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Archives for: April 23, 2018

Jake Arrieta throws four innings in first start, Phillies fall to Marlins

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Phillies’ prized right-hander  Jake Arrieta was pulled after four innings and 74 pitches in his first start with his new ballclub against the Miami Marlins on Sunday, a no-decision in a 6-3 defeat.

Arrieta was almost out of the inning without further damage after Anderson flew out, but Lewis Brinson reached on catcher’s interference and Braxton Lee flared an 0-2 pitch into left for a two-run single.

Arrieta needed 32 pitches to get through the first and there was action in the bullpen, but he settled down and allowed just one baserunner the next three innings as the Phillies rallied to tie the game. He was pulled for pinch-hitter Pedro Florimon in the bottom of the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Phillies rallied from the 3-0 deficit with two runs in the first on Odubel Herrera’s RBI double and Nick Williams’ run-scoring single in the first and Rhys Hoskins’ RBI double in the third against Miami starter Trevor Richards.

Arrieta signed a three-year, $75-million contract in spring training with options. Because he signed so late, Arrieta wasn’t ready to start the season and made his debut in Sunday’s eighth game.

The former Cy Young Award winner’s signing boosted the Phillies’ rebuilding efforts and gave a young pitching staff a veteran presence.

The right-hander was topping out at 92-93 mph. His final line was 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

Arrieta’s next start should come Saturday in Tampa Bay. The Phillies fell to 3-5.

Manziel’s first-quarter touchdown was vintage Johnny Football — a scramble out to the right followed by an off-balance dart to the back of the end zone to former Baylor receiver Antwan Goodley.

For the first time in over two years on Saturday, Johnny Manziel took snaps in a competitive football game.

Playing in The Spring League in Austin, Texas, Manziel quarterbacked the South team for around two quarters in total, completing more than 50 percent of his passes and throwing a touchdown pass in an 11-7 loss.

Manziel was 9 of 15 for 83 yards and a touchdown, but also took three sacks. The former Cleveland Browns first-round pick had the ball down four points with just two minutes to go, but couldn’t pull off the comeback. bills_013

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For some teams drafting a quarterback high, disaster is inevitable

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With possibly four quarterbacks taken in the first five picks and five (maybe six) quarterbacks taken in the first 32 selections, each of the teams that writes the name of a quarterback on a first-round draft card will believe that they are getting a franchise-changing guy. In the end, up to half (or more) could be dead wrong.

History tells us that quarterbacks have a ceiling that can’t be determined until they’re in the NFL and either busting through it or bumping against it. Most if not all incoming players have flaws, especially the quarterbacks.

While Rodgers challenged to be the first overall pick in the draft, the 49ers chose Smith, with Rodgers falling all the way to the Packers at 24. Many observers were concerned that Rodgers was a product of Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who previously sent Akili Smith, Kyle Boller and Joey Harrington to the pros with limited success. One NFL personnel director told McGinn that Tedford quarterbacks “all throw the ball the same way,” while another said Rodgers “is very rigid mechanically.” It’s difficult to think of a quarterback in NFL history who is more fluid in getting rid of the football off-schedule than Rodgers.

The unnamed friend of Dorsey also believes that the Browns will take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 4, resisting the temptation to trade down.

Of course, it’s hard to know whether the Browns will use the pick or trade it without knowing what another team is offering for the fourth pick. But the idea of the Browns choosing not to pass the pick and stockpile more of them makes sense. Teams that have traded up in recent years have done fairly well, for the most part (and with a few significant exceptions, like the trade for RGIII).

With the Browns technically on the clock, there’s no reason for the Browns to be coy about their intentions. But there’s also no real reason to be transparent. Maybe they could still drop a spot or two and still get Allen. Maybe if they drop a spot or two hoping to get Allen but get someone else, maybe they want to be able to say that’s the guy they would have taken at No. 1.rams_065

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Besides the nationally televised game in Washington, the Jets don’t have any national TV preseason games this year.

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Their other three will be televised locally only.

Those last two opponents are the same every year. Because the Jets “visited” the Giants last year, they had just one true preseason road trip, to Detroit. The Jets also hosted the Titans.

If you are in on the Bruins, the choices are obvious. The trio of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand is a formidable one, with Torey Krug a dominant choice on defense. For secondary scoring, David Krejci is always a playoff threat, having twice already led the league in scoring for the playoffs. That makes Ryan Donato an especially good sleeper, as he gets the best of both worlds. Donato plays with Krejci at even strength and on the power play with that top line. In the crease, Tuukka Rask is always a good choice in the playoffs when the Bruins are primed for a run; he has 53 games of playoff experience with a .928 save percentage.

The Blue Jackets have a tough road, with a first-round matchup against the conference champions and a potential second-round match against the defending Stanley Cup champs. Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson have been connecting well in the second half, and Seth Jones has put together a breakout on the blue line.

Collins, who started the first 47 games of his three-year NFL career, was in tears in the locker room after he suffered the injury in Week 16 of last season. But he showed up with a positive outlook Monday for the first day of the voluntary offseason strength and conditioning program.

“My arm is doing great,” Collins said.

Asked a follow-up question about the rehabilitation process, he said, “It was very minimum, but everything is back to 100 percent.”

Collins is a key piece  in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 scheme because of his versatility. He starts at strong safety but could be asked to slide into a hybrid linebacker role in certain situations. rams_010

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Karablog: Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco continue impressive starts

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The surprising Pittsburgh Pirates enter the second full week of the season a cool 7-2, after taking three of four games from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Sunday’s heroes are not exactly new names to fantasy managers, but right-hander Jameson Taillon and outfielder Gregory Polanco did not emerge as the statistical superstars so many predicted they’d become last season; Taillon fell out of the top 200 in ESPN average live drafts and Polanco was a 14th-round selection. The upside for each is, of course, considerably greater, presuming health. Ah, there it is. Health cures all!

Next up, rest. That’s Landeskog’s plan anyway — lay on the couch with his dog and watch the Masters on Sunday. Then, get ready for Nashville.

“If we play the way we played tonight, we have a good chance,” Bernier said.

Leading 2-1 late in the third, MacKinnon beat Allen with a shot over the goaltender’s shoulder. MacKinnon had been held without a goal since March 18 when he had two against Detroit. He finished with 97 points — the most by an Avalanche player since Joe Sakic had 100 in 2006-07.

But with NFL viewership falling nearly 20% over the past two seasons, Manning is viewed as a game changer.

The five-time NFL MVP was the league’s most popular player during his career. With his multiple endorsements and “Saturday Night Live” appearances, Manning would appeal to both advertisers on Madison Avenue and viewers.

“Peyton is worth every penny. Advertisers love him — and the league wants this to happen,” said another source.

With Manning’s vast knowledge of football and penchant for film study, network executives are hoping he is getting bored with retirement.

His new life has been filled with charity events, such as singing with country music star Thomas Rhett last week in Indianapolis, and ceremonial appearances like Daytona. He sold his stake in 31 Papa John’s restaurants in the Denver area just two days before the league dropped the brand as its official pizza sponsor.

TV networks can’t wait around forever for Manning to make up his mind.buccaneers_081

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NFL free agent news: Bills improve O-line with Russell Bodine, Marshall Newhouse

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In the span of two minutes Monday, the Bills announced moves that completely revamped their offensive line.

Buffalo first announced the signing of center Russell Bodine, and then followed it up shortly after with the signing of offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse.

Another addition to the offensive line. We have signed OL Marshall Newhouse to a one-year deal.

Bodine signed a two-year contract, while Newhouse settled for a one-year deal.

Royals: C Salvador Perez (left knee sprain) hit and ran bases for the first time prior to the game, and reported feeling “pretty good.” Yost said his All-Star could be back early in the four-to-six-week timeframe that was given when Perez got hurt just before Opening Day.

Royals LHP Eric Skoglund makes his season debut against RHP Felix Hernandez as the three-game set continues Tuesday night. Skoglund has not pitched in a game since an exhibition March 17, thanks to rainouts and postponements that have wrecked the Royals’ early schedule.

Baltimore had previously expressed interest in signing Kaepernick during the 2017 offseason, but the two sides never reached a deal.

Kaepernick filed the grievance against the NFL in a complaint that teams have colluded to keep him out of the league as a result of his stance on social issues that sparked when he took a knee in protest during the national anthem, and Newsome and Harbaugh are the latest to be questioned.

The depositions come a day after the Ravens signed Robert Griffin III, who also hasn’t played since the 2016 season, to a one-year deal.

Newcomb became the third starting pitcher to toss at least six scoreless innings with no walks and at least nine strikeouts at Coors Field. Jon Gray and Hall of Famer Randy Johnson are the only other two to accomplish the feat.buccaneers_025

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Drew Brees, Sean Payton to serve as pallbearers at Tom Benson funeral

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Saints quarterback Drew Brees and New Orleans coach Sean Payton will serve as honorary pallbearers for the private funeral of Tom Benson, the team announced Thursday.

Roger Goodell and Adam Silver are among five current and former league commissioners expected to attend the service scheduled for Friday at St. Louis Cathedral. A number of NFL owners, including Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson, will also pay their respects.

Benson, owner of the Saints and Pelicans, died March 15 at the age of 90. The New Orleans native had been hospitalized with the flu nearly a month ago, but it was announced that he died last Thursday at the Ochsner Medical Center with his wife by his side.

Rockies: CF Charlie Blackmon was back in the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a back injury. He was taken out of Saturday night’s game in the 10th inning because of back spasms. “I’m glad it cleared up quickly,” Blackmon said earlier Monday. “One game (off) here and there is sometimes a necessity.” … RHP Jeff Hoffman, on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, is slated to make his first rehab start Tuesday for Class A Lancaster.

“We stopped getting stops. We were defending really well up until that point,” Magic forward Aaron Gordon said.

Terry, the savvy veteran guard, immediately gave the Bucks a spark by forcing a turnover on the inbounds play after Bledsoe’s two foul shots. Muhammad gave the Bucks a presence off the dribble to help make up for the absence of the free-wheeling Antetokounmpo.

“Shabazz played a (great) game all night long, played in attack mode … got to his strengths in the paint,” forward Khris Middleton said.

The Bucks led comfortably the rest of the way to close out the regular season at the Bradley Center. A new arena is scheduled to open in the fall on an adjacent lot in downtown Milwaukee.

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Male Cheerleaders Joining the Los Angeles Rams’ Squad Make NFL History

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Two men, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, will be making history as the first male dance cheerleaders in the NFL as members of the Los Angeles Rams’ squad.

I thought,’Why not me Why can’t I do this’ And called my friend and I asked her when auditions were for the Rams and she told me Sunday (March 11) and I showed up, Peron told Good Morning America in an interview after the announcement.

If you don’t make changes to make it safer, we’re going to do away with it. It’s that serious, Murphy said of what the message to the collection of coaches and coordinators would be. It’s by far the most dangerous play in the game.

It seems highly unlikely a change would occur in time for the 2018 season — they’re not there yet, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said Wednesday on Up To The Minute Live. But in looking further down the road, it’s not difficult to imagine a game that simply switches possession by placing the ball on a team’s own 25.

The most important indicator that this is more possible than one might have expected: Concussions are even happening on kicks that aren’t returned.

When you’re a playoff team, you’re trying to eliminate all the distractions that you can. And we’re going to be a playoff team and we’re going to have these issues, Ballard said. It becomes a slippery slope. We have rules in place for a reason. I think they’re good rules. It gives you a chance to interview and then, after the season, whatever happens, happens. In our case, he changed his mind and we moved on.

According to Holder, the rule proposal never underwent a vote. Instead, it was simply tabled, which means we don’t know which way the Colts would’ve voted. But based on the way Ballard is talking, it certainly sounds like they would’ve voted against it if it were entirely up to him.

What if you hire a guy and he’s halfway in Ballard said. Even though it was painful, and everybody reacted, I kind of didn’t see what the big deal was. You move to the next scenario. That’s just what we do. People are so scared of the unknown. I say just keep moving forward. What if a guy signs a contract and then, two weeks later, has second thoughts What are you going to do What are the legal ramifications nike_broncos_1479-500x500

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Raiders Sign CB Leon Hall

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The Raiders have signed veteran cornerback Leon Hall. Agent Doug Hendrickson announced the agreement on Twitter and the team confirmed the news moments later via press release.

Lamar’s really fast, Alexander said. I don’t know if he’d have beat my time … He’d have been.01, he’d be right there. But he’s really fast, he’s really quick. It’d have been a good one.

It will have to wait until another day.

At the time of the incident, a protective order was issued to prevent Smith from having any contact with his accuser… which he allegedly violated before turning himself in last Friday.

Jackson told ESPN that he hoped to show teams that he could make every throw from under center, and co-offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway expressed optimism about Jackson’s ability.

You can cut his film and see him run, Galloway said. The thing for him was just to come out and show people that he could get the ball from under the center and his footwork was good, his three-step, five-step, seven-step drops, and deliver the ball.

Jackson told ESPN: No matter what you do in life, there’s going to always be naysayers.

If I was worried too much about it, I’d be worried about the wrong things. But I do use some of it as motivation. I can listen to all the people patting me on the back, or I can listen to the people saying I need to get better. I know I need to get better, or else there would be nobody saying that.

The 22-year-old Texas native has competed with Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) and Josh Allen (Wyoming) during the draft process as part of a loaded quarterback class.

He should come off the board in Round 1 when the draft takes place starting April 26 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He could even land inside the top five if teams move up in search of their signal-callers of the future.patriots_094-223x223

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New England has to have some urgency when it comes to managing the depth at the quarterback position.

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The Jets got rid of Muhammad Wilkerson but let Suh use them as his safety school, and they traded up from sixth to third in the draft after identifying six or seven players they liked in this year’s class. (Think about it…) They aren’t so much playing low-risk football as they are chasing their tails like a golden retriever at a fireworks display, so let’s leave them out of this.

While many teams are eager to build locker rooms where everyone can harmoniously hope for a wild-card berth, teams aside from the Rams have figured out that big rewards require real risks.

Even with Brady on top of his game, the Patriots have not shied away from investing capital in a quarterback throughout the years: In 2014, the team selected Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round; in 2008, 2011 and 2016, it used third-round picks to bring Kevin O’Connell, Ryan Mallett and Jacoby Brissett on board. All this shows that New England is well aware of the fragility of the most important position on the field. Part of why the networks pay us the funding they do, Kraft said at the owners meetings this week. and the reason this is the best entertainment product in America, is you don’t know – one play can change a whole season. One play with one person. To do a good job managing an NFL franchise, we’ve always said understanding quality depth management, that’s our business. With the end nearing for the greatest quarterback to ever step on the gridiron, New England has to have some urgency when it comes to managing the depth at the quarterback position.

A handful of international athletes who would like to see if they have what it takes to make it in the NFL went to Tampa to work out in front of scouts last weekend, and one athlete stood out: Jordan Mailata. Mailata is a 20-year-old, 6-foot-8, 346-pound Samoan rugby player who currently competes for a team in Sydney, Australia, and he showed that he has the natural athleticism to play at the NFL level.patriots_147-223x223

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Darren Fells, the third part of the rotation, reportedly agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday.

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It’s not ideal, Tobin said at the Annual League Meeting this week, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. The situation he has put us in is not ideal. We are a player-oriented business. Players that can make a difference are important and we recognize that. The more he’s not available to us the more it hurts us.

Unless it’s reduced or overturned on appeal, Burfict will miss the first four games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. It’s the third suspension of Burfict’s career. If the punishment sticks, the seventh-year defender will have missed a total of 10 games due to suspension while playing in 36 of a possible 64 regular-season tilts since 2014.

It’s not ideal when a guy is not available to us and we recognize that, but our over-riding thought is how to field the best football team we can possibly field.

Unless it becomes a decision rooted in finances, Burfict’s place on the Bengals doesn’t appear to be in danger based on what Tobin and Lewis are saying. Whether his tenure with the team can survive another suspension beyond the one slated for September remains to be seen.

Ebron’s departure leaves the Lions short-staffed at tight end. Michael Roberts, the second-year pro out of Toledo, is the only player on the roster who saw meaningful snaps last season. As a rookie, he was primarily asked to focus on blocking and finished the year with four receptions.

And a thin market has already seen some of the top options reach agreements. Jimmy Graham is headed to Green Bay for a three-year contract, and Trey Burton, who many speculated would draw interest from the Lions if they moved on from Ebron, agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears.jets_053

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