Matthew Stafford is a good quarterback, but he isn’t a miracle worker.

Last year, the Detroit Lions had the NFL’s most anemic rushing attack at just 76.3 yards per game. The year before that, they averaged 81.9 yards per game—30th in the league. The season before that, they sat at 83.4 yards per game—dead last in the NFL.

Despite passing for more than 200 yards in just three of those 12 starts, however, Trubisky showed flashes of his athleticism and arm talent. He showed the ability to anticipate throwing windows. And with Nagy & Co. installing a system that will better cater to Trubisky’s talent, the arrow is pointing up on the former No. 2 overall pick.

During free agency, the Bears added a top target for Trubisky in wide receiver Allen Robinson, who’s a technician in the route tree with the ability to make plays over the top and produce in the red zone. The former Jaguar, who tore an ACL in Week 1 last season, racked up 18 red zone touchdowns from 2015 to 2016. Tight end Trey Burton is the new move guy in Nagy’s offense, a matchup piece who can align in multiple spots. And wide receiver Taylor Gabriel brings some real speed to Chicago with the change-of-direction skills to break down defenses in the open field.

These are major upgrades for Trubisky compared to the lineup he worked with last season, and Nagy’s offense — a modern twist on the West Coast passing game — should jump-start Trubisky’s development. Just look at Jared Goff and the Rams hiring Sean McVay as a potential blueprint.

Perhaps the change of scenery will help Kizer, who threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns and led the NFL with 22 picks as a rookie. Regardless, if he takes the field in Titletown, Green Bay is toast.

The Packers shelled out big bucks in free agency for tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, a departure from how former general manager Ted Thompson often operated. That smacks of a team that believes it can make a run at the big one this year.

Green Bay can…so long as it has Captain Commercial under center.

With the initial flurry of free agency in the rearview mirror, we asked coaches, execs and insiders around the league to offer their unvarnished opinions on how other teams did — for better or worse.patriots_091

Sheldon Richardson visits the Vikings

On the same day the Vikings hope to sign a key er on offense, they’re kicking the tire on a key er on defense.

The Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala reported the Broncos plan to use Veldheer as their starting right tackle in 2018. They’ll keep 2017 first-round pick Garett Bolles at left tackle.

As long as Veldheer remains healthy, he should be an upgrade over what Denver had with Menelik Watson patrolling the right side of the line.

Autry will join the likes of Henry Anderson, Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods and Margus Hunt up front in defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ season in Indianapolis.

Much of the talk surrounding the Dallas Cowboys this offseason has centered around star wide receiver Dez Bryant’s long-term future with the organization. This has remained a situation hovering around with the team aiming to get Bryant to agree to a pay cut.

The 30-year-old linebacker spent the last three years in New York, but the Patriots traded for him (from the Buccaneers) in 2014 and he helped them win a Super Bowl.

The Giants are retooling their linebacking corps anyway, so Casillas was looking for a new home, and might find it in an old place.

I didn’t run for the money.The sketch had a furious energy as McCarthy’s Spicer bellowed that, on the occasion of Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee, Everyone was smiling, everyone was happy, the men all had erections, and every single one of the women was ovulating left and right!than 120 former high school players made opening-day NFL rosters as the regular got under way this week, according to research by MaxPreps and High School Football Daily.Starts Sunday, 7th at 1pm ET.

Blues, they sat fifth the Conference and third their own division, chasing both the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers while only narrowly holding off the Calgary Flames and Los Kings.As his career went on, though, he developed the first two well enough to where he had the 17thbest run-stop percentage among defensive tackles his contract-year of 2013.He’s shot 13 SB covers for, including Super Bowls I and XLVIII.49ers_129

Isaiah Thomas defers to Paul Pierce in turning down Celtics video tribute

Isaiah Thomas has declined the Celtics’ offer to honor him with a video tribute on Feb. 11 because it’s the same day Boston is to retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

The Cavaliers, who acquired Thomas from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade before the season, are scheduled to visit Boston for a nationally-televised game that Sunday afternoon. Thomas doesn’t want to detract from the moment of “The Truth.”

Toews scored nine seconds into the extra period and had an assist in regulation to lead Chicago past the Colorado Avalanche, 2-1 on Tuesday night.

The winner was generated directly from the faceoff at center ice. Toews pulled the draw to Duncan Keith, who passed to Patrick Kane on the right side. Kane fed Toews on a 2-on-1 and the Chicago captain chipped his 18th goal past Semyon Varlamov from the low edge of the circle.

The Blackhawks’ signature puck possession game has disappeared for much of their disappointing season. But in overtime, Chicago was the only team to touch the puck on a play Toews said came almost off the drawing board.

Francis, 55, had served as executive vice president and general manager for four years during which the Hurricanes failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. A former star center with both the Hurricanes and their previous incarnation, the Hartford Whalers, Francis is in his 12th season in team management overall.

Carolina is 29-27-11 and four points out of the last wild card in the Eastern Conference, and it is 2-6-2 in its last 10 games. The Hurricanes haven’t qualified for the playoffs since losing in the conference final in 2009.

This is the first major shake-up for the franchise by Tom Dundon, who purchased the Hurricanes last December from Peter Karmanos, Jr.

“Since I took control of the team, I’ve had a good chance to be around and assess the operations,” said Dundon. “There are a lot of good people working in the organization, but I feel that a change in direction is needed when it comes to hockey personnel decisions. Ron is a smart and talented hockey man. I am glad that he will continue to be a part of the team, serving in this new role.”

A source told ESPN that the next Hurricanes GM will report directly to Dundon.packers_012

What does Nick Foles get for winning Super Bowl MVP?

Let’s face it: Brady probably couldn’t have gotten any more famous by winning a sixth Super Bowl and fifth MVP award. But with the Eagles winning the Super Bowl and Foles being crowned MVP, he’s surely going to have some new endorsement opportunities (and NFL opportunities) coming his way.

Goff threw for 3,804 yards to go along with 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions, with a 100.5 passer rating. He finished in the top 10 in yards and touchdowns, and he also had the fifth-best passer rating in the league.

Because of Goff’s stellar play, Gurley didn’t have to run into eight-man fronts. Gurley had a career rebirth in 2017 and won the league’s Offensive Player of the Year award. After rushing for 885 yards in his disappointing sophomore campaign, he ran for 1,305 and a league-high 13 touchdowns. Gurley also made a huge impact in the passing game — hauling in 64 receptions for 788 yards and six scores. He led the league in scrimmage yards and touchdowns.

What this means for the Eagles: Philadelphia has only faced off against Gronkowski once in the All-Pro tight end’s career — and that was back in 2011. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will have to earn his paycheck by shutting down the matchup nightmare Belichick will deploy at tight end. As the Jaguars game showed, there’s no easy way to contain the rest of the Patriots receivers, either — despite having few other options, Brady completed 15 of his 21 passes to his top three wideouts (Cooks, Amendola, Chris Hogan) for 204 yards and two touchdowns. That makes even an obvious Patriot attack tough to plan against.

So, you go through that and you get comfortable and you get comfortable with your teammates and it just goes from there.

With 28 seconds left in the first period, van Riemsdyk beat Luongo between the legs with a shot from the faceoff dot for his 25th goal of the season. Jake Gardiner had an assist for his 200th NHL point.
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Offensive plays would be called based on stolen signals and the information relayed straight to Brady’s helmet, O’Leary theorizes.

After all, the NFL, which will now aggressively pursue charges of gross, bigoted conduct — the violation of a teammate’s civil rights — by Incognito, chose Lewis as the man to appear in commercials to push NFL-licensed goods.

Such a preposterous, perverse story would be rejected as impossibly dark and detached fiction, yet the NFL and one of its biggest business partner networks were more than compliant in allowing it to happen — they made it happen!

O’Leary — who uses data crunched by a Las Vegas bookie and a Ph.D. statistician from China with no previous familiarity with Spygate — suggests Patriots “director of football research” Ernie Adams, a prep-school chum of Belichick from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., was the nerve center behind the chicanery.

In this scenario, the extra frequency is critical, as it allows the team to do something in real time with the stolen signals, out of earshot of the NFL monitor, and change its plays accordingly.

The loss of Odell Beckham for Sunday’s matchup definitely didn’t help, but even with him in the lineup, it’s hard to imagine the Giants looking much better. The bad news for America is that we’re going to be stuck watching the Giants offense again in Week 2 because they’re playing on Monday Night Football.

If the Cowboys defense was supposed to be the team’s weak link this season, then the rest of the NFL might be in trouble, because the unit absolutely shut down the Giants on Sunday Night Football. During the Cowboys’ win, Dallas limited the Giants to just 224 total yards, marking just the fifth time since 2012 that the Cowboys have held a team under 225 yards. The three points allowed marked just the second time since 2010 that the Cowboys gave up three points or fewer in a game.

Since Week 2, the Saints rank among the top four defenses in yards allowed, points allowed and forced turnovers.nike-youth-cardinals-074

The whole secondary is getting a makeover with all four starters gone, so there’s some work to be done there

Anticipating a need on the defensive line, the Tigers went heavy here, with a star-studded class that includes four ESPN 300 defensive linemen, including five-star ends Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry, both of whom are already on campus. With Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell returning to school for their senior seasons, Clemson will be overloaded at this position in 2018, allowing for more development with the younger players. — Andrea Adelson

Cornerback could get a swift infusion of talent, though, with Saivion Smith, the No. 1-rated junior college corner, already signed and Alabama coaches hot on the trail of uncommitted five-star Patrick Surtain Jr., who visited campus this past weekend. — Alex Scarborough

The Panthers managed to escape Sunday’s matchup with the Bills with a 9-3 win, but they didn’t do it intact on offense. Greg Olsen, one of Cam Newton’s favorite weapons over the last seven years, confirmed he’ll miss an indefinite amount of time after breaking his foot (more on that injury here).

The Raiders were expected to roll over the Jets Sunday by all expectations, and that’s exactly what happened through the first 20 minutes of the game. In fact, the Jets defense had no answer for Michael Crabtree, who hauled in the Raiders’ first two TDs on Sunday.

And the Titans can certainly run the ball. Against the Chiefs a week ago, the Titans racked up 202 yards on 31 carries, averaging 6.5 yards per rush. Derrick Henry did most of the damage, picking up 156 rushing yards while Mariota added 46 of his own. So no, the Titans did not miss injured running back DeMarco Murray. Instead, his injury actually became a blessing in disguise.

Just when it seemed the Steelers were closing in on the comeback, Bortles unleashed a spectacular 45-yard pass to Keelan Cole, setting up a 3-yard touchdown plunge by Fournette on the following play to put the lead back to 14.

That scoring play followed the Steelers turning the ball over on downs after failing to convert on a fourth-and-1 play in which they opted to pass than run. It was the second time Pittsburgh executed an odd play call on fourth-and-1, earlier opting to toss the ball back to Bell instead of running up the middle or giving Roethlisberger the ball on a QB sneak.chargers_045

NFL players invite Roger Goodell, Bob McNair and Colin Kaepernick to Monday meeting

NFL players are proposing to meet Monday in Philadelphia with league representatives in the wake of controversial comments made during a recent owners’ meeting by Houston Texans owner Robert McNair.

The Texans play Sunday at Seattle.

Murray’s three-point play with 33.6 seconds remaining gave Denver back the lead. The Trail Blazers had two chances to go back in front but couldn’t convert. Barton hit two free throws, and after Nurkic’s dunk, sealed it with two more foul shots with 1.8 seconds left.

Nurkic got going in the third quarter on both ends of the floor. He had 11 points, six rebounds and blocked Jokic’s shot near the basket. Later in the possession he stole the ball from his former teammate, which led to a Portland fast break.

Trail Blazers: Lillard was selected the Western Conference player of the week by the NBA on Monday. He averaged 29.3 points and eight assists as Portland swept its three games last week. … The Trail Blazers had more steals (eight) than fouls (seven) in the first half. … Portland has scored 100 or more points in 12 straight games.

Halftime was handed back to pop acts seven years ago, as the featured entertainers since then have included Black-Eyed Peas, Madonna, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga (with Coldplay a possible exception, depending on whether one defines them as “rock”). On Sunday, Timberlake shared the news with his social-media followers, in a video with late-night host Jimmy Fallon.

Following the Timberlake news, some people online were upset that Jackson, whose career suffered in the wake of the 2004 incident while Timberlake’s continued to flourish, was not also invited to return. There have been claims that Jackson is banned from further Super Bowl appearances, but in a statement, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Post, “There’s no ban.”

McCarthy added, “We are not going to comment on any speculation regarding potential guests. There may be no guests. Along with Pepsi, we’re excited to have Justin Timberlake.”patriots_005_925c4cc7e3c7882c-180x180

None of them impressed me more than Xavier Rhodes.

This is the type of player every team needs. He is tough. He is talented. He is aggressive and confident. He loves the game. He communicates well. He cares. He makes winning plays.

He just earned his second straight Pro Bowl honor and his first All-Pro recognition. At 6’1, 218 pounds, he is lithe but physical and each week is assigned to the best opposing receiver. He held Antonio Brown to 62 receiving yards this season. He limited Julio Jones to 24 yards.

I got rid of cable in February 2016. I was paying cable and internet bundled package for $175-220 a month. It just got ridiculous. My wife and I do really well, and we could buy cable if we really wanted to, it’s just the principle of it. We have five or ten channels that we really like, but in order to watch those, we have to buy the next tier cable package and you get all these stations that you don’t want to watch.

I’m a 49ers fan living in the L.A. TV market, so last season I bought an AppleTV and the SundayTicket online streaming package so that I could watch all the 49ers games. I also really like watching AFC teams like Pittsburgh and New England, because I feel like the competition is better.

“Simply, it just didn’t go the direction that I wanted it to off my foot,” he said. “I wanted to put it to the right third and let it come back in. That’s kind of what my other one did. It didn’t do what I wanted it to.”

Fuck that. You don’t owe them anything, Blair. The Seahawks stunk because their offensive line was trash and everyone on defense got hurt. They want to make you the scapegoat, they can suck an egg. Get out of that rainy state and never look back. I wish he had answered the question with “The kick missed, but what’s more important here is that I find Bainbridge Island trite, Starbucks sucks, and I’m glad the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. Go toss some fish, squares,” then walked out of the locker room. No one can blame Blair Walsh for ANYTHING.

What’s most amazing about this Jaguars team is the rise of Blake Bortles. Three months ago, Jags fans were bemoaning the fact that the team exercised its 2018 fifth-year option on the crushingly disappointing quarterback, the third pick of the 2014 draft. Two months ago, before the trading deadline, some fans dreamed of a deal for Eli Manning to push the stagnant passing game to proficiency. This month, Bortles is playing the best football—far and away—of his four-year NFL career. Maybe it’s so good that the Jags won’t look for a quarterback in 2018.
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Antonio Brown injury update: Steelers WR officially ruled out vs. Texans

bengals_016Antonio Brown is officially done for the regular season.

And it’s not as though he’s without skill; it’s quite the opposite actually.It’s a numbers game.Sports Hall of Fame, 1400 South 3rd St., St.Close Don’t have account?If he proves to need the lead, however, breaking from post 11 the WEBN could be a factor.This icon opens the menu A dark-gray magnifying glass icon.

“They still have bigger strategic problems in that people don’t want their kids to play football,” Cuban said in March 2014, via the Dallas Morning News. “That’s huge. That impacts how much football kids will watch. And how much football families watch.

“You just get the sense that they don’t really have a grasp of how to connect to people in the broader population.”

Fortunately the Stars were able to kill off the penalty and continue to fight.Lambert was the meanest SOB to ever play the game and a great linebacker his own right, but I feel like his legend is helped a ton by his attitude and the way he attacked the ball carrier.A pulse of doing.

Since he was found not criminally responsible, Hennigar be returned to the East Coast Forensic Hospital Dartmouth.They have good skill players; they have a good quarterback, obviously Brown and are dynamic players, tremendous with the ball their hands.I can be a great threat as a blocker for Delvin Williams or Gary , and I’m strong and quick enough to be effective the power running game.That’s a possibility,” he said.

He added 55 yards on six catches.I think you’re gonna pick of round out the game I think what the epidemic struggle with them all the bottom because flipping around incredible is really cut it up.When I played here, it was all .

After New England (11-3) sealed the 27-24 win two plays later with an interception in the end zone, Bill Belichick only addressed the overturned touchdown briefly.

“I thought the ball moved,” he said.

During a conference call Tuesday, Belichick was asked if he liked the catch rule that helped his his team move ahead of Pittsburgh (11-3) in the AFC playoff standings.

“There’s always been a philosophy in the league and it’s gone back several decades of philosophically whether you want to have a catch and a fumble or an incomplete pass, and the philosophy has always been incomplete pass,” Belichick said. “Otherwise, you’d have a million catches and fumbles. I agree with that.

Tarasenko, Schwartz send Blues to 4-2 win over Kings

Five days after his first child was born, St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson left the rink with a special present for his daughter.

It also was a wake-up call to the rest of the NFL players about who exactly was asking to “unite” with them.

Appropriate, since McNair’s repulsive words and equally feeble explanations (he tried two of them) turned up the heat under the Texans’ players, and those across the league and into other sports, like never before. There was no twisting of the players’ message into something anti-military, or anti-flag, or unpatriotic, no matter how hard many were sure to try.

DeRozan had 15 points in the first quarter and the teams were knotted at 29 going into the second. DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points in the 101-92 victory over the Lakers.

The Blazers went cold in the second quarter. Really cold. They went 0-for-16 from the field until Turner’s layup with 5 seconds left before the half. Portland’s other four points in the quarter came from free throws and the Raptors led 54-35 at the break.

The Blazers’ six total points were a franchise low for the second quarter.

“It wasn’t like they were unstoppable,” Lillard said. “They were scoring and we weren’t.”

Going back into the first quarter, the Blazers missed 20 straight shots over the miserable stretch.

“Brutal,” Coach Terry Stotts said about the stretch. “It was tough. I felt bad for them.”raiders_075-223x223