It can take years to coax a wing player into sliding up a position, and transforming into a power forward. Ask the Cavs. Even now, in this small-ball era, the shift takes a physical toll. Most guys won’t embrace it until they lose a step and can’t quite scamper with wing players anymore.
Barnes just shrugged and became a full-time power forward in Dallas. And with the Mavs now starting Dirk Nowitzki at center in a super-small (and super fun!) lineup, Barnes almost always takes the tougher frontcourt assignment — even if it’s a post behemoth like Karl-Anthony Towns.
That isn’t fun. It hurts. Barnes played a lot of small-ball power forward in Golden State, and famously guarded Zach Randolph in a playoff series. But doing it full time for six months is a different thing.
We’ve all praised Barnes for thriving in a high-usage role most people didn’t think he could handle. He hasn’t gotten enough credit for the sheer toughness of his new assignment on defense. He’s taking one for the team.
“I told him that 50-inch TV screen is where he’s at now,” she says. “He didn’t think like that. He does now.”
To help explain Bell’s maturation, Caper looks through the prism of five-hour “Call of Duty” sessions or trash-can basketball in the locker room. Bell has an affinity for games of any kind and always will. But since the suspensions, Caper said, Bell plays less of them in the figurative sense. Conversations with Bell have more purpose now. For example, Bell recently recommended that Caper watch the documentary “Hungry for Change” about how the body processes food. The movie helped inspire Bell’s steady diet of grass-fed meats, egg whites, bananas and grapes.
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Teams submit a list of players they are interested in, and which round of the draft they’d like to select that player in, with the players ultimately going to the team that submits the highest bid. When a team is awarded a player, they then forfeit the corresponding pick for that round in the following year’s actual NFL Draft. The last player taken in the supplemental draft was Josh Gordon in 2012, and the Cleveland Browns lost a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft for selecting Gordon in the second round of that year’s supplemental draft.
Kids Frederik Andersen Jersey There is no event held around the supplemental draft, as it happens behind closed doors. Any one of the seven players actually getting selected this year isn’t a given by any means, with Battle being the most likely by far. If any player is selected, the NFL will provide a release with the news. The supplemental draft does have an official start time of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, however, so look for news around that time.
With Hardy’s suspension now reduced to four games, his first action in a Cowboys uniform should come against the New England Patriots in Week 5. He was originally scheduled to return for a Thanksgiving Day tilt with his former team, the Carolina Panthers.
Hardy signed a one-year, bonus-laden deal with the Cowboys prior to his suspension, which was worth up to $13.116 million. However, the contract features a minimum base salary and is built around incentives and per-game roster bonuses, so the four-game suspension will severely cut into his bottom line, although it isn’t as bad as the 10-game suspension he was originally slated to receive.
Previously, Hardy played his final season with the Panthers under the franchise tag, which netted him about $12 million in 2014 even though he played in just one game.
For his career, Hardy has amassed 142 tackles, 34 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He has also batted away 15 passes.
The Celtics rank 20th in the league while allowing 105.8 points per 100 possessions. This is a somewhat unfathomable number for a team that was nearly five full points better a year ago. The team’s offensive explosion can absolutely be blamed a bit here. Boston’s offense was so inconsistent a year ago that the defense had to force stops in order to keep the Celtics in games.
This season, Boston has been content to trade baskets then watch Thomas go into fourth-quarter takeover mode and help his team sneak out with a win. That all but a small handful of Boston’s 25 victories have been nail-biters only confirms that Boston hasn’t operated with the sort of defensive intensity that could have turned more of those wins into laughers.
The good news for the Celtics? Defensive rating isn’t the only measure of a team’s overall success. The Cleveland Cavaliers are less than a half-point better than Boston in defensive rating this season and rank 14th overall. The defending champ Cavaliers sit seventh in net rating (plus-3.6) and that’s just one spot ahead of Boston (plus-2.9). Not everyone can be the Golden State Warriors, who rank second in offensive rating and first on the defensive side.
Elite Youth Klay Thompson Jersey The Celtics talk a lot about playing on a string and sticking to their principles. The middle part of the season is a reminder that this team can be a very good defense when they commit. Regardless of their offensive success, Boston has to find a way to get back to playing more consistent defense, if only so the team doesn’t have to fight to close out games as much as it has in has lately.
Elite Youth Michael Harris Jersey “We¡¯ve been good at times in games but not as good as we need to be ultimately,” Stevens said. “We’re guarding at a high level about half [of games]. And we¡¯re going to have to be a lot better than that if we want to be a good team.”
Karl Joseph Kids Jersey Right from the start, it was going to be tough for the Seahawks and Texans to come away with road victories on Saturday.
Seattle was a 6.5-point underdog by kickoff in Atlanta, while Houston came in at a staggering plus-17, the second-largest spread for a playoff game since 1978. Both teams were competitive, but neither really came close to winning. The Seahawks gave up 19 points in the second quarter en route to a 36-20 loss, while the Texans were within eight points in the fourth before collapsing and losing 34-16.
Both teams left big plays on the field. The Seahawks had a long Devin Hester punt return called back for a holding penalty at the line of scrimmage (an 88-yard penalty based on where they would have had the ball vs. where they ended up) which led to a safety. The Texans had a rare dime from Brock Osweiler fall through Will Fuller’s hands in the end zone, costing them a touchdown. Those were frustrating missed opportunities.
Kevin Love Kids Jersey Still, Gunter is far from a finished product. He struggled big-time in the Week 6 game against the Cowboys, and Bryant did not even suit up that day at Lambeau Field. On back-to-back plays in the second quarter, Gunter fell down on a 42-yard deep ball to Terrance Williams and allowed Brice Butler to blow past him for a 20-yard touchdown. Later, Cole Beasley caught a 4-yard touchdown against Gunter, one of Beasley’s two touchdown receptions that afternoon.
Since then, however, coaches and players alike have seen significant improvements from Gunter.
“He’s a physical guy, and I think that with the coaching that he’s getting that’s allowing him to really reach more of his capabilities as a corner,” said Packers receiver Davante Adams, who regularly faces Gunter in practice.
“Patience,” Adams said. “He came in real raw, just trying to play ball. Now he’s learning more technique and [cornerbacks coach] Joe [Whitt] has really changed up the way he approaches going against different guys. I think he was kind of just playing however he wanted to; now he kind of goes based on what will work best against each guy.”
Andre Johnson, Indianapolis Colts
It’s true that Johnson will be playing 2015 with far and away the best quarterback he’s ever been paired with, as Andrew Luck makes the Matt Schaub coalition look sad by comparison. It’s also true, however, that Johnson is 34 and has never reached double-digit touchdowns in a season. He hasn’t had more than five scores in a year since 2010.
On top of that, he’s going to be playing this season in what looks like a tremendous offense, with T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter also at wide receiver, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener at tight end, and Frank Gore and others at running back. An aging wide receiver who isn’t guaranteed the lion’s share of the targets isn’t a great guy to rely on in your fantasy lineup.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings
Right or wrong, Adrian Peterson and Charles Johnson are two of this preseason’s fantasy darlings. Kyle Rudolph was that last year, until he got hurt for all time, which sure, is one of the things you have to watch for with him, but there is skill there. The Vikings also have Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata at running back, and Mike Wallace and Jarius Wright at wide receiver. Heck, maybe Cordarrelle Patterson still exists. As for Bridgewater, it took injuries for Minnesota to install him as its starter last year, but once he was there he was very good, showing flashes of possibly more. A second-year leap into the position’s top 10 is totally on the table for Bridgewater.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets
The Jets were insistent that Geno Smith will begin the season as the starting quarterback. That was never going to be the right move, as, to me, Fitzpatrick is clearly the superior guy. So, callous as it may be, for the Jets and for fantasy players, that broken jaw might have been the best thing that could have happened. At 33 years old in November, Fitzpatrick isn’t the answer either, but he’s the kind of quarterback who won’t kill you while you look for something else.
The last time the Patriots spent a year consumed by scandal, the only obstacle that prevented them from completing an undefeated season was a miraculous David Tyree catch. While Spygate accusations swirled, the Patriots walloped opponents in 2007. But this time around, on the heels of the eight-month DeflateGate saga, the results might be different.
On top of sheer motivation, the Patriots added superstars Randy Moss and Wes Welker to their offense in ’07. The two wideouts clicked with Tom Brady instantaneously, and the Pats had what was then the most prolific offense in league history. But this offseason, the Patriots didn’t add that kind of talent to their roster. The team that will take the field Thursday night against the Steelers at Gillette Stadium is worse on paper than the one that left Glendale, Ariz., at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLIX.
John Elway drops back to pass during the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 11, 1987, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
But Winder went over left tackle for 3 yards, and the Broncos were on their way. Elway ran for 11 yards, then hit passes for 22 and 12 yards before he had his first incompletion of the drive. Elway then took a sack for an 8-yard loss, and the Broncos were in a third-and-18 at the Brownsâ€™ 40-yard line with 1:47 to play.
Elite Mens Mika Zibanejad Jersey Elway converted with a 20-yard pass to Mark Jackson, hit Steve Sewell for 14 yards two plays later and rushed for 9 more yards two plays after that. And on third-and-1 from the Brownsâ€™ 5-yard line, Elway threw low to hit Jackson for the touchdown that tied the game at 20-20 with 37 seconds to play in regulation.
Elite Mens Robert Golden Jersey What followed in overtime has always been lost in the jet wash of that 98-yard drive. But the Broncos forced the Browns to punt on their first possession of overtime, and the Broncos then put together a nine-play, 60-yard drive that put Rich Karlis in position for a 33-yard field goal to win the game.
Four teams are on bye in Week 5, including the undefeated Carolina Panthers and recently disastrous Miami Dolphins, but that still leaves 14 games to be played.
The first of those games came on Thursday night, when flu-ridden Matt Hasselbeck led the Indianapolis Colts to a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans that improved the Colts to 3-2 and was an NFL-record 16th straight victory over divisional opponents.
The last team with a point differential of 100-plus through five games were the 2007 Patriots, who, as you remember, were completely dominant for the first five weeks with a +117 point differential and that success carried all the way through the season. That team went 16-0 in the regular season before losing in the Super Bowl, and while I’m not comparing this Cardinals team to that Tom Brady-Wes Welker-Randy Moss triumvirate, it does put this Arizona start into some perspective.
Authentic Kids Kareem Martin Jersey The Cardinals are doing it with big names like Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Chris Johnson, but also with guys like John Brown, and David Johnson. Arizona may not have Brady, Welker, and Moss, but their 190 points is 7th most through a team’s first five games in NFL history.
The scary part? Their defense — which forced five turnovers today — is really good too. Their special teams isn’t chopped liver. Watch out for this Cardinals team.
Authentic Kids Kevin Pamphile Jersey Vick completed 19 of 26 passes against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 with a touchdown and no interceptions. However, he tallied only 124 passing yards, leading to just 263 yards of total offense for the Steelers.
Thomas Vanek Authentic Jersey You¡¯d understand if Cameron Wake grabbed a mic every now and then, solely to remind NFL executives of all the big mistakes they made regarding him. The running total is 81.5. As in the number of sacks Wake has racked up despite being undrafted out of college, being cut quickly from his first team, being ignored by the rest of the league and ultimately needing to shine in another country before finally getting an opportunity to prove what he knew all along: That he can roll with the best of ¡¯em. But the Miami defensive end doesn¡¯t have time to hold grudges.
Game Womens Torry Holt Jersey He¡¯s not about looking backward. That¡¯s for losers. Wake¡¯s definitely a winner. Besides, there¡¯s too much work to do. For the first time in Wake¡¯s career, Miami is in the playoffs. And as they did throughout their surprising regular season, the Dolphins will rely on Wake to anchor their defense Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC wild-card round at Heinz Field. Fortunately for the Dolphins, Wake has proven he¡¯s the right dude for the job.
Few people in NFL history have been knocked down as much as Wake was before he even had a foothold in the league. Long ago, the so-called experts determined he didn¡¯t belong. Yet, here he still is, a perennial Pro Bowler showing the doubters what it truly means to be undefeated.
Wake has been an inspiration to his team because of how hard he worked to establish himself as an NFL baller, and the determination he showed in making it all the way back after suffering a serious injury, one that has either ended or irreparably damaged the careers of many cats much younger than him. Wake simply keeps on going.
The CFL had never had a better rookie defensive player. Not only did Wake produce a league-high 16 sacks, he became the first player in CFL history to be selected the Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. His encore was even better. In 2008, Wake led the CFL with 23 sacks and again was chosen as the league¡¯s top defensive player.
Finally, the NFL took off the blinders. A whole bunch of teams expressed interest in Wake, who signed with the Dolphins. Immediately, he made an impact, totaling 5? sacks in 2009.
In a scary moment during the third quarter of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, Packers cornerback Quinten Rollins sustained a neck injury. He was immobilized on a backboard, carted from the field, and taken immediately to a local hospital for evaluation.
During the fourth quarter of the game, the Packers shared a promising update on Rollins¡¯ status.
Game Womens Shawn Thornton Jersey CB Quinten Rollins is conscious with movement & is being further evaluated at a local hospital.
Canada tied the game, 1-1, almost four minutes into the second period. Blake Speers tipped home a centering feed from Mitchell Stephens after the Czechs turned the puck over in their own zone.
Stephens then gave Canada their first lead of the night four minutes later on a shot right off the face off that beat a surprised Jakub Skarek.
The back and forth continued, however, as the Czechs tied the score at 2-2 with a goal a minute later. Tomas Soustal toe-dragged around a sliding Canadian defender and put one past Ingram low glove side for the equalizer.
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The Rockets¡¯ main star may be a one-man band, but his teammates have certainly held their weight ¡ª likely exactly how Houston¡¯s GM envisioned when he added pieces (Anderson, Gordon, Nene) to the roster over the summer.
Pittsburgh (8-5), now having knocked Dalton out, might think it can still win the AFC North. Pittsburgh knows it must keep winning to keep wild-card playoff hopes alive.
The Steelers during warm-ups here described the atmosphere as “spicy.” The push and shove and mouthing during the game they described as “chippy.” By game’s end the Steelers had managed it all, like they usually do here. They are 14-3 in this stadium.
“That game was grimy,” said Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier. “But that’s how we like to play.”
In their last eight games played in the month of January, Washington is 1-7 SU and 2-5-1 ATS per the OddsShark NFL Database.
Betting Line / Total: Washington -7 / 44.5 Points
Trend: The Giants are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against Washington.
Trend: The total has gone UNDER in five of the Giants’ last six games on the road.
New York has nothing to gain in the standings in this game with the fifth seed locked in regardless of what happens around the league on Sunday. With that in mind, it is hard to gauge how much head coach Ben McAdoo will use or rest his players, but he has indicated publicly that he plans to play his starters. The Giants are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS over their last 10 games but just 1-9 SU in their last 10 road games against teams with winning records.
Sunday’s total is set at 44.5 points. The UNDER is 7-3 in the last 10 games between these two division rivals.
Being the team with more motivation should favor Washington, but it doesn’t always work out that way as it is sometimes the team with nothing to lose that plays better with less pressure. If the Giants do play their starters, it will be an interesting matchup to see one of the league’s best scoring defenses face off against one of the NFL’s top offenses.