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Archives for: February 28, 2018

Rich Cho out as Hornets GM; Mitch Kupchak eyed for front-office role

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Peterson is a former roommate of Jordan’s at the University of North Carolina, and Kupchak is a former All-American at UNC.

Outside of the North Carolina extended family tree, internal discussion on another possible candidate for GM includes Gersson Rosas, league sources said. Rosas is the Houston Rockets’ executive vice president of basketball operations.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who missed part of the season with severe headaches, has a year left on a contract that pays him north of $3 million per year. Clifford has had a strong relationship with Jordan.

Cho, 52, has worked in front offices for more than 20 years, including under Sam Presti in Seattle and Oklahoma City and less than a year as Portland’s GM.

“It’s been a privilege to serve as the Charlotte Hornets’ General Manager for the past seven years,” Cho said in a statement. “I want to thank Michael Jordan, Curtis Polk, and the entire organization for giving me that opportunity, and for their support since that moment. I also want to thank the basketball and business operations staffs, Head Coach Steve Clifford and his staff, and our players for their commitment to excellence and success. Charlotte is a special city with deeply loyal fans and I will always be grateful for my experience with the franchise.”

“We did a great job keeping our focus, even when they made shots, went on runs and the crowd got into it. Our mentality allowed us to weather each storm that came,” Lillard said.

McCollum and Lillard drove through and around the Jazz defense, which was ranked at the top of the league during their streak.

The Jazz finally got within single digits at 90-81 but McCollum scored on three consecutive isolation plays, all contested jumpers.

“We knew it was a big possession on that first one as they had cut our lead from double digits and their fans were getting into it,” McCollum said. “Called me a pick-and-roll, trying to get me some space. Got to the free throw line area, which is more of a sweet spot for me, a comfort shot. I rose up and hit it, so we just did the same thing again and again.”

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Charlie Weis, who was paid almost $25 million not to coach, has financial advice for Kirk Cousins

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At the Super Bowl, Charlie Weis ran into Kirk Cousins. What he told him:

Charlie Weis just chatted with Kirk Cousins on radio row. I asked him what he told Kirk: “Don’t go to a team just because they offer you the most money”

On the one hand: Weis knows better than almost anyone how rough it can be to face huge expectations in football and fail. And he knows money brings expectations.

On the other hand: Weis got paid almost $25 million not to work, and he’s telling someone else to not focus so much on money.

You can decide how you feel about that.

(Note: In the headline of this post, I initially wrote that Weis was paid $19 million not to coach. That wasn’t fully accurate. He was actually paid closer to $25 million, once his buyout pay from Kansas is factored in. I regret the error.)

Rams DT Aaron Donald and RB Todd Gurley just became the first teammates since Ravens LB Ray Lewis and RB Jamal Lewis in 2003 to win Defensive and Offensive Player of the Year in the same season.

New Rams head coach Sean McVay decided to get Gurley involved in the passing game, which was a huge success. He caught 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns, which were all career highs. His six receiving touchdowns led all running backs.

Gurley’s 2017 performance had a positive impact on the Rams’ offense. Los Angeles finished in the top 10 in passing and rushing and led the league with 29.9 points per game.

Gurley is only 23 years old and isn’t yet in his prime. He’s already considered one of the best players in the NFL after three seasons. Gurley could have more seasons like this. McVay is a pass-happy head coach who wants his running backs to make plays in the passing game. According to Pro Football Focus, Gurley was the top-ranked running back in the pass game this season and No. 1 overall.bears_017-223x223

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The short track turns speed skating into a contact sport.

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Asked whether the Angels’ long-term prospects have an impact on how much he wants to remain with the team, the 26-year-old outfielder replied, For sure. Trout said Eppler, owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia are doing a good job to bring guys in and putting a great team out there.

Trout’s contract runs through 2020, after which he could become a free agent. At that point, he could well become the highest-paid player in history.

For this one, we need NFL players who have the speed but are also physical enough to withstand the contact — or are just too damn fast for it to matter.

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is quick enough to just evade the other skaters. Look at him turn a short pass into a 57-yard score.

Leonard Fournette is 6’1 and 228 pounds. He’s not moving if other skaters run into him. And he’s got enough speed to leave an entire defense in the dust while he runs in a 90-yard score.

But as for the highlight of the winter, Obviously getting married.

On the field, Trout will lead a team with higher expectations than in the past couple of seasons thanks to the signings of Ohtani and infielders Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart and the return to health of several pitchers. The Angels went 80-82 last year and haven’t won a postseason game since 2009.

People are going to think the expectations are higher, for sure, the two-time American League MVP said. We’re trying to get to the playoffs and make a push. We have one goal: to try to win a championship. We’re really excited to get this thing going.

Looking at the previous three years, the normal span for park factors, Chase Field drops from 116 to 100. That is, without the humidor, the venue projects to inflate runs by 16 percent over a neutral park. With the humidor, it portends to play neutral.
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He finished 2.44 seconds slower than Hirscher, which put him in sixth place, and he fell to seventh not long after.

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There were definitely some positive signs, things we were encouraged by, Green said of what he saw when Renfroe came back.

Even after the Japanese stole the show, Spaniard Javier Fernandez made sure to remind everyone he’s a big medal contender. Fernandez nailed his run with near-perfection, to the tune of the Charlie Chaplin Modern Times soundtrack. There were practically zero mistakes on the technical side, and the judges rewarded Fernandez handsomely with a 107.58 score.

But the Twins have been busy assessing Sanchez’s recent performances, and the front office evaluators have expressed confidence he can bounce back.

Obviously, the long ball bit him a lot. A lot of people think it has to do with pitch usage and some other things, Molitor said. But they really liked a lot of the weapons he still has. They think he got away from things that would give him a better chance to be successful.

Marcel Hirscher of Austria is one of the bigger names, and he took first place early on when he was the fifth man on the course, with a time of 1:08.27. Ted Ligety of the United States will be the ninth man on.

Ligety’s run was, unfortunately, not great. Scoring is a combined time from both runs, so he’ll have to be brilliant in his second run to podium.

Pace of game is a big issue for Manfred and MLB owners as they try to sell the game to a younger demographic in an age of limited attention spans and bountiful entertainment options. It was on the radar in 2015 when MLB introduced new guidelines requiring hitters to keep one foot in the batter’s box. Game times initially declined. But there has been some major backsliding over the past two seasons, so it was time for Plan B.

Manfred has enough purist in him that he has resisted the call from some owners to consider a limitation on relief appearances or other changes that might substantively change the game. Baseball began using a pitch clock in the minor leagues in 2015, but Manfred has made it clear from the outset that he’s much more comfortable using a clock in the big leagues if players are on board with the idea — rather than having to unilaterally implement it against their will.
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Tom Brady: ‘You’re gonna see me playing football next year’

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Regardless of what happens in Super Bowl 52, Tom Brady has no plans to retire.

The 40-year-old Patriots quarterback told Westwood One’s Jim Gray during a radio interview he will be back next season.

Tadd Haislop: With multiple coverage looks and extreme talent in the defensive secondary, the Jaguars gave Brady and the Patriots trouble in the AFC championship game before New England pulled off yet another epic comeback. Yes, the Eagles enter Super Bowl 52 with a stout defense, but they don’t have the talent in the back seven to contain the Patriots’ passing game early the way the Jags could.

Knowing it will struggle to run against Philadelphia, New England will come out firing with its array of receiving options for Brady. The Patriots will build an early lead, which will force Foles and the Eagles into uncomfortable passing situations in catch-up mode for the rest of the game. Patriots 31, Eagles 10.

Matt Lutovsky: Foles looked great against a better defense in the NFC championship game, but it’s tough to expect a repeat performance on a bigger stage away from home. The Pats’ experience gives them the edge, and their pass rush can apply enough pressure to force Foles into some mistakes. Patriots 30, Eagles 20.

The closest, of course, involves Butler, too, which makes the irony of Belichick’s decision against the Eagles on Sunday night even more wrenchingly painful. Three years ago, Pete Carroll chose to pass from the 1-yard line instead of handing off to Marshawn Lynch. Butler made him and the Seahawks pay for that move, as his game-saving interception launched him from anonymity into stardom, the starting cornerback job and Super Bowl legend.

It goes without saying that the Patriots managed to lose while Tom Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards. The Patriots only led once all night, though, and the Eagles rolled right back downfield to re-take the lead. Brady had to concoct magic in the last two possessions. For once, he couldn’t.

But maybe with Butler on the field — the whole game, half the game, a third of the game, however long — Brady wouldn’t have had to win the biggest shootout in Super Bowl history.bills_036

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Jackson told relatives that she was embarrassed and feared she’d never perform again.

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The Browns have lost 32 of their past 34 games dating back into 2015, and just three of their final nine games this season are at home. Their Browns’ head coach, Hue Jackson, is 1-22 and, like his predecessors, has been unable to solve the franchise’s perennial quarterback problem.

The 49ers, who were routed by the Cowboys last Sunday after losing their previous five games by a combined total of 13 points, are hoping they found a quarterback in rookie third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard, who showed some positive signs in his first NFL start last week.

“Radio stations wouldn’t play her music. Her album, which was great, suffered,” the family member recalled. Billboard reported that “Damita Jo” was her worst-selling album over a 20-year span, despite receiving largely favorable reviews.

2. Chip Kelly, coach, 49ers (1): The man who was supposed to revolutionize football with the Eagles washed out after three disappointing seasons, only to be scooped up immediately by San Francisco. The stories that came out of Philadelphia about what a strange, inscrutable guy Kelly is only add to the intrigue.

There is a potential downside, however. Richardson was suspended twice while with the Jets, once under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and once under its personal-conduct policy after an arrest following a car chase with police. Richardson conducted a very public feud in New York with former Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall. There already has been talk about a reportedly volatile locker room situation in Seattle. If that is true, adding Richardson to the mix could make things even more unstable.

Trades, trades, trades… Remember when the NFL was a no-trade leagueThat’s not the case any longer, as the Richardson and Brissett-Dorsett deals reconfirmed. Rather than waiting to see if a player will be released, teams actively pursue potential trades. It’s a new generation of young general managers who view trades as a viable means of roster construction. Is it a better way to build a teamWho knows. But it makes things more interesting.
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With a lack of threats in Portland, opposing defenses load up on Lillard from pick-and-roll traps to all-out ball denials in an effort to force others to beat them.

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And most importantly, in the latter half of his first coaching tenure, Gruden never again enjoyed the kind of success he did immediately after he arrived in Tampa.

In his first go-around, Gruden was an NFL head coach for 11 seasons — four in Oakland and seven in Tampa Bay. His overall record was 95-81 and his teams made five playoff appearances, winning five division titles. But after the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2002 — Gruden’s first season after taking over a team that had already enjoyed consistent winning under Tony Dungy — Tampa made the postseason just twice more with Gruden, and did not win a playoff game. From 2003 through ’08, Bucs had three winning seasons and three losing ones.

Portland is one of the lower-tier 3-point shooting teams, ranked 19th in the league in makes (9.8) and 22nd in attempts (26.1). Lillard and CJ McCollum account for 50 percent of the team’s made 3s this season, the second-highest duo percentage in the league. Only Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors combine for a higher percentage of their team’s 3s at 53 percent, and the defending champs are equipped with personnel that dominate in other departments.

It is not clear how many owners favor taking action against Jones, but the group that supports such a move is said to include some of the league’s most influential owners, according to those with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the threat of litigation.

Jones is attempting to block completion of negotiations between the owners’ compensation committee and Roger Goodell of a five-year contract extension that would keep Goodell in place as commissioner through 2024. Jones told members of the compensation committee that he had hired attorney David Boies and was prepared to file a lawsuit against Goodell’s extension.

“Roger will be extended, and Jerry will be dealt with,” said one of those people familiar with the owners’ sentiments.

Moton allowed only two quarterback hits and eight hurries on 467 attempts last season and has surrendered just two sacks in three years at the college level, and would be a welcomed addition to a Colts’ offensive line that allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked 7.6 percent of the time after adjusting for down, distance and opponent — the fifth-highest adjusted sack rate in the NFL last season.
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The Browns appear to be improving, even if that isn’t reflected in their win-loss record.

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The three other teams featured on that list — the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders — have at least had some success over recent years. This year, the Jaguars are 8-4 with a share of the AFC South Division lead and boast the league’s top passing defense. The 49ers made the playoffs each year from 2011 to 2013, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. The Raiders were a playoff team last season and are in a three-way tie for the AFC West lead.

“We believe everyone should stand for the national anthem,” Goodell said. “That’s an important part of our policy. It’s also an important part of our game that we all take great pride in. And it’s also important for us to honor our flag and our country, and we think our fans expect us to do that.”

Asked how he responds to such fans, Mara said: “I respond to them by saying that I prefer that our players stand. I’ve asked our players to stand. I think we’re down to one player who has continued to kneel. But at the end of the day, this is America and we do have a thing called the First Amendment. And it’s a right of free speech and a right to protest. That’s one of the things our forefathers fought and died for, and that continues to be a principle that’s very important to most of us.”

Goodell said he has had no direct communication with Trump on the issue. He acknowledged that the anger by many fans has made the league’s handling of the matter a key issue to sponsors and those networks that televise NFL games. Goodell cited “six or seven” NFL players continuing to participate in protests during the anthem.

The Jaguars forced every other QB they faced this season into key mistakes or bad throws. Brady, even under heavy duress throwing into tight windows, didn’t allow the Jaguars to sniff an interception, even as he was struggling with connections for three quarters.

The Patriots had only one third-down conversion before Brady threw a deep-middle strike to Danny Amendola on third-and-18 to get the comeback into gear at the 10:49 mark. He followed that with a flea-flicker bullet down the sideline to little-used fourth wideout Phillip Dorsett for another 31 yards.

Papa John’s is the highest profile sponsor to publicly pressure the NFL to resolve the protests, a move some experts say could pave the way for others to do the same. Most sponsors have remained silent on the issue, at least in public, or released statements supporting players’ free speech rights as well as touting their companies’ respect for the flag.
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The owners will divide an estimated $1.1 billion in relocation fees paid by the Rams and Chargers.

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De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (Rostered in 38.2 percent of ESPN leagues): The Kings are intentionally turning to a youth movement for the rest of the season, which means plenty of opportunities for Fox in the months ahead. Since returning from injury, Fox has averaged 13.3 PPG and 6.1 APG in 32.3 MPG during his past nine outings.

Ish Smith, Detroit Pistons (27.8 percent): Found just ahead of Damian Lillard and Lou Williams and just behind James Harden in touches per game over the past 10 games, Smith is consuming a rewarding workload in place of Reggie Jackson. Keep in mind that you won’t get any 3-point production from Smith, but he provides positive results in assists and steals.

“Aaron had Stage III CTE usually seen in players with median age of death of 67 years,” according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of the former player’s 4-year-old daughter. The lawsuit, which seeks $20 million in damages, states that because of the NFL and the Patriots’ conduct, Avielle Hernandez was “deprived of the love, affection, society and companionship of her father while he was alive.”

Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said Friday the league believes that the lawsuit “will face significant legal issues from the start” and the NFL intends to contest it “vigorously.”

Schnatter’s original comments turned his company into an emblem of the political and cultural divide in the United States, with some people advocating boycotts of Papa John’s and others praising his stance. However, the company made efforts to distance itself from the quick approval of the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer, which posted an image of a pizza pie with pepperoni slices arranged into a swastika and suggested that Papa John’s was now the “official pizza of the alt-right.”

The franchise values of the two teams should increase dramatically simply by being based in Los Angeles. And that increase may be realized regardless of the presence of a thriving, die-hard fanbase.

“I think there’s been a little bit of a disconnect in the dialogue about this,” said David Carter, the executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California. “The NFL is interested in supplying teams to this market to enhance franchise values in large part through real estate and business development and other means.cowboys_042

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Harvey added in the conference call on Friday that Elliott’s representatives were not exactly forthcoming during the investigation.

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One thing that was significant to us is that бн [Elliot’s representatives] offered affidavits and declined to be interviewed by investigators, which raised suspicions, Harvey said. Harvey added that the arguments Elliott’s representatives made seemed to be theoretical and not substantiated by evidence.

Smith-Schuster, a rookie, said he initially didn’t know it was Burfict, who has a well-chronicled history of his own incidents. All I saw was the first Bengal was going to tackle .?.?. and my instinct is I gotta block for my teammate, he said. And me just playing ball, I hit him. After I seen the replay I think I should’ve held back a little bit more from blocking him. Also, I believe that that’s not me. I should’ve never stood over him. I apologize for that and, with that being said, I hope he gets better.

The Tennessee Titans are 8-4 despite a negative point differential, making them much worse than their record reflects. Since 2002, 180 teams have qualified for the postseason, but just 13 have done it with a negative point differential. Of those 13, just one, the 2011 New York Giants, appeared in, and won, a Super Bowl.

It isn’t just their point differential that gives reason to be skeptical of how good the Titans look on paper: advanced metrics such as Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (2oth) and adjusted scoring margin (21st) also give reason to doubt they are as good as their record makes them appear.

Owner Mike Brown could decide that the time has arrived for significant changes.

The Texans have been ravaged by injuries, losing prized rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive standouts J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. This is their first nonwinning season under O’Brien after three straight 9-7 campaigns. There probably should be enough goodwill stored up to buy O’Brien at least one more season. But no one should forget that O’Brien looked at Watson and Tom Savage throughout the offseason, training camp and the preseason and decided it would be a good idea to open the regular season with Savage as Houston’s starter.cowboys_009

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