Redskins schedule 2018: Washington to host string of playoff contenders

The Redskins’ 2018 schedule is loaded with intriguing matchups against teams from the NFC South and AFC South in addition to Washington’s NFC East rivals.

Bottom line: Washington appears to have a middle-of-the-road schedule. It could be tougher, and it could be easier. As if the competition in the NFC East wasn’t strong enough, the division being matched up against the NFC South, which some consider the best division in football, makes life harder on Washington and its rivals. The Redskins could see a gloomy projection for their own season and think about what the Eagles were able to accomplish last year given a similar outlook. The problem is Washington doesn’t have the same level of talent on its roster. Record prediction: 6-10

Beyond Kendricks, the Vikings already have extended defensive end Everson Griffen, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and receiver Adam Thielen. Executive V.P. of football operations Rob Brzezinski has been negotiating the deals for more than 20 years, and he’ll be trying to continue to keep the current team together.

“I would be lying if I said you don’t feel some pressure, because you want to be able to keep this team together and keep all your best players,” Brzezinski recently told Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

G.M. Rick Spielman realizes that the Vikings may not be able to accomplish the effort to extend Barr, Diggs, and Hunter.

“We’re still going to try,” Spielman said. “Is it going to be easy? No.”

Yankees Double-A scouting reports

Gregorius is hitless in his last 28 at-bats.

He was hitting.333 with 10 home runs on May Since then, he’s seen his batting average drop to.27Over that span, his OPS has also fallen from 1.130 to.94

Gregorius was named the American League Player of the Month in April.

Especially when you have Aaron (Judge) hitting second. It kind of allows for traffic because how much he’s been getting on base and as many good at-bats he gives us at the bottom. So, right now, the way our lineup sets up, no immediate plans to move him up, but I’m always kicking around stuff.

NBA Playoffs 2018: What time, TV, channel is Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 (5/13/18)?

We’re pushing everybody to start, Wilks explained. I’ve stated this several times: Sam Bradford is our starter. We gotta go out there with 11 guys and Sam’s going to be the first guy out there. But everybody’s fighting for a position, so I’m not going to hold [Rosen] back at all.

I want guys competing, I want guys fighting for a starting job. Whoever ends up winning the position, that’s who’s going to end up playing.

Although Bradford’s reputation has taken a hit via the incessant injury bug, he’s been one of the most accurate — and overlooked — quarterbacks in the league as an intermittent starter.

The Cardinals brought Bradford in to direct the offense, Wilks recently told The Adam Schefter Podcast, and he believes the former Vikings quarterback is one of the best in the business right now.

It’s natural for the head coach to stand behind the veteran in the draft’s aftermath. We see it every offseason. Over the past 10 years, though, 20 of 27 first-round quarterbacks have started at least eight games in their rookie seasons.

The Seahawks probably could have predicted Bosworth in the NFL would be known more for his off-field antics than his on-field performance.

Pickens was projected to be a star defensive back due to his athleticism, and the Falcons took the bait. He was, to put it frankly, terrible in the NFL. Pickens was traded to the Packers during the 1993 season, a little more than two years after the Falcons drafted him. In just eight starts in Atlanta (27 games) through a little more than two seasons, he managed two interceptions and one sack.

He was decent on the field — save for the infamous Bo Jackson encounter — until a bad shoulder forced his retirement during his third NFL season. Bosworth started just 24 games for Seattle.

Minkah Fitzpatrick won’t go in the top five, but he will have plenty of options in the top half of the draft. While some teams consider him an impactful nickel corner, other teams like the Bears, Raiders, Dolphins and Cardinals view him as an impact outside cornerback/safety. The Cardinals likely will consider Fitzpatrick, Iowa’s Josh Jackson or a quarterback with the 15th overall pick.

Iowa corner Josh Jackson is quietly coveted by NFL teams. He, Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea and Boston College defensive end Harold Landry are considered the best of the second tier of non-QB prospects.

Rick Porcello (R), 88.6 percent, Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels: The Halos lead the majors with a .358 wOBA and a 39.3 hard-contact rate, per Fangraphs, both of which will prove difficult for the strikeout-wary Porcello to tame, despite his 3-0, 1.83 ERA and recent near no-hitter.

Wide Receiver: Ever since the loss of Steve Smith in 2014, the Panthers have lacked a consistent receiving corps. Devin Funchess emerged as a quality weapon in 2017 but Carolina needs to improve a group that still looks extremely shaky despite the addition Torrey Smith and Jarius Wrigcanucks_670ht in free agency.

Defensive End: The Panthers have always prided themselves on having a ferocious front seven and this season should be no different. Mario Addison, Julius Peppers and Wes Horton make a solid trio at defensive end. Still, getting younger needs to be a top priority for Carolina come draft day.

NFL Draft 2018: Walk-up music for each prospect

The 2018 NFL Draft begins tonight with the first round, and it’s a moment every player in attendance will remember. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and you want it to be as great as possible, which is why players get to choose the music they walk-up to while headed to the podium.

Drake is the big winner here, as he has been in most of the recent drafts. He makes five different players’ songs, and we’ll get hear “God’s Plan” twice. It’s hard to fault Derrius Guice or Roquan Smith for going with “God’s Plan” because 1) it’s a banger and 2) the message of the song is perfect for this moment.

Royals: The swelling in the right foot of RHP Ian Kennedy was down after he took a liner off it in the series opener. Kennedy left after the third inning Tuesday night but could make his next start Sunday.

Kansas City plays the White Sox five times in the next four days, including a day-night doubleheader on Saturday. RHP Jakob Junis will start the series opener Thursday night.

Milwaukee RHP Chase Anderson will take the mound Thursday night against the Cubs in Chicago. After four games there, the Brewers will conclude a nine-game trip with three in Cincinnati.

“Amazon was a tremendous partner for ‘Thursday Night Football’ in 2017 and as we continue our mission of delivering NFL games to fans whether they watch on television or on digital platforms, we are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,” Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said in a statement.

“Having over 100 million Amazon Prime members provides a massive platform to distribute ‘Thursday Night Football’ digitally, not only to our fans in the United States but also around the world.”

CBS Sports notes Amazon will be streaming a total of 11 games in 2018 beginning with the Vikings at Rams in Week 4. It’s not part of the deal for Amazon to stream on Thanksgiving.

Ryon Healy, activated from the disabled list after missing 16 games with a sprained right ankle, singled in the third as Seattle took a 3-0 lead in a seven-pitch span with two outs. Healy scored on Dee Gordon’s triple, and Segura had an RBI double and came home on Cano’s single.

Zunino had an RBI single in the fourth. Cano appeared to hit a two-out homer in the fifth, but his drive was to left was ruled a double after a crew chief video review.

OF Jayson Werth finalized his minor league contract with the Mariners and was 0 for 3 in his debut with Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday. The 38-year-old has a .267 average in 15 major league seasons, the last seven with Washington.dolphins_074

He had 37 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two INTs in 2017 and has the skill set and look of a No. 1 NFL corner with his speed, athleticism and ball skills.

Fellow offseason trade acquisition and secondary partner Aqib Talib also belongs on this list after his split-up with the Broncos. But Peters’ matchup with the Chiefs is slightly more intriguing. For one, Kansas City looks like a more formidable opponent. Peters’ departure was also the more surprising of the two, and he could have several opportunities to tilt the game as Patrick Mahomes takes over for Alex Smith as the Chiefs’ quarterback. And playing in Mexico City on Monday Night Football should make for an interesting backdrop.

Pete Carroll and the rest of his Seattle team might be feeling snubbed after Graham jumped to Green Bay. Moreover, defending the connection from Aaron Rodgers to his new tight end could be a serious challenge for a rebuilding Seahawks defense.

Cardinals QB Sam Bradford at Vikings (Oct. 14, Week 6)

After he missed all but two games in 2017 due to a knee issue, moving on was the natural decision for both Bradford and Minnesota, especially once Kirk Cousins came into focus as the NFC North champs’ next starter. Still, Bradford might get a kick out of one-upping his old team with a rebuilding group.

Few judged it too harshly at the time, figuring the Vikings were coming off an NFC title game appearance and were bringing back virtually every key player from that team.

The 2010 Vikings, though, got old in a hurry. Without an influx of talent or meaningful depth, they went 6-10 and triggered a rebuild.

That team was more veteran-heavy than these current Vikings, but this point is still valid: Minnesota, once again coming off a year in which it was one game short of reaching the Super Bowl, must take this draft seriously — collecting players who can contribute immediately and grow into bigger roles.

Unlike Ward, Jackson was not impressive with his combine workout, but his ball skills — eight interceptions, 18 passes broken up and 48 tackles last season — are hard to ignore.

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.

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