Monthly Archives: June 2018

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper all played in a pair of swept-out defeats in the finals with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James, most definitely, does not want to get swept in the NBA Finals for a second time.

But if it happens, at least he’ll be in elite company.

Should Cleveland lose Game 4 of this series Friday night and get swept by Golden State, James would be the fifth player to actually be on the floor for a pair of 4-0 defeats in the NBA Finals. James was on the Cleveland team that lost 4-0 to San Antonio in 2007 as well.

The other four guys to be twice-swept? They’re not bad.

It really depends on the coach, it depends on the team it depends on the player you’re talking to, she said. And we’ve learned over the years who are the good guys to have in the room. But don’t start tweeting at these reporters for that information, because you won’t get it. One of the jobs that we have is to keep all of this information to ourselves, she said. There’s a ton that goes into the job, and it isn’t just what you see on Sundays. However, it’s clearly an incredibly rewarding one, and it puts those that have it in a unique position.

Any time you get to go out and see the fellas, play with them, talk with them, be in the huddle and look at guys, and participate in drills, that’s what you play the game for ultimately, he said, via the Boston Globe. It was tough to watch it on the sidelines last year. To come out here and do little things, strap on the helmet, it put some perspective on how lucky you are to get to play the game. Last Friday, during Brady’s annual Best Buddies Football Challenge, Edelman could be seen hauling in a touchdown pass from the future Hall of Fame quarterback,

Whatever fate awaits Edelman, the Patriots bolstered their receiving corps this offseason, adding Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson and rookie sixth-round pick Braxton Berrios, who join a depth chart that includes Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Mitchell and Kenny Britt.

While Steratore is done with the NFL, it isn’t clear yet if he’ll continue to officiate NCAA basketball like his brother and cousin, or if he’ll stick to just his CBS job. But he’s the fourth referee to leave the job this offseason:

For better or worse, Steratore was one of the most recognizable officials in the NFL. With yet another veteran official gone, the NFL’s referee corps will look very different in 2018 and beyond.

Christian McCaffrey might be the best receiver on the Carolina Panthers roster

Consistently productive tight end Delanie Walker has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last three seasons, while running back duo Derrick Henry (4.3 yards per carry in his first two seasons) and Dion Lewis (1,110 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns last year in New England) could make up one of the best tandems in the league. 

But Tennessee’s top wide receiver last year was Rishard Matthews, who shouldn’t be a No. 1 guy out wide. Matthews, 2017 third-round pick Taywan Taylor and 2016 fifth-rounder Tajae Sharpe are better suited for complementary roles, but they’ll likely have to carry more of the load as the offense waits on Corey Davis. 

It’s fair to wonder if Funchess can ever be the guy considering he’s caught just 50 percent of the passes thrown his way in his first three seasons. Samuel doesn’t have that makeup and is still recovering from an ankle injury. Olsen might be fading as he prepares for his 12th season. Smith hasn’t put together a strong season in half a decade. And Moore might need some time. 

There’s enough talent at all of the offensive skill positions to keep the Panthers out of the bottom 10 here, but Newton could still use a lot more help.

But in terms of sheer talent and potential, this is one of the best skill-position groups in football. With an improved offensive line, the Giants could do a lot of damage in 2018. 

By the time that season came to an end, he had one of the league’s best skill-position quartets. 

That’s because his rockstar supporting cast (Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson to begin with) added two new members in tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Chris Godwin.

During his final five games as a rookie, Howard caught 70.6 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging a ridiculous 17.1 yards per attempt. The first-round pick out of Alabama also scored three touchdowns during that stretch before a mid-December ankle injury ended his campaign prematurely.

Meanwhile, Godwin caught 61.5 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging an even more ridiculous 18.4 yards per catch during the final four weeks of his rookie campaign, with 209 of his 525 receiving yards coming in the final two games of the regular season.

Todd Haley: Running back workload yet to be determined

Josh Gordon thinks the Browns have the best receivers in the NFL. Their running backs could be pretty good, too. It’s just unclear at this point which ones will be getting the carries and the catches.

The candidates for the touches are free-agent arrival Carlos Hyde, veteran Duke Johnson, and rookie Nick Chubb, along with Matthew Dayes and Dontrell Hilliard.

Carter has experience playing in a 3-4 scheme, as Georgia used the same setup during his college career. But Carter has said he played as many as five different positions in that scheme, which may have explained the former five-star recruit’s somewhat pedestrian numbers in Athens (14 career sacks across four seasons).

His new team will likely give him a more defined role.

We’ve previously pointed out the flaws in that comment, while also addressing the bulk of what he had to say.

It will continue to be a topic about which many will have plenty to say, because the topic the NFL wishes would go away simply won’t be — in part because of the NFL’s subpar handling of it.

The Nebraska product, who signed a four-year, $27.4 million contract with the Jets this offseason, was in the middle of a Redskins offensive line widely regarded as one of the best in the league two seasons ago, but played just seven games in 2017 due to a quad injury. He entered minicamp as the only new starter on the line.

We just take last year … you gotta take it for what it is and just build off it, right tackle Brandon Shell said. It’s nothing — you gotta take your goods from it, you gotta take your bads from it, just try to, like, use it as a stepping stone to keep building. To get better and better.

For Long, the transition comes mostly in verbiage and chemistry. The Jets and Redskins have similar schematic tendencies — both run a healthy amount of zone blocking — which makes things easier for the center.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. injury update: Top Blue Jays prospect (leg) lands on DL

The Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hype train has pulled in for an unscheduled stop.

The 19-year-old third baseman, one of baseball’s top prospects and son of the Expos great, was placed on the seven-day disabled list Thursday with what the Blue Jays organization believes (hopes? prays?) is a minor leg injury.

For us, it’s just about being extra cautious given that the injury occurred last Saturday and when he came back there was a little bit of a setback, Jays director of player development Gil Kim told Postmedia on Thursday before Guerrero’s team, the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, played the Akron Rubberducks.

A representative for the Hall of Fame said they were disappointed with the decision.

We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement, Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker said in a statement. While unprecedented, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the nearly 5,000 volunteers and the entire community are committed to celebrating the excellence of the Class of 2018 that will kick off the NFL’s 99th season.

The fact of the matter is we’re going to go running back by committee, McCarthy told ESPN. But if one of them would emerge as that full-time guy then you have to have that ability to . . . adjust to that. As far as planning and going into the season, that’s why we’re going about it that way. We feel like we’ve got three guys that have all done it, but they haven’t done it over a long period of time, so I think it’s just practical thinking from that position and realizing that it’s a very demanding position.

Williams led the team with 556 rushing yards, Jones was next with 448 and Montgomery had 273. It sounds like McCarthy would be satisfied with that kind of split again this year, which means all of the Packers’ running backs will get plenty of playing time, but none will finish the season with big numbers.

I just kind of put them on hold just for last year, Leggett said. I kind of had to play a different role, not being on the field, just helping guys in any way possible. I still have goals. Whenever I do happen to get on the field, I’m out there to play ball and try to reach these goals that I’m going for.

Leggett would not reveal the exact nature of his knee injury, but did say he did not have any torn ligaments. During OTA practices, he sat out one period each day to rest the knee. He expects to be a full participant in next week’s minicamp.

Lack of QB competition paying dividends for Broncos

The Broncos held quarterback competitions the last two offseasons that ended with Trevor Siemian in the starting job and offenses that failed to impress in the regular season.

Denver is trying a different approach this season. They signed Case Keenum as a free agent and installed him as the unquestioned No. 1 in the offense, which means he’s taking all of the reps with the first team while Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly work with the backups.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave says he’s already seen benefits from having one quarterback doing all the work with the starters.

Things are improving for her now, but it’s still hard. The school has addressed the bullying, but the kids aren’t so fast to change. As tough as it’s been, she has made a difference in how people look at bullying. Because of all the support she has received, she has hope when she didn’t before.

Don’t bet on being able to legally wager money on sports games on Friday.

The state Senate and Assembly are both scheduled to vote Thursday afternoon on the legislation, which would determine how the Garden State regulates and taxes sports betting online and in person at casinos and tracks.

What he showed during that first year at Penn State before the coaching change, before the system change, before all the things that derailed him would be enough for me to take this guy early, Gruden wrote in an article for ESPN. He just has to get in the right system with the right people and refocus on the small details.

Apparently, after less than a month in the Bay Area, Gruden had seen enough to make this decision.

Hackenberg (a 2016 second-round pick) and linebacker Brady Sheldon were both waived to accommodate the team’s signing of defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Frostee Rucker.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas was not present on the first day of mandatory minicamp, but Payton said the third-year pro had an excused absence.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan also had an excused absence to be at the hospital for the birth of his child.

Reuben Foster pleads no contest to weapons charge

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor weapons charge stemming from his February arrest, the Santa Clara County Superior Court confirmed to NFL.com.

Foster was sentenced to two years of probation, 240 hours of community service (he’s already worked eight) and $235 total in fines after his attorney entered the plea on his behalf, The Athletic’s David Lombardi reported. In addition, Foster is barred from owning a gun while on probation.

The 49ers organization is aware of the recent developments in the legal proceedings involving Reuben Foster and that the matter has come to a conclusion, 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement.

It was horrible, Hernandez said. The fact that it is somebody who just recently became so close and so dear to me was even worse. From the short time I’ve known Gettleman, he is strong.

He always has a positive attitude. He’s the reason why I’m here, so of course I’m going to be behind him 100 percent and supporting him in anyway I can.

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Arizona Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden was worth the total price of his rookie contract the moment the 2015 second-round pick hit double digits in sacks in the second-to-last game of his sophomore NFL season. Ultimately, he and Vic Beasley were the only players in the league with 12-plus sacks and four or more forced fumbles that year. 

He’s coming off a season that was derailed early by a torn ACL, but the 25-year-old told the media last month—per Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan—that he’ll be out there soon. And when that happens, the 26th-highest-paid player on the Cards roster will continue to be a bargain up front. 

With all due respect to Grady Jarrett (on a four-year, $2.5 million rookie deal) and Tevin Coleman (four years, $3.2 million), the Atlanta Falcons are getting just a little bit more out of third-year linebacker Deion Jones.

The Giants stretching the field more in 2018 will help open the entire operation.

jets_132Upgrades to the offensive line should aid that endeavor. One player Manning specifically mentioned is second-round guard Will Hernandez, who brings a feistiness to Big Blue’s interior.

Will Hernandez has already been in five fights, Manning said. I love it.

When Anthony Barr drove Rodgers into the turf last October, the resulting clavicle fracture effectively turned out the lights on the Packers ‘ 2017 season. Such is the value of the accomplished State Farm pitch man, who, when healthy, is one of the very best quarterbacks to ever play the game. You can imagine Rodgers, now 34, will be beyond motivated to unseat the Vikings (and Barr) in the NFC North. The addition of Jimmy Graham smells like a red-zone bonanza, and Davante Adams is in line for a career year with Jordy Nelson now lining up wide in Oakland. If Rodgers can stay healthy, he’s a lock for team — and possibly league — MVP.

We’re always open to outside help, no matter what time of year it happens to be, Cashman said. But we also have internal options that we can rely on.

Cashman highlighted the recovery of another injured pitcher, Luis Cessa (oblique). The right-hander could eventually give the Yankees added starting depth depending upon his progression. Per Cashman, a second rehab start is coming up in the next few days for Cessa.

Tanaka was hurt sprinting from third base to home in the sixth inning of Friday’s win over the New York Mets at Citi Field.

It’s not something that I normally do or that we pitchers in the American League normally do, Tanaka said of running the bases. But that’s part of baseball. It’s on me that I got hurt. I don’t think it’s about the rules.

Now McLeod will get another chance over the summer to train for an NHL spot come training camp in September. Even though the Devils will have the same center depth entering the season, McLeod will have a better chance to make his case since he will turn pro in 2018-19.

I really believe Mike’s got all the tools to play, Castron said. He’s got to be mentally ready and get stronger and prove he can handle it. As everybody knows, it’s not an easy league to play in. You’ve got to be ready to go.

Karablog: Paul Goldschmidt returns to form

jets_131Just as nobody enjoys getting injured, nobody really wants to talk about injuries either, and this past weekend was a rough one for several big-name pitchers and prospects. Rough, rough weekend. However, instead of starting a new week dissecting myriad negatives, let us focus on a positive! Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, a consensus top-10 fantasy option that began the week as arguably the biggest disappointment in the game, had a terrific week, easily topping the Player Rater for that span.

Why waiting for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might be the best thing for Toronto. Plus, a stat that could decide the NL Central and an inside look at the Brewers’ approach.

It’s ironic that Royals shifts have been so effective because, just last week, manager Ned Yost told the Kansas City Star, I don’t know they would ever do it but if they came to me and say would you like to outlaw the shifts, I would say yes.

Odubel Herrera, who was the catalyst of the Philadelphia offense through his first 45 games of the season, has cooled off in recent weeks. The center fielder has just 10 hits in his last 68 at-bats (.147 average) and has 19 strikeouts and three walks during that span. Herrera’s OPS, which was .989 on May 17, has dropped to .786.

I think he’s going through a rough time. It’s been a significant drop in his numbers, his statistics, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters Sunday. We’re all seeing that. We’re seeing his rhythm and timing. He’s a rhythm and timing hitter … so when that timing is disturbed and disrupted, you just don’t see as clean swings. We know that rhythm and that timing has to come back.

Nola (7-2, 2.35 ERA) doesn’t typically need much run support when he’s on the mound. The 25-year-old right-hander will be making his 14th start of the season Tuesday, and Nola has yet to pitch less than five innings or give up more than four runs in a 2018 outing.

Nola allowed three runs and four hits in six innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last start but tied a season high with four walks.

Tuesday’s start will be the second of Nola’s career against the Rockies. He gave up two runs in seven innings at Coors Field on Aug. 6, 2017.

Gray (6-6, 5.66 ERA), meanwhile, was the starter in the Rockies’ most recent win. He pitched five innings against the Cincinnati Reds last Wednesday, giving up three runs and seven hits.

Gray is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.254 WHIP in three career starts against the Phillies.

The Chicago Cubs dented the Milwaukee Brewers’ normally lights-out bullpen to return to first place in the NL Central.

jets_130Vladimir Guerrero Jr. attended the game while in the process of rehabbing the strained patellar tendon in his left knee. I’m not frustrated at all. Stuff happens that you can’t control, said Toronto’s 19-year-old 3B prospect, who has driven in 55 runs in 53 games for Double-A New Hampshire. He is expected to miss at least four weeks.

Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (right knee) was back in the lineup after sitting out two games. … 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) took live batting practice but is not yet running the bases at 100 percent. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will start for Class A Dunedin Wednesday night.

BOSTON The Chicago White Sox had a tough time scoring runs during their weekend in Boston. However, the pitching staff came through to deliver a big series victory over the Red Sox.

Reynaldo Lopez pitched into the seventh inning, Daniel Palka had a two-run double and the White Sox beat the Red Sox 5-2 Sunday to win two of three games against one of the majors’ best teams.

Chicago took the set by a 8-6 margin, eking out a 1-0 win Friday against Red Sox ace Chris Sale before losing 4-2 on Saturday. White Sox pitchers held Boston to a combined .186 average (18 for 97) in the series.

Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (5-4, 2.85) faces the Astros on Tuesday. Two of Mengden’s four losses this season have come against Houston.Goldschmidt stays hot as Diamondbacks beat Rockies 8-3

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (6-6, 5.66) will start Colorado’s six-game road trip against Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (6-4, 4.20 ERA) pitches the opener at Milwaukee on Monday night. Quintana has a streak of 24 scoreless innings against the Brewers and will face RHP Junior Guerra (3-4, 2.83).Twins hold off Angels for 7-5 win

Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 4.24) is scheduled to get the ball Tuesday in Detroit to begin a six-game road trip. LHP Blaine Hardy (2-1, 3.66) is the scheduled Tigers starter.Lopez, Palka help White Sox beat Red Sox 5-2

What if Yanks traded for Verlander?

jets_120Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team in April in an effort to help the President clear up any ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Shurmur maintains the Giants are a better team with him here than without him, and now Ereck Flowers gets to prove if that statement is valid. The erstwhile starting left tackle last week finally decided to grace the team with his presence, and he gets thrust into the competition for the starting right tackle spot, where second-year Chad Wheeler has worked this spring. This will not be an easy transition for Flowers, a left tackle in college at Miami and in his first three years in the NFL. Expect him to struggle to get his bearings. These practices should show what he needs to work on leading into more grueling training camp tests.

That position was not deep safety, which would’ve been obvious if you watched even a handful of his plays from Michigan. He was very good at making plays close to the line of scrimmage, but because the Browns were so thin at the safety position they had to play Peppers deep, which was a major reason for why so many teams were able to hit on big plays against the team.

The Browns made sure that wouldn’t be the case this season. They brought in Damarious Randall to play deep safety. They even traded their starting quarterback from last season, DeShone Kizer, to get him.

Now Peppers will be able to play more of a strong safety role where he can help in the run game, but still make some plays in the passing game, too. It was a huge concern for him coming out of college, and he didn’t do much to change that perception in his rookie year. If he doesn’t do it again this season then we could be talking about him changing positions again next season.

Guy who already got paid doesn’t understand why guy who didn’t isn’t showing up