Finding perspective for the Astros’ red-hot start to 2017

The Astros, as you know, have been ridiculously good this season.

How good Let’s try to find a bit of perspective. First, the basic numbers. At the moment, the Astros are 41-16, have won 10 games in a row and own a 13.5-game lead in the AL West. Over the weekend, they authored a sweep of the rival Rangers on the road, outscoring Texas 20-7 in the three-game series.

Then there’s Develin, who doesn’t need to run or catch the ball when he’s doing so much fo fill Gronk’s blocking void.

They say it takes a village. The Patriots prefer to pillage a defense, using every personnel hole to their advantage. The Texans were good straight up against the run between the tackles, but had trouble staying with backs laterally and in the open field. Enter Lewis to run and run routes around them.

The Steelers have a hard time covering backs outside, so one might expect the Patriots to use much more of Lewis in that case. The Chiefs have struggled to slow down the power inside, even more so without Derrick Johnson, so that would suggest more of a Blount game.

Because the Steelers or the Chiefs might think that same way as well, that’s exactly when the Patriots will flip the script or add in another wrinkle out of the backfield, such more reverses from Edelman or Amendola.

Doug Baldwin still has not made a Pro Bowl. Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Ricardo Lockette and Tyler Lockett were on the field a relatively small time during their run of contention.steelers_010

Seahawks GM claims team wasn’t ‘malicious’ in hiding Richard Sherman’s injury

Seahawks general manager John Schneider doesn’t believe his team should be punished for how it handled Richard Sherman’s knee injury.

The team reportedly is being investigated by the NFL after coach Pete Carroll revealed on a radio show that his cornerback had been dealing with a significant knee injury. Obviously, it’s against league rules for teams to hide significant injuries from their opponents, so the league is looking into how Seattle handled the situation.

Whaley said he was not privy to the details of the conversation Pegula had with Ryan before he was dismissed. He added that he didn’t need any explanation from Pegula about the decision.

The team promoted offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to be the interim coach for Sunday’s season finale against the Jets, but not even that was Whaley’s decision.

Rex recommended Anthony Lynn be the interim coach, Whaley said Monday.

As for Ryan’s replacement, Whaley did say he would be involved in that process.

I am leading the search, and it is an open search, Whaley said, confirming that a request has been made to interview Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin. He added, of course, that Pegula has the final say.

When asked whether team president Russ Brandon would be involved, Whaley said, He’s the president of the organization and needs to be privy to conversations, but he’s not in on the decision-making process.

Whaley was asked several times what exactly it is that he does as the team’s GM. He didn’t really have an answer. Apparently those all come from the team owner. rams_031

Mozeliak is clearly not happy.

I remember not too long ago this huge giant of a man walking into Studio 42. I’d never seen a baseball player look like this, in person. It was Aaron Judge. I was like, “Oh my goodness.” He was stoic, the same guy that we interview after games now when he hits two home runs for the New York Yankees. There are certain guys you never forget. Trout’s No. 1, but those three after that probably also make up my top five.

Mozeliak is clearly not happy. Even though he maintained his always-even speaking tone and cadence, he didn’t try to hide that in his press conference, and the honesty was refreshing. “Everybody’s frustrated,” he said. “This is not meeting our expectations. This is not meeting Mike’s expectations.”

Thing is, the moves he announced Friday don’t figure to do much to impact the on-field product. The Cardinals designated veteran infielder Jhonny Peralta for assignment (making room for Kolten Wong to return from the DL), a move that surprised nobody, considering Peralta is in the last year of his contract, doesn’t have a regular spot in the lineup and is hitting just .204 with a .462 OPS in 21 games this season.

Mozeliak shuffled around the Cardinals’ coaching staff a bit, too, most notably removing Chris Maloney from his job as third-base coach, a move that wasn’t surprising, either.

Lots of bluster, not much in the way of real on-the-field change. The Pirates held the first overall pick in 2011 and spurned the two-way star Hultzen, instead opting to take an established right-handed pitcher from UCLA named Gerrit Cole, who now anchors their rotation.

The real strength of an athlete or a coach comes from the inside out

The mantra stemmed from relationship-building exercises the Falcons participated in last offseason with Navy SEALs. Prior to Super Bowl 51, Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux described the brotherhood as “the love that we have for one another (that) makes us want to play even harder. We don’t want to let each other down.”

In the aftermath of their Super Bowl loss, the Falcons released a video proclaiming the Super Bowl loss “will not define us.” Moawad also has strong faith in Quinn, whom he first met 10 years earlier as a Dolphins assistant when serving as a consultant for then-head coach Nick Saban.

But nobody can truly know whether Atlanta can avoid a massive Super Bowl hangover until the 2017 season is under way.

“The real strength of an athlete or a coach comes from the inside out,” Moawad said. “Our own beliefs are 10 times more powerful than the beliefs of those outside us. The outside beliefs gain their most power when our inside beliefs aren’t strong.

“All the concepts you heard (the Falcons) talking about — how the brotherhood defines everything we do, we live it and breathe it — you better be living and breathing it right now because it’s going to take that brotherhood to move you past that.”

The Cowboys had three players in the top 10 with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott ranked eighth in player sales. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sixth with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers seventh. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton rounded out the top 10.

The top-selling player on New England’s Super Bowl opponent, the Falcons, was receiver Julio Jones at No. 31.


Patriots, Falcons in overtime; first OT in game’s history

The big advantage the Patriots have with the salary cap is the fact that Brady is willing to play under a $15 million-per-year contract, almost $10 million per year below his market value. He should be the league’s highest-paid quarterback, but that distinction belongs to Andrew Luck at $24.6 million per year.

It helps that Brady has a supermodel wife and a multitude of endorsements — he easily can afford to give the Patriots a $10 million cap gift each year. But he’d probably do it regardless with the understanding that the team will provide him with an excellent supporting cast to aid in the goal of winning more Super Bowls.
For the first time, the Super Bowl is going to overtime. Super Bowl 51 between the Patriots and Falcons was tied 28-28 after regulation after a furious fourth-quarter rally by Tom Brady and the Pats.

The NFL’s overtime rules are a bit involved:

If the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on its first possession, the game is over. If a team scores on defense on the first possession of overtime, the game is over. If a team kicks a field goal on the first possession of overtime, the other team will get the ball and a chance to tie or win.

If the game is tied after both teams have had the ball once, then overtime goes to sudden death.

Unlike the regular season, the teams will play until there’s a winner, meaning there could be multiple 15-minute overtime periods.

He can still get off a nice throw, even though he’s falling down.

This is important, because quarterbacks don’t live in an ideal world. The pocket is never going to be perfect. We’re always going to have bodies around us, so we need to be able to throw from weird angles while keeping mechanics intact. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best at this

Falling away from his target with a blitzer in his face, he still gets it to his receiver with a tight spiral, albeit a little low.

“To that end, where I tried to give him meaningful advice, I said he was slow off the ball at times, and what I meant by that term is you have to come off that edge in simultaneous movement with the ball. The word slow is not as important as saying he is a little late, a little hesitant at times at the snap. I encouraged him to use that advantage where he knows tendencies, he knows formations and he has the ability to get a quicker jump, especially playing in his own stadium when the crowd noise makes it difficult for the offense to hear signals. A fraction of a second can make a difference in getting a quality hit on the quarterback. And we know that maybe the most valuable play for a defense is the sack/fumble.”

Smith said Garrett “has a bright future.”

And he thinks his pairing with Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and Jackson, one of Smith’s former NFL coaches, places Garrett in a good place.

Smith said he gave Garrett more important advice than seeking an increased burst off the edge.