Business
231
Sports
269
SBNation.com - All Posts
unread news (Demo user)
SBNation.com - All Posts
unread news (Demo user)
Capitals betting favorites hosting Hurricanes on Game 5 NHL odds
The Washington Capitals hope to take advantage of their home ice Saturday night as betting favorites in Game 5 of their playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Washington Capitals are 5-1 over their last six home games. After losing Game 3 and Game 4 in Carolina, the Capitals will try to get things back on track against the Hurricanes at home on Saturday night. Washington is a -140 home favorite on the NHL odds for Game 5 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Hurricanes will be looking for a third straight win as +120 road underdogs in this one. Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals When: Saturday, April 20, 8:00 p.m. ET Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C. Betting Line: Washington -140 / 5.5 Goals Hurricanes at Capitals OddsShark Matchup Report Washington Capitals Notes The Capitals scored four goals in each of the first two games of this series at home, defeating Carolina 4-2 in Game 1 and 4-3 in Game 2. On the road, the offense came to a screeching halt as Washington managed just one goal in two road losses. Washington earned home ice in this series by winning the Metropolitan Division with a 14-5-1 record over its last 20 regular season games and will have home ice in this critical Game 5 because of it. Before losing the last two games in this series, Washington was a perfect 6-0 in its last six games against Carolina including a 4-0 record at home per the OddsShark NHL Database. Carolina Hurricanes Notes Carolina thoroughly dominated Game 3 as it outshot the Capitals 45 to 18 en route to a 5-0 victory. Game 4 was much more competitive and Peter Mrazek proved to be up to the task, stopping 30 of the 31 shots he faced to lead the Hurricanes to a 2-1 win. Mrazek’s home and road splits were almost identical during the regular season, but so far this postseason the 27-year-old has a 3.50 goals against average and an .860 save percentage in Washington compared to a 0.50 GAA and a .980 save percentage at home. Hurricanes at Capitals Betting Total Saturday night’s total is set at 5.5 goals. The UNDER is 6-3 in the last nine games between the Capitals and the Hurricanes. This has been the only series in the NHL playoffs this season that has seen the home team win every game. For that trend to continue, Washington will need to get back to generating offense as well as it did in the beginning of this series. Regardless of who ends up on top, this should be a highly competitive game between two teams that have looked evenly matched thus far. For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Everything you need to know for Crawford vs. Khan
Terence Crawford and Amir Khan headline a strong ESPN pay-per-view boxing card on Saturday. Here’s all you need to know. A week after two excellent nights of boxing (1, 2), we get another world title fight, this one a Top Rank pay-per-view presented by ESPN. On Saturday, Terence Crawford will defend his WBO welterweight title against Amir Khan in the headlining bout of the main card, which begins at 9 p.m. ET. There will be a preliminary card on ESPN2 beginning at 6 p.m., which will also be streamed via WatchESPN. The pay-per-view can be purchased and streamed online via FITE TV and Top Rank. The card is set to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York. The four-fight main card will also include a bout between Shakur Stevenson and Christopher Diaz, a showdown between Teofimo Lopez and Edis Tatli, and a bout between Felix Verdejo and Bryan Vasquez. It’s a pretty stacked card and there are some good fights on the prelims as well. Crawford is 34-0 as a professional, with knockouts in his last three fights, the most recent being a TKO over José Benavidez Jr.He’s finished 25 of his 34 wins via knockout. He currently has the WBO welterweight belt, and previously vacated belts at light welterweight. His move-up fight was against Jeff Horn, which he won via TKO in June 2018. Khan wasn’t the first choice for Crawford’s next opponent, but it should be an entertaining scrap, regardless. He’s a former world champion and has a 33-4 professional record. He has 20 knockout victories, but three losses by knockout. His most recent loss was to Canelo Álvarez in May 2016, a knockout. He was out of the sport for a couple years, but has since beaten Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas. Crawford, though, is a much tougher opponent than those two. Probably not quite as tough as Canelo, but Khan will have his hands full trying to contend on Saturday. Stevenson and Diaz will probably combine for the most intriguing bout on the main card. Stevenson is 10-0 as a professional and everyone is still unsure where his ceiling is. Diaz is 24-1. Lopez is also undefeated, at 12-0, and he faces the experienced and tough Edis Tatli, who sits at 31-2 for his career. Below is all you need to know to watch the action. All times Eastern How to watch Crawford vs. Khan Date: Saturday, April 20 Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, N.Y. Time: 6 p.m. (prelims), 9 p.m. (PPV) TV: ESPN2 (prelims), ESPN Pay-per-view (main card) Online Streaming: FITE TV, Top Rank, WatchESPN (Prelims) Crawford vs. Khan fight card Main Card Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan (for Crawford’s WBO welterweight title)Shakur Stevenson vs. Christopher DiazTeofimo Lopez vs. Edis TatliFelix Verdejo vs. Bryan Vasquez Prelims Carlos Adames vs. Frank GalarzaLawrence Newton vs. Jonathan GarzaVikas Krishan vs. Noah KiddEdgar Berlanga vs. Samir Dos Santos BarbosaLarry Fryers vs. Dakota Polley
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Bucks heavy betting favorites at Pistons on Game 3 NBA odds
The Milwaukee Bucks are heavy betting favorites to pick up another win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 3 of their series on Saturday night. The Milwaukee Bucks are 2-0 straight up and against the spread through the first two games of their playoff series against the Detroit Pistons with back-to-back blowout wins. The Bucks will try to keep things going on the road on Saturday night in Game 3. Milwaukee is an 8.5-point road favorite on the NBA odds in Detroit at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In their last six games against the Pistons, the Bucks are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons When: Saturday, April 20, 8:00 p.m. ET Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan Betting Line / Total: Milwaukee -8.5 / 216.5 Points Bucks at Pistons OddsShark Matchup Report Milwaukee Bucks Notes The Bucks have not won a playoff series since the 2001 postseason, failing to escape the first round in each of their last eight trips to the playoffs. Milwaukee posted its best regular season record since 1981 with a 60-22 SU and 47-31-4 ATS campaign and is now just two wins away from shaking off nearly 20 years’ worth of playoff frustrations. Winning by 35 points in Game 1 and by 21 points in Game 2, Milwaukee certainly looks the part of a legitimate postseason contender through the early going. In their last 16 games as a road favorite, the Bucks are 12-4 SU and 11-5 ATS per the OddsShark NBA Database. Detroit Pistons Notes Detroit edged its way into the playoffs with a 41-41 SU and 41-38-3 ATS record this season. Blake Griffin helped the team get there with a team-leading 24.5 points and 5.4 assists per game, but he’s been sidelined through the first two games of this series with a knee injury and is expected to miss Game 3 as well. The Pistons haven’t fared well as a betting underdog this season with a 12-35 SU and 19-25-3 ATS record in 47 games as one. Bucks at Pistons Betting Total Saturday’s total is set at 216.5 points. The OVER is 6-3 in Milwaukee’s last nine games. The Pistons have been far better this season at home with a record of 26-15 SU than they have been on the road at 15-28 SU. It will be difficult for Detroit to make this a series without Blake Griffin, but the scores might at least be more reasonable than they were in the first two games. Then again, with how good the Bucks are overall and how well they’ve played on the road this season, that’s no guarantee. For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
1 h
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Tiger Woods’ first Friday night outfit with his new green jacket should fill you with joy
The 2019 Masters Champion went out to his own restaurant for his first Friday night out and he made sure everyone was aware of his recent achievement. On his first Friday night out as the reigning Masters champion, Tiger Woods rolled up to his own restaurant, The Woods - Jupiter, in his new green jacket, a dri-fit Nike t-shirt, and Raiders mesh shorts. This makes me so happy. It should make you so happy. I could not stop grinning when I saw it. I would have been disappointed had his first Friday night out in the jacket been at some formal function or pre-arranged public appearance, the coat paired with some Robert Graham shirt, Bryan Colangelo-esque oversized collar, and expensive black jeans. But at The Woods in his Raiders shorts and dri-fit gear? You are going out of your way to make sure you have that damn jacket on when you’re dressed in gym clothes. It’s all too perfect. It’s spontaneous. I love it. View this post on Instagram Tonight I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to tell Tiger Woods that I watched him win the 97 Masters with my dad and that although my dad is no longer with us, I watched him win @themasters this weekend with my 2 kids. Simply incredible and forever grateful. @tigerwoods #greenjacket A post shared by Josh Guittap (@jguittap) on Apr 19, 2019 at 6:27pm PDT Instagram.com/TWSpot There may have been a time when winning the green jacket for Tiger would be a massive achievement, and it would also be just another jacket to add to the pile in pursuit of a larger goal to become the all-time majors record holder. That time is not now. The jacket represents more than just one Masters victory. You’re not allowed to to take the jacket off the property unless you’re the reigning champion. Then you get it for a year. Remember how Pat Reed caught some s**t last year for wearing it too much? Those criticisms were unfounded and probably had more to do with Reed’s arrogant and swaggering rep and people over-reading things every time he popped up in public in his new jacket. It’s impossible for Tiger to wear this specific jacket, the one from 2019, the one that came after four back surgeries and every imaginable embarrassment, too much. I need him spearfishing in the thing. I need him on his couch in the middle of a Call of Duty bender in his boxers and green jacket. He needs to be in it at every one of his kids’ functions (the sign-off line on the transcript of his champions’ press conference is “I’m excited about show‑and‑tell at school”). Go on a SEAL ruck with the jacket. Every time he leaves the house, whether it’s in Raiders shorts and sneakers or a fresh new mock turtleneck, it needs to be on his shoulders. Play all four rounds at next month’s PGA Championship in it. And every major after that this summer. Who is going to take it off him? The fact that he’s prancing through his own restaurant in the most casual Friday night clothes imaginable with the most coveted piece of formal wear in golf is as endearing as Tiger gets. He is so happy to have this jacket back and no one is going to tell him how much he can wear it and what he should wear it with over the next year. Longtime Augusta Chronicle writer and Masters ace Scott Michaux tweeted Friday night that he thought Tiger would be receiving a reminder about the proper dress code with the jacket. Tiger is going to be getting a very polite reprimand from the club about proper dress code with the jacket.— Scott Michaux (@ScottMichaux) April 20, 2019 Like hell. I want to see this attempt. I want to know and understand the mind of the person that tells Tiger that he’s not properly wearing the fifth jacket he won in what is arguably the greatest comeback ever. Tiger has won five jackets. He’s won every event in the game, two and three and four times over. After you’ve won so much, that could slightly dim the glow of having the green jacket for a year. This obviously neglects the context of all that happened between the fourth jacket and the fifth. As we’re often told by professional athletes themselves, not all titles are created equal. The 2016 Cavaliers or Cubs will testify to it. You may not be a Tiger fan, but it’s charming to see someone who has accomplished everything already act like he’s a rookie who just won his first major or a veteran who finally got one after 20 years of torturous close calls. So Tiger is going to live in this jacket for the next year, as he damn well should, even if it means tossing it over the usual dri-fit uniform on your way out the door to get some jalapeno poppers at your own “elevated sports bar.”
2 h
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
The 5 worst 2019 NFL Draft takes, ranked
Everyone has thoughts about the NFL Draft, but some takes are so bad that you can point and laugh before the draft even happens. The NFL Draft is a gold mine for horrible opinions. Talent evaluators screw up royally every year. Most mock drafts are horribly wrong, and every prospect has both defenders and detractors. There’s no shortage of rumors, and a ton of them are BS. You probably have an opinion about the 2019 NFL Draft that won’t age well, and there’s a good chance you have one that’ll give you the chance to say “I told you so.” But the truly special takes are the ones so awful that you can point and laugh immediately after someone says it. With the 2019 NFL Draft now less than a week away, here are five of those takes, ranked from bad to worst: 5. Defensive linemen need to wear the right numbers There’s a scene in the movie Moneyball that always stuck with me. If you haven’t seen it, the gist is that Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) captures a bit of magic by dismissing traditional scouting methods and leaning into analytics. The flaws of the old ways of player evaluation are shown in one meeting when “good face,” “good jaw,” and “ugly girlfriend means no confidence” are used to breakdown potential players to go after. It’s probably an exaggerated scene, but it gets the point across. And every once in a while a take comes along that makes me think it might not be that exaggerated after all: If you are an interior defensive lineman who has NFL aspirations, don't wear a cute single digit or get slick with a lower number. Wear big numbers 97, 78, 99... just makes you feel bigger on tape. I can't explain it, but it does. Don't plant those "smaller on tape" subliminals— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) February 16, 2019 There’s probably a long list of defensive linemen who wore small numbers in college and did just fine in the NFL. Off the top of my head, there’s the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, who wore No. 7 at South Carolina. If any team gives Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver — who wore No. 10 in college — a lower grade because of his number, they deserve to miss out on him. Michigan’s Rashan Gary wore No. 3 in college too. Who cares? 4. Kyler Murray’s height was “inflated” at the NFL Combine Does this count as a take, or is it a report? Whatever it is, it’s certainly silly. According to Dan Patrick, a scout says Kyler Murray’s announced height — 5’10 and an eighth of an inch — at the NFL Combine was a lie. It was “inflated” and “if he refuses to measure at the pro day, it would be telling.” .@dpshow says that a scout told him that he believes Kyler Murray's height was "inflated" at the combine."If he refuses to measure at the Pro Day, it would be telling."https://t.co/chCZUAoDIV— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 6, 2019 The conspiracy theory kept cooking when Murray did indeed skip out on measurements at the Oklahoma Pro Day. Good luck trying to explain why on Earth the numbers from the NFL Combine would’ve — or even could’ve — been inflated. 3. The Seahawks should trade Russell Wilson and draft his replacement This take died its rightful death when Russell Wilson got the lucrative extension he so obviously deserved the week before the 2019 NFL Draft. But for a while there was somehow a debate whether or not Wilson was a player the Seahawks should build around. Banging that drum has been Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit, who says Wilson has “never been a top-10 quarterback” and that he’d rather have Jacoby Brissett. Apparently that shtick is working out for Benoit, because he and his MMQB coworker Gary Gramling had a mind-numbing discussion earlier this month about tossing Wilson on to the trading block and starting over. Here’s the shot: If I’m Seattle, if I can get two first-rounders for Wilson, I think I’m doing that. And the chaser: I would say, in theory, you could transition a rookie quarterback into that approach pretty well and not skip a beat. That brings us back to the money. Why would we pay Russell Wilson $30 million-plus when all we’re asking him to do is run a fairly simple scheme that other quarterbacks can run. Goodness. Thankfully for everyone’s sanity, the Seahawks didn’t agree with that take and gave Wilson the lofty salary he’s so obviously worth. 2. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is “more of a runner” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has loud thoughts about everything. It’s his job and he does that exact description of the job about as well as anyone out there. He’s reportedly about to get $10 million per year because of it. It also makes him the most susceptible for having loud thoughts about a topic that he knows nothing about. Like when he told everyone that he wasn’t completely sold on Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins because he’s “more of a runner than a thrower.” In which Stephen A. Smith says that Dwayne Haskins is “more of a runner than a thrower.” pic.twitter.com/Gtowi8y0Pp— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) February 8, 2019 It’s a ludicrous take considering Haskins is the model of a pocket passer who had 4,831 passing yards with the Buckeyes and just 108 rushing yards. It doesn’t mean Haskins can’t run, but Murray had more rushing yards against Alabama in the Orange Bowl alone. At first, Smith wouldn’t back down on his evaluation. Haaaaa! Now that’s a good comeback. But we shall see. Haskins wants to throw. I know this. Also know he’s nowhere near the athlete J.T.Barrett was. But I’ve got to see him be that pocket passer that everyone swears he is on the NFL. That’s just ME. We shall see. https://t.co/gtEcW0n0if— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 8, 2019 But eventually he admitted he had it wrong, and apologized to Haskins for it, calling himself “an ignorant fool.” With Dwayne Haskins in studio on First Take, Stephen A says he went back and watched the tape, and that he was an 'ignorant fool' in his past Haskins analysis pic.twitter.com/AVkIoRocz9— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) April 19, 2019 All’s well that ends well, and at least Smith didn’t land in the top spot. Drum roll, please. 1. Kyler Murray is either the No. 1 pick or not a first-rounder at all Sometimes a quarterback takes a surprising tumble down draft boards. But does anybody believe the scenario Aaron Taylor of CBS lays out could come to fruition? Anybody? “If Arizona doesn’t take Murray, I project that he could possibly fall all the way out of the first round.”@AaronTaylorCFB with a BOLD take on Kyler Murray. pic.twitter.com/3Ftq5AyTFa— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) April 16, 2019 Essentially, Taylor says Murray is a fit for the Cardinals and absolutely nobody else. This, despite tons of evidence to the contrary. For one, the Raiders — owners of the No. 4 pick — have been transparently infatuated with Murray. "Someone in Indianapolis told me Jon Gruden is the worst poker player in the NFL. He and Mike Mayock can talk all they want about Derek Carr ... but I'll tell you Jon Gruden is very interested in Kyler Murray." - Peter King on @dpshow— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) March 4, 2019 Murray did a private workout with the Raiders and there’s a lot of smoke for there to be no fire. He also had a private visit with the Giants, who have the No. 6 pick. Jay Glazer of The Athletic also said there’s a healthy market of teams expected to be on the hunt for a trade if the Cardinals don’t swipe Murray right away: “I see an absolute feeding frenzy from teams looking to trade all the way up for Murray. I just don’t see him dropping past that. But man, if the Cards don’t take him, that No. 2 slot that the 49ers own would probably be the most sought-after slot in a long time.” The market for Murray at the top of the draft order is hot enough that the quarterback didn’t take a scheduled visit with Washington, owners of the No. 15 pick. Murray falling out of the first round wouldn’t just be a surprise, it’d be maybe the wildest turn of events in NFL Draft history. The likelier reality is that Aaron Taylor just had a really silly take.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Ask a former NFL player: Will Nick Bosa’s tweets be a locker room issue?
This week, retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz also answers questions about the 2019 TNF schedule and Dwayne Haskins’ draft stock, The mailbag is here for the week. We’re now less than a week away from the 2019 NFL Draft, and I’m so pumped. The mailbag will most likely be off next week as I’ll be writing draft recap columns, so be on the lookout for those! But as always, keep sending those questions to my Twitter account and on Instagram. This week, we’re going talk about a couple draft prospects, as well as the new and improved Thursday Night Football schedule. Football elements aside, where would be the most hilarious place for Nick Bosa to end up that doesn’t fit his political views? Seattle? — @joe_229 The Bosa topic is an interesting one. First off, no one in the locker room cares about Bosa’s tweets. They care about winning. Can Bosa help you win? Yes. That’s what matters. Also, there are plenty of players in the locker room who support Donald Trump and share the same political values as Bosa. And guess what, we all get along. It’s not social media, where everyone is angry all the time. In 2016, heading into the election, a Lions teammate and I had discussions every single day about Clinton vs. Trump. We argued, we counter argued, and we got heated at times. But we were still friends. That’s the way most people discuss politics. As far as the tweets go, if I were Bosa, I’d have deleted them but not admitted to that publicly. It’s caused way more of a media firestorm for announcing the tweets have been deleted. Why delete them if Bosa still believes in the things he tweeted? Because of this: social media outrage. It will never go away. Remember now, people can have beliefs that change over time. Kids tweet what they know, what their parents believe, what they hear at home or on the news, and what might seem cool at the time. Someone who tweeted something inappropriate at 17, 18, or maybe even 20 years old, can change as they get older, just like all of us. I’ve never been outraged at tweets. I get outraged at actions. The NFL has put an emphasis on making Thursday night games better with premier matchups. What are your thoughts on this year’s TNF schedule? — @writingdavid Yes, the NFL has tried to make the Thursday Night Football and the Monday Night Football matchups “better” so people tune in. This season, I think they’ve done a good job of that. The league has more Thursday night matchups between division opponents for a couple of reasons. First, the travel is typically shorter in division and that’s helpful for the away team on a short week. Secondly, you’re playing an opponent you know very well and gameplanning should be easier on a short week. It makes sense. So we get heavyweight matchups like Falcons vs. Saints on Thanksgiving night, which could be an important contest for the division. The same with the Steelers vs Browns in Week 11 on TNF. First Energy Stadium will be lit, as the young kids say, for that matchup. We also have Bears vs. Packers in Week 1 on Thursday night and Rams vs Seahawks in Week 5. I think the slate this season is outstanding. Hi Geoff. I, very foolishly, said that I would eat a reasonable portion of my hat if Dwayne Haskins drops below 10. How likely am I to eat my hat on the opening day of the draft? — @wizardamphibian Hope you have an empty stomach on draft day because it’s going to get filled with your hat. It seems like Haskins as fallen quickly in the last few weeks. It seems very clear the media liked Haskins much more than NFL teams did. Haskins had a fantastic season at Ohio State and produced on the biggest stages, like against Michigan and Washington to end the season. He seems like a wonderful person, and he’s intelligent and well-liked. He’s got the prototypical QB body and can sling it. However, scouts and front office personnel worry about a few things. One, his footwork can be shoddy in the pocket. His feet aren’t set as he throws and he doesn’t step into throws at times. Also, he seems lost in the pocket if the ball isn’t on time. There’s not a great track record of NFL success for quarterbacks who have only been a one-year starter in college. Haskins has the physical tools but needs to continue to learn coverages and not be baited into bad throws. This is why he’s dropping and I think out of the top 10. Drew Lock and maybe even Daniel Jones will go ahead of him. Still, I think Haskins can be an outstanding NFL QB, even if he’s not drafted “high.”
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
The NCAA made three (relatively) good decisions on transfers
The organization could still be doing more to make transfer rules fair to players. The NCAA announced a handful of good decisions about transfer rules on Friday, which should prevent college sports from becoming even less fair than they are now to the athletes who populate them. That’s not to give out too much credit. One of the best decisions was simply not to make a rule change that would’ve taken the NCAA in the wrong direction. The others were highly limited moves toward the good, by the same organization that’s warped the whole system. But baby steps are still steps, so let’s run through them. 1. The NCAA decided against a rule change that would’ve cut back on grad transfers, and which would’ve worked against its own purpose. Most athletes who transfer need to sit out a season upon arrival at their new school. Though the NCAA’s granted more and more waivers lately for other players, the biggest exception is for grad students who already earned a degree. The NCAA had been batting around a rule change that could have dramatically reduced grad transfer opportunities. Under that proposal — which would’ve only applied to football and basketball — if a grad transfer didn’t complete a degree within two years, their school would have to burn a scholarship slot on that player for two years. The idea was to encourage schools to make sure players are taking academics seriously. Most grad transfers only spend a year at their next school, so devoting two years of a scholarship spot would hurt — likely more in basketball, with its 13 scholarship slots per year in Division I than in football, with its 85. Anyway, the NCAA’s DI Council voted that idea down. That’s for the best. It’s fine and good to push schools and players to care about academic performance, but this proposal, like so many NCAA rules, would have punished future players for things they didn’t do — in this case, for someone else not completing a degree. It also would’ve hurt football walk-ons, who often get rewarded with the final few scholarship spots once fall camp comes around. Such a rule change would’ve cut into a grad transfer rule that, by its nature, encourages players to get their degrees and attain the freedom to transfer without sitting. It would have limited player agency while sending mixed messages, at best, on academics. 2. The NCAA carved out a narrow circumstance in which non-grad transfers wouldn’t even need a waiver to play immediately. If an incoming player has enrolled in summer school, and then that player’s head coach leaves the school before the start of the fall term, the player can transfer freely. Most coaches aren’t moving around in the summer, with most sports out of season, but there are a few late surprises every year. And under this new rule, if, for instance, Ole Miss’ head football coach got ousted in July after phone records tied him to an escort service, then every incoming freshman would be allowed to go elsewhere and play. The NCAA’s initial press release on the matter suggested that all players on the roster would get this privilege if the coach left in summer. It’s not clear why they shouldn’t, given that those players likely agreed to play for the same head coach an incoming freshman did. 3. Walk-ons can now transfer without sitting out. A rule like this could have let Baker Mayfield play immediately at Oklahoma in 2014, after he transferred from Texas Tech and said the Red Raiders hadn’t offered him a scholarship. It’s not clear how many walk-ons have transfer opportunities in front of them at any given time, but this, too, seems like the right move. Why should a player who’s not on scholarship be required to sit out if they get an offer from a team that would pay for their school? These changes are part of a slow but significant modernization of NCAA transfer rules, which has made it easier for players to move around. In 2018, the NCAA axed a rule that required players to get permission from their schools before other programs could contact them about transfers. That only went so far, because many conferences still have restrictive rules on the books, but it was a start. At the same time, the NCAA set up its now-famed TRANSFER PORTAL (which is sadly not a magical transportation device) to provide infrastructure for prospective transfers to get in touch with other schools. Coaches, especially football coaches, whine a lot about the relative ease with which players can now go from school to school. But it’s worth remembering that a) transfers aren’t some kind of big epidemic, and b) unpaid players are still held to stingier movement rules than the coaches who make millions of dollars to lead them.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
A.J. Brown helps the Patriots get ready for the future
New England gets a new wide receiver for Tom Brady in the conclusion of the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. We have come to the conclusion of the 13th annual SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. The final choice for the third time in these massive mock drafts belongs to the New England Patriots. Coming off another Super Bowl win, the Patriots have to approach this draft looking toward the future. Tom Brady will be 42 when the season starts. The receiver group is aging. Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired. Defensive end Trey Flowers departed in free agency, as did left tackle Trent Brown. The Patriots will probably be fine — they’re the Patriots after all — but work has to be done in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here to do that work in our blogger mock draft for New England is Rich Hill from Pats Pulpit. 32. New England Patriots: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss Hill: The Patriots need to get Brady a great, young receiving target with only one wide receiver or tight end with NFL experience under contract beyond the 2019 season. Julian Edelman turns 33 years old in May and the vast majority of people probably can’t name two other receiving targets for Brady at either wideout or tight end. Brown represents the perfect Patriots’ receiver. He’s been one of the most productive wideouts in the SEC over the past two decades and runs a blazing 6.89-second three-cone drill, both of which should endear him to Bill Belichick. Brown’s equally dominant in the slot or on the outside and can catch the ball at any level of the field, offering versatility that Josh McDaniels will favor. And he runs great routes, forces missed tackles better than most any other receiver prospect, and doesn’t drop the ball or fumble, which Brady will love. The 6’0, 226-pound receiver immediately steps into the lineup where Chris Hogan used to play, with Edelman in the slot and Phillip Dorsett providing speed on the outside. Multiple people compare Brown to JuJu Smith-Schuster. He’s the best offensive skill player on the board. What’s not to love? Analysis: With his big frame, Brown is a little bit like a running back after the catch. Theoretically, he could also do some of the stuff Cordarrelle Patterson was doing for the Patriots last season. Brown can also provide Josh Gordon insurance if the talented but troubled veteran comes back to New England. Brown is much more than insurance, or a fill-in player, though. He got overshadowed at Ole Miss at times, but that’s because the team’s quarterback play was shaky and there were two other NFL receivers on the roster. In the NFL, Brown should be a much better player. Top five remaining players: 13. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama 23. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson 26. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma 29. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia 33. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State That’s it! We’re done! Let’s reflect for a moment on the five best players remaining. It’s easy to see why most of them dropped out of the first round: Jacobs plays a devalued position. Lawrence is perceived by some as a nose tackle, a position few teams need. Brown is on the small side for a receiver and was injured during the pre-draft hype process, while Harry is an unspectacular athlete. That officially closes out the 13th Annual SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. Make sure to check out the stream for the 31 other picks and how the grades are developing.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Cole Anthony is built for greatness
The stud point guard is going to be college basketball’s next freshman sensation. Cole Anthony’s path to stardom has been atypical even among teenage basketball prodigies. As the son of 11-year NBA veteran Greg Anthony, Cole has had all the advantages of a privileged upbringing combined with the technological advancements that have made developing elite athletic talent a more meticulous and systematic process than ever before. Anthony has watched film with Kevin Durant and picked the brain of Kyrie Irving while vacationing in the Hamptons. He started working out with Chris Brinkley, NBA trainer to the stars, after reaching out to him via Instagram. Before he even started high school, he starred in the Nickelodeon documentary “Little Ballers”, which was directed by his mother. Anthony has spent four years building himself up into one of top high school players in the country. He is a consensus top-five recruit by every scouting service and was just named MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game. He is a scoring point guard custom-built to carry an offense from the day he steps on campus. It is finally time for his college announcement, which will happen on Monday as he decides between North Carolina, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Georgetown. One lucky school is getting an instant impact, one-and-done freshman star as their floor general. Anthony might not be ranked No. 1 in his class, but it feels like no player will generate more hype as a freshman in the next college basketball season. This is a star player who has always been built for greatness. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for Powerade Greg Anthony originally played his college ball at Portland. After winning conference freshman of the year, he transferred to UNLV. That’s where Anthony teamed up with Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon to form one of the most iconic teams in the history of the sport. Jerry Tarkanian’s Runnin’ Rebels were a national sensation, playing an aggressive defensive that forced turnovers and pushed the ball relentlessly in transition. Anthony was their floor general, a lockdown defender and crafty playmaker who served as the engine of the team at both ends of the floor. At their best, UNLV was a blitzkrieg that could not be stopped. The Rebels ran through the NCAA tournament in 1990 to win the national championship, blowing out Christian Laettner and Duke by 30 points in the title game. They were undefeated the next year entering March Madness before Duke upset them in the Final Four. Anthony was drafted No. 12 overall by the Knicks, and quickly made himself a key part of the rotation because of his tenacity as a defender and his skill as a passer. After four seasons, the Knicks left him unprotected in the expansion draft, where he was selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies. Anthony burnished his reputation as one of the great facilitators of his generation by finishing top-five in the NBA in assist rate in the 1995-96 season. Anthony would ultimately go the Portland Trail Blazers, where he backed up Damon Stoudamire. Five days before the start of an infamous seven-game Western Conference Finals series against the Lakers, Anthony’s wife gave birth to Cole. Cole Anthony was raised in a Manhattan penthouse and honed his skills with private trainers from a young age, but you’d never know it watching him play. In so many ways, Anthony is the living embodiment of everything a New York City point guard is supposed to be. Anthony plays with a competitive edge that belies his privilege. He staked his reputation with aggressiveness, developing a complete scoring package built on pull-up jumpers, step-backs, and a fine-tuned knowledge of how to attack out of the pick-and-roll. That doesn’t even speak to his explosiveness athleticism, which has him rising above the rim at a moment’s notice. This is a point guard who grew up modeling himself after Russell Westbrook while channeling his father’s ability to orchestrate an offense. “He has top level athleticism and skill,” said Jerry Meyer, recruiting director for 247 Sports. “What separates him is he has a great mind for the game. I think he has a great feel for being an electric scorer while also running the team.” Anthony played against the highest competition on Nike’s EYBL circuit for three years. In his final season, he was named MVP by averaging 26.9 points, 3.5 assists, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game for the PSA Cardinals, the same program that once groomed Mohamed Bamba. When grassroots season was over, Anthony helped USA Basketball claim a gold medal at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship, where he finished third on the team in scoring (14.4 points per game) and second in assists. Anthony has only continued to prove himself on the all-star circuit. He lit up the Nike Hoop Summit, scoring 25 points to the U.S. team to a victory. Anthony has every tool to be projected as a top-five NBA draft pick a year from now. He has good size (6’3) with elite athleticism. He has shooting ability already developed out to NBA three-point range. He maintains his aggressive edge defensively. He also feels like an ideal fit for a modern game that has placed immense emphasis on creating out of the pick-and-roll. Those around Anthony say the best thing about his game is that he lives and breathes basketball. He didn’t need the game to be set financially, but he still used every resource at his disposal to build himself into a dynamic floor general and bonafide scorer. He’s been considered a blue chip recruit since he entered the basketball consciousness, but he still plays like he has to prove himself every game. Anthony has taken no shortcuts to get to this point, earning his reputation as a future star on merit, not his NBA genes. With his college decision looming, Anthony is ready for his biggest stage yet.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
5 NFL teams that could draft Dwayne Haskins
Haskins may be 2019’s best pure passer — and possibly Eli Manning’s replacement. Kyler Murray is the quarterback who won the 2018 Heisman Trophy. Kyler Murray is the quarterback drawing the most media attention in advance of the 2019 NFL Draft. Dwayne Haskins is the quarterback who could wind up having the best career of any player taken in next week’s proceeding. The Ohio State product, last year’s third-place finisher on the Heisman ballots, may not be the kind of electric dual-threat talent Murray is, but the strong-armed Haskins could be an immediate fit for a needy team this fall. The architect of the Buckeyes’ passing supernova — he threw for 1,500 more yards in a single season than any other Ohio State quarterback in program history — will be a hot commodity in the top half of Thursday’s opening round. At 6’3, the 231-pound passer fills out the league’s prototype quarterback build better than the 5’10 Murray, but his credentials go beyond just “average NFL QB size.” He’s got impressive poise in the pocket and the downfield accuracy to drop deep passes into a bucket and turn small openings into big gains. He helped turn two different wideouts — Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin — into probable Day 2 picks thanks to the most productive seasons of their college careers. Nearly every team in the league could use a young quarterback like Haskins, but few have the combination of need and draft assets to add him to the fray. Here are the five franchises that could find a way to land the Ohio State standout in hopes of making him their offensive cornerstone in 2019 and beyond. The obvious candidate: New York Giants The Giants have a glaring need for an exit strategy as Eli Manning enters his 16th season as a pro. They also have the sixth and 17th overall picks in this year’s draft thanks to a unwatchable-at-times 2018 season and an even more depressing 2019 offseason that saw Odell Beckham Jr. shipped away to Cleveland. That No. 6 selection seems tailor-made for a quarterback like Haskins, and most mock drafts agree. The Buckeye passer is the most commonly mocked pick for the Giants’ first choice of the first round, even as rumors have flown about New York not being interested in the top-tier passer: New York needs help on both sides of the ball and could wind up targeting a pass rusher at No. 6, but hoping Haskins slides to the second half of the first round may be a mistake. Picking up a quarterback early would give the team its Manning replacement and wipe the club’s top priority off a huge rebuilding to-do list. It would also give the Giants a player eager to learn behind the veteran Super Bowl winner before taking the reins in 2019 (or earlier). In a draft loaded with defensive talent, there will still be time to pick up a defensive game-changer at No. 17 — but probably not a franchise quarterback. The next team up: Denver Broncos General manager John Elway added 34-year-old Joe Flacco this offseason, but he’s as likely to be Denver’s long-term answer at quarterback as the Shamrock Shake is to become a full-time menu item at McDonald’s. That leaves the Broncos in need of a long-term answer at quarterback, and while Haskins isn’t exactly the kind of player Elway looks for in the draft (i.e. guys who are 6’5 or taller with glaring flaws), he could be an easy selection to make if he slides all the way to the 10th pick. Haskins would be into it; he even wore an Elway throwback jersey to his pre-draft meeting with the Broncos. .. https://t.co/tmiu5H0CN5— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) April 17, 2019 While they’re very different quarterbacks, going to Denver would allow Haskins to follow Lamar Jackson’s path to the NFL. Jackson sat behind Flacco over the first half of the season before moving into a starting role after the veteran suffered an injury in Week 9. Haskins could do the same while he adjusts to life beyond the NCAA, then take over following the Broncos’ inevitable 3-5 start. Could trade up to ruin both the Giants and Broncos’ day: Miami Dolphins Brian Flores is about to head into his first season as Miami’s head coach with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his starting quarterback. It may behoove him to pick up a passer whose offseason training regimen wasn’t based around birthday cake. More than a quarter of the mock drafts out there have the Dolphins selecting their quarterback of the future this spring (sorry, Luke Falk), and Haskins is the most popular pick of the bunch. Miami might be the least hospitable landing zone of the bunch, however, as Flores’ team is headed into a rebuilding year with a premier 2020 pick in its crosshairs. A season playing with a depleted depth chart can be devastating to a rookie passer’s draft stock — see Josh Rosen’s experience in Arizona — and throwing Haskins into the fire in Florida could be a worst-case scenario for his rookie campaign. Basically the Broncos, but in worse shape: Washington Washington traded a perfectly good cornerback for the opportunity to pay Alex Smith $94 million over four years, only to see him suffer a potentially career-ending injury after 10 mediocre games in the nation’s capital. The club now heads into 2019 with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy atop its depth chart, and even if team president Bruce Allen thinks Keenum is capable of returning to his 2017 form he’s set to hit free agency next spring. That leaves a lot of ambiguity behind center — a concern that can be cleared up if Haskins slips all the way to the 15th pick. Washington could also trade up if it decides Haskins is the future, but it isn’t exactly flush with assets. Allen has four of the first 96 picks and nine total selections, but Washington also has holes to fill almost everywhere else on the roster — including finding targets for their new 2019 quarterback to throw to, whomever he is. That’s impressively bad, and while Landon Collins was a big free agent addition, the team’s next biggest signing was ...right tackle/turnstile Ereck Flowers. Seems like a bad time to consolidate picks for a move up, but Haskins could be good enough to justify such a move. It’d take some maneuvering (and luck): New England Patriots Bill Belichick loves to swap picks on draft day (and every other day of the year), but he typically uses his trades to slide back in the proceedings and amass mid-round picks he can turn into useful starters in New England. That’s not to say he hasn’t traded up for specific prospects — stars like Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower have all come under Belichick’s tutelage after he moved up the draft ladder to select them. The Patriots would have to make a massive leap to move from the 32nd pick and into the top half of Day 1. Fortunately for New England, it’s got the ammunition to make a run at a selection in the 10-15 range thanks to 12 draft picks — including six of the first 101 overall. The only problem is they need most of those picks to offset this spring’s departures. Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, Malcom Brown, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dwayne Allen, and Adrian Clayborn all left in free agency this offseason. Gronkowski, whose 42-yard catch in Super Bowl 53 set up the game’s only touchdown, decided to retire after nine seasons in the league. The Patriots badly need to reload for 2019, and with Brady still playing proficient football, spending big to get his successor might not yet be in the cards for Belichick.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
What do you do when Giannis is destroying your team and you feel helpless?
This week’s advice column tackles helplessness, and how we can take back control of our lives. Welcome to “Couldn’t be me”, a weekly advice column where I solicit your personal dilemmas and help out as best as I can. Have something I can help you with? Find me @_Zeets. This week we’re tackling the feeling of helplessness, and how much of what happens in our lives is beyond our control. Just imagine: you’re a leader, but you’ve been told to sit on the sidelines against your wishes while your teammates get blown out of two games by an average of 28 points. That sort of helplessness is one of the most natural but frustrating feelings to deal with. Helplessness makes the insignificance of an individual life clear in the worst and most humbling way. Fortunately, that helplessness doesn’t have to be defeating; it can also act as a starting point to living the best life one can. Blake: After working hard all year to lead my new team to the playoffs (they hadn’t been since the 2015-16 season, when they were swept in the first round by the Cavaliers), I was told that I can’t play in the first round against the best team in our conference because of a knee injury. Yes, the injury is painful, but I can play through that. It’s just that the team doesn’t want me possibly risking my long-term health. I feel awful having to sit and watch the team lose when I know that I could help them and give us a chance at making it out of the first round. CBM: I’m going to be real honest here, you should sit back and enjoy your rest, maybe even ask the team if you can go on summer vacation early, because nothing you could do on the court would give the Pistons any chance of beating the Bucks. Did you see Giannis Antetokounmpo take off from close to the free-throw line for a dunk? Your team is playing against a higher form of human being. It’s unfortunate that you can’t be out there with your teammates, and I know that your natural drive as an athlete is to want to play, but there’s no sense going out there with a bad knee and possibly hurting yourself more trying to stop Mr. Fantastic. Miles: What do we do in a society that (falsely) insists that helplessness is just kind of a default state of being? How do we push back against “Well that’s just the way the world works” rhetoric (especially in art) without reverting to a sort romantic hero trope, where a single person fights valiantly against the world’s realism? CBM: I think there are a few reasons behind “that’s just the way the world works” as a rebuttal to hope. The first is that some people view nihilism as a form of higher intelligence, or a way of being realistic. But that thinking is lazy if it stops at “nothing matters” and doesn’t go forward from there as the philosophy was meant to do. Yes, existence is absurd. There may not be a real reason to live, and none of this may matter in the grand scheme, but you’re still alive. You’re a human being who cares about things. You move, you interact with the world, you love, and you’re driven and pulled by emotions and reason. Past the point of “nothing matters” is the question of, “so then, what do you want to fight for?” My view is that if we’re insignificant to the universe, then your obligation should be to that insignificant life and to the lives of others. To make our lives and the lives of others as good as possible, to protect the vulnerable, and to be in wonder at what we are and the world around us, since this small moment in time is all we have. Second is that saying “that’s just the way the world works” is both ahistorical and impatient. There are struggles that have been taking place throughout world history — the rich trying to exploit the poor, for example — but the world has never been in a permanent state, and will never be. Art, even less. I think stating that the world works a certain way reflects someone who has tried and been beaten down by external forces — which is a sad state, but understandable. Sometimes you really try to make a better life, to improve the world, only for forces greater than you to rise up, knock you down, and maintain the status quo. But change is possible. Not with the romantic heroic trope, which shows how obsessed we are with individuality as a culture, but the power of groups, in the power of belonging to something bigger than yourself. There’s obviously a balance to it, because divesting so much of your identity to a group can quickly lead to zealousness, but collective power has historically been the best way to change the conditions of the world around us. Even if those changes don’t occur in your lifetime, you fight for a better world because it matters. You simply have to take solace in knowing that you’re doing your small part in a process that might take many generations. Charlie: One time someone (not very) close to me was threatening to delete a twitter thread that brought great joy to the masses. I wanted to help but they were ensnared by their own pettiness. CBM: This is definitely a reference to me threatening to delete my nutmegs as philosophical quotes thread on Twitter. My worst trait is that I have a destructive streak, in which I can wake up one day and suddenly want to end a project or a Twitter thread, to both show myself that the thing isn’t integral to my existence and free myself of the obligation to it. To give myself space to start something new. It comes from my own powerlessness in how life unfolds, so I feel I have to take drastic action to show that I have agency, even if I’m acting on a terrible idea. I’m not deleting that thread yet, but I will soon. The thought was to turn it into an art book and then do something new after. Not that I don’t still enjoy it, and I could do it forever, but I like doing new and creative things, and falling into the comfort of something ruins the fun of it to me.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Eric McCoy can help keep the Rams’ Super Bowl window open
The Texas A&M center fills a vital need for Los Angeles. We’ve arrived at the penultimate selection in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. How dramatic. The choice, of course, belongs to the Los Angeles Rams. The Super Bowl runners-up were the darlings of the NFL for much of last season with their high-powered offense and boyish head coach Sean McVay. The Rams are a team that checks a lot of boxes for a great NFL team. A young and affordable franchise quarterback? Check. An innovative offensive-minded head coach? Check. A superstar game changer on defense? Check. It’s easy to see why the Rams should be competing for the Super Bowl again this season. First, though, the team does need a little fine-tuning. The back seven of the defense, while bolstered by veteran safety Eric Weddle, can use some players. After a good showing in the playoffs, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh still needs replaced. The depth behind running back Todd Gurley could be addressed, especially after he became ineffective at the end of last season. The most important upgrade for Los Angeles is in front of rising quarterback Jared Goff on the offensive line. Fortunately, the venerable 3k from Turf Show Times is up in our mock draft to help out. 31. Los Angeles Rams: Eric McCoy, OL, Texas A&M 3k: The Rams got their offensive line transition underway a year ago in the 2018 NFL Draft with the selection of guard Joseph Noteboom and center Brian Allen with the 89th and 111th picks, respectively. Now that starting left guard Rodger Saffold III and starting center John Sullivan have left town, the transition can begin in earnest. But with left tackle Andrew Whitworth around for one last ride and right guard Austin Blythe set to prove his 2018 season was no fluke, there’s not much long-term stability on the line. McCoy’s a fine interior line prospect. While he was a three-year starter at center, he does have experience at right guard. That kind of versatility has been known to be valuable to Rams run game coordinator and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. So which position would McCoy compete for? Don’t know, but it probably doesn’t matter. The Rams’ staff can sort it out in training camp and through the preseason as they look to build their line of the future … Starting now. Analysis: Momentum for McCoy has been building since the start of last college football season. He was named Texas A&M’s team MVP, had a good showing at the Senior Bowl, and really helped himself at the NFL Combine. Whether he can carry that momentum into the first round of the draft is to be seen. McCoy is a mobile and intelligent blocker up the middle, and he plays with good intensity. He’s not a powerhouse mauling blocker, but he gets by. He’s a safe pick, which is something the Rams need in order to stay in contention. Top five remaining players: 13. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama 23. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson 26. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma 29. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia 33. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State Hopefully you know this by now, but the final choice in this year’s SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft will up at 1 p.m. ET. Making the choice is Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit for the New England Patriots.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
New Mexico’s patience in Bob Davie probably won’t pay off
New Mexico’s attendance is plummeting, and wins have disappeared, but Davie gets another shot to right the ship. Bill C’s annual preview series of every FBS team in college football continues. Catch up here! Frustrated by a lack of support and diminishing win totals, New Mexico head coach Rocky Long resigned following the 2008 season, and Mike Locksley replaced him. Locksley attracted decent talent to Albuquerque but had no idea what to do with it, and the Lobos went an incredible (for all the wrong reasons) 1-11 in 2009, 1-11 in 2010, and, after he was fired four games in, 1-11 in 2011. New Mexico’s average home attendance in those three seasons: 22,620. New Mexico’s average home attendance in 2018: 16,587, a full 27 percent lower. Obviously home attendance depends in part on who’s on your home schedule — the NMSU-UNM game, for instance, almost always draws 30,000-plus, and UNM’s home attendance in odd-numbered years, when NMSU visits, is always higher than evens. Still, from 2009-17, the Lobos had a listed attendance under 2018’s average just four times. Morale is low, in other words. It’s not hard to see why. Two years ago, the Lobos stopped winning. Bob Davie’s squad won 16 games and bowled twice in 2015-16; they’ve gone 6-18 since. They collapsed in 2017, and then Davie spent part of the offseason suspended. Over the course of two separate investigations since August, New Mexico’s then-interim president, Chaouki Abdallah, determined that, at best, Davie had violated ethical conduct and compliance portions of his contract. At worst, he had attempted to influence sexual assault investigations of his players. The evidence couldn’t entirely prove the latter, but there was enough of the former that, combined when Davie’s team collapsed on the field last fall, it appeared Abdallah had enough to fire Davie with cause, even without concrete proof of the worst allegations. When New Mexico stunk again last fall, he again wasn’t fired. We’ll see if that changes with another bad season. S&P+ projects the Lobos 115th overall, with only a manageable early schedule — Sam Houston State, NMSU, Liberty, SJSU, and Colorado State among the first six games — salvaging a 4-8 projection. Davie will be breaking in two more coordinators (he’s gone through a lot of them lately), and while the offense enjoys a little continuity, both the linebacking corps and secondary have been destroyed by attrition. Davie is sending out as many positives vibes as possible, talking about this offseason as a brand new starting point. “I’m right back to where I started my first time coaching, attacking it like that,” Davie said. “We’re starting, in a lot of ways, completely over, which is dramatically needed.” Davie, entering his eighth year at UNM, described his coaching staff and players as, “hungry,” coming in every morning as if their backs are against the wall after back-to-back 3-9 seasons, each of them ending with seven-game losing streaks. This is, of course, what any coach in his situation would say, but occasionally those vibes can take hold. Air Force’s Troy Calhoun, for instance, went 8-17 in 2012-13, then went 28-12 from 2014-16. But the Mountain West of 2014-16 was not this Mountain West. The league is coming off of its best season since 2009, and while UNM’s conference schedule is as positive as could be imagined — no San Diego State or Fresno State in cross-division matchups — it probably won’t be positive enough. Offense I’ve long admired Davie’s sense of reality when it comes to the talent at hand. A few years ago, admitting that he didn’t have nearly the amount of talent required to win lots of one-on-one matchups, he installed a unique spread-option system that he road to the aforementioned bowls. The Lobos slipped from 47th to 113th in Off. S&P+ in 2017, however, so he fired OC Bob DeBesse (who went to Georgia Southern and completely revived the Eagles’ option game) and brought in Calvin Magee to run a Rich Rod-style spread option. UNM proceeded to rank just 107th last fall, so Davie’s changing things up again. Now it’s Joe Dailey’s turn. Davie’s ethos hasn’t changed... Davie said the Lobos don’t have the talent to be a better spread-offense team than other teams that use the spread. “We still have to be, from a schematic standpoint, a pain-in-the-butt to prepare for,” he said. “On a given week, we have to do some things different from what they saw before.” ... but while Dailey is well versed in option concepts — he began his career playing for Frank Solich’s Nebraska and has spent a good portion of his coaching career with Nebraska product Turner Gill at Buffalo, Kansas, and Liberty — the biggest draw for Davie was Dailey’s flexibility. As OC at Liberty, he was able to craft a “hybrid spread” system (his words) based specifically around the talent at hand. LU ranked in the double digits in Off. S&P+ in its FBS debut last year under Dailey, and, perhaps more importantly, torched New Mexico for 568 yards and 52 points in September. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Sheriron Jones Liberty’s primary strengths in 2018 were the ability to avoid negative plays — 32nd in stuff rate, 21st in sack rate — and the ability to pitch the ball around a bit. The former matches up well with the ideals of the option offense Davie has chosen to forego. The latter is ... a bit of a mystery. The New Mexico passing game was all-or-nothing like that of option attacks often are, and we’ll see if Dailey can find seeds of consistency in one of the quarterbacks in a crowded race: senior incumbent Sheriron Jones, sophomore Tevaka Tuioti, redshirt freshman Trae Hall, or JUCO transfer Brandt Hughes. Each candidate is intriguing in his own way. Tuioti began last season as the starter and torched Incarnate Word for 327 passing yards and 54 rushing yards but barely played after that. Jones, a onetime Tennessee signee and four-star prospect, looked sensational in a trio of games against Liberty, UNLV, and Colorado State, but his production trailed off considerably from there. Hall, listed as an athlete rather than a QB by recruiting services, was still a three-star prospect with offers from FAU, UL Lafayette, ULM, Tulane, and NMSU. Hughes threw for 2,146 yards, with 19 combined passing and rushing touchdowns, last year at Butte College. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Elijah Lilly If Dailey can unearth a semi-consistent QB, the next step will be finding some consistent WRs. Leading returnees Elijah Lilly and Anselem Umeh were used primarily on go routes last year, averaging 18.7 yards per catch but with just a 50 percent catch rate. Junior Q’ Drennan was the same in 2017. There’s obviously some speed here, but we’ll see if a more fleshed-out route tree is possible. Davie signed some JUCOs (juniors Emmanuel Logan-Greene and Jordan Kress and sophomore tight end Kyle Jarvis) just in case. There’s another reason why it’s important the passing game figures some things out: the running game is starting over to a degree. Leading backs Tyrone Owens and Zahneer Shuler are gone, as are both starting guards, including four-year starter and all-conference RG Aaron Jenkins. Granted, Owens’ and Shuler’s production was pretty bad (3.9 yards per carry, 40 percent success rate), and the bar’s not high. But the leading returnees — senior Ahmari Davis and sophomores Daevon Vigilant and Bryson Carroll — didn’t fare any better. Vigilant’s a former star recruit, at least, and sophomore Kentrail Moran was a damn near four-star recruit but missed last year with a knee injury. There might be upside with those two in particular. Defense We all do it: when a former defensive coordinator gets a head coaching job, we assume his defense will be as awesome as whatever defense he used to get the HC promotion, and we ask questions about his OC hire. We do the same in reverse, too — assume good offenses from OCs and ask more questions about the defense. It’s funny, then, to think back and realize that... Davie was an immensely successful defensive coordinator at Texas A&M and Notre Dame, which earned him the Notre Dame HC job when Lou Holtz (briefly) retired. Indeed, his ND tenure was undone by a horrid 2001 offense that ranked 92nd in Off. S&P+ (while his defense ranked sixth). His first five offenses at New Mexico averaged a healthy Off. S&P+ ranking of 66.8, peaking at 47th in 2016. His defenses, meanwhile, have been consistently horrible. Average Def. S&P+: 113.9. Best ranking so far: 102nd. An odd path, that. But for whatever reason, Davie just has never had the horses to do what he wants defensively, and he’s never figured out what he can do with the horses he’s got. So now it’s Jordan Peterson’s turn to try his hand at fixing the D. The former Texas A&M DB has spent the last two years as Davie’s DBs coach, and he’s been tasked with creating a unit as hard to prepare for as UNM’s offenses were a few years ago. Good luck. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports Patrick Peek The Lobos had the components of an aggressive and interesting pass defense last year, but the pass rush wasn’t quite good enough, and the secondary suffered a few too many big-play glitches to justify the aggression. But that’s enough of talking about last year — UNM’s primary pass rusher is gone, as are the top seven defensive backs. Ouch. Senior DBs De’John Rogers (CB), Willy Hobdy (CB), and Patrick Peek (FS) and junior Kameron Miller (nickel) all have some semblance of experience; Peterson won’t be fielding a secondary of five freshmen or anything. But it was still awfully revealing that Davie signed five JUCO defensive backs, wasn’t it? Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images Willie Hobdy Up front, there’s better continuity, at least. Five of last year’s six linemen are back, including end Nahje Flowers and nose tackle Aaron Blackwell, but Davie inked three JUCO linemen as well. And the linebacking corps loses four of last year’s top five and will rely on some combination of returning MLB Alex Hart (who missed 2018 with injury), junior Brandon Shook, senior Alexander “Moana” Vainikolo, and, you guessed it, four JUCOs. The returning depth chart was dire enough that Davie used almost half his 2019 class on JUCOs. That usually backfires — even if there’s initial improvement (and there often isn’t), it leads to a detonated two-deep a couple of years later — but you never know for sure. The defense has been so bad for so long that it might be worth a JUCO Hail Mary. Special Teams New Mexico has wasted a couple of good special teams units these last two bad years. The Lobos were 30th in Special Teams S&P+ in 2017 and improved to fourth last season, and it didn’t matter. UNM was good at basically everything in special teams last year, but place-kicker Danny Sutton and dynamite punt returner Marcus Hayes are gone. Punter Tyson Dyer and kickoffs guy Andrew Shelley should ensure another decent rating, but top-five might be a bit too much to ask for. 2019 outlook 2019 Schedule & Projection Factors Date Opponent Proj. S&P+ Rk Proj. Margin Win Probability 31-Aug Sam Houston State NR 8.8 70% 14-Sep at Notre Dame 12 -36.9 2% 21-Sep New Mexico State 121 5.1 62% 28-Sep at Liberty 112 -4.0 41% 5-Oct at San Jose State 117 -1.6 46% 12-Oct Colorado State 109 0.0 50% 19-Oct at Wyoming 92 -13.1 22% 26-Nov Hawaii 94 -7.3 34% 2-Nov at Nevada 83 -15.8 18% 9-Nov Air Force 90 -9.3 30% 16-Nov at Boise State 24 -30.3 4% 30-Nov Utah State 42 -20.4 12% Projected S&P+ Rk 115 Proj. Off. / Def. Rk 104 / 117 Projected wins 3.9 Five-Year S&P+ Rk -10.2 (103) 2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk 121 2018 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin* -4 / 0.4 2018 TO Luck/Game -1.8 Returning Production (Off. / Def.) 51% (59%, 43%) 2018 Second-order wins (difference) 4.0 (-1.0) I’d be surprised if Davie is still in his job this time next year, but what do I know? I was surprised last year, and I’m surprised right now, too. Maybe he’s got tenure. When a coach is forced by circumstance to basically start from scratch, you occasionally end up with a “necessity is the mother of invention” situation, and who knows — maybe Dailey crafts something really exciting on offense, and maybe Peterson finally cracks the “how to play good defense in Albuquerque” code. (I’m more optimistic about the pieces on offense, for whatever that’s worth.) More likely, however, is that this is another down year for New Mexico. Anything less than a 4-2 start will likely preclude any bowl hopes, and S&P+ suggests something like 2-4 or 3-3 is more likely. New Mexico desperately needs something to get the fans engaged again. You never know for sure, but odds aren’t good that that happens until a new head coach takes over. Team preview stats All 2019 preview data to date.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Jeffery Simmons is this draft’s most high-risk, high-reward player
Retired defensive end Stephen White thinks Simmons’ best pass-rushing days are ahead of him — probably. Jeffery Simmons has a lot of good weapons to work with in his arsenal. He’s a big guy, listed at 6’4 and 300 pounds, and he’s powerful. His strength is readily apparent when you watch his tape. Simmons also uses his hands well, both when taking on blocks and when escaping off of them. In addition to his power, Simmons is also very athletic, and his lateral quickness is outstanding. He gets off the ball well and into the opposing backfield in a hurry on most plays. Simmons’ flashes are about as good as you will see from a defensive lineman coming out this year. When he was really on the details, he was tough as hell to block. Whether he was running through a blocker, or around them, Simmons made exceptional plays in the four games of his that I watched. The thing is, I just felt like if he could have put everything together a little more consistently, Simmons would have been an absolute terror in every game. The flashes were cool, but between them there were some plays that were a little disappointing. Not a lot of them, but just enough to give me some doubts. Let me start with his positives first, however, and then we can get into where I see room for improvement at the end. Simmons brings more to the table than just power. Mississippi State had Simmons line up primarily as a nose tackle, either as a zero nose (head up on the center), or shaded to one side or the other in a one-technique. However, MSU also moved him around a little bit, which was great because I was able to see him perform from different alignments. Simmons was strong enough to hold the point really well, even though he isn’t one of those super-sized nose tackles we have become accustomed to watching. When he really hunkered down he was tough as hell to move, even with double-teams. He was good about consistently coming off and getting full extension with his arms when playing the run so as to keep blockers off of him, too. That allowed him to control opposing offensive linemen, then discard them when it was time to try to make a tackle. Simmons’ game wasn’t only about power, though. He was cat-quick when reacting to different blocking schemes, and Simmons made quite a few offensive linemen whiff by stunting sideways past them. Simmons had a real knack for that, especially when dealing with backside cutoff blocks. I was also impressed with how quickly he was able to transition from being a run defender to a pass rusher when he recognized play-action pass. As soon as he noticed the quarterback dropping back, he would work to an edge on the blocker and start using his hands to try to escape off the block. That should transfer well to the next level, especially if his new team has him play some nose tackle, too. An NFL defensive coordinator will have no trouble finding a place for him. His versatility is also most certainly going to be a big plus once he gets into the league. Simmons went from nose tackle to five-technique a few times and looked quite comfortable playing out there. Being able to line up and perform well anywhere up front means that Simmons will be a fit in just about any defensive scheme you can think of. I’d argue that his best position will probably wind up being as a three-technique, especially on passing downs, but his best situation might be getting drafted by a team with a 3-4 base defense where he’s allowed to move around. Simmons only had one sack and three pressures in the four games I watched, but you clearly could see he has tremendous pass-rush potential on tape. He didn’t have a ton of opportunities to get after the quarterback, but he made the most of the ones he did get. He had a lot of talent around him — like his teammate Montez Sweat, who I feel should be selected in the top half of the first round — so he wasn’t always able to get to the quarterback first, but Simmons did have quite a few pass-rush wins in those four games. One of the things that stood out to me when he rushed the passer was how Simmons was able to use his hands to grab a blocker by the forearm or elbow to keep them from being able to grab him. It takes a lot of precision with your hand placement to be able to pull that off, and, frankly, there aren’t many guys I’ve seen who can do it on a regular basis. There are a few flaws holding Simmons back, though. I’m telling you, there was a lot to be impressed with when I watched Simmons play. I will say that if you only looked at Simmons’ highlights from those four games, it would be easy to believe he is going to be an absolute monster once he gets to the pros. And you know what, he just might be when it is all said and done. However, there are some things from his tape I believe he needs to clean up if he really wants to maximize his potential as an NFL player. Now, I won’t pretend to know how Simmons was coached in college, but it looked to me that he had a hard time playing reach blocks. As a reminder, getting reached means an offensive lineman was able to gain outside leverage on the defender after the ball was snapped. To me, the way Simmons kept getting reached looked like more of a technique issue than anything else, especially when Simmons was lined up as a nose tackle. For one thing, he appeared intent on trying to drive the center back, rather than expanding laterally. So he would look good with his penetration, but the runner would end up running right by him and through his gap. You don’t get a cookie for knocking the center back five yards if you end up giving up a big gain in your gap. All too often, Simmons couldn’t make that play even though he had manhandled the center. Hopefully his NFL coach will get him squared away on how to play those reach blocks a little better than he did in college. It is almost a football karma thing where whenever you are out of your gap, somehow, someway, the ball seems to find you. It might not have always worked out that way in college, but in the NFL, with running backs who have better vision, you will get exposed if you aren’t where you are supposed to be on defense. Another concern of mine was every so often Simmons would get caught either guessing the play wrong, or trying to look into the backfield before he had actually taken on and defeated the blockers in front of him. And the results, in either situation, were not pretty at all. To be clear, I’m not knocking Simmons for getting driven off the ball a few times because that is going to happen to pretty much any defensive lineman who plays the game long enough. I’m talking about plays where he got caught slipping and then ended up on stuck on an offensive lineman-sponsored joyride five yards downfield. I do like the fact he didn’t quit on those plays, but he never should have gotten knocked around like that in the first place. My old defensive line coach, Rod Marinelli, used to say “see a little to see a lot,” and I believe somebody needs to give Simmons that same sage advice. The blockers will tell you where the ball is going on just about every play if you read your keys well. There is no need to get nosey and try to look past them into the backfield. If you just play what you see in front of you, then you never have to worry about getting caught slipping in the first place. Simmons still has tremendous upside, even if he is a bit of gamble. If Simmons can clear up these issues after he gets drafted, I believe he will be an outstanding NFL player. Physically, he has all the traits teams covet in a defensive lineman, and he showed superb technique when he was really on top of his game. If he can just take his consistency to the next level, I can certainly see Simmons developing into a Pro Bowl-type of player a few years down the road. That is particularly true if his new team puts him in favorable pass-rush positions. I think his best days rushing the passer are ahead of him, to tell you the truth. There are no guarantees, however. His flashes may never turn out to be much more than that. I don’t think there is any question about whether Simmons is talented enough to be a starter in the NFL, but there are some doubts, at least for me, about whether he will ever be an elite player or not, especially since he just tore his ACL earlier this year. I do believe he has that potential, and potential is like crack for general managers every spring. Right now, based strictly on his tape, I would have Simmons ranked third out of the five defensive tackles that I have broken down this spring so far. He would be behind Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver, but ahead of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. With the injury, I am skeptical any team will take the risk of selecting him on the first night, but if Simmons goes to the right situation and sharpens up his game a little, there’s good reason to believe he could eventually be the best defensive tackle in this loaded draft class. Good luck to him in his rehab. For the purposes of this breakdown I watched former Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons play against Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, and Ole Miss. Those represented the fourth, fifth, 10th, and 12th games on Mississippi State’s schedule last season, respectively.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Derrick White exacts his revenge on Jamal Murray
We have that and more in Friday’s NBA newsletter. In Game 2 of Nuggets vs. Spurs, Jamal Murray broke out of a brief slumber to light up San Antonio in a magical fourth quarter and get Denver the sorely needed win. Murray did it to Derrick White, the Spurs’ second-year, defense-first, Coloradoan point guard who was in the G League as recently as November 2018. White did not get down on himself. He got revenge. White dropped a career-high 36 on Murray and Nuggets in Game 3 on Thursday, leading the Spurs to a victory and a 2-1 series lead. Murray had just six points on six attempts as White played excellent defense on him. Both of these teams came into the series with top-10 offenses, but Denver’s No. 10 defense figured to be a big deal considering San Antonio (No. 20 defense) was inconsistent on that end all season. But the Nuggets are having real trouble slowing down the Spurs’ attack: San Antonio is averaging 114 points per 100 possessions through three games. Denver can probably survive Murray having a tough offensive series, provided Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, and Gary Harris get uncorked. But Denver can’t survive if Murray is getting lit up by Derrick White, who is now averaging 23 points per game on 69 percent shooting this series. The Nuggets’ defense has to be better than that of the Spurs for Denver to survive. The clock is ticking. Scores Sixers 131, Nets 115Philadelphia leads 2-1 Nuggets 108, Spurs 118San Antonio leads 2-1 Warriors 132, Clippers 105Golden State leads 2-1 Schedule Raptors at Magic, 7 ET, ESPNSeries tied 1-1 Celtics at Pacers, 8:30 ET, ABCBostons leads 2-0 Blazers at Thunder, 9:30 ET, ESPNPortland leads 2-0 Links In case you’d forgotten, Kevin Durant is extremely good. He dropped 38 on the Clippers in an emphatic Warriors win in L.A., and he looked more like the two-time Finals MVP he is than he has at any point maybe this season. Joel Embiid sat out Game 3 with continued knee soreness (yikes!) but Tobias Harris was in full Tobias Harris form and Philadelphia beat Brooklyn at Barclays to retake home court advantage. Ben Simmons was good, too. How are the Spurs doing this? Baxter Holmes might have a clue: all the fancy team dinners. Paul Millsap has never been more underrated. Zito Madu writes that we shouldn’t judge athletes’ performance when they are hurt. Marc Spears on rising NBA coaching star Lindsay Harding. Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol are the dads the Raptors have needed. SB Nation’s electric COLLAPSE video series tackles the post-MJ Bulls. What a dismantling that was. Beware Playoff Kyrie. Be excellent to each other.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
A running list of the NFL Draft’s greatest botched pick announcements
Usually, these things go smoothly. Usually. Although the NFL Draft has changed in location, venue, and overall significance throughout the years, the overall process of drafting players has stayed relatively similar for a while. NFL teams have a set time limit to put in their pick during each round, and when the pick is in, either commissioner Roger Goodell or another person, often a special guest of some sort, announces that pick at the podium. Luckily for us, some pick announcements haven’t gone as smoothly as the vast majority. Here are some of the less smooth ones, in no particular order. The Browns pulled a Browns and tried drafting a dude who had already been picked. The Browns called defensive end Cameron Jordan to select him in the fourth round, thinking they were calling tight end Jordan Cameron. But the thing was, Cameron Jordan had already been selected by the Saints in the first round. You would guess the Browns would have known a big name had already come off the board, right? Nope! .@camjordan94 shared the most Browns story ever with us: after already being drafted in 1st round by Saints, the Browns called Jordan on day 2 of the draft to tell him they were selecting him pic.twitter.com/RD8VsMRKRH— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) January 30, 2019 A transcript of Jordan explaining the situation to Dan Patrick: Patrick: “Were you ever confused with Jordan Cameron?” Jordan: “When we got drafted, I got drafted in the first round, he got drafted in the -- what round?” Patrick: “Fourth.” Jordan: “The Browns called me while I was chilling with my d-line coach, Bill Johnson. ... We were driving from the airport. And I got a call from the Browns. ... They were like, ‘Hey, we’re about to select you.’ I was like ‘I mean, I’m good, actually. I think I’ve already been selected. But if you wanna send that check, I’ll take that.’” Patrick: “OK, so you’d already been taken in the first round, so this was the next day?” Jordan: “Right. ... Sitting there, you’re just like, ‘I mean, I’ll take two signing bonuses. But I refuse to go to Cleveland.’” Apparently the Browns still had time on the clock, because they ended up taking Jordan Cameron in the fourth round after all. Phew. Vince Young spectacularly butchered the pronunciation of a Titans draft pick named “Harold.” This is the butchering-est of all butchered name pronunciations. Announcing the Titans’ 2018 third-round pick, instead of pronouncing Landry’s first name like “Hair-old,” Young said something that sounded like “honor:” Some reactions in real time: Vince Young announced Harold Landry's name the way a barista writes names on a Starbucks cup.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) April 27, 2018 Vince Young: “The Titans select... Arnold Landry”Harold Landry: pic.twitter.com/8itVIJ8Gik— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) April 27, 2018 Vince Young read Harold Landry’s name card about as well as he read NFL defenses.— Kyle Cousineau (@KCousineau09) April 27, 2018 Luckily, Young owned up and apologized to Honor — I mean Harold. Landry didn’t seem like he minded the mess-up too much: All good dog! I’m a damn Tennessee Titan, LETS GET ITT!!! https://t.co/mqET1vhFWU— Harold Landry III (@HaroldLandry) April 28, 2018 The Bucs literally drafted the wrong guy! Tampa Bay pulled off a costlier own version of mistake the Browns would make later. In 1982, the Bucs accidentally drafted Penn State offensive lineman Sean Farrell in the first round, when they intended to pick Bethune-Cookman defensive end Booker Reese. Thanks to a gap in communication on the phone, former Bucs equipment manager Pat Marcuccillo, who was representing the team at the draft, sent in a pick for Farrell instead of Reese. good spot here to explain logistically what “sent in” meant, if we can The team ended up having to take Reese in the second round instead. “The communication we had then, today you would consider it archaic,’’ former Tampa Bay player personnel director Ken Herock told Sports Illustrated, and added: We were on the phone, but it was hard to hear. I’m hearing Pat say, ‘Quiet, quiet, quiet, I can’t hear what he’s saying.’ And I can hear a lot of noise on the other end, in the background in New York. We were close to our time, but we always let it ride until the last 30 seconds or so and then we’d turn the pick in. We thought we needed both of those players, but after we mulled it over and discussed it, the selection was to go with Booker Reese. So I told Pat, I said, ‘Listen, Pat, you’ve got two names there.’ I said ‘We’re not going with Sean Farrell, we’re going with Booker Reese. Turn it in.’ But he didn’t hear the Booker Reese part of it because of the noise. He took it that we were going with Sean Farrell and turned it in. Former Jets fullback Tony Richardson misspelled “J-E-T-S.” During the 2017 draft, Richardson spelled out “J-E-T-E” instead: Maybe he was nervous. Former Patriot Kevin Faulk confused an offensive lineman for a linebacker. In the third round of the 2016 draft, Faulk accidentally announced NC State offensive guard Joe Thuney as a linebacker. See, when the Patriots mess up, it’s not as embarrassing as when everyone else does. And I still haven’t forgiven the Bucs for completely duping and bamboozling us into thinking an actual parrot would announce one of their picks. During the 2018 draft, the Bucs claimed that a parrot named Zsa Zsa would be announcing their third-round pick. THEY SAID “ANNOUNCE.” Now that the bird’s out of the cage, here’s a photo of Zsa Zsa, a Catalina Macaw parrot, who will announce our fourth-round pick.#GoBucs☠️ pic.twitter.com/zozmsxc7X0— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) April 23, 2018 The parrot didn’t squak a single syllable, depriving us of what could have been glorious. Instead, the lady with the bird on her shoulder announced the pick herself. LAME! The parrot didn’t speak. Way to oversell. pic.twitter.com/jSU6xTlYZr— Melissa Jacobs (@thefootballgirl) April 28, 2018 I was absolutely livid, as was the majority of the internet. THEY LIED TO US ABOUT THE PARROT— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) April 28, 2018 THE PARROT DIDN'T MAKE THE PICK. SCAMMED.— Harry Montana (@AlfieBCC) April 28, 2018 PARROT SCOUTING REPORT:StrengthsCan fly?Colorful characterWeaknessesCannot command a huddleYes manLacks mobility— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 28, 2018 Still pretty upset about this, tbh. Got any other examples of messed up picks? This is a running list. Drop ‘em in the comments below!
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
How are the Spurs doing this? No, really, how are the Spurs doing this?
They just took a 2-1 series lead over Denver, with a former Division 2 guard in Derrick White leading the way. Even for them, this is remarkable. Everything went wrong for the San Antonio Spurs last summer. It started when Kawhi Leonard, the team’s heir to the Tim Duncan throne, successfully forced his way out of Texas, leaving Gregg Popovich and company stuck accepting a pennies-on-the-dollar trade. San Antonio was only able to field a lower-tier All-Star in DeMar DeRozan, a prospect in Jakob Poeltl, and low first-round picks for a superstar and key role player in Danny Green. The Spurs got worse via trade. Then, their starting point guard, Dejounte Murray, tore his ACL before the season began, and first-round pick Lonnie Walker tore his meniscus in preseason. The offseason narrative was that this season was set up to be a wash for the Spurs. With LeBron James in their conference, the Spurs slipping out of the top eight for the first time since 1997 seemed possible. Now, after a 118-108 win over the No. 2 seed Denver Nuggets, the seventh-seeded Spurs have a 2-1 lead in the first round of the playoffs. noboy defines their wizardry more than Derrick White, a former Division 2 basketball player who dropped 36 points, including 28 in the first half. With White filling a hero’s role he could’ve never dreamed, DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge playing well, and the rest of the team coming together, the Down-Year Spurs could feasibly reach the second round of the playoffs. The Spurs are making the most out of what seemed like limited talent With Aldridge and DeRozan, the Spurs have two past All-Stars with the same fatal modern basketball flaw: neither is a threat from three-point range. As a unit, the Spurs don’t space the floor well because their two best players gravitate towards the mid-range, and the rest of the roster lacks a Ben Simmons-like cyborg to compensate. Instead, the rest of the rotation is filled with middling athletes who are overachieving expectations. Rudy Gay, at 32 years old, is posting the best shooting percentages of his career, Bryn Forbes is a lights-out deep-ball threat, and White, a year removed from the G League, has become an able starting point guard. The Spurs’ rotation usually features nine players, and casual fans probably need to Google at least four of them. Derrick White just tied his career high with 26 points ... in the FIRST HALF (via @NBA) pic.twitter.com/xEUqAU12Nc— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 19, 2019 Yet it hasn’t mattered. A playoff series win in 2019 will be one of Pop’s greatest achievements The aftermath of Tim Duncan’s retirement, Manu Ginobili’s swan song, and Tony Parker’s departure was always going to leave San Antonio in a tough place. Kawhi Leonard took them to an even weirder place when he left, one with seemingly no good escape. But somehow, Pop and co. found one, even if they “lost” the Leonard trade with Toronto. The Spurs not only comfortably secured a ticket to the postseason, they’re in the driver’s seat to advance. Will this season end in a title for San Antonio? Probably not. But the Spurs gave their fans plenty to root for, with plenty to build on for the future.
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
EPL Matchweek 35 odds, betting trends for top matchups
Manchester City collides with Tottenham this Saturday in this weekend’s biggest matchup on the Premier League betting slate. Manchester City is a perfect 9-0 over its last nine matches including a 5-0 record at home. City can extend its winning streak to 10 with a victory at home this Saturday over Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester is a -360 home favorite on the Premier League odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. These two clubs are coming off a wild match in the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday. Manchester City won 4-3 at home and appeared to be on its way to the next round with a fifth goal in the 93rd minute, but that goal was waived off after video replay, leaving the aggregate score at 4-4 and allowing Tottenham to move on with the road goal tiebreaker. While Tottenham (+900 to win, +525 to draw) did manage to move on to the semi-finals in the Champions League, the club’s road struggles still continued. In English Premier League play, Tottenham is undefeated with a 5-1-0 record in its last six home games, but on the road the team has lost each of its last four matches. Team superstar Harry Kane was also injured in the 4-3 loss and could be out for the rest of the EPL season. Liverpool will be rooting hard for Tottenham this week and for Manchester United on Wednesday in hopes that Manchester City slips up before the regular season comes to a close. The team has no control over what Manchester City does, but it can keep the pressure on in the standings with a win as -500 betting favorites this Sunday on the road against Cardiff City (+1400 to win, +575 to draw). Cardiff City has lost each of the five games it has played against Liverpool since 2007. Rounding out the top teams in action this week are Arsenal (-180) at home against Crystal Palace (+475 to win, 350 to draw) and Manchester United (+130) on the road against Everton (+215 to win, +245 to draw) on Sunday and Chelsea (-400) at home against Burnley FC (+1100 to win, +500 to draw) on Monday. Everton is an impressive 2-1-0 with no goals allowed in its last three matches at home with wins over Arsenal and Chelsea and a draw against Liverpool. English Premier League Betting Lines Manchester City (-360) vs. Tottenham (+900), Draw (+525) Cardiff City (+1400) vs. Liverpool (-500), Draw (+575) Arsenal (-180) vs. Crystal Palace (+475), Draw (+350) Everton (+215) vs. Manchester United (+130), Draw (+245) Chelsea (-400) vs. Burnley FC (+1100), Draw (+500) See the complete list at OddsShark For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
He’s Kevin Durant, and he’s making sure the Clippers know who he is
Casual dominance like we saw in Game 3 defines KD. The Warriors need to see it even more often than usual. Kevin Durant gave a rare in-depth look inside his brain during an interview ahead of Game 3 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Clippers. He laid out his thought process for attacking Los Angeles, breaking down the way they played him defensively. He made it a signature interview when he candidly and semi-rhetorically said “I’m Kevin Durant,” to the media. “You know who I am.” "I'm not gonna get in the way of the game because I wanna have a little back-and-forth with Patrick Beverley. I'm Kevin Durant. You know who I am."Kevin Durant shared a detailed breakdown of his takeaways from their Game 2 loss. pic.twitter.com/gS8PRodqXx— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 17, 2019 He followed that statement up by scoring 38 points in just three quarters as Golden State obliterated Los Angeles for real this time, 132-105, in Game 3. In the first half, he scored 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Durant didn’t shoot the ball spectacularly from distance (just 3-of-10) or have many memorable highlights. He just sort dominated. He is Kevin Durant, after all. @KDTrey5 scores 38 PTS in 29 minutes of game action, as the @warriors top LAC on the road in Game 3! #StrengthInNumbers #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/gNf7oAO6Bn— NBA (@NBA) April 19, 2019 This version of KD is what Golden State needs now more than ever The Warriors are in the unique circumstance being down an All-Star after DeMarcus Cousins’ injury, but still having four in reserve. That doesn’t mean their championship title is inevitable. The Bucks in the East are rolling, the Rockets have found their rhythm, and nothing will come easy anymore. Losing Cousins for the season to a torn quad is serious. The Warriors don’t have much center depth, relying on an aging Andrew Bogut, who’ll eventually struggle to defend in space against tougher opponents. Cousins was also a 16 point-per-game scorer whose offense can’t be replaced by any of the big men on the depth chart. A lot rests on the shoulders of KD now, maybe even more so than last year given the Warriors’ lack of depth. Durant is going to need to execute on takeover nights, especially against tougher teams than the Clippers. This was an excellent showing of how he can do it. KD asserting that he’s on another level was corny as hell, but he’s right. It at least suggests he’s in a good frame of mind to be his best self on the court. And that best self is a 6’11 point-forward slashing the lanes and lifting up over the helpless. It’s the easiest way for the Warriors to three-peat, and their fans should feel a whole lot better about their chances after Thursday night.
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Ben Simmons’ broke the Nets’ spirit in Game 3. Nothing ‘average’ about that
Simmons talked his talk, then backed it up. This is the kind of dominant performance NBA stars need. BROOKLYN — Ben Simmons slowly advanced the ball, sapping precious seconds off the shot clock as time elapsed in the fourth quarter. Only this time, the boos that were so raucous from the Barclays Center crowd had fizzled. They had turned into devastation of what had happened on their own home floor, into fear of what was to come. After all, Simmons had dominated Brooklyn thoroughly in Philadelphia’s 131-115 Game 3 victory. He scored 31 points on 11-of-13 shooting, a playoff career-high on remarkable efficiency. He scored in transition, in the half-court, as a roller off screens, and as a cutter. Brett Brown described his performance as “exceptional.” It was almost a perfect game for a player who was called “average” in half-court situations by Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley. So on this possession, with Philadelphia up 13 and just about four minutes left in the final period, Simmons strolled up the floor with nary a boo to be heard. The Brooklyn crowd that had hated him all game now respected him, or they had left a game that was already decided. Simmons advanced the ball meticulously, all game long, as if to prove he’s not just a phenom in transition. He dribbled to the three-point line and faked a dribble hand-off to a flaring J.J. Redick. Brooklyn’s defenders chased Redick. Simmons deftly made a bee line for the rim, like a quarterback keeping the ball on an option play, then darting untouched to the end zone. Like the best player on the floor fooling everyone, except the rim he punished. Simmons fakes the dribble hand-off and takes flight for the stuff! #NBAPlayoffs#PhilaUnite 123#WeGoHard 1103:03 to play on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/5yHOHqYmAt— NBA (@NBA) April 19, 2019 Of Simmons’ 11 made baskets on 85-percent shooting from the field, this was the most devastating. Brooklyn’s defense had eight seconds to set itself. A stop here and a basket on the other end made this a 10-point game. Maybe D’Angelo Russell gets hot. Maybe Caris LeVert’s incredible night adds another chapter. But Simmons threw down a dunk so ferocious, so punctuating, it sucked whatever life was left out the building. In a game without Philadelphia’s most dominating force, it was Simmons’ presence that overpowered Brooklyn. He was unstoppable. He was far, far from average in half-court situations. "I thought it was one of Ben’s more dominant games,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the game. “I thought Ben was exceptional ... Whether you look at his confidence, his body language, just walking to the line or the things he did with organic play, I give Ben a tremendous amount of credit. He did it all tonight, particularly without Joel Embiid.” Superstars in the NBA have signature playoff games. Kobe’s first was on June 4, 2000, when he willed the Lakers back from down 15 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against Portland. LeBron James’ first was in 2007, when he scored 25 straight points to stun the Pistons. Kawhi Leonard’s most recent one was torching Golden State in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, then watching San Antonio subsequently collapse after his quad injury. Giannis Antetokounmpo has yet to have his, but he will soon. Simmons just recorded his first. After all, there’s something to be said for talking that talk, then backing it up. When Dudley called Simmons “average in the half-court,” Simmons’ response was: “That’s coming from Jared Dudley. Come on.” He then refused to talk about it any further. Instead, his play did the talking. That play spoke volumes. His final stat line: 31 points, nine assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He became the first Sixer to register 30 and nine in a playoff game since Allen Iverson, and just the second Sixer to ever score more than 30 on at least 80-percent shooting. The other is Wilt Chamberlain. In Brooklyn’s first playoff game since 2015, Simmons turned incessant boos into deafening silence. He played like he had something to prove. That he’s not just an average half-court player, hamstrung by the lack of a perimeter jump shot. That he is one of the most dominant young players the NBA has to offer, who can take over a game on a whim when needed. When the pressure was on, when the lights shined brightest, when the boos were the loudest, he took control and never let go. After Brooklyn stole Game 1 in Philly, the Sixers bounced back in Game 2, then ripped away Game 3 at Barclays. The series still has at least two games to go, but Simmons’ dominance made it feel as if this one is over already.
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Blazers underdogs at Thunder on Game 3 odds at sportsbooks
The Portland Trail Blazers hope to keep things rolling with the series heading to Oklahoma City, but the sportsbooks have them as clear underdogs on the NBA odds. The Portland Trail Blazers are 5-0 straight up and 3-2 against the spread over their last five games including a 2-0 SU and ATS start to their first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Trail Blazers look to carry their momentum into a win on the road on Friday night in Game 3. Portland is a 7.5-point road underdog on the NBA odds in Oklahoma City at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In their last 12 games against the Thunder, the Trail Blazers are 8-4 SU and ATS. Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder When: Friday, April 19, 9:30 p.m. ET Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Betting Line / Total: Oklahoma City -7.5 / 222 Points Trail Blazers at Thunder OddsShark Matchup Report Portland Trail Blazers Notes The Trail Blazers surged into the postseason with a 14-3 SU and 8-8-1 ATS record over their last 17 games, capping off an impressive 53-29 SU and 45-36-1 ATS campaign. But after being disappointingly swept out of the postseason last year, all eyes were on Portland to see if the team could turn its regular season success into playoff success. So far, so good; the Trail Blazers are off to a 2-0 SU and ATS start and Damian Lillard has been the best player on the court with 29.5 points per game and a red-hot 47.8% shooting percentage from three-point range. Over their last 16 road games, the Trail Blazers are 11-5 SU and ATS per the OddsShark NBA Database. Oklahoma City Thunder Notes During the regular season, the Thunder ranked seventh in the NBA in scoring averaging 114.5 points per game. Through the first two games of this series, Oklahoma City has failed to crack 100 points and is averaging only 96.5 points per game. The Thunder’s struggles are somewhat surprising given the team’s 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS end to the regular season, but they’ll try to turn things around at home where they are 27-14 SU and 21-20 ATS this season. Blazers at Thunder Betting Total Friday night’s total is set at 222 points. The UNDER is 6-2 in the last eight games between these two teams including each of the first two games of this series. Oklahoma City entered this postseason as the only lower seed favored to win over a higher seed. Portland has certainly looked deserving of its higher seed through the first two games at home, but the Thunder will try to flip the script on this series with a strong performance at home in Games 3 and 4. For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
8 NFL matchups that deserve their own bowl games
They aren’t official rivalry games, but they should be. There’s plenty of intrigue in the recently released slate of NFL regular season games in 2019. As is tradition, divisional foes like the Steelers and Ravens, Packers and Bears, or Rams and Seahawks will all see each other twice. The league’s rotating cast of conference foes — which ensure division winners play other division winners and last-place finishers play other last-place finishers — has also lined up can’t-miss matchups like replays of last year’s AFC and NFC title games. But there’s more to the 2019 schedule than just big showdowns between teams with Super Bowl aspirations. In fact, the best games this fall might just be the ones with fewer playoff implications but deeper storylines running under the surface. This season’s schedule is filled with games that pair two franchises historically intertwined with one another, whether through a shared history, trade, or corporate marketing happenstance. 2019 will play host to games that go beyond their “TEAM A vs. TEAM B” label in the TV listings and deserve their own proper bowl titles. So which games have earned this special consideration in 2019? I’ve got eight in mind, specifically. The Free Beer Bowl: Cleveland Browns at New York Jets, Week 2 When the Browns beat the Jets in Week 3 last year, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield delivered a win that gave Cleveland its first victory in 635 days and unlocked fridges loaded with 2,000 free beers across Northeastern Ohio. The cooler is open #VictoryFridge pic.twitter.com/Q8uuT10Zhs— Rod Scott (@fun_rod) September 21, 2018 Now the two teams will lock horns for another showdown — this time in the scenic confines of northern New Jersey. The Browns have been building momentum ever since, finishing a better-than-expected 7-8-1 in 2018 and then boosting the roster with Odell Beckham Jr., Kevin Zeitler, and Sheldon Richardson this offseason. For the first time in a long, long time, Cleveland is favored to win the AFC North. While things aren’t as optimistic for the Jets, they’ll have an improved Sam Darnold firing passes to Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, and a defense led by Pro Bowlers C.J. Mosley and Jamal Adams. And Bud Light? Well, the last Jets-Browns game was an absolute marketing success for them, all for the cost of some free drinks, coolers, and WiFi-enabled padlocks. The brewing monolith certainly sounds like it’s got something up its sleeve to bring more beer-flavored beverages to Browns fans in 2019. We're feeling dangerous. Let's raise the stakes. https://t.co/ZuIDCzVg4X— Bud Light (@budlight) April 1, 2019 The Cutler Bowl: Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos, Week 2 The winner gets to claim this handsome prince, taken from the league too soon (though, apparently, just in time for Kristin Cavallari’s milk ducts): The Schadenfreude Bowl: New York Giants at New England Patriots, Week 6 There are only three blemishes on Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record, and two of them are courtesy of Eli Manning. The longtime Giants quarterback’s biggest accomplishments in the NFL both came at the Patriots’ expense, as clothing banks across developing countries can attribute their 2008 backlog of “19-0” shirts to the youngest Manning brother. Manning has more postseason wins over the Patriots than AFC rivals like Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger. Something about facing Bill Belichick’s always-game defense brings out the best in him, as his quarterback rating against the Patriots — 96.8 — is more than a dozen points higher than his career average. This October, he’ll get one final chance to dispatch the Pats in what may be the final season of a 16-year career. Another win could spark another wave of “is the Patriots’ dynasty crumbling?” that followed early-season losing streaks in 2014 and 2018. This would be just fine for New England, since it recovered from September and October losses to teams with losing records those years to win the Super Bowl. The Henry Rowengartner Syndrome Bowl: Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs, Week 8 The two quarterbacks who make the most impossible throws in the NFL square off. Expect Hail Marys that scrape the damned moon: AARON FREAKING RODGERS: https://t.co/fxCTbTAGN9 pic.twitter.com/tYglGBFbWZ— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 4, 2015 And no-look passes galore: it took roughly 3 minutes for Patrick Mahomes to throw a no-look pass at the Pro Bowl pic.twitter.com/vgP9BxnQ9u— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) January 27, 2019 If there is a just and caring god out there, this will just look like a 60-minute ad for a 2020 revival of NFL Blitz. The 2% or Whole? Bowl: Washington at Minnesota Vikings, Week 8 This is the NFL’s battle over the overflowing glass of 2% milk a drunk wizard once shamefully turned into a quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Kirk Cousins is selling “YULE LIKE THAT!” Christmas sweaters.. pic.twitter.com/kujx5RoBoL— Danny (@recordsANDradio) November 18, 2017 Washington didn’t want to commit to him long term, so instead it invested nearly $44 million to keep Cousins on hand via the franchise tag and completely torched its connection with the homegrown QB. That led him to a three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract in Minnesota, where he’s been less successful than Case Keenum — who, coincidentally, will probably be Washington’s starting quarterback in this game. So technically you could call this the Case Keenum Bowl, too, although that honor could also go to Texans-Broncos. Neither one sounds especially exciting though. The FireBowl: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills, Week 14 This just seems like the game where Bills fans will drink the most Fireball and put each other through the most flaming tables of 2019. Dumbest thing you’ll see all day pic.twitter.com/0BNW8Ixknj— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) October 22, 2017 #BillsMafia The Belichick Bowl: Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans, Weeks 15 and 17 This pairs up any team with a head coach either plucked from Belichick’s coaching tree or, now that Vrabel’s leading the Titans and Kliff Kingsbury’s somehow the Cardinals’ sideline general, New England rosters of yore. The winner gets something approximating a smile from their former boss. The loser gets taken off Belichick’s Christmas card list (it’s just a white sheet of paper informing you he’s donated $50 to the Human Fund in your name). The Dolphins (Brian Flores) and Lions (Matt Patricia) are also eligible to participate, so Detroit-Arizona would also be a Belichick Bowl, just much sadder and more difficult to watch. The ‘ahhh hahhaha oh shit’ Bowl: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets, Week 16 Le’Veon Bell gets to face the team he feuded with for two years before winning his freedom, at home and with a likely chance to mess up the Steelers’ postseason chances? Steelers players went into Le’Veon Bell’s locker, removing his nameplate and rummaging through items. Bud Dupree says thanks for the Jordan brand cleats. pic.twitter.com/gQaAu9hUPd— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) November 14, 2018 ahhh hahhaha oh shit!
1 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
The Ben Simmons-Jared Dudley beef, explained
How the hell did we get here?? The National Hockey League doesn’t have the only old vs. young beef in pro sports at the moment. Actually, it’s the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers that their own gripe to settle between a vet and a young player. Nets’ veteran Jared Dudley and Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons are butting heads. No, they haven’t thrown hands, and they almost certainly won’t throw hands because basketball players rarely do that. But the back-and-forth between the two is something you don’t usually see between two mild-mannered players, especially not with such a wide age gap. In this case, Dudley took a shot at Simmons, saying “He’s a great player in transition, and once you get him in the half court, he’s average.” Simmons is a first-time All-Star injustice his second season. His response to Dudley, a 33-year-old veteran whose career has spanned 11 years across six teams? “That’s coming from Jared Dudley,” he shot back at Sixers shoot around on Thursday. “Come on.” If we’ve learned anything about Simmons this week, it’s that he might have a little more of a mouth on him than we thought. How the heck did we even get here? Let’s rewind to the beginning. Dudley had Simmons’ number in Game 1 Again, Dudley is 33 and Simmons is 22. Simmons, more athletic than Dudley has ever been, should have the physical tools to exploit this matchup. Instead, Dudley held Simmons to just two points (!!) on one-of-five shooting (!/!!!!!) on the 22 possessions he defended him that night. It wasn’t just Simmons — players defended by Dudley included Mike Scott, Boban Marjanovic and Joel Embiid. They all combined to score just two points on 43 total possessions. Dudely with the ol' "you can't shoot" into chair pull maneuver on Simmons here: pic.twitter.com/UfiUWzhdC0— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) April 13, 2019 Dudely with the ol' "you can't shoot" into chair pull maneuver on Simmons here: pic.twitter.com/UfiUWzhdC0— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) April 13, 2019 Probably safe to file Dudley away as a halfway decent defender, right? Right. The Nets went on to steal Game 1 in Philly, 111-102. But Dudley didn’t play in Game 2 He sat out to recover from a calf injury. While Dudley sat out, Simmons morphed into the most aggressive version of himself. He became the player the 76ers need him to be if they want to have any chance at competing for a championship, let alone escaping this hellacious series against Brooklyn for a dance with Toronto in the second round. Simmons put up a triple double: 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He set the pace for the Sixers to pull off a playoff record 51-point third quarter. The Sixers absolutely pummeled the Nets, 145-123. All the while, Dudley sat on the sidelines. Then, the Nets had a practice And in that practice, Dudley had some not-so kind words to say about the Sixers’ All-Star. “Ben Simmons is a great player in transition,” he said. “And once you get him into halfcourt, he’s average.” Average? For an All-Star? The Australian sensation who was dubbed the second coming of Lebron James? That’s disrespectful. It’s also kinda true, which is neither here nor there. To be fair, that was only a portion of what he said. Dudley broke down the team defensive scheme and the individual task of defending such a talented player. “Simmons is really the key,” he said. “In transition, he’s hard to guard. In the half court, we’ve had our successes.” He also took a friendly jab: “I might put him on the free throw line. Let’s see if he can make free throws. This is not Steph Curry shooting free throws. It’s something he struggled with.” Jared Dudley vs Ben Simmons is the new rivalry we never knew we needed ( via @NBASarah & @PompeyOnSixers) pic.twitter.com/l96vg2NEaL— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 18, 2019 Of course, reporters did their thing. On Thursday, Simmons was asked about Dudley’s comments. His response: “That’s coming from Jared Dudley.” Nothing more. Nothing less. #Sixers PG @BenSimmons25 responds to Jared Dudley’s comment about the #NBAAllStar being “average” in half court. pic.twitter.com/0BQTtHOnUL— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 18, 2019 Maybe this was a trap. Maybe this is Dudley’s attempt to play some mind games as a veteran playing with a young star. Or maybe it’s just a back-and-forth between two players competing in the playoffs. Whatever it is, it makes for much more interesting series that’s heading back to Brooklyn for Game 3. Joel Embiid also drew ire from Nets players and fans after he “inadvertently” elbowed Jarrett Allen in the head on an attack to the rim, then laughed about it in the post-game press conference. This series just got so much more fun. And somehow, Dudley and Simmons are at the center of it.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Ranking every NFL’s schedule release video from the incredible to Jerry Jones doing ASMR
Don’t make me watch Jerry do ASMR again. Please. The release of the NFL schedule has become one of the dumbest things in sports. Entire multi-hour TV specials are devoted to seeing who plays in prime time, and breaking down which teams have the most advantageous bye weeks. But 2019 was special. It was different. Teams were allowed to have fun on Twitter, and that led to some of the best videos we’ve seen. Some teams took something so boring and mundane and made them magical, others ... not so much. These were so good we can’t stop watching. Los Angeles Chargers — Stock Footage reveal Should we REALLY make our schedule release video with stock footage?yes yes yesyesyesyes yes yes yesyes yes yes yes yesyes yesyes yes yesyes yesye yes yesyes yes yesyes pic.twitter.com/wAB8CdAfnB— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) April 18, 2019 Stock footage is mana from heaven, and the Chargers nailed it. The whole thing has this very Tim and Eric vibe to it, which I really appreciate — and it’s so janky it’s good. The Chargers used to be so horrible on Twitter, being mostly first-person accounts of PF Changs. Now they’ve discovered comedy. Carolina Panthers — Classic video games Wanna play a game? pic.twitter.com/mF5CeYnGUE— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) April 18, 2019 Hook this nostalgia directly to my veins. Mortal Kombat II is on point. I love the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater goof. If you’re a child of the 70s, 80s or 90s this is a beautiful, wonderful thing and I love every second of it. Atlanta Falcons — Game of Thones, with a jab Football is coming. Full Schedule ➡️https://t.co/vNuHMKwxTs pic.twitter.com/Xb91bWV7dB— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 17, 2019 Several teams went with a Game of Thrones aesthetic (more on those later), but nobody did it better than the Falcons because of one core moment, which happens 40 seconds in. Why yes, that is a Ram, obliterating a member of a marching band presumably playing “When the Saints go marching in,” and yes that is a referee running in and waving off the penalty as an ode to the NFC Championship game. It hits such a specific nerve that it’s beautiful. Better than average. Pittsburgh Steelers — Mr. Schedule’s Neighborhood It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Let’s head to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe for our 2019 schedule… pic.twitter.com/blrW7zjwsW— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 18, 2019 I have a two-year-old. So by nature I’ve watched a lot of Mr. Rodgers over the past 24 months. I really appreciate this loving homage to the show, and Mr. Rodgers by extension — a Pittsburgh native. I can appreciate this. Cleveland Browns — John Dorsey is so old. EXCLUSIVE: The exact moment GM John Dorsey got our schedule pic.twitter.com/EC1tAvMs4E— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 18, 2019 I appreciate the self depreciation of Browns’ GM John Dorsey to log onto his America Online account, printing it off on one of those printers that makes a horrific whining sound like the shriek of a banshee and pinning it to his wall. Seattle Seahawks — Beat ‘em up ⬇️ Restart those consoles and charge those battery packs because the Biggest Games of 2019 are HERE. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/VOJCJwcidv— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 18, 2019 I like that the bye week is a trip to Pizza Hut. Nice touch. Jacksonville Jaguars — As seen on TV Get your teal out because today your lives are about to change.It’s the 2019 Jaguars Schedule, presented by @McGowansHVAC!Full schedule: https://t.co/XpUXP46BKF pic.twitter.com/LW4Drq5tMX— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) April 18, 2019 Maybe not the nostalgia I was looking for, but I can get down with this. Detroit Lions — The Office "My mind is going a mile an hour." - Michael Scott @theofficenbc ScheduleReveal2019.gif pic.twitter.com/pe70ebQfhe— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 18, 2019 I appreciate the effort in finding all these clips. New York Giants — Tracey Morgan reveal .@RealTracyMorgan drops Big Blue's Fall Lineup, coming this September! pic.twitter.com/e26umIL719— New York Giants (@Giants) April 18, 2019 Automatically good. New York Jets — NFL Blitz Blow in the cartridge. Insert the Rumble Pak. Dial up Da Bomb.It's 2019 schedule release, NFL Blitz style! pic.twitter.com/JrHU8PiUeX— #TakeFlight (@nyjets) April 18, 2019 A solid effort. Went on just a little too long for a single conceit. These are fine. Indianapolis Colts — Andrew Luck facts Who needs a fancy schedule release video when you can have THIS? pic.twitter.com/47Bub45Big— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) April 18, 2019 Oakland Raiders — Antonio and Trent Brown react "See y'all in a stadium near you." pic.twitter.com/ewUdr0pAXE— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) April 18, 2019 Houston Texans — Game of Thrones Schedule is here.#GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/QV2yNNKyBQ— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) April 18, 2019 Green Bay Packers — Packers Man Game On: The 2019 #Packers schedule is here! : https://t.co/11LbDm9kMY#GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/0BDpkJKgZv— Green Bay Packers (@packers) April 18, 2019 New England Patriots — Bad Lip Reading Football is a very fun game.Schedule 2019: Bad #Patriots lip reading edition. pic.twitter.com/qVcil6ALLg— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 18, 2019 Baltimore Ravens — Mega Ravens ‼️THIS FOOTBALL SEASON ‼️PREPARE FOR DOMINATION‼️MEGA RAVENS FOOTBALL‼️ pic.twitter.com/6gKU0m9009— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 18, 2019 Philadelphia Eagles — Famous Fans Announcing the schedule proved tougher than we thought, so we enlisted the help of some of our friends.#FlyEaglesFly | #EaglesEverywhere pic.twitter.com/fQvlX0PdEd— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 18, 2019 Buffalo Bills — Tinder Hey 2019 opponents…Sup? pic.twitter.com/JPpU3Wu4FH— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 18, 2019 Tennessee Titans — Country music Listen here, Tennessee! The Queen of Country and her friends are here to announce the #Titans 2019 schedule. pic.twitter.com/pufKIBq3Zp— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) April 18, 2019 Kansas City Chiefs — Classic Moments The 60th season. #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/C7rUBbmkRc— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) April 18, 2019 Chicago Bears — 100 years in the making 100 years in the making... #Bears100 pic.twitter.com/83KYt2YLkn— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 18, 2019 Denver Broncos — Madden Our 2019 schedule?It’s in the game. #NFLScheduleRelease pic.twitter.com/mMAcrENuMg— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 18, 2019 Nope ... no thanks. Dallas Cowboys — ASMR See Jerry Jones and @AmariCooper9 help us release the 2019 #DallasCowboys schedule through ASMR.Tickets available at 9pm CT via @SeatGeek → https://t.co/ZAoOUYT7dj pic.twitter.com/9YWj8LDsKR— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) April 18, 2019 There is absolutely nothing about Jerry Jones saying “Let’s Go Cowboys” in ASMR that I ever want to think about ever again. Arizona Cardinals — First version Coming soon to a 65,000-seat theater near you! : https://t.co/SUoxwxldMU pic.twitter.com/YIkht787bl— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) April 18, 2019 People freaked out because Josh Rosen wasn’t featured at all in this and it was so bad the team had to issue a revision. Welp. Minnesota Vikings — Poetry Two Thousand NineteenVikings schedule is herePoetry stylehttps://t.co/m0jfJIfmem pic.twitter.com/VApm2oWkP4— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 18, 2019 I love the idea. The execution just isn’t there. This could have been special, but alas. New Orleans Saints — New Orleans Stuff A New Orleans-influenced look at the Saints' 2019 schedule!(Via @SeatGeek) #GoSaints pic.twitter.com/7EuF8whGkG— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 18, 2019 There is nothing memorable about this. Sorry Saints. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — This Schedule’s out, YOU IN?— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) April 18, 2019 Nah. Cincinnati Bengals — Mascot on a scooter Who Dey zooms through the 2019 #Bengals Schedule pic.twitter.com/ihr033s4G3— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) April 18, 2019 THIS was the best y’all could come up with? Miami Dolphins — Zzzzzzz It's official, the 2019 regular season schedule is here! What games will you be attending this season? #FinsUpSingle game tickets >> https://t.co/h1wPxNFS3a pic.twitter.com/IC7B0wW8cc— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019 Los Angeles Rams — Players react Playing the old squad, a homecoming + no cold games for the specialists‼️@weddlesbeard, @AaronDonald97 + @JHekker (we gave him permission to join the position players) take the call for the 2019 #LARams schedule! pic.twitter.com/n0dMuL09MR— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) April 18, 2019 Except they didn’t really react. Just said “nice” a whole bunch.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Chris Lindstrom can be Aaron Rodgers’ protector
If Green Bay wants another shot at a Super Bowl, keeping its franchise quarterback injury free is key. The last time the Green Bay Packers had two first-round picks was 2009, the draft that netted them defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews III. That duo, in part, helped propel the Packers toward a win in Super Bowl 45. Brian Gutekunst was a scout for the Packers at that point. Now the team’s general manager, Gutekunst could use his two first-rounders in 2019 to return Green Bay to the Super Bowl. One of the keys for that happening is keeping quarterback Aaron Rodgers upright. Behind a shoddy offensive line, Rodgers’ 2018 regular season was bookended by injuries. Better line play should, theoretically, help Rodgers stay healthy. In the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Jason B. Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company is here to help protect Rodgers. 30. Green Bay Packers: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College Hirschhorn: Between free agency and the No. 12 overall pick in this mock, the Green Bay Packers have addressed numerous weaknesses on their defense. Meanwhile, the entire offense will shift to an outside-zone, play-action heavy offense under new head coach Matt LaFleur. That scheme favors swift-footed offensive linemen capable of hitting their landmarks and making blocks at the second level, descriptions ill-fitting either of the team’s primary starting guards from last season. All of which makes Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom an intriguing option for the Packers late in the first round. Lindstrom tested extremely well at the combine for an offensive lineman, finishing with a composite athletic score in the 96th percentile for his position group, according to 3 Sigma Athlete. Just as importantly, Lindstrom comes from a Boston College offense that made regular use of the outside-zone and under-center play-action fakes that will form the backbone of Green Bay’s new offense. He has also seen extensive action at both tackle and guard in college, versatility the Packers have long favored in their O-linemen. Unlike other first-round offensive linemen, Lindstrom doesn’t need to start immediately given the presence of Lane Taylor and the recently signed Billy Turner. Still, with Taylor coming off his worst year as a starter and Turner perhaps pegged as the eventual successor to right tackle Bryan Bulaga, Lindstrom could slide in as a starting guard as early as this season. Analysis: As explained above, Lindstrom’s fit in Green Bay is perfect. So perfect you actually have to wonder if the team will consider him with the No. 12 pick instead of hoping he’s around at No. 30. It would be easy to simply give the Packers a tight end like Irv Smith Jr. of Alabama. While that is arguably a bigger immediate need, Lindstrom has the look of a longtime pro who can be a stalwart on an offensive line for years to come. Top five remaining players: 13. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama 23. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson 26. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma 29. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia 33. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State We’re down to the final two picks in the 13th annual SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. Our first selection is up at 11 a.m. ET with the great 3k of Turf Show Times making the pick for the Los Angeles Rams.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
These soccer fans went to the wrong Frankfurt and got stranded 6 hrs from the Europa semifinal instead
Oh no ... Two soccer fans from Portugal had a rude surprise when they traveled to Frankfurt to see Benefica’s Europa League semi-final against Eintracht. Sporting their colors and ready to see the match the pair found themselves ... in the wrong Frankfurt. View this post on Instagram Jesus no céu e Benfica na Terra CHEGAAAAAAAMOS A FRANKFURT #rumoafrankfurt#forcabenfica#slbsge#forca#slb#copaeuropa #portugal #paris #frankfurt #glorioso #jorge #alvaro#roadtrip A post shared by Álvaro Oliveira (@alvaroslb1994) on Apr 18, 2019 at 5:29am PDT Shortly after posting this Instagram people tried to tell the fan he wasn’t in Frankfurt, the city of 745,000 on the banks of the Maim river, but rather the other Frankfurt, Frankfurt an der Oder — a town of 58,000 on the border on Poland. It’s unclear how the fans managed to overshoot the Frankfurt they meant to visit by a full 6 hrs, but they got stuck 6 hrs away from the game they meant to see and missed the whole thing. To make matters worse it was a win by Benefica, leading to a predictable reaction. Hopefully their visit to Frankfurt an der Oder was nice. Wikipedia tells me it has a gothic town hall and a statue of Copernicus ... at least that’s something.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Paul Millsap has never been more underrated
It’s become so cliche to call the Denver Nuggets forward underrated that we’re STILL not appreciating him enough. Moments after he wrapped up the most important hot streak of his life to lift his reeling Denver Nuggets to a critical Game 2 victory against the San Antonio Spurs, Jamal Murray was asked about Paul Millsap, his 34-year-old Sherpa of a teammate. As the question was delivered, Murray looked at the court and slowly shook his head. When his chin rose, eight genuine words tumbled out of his mouth: “He’s the MVP of our team right now,” Murray told NBATV’s Dennis Scott. "We came out in the fourth and we said let's go." @3DTV talked to @BeMore27 after he was BIG down the stretch for the Nuggets to take Game 2!#MileHighBasketball | #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/KLXgIuQOa4— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 17, 2019 The Game 2 performance was pitch-perfect Paul Millsap. He finished with 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds, battling foul trouble as admirably as he did LaMarcus Aldridge. Denver outscored San Antonio by a game-high 25 points in the 30 minutes he was on the court. He touched the ball 30 times, only four more than Mason Plumlee, who logged 10 fewer minutes. While Murray put on a show down the stretch, Millsap a bystander, idly standing in the corner. Instead of taking over, Millsap maximized every opportunity in a way that showed an understanding of the moment. Even after it became clear that nobody on the Spurs could guard him, Millsap was content ceding his own advantage to younger teammates, the ones Denver can’t advance without. He showed maturity and professionalism. He showed talent, selflessness, and big-picture consideration. He showed exactly what the Nuggets need at this stage in their life cycle: someone willing and able to cede the floor while still dominating in his own way. The least appreciated power forward of his generation has never been less appreciated than right now. The least appreciated power forward of his generation has never been less appreciated than right now. As Nikola Jokic’s MVP case was made throughout the regular season, Millsap was forgotten in a conversation that attributed Denver’s success to Jokic, then Murray, then the talented collection of wings and guards that fill out Mike Malone’s rotation. If you didn’t watch a Nuggets game for two weeks, you’d forget Millsap existed, let alone that he is their starting power forward and highest-paid player. Millsap’s made zero All-Star appearances since he ventured west on a three-year, $90 million deal in July 2017, but all he’s done since is turn an aspirational organization’s dreams into reality. The Nuggets won 54 games this season, outscoring opponents by a team-high 8.4 points per 100 possessions with Millsap on the court. (He missed 12 games and Denver only won five of them.) His efficiency differential—the per-100 possessions margin his team outscores their opponent with him on the floor vs. him on the bench—was not only Denver’s best, but also one of the highest marks in the entire league. Even more striking were his on/off numbers with Jokic in particular. When Denver’s All-Star center was on the court without Millsap, the Nuggets only outscored opponents by 1.1 points per 100 possessions. When Millsap was on the court without Jokic, Denver’s defense was best in the league by a wide margin, and its overall point differential stayed above +8. To boot, Millsap finished 16th in Real Plus-Minus this season, sandwiched between Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving. (Last year he was 72nd, and in his final season with the Atlanta Hawks, he ranked 14th.) He’s also aggressively blasé about his business, with no highlight reels for the same reason nobody wants to watch a show where people construct IKEA furniture. There are no signature moves or, if we’re being honest, memorable moments. But all that’s fine. Millsap knows exactly what he is, a skill in and of itself. He’s methodically grey, and has used that pencil-pushing predictability to attack the Spurs with a decisiveness that beats double teams and timely help rotations. He doesn’t really need much help from his teammates, either. Only 65 percent of his baskets per assisted this season—same as Anthony Davis and one point lower than Karl-Anthony Towns. He gets the job done with straightforward efficiency. There are no wasted dribbles, and everything serves a purpose. You don’t think of Millsap as a fast player, for good reason. His shot release is a third of a second slower than Kyle Korver’s, per Kirk Goldsberry’s new book Sprawlball, which is not a small deal in basketball terms. But in tight spaces, he is lightning, be it to strip a guard on defense or draw a foul on offense. Aside from a mid-career adoption of the three-point shot and disregard for long two-point jumpers, Millsap has never felt a need to reinvent himself. The majority of his game is timelessly substantive and useful. He’s in no rush to modernize. Defensively, he’s smart, nimble, and brick solid. Test Millsap head on and there’s a good chance you will lose. He’s also one of the reasons the Nuggets are so comfortable with their aggressive pick-and-roll scheme, with the lumbering Jokic dancing on the perimeter. Even though Millsap is undersized as a rim protector, he knows when to be in the paint and when to scurry back out to the perimeter. He is adept at risk mitigation in physical form. Meanwhile, bunnies, like the one Marco Belinelli falls into below, aren’t an option when he’s on the court. See how Torrey Craig is too worried about his own man (Rudy Gay) in the opposite corner to slide a few feet over and force Belinelli to either kick the ball or finish over the top? That never happens when Millsap is in the game. Millsap has a $30 million team option on his contract next season. That’s a lot of money for someone who turns 35 next February and didn’t even average 13 points and eight rebounds this season. But the Nuggets would be foolish to decline it unless they are replacing it with some kind of long-term agreement. For an organization that’s driving fast and wild in a treacherous Western Conference, Millsap is their seatbelt. When (not if) Denver establishes itself as a premier NBA franchise, Millsap’s footprint will be a humongous reason why, even if he’ll never get the credit he deserves.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
We shouldn’t judge NBA players if they struggle when they’re hurt
Joel Embiid, Blake Griffin, and Paul George are muddling their way through ailments that may shape their legacies, fair or not. The NBA playoffs define the legacies of great players, yet they’re also when those players often aren’t at their best because of injuries. Many times, we don’t find out about these injuries until months or years after the fact. At that point, those players’ stories have been written, and whether they succeeded or failed will be framed as a function of their ability and willpower. Injuries, and the role they played, are often forgotten or willfully ignored. This paradox puts a clear stress on players, stress that has been evident during the 2019 postseason. Blake Griffin, for example, has been forced to the bench against the Bucks after arguably the best all-around season of his career. Griffin is suffering from a knee injury, and though he played most of the season, he had to sit out of four of the Pistons’ final seven games. The Pistons don’t have a chance against the Bucks without Griffin. He knows this. And while he understands why the coaches and medical team have decided to keep him out, he certainly doesn’t agree: “If it was pain, I would easily play with pain. If it was just my decision, I would have played ... You sacrifice your body throughout the year, you play with little injuries here and there to get to this point so obviously I’m very frustrated. I feel like I’m leaving my guys out there, but I have to do what our organization, our training staff, our doctors think is best.” While Griffin is being forced to sit, two other stars in Joel Embiid and Paul George are playing through their respective injuries — Embiid with knee tendonitis, and George with a right shoulder injury. Unlike the Pistons, the Sixers and the Thunder need to go far in the playoffs to justify their season expectations. And these players are not just critical to their teams’ success, but also trying to meet individual demands that have been placed on them. Embiid has a well-known history of injuries. This particular knee problem has kept him out of the bulk of the Sixers’ games since the All-Star break, leaving him both in pain and out of shape, with no time to fix either issue. Everything he does in the playoffs comes within the context of pain he reasonably should not be playing through. He was a game-time decision in Games 1 and 2 against the Nets, and will be so going forward. When asked whether he could play on Saturday, he said: ”I have no idea. [It’s] just about the pain in my knee. Just got to keep working through it and see how I feel every day, and you never know what’s going to happen.” In the Thunder’s first game against the Trail Blazers, George had his shoulders taped and was so clearly slowed down by the injury that he went 8-for-24 from the field and a disastrous 4-for-15 on three-pointers. After the loss, George revealed the extent of his injury: ”Four days ago, I couldn’t even lift my shoulder. Fast forward to today, that’s the first day I shot the ball.” Unfortunately, both the Sixers and the Thunder are dependent on their best players risking their health, even if it means they must play at a sub-optimal level and thereby compound the pressure they already feel. Fans also add to that pressure. When athletes play well while injured, we, as fans and the media, tend to lionize them. Even though the Celtics lost the series against the Heat, we will forever remember Rajon Rondo playing with a dislocated elbow in Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Or Dwyane Wade playing through the 2013 playoffs with his kneecap taped so that he didn’t irritate a bone bruise. Or John Wall trying to play with a fractured wrist in the 2015 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Or LeBron James revealing a cast on his wrist afterhis Cavaliers were swept by the Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals. And yet, injury is almost never viewed as a valid reason for failure despite its role in how players perform. We’ve seen so many players play through ailments that whenever it’s suggested that injury may be forcing someone to play below their best, their case is dismissed as an excuse. Everyone is injured in the playoffs, after all. Might as well just get on with it. It’s true that perhaps no professional athlete can ever be considered fully healthy. Performing well throughout the season means being smart about pain management. But after a grueling 82 games, players are worn out, and injuries that were manageable with more chances to rest during the regular season are exacerbated by the gravity and immediacy of the postseason. When given the chance, players will try to play, even at the detriment of their long-term health. That’s the warrior culture of sports. Pushing through pain is heroic and nothing is more noble than sacrificing your body for the good of the team. Pain is supposedly a mental construct, and conquerable by will. But players aren’t just acting out of heroism. There’s also the problem of shame, and the bitter pill that a player may have reached the most important stage of the season, only to be failed by their body. Athletes are put in a no-win situation if they can’t thrive above the pain. If they don’t play well, they might be called selfish for putting personal glory over team success. Yet if they decide to sit, they may be called soft, or labeled as quitters. Their absence and subsequent failure of the team could also dramatically change the outlook of their careers. Kawhi Leonard, for example, split with the Spurs and Spurs fans over disagreement about whether he could play through the pain of his injury. But dismissing the impact of injuries doesn’t lessen the reality of them. It’s lazy to put so much emphasis on how players perform in the playoffs, exalt them when they play hurt and win, but then not be sympathetic when those injuries cut them down. Unless the NBA regular season is dramatically shortened, players are going to come into the playoffs hobbled, with some suffering more severely than others. With so much riding on individual superstars, teams and players must to strike a balance between glory and health. We tend to think of sports in broad heroic terms of talent and determination, but just as much as talent influences outcomes, so does the medical teams’ ability to keep a player’s broken body performing at a high level. That’s not to excuse failures, but to facilitate understanding of the physical ailments these players carry just to make it to the court. Injuries may come to define these playoffs, as they have in the past. They’re already playing a part in the first few games. If they do, it will be another powerful reminder of how delicate playoff success truly is.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Hakeem Butler can be a unique weapon for the Chiefs
Imagine what Patrick Mahomes can do with a 6’5 high-jumping wide receiver. The Kansas City Chiefs are a team that has been gutted pretty deeply this offseason. Gone are pass rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston. Cornerback Steven Nelson signed with Pittsburgh and center Mitch Morse is off to Buffalo. Fan favorite safety Eric Berry is gone too and still looking for work. Arguably no team in the NFL has shed more talent than Kansas City this offseason. Hope is not lost, though. After all, the Chiefs still have wunderkind MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and with him they’ll always have a chance. That chance will only increase if the Chiefs add even more weapons for Mahomes. In the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Pete Sweeney from Arrowhead Pride finds a unique receiver for Mahomes. 29. Kansas City Chiefs: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State Sweeney: Another mock draft, another board that falls terribly for the Kansas City Chiefs. Scenarios similar to this have been occurring a lot lately and it could not go worse for the Chiefs. We’ve played around with scenarios where we would select Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, but there’s value in Round 2 at the position that we’d prefer. Ideally, the Chiefs would look to trade up to acquire a player at a position of need. If the board fell this way, we’d look to move up for Rashan Gary, Byron Murphy, Greedy Williams, or Jeffery Simmons. Unfortunately, that wasn’t available in the exercise, so we’re adding a skill player earlier than we’d prefer. Hakeem Butler has one of the highest ceilings in the class at the wide receiver position. He boasts some of the more impressive catches in the entire class. His rare athletic profile and large catch radius would make for a fun addition to the arsenal of weapons Patrick Mahomes has at his disposal. Analysis: It’s a bit unusual a trade *up* could be desired by Kansas City, as most prefer to trade down and accumulate picks. But a team like the Chiefs, who are squarely in Super Bowl contention right now, could strike a deal to land the player they need. But if they don’t trade up, sitting at No. 29 and getting a receiver like Butler is interesting. The Chiefs should have plenty of options at wide receiver here if that’s the position wanted. Marquise Brown of Oklahoma is a little too similar to Tyreek Hill stylistically. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss played more slot in college and is a bigger projection than some other receivers. Butler is a 6’5 high-jumping vertical target. The thought of Mahomes delivering strange off-platform throws to him is mind-warping. Top five remaining players: 13. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama 23. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson 26. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma 29. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia 32. Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College At 3 p.m. ET we’ll reach the 30s in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft with Jason B. Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company making the second first-round choice for the Green Bay Packers.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
The NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ schedule for 2019, ranked by watchability
Some of these miiiight be worth skipping! The NFL’s schedule was released Wednesday night, and for a second consecutive year, Thursday Night Football games seem not so poopfest-y anymore. That’s great! However, we still need to rank them. Thursday night football games in the NFL are more difficult to commit to at times. They’re essentially at the beginning of the weekend, you’re feeling loose and free, and you don’t quite need the break from life that Monday Night Football provides. I’m going to lay this out in the simplest of terms as possible, so you know where to spend your time on Thursdays this football season. Like the 1999 St. Louis Rams, we’re going from worst to first on this here list. 15. Buccaneers vs. Panthers, Week 2 Cam Newton’s dealing with a lingering shoulder injury, and the Buccaneers just aren’t interesting. I guess if you want to see what the Bucs are going to look like under Bruce Arians, that’s cool. But I’ll be participating in my local Mexican restaurant’s trivia night, and not watching this game. And I’ll be sure to use a napkin while eating, unlike some others: Jameis Winston with an ... interesting pump up speech. pic.twitter.com/z0tESHAA6k— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 5, 2017 14. Titans vs. Jaguars, Week 3 You gotta hope that Marcus Mariota is healthy going into this one, and that Nick Foles is playing like Super Bowl Nick Foles. However, who knows what Jalen Ramsey will do in primetime! I’m just always mehhh on most AFC South games. 13. Washington vs. Vikings, Week 8 Case Keenum will very likely be quarterbacking Washington here, going up against the team he led to an NFC Championship — the Vikings. That’s also not super intriguing. It wouldn’t hurt to get your Halloween costume and candy shopping done here, I’m just saying. 12. Jets vs. Ravens, Week 15 I’ll watch any NFL game that’s got Lamar Jackson in it. The Jets were a weird team last year, looking good at times and downright awful during others. Hopefully they’re on the better side of the spectrum for this one. 11. 49ers vs. Cardinals, Week 9 Yep, we’re assuming that Kyler Murray’s going to Arizona. Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Murray kicks this one up a few notches, because none of us would have cared about this particular matchup after Jimmy G went down with his torn ACL. Hopefully we get one of these: 10. Giants at Patriots, Week 6 The Giants no longer have Odell Beckham Jr., making this a much less intriguing game. Unless Eli Manning’s been replaced by this time, you’re watching this because you want to watch the Patriots make easy work of the Giants. Sure, most of us don’t like to see the Patriots win, but there’s potential for this to be pretty funny. 9. Cowboys vs. Bears, Week 14 If the Cowboys offense is playing at peak levels, and the Bears defense the same, this could be a great game late in the year. Make room for this one, because we’ll be deep into the football season, and you don’t care about anything else at this point since you’ve come to the realization that football will be over before you know it. 8. Chargers vs. Raiders, Week 10 The Chargers should be good again in 2019, and we’ll get to see them go up against an improved Raiders team with the self-proclaimed “Mr. Big Chest” Antonio Brown. At this point in the season, we’ll know if the Raiders are any good, and if they’re going to have any issues with Brown. No matter how all that goes in Oakland, it’s going to make this one worth your time. 7. Eagles vs. Packers, Week 4 Carson Wentz vs. Aaron Rodgers should be a grand ol’ time, especially if both teams are playing to the best of their abilities. Plus, Rodgers has been known to do good things on Thursday Night Football: AARON FREAKING RODGERS: https://t.co/fxCTbTAGN9 pic.twitter.com/tYglGBFbWZ— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 4, 2015 Please stay healthy, Carson Wentz. 6. Packers vs. Bears, Week 1 This technically doesn’t count for Thursday Night Football since it’s the season opener and not on NFL Network. But guess what? It’s on Thursday, and it’s at night, so I’m counting it. These two opened up Sunday Night Football for us last year and it was a delight. Khalil Mack had a first half for the ages with Aaron Rodgers out temporarily due to injury. Mack snagged the football from Kizer, created a sack for Roquan Smith, and this versatile pick-six: And, Aaron Rodgers is playing. We don’t need to rehash why you should watch him. 5. Chiefs vs. Broncos, Week 7 Patrick Mahomes — next. 4. Colts vs. Texans, Week 12 These two teams played twice last year in the regular, and both were close contests. Take the combined score of those games, and it’s a 61-61 deadlock. However, the Texans will be hoping to get revenge after their Wild Card Round loss to the Colts. Both teams should be better this season, giving us a rare AFC South game that I’ll vouch for. 3. Rams vs. Seahawks, Week 5 The Rams had the Seahawks’ number last year in some highly-contested games, and we should expect to see more of the same this year. Hopefully you don’t get sick of hearing about Russell Wilson’s new contract by halftime. Here’s that weird video of his again: SEATTLE. Let’s get it. @Seahawks #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/xeWnEnUzmR— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) April 16, 2019 Anyway. 2. Steelers vs. Browns, Week 11 This should be a good game in general, but the Browns are must-watch football this season. Baker Mayfield was already exciting and talking hella shit in 2018, and now he’s going to be throwing to not only Jarvis Landry, but Odell Beckham Jr. too. This still kind of doesn’t seem real: View this post on Instagram God, Im so thankful for this opportunity to continue doin what I love .... Believeland LETS ROCK OUT! A post shared by Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:20pm PDT A full year of Nick Chubb in the backfield and an improved defense is going to make for the most fun football in Cleveland in quite some time. OR, one of the biggest and most epic disappointments if things somehow go sour. 1. Saints vs. Falcons, Week 13 There was no other choice for No. 1 on this list. This is the NFL’s best rivalry, and both teams should be stacked again in 2019. Somebody’s Thanksgiving is going to be ruined. In case you missed it, the Falcons threw some solid shade in their schedule release video. Game of Thrones fans will appreciate this work of art: Football is coming. Full Schedule ➡️https://t.co/vNuHMKwxTs pic.twitter.com/Xb91bWV7dB— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 17, 2019 Yep, there’s an “aints” reference in there, and they trolled the Saints over their NFC Championship no-call against the Rams. Simply phenomenal work. This will further stir the pot until their eventual Thanksgiving Day rematch in Atlanta. [In my most Falcons fan voice] Hopefully it goes better for the Falcons this time.
2 d
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs