David Johnson has waited a long time for Tuesday.
The Cardinals running back joined his teammates for the start of the offseason program, with doctors having fully cleared him to workout, Omar Ruiz of NFL Media reports. Johnson had not worked with his teammates since dislocating his left wrist in the season opener.
All of these old and/or expensive players can’t be replaced easily in the draft because the Rams have traded away so many picks: They sent their first-round pick to New England for Cooks, their second-round pick to Buffalo for Sammy Watkins, their fourth-round pick this year and second-round pick next year to Kansas City for Peters, their fifth-round pick to Denver for Talib and their seventh-round pick to Washington for Derek Carrier. The Rams have added some draft picks in trades as well, but those are late in the draft: The Rams’ first draft pick is 87th overall, and that’s their only pick in the Top 130.
So it’s fun to watch the Rams go all-in for 2018. But this whole thing could go south quickly. Adding players in the last years of their contracts and trading away high draft picks is a good way to fall off a cliff in 2019.
Also, remember this from Rosen, which also came in late December of 2017? “I’d rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher at the wrong team.” Those remarks came when it was far more clear that the Browns would be holding the pick that every player typically aspires to be: The first one. So it was, and still is, fair to interpret Rosen’s comments as another message regarding his lack of interest in playing for the Browns.
Considering the full range and scope of the developments in recent months, it’s definitely fair to conclude that Rosen: (1) doesn’t want to play for the Browns; and (2) wants to send that message more subtly, without having to make a “don’t draft me” power play. If the Browns don’t draft him, he gets what he wants. If they do draft him, Rosen then will need to consider whether to initiate the “trade me” ploy, or whether to just deal with the hand he’s been dealt.
Either way, it’s safe to assume Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns, but that he doesn’t want the public ridicule and criticism that would come if a guy who already is perceived to be a certain way acts precisely that way as it relates to the Browns or any other NFL team.
District judges shared some of the same concerns that Jones now has when hearing legal arguments from the Brady and Elliott camps. That led to those suspensions being temporarily placed on hold.
The Texans ralled for a 31-21 win over the Cardinals, but it was a costly victory with another season-ending injury (see below). The Buccaneers jumped out to a 20-7 lead over the Dolphins as Jay Cutler was picked three times in the first half before holding on for a 30-20 win.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews had a sack and quarterback hit before leaving Sunday’s game against the Ravens with a groin injury. The Packers were unable to generate much of a pass rush without Matthews and the Ravens rolled to a 23-0 win at Lambeau Field. The Packers also lost defensive tackle Kenny Clark with an ankle injury.
This is the same Jones who said he would bench any Cowboys player who did not stand for the national anthem in protest of racial injustice because it would be “disrespecting the flag” — even if there’s an argument to be made that a protesting Cowboy would actually be honoring the flag, and all the freedoms it’s supposed to represent, by making a stand for millions of oppressed and disenfranchised Americans with no public voice.
ESPN’s new “Countdown” producers Matthew Garrett and Chad Minutillo revamped everything from the set to the show’s opening sequence to the graphics. Instead of personalities gathering around a traditional TV desk, the show has a more open feel, with Ponder and Co. sitting on couches facing each other; hand-held cameras moving fluidly between the cast and NFL insiders Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Louis Riddick. ESPN also extended the show to three hours from two hours.
TV insiders point to multiple reasons for the downturn of “Countdown.” TV viewing is down across the board, and sports are not immune. Some old-school viewers clearly miss the gravitas of Berman, Jackson and other former cast members.
By Monday afternoon, the Georgia Dome will be reduced to rubble.
Big things expected: Based on their early season success, the Celtics currently project at 61.5 wins in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index. That’s more than five wins better than their closest East rival. Following Monday’s action, BPI pegged Boston with a 76 percent chance to get back to the East finals and a 53.2 percent chance at making the NBA Finals. In fact, BPI offered a 39.4 percent chance at a Celtics-Warriors championship matchup.
Yes, that Jon Kitna, who played for four different teams during a 14-year career, struggling some years (he led the league in interceptions one year) and looking great at other times. The 2006 season was one of those good years. According to FootballPerspective.com, Kitna accounted for 81.8 percent of the Lions’ offense that year to set the record.
The rest of the all-time top 10 in this obscure-yet-remarkable category is mostly comprised of recent stars or all-time greats, including Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan (two different seasons) and Tony Romo. Matthew Stafford is second all-time, compiling 80.4 percent of the Lions’ offense last season. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (2015, 80.3 percent) is third.
Given the Seahawks’ lack of a rushing attack outside Wilson this season, Kitna’s record is certainly within reach.
When it comes to hockey, we have plenty for which to be thankful. So we asked a collection of NHL players, hockey personalities and the puckheads here at ESPN for the hockey-centric things that warm their hearts, whether it’s something about the sport in general, this season in the league or memories from yesteryear.
In his best effort of the season, Ferland also had a game-high five shots and a game-high seven hits.
“That’s a huge loss for us. At least we have to take one point today, but we didn’t,” Evgeny Kuznetsov said.
Calgary took a 1-0 lead into the third before Washington tied it at 4:19 after TJ Brodie’s outlet pass hit a linesman. Moments later, Vrana fired a shot that slipped under the glove of Mike Smith.
But that was the only puck to elude Smith, who made his NHL-leading 11th start. Acquired in an offseason trade with Arizona, Smith has been the Flames’ best player all season and was excellent again against the Capitals.
Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in a shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Monday night after squandering a two-goal lead in the third period.
Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for his sixth win. He also had an assist — the eighth of his career and first this season.
Tuukka Rask stopped 29 shots for the Bruins, who lost their second in a row and dropped to 4-4-2.
The Blue Jackets had been plagued by slow starts but got on the board 1:59 into the game when David Savard threw the puck toward the net and it wiggled past Rask off a deflection. Alexander Wennberg and Matt Calvert assisted on Savard’s second goal of the season.
ESPN senior writer Mike Sando asks league insiders to pick winners in selected games each week. Three evaluators joined the panel for Week 7. This week’s selected games: Chiefs-Raiders, Jets-Dolphins, Broncos-Chargers, Falcons-Patriots and Redskins-Eagles.
This could just be the start. Get this orange-haired fan a few friends and you have the makings of a small fan base that could compete with the Raiders’ Black Hole in a few years. Also, this Raiders-Titans game should exclusively take place in October and/or my nightmares if this actually happens (which it won’t).
Drew Brees, QB, Saints: Likewise, Brees’ 11.54 fantasy points on Sunday might not have ruined his fantasy managers’ chances, but they certainly didn’t help matters much. He was the third-most-started quarterback in ESPN leagues, active in 81.0 percent, and he delivered his worst score in a home game since 2016 Week 13 (7.04), that one also against the Detroit Lions. Fortunately for Brees, he’s now done with the Lions (at least during the regular season), and he’ll get a more favorable matchup in Week 7 at Green Bay.
The New England defense adopted a bend-don’t-break philosophy in the second half to pull away in a narrow victory. The Patriots got a little help from a questionable reversal that turned a Jets touchdown into a touchback when Austin Seferian-Jenkins was ruled to have fumbled through the back of the end zone. New York had the opportunity to tie the game with a last-minute drive, but McCown’s 4th-and-16 prayer fell to the turf to push the Patriots to the top of the AFC East with a 4-2 record.
Next, Trent Williams, Kirk Cousins’ blind side protector, gets a blind side block on a bootleg by Cousins. Trent goes down to check his gap on the zone run, then bounces out to protect Cousins. Zombo has no idea what’s coming.
But the allure of the grinding at-bat faded. Partly it was because bullpens got so deep, and pitcher usage patterns changed so much, that it was no longer deemed worthwhile to get to the “soft underbelly” of a team’s bullpen. There hardly is a soft underbelly in the game anymore. Every team has five relievers with better ERAs than most of the best starters. With occasional exceptions, knocking the other team’s starter out doesn’t do anything except bring in the other team’s dominant seventh, eighth- and ninth-inning guys. And because these seventh-, eighth- and ninth-inning guys are used in such a rigid, one-inning way, there’s little chance of exhausting them before the three-game series is over and they become somebody else’s opponent.
In the span of six days, Shaw went from the practice squad to Cleveland’s starter for the 2014 season-finale following injuries to Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel.
What happened? Davis was released during the 2016 preseason when the Browns decided to keep Robert Griffin III, rookie Cody Kessler and McCown on their roster. He was signed ahead of fellow free-agent Colin Kaepernick during the 2017 offseason to serve as Russell Wilson’s backup in Seattle.
“I definitely laughed at that,” said Smart. “I’ve been guarding bigger guys ever since I was in college, same weight I am now when I was in college. That’s never going to change; my strength is never going to change. Just because I slimmed down, that’s to my advantage. I can move a lot faster now, in addition to my strength.”
During Monday’s Celtics-Sixers rematch at TD Garden, Smart put his grown-man strength on display again. Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, drove hard down the right side of the lane and tried to spin into the paint. A backpedaling Smart ripped the ball out of Fultz’s hands as he went up for a shot and, balancing on the end line, Smart flipped the ball to a teammate to start a break the other way.
“I think our confidence level can be higher,” Flacco said. “The way we’ve played the past couple of weeks can definitely creep in and hurt that. We got to do the best we can that we believe in who we are as players and who we are as a football team, so we can go out there and play free. Once Sunday comes around, the team that usually wins is the team that can go out there and let it loose and we have to do a better job of doing that.”
The Bucs released Smith despite their pass-rushing struggles this season; they are last in the NFL with just one sack. In addition, Smith, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of 2016 and missed the rest of that season, had finally gotten healthy enough to play again.
Smith became a restricted free agent this offseason and took a visit to the San Francisco 49ers before ultimately signing his tender.
He encountered a setback this summer that required an additional procedure. He was activated to the 53-man roster in September but then caught the flu, which kept him from making his 2017 debut in Week 3. He was finally active last week against the New York Giants.
Smith hadn’t played in more than a year and was at the bottom of the depth chart, behind Robert Ayers, William Gholston, Noah Spence and Ryan Russell.
Before the Giants game, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter expressed reservations about playing Smith, based on what he saw during practice.
Buddy Ryan Football Outsiders’ annual almanac is currently on sale in both PDF and book form. For more information on where to buy, click here.
Of course, it’s tough to project schedules when we don’t know how good teams will be in the future.
We’ve done it here using our projections of Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings, which account for general statistical trends and specific personnel changes. The numbers here come from an updated set of projections that account for preseason injuries and suspensions. These projections account for the Ezekiel Elliott suspension lowering the strength of the Cowboys for six games, although they do not attempt to predict the length of Andrew Luck’s injury or Aaron Donald’s holdout.
The lawsuit says Hunt made a deal 12 years ago with two men with political connections who promised to steer New Mexico investment money to a hedge fund in exchange for payments. Hunt was a partner in the hedge fund.
New Mexico awarded $300 million to the hedge fund and paid millions in management fees. The lawsuit said one of the investment funds lost $13 million during the period.
“Hunt sought to gain unfair advantage by paying for influence over the process,” New Mexico officials said in the lawsuit.
The accusations are tied to the pay-to-play scandal that took place during administration of former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
New Mexico has already negotiated more than $30 million in settlements related to the pay-to-play investment scandal.
Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht acknowledges that Roberto Aguayo was probably doomed in Tampa Bay from the outset.
Licht, who gave up two picks in the 2016 NFL Draft to acquire Aguayo in the second round, said he shouldn’t have ‘anointed’ Aguayo with such a high pick — and that he should have brought someone on to challenge him as the Bucs’ starting kicker.
“I’m owning up to it by releasing him,” Licht said (via TheMMQB). “It was a bold move and it didn’t work out. I don’t know what else to say. I know I have the support of my coach and my ownership.
Foster, a key member of Alabama’s defense for the last three years, was scooped up by San Francisco with the 31st pick in the draft. He was considered by many to be too small to be a linebacker and had several off-field issues before he was drafted. However, Foster seemed to have proven himself to Shanahan in practice.
Foster, along with fellow first-round pick Solomon Thomas, will be key to Shanahan’s new career as a head coach and to the new career of John Lynch as the team’s general manager.
“The cameras don’t make it harder. It’s hard because you’re dealing with a person’s career and a person’s life and whether it’s Roberto Aguayo or anyone else that we have to let go — I mean, I see what these guys go through. It’s one thing in any job if you were letting go of a guy that didn’t care or wasn’t trying to give you his best or wasn’t doing things the way you asked him, but that’s hardly ever the case. When these guys are out there and they are trying to do it the way we ask them and they’re giving it their all and it isn’t good enough sometimes, that’s difficult. I just always try to frame it with those guys when I talk to them is this doesn’t affect your manhood and I’ve been fired and you get over it and you learn from it and apply it to your next opportunity.”
Devon Still, perhaps best known for his charity work in the pediatric cancer field, has signed a contract with the New York Jets, the team announced Friday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the signing.
After Tannehill went down Thursday, he remained on the field for two minutes before two trainers took him back into the team’s facility with a limp, per Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post,
While one report said the MRI revealed no structural damage, another called its results “inconclusive.” He’s getting a second opinion, but the fact that his knee collapsed leaves reason for concern.
The problem stems largely from that the fact that injury was to his left knee, the same one that he injured last season and opted not to surgically repair:
Source tells me Ryan Tannehill injury is indeed the left knee. Still trying to get certainty as to extent of the problem.
Tannehill’s 2016 season ended after Calais Campbell hit him low, making contact with his left knee. The injury was a sprain, but Tannehill has been wearing a brace on the knee in practice, yet was not limited. Prior to the injury last season, Tannehill had not missed a game in his first four seasons in the NFL.
In his 13 starts in 2016, Tannehill led the Dolphins to an 8-5 record. He completed 67 percent of his passes, accumulating nearly 3,000 yards with 19 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.
Currently, the Dolphins have a veteran backup in Matt Moore, who started in place of Tannehill during the postseason last year. Other quarterbacks on the roster include Brandon Doughty and David Fales.