In terms of giving legitimate on-field help to Newton, their $60 million franchise cornerstone, the Panthers seem to still be making it up as they go along. They act as if they’re allergic to keeping receivers around, no matter their productivity, potential, age, contract or overall value. Steve Smith got the boot long ago. Ted Ginn Jr. left after last season. Greg Olsen wrestled with them for a new contract before getting just a tweaked one.
Olsen missed the first half of the season with a broken foot. When he returns, Benjamin won’t be there. Olsen, Ginn and Benjamin were their three leading receivers last season.
Heed scored a tiebreaking goal on the power play early in the third period and assisted on Joe Pavelski’s second-period goal to lead the Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night in Marleau’s first game as a visitor in San Jose.
“I feel comfortable out there,” said Heed, who has six points in nine games. “It feels better and better every game. I play with great players out there who make good plays for me. It’s great playing with them.”
Heed scored on a slap shot from just above the faceoff circle with 15:49 to play to give the Sharks their 10th straight win over Toronto. Joel Ward added an empty-net goal for San Jose.
This time it came with Marleau in a Maple Leafs sweater as he returned to the arena he called home for his first 19 seasons in the NHL. Marleau left as a free agent this summer to sign an $18.75 million, three-year contract with Toronto but was welcomed back warmly by a fan base that still adores him.
But there’s been a lot of speculation about Mullen’s future since Florida fired Jim McElwain on Sunday.
One team is 3-4 and the other is 4-2, which is what one might have expected for Sunday’s matchup between the Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y.
But few would have expected Buffalo to sport the winning record and be in playoff position in late October. Even fewer would have forecast Oakland to be sitting a game under .500 and celebrating the end of a four-game losing streak with last week’s wild 31-30 victory over Kansas City.
TMR: There were some “expert” leagues while I was trying to establish myself and there have been some nice big-money wins before I got to ESPN (I don’t really play for money these days), including one that helped me buy my first wife an engagement ring, but probably the best feeling was winning the “ESPN War Room” league that we play here internally. Many of the faces you watch every day (Trey, Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, Field Yates, Stephania Bell and so on), along with NFL producers and former NFL players.
Coming off a Monday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (6-1) that crippled their offensive line and likely killed their chances to win the NFC East, the Redskins (3-3) host the Dallas Cowboys (3-3) in the first of their 2017 matchups.
Alonso’s hit on Flacco drew outrage from the Ravens as well as an unsportsmanlike penalty. Ravens coach John Harbaugh came onto the field to yell at Alonso in a game that featured several fights the rest of the way.
Flacco was ruled out for the game during halftime. It is the first reported concussion in Flacco’s 10-year career.
“Joe had a concussion and a cut ear,” Harbaugh said. “They were stitching that [ear] up without any anesthesia, so he’s a tough dude. That’s as much as I know about it.”
When asked postgame whether he thought he’d be suspended, Alonso said: “That’s out of my hands, man. … It’s a bang-bang play, and I hope he’s all right. I truly do.”
A video surfaced on Facebook Sunday night that appears to show Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster snorting a powdery white substance before meetings. On Monday, Foerster resigned.
The Dolphins were reported to have been investigating the video last night and were able to conclude that Foerster was in the video, and in the wrong.
Foerster released a statement, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
The Packers were 6.5-point favorites over the Saints last week in an early line available at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. When the Westgate reposted the line Sunday night, after Aaron Rodgers’ injury, New Orleans was a 3.5-point favorite.
When Rodgers plays, the Packers are the one team in the NFC with a quarterback great enough for the team to contend without much help from the defense and/or conventional running game. With Rodgers out, we stacked all 16 NFC teams into one of four groupings in what was already looking like a pretty wide-open conference.
“This is as open as I can remember it in a lot of years, because it is hard to say who the top one or two teams are in the conference,” an evaluator said. “Usually, you would put the Packers and someone else — Seattle, maybe — that you feel strongly about. You just don’t feel as strongly about those teams this year.”
We start with the leading contenders, including three that have been to the Super Bowl recently with many of the same key players in place, including quarterbacks who have shown they can win playoff games with sufficient support. Every one of these teams is flawed enough to trade places with teams below them, which is why this NFC race will be a difficult one to handicap.
So swinging early in counts became the stathead ideal — or, at least, batter temperament lost its ideological associations. The Astros, considered by many to be the most “analytical” team, saw the third-fewest pitches per plate appearance this year. “If [an opposing] pitcher throws 70, 80, 90 pitches, who cares? We don’t,” said Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier in 2015, after the patient Rays suddenly flipped to the aggressive Rays. “Hit pitches that you’re supposed to hit. Hit fastballs early in the count, no matter if he’s thrown five pitches this inning and you’re the third hitter. If you make an out and the pitcher throws seven pitches, so what.”
The result was that we lost something to count, and the middle of games lost just that little bit of nuance.
At age 28, Weeden became the oldest player ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
What happened? Weeden had a few bright spots in Cleveland but is remembered more for horrific moments that personified the franchise’s futility, like getting trapped under the American Flag during the pregame warm-up of his NFL debut (he proceeded to post a 5.1 quarterback rating in that loss to Philadelphia) and a backhanded interception he threw against Detroit. Weeden was recently signed by Tennessee following a hamstring injury to Marcus Mariota and could become a free agent again once the Titans’ starting QB is healthy enough to play again.
As has been referenced already in this piece, the Cardinals have significant struggles running the ball. As a result, no quarterback has thrown the ball more this season than Carson Palmer, who is on pace for 726.4 attempts this season. That bodes well for Brown, who has chewed up 37 targets over the past four weeks. Volume makes him a weekly flex consideration in deeper leagues.
Or so it would appear at first glance. But it turns out that there’s also a lot of churn in the world of NFL uniforms this season because most teams are upgrading to a new Nike tailoring template. You’ll be hearing a lot about how the new template is lighter and tighter, how it has fewer seams and so on. But from a visual standpoint, the most obvious changes — and they’re almost all for the better — can be seen around the jersey collars.
Shanahan would only confirm quarterback Brian Hoyer and left tackle Joe Staley are starting, and “everyone else, we’ll find out on Sunday.
The family went on: “Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this legendary dining institution. We are especially thankful to the late Mike Garcia for the opportunity he gave our family 20 years ago. By-Th’-Bucket over the past 60 years of operation has served millions of guests and has created countless memories and for that we will be forever grateful.”
Devoted fans took to social media Tuesday to show their appreciation.
“Thanks for the years of great clams and catfish!” a diner named Robyn K posted on Yelp. “Even after moving to Morgan Hill I found myself coming back up here for good fish. Another institution gone. … Good luck to the Furiosis in their future endeavors.”
The NFL season is closer than ever. Training camp started for most teams this week, with the rest to follow in the coming days. That got us thinking — if you could attend only one regular-season game this year, which would it be?
However, no matter his performance, his time with the Bills is almost certainly coming to a close in 2017. The team had little choice but to decline the option that would have paid a player with 430 receiving yards last season a base salary more than $6 million higher than Antonio Brown’s.
Watkins’ history in Buffalo will make anything less than a jaw-dropping year a disappointment
Moving up to No. 4 to select Watkins didn’t just cost Buffalo two first-round picks; it also cost the team a shot at drafting a pair of franchise receivers. The Bills shipped away the No. 9 pick in 2014 and the No. 19 pick in 2015 — along with a 2015 fourth-rounder — for the privilege of drafting the Clemson wideout. Here’s how his career has stacked up against the other 11 receivers drafted in the first two rounds that year:
That’s a long list of players who have outperformed the top WR selected, headlined by Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr., who both look like franchise cornerstones through their first three seasons. Two productive players taken at the end of the second round, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry, underscore just how deep the 2014 draft was at the position and how excessive it was for the Bills to trade up.
Leave it to Reddit to settle a hair salon argument.
Apparently, Chandler Parsons is the best looking player in the NBA.
Reddit user Aesthetikal recently did a bit of a social experiment that led to this conclusion, creating profiles on the popular dating app Tinder for several players. Listing only their heights (no names) and posting pictures of them in street clothes, Aesthetikal tracked who got the most interactions in 24 hours.
Parsons prevailed in a landslide with 127 interactions ahead of Kevin Love (96) and J.J. Redick (95) who rounded out the top three.
Ultimately, though, this trade comes down to New Orleans going from the middle of the road with seemingly few avenues for tangible improvement to something totally different with a lot of upside. Even if the Pelicans end up losing Cousins in two summers, the fact that they went for it is something they will certainly be able to stomach — and something that their fans should appreciate regardless of result.
And heck, even if it goes totally wrong this spring, it’s hard to see them not getting similar value on the market if they would decide to move him on again in the summer. It’s a calculated risk that is well worth taking for the organization. We’ll see now if it pays off.
Bulls: Chicago will likely never see the first-round pick it acquired when the Bulls decided to trade Luol Deng to the Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum, that first, and two second-rounders. For a team that needs to continue stockpiling young talent, that’s a loss.
Another possibility: the Bulls. It’s been a disappointing season in Chicago, and some of the young assets the Bulls hoped to developed have not blossomed. But the Bulls would be in position to make the Knicks an offer, and when he was a free agent in 2014, Anthony not only visited Chicago to take their pitch, he nearly decided to sign with Bulls. Should good friend Dwyane Wade decide against opting out this summer, there could be incentive on both sides to make a Bulls move happen.
The Cavaliers? “Longshot,” one exec said. Unless LeBron James pushes for such a move, Anthony landing in Cleveland is unlikely.
In all, it is not an enviable hand that Jackson is holding, trying to deal an expensive and aging star who has the right to veto any deal and is not much wanted by the rest of the league. Jackson was not wrong to say that Anthony might be better off elsewhere. The trick, though, is to pin down where that elsewhere is.
That was supposed to be part-and-parcel with this series, given two years of meetings between these teams that featured nose-poking (that was Wall’s nose being poked), a postgame police presence set up between the locker rooms, a broken nose, an ejection (that was Wall), repeated accusations of dirty play on both sides and a night spent in funeral attire (allegedly Wall’s idea). But Game 1 was mild when it came to such hijinks.
When the lack of fireworks was mentioned to Wall, he smiled. “We all had our back-and-forth, we are all going to talk trash, that’s just the competitive nature of everybody,” Wall said. “Nobody is trying to injure anybody out here. We’re just trying to have a clean-cut game. But there’s two teams who are trying to play hard, trying to win, but don’t like each other while you’re between those two lines. That’s how the game is supposed to go.”
Gordon Hayward is the farthest thing from loyal — if you’re asking his former Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert.
Hayward ended his drawn-out free agency saga on Tuesday by officially leaving Utah to join up with former college coach Brad Stevens in Boston. That, of course, prompted a vitriolic response from Gobert, who chose an interesting way to diss his former teammate — with a little help from singer Chris Brown.
Gobert’s frustration with Hayward is understandable — the two did spend four seasons in Utah together, after all — so the need to vent is unsurprising. And honestly, is there a better way to do that than with spouting off a line of lyrics from Brown’s hit song “Loyal”?
Of course, Gobert isn’t the only player reacting to Hayward’s move — former Jazz member Trey Lyles also offered his take (after he was traded to the Nuggets on draft night):
If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2017, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2018 League Year.
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
Geno Smith has an uphill road to playing time with the Giants this fall as he enters a crowded quarterback picture while coming off major knee surgery, but he’s doing his best to project confidence.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Nauset,” Sherman said in a statement, via the Cape Cod Times. “I believe the kids not only learned a lot about football but about life as well. I believe they learned some core values that will serve them well. Ultimately, that is what high school sports is all about.”
Sherman, 62, is planning to open a new athletics training facility called Total Athletics Cape Cod this summer.
A Massachusetts native, Sherman was head coach of the Packers from 2000-05 while also handling general manager duties during the 2001-04 seasons. He went 57-39 in Green Bay, making the playoffs four consecutive years, but was fired after going 4-12 in 2005.
After a stint as a Texans assistant, Sherman took over the Texas A&M program in 2008 and went 25-25 in four seasons with the Aggies. He then spent two years as the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator before returning to the high school ranks at Nauset in 2015.
The Patriots still have a chance to bring back Blount with an unusual free-agent tender, but his opportunity to remain their early-down and red zone “power” back is gone. New England stole Gillislee from Buffalo with an offer the Bills couldn’t match. It also signed Rex Burkhead and was auditioning Christine Michael.
Gillislee, who led the NFL with 5.7 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns as a Bills backup last season, is better than Blount for the tough yards between the tackles. He was well worth $6.4 million over two years after Burkhead got $3.15 million for 2017 alone.