The Pittsburgh Penguins have quite a predicament on their hands. As the reigning Stanley Cup champions, you expect they¡¯re going to ice their best team in order to repeat as the NHL¡¯s best. The problem? The Penguins have two very competent goaltenders in Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray, and the NHL has an expansion draft coming up in a little less than five months.
Also on the horizon? The NHL trade deadline at the start of March. So, it¡¯s no surprise rumblings are starting to come out of Pittsburgh as to what the Penguins¡¯ management is going to do to remedy their situation.
Kids Earl Thomas III Jersey Late last week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article with some insightful quotes from Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. Emphasis, obviously, is ours:
Kids Chuck Foreman Jersey Rutherford reiterated the idea that the Penguins¡¯ two-goalie rotation with Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury ¡°doesn¡¯t work ideally¡± when both are healthy.
So far this season, both have dealt with injuries and the other has generally played well when forced into extended duty. But when both goalies are available, Rutherford realizes both Fleury and Murray ¡ª rightly ¡ª see themselves as No. 1 goalies, and want to be in the net.
Also getting a read on the situation was ESPN¡¯s Pierre LeBrun, who had his own conversation with Rutherford and came away with a similar deduction.
Fleury has a no-move clause, but I think it’s clear he would welcome a trade to a good situation. The question is whether a market opens up before March 1. Will teams like the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets or Calgary Flames decide they need to trade for a goalie?
On Thursday, the NFL world got its first look at Rex Ryan’s pickup truck with a custom Buffalo Bills paint job. It says a lot about the coach who will go to those lengths for his team and the fans. It also left us wondering what kind of cars the other 31 NFL head coaches drive.
Hardy will become an unrestricted free agent in March. If given a two-game suspension, he should have a much easier time getting signed this offseason than if forced to sit six games.
Hardy was arrested last May for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. He was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge two months later. Details from the incident allegedly involved Hardy throwing his ex-girlfriend on a bed covered with guns and threatening her life. The case was dismissed after she failed to appear in court. She and Hardy reportedly finalized a settlement afterward.
Of course, with Quinn now in Atlanta, we can go ahead and assume he’ll start looking for the Seattle-style bigger corners, and he may start looking for his Earl Thomas, or Kam Chancellor at safety. He’ll be looking for speed at linebacker, and multiplicity on the defensive line.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons will be changing things up as well. They’ll be running Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme, so needs and prototypes on the offensive line and at running back change somewhat.
“My first impression of him is that you can feel the quickness,” Quinn said of Devonta Freeman. “In our outside-zone-system, I feel like this is tailor-made for a guy who can really explode off the edge.”
Almost from the beginning, Jones challenged the NFL establishment in its business dealings, first with television negotiations and later with marketing deals. He has helped turn the NFL into one of the most profitable ventures in the world. Forbes named the Cowboys the most valuable sports franchise in the world at more than $4 billion.
But Jones said he didn’t purchase the Cowboys because of a potential profit. The team was losing $1 million a month when he bought it. He purchased the team to be part of an exclusive club.
“I live a life where it is just absolutely a high relative to do what I do and being with the Cowboys,” Jones said in a conference room near his second-story office at The Star, the team’s new practice facility in Frisco, Texas. “It hardly seems fair to also get to sit here and maybe get a pat on the back through the Hall of Fame because I have such respect. I know as well as anybody that has ever been a fan of this game, I know the caliber of people that are in the Hall of Fame.”
The journey has not been without controversy. He fired the only coach the Cowboys had ever known at the time, Tom Landry, and some fans have never forgiven him. When Jones and Jimmy Johnson could no longer coexist, the coach departed amid a budding dynasty after winning Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII (two years after Johnson left, Dallas would win Super Bowl XXX). Jones has maintained final say over the football operations despite a Super Bowl drought that has stretched 21 seasons.
The closest to a questionable call (or non-call) I could find, as you can see in the posts below, was a failure to recognize a late hit out of bounds in the first quarter.
But the crew nailed the night’s three most difficult calls:
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Game Womens Teddy Bridgewater Jersey A 27-yard reception by Falcons receiver Julio Jones, who somehow managed to get both feet in bounds near the sideline in the fourth quarter.
Not everyone in the NFL is in Houston for the Super Bowl this week (though it can feel that way). Only two teams are still playing, which means 30 are at home, disappointed. But that doesn’t mean nothing went right for them this season.
While the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are well represented in our end-of-season awards, there are enough names here from non-Super Bowl teams to remind you of some of the brilliant performances from the 2016 season.
Elite Womens Willie Green Jersey Here are ESPN’s picks for this season’s awards, including Offensive Player of the Year and more. Official winners will be announced on Saturday at NFL Honors, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
Youth Brayden Schenn Jersey Methodology: We tabbed the panel of 13 experts who voted in our weekly MVP poll during the regular season. Each nominated their top three candidates for the six awards included. First-place votes are worth three points, second-place votes worth two and third-place votes worth one. Only regular-season performances were considered.
On this day, though, he was wearing a nice dress shirt, pressed and cut, striped aqua and purple, one button undone. Business casual, in other words. He cleaned up well. He has given thousands of news conferences in his career. He has explained Super Bowl wins and Super Bowl losses, accolades and scandals, the precious life of his grandchild and the horrific death of a man at the hands of one of his former players.
But this news conference was exceptional — not because he felt forced to explain a letter he wrote to Donald Trump, though that’s what made the headlines. It was exceptional because for a man whose essence is rooted in not giving a hell about how he looks, Bill Belichick not only now did … but he has for quite some time, even at the expense of his signature piece of clothing.
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Former Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Trevor Siemian’s main goal this offseason should be to be more cognizant of avoiding hits.
Asked if Lynch would have an advantage over the long term because of his first-round draft status, Kubiak said he believed Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway and coach Vance Joseph’s staff would make the call based on performance.
“John’s going to play the best player, and the staff is going to play the best player, and they’re both very capable of doing the job for what is a really good football team,” Kubiak said. “I think it will play out. I think it will be really competitive.”
Siemian started 14 games in 2016 but was battered at times. He missed one start with a left shoulder injury and another with a left foot injury. He had surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder shortly after the season but expects to be ready for the offseason program.
Albert McClellan Jersey Siemian finished with 3,401 yards passing, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His high points were a 312-yard, four-touchdown day against the Cincinnati Bengals and a 368-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kubiak said Siemian’s main goal this offseason should be to get stronger and be more cognizant of avoiding hits.
â€œSo Iâ€™ve taken a moment and just realized everything Iâ€™ve been through. Weâ€™ve all been through something different to get here. Appreciate that, and it makes it even more special.
Even if the process is opaque and inconsistent, on the whole, Tomlin is more aggressive than a typical coach in a way that plays to his team’s strengths. He should stay that course on Sunday.
It would be wise for the Steelers to get aggressive with their two-point decisions in the hopes of creating an advantage against the Patriots. As the underdogs, they will have to take risks to try to win. It’s better to take that risk on a play worth two points with all of your offensive weapons on the field than it is on a fake punt or field goal.
The one other concern with Tomlin is that he may get carried away with challenges, although that’s less of a concern under the league’s modern rules. He made a terrible mistake with challenges earlier in his career during a playoff game against the Ravens in 2010.
Tomlin challenged a bad spot on the Ravens’ return of the opening kickoff, and while he was right, the ball moved only from the Baltimore 49-yard line to its 35-yard line. It was a modest gain with 56 minutes of time to challenge left. Later in the first quarter, the Ravens recovered a Ben Roethlisberger fumble for a touchdown on a close play Tomlin had to challenge. He lost and was then out of challenges with three quarters to go.
Bill Belichick has four Super Bowl titles and is 24-10 in the playoffs since joining the Patriots in 2000.
Belichick, meanwhile, is just about the gold standard of NFL coaches in terms of decision-making, with only John Harbaugh of the Ravens looming as an obviously more aggressive coach. Belichick obviously has a strong weapon in Tom Brady and his ability to convert on fourth-and-short, either with concise passing or with one of Brady’s many successful sneaks. The future Hall of Famer is now 107-for-119 (90.0 percent) trying to convert on third or fourth down with 2 yards or less to go with his legs.
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated after a fireworks accident on the Fourth of July, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Pierre-Paul was previously reported to have burns on his palms and three fingers, and nerve damage to one finger. Initial reports said that injury was so severe Pierre-Paul could lose his hand, but that was quickly contradicted by ESPN.
Pierre-Paul also has right thumb fractures and has undergone multiple surgeries, per Ed Werder of ESPN. Pierre-Paul is expected to remain hospitalized for two to three more days, per Werder, with the injuries expected to heal in six weeks.
I’m optimistic that Houston will be a very productive player for the Chiefs for a long time. He doesn’t strike me as the guy who takes the money and runs.
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Brad Daugherty Mens Jersey “Right now the season is right here so I’m focused on football right now,” Houston said when asked how he plans on spending his money “I’ll think about that maybe during the offseason.”
Here are a few other things Houston had to say during his press conference:
On whether it was important for him to get more than JJ Watt’s contract: “That’s up to my agent. I just made sure I took care of everything I needed to do on the field.”
Would he have shown up for training camp if he didn’t have a deal? “Probably not … I’m not sure [how long I would’ve held out].”
The Chiefs told him at the end of the season to be patient and that a deal would be done. And they were right.
“I want to be known as one of the best to ever play the game. That’s my motivation.”
The Bills will release Tyrod Taylor. This isn’t a bold prediction, because it has been anticipated for weeks, but it is a move that will shape Buffalo’s immediate future. Taylor finished the regular season with the league’s ninth-best Total QBR (68.3), but ranked 19th in completion percentage, 21st in yards per attempt and 18th in passer rating while allowing the second-worst sack rate. There are signs the Bills don’t believe Taylor is getting better after 29 starts and that he might never be good enough to lead them to playoff appearances and wins. If they release him, it means they don’t want to commit the $30.75 million and risk building around a foundation that is not strong enough to support a contender. — Mike Rodak
“It’s very big,” Leonard said of Dedmon’s impact in the second half. “He’s guarding Karl Towns out there, great post player, and once you can bring energy to a player like that, it just boosts everybody from on our bench as well as on the floor.”
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Speaking of the bench, the Spurs improved their depth this offseason while adding athleticism with Dedmon and David Lee to play alongside an athletic Jonathon Simmons on the second unit; a move that should serve San Antonio well during the second half of the season.
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So if overall cohesion continues into development, the expectation is consistency will follow.
“I think the first half [against the Timberwolves] was just one of those weird ones,” point guard Tony Parker said. “We just have to keep playing, getting better, and for whatever reason at home, we have to fix that first-half thing.”
Perhaps something similar could be said about the second half of the season for the Spurs.
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One of the few players ever to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season has found a new home for the 2015 NFL season. Chris Johnson has agreed to terms with the Arizona Cardinals, according to Jay Glazer. It will be a one-year deal, according to Glazer. Ed Werder of ESPN reports that the deal could be worth up to $2 million with incentives.
Johnson, 29, took a physical with the club Sunday. He had been sitting on the free agent market since the end of his 2014 season with the New York Jets. He should serve as veteran insurance to a young stable of running backs that includes Andre Ellington (2013 NFL Draft class), Stepfan Taylor (2013) and David Johnson (2015).
Johnson began his career with the Tennessee Titans in 2008, quickly establishing himself as one of the most explosive tailbacks in the league. During his second season, he joined the 2,000-yard club with an impressive 5.6 yards per carry average and 16 total touchdowns. Johnson never approached those levels of production again, but still managed over 1,000 yards on the ground during each of his six seasons in Tennessee.
At the time, the Packers were 4-6, and after four consecutive losses, they knew the bleak history of their position. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three teams in the past 38 years had made it down the path Rodgers described: flipping a losing record after 10 games into six consecutive victories and a playoff berth.
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And lo, the Packers got there — and then some. They won their final six regular-season games, won the NFC North and are now one victory away from appearing in Super Bowl LI. In all, they have won eight consecutive games, the most recent a thrilling 34-31 victory to eliminate the NFC’s top-seeded Dallas Cowboys in the divisional playoff round.
Whether he meant it as a guarantee or simply a show of confidence, his seven-word declaration could soon go down as one of the most memorable predictive quotes in NFL lore.
Cam Newton, Panthers
Over the final eight weeks of last season, the only quarterback who averaged more fantasy points per game than Newton was Aaron Rodgers. If you limit that to seven weeks, Newton finishes at the top of the heap. Yes, that was largely on the back of a 35-point Week 14, and he missed a game because of a car accident, but still, the Newton who struggled through the first half of last season wasn’t the Newton we got at the end of the year. A healthy (for now at least) Jonathan Stewart, a more experienced Kelvin Benjamin, adding Devin Funchess to the mix, and what should be a full season of health for Newton makes him a nice candidate to bounce back to his pre-2014 heights.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
As of now, it looks like Matt Cassel will start the season as the Bills’ quarterback. But there has been some question on that subject over the course of training camp, and that’s just incredible.
We’ve seen EJ Manuel throw passes; if the Bills weren’t sure Cassel could outperform him, then Cassel must have really been struggling. And if these are the best options the Bills have, then that doesn’t bode well for Watkins, who deserves better. He has all the talent in the world, but if he’s not paired with a quarterback who can get the ball to him, that talent will exist in a vacuum.
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
With eight touchdowns, Bryant scored on 30.8 percent of his catches last year, 16.7 percent of his targets. Literally the only receivers who scored on a higher rate of catches were Bruce Ellington (two catches on six catches) and T.J. Graham (one on three). Eric Weems, with two scores in 11 targets, is the only one who bettered Bryant’s percentage in that regard. No one with any significant number of targets, catches or scores last year came even close to Bryant’s success rate.