Rio knows from experience, having played in four Thursday games during his career as an NFL linebacker.

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Bradford isn’t completely healthy.

The Packers have run RPO concepts with Rodgers in the past, and they might rely more heavily on those plays with Hundley to try to create quicker reads while relying on the offense’s playmakers to do work after the catch.

The Jaguars are 3-3 and have alternated wins and losses, but they’re still tied for first place in the AFC South. That’s why there should be no panic. Every team in the division is flawed and it’s not unreasonable to think that a .500 record could win it. The Jaguars have the easiest remaining schedule, so if they can find a way to string a couple of victories together they can make a bit of a run. But the offense has to start making some plays in the pass game for that to happen, because the defense has carried the team thus far. — Mike DiRocco

Bradford definitely dodged a major bullet. If he would have torn his left ACL for the third time in his career, he would have missed the season — and the Vikings probably wouldn’t re-sign him in 2018. Bradford missed 25 games in his career because of two consecutive ACL tears.

However, Bradford isn’t completely healthy.

At this point, you’re going to have to play through some discomfort, Bradford said after practice Friday. I would like it to be 100 percent, but I don’t even know if that’s possible until the bye week or the end of the year.

As of right now, though, the Vikings and Bradford can divert their attention to winning games to eventually clinch a playoff spot. But, again, the Vikings will only go as far as Bradford takes them.

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Elliott didn’t miss any practice time. He was on the field for the first full workout Wednesday.

I don’t blame him for trying. For him, it’s all about winning the trade, regardless of the long-term consequences. I prefer to operate from a different point of view. When you trade with me, I’m going to have no problem giving you more than I get back. Why? Because while you might win the trade, I’m the one who will win the trophy. Here are three ways I do it.

With the ruling in New York, Elliott didn’t miss any practice time. He was on the field for the first full workout Wednesday.

I don’t find it frustrating, said quarterback Dak Prescott, who teamed with Elliott last year for a pair of remarkable rookie seasons that helped carry the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC.

I find that there’s nothing I really can do. Just as I said, we’ll take it week by week. And as of this week, he’s playing so that’s all we’re worried about.

The catch? Send them guys who’ll be on a bye when your teams square off so they can’t hurt you. So offer WR Alshon Jeffery and TE Jared Cook and ask for TE Austin Hooper and WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. in return. Since Atlanta (Hooper) and Washington (Pryor) both had byes in Week 5, if you make this deal in Week 8, you’re covered at those positions going forward. When you play that owner in Week 10, it can only go in your favor, as both Philadelphia (Jeffery) and Oakland (Cook) are on a bye. You might well end up losing the trade, but you’ll win the matchup!

The game showcases two of the best defenses in the NFL and two of the most prolific wide receivers.

The Bengals have won their last two games, and the change to Bill Lazor as the offensive coordinator has brought life back to an offense that was stagnant early in the year.

Wide receiver A.J. Green has been the beneficiary of most of those passes and will look to do so against a passing defense that is the best in the NFL. The Steelers allow only 153.5 yards a game through the air and the secondary has yielded only one pass of more than 40 yards through six games.

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