Monthly Archives: December 2016

Bills to be cautious with Tyrod Taylor, plan to start EJ Manuel in Week 17

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The Buffalo Bills are planning to bench Tyrod Taylor in their regular-season finale against the New York Jets and start EJ Manuel at quarterback, league sources have told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Rex Ryan lasted less than two seasons as head coach of the Bills, compiling a 15-16 record in 31 games with Buffalo.

The Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan and his brother, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, on Tuesday, less than three days after being eliminated from postseason contention with a 34-31 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Buffalo also named offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn as Ryan’s interim replacement for Week 17.

After Ryan made it publicly clear Monday that he intended to start Taylor in Week 17, the Bills management had a decision to make, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. Buffalo could allow Ryan to coach against the Jets for his “revenge game,” which was the original plan in recent weeks, or fire him to avoid the potential risk of an injury to Taylor.
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Ultimately, management felt it was wise to fire Ryan now, keeping Taylor off the field, because of the injury guarantees that would be owed to Taylor if he was hurt and could not pass a physical March 11 — the day when he’d be owed guarantees valued at $27.5 million.

The team also does not want to take any chances with Taylor’s health, especially after Oakland’s Derek Carr and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota suffered season-ending leg injuries in Week 16.

Giants vs. Vikings 2015 streaming: Time, TV schedule and how to watch ‘Sunday Night Football’ online

The Minnesota Vikings is fighting for a spot in the playoffs, while the New York Giants are already eliminated. The Vikings just need to win on Sunday to punch their ticket under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football and you can watch it live online here.

Odell Beckham Jr. will serve his one-game suspension for infractions in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers, which means the Giants will be without their top playmaker. Beckham is Eli Manning’s No. 1 target and he makes a massive difference when he’s on the field.

Limited Youth Robert Alford Jersey “What I’ve noticed is his sense of urgency this entire season,” said All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas, via Cleveland.com. “I think he understood that his rookie year was so abysmal and the level of commitment he showed in his rookie year was insufficient for an NFL quarterback.”

In nine games played this season, Manziel has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,364 yards and seven touchdowns. His best performance came in a 30-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which he completed 73 percent of his throws for 372 yards.

Limited Youth Tomas Hertl Jersey Though the Browns were eliminated from the playoffs long ago, these next two weeks will be the most pivotal of Manziel’s career to date. If he plays well, the starting quarterback job may be his next season. If he struggles, the 2014 first-round pick and former Heisman trophy winner could be on his way out.

Will Payton stick around for a rebuild, or does he take his talents to South Beach, as has been rumored most of the season? We may have our answer in just a few weeks when the coaching carousel starts spinning in earnest. With Jim Caldwell likely looking for a new job in three weeks, it’ll be interesting to see how the Lions get motivated for this final stretch of the season.

Coach David Fizdale: ‘Nobody wants to step up and lead this group’

Rookie head coach David Fizdale ripped the Memphis Grizzlies’ leadership Tuesday night after the team’s third consecutive loss.
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“Right now, I’m really down on our leadership,” Fizdale said without prompting after the Grizzlies blew a 17-point lead in their 112-109 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics. “Our huddles are like tombs right now. Nobody wants to step up and lead this group now during this tough time. I’m going to keep demanding it and see who’s going to rise to the challenge.”

Derrick Rose, who had 24 points, six assists and two blocks, said things were clicking for the Knicks against the Pacers on Tuesday. “Every night isn’t going to be like that,” he said, “but whenever it is, we’re pretty tough to beat.”

That his defensive rating of 108.8 is the worst among Celtics regulars is downright confounding, especially for a team that is improbably 18.1 points per 100 possessions better when Bradley is off the court. But that speaks to the defensive responsibilities the Celtics have thrown at Bradley, especially when often paired with the offensive-minded Thomas.

Womens Jamie Garcia Jersey In the past 50 years, the only Celtics guard to score more points in a regular-season game than Thomas was the man who traded for him, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Thomas finished 10-of-16 shooting overall while making 7 of 10 3-pointers and all 17 of his free throws. He added six assists over 38 minutes, 17 seconds and turned the ball over just once.

Demovsky also pointed out that Sunday¡¯s game at the Chicago Bears could be the coldest game ever played in Chicago

“We have two good backs,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “Matt¡¯s a good back as well. It was just Bilal¡¯s turn to shine, and he did. You wait and get opportunities. He shined. There¡¯s no reason he shouldn¡¯t play more. Matt was playing well at the same time. You try to split the time and try to split the reps up.”

Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers. ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovksy wrote a great piece this week about how injured Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy can¡¯t get past the idea that his primary replacement wears No. 88 — since Montgomery is a converted wide receiver — though Lacy appreciates what a good job Montgomery has done.

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers, ankle, (Q): Cobb injured his ankle in Week 14 and exited the game briefly although he did return. He did participate in daily practices on a limited basis and is expected to play, despite the questionable tag. As always, fantasy owners considering Cobb should verify his status before kickoff.

Amari Cooper, shoulder, and Michael Crabtree, finger, Oakland Raiders, (Q): Crabtree aggravated his finger injury last week and told reporters after the game that he would be getting X-rays. The finger didn’t keep him out of practice, but he was only a limited participant throughout the week. The Raiders play San Diego this week in what will definitely be a warmer game than last week’s night game at Arrowhead.
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Authentic Charley Taylor Jersey That should offer at least a little bit better conditions for a sore finger. Cooper appears on the injury report because of his shoulder and was also a limited participant throughout the week. He too is expected to play. This game has a late kickoff (4:25 p.m. ET) so fantasy owners should have a backup plan in case either of these players is deemed inactive.

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers, back, (Q): Benjamin was listed on the practice injury report for a back injury, but it appears it will not keep him out of the Monday night game. After limited practice sessions Thursday and Friday, Benjamin was upgraded to full participation on Saturday. He is expected to play Monday night, but fantasy owners considering using him should have an emergency fill-in if he is a surprise inactive.

Ezekiel Elliott gets the nod for age 21, and Adam Vinatieri wins for age 44

On the field, Belichick told Vinatieri he was glad the Colts were going to the Super Bowl if the Patriots could not. “Go win this thing,” he told the kicker.

“I thought that was really cool,” Vinatieri says. Belichick’s Patriots would eliminate Vinatieri’s Colts after the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and Belichick would win a fourth ring of his own. The race is back on now. Each man burns for that one for his thumb.

‘Most competitive person I’ve ever met’

Adam Vinatieri is wearing a blue Colts cap and a shirt designed to show off the arms of a linebacker, not a kicker. He has just finished practice at the team facility under a restorative mid-November sun, and it’s clear that age has done nothing to temper his competitive rage.

Authentic Youth Khiry Robinson Jersey Kinchen bounced a Super Bowl snap that Walter successfully scooped on a punt, and he bounced another one that Walter fielded and put down for a Vinatieri extra point. Kinchen saw Vinatieri drop his chin and shake his head and thought about the earlier field goal miss and field goal block. “Adam screwed up,” Kinchen recalls, “because of me.”

Belichick moved quickly down the sideline and got all over his snapper. “Brian,” he said, “you do realize this is the Super Bowl? You do know you’re not doing the job we hired you to do?”

Ezekiel Elliott gets the nod for age 21, and Adam Vinatieri wins for age 44 — because he’s the only one. There are tough decisions elsewhere.

Justin Tucker’s streak of 30 straight made field goals is 14 short of the record, but the conditions he’s kicked in make his mark just as remarkable.
Authentic Youth Lawson Crouse Jersey Kinchen turned the second half into a personal prayer vigil that it wouldn’t come down to a field goal. Of course, it came down to a field goal. In the huddle during those closing moments, after Carolina called timeout, Kinchen thought about Bill Buckner and Trey Junkin, who was called out of retirement by the 2002 Giants before ending their season on a botched playoff snap in San Francisco.

the Panthers just drafted Kelvin Benjamin two years ago and Devin Funchess last year

Green Bay Packers: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
From a playing standpoint, Floyd is similar in many ways to Clay Matthews. He’s had success on the outside and inside, and Green Bay could do some unique things with him by pairing him with Matthews.

Kansas City Chiefs: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
If Derrick Johnson happens to retire, finding his replacement will be a priority for the Chiefs. Lee has played on the weak side for Ohio State, but he should be able to shift Mens Antti Niemi Jersey inside in the NFL.

Minnesota Vikings: Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor
Minnesota needs an upgrade on the offensive line, especially on the left side. Drango is an efficient and capable blocker who will be a very good guard at the least.

Oakland Raiders: Su’a Cravens, S/LB, Southern California
The Raiders will have Mens Peter Forsberg Jersey a lot of options on defense with this pick. A defensive lineman like A’Shawn Robinson would help up front, but a player like Cravens can really help the back seven. He’s a stellar coverage linebacker, and can legitimately play safety in the NFL. As a linebacker, though, he has excellent range and speed.

St. Louis Rams: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
This may be a bit dull since it’s a repeat of my last mock draft, but Treadwell is just too good at a position of need for the Rams. Adding him will lessen the burden on the Rams’ other receivers, and provide whoever is the team’s quarterback a legit No. 1 option.

Detroit Lions: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
If you truly subscribe to the notion of taking the best player available at a position of need, it’s Robinson over a player like Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin. Robinson is a force up front and the real linchpin of Alabama’s stellar defense. He’s just as capable of taking on multiple blockers as he is pushing the pocket and getting into the backfield.

Angels acquire SS Danny Espinosa from Nationals

The Los Angeles Angels acquired middle infielder Danny Espinosa from the Washington Nationals for two minor league pitchers Saturday night.

The Angels sent right-handers Adam Foote Kids Jersey Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin to the Nationals for Espinosa, who presumably lost his starting job when Washington obtained outfielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday — a move that means NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Trea Turner will go from from center field back to his natural position at shortstop.

The 29-year-old Espinosa hit .209 with a career-high 24 home runs and 72 RBIs as Washington’s starting shortstop last season, helping the team win the NL East. In seven major league seasons, all with the Nationals, the switch-hitter has batted .226 with 92 homers and 285 RBIs.

“The Cardinals have had $40 million come off the payroll and they are about to benefit from a $1.1 billion TV rights deal,” Goold writes. “They do not hide from their Juan Samuel Kids Jersey ability to spend. They could become more aggressive than previously believed.”

A source told Saxon the Cards’ deal for Fowler was for five years and $82.5 million. St. Louis also gave up the 19th overall pick in next year’s draft to sign its new center fielder.

With the Houston Astros and New York Yankees appearing to fall out of Encarnacion’s favor, the 33-year-old was reportedly in talks with the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers during the winter meetings. A return to the Toronto Blue Jays is also a possibility for the slugger.

The Baltimore Orioles have expressed interest in a reunion with Trumbo. The Colorado Rockies are also open to signing the 30-year-old, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Last month, ESPN’s Jim Bowden projected Trumbo to sign a four-year, $58 million deal and Encarnacion to agree to a five-year, $120 million contract.

Joe Thomas won’t be leaving the Browns while Hue Jackson is head coach

Since being drafted third overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, Joe Thomas has been the foundation from which the Cleveland Browns have built their roster. As long as Hue Jackson is the team’s head coach, he’ll stay that way.

Thomas has been the subject of trade deadline rumors each of the past three seasons as the Browns have spiraled further and further from relevance. On Wednesday, Jackson made it a point to say his All-Pro left tackle is committed to the team — and the team is committed to him.

The news came the same day ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill ran an in-depth profile of the stoic lineman, detailing his career amid the ruins of a once-proud NFL franchise. Thomas has seen only one winning season in his nine-plus seasons on Lake Erie. He’s never been to the playoffs, but he’s been selected to the Pro Bowl every year he’s been in the league. He looks like a lock to make it a 10th straight time, and he wants to use that talent to rebuild his Browns from the ground up.

Still, neither team could get much going. The Raiders added one field goal in the third quarter, and the Chiefs didn’t score at all after the second quarter.

Oakland was missing left guard Kelechi Osemele because of illness, and it showed. Derek Carr has rarely been pressured this season, but he was under siege by the Raiders, though Oakland landed only one sack.

Carr completed just 17 of 41 passes for 117 yards in the game. It was a historically bad performance for Carr, who joins only Jesse Palmer as the only quarterbacks since 1950 to gain fewer than 120 passing yards on more than 40 attempts. Palmer has Carr beat, but only slightly, after going 18 of 43 for 110 yards, two touchdowns and four picks for the Giants back in in 2003.

Rivera wonders if relocation talk affecting Chargers

The Carolina Panthers pride themselves on their next-man-up mentality, but there really is no next man up for middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Just ask San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

“It would be crazy for me not to say that they are different with him in there,” said Rivers, who faces the Panthers (4-8) on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. “I mean, you are talking about, to me, the best inside backer in the game.”

Kuechly has missed the past two games with a concussion, but he appears on track to return to face the Chargers (5-7). He was at practice on Thursday with a helmet for the second straight day, a sign he is progressing through the concussion protocol.

Good sign that Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (concussion) is back at practice with… https://t.co/U7Is12Reoj pic.twitter.com/KMHaKnVn9W

— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) December 8, 2016
While it probably won’t be known for sure until later in the week if the three-time Pro Bowler will get final clearance to play, Rivers is preparing as though Kuechly will play.

He said the combination of Kuechly and outside linebacker Thomas Davis is “as good as it gets.”

“I love the challenge of preparing for them and watching them on tape,” Rivers said. “So it’s definitely different, and that’s no disrespect to the other guys in there, 56 [A.J. Klein] in there at all.

Chiefs vs. Patriots 2016: Time, TV schedule and team news

Over the last four years, the New England Patriots have outscored opponents 164-91 in the Divisional round. It’s unlikely they’ll enjoy as lopsided a victory against the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday.

Make no mistake, it’s difficult to pick against Tom Brady in a playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Brady’s career postseason record at home is 14-3. But the Chiefs are the toughest possible opponent the Patriots could’ve drawn this weekend.

New England’s offense sputtered over the final six weeks of the season, only exceeding 30 points on one occasion — against the lowly Tennessee Titans. The Patriots are the only team in history in the merger era to finish the year 2-4 after starting 10-0.

But when this season opened, Thomas was there. He is always there. He has not missed a game in his six-year Seahawks career. Including playoffs, that is 107 consecutive Seattle starts.

Manning threw for 290 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. But he was sacked five times. “We had protection issues,” Manning said later.

The Colts and Chargers went back and forth all game, but the Colts took the lead with 10 minutes left on a Manning touchdown pass to Anthony Gonzalez. Everything seemed to be going Indy’s way and the Chargers even lost quarterback Philip Rivers to an injury. The Colts defense promptly let backup Billy Volek drive 80 yards for the go-ahead score and the Chargers hung on to win.

Manning threw for 402 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Wideout Marvin Harrison had a costly fumble deep in the red zone.

The Chargers knocked out Manning for the second straight year and once again, the Colts defense could not hold a fourth-quarter lead. The key play, though, was a missed block by a backup tight end that stopped the Colts from converting a third-and-2 and running out the clock up 17-14.

(I attended the game and still get pissed thinking about what jerks Chargers fans were; I wish they would move the team to Mongolia.)