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The Titans can hang their hat on a pretty solid defensive performance

Unrelated soccer fashion take: the Sounders’ Pacific Blue jersey would be the best in MLS if they didn’t mess with the color of their crest.
Later, backup quarterback Ryan Griffin took a hard hit from a Cincinnati defender and left the game with a shoulder injury. Winston walked over to some offensive linemen, leaned in, and calmly told them I’m happy y’all are having fun, but Ryan just hurt his shoulder. He started to walk away. But keep having fun.

The picture of Winston, through two episodes, is of a quarterback quick to laugh, willing to admit his mistakes, and dedicated to something he takes seriously. As a viewer who entered the series critical of Winston’s past, I definitely feel like a sucker for buying into what I’ve seen. On the other hand, it’s a testament to how well the show is made.

Hackenberg played most of the game for the Jets, but leaned heavily on check downs. He finished 18-of-25 passing for 127 yards. Reminder: McCown had 72 passing yards on four attempts.

The Titans can hang their hat on a pretty solid defensive performance, with the exception of the first drive. There really aren’t many positives to take from the offensive showing.

Gerald Everett is already showing why the Rams thought highly enough of him to draft him in the second round. He has just two receptions for 12 yards, but he’s shown some athleticism and a nice gain on a crossing route was nullified by a holding penalty.

Kellen Moore couldn’t get the Cowboys in the end zone, but Cooper Rush dropped one right in the bread basket.

Beast Mode may not be playing, but he’s going to capture headlines anyway after it was revealed he sat during the playing of the national anthem before the game. He joins a lengthy list of players who followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps with the protest.

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What if every mascot from recent champion teams fought to the death?

America has six winners when it comes to major sports, but we don’t handle ties well. There can only be one, and now we need to settle it. There’s only one fair way to decide which team is the ultimate champion out of New England, Golden State, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Clemson, and North Carolina their mascots need to fight to the death.

In order to break this up, a series of one-on-one bouts need to be drawn up. In the interest of fairness, a committee made up of only me has settled on the only fair way for this to happen.

This is a curious one because it’s really about the here and now. A cub is a bear-in-training, and has yet to fully realize its power or ability. But the other is a penguin. There’s nothing scary about a penguin except the inside of their mouths, which are a friggin’ horror show.

Man. That’s like finding a fingernail in your hamburger and leading with a headline that reads, Report: French fries remain delicious.

I guess the challenge is that no one wants to read a headline that starts with Tebow struggles again if they’re only interested in him succeeding. So the AP is forced to do some serious gymnastics if they want to get those glorious, nourishing Tebow clicks.

Tebow is still hitting better than anyone should expect from a 29-year-old who hadn’t played baseball in a decade, which is a testimony to his athleticism. And Ted Berg of USA Today makes some great points about Tebow’s promotion to High-A:

Also, the Florida State League in the summer is notorious as one of the worst places to play. Empty ballparks, crushing humidity.

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If you have to propose on a jumbotron, at least do it at a Dolphins preseason game

I once wrote that under no circumstances should a human ever propose marriage to another human at a sporting event. I probably didn’t go far enough. I don’t think dogs should propose to other dogs at stadiums either, nor should fish propose to fish, bears to bears, robots to robots, or any other thing that could possibly become sentient enough to tether itself to any other thing ’til death do it part.

Ngata (6x), Seymour (5x), Williams (5x), Wilfork (4x), Jenkins (3x), Smith (3x), Haynesworth (2x), and Campbell (2x) are the only defensive tackles that started their careers from 2000-09 to earn multiple All Pro nods during their careers; compare that to the seven players from the 2010-present with multiple All Pros on their resume (Watt, Suh, McCoy, Atkins, Donald, Wilkerson, Cox) and those that are likely to earn their second in the coming years (Harrison, Short, Dareus) and the quality difference is pretty apparent.

All Pro nods aren’t a perfect measure of a player’s contributions on the field, but it’s certainly a reasonable measure of a player’s chances of making the Hall of Fame; the same people that vote for one are voting for the other, and they would all likely consider the top defensive tackles from 2000-09 to come up short in comparison to those from 2010-present- and it’s hard enough for a defensive tackle to reach the Hall of Fame.

If I were a Hall of Fame judge, I would argue that Wilfork joins Seymour, Williams, Ngata, and Smith as the top five defensive tackles of the generation. I would also argue that he should be in the top three of that group with Seymour and Williams- but I don’t know if that would be enough to warrant him a selection into the Hall of Fame.

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Bortles is dragging down a good roster

It’s tough to gauge what exactly McCarron could bring to the table. But a second-round draft pick isn’t much to acquire a potential upgrade at quarterback and a 26-year-old who could try to prove he’s a long-term solution for the team.

The same argument could be made for other young backups, including the Packers’ Brett Hundley, who was reportedly on the trade block during the 2017 NFL draft.

Finding other potential starting talent on the trade market can be hard to forecast (who in the world saw the Sam Bradford trade coming last year?), but the Jaguars have to be aggressive if one comes available.

Bortles is dragging down a good roster, and the Jaguars are just being silly at this point if they don’t look elsewhere.

Just before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last week, Jones said he wasn’t expecting a suspension for Elliott.

One of the final steps of the investigation came in May, when the NFLPA handed over Elliott’s phone records and other documents to the league. Elliott met with league investigators last October and with NFL officials earlier this month, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The first violation of the league’s personal conduct policy carries a six-game suspension, but the suspension can be reduced for mitigating circumstances.

Elliott tweeted a statement from his personal account after the suspension was handed down, saying he disagreed with the NFL’s decision while also apologizing to fans:

Elliott played college football for three seasons at Ohio State. He was selected by the Cowboys with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Elliott led the league with 1,631 rushing yards in his rookie season.

Elliott can participate in all preseason activities. His suspension will begin Sept. 2 and he can return to the Cowboys’ roster on Monday, Oct. 23.

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The Panthers and Titans will each make their case as resurgent playoff teams.

The Packers will travel to Washington in a showdown between big-armed passers.

And then there’s the Jets, who may be worth watching just for the spectacle of their wide receiving corps. Charone Peake and Robby Anderson lead a unit that will be catching passes from either Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, or Christian Hackenberg this fall. That group has the potential to be gruesome, and like a car crash it may be difficult to look away.

Here’s the full slate of games for Saturday, including a Jets/Lions tilt that will make the Detroit secondary seem much more proficient than it actually is. Follow along with us for score updates, highlights, injury news, and much more.

The Mike Glennon era in Chicago hasn’t gone too smoothly in preseason. Keep making throws like this and the Mitch Trubisky show may have to start sooner rather than later.

The Texans continue racking up bone-headed penalties, with the latest one being a blatant kick-catch interference.

What a dumb penalty on Eddie Pleasant. Ran into punt returner for 15-yard penalty. That’s 7 on the Texans. Special teams have joined in.

Rookie running back D’onta Foreman saw his first reps in the second quarter, playing third on the Texans’ depth chart behind Miller and Blue. He gets three straight carries but fails to pick up a first down.

The first game up features the Steelers taking on the Giants, with both teams looking to build on last year’s playoff campaigns. Rookie Joshua Dobbs will start in place of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. They also won’t have Le’Veon Bell, who is holding out and still hasn’t signed his franchise tender, but they’re potentially getting back Martavis Bryant after he sat out 2016 with a suspension.

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Ezekiel Elliott suspended for 6 games following NFL domestic violence investigation

The NFL announced Friday it has suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games to start the 2017 season. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Four days later, Elliott officially filed an appeal of the punishment.

Elliott’s appeal won’t be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but Harold Henderson instead. The former NFL executive vice president has previously heard appeals from Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson, and will hear Elliott’s on Aug. 29.

The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it ‘cherry picks’ so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence, Elliott’s representatives wrote in a statement shortly after the suspension was announced.

The Browns, as is tradition, will host their annual quarterback competition on Thursday as well. This fall, the top spot will be a battle between Cody Kessler the lone returnee of the team’s five passers to earn snaps in 2016 Brock Osweiler, and DeShone Kizer.

At least one unquestioned starter will be taking snaps behind center Thursday. Carson Wentz will play at least one series for the Eagles.

The Jaguars and Patriots have been practicing together in Foxborough in advance of their matchup Thursday. That led to a handful of ridiculous Brandin Cooks highlights and a messy Blake Bortles performance the quarterback, sadly, could not attribute to jet lag. They’ll get the chance to elevate their scrimmage to meet the high standards of the NFL preseason at Gillette Stadium.

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Teams haven’t always found success after splitting first-team reps between two quarterbacks

The Broncos struggled at quarterback last year and haven’t been able to move past the competition between Siemian and second-year player Paxton Lynch this year. But Lynch will get his own opportunity to earn the starting role this preseason; he’s expected to start Week 2 against the 49ers.

Teams haven’t always found success after splitting first-team reps between two quarterbacks, but this was always the plan for the Broncos heading into the preseason. Denver head coach Vance Joseph uttered No about 14 times when asked if Siemian was taking the lead during camp, so the competition very much seems open.

As Italian chef kiss as Roger Goodell gleefully swan-diving into his riches is, he isn’t the only person in the NFL who could be a cartoon. The players themselves would make pretty awesome cartoon characters, too.

Marty B is a huge fan of cartoons. The amateur animator started his own company, the Imagination Agency, which dabbles in cartoons. He’s chatted on YouTube with his adorable 3-year-old daughter about those beloved Saturday staples: cartoons and cereal. Ranking his favorite cartoons ever would be an all-day affair. But when it comes to his favorite character, the choice was easy:

Similar to the Mr. Krabs meme, Cutler was confused when he woke up Tuesday morning before his first practice with the Dolphins.

Mostly we’re glad Cutler is back because he’s the most memeable player in the whole league. For his sake, let’s hope the Dolphins don’t demand their $10 million back this season.

The Seahawks quarterback and BoJack’s frenemy both share a joie de vivre approach to life that, perhaps, borders on naive. You can’t help but think some of it is a facade, though, and underneath, there are more layers:

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LSU burned through 8 pitchers in 13-1 loss to Oregon State

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for LSU.

The six-time College World Series winners sported a 3.54 staff ERA in 2017, good for 21st-best in the country. But the Tigers gave up 11 hits and 13 runs in a crushing loss on Monday, a program record for their opponents, Oregon State. The Tigers needed eight pitchers to get through it.

After a total drown-out on Saturday, the Hattiesburg regional managed a full tilt of games on Sunday. In the day’s opening bout, hard-hitting Mississippi State survived in a 5-4 nail-biter to eliminate Illinois-Chicago, who’d become something of the tournament darlings on opening weekend. NCAA triple crown hitting winner Brent Rooker knocked two hits for one RBI, and the Bulldogs’ beleaguered bullpen white-knuckled their way through two innings after an excellent start by Konnor Pilkington, who gave up all four earned runs.

The hosts of the Hattiesburg regional, Southern Miss, well handled South Alabama, 8-3, in the day’s second session to survive into the round’s knockout block. South Alabama dropped into an elimination game with Mississippi State, and this bracket is chock-full of Gulf Coast sniping. Hell yes.

After a marathon 12-inning loss to Florida on Saturday night, South Florida matched up with sudden power Bethune-Cookman in the early game of the Gainesville regional, and the tournament’s last surviving HBCU danced off with a 6-4 win. The Wildcats required just three arms to get the job done, though starter Alexis Herrera lasted only five innings before getting the ax.

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Rapid reviews of all 30 MLB ‘Players Weekend’ caps

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association have collaborated on something called Players Weekend, which runs from Aug. 25 through Aug. 27 and features brightly colored uniforms and caps. Players will have the option to put their nickname on the back of their jersey.

I was very much prepared to laugh at this, but then I saw Kyle Seager’s uniform.

And that makes up for absolutely any crime against fashion or tradition. I am in. Chase Utley’s is a delight, too.

Excellent. There are a lot of dandy names that we’ll have to unpack in a separate post. I’m guessing the idea is to make the uniforms bright and fun, and the nicknames are included so you can really get a sense of the players’ personalities.

Mm-hmm. I can sure get a sense of their personalities with those names, and that’s not even sarcasm. That’s the honest truth. But focus on the good nicknames.

Along with the uniforms, every team will have hats. Because it’s unlikely that you’ll pony up $200 for one of those uniforms, the hats are probably the most important change to you, the consumer. I have quick thoughts on those hats.

I’m not saying MLB needs to take two weeks off because of the All-Star Game or anything. But it would be nice if the Derby was on a Tuesday, and Monday was a real day off with the actual All-Star Game on Wednesday, and then MLB took the rest of the week including the weekend off. Come back Monday. Give the players, and the fans, and the media a few actual days off to rest and reset. We’ll all be thrilled when baseball comes back, and maybe we would have even gone and done that thing we’ve been meaning to do by the time it returns.

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Cam Fowler injury update: Ducks All-Star defenseman out 2-6 weeks with knee injury

Ducks All-Star defenseman Cam Fowler is out anywhere from two to six weeks with a lower-body injury, GM Bob Murray told reporters Thursday evening.

I hate to say six weeks, but it could be, Murray said. He could come around really quickly and he could not. We’ll know much more when the playoffs start.

Fowler, 25, played in all 80 games until Tuesday’s injury and has a career-high 11 goals with 28 assists and a plus-seven rating. He had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return after a knee-to-knee collision with the Flames’ Mark Giordano in the third period of Anaheim’s 3-1 win earlier this week.

Capuano, 50, has been on the Islanders’ bench since the 2010-11 season, when he took over coaching duties on an interim basis. He was hired full-time for the 2011-12 season and led the Islanders to a playoff berth in 2012-13, their first in six years.

In sum, Capunao went 227-192-64 in New York, including consecutive 100-point seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

In his seventh season with the Islanders, he was the NHL’s fourth-longest tenured coach.

The timing of the move is a bit curious, coming amid a 5-3-2 10-game stretch and one day after the Islanders shut out the Bruins. But the Islanders had regressed substantially from a year ago, when they finished 45-27-10 and won a Stanley Cup playoff series for the first time since the 1992-93 season.

Weight’s first order of business will be to figure out how to correct the Islanders’ goaltending situation, which was allowing 2.98 goals per game, and getting more out of the team’s top players. Islanders captain John Tavares leads the team with 32 points in 42 games.

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