Monthly Archives: June 2017

Breaking down new-look 49ers: Lynch, Shanahan play it smart with QB and 4-3

The 49ers are rebooting all over again in 2017. So far, they’re off to a smart start with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.

Since Chip Kelly became one-and-done and dragged Trent Baalke out the door with him, the 49ers already have showed signs they struck gold with their new coach-GM combination.
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Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess were a combined major disappointment last season despite looking the part with their big frames and catch radii. Benjamin was well behind ageless tight end Greg Olsen in receiving production, and Funchess was a shaky fourth option. Ted Ginn and Corey Brown, the speedy deep threats from Ohio State, are gone.

But until the regular-season schedule for 2018 is released next spring, chances are you’ll want to be aware of a few more key dates on the NFL calendar 鈥?the trade deadline, the beginning of 2018 free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, to name a few.

The NFL this week released its list of such important dates, beginning with what’s now called the Rookie Experience Transition Program later this month and running through the NFL Draft in late April.
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Those two teams figure to put up big numbers and yardage again, and the Buccaneers, with an aggressive offseason of adding playmakers, will be a lot more dangerous.

That left the Panthers no choice but to keep up and upgrade both the protection and ball skills around Cam Newton. Even with MVP Matt Ryan, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and rising Jameis Winston, Newton remains the most talented QB in the South. The Panthers still have the most defensive upside in the division, too.

Here we analyze all the key offseason changes on the Panthers’ depth chart, and what they mean for their chances of a strong playoff return.

Draymond Green trolls LeBron James with ‘Quickie’ shirt

Remember the Ultimate Warrior shirt LeBron James wore to the Cavaliers’ victory parade last year? Draymond Green certainly does. That’s why the NBA star had a special shirt made for the Warriors’ championship parade on Thursday.

When asked about the “Quickie” shirt during an interview on NBA TV, Green was more than happy to talk about it.

Chicago — Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia. Ferguson has a pretty wide range, having skipped out on college to play in Australia, where teams tracking him had mixed reviews. He is not particularly explosive, but he is an excellent shooter who works well off screens and has a dash of athleticism. Interest ranges as high as the Hornets at No. 11, with the Pistons and Heat also looking at Ferguson in the lottery. The Bulls need shooting, and could consider Tyler Lydon here, but Ferguson has better upside.

Milwaukee — Harry Giles, F/C, Duke. The Bucks are said to have eyes for Ferguson should he get past the Bulls, but they’ll likely be left sorting through the big-man options at this point, and there figure to be some promising ones — Justin Patton, Jarrett Allen, Ike Anigbogu, T.J. Leaf, Lydon and John Collins. The Bucks have had some luck taking risks in the draft in recent years, and Giles, who has already had three knee surgeries, qualifies as a risk. But he’d be a top-five player if healthy, so he’s worth a shot here. Should the Bucks remain determined to get a point guard, Jawun Evans could be their guy here.

Enes Kanter’s father arrested, Thunder center says

Fultz is everything you could ask for in a lead ball handler, and he can also play off-ball while the team has Isaiah Thomas in the fold. Fultz will put them in better position to make a tough call on Thomas if necessary at the end of the 2017-18 season.
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Youth Jeremy Zuttah Jersey Fultz is the best player on the board and in a draft tier of his own in this evaluator’s opinion.

Kanter has been an outspoken opponent of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Kanter calls him the Hitler of our century in the tweet alleging that his father was arrested) and has even been accused of supporting the failed coup against Erdogan.

The Thunder center, born in Switzerland of Turkish parents, said on Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis last week that he hasn’t been able to speak to his family for the better part of two years and family members have even had to change their names to avoid prosecution by the government.

The team already has Hassan Whiteside, but at a certain point, a player becomes too valuable to ignore. Collins is the top player in this tier of prospects, a 7-footer who can shoot from deep, has tremendous footwork and can protect the rim. Even with Whiteside, the Heat could use more depth in the frontcourt.

The Blazers still need to accrue depth inside, especially if Meyers Leonard’s contract is something of a sunk cost at this stage behind Jusuf Nurkic. Allen is mobile and would be able to run the floor and play in the screen-and-roll game with C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard.

NBA Finals 2017: Tristan Thompson goes on expletive-laden rant after Game 4 win

Tristan Thompson isn’t having it.

Mens Andre Branch Jersey After contributing little more than his name to the final stat sheet in the first three games of the NBA Finals, the Cavs center turned in the type of gritty performance Friday night that earned him an $82-million contract in 2015. The 6-9, 238-pounder tied a team-high with 10 rebounds and added five points and as many assists to help the Cavs avoid being swept with a 137-116 Game 4 victory against the Warriors.

You’re not about to punk us, he said.
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This was the Derrick Rose draft, with Chicago taking the future MVP at No. 1. Miami was favored to win the top pick in the lottery, but fell to the No. 2 slot. Even the greatly-admired Pat Riley stumbles on occasion, as the Heat took Michael Beasley, now in his sixth NBA stop, Milwaukee, with one tour of duty in China. For all of his masterful work for the Heat over the years, Riley passed on Russell Westbrook, who went fourth to Oklahoma City, and Kevin Love, who went fifth to Memphis, and then was moved immediately on draft night to Minnesota for OJ Mayo.

This was Stephen Curry draft, with the Warriors landing the future two-time MVP with the No. 7 pick. Blake Griffin went No. 1 to the Clippers, no argument there. Drafting second, Memphis selected UConn 7-footer, Hasheem Thabeet, now playing in Tanzania after flaming out with the Grizzlies twice and three other NBA teams.

Worse than the Grizzlies’ pick, Minnesota was actively looking for a point guard with their No. 5 and No. 6 picks. GM David Kahn selected Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, twice passing over Curry. Granted, no one expected Curry to develop into a two-time MVP, least of all Don Nelson, then running the Warriors. Little consolation that’s been for the T-Wolves.

Dak Prescott has nothing left to prove to Cowboys in playoffs

Dak Prescott has passed every possible test during his rookie season with the Cowboys. Don’t expect the quarterback to suddenly fail his first NFL playoff exam.

Let’s get this out of the way: If Dallas goes one-and-done as the NFC top seed in Sunday’s divisional playoff game vs. Green Bay, it won’t be because it’s quarterback didn’t play well. It will be because it’s defense let Aaron Rodgers have a bigger game than his QB counterpart.

But the Giants have showed signs they’re at least willing to consider folding in some younger talent to an aging roster in order to give their club a boost. They gave Christian Arroyo, their top hitting prospect, a month-long audition in the majors before sending him back down this weekend. They called up Austin Slater, one of their better hitting prospects, and gave him time in the outfield this weekend to see if he could spark their moribund offense.

They’ve promoted power-hitting prospect Chris Shaw to Triple-A and moved him to the outfield, likely increasing the chances he makes it to San Francisco this year. There are a number of young pitchers, such as Kyle Crick and Reyes Moronta, who look increasingly ready to make the jump to the majors soon.

The way the major league roster is constructed may prevent a full-on youth movement, and the Giants don’t have the kind of blue chip system that lends it’self to that kind of roster reset, anyway. But it’s a system with some depth to it, with quality players that the Giants may feel are good enough to complement their aging stars for another playoff run next year if they feel this season is a lost cause. vikings_075

LeGarrette Blount rips ‘dirty’ Ndamukong Suh after dust-up

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Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount is no fan of Ndamukong Suh, calling the Dolphins defensive lineman a dirty player after the two butted heads on several occasions Sunday.

Paraag’s a guy that I’m really excited to work with in a number of roles supporting me and this organization. But, I report to Jed York and that’s what I’ve been instructed. That’s who I report to. Like I said, during this whole process, I was very up front. I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know. I’ve negotiated my own contracts, I’ve been involved in those discussions, but I have not done that. And so, I feel real blessed that in our building, in Paraag, we have what numerous people have told me is one of the most skilled contract negotiators in the business. I’m excited about that.
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What is it about working with Kyle that made this attractive to you

Well, I think we all are aware of the rules and we need to pump the breaks on that. Whoever our head coach is, I can tell you though and I think [49ers vice president of communications] Bob [Lange] tell me if I’m wrong, I can speak to where my admiration for Kyle Shanahan arises from.

Baseball fans didn’t have to wait long for the next four-homer game. Just a few weeks after Cameron’s big game, Shawn Green of the Dodgers had perhaps the greatest offensive game in MLB history against the Brewers. Green not only hit four homers, but went 6-for-6 and accumulated a record 19 total bases.

The Blue Jays’ Carlos Delgado accomplished multiple feats on Sept. 25, 2003. Yes, he fit four home runs against the Rays, but he also hit the 300th homer of his career and his 40th of the season. Like Mays decades earlier, Delgado was sick the day of the game and almost didn’t play. So, yeah, it was a big day for Carlos.

Utah S Marcus Williams declares for 2017 NFL Draft

Utah safety Marcus Williams has announced his decision to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
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The 6-1, 195-pound safety pulled down five interceptions this season and forced two fumbles in 2016. He was a first-team Pac-12 safety for his play this season.

Williams leaves Utah with 125 total tackles, 11 interceptions and four forced fumbles.

Steelersa’ playoff position is sealed, so the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Lea’Veon Bell, with their injury histories, could have short days. Dona’t expect it to make a big difference. The Browns will play hard. Theya’ll be in over their heads again. Hello, No. 1 pick. Steelers, 30-17

NFL Network spokesman Alex Riethmiller said: As the only network 100% dedicated to the NFL, we always have an interest in talking with former coaches or players who show an interest in the media side of the business.

Maybe Ryan slips into ESPN’s Monday Night Football chair alongside Sean McDonough if Gruden were to return to the NFL

Game D.J. Hayden Jersey That would be a smart move by Ryan, if ESPN even considers it. Ryan’s rough edges would make him a very different choice for ESPN a€” he’s no Peyton Manning a€” but they also would make him good on TV. The quiet, cerebral types like Bill Walsh tend to bomb.

Either way, if Cowher was speaking for the NFL’s power brokers, Ryan’s done as a head coach. The fourth quarter of that game was excruciating all the way up until Tynes’ missed field goal. Overtime barely started when Corey Webster intercepted Brett Favre on the second play. The loss hurt, and it’s the last one where I could not physically sleep afterward. But hey, I got engaged before the Giants ruined the Patriots’ undefeated season. I’m still married and those in-laws still put up with me to that day. I’d call that a win.

Astros ace Dallas Keuchel scratched from Wednesday start with illness

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Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel was scratched from his start Wednesday night against the Royals due to an illness, the team reported.

Dayan Diaz got the start for the Astros, who have the best record in baseball (42-17).

Jihad Ward Youth Jersey Keuchel, who is 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA, would have been bidding for his 10th win of the season. He warmed up with the team, only to go back to the clubhouse 10 minutes before the game started.

His illness also spoiled a sterling matchup with Royals left-hander Jason Vargas, who has a 2.08 ERA, in a game that would have matched the top two pitchers in ERA in the majors.

Instead of signing with the Royals, Clark headed to Mississippi State, where he had an outstanding college career and teamed with Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen and Jeff Brantley to help the Bulldogs into the 1985 College World Series. The Giants, of course, made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 1985 draft, and he quickly became a franchise hero.

The Tigers picked two all-time great shortstops in the 1976 draft, selecting Alan Trammell in the second round and Smith in the seventh. Trammel signed and Smith didn’t 鈥?the gap in the offered/requested signing bonus was reportedly very little 鈥?and baseball fans were deprived of a potential position battle for the ages. Another interesting note: Smith’s future long-time teammate in St. Louis, Willie McGee, was also drafted in the seventh round of the 1976 draft, by the White Sox. He didn’t sign, either. And, one more: Lat

Brandon Marshall promises to be top-5 WR in 2017

Brandon Marshall is coming off his worst statistical season — 59 catches for 788 yards and three touchdowns — and isn’t interested in taking a pay cut next season. In fact, the soon-to-be 33-year-old receiver says he’s going to earn every penny of his $7.5 million in 2017 with a huge bounce-back season.

“Last year was a down year for several reasons,” Marshall said on ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday, “I’m not even in the top 30 (right now). I had 700-and-something yards. But this year, I promise you, I’ll be in the top five.”

For those unfamiliar with the term “thots,” Urban Dictionary can furnish you with a definition. Beware before clicking: The entry contains language that isn’t suitable for work or children.

Tebow handled the crass question with even more class and aplomb than he displayed nearly eight years ago.

“I think, for me, it’s just staying focused on certain things,” he said. “I think when your focus is on certain things that matter, for me (those are) my faith, loving people, helping people, caring for people, it’s not about focusing on the things that you’re not going to do. It’s about focusing on the things you are going to do.”

Tebow was a Heisman Trophy- and national championship-winning quarterback at the University of Florida and a bona fide heartthrob. A devout Christian, Tebow lived out his faith, boldly proclaiming it in both victory and defeat as well as spending his off time on mission trips to the Philippines. A sportswriter decided to take his line of questioning between the sheets and ask Tebow at SEC Media Days prior to the start of his senior season if he was saving himself for marriage. Tebow laughed briefly, then answered succinctly, “Yes, I am.”
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Darrelle Revis only adds to Jets’ large offseason workload

After a disappointing 2016 season, the Jets face a number of contractual questions ranging from player cuts to trades to free agency strategy.

New York finds itself in more or less the same position it was in when it fired John Idzik in 2015 — a roster full of holes and devoid of talent.

Rebuilding this team after years of poor drafting will not be easy, but the Jets’ rebuild will start with some tough decisions on their current roster during the lead-up to 2017 NFL free agency.

The Jets’ re-signing of Revis in 2015 was met with big fanfare. He was supposed to be the returning hero who would right all the wrongs of the prior two seasons.

If ESPN didn’t care if he was coming back, it wouldn’t have responded. It seems, then, it values Young and wants to keep him.

Young, on the other hand, doesn’t need a TV job with his Silicon Valley millions. Maybe he meant what he said to Bloomberg.

Elite Marcus Allen Jersey The political journalist Michael Kinsley once defined a “gaffe” as the rare moment when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Maybe Young’s “gaffe” was admitting he’s not all-in for “Monday Night Countdown.”

See, Atlanta can’t have nice sports things. Not in football, not in baseball, not in basketball, not even in the Olympics. Sunday confirmed it yet again. No matter how good things look, no matter the talent level displayed during the season, come playoff time Atlanta teams excel at leaving expectations unmet.

Limited Womens Brent Grimes Jersey It’s bad enough that the Falcons’ epic collapse in Super Bowl 51 on Sunday night will now be the collapse by which all other collapses are measured, perhaps across all sports for the rest of time, but it’s also just another notch in Atlanta’s sports belt of sadness. It was an outcome both unsurprising and perplexing for a fanbase that’s grown to expect such unhappy endings.