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.
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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.
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NFL Draft 2017: Packers reportedly considering DeShone Kizer

Chalk this one up to rumors that might not necessarily make sense and therefore is probably a smoke screen, but the Green Bay Packers reportedly are considering taking Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer with the first pick of the second round.

Asked if he had any fears as to how far he might drop down the board, Mixon responded: “Honestly, I didn’t know. Everything was up in the air. I was blessed to come out as a Cincinnati Bengal. I can’t thank them enough.

“It was a very exciting process, little anxious in the process, but at the end of the day, it’s all over with, and I can lift that bridge off my shoulders and thank the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I think I bring the piece that they were missing. I feel like I’m going to be very dynamic in that offence. I really feel like me and [ninth overall pick] John Ross are going to bring something to the table that [they] never seen before.

“We’re looking forward to coming out there. Of course, the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl.”

Pressed on how involved he will be with community work in Cincinnati as he continues to try to repair his image, Mixon said: “Very involved. Mostly with the younger kids around the community, whether an AAU team, football team, children’s hospital — I like doing a lot of things like that.

“Most people don’t get that talking to, or that person to be around them for advice, or anything like that. That’s what I’m going to do, just to change somebody’s life. You never know who’s going through it.”

Fred Hoiberg ends press conference when asked if Isaiah Thomas carried the ball

There has been much talk about Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and his postgame press conference after Game 4. It was then that he indicated the reason it was hard to guard Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was because he always carried the ball. He called it “discontinuing” his dribble. After Game 5, a reporter asked Hoiberg if Thomas carried the ball during the game on Wednesday night. Hoiberg said “No” and walked right out of the press conference. To be fair, it was the last question of his segment, but we love drama anyway.

“Let me say this. Isaiah Thomas is a hell of a player. An unbelievable competitor. He’s a warrior. Everything he’s going through right now, he had a hell of a game tonight. But when you’re allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, he is impossible to guard. He’s impossible to guard. When you’re able to put your hand underneath the ball, and take two or three steps and put it back down, it’s impossible to guard him in those situations.”
The NBA, where something is always happening.

A glowing piece on Cooke’s changed character from Rossi can be found in the archives of the Pittsburgh Tribune. Our own Penguins blog wrote quite the rebuttal back in 2011. It’s a great read on the situation.

Fast-forward to March 2017, where Tom Sestito spent a minute of ice time fighting and being ejected for a late hit on Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom. Our site seemed like one of the few outlets questioning that whole scene, along with the Altoona Mirror’s piece echoing the disappointment. Only radio silence and news hits on Sestito’s disagreements with his four game suspension came from Pittsburgh.
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Dave Choate, the editor of The Falcoholic, was not high on Ryan at all.

“Look, Matt Ryan could be a very good quarterback in the NFL,” Choate wrote in 2008. “More than likely he’ll be at least an average starter, which most teams don’t have. I just fail to see where the enormous fuss is coming from, here.”

Instead of Ryan, fans wanted Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey hasn’t exactly been a bust, but he also hasn’t lived up to his draft status after being selected fifth overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Ryan was the right pick for the Falcons, no matter how disappointed fans were on draft day.

Imagine being a Seahawks fan who wanted quarterback Jimmy Clausen over safety Earl Thomas. There were plenty of fans who were sold on Clausen in the second round of the 2010 draft.

The Bills have a lot of needs to fill, but just six draft picks to work with. That’s not much for a team that needs help at quarterback, wide receiver, and defensive back.

Like all moves down, it will depend on the players on the board and it’s difficult to project what prospects would be available at No. 10 overall. But if the Bills get an opportunity to add another second-day selection — which should be rich with receiver and defensive back talent — Buffalo should jump at the opportunity.

Coincidentally, the emails were revealed the same week that Sports Illustrated did a longform about the recovery of Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys. In the article, former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said a collector emailed him claiming to have purchased his game-worn Super Bowl XLII jersey, helmet, pants, and thigh pads from a Giants equipment manager.nike_cardinals_1039

Broncos add DeMarcus Walker, whose sack production couldn’t be ignored

DeMarcus Walker, the sack artist out of Florida State, has been selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round with the 51st pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

The former Seminoles defensive end racked up 27 career sacks in four seasons, earning first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors in 2016. Walker was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, after the standout end totaled 16 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

“I think we’ve just gotten used to the fact that they don’t get it right, and I don’t know — it’s hard to have that hope anymore.”

DePodesta knows that he and his colleagues have their work cut out for them.

“[Rebuilding a team] is like redoing a house — you need to rip down all the walls and get it down to the studs,” DePodesta told MMQB. “When you do that, you look at it and go, ‘wow this looks terrible.’ We never want to go through this again and I think that is our attitude.”

The Oakland Raiders were in a similar situation a few years ago, without the luxury of loads of cap space, which the Browns do have. They had a long string of losing seasons, a revolving door at quarterback, and a defense that couldn’t stop many teams. Now they’re coming off their first playoff appearance in 14 years, and it all started with the draft. Since 2012, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has made a habit of trading back to acquire more picks, and made some franchise-changing decisions in the draft.
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It could be attributed to a disappointing senior season.

The CSU defense had its moments late, but the Rams’ second-half surge was driven by offense.

I mentioned overall percentile performances above, but here are CSU’s offense-only percentile performances for the last eight games of the season: 86 percent, 76 percent, 84 percent, 84 percent, 93 percent, 98 percent, 97 percent, 79 percent.

Hill was phenomenal against Northern Colorado and decent against Minnesota and Wyoming, but he tore his ACL, and Stevens took full advantage of his second chance.

If there’s anyone who can relate to Tunsil’s awful draft day, it’s Sapp. The University of Miami standout was slated to be a top-five pick, but a failed marijuana test at that year’s draft combine gave teams reason to doubt his judgment. That report was thrust into the spotlight the night before the 1995 draft. Rumors flew that Sapp hadn’t just failed a weed test that year but tested positive for marijuana and cocaine multiple times throughout his college career.

Though Sapp vehemently denied the leaks, players like Mike Mamula, Kyle Brady, and Derrick Alexander all heard their names called by then-commissioner Pete Rozelle before he did. The Buccaneers lucked into a bargain at No. 12, keeping the burly lineman in the Sunshine State. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro for Tampa Bay. His play in the trenches helped set the foundation that transformed the Bucs from league laughing stock to Super Bowl XXXVII champions.

Marino put together a legendary career at the University of Pittsburgh but still slipped to the 27th pick of the 1983 NFL draft. That slide was due, in part, to a heady crop of passers, including John Elway, Jim Kelly, Ken O’Brien, and Tony Eason. It also could be attributed to a disappointing senior season.
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Saturday’s times, TV channels, and streaming info

Heres how we picked the Spurs-Grizzlies series.

Finally, Saturday night ends with the toughest first-round matchup to call: The Los Angeles Clippers versus the Utah Jazz. The two teams jockeyed back and forth for playoff position, resulting in a tie with a regular season record of 51-31. But the Clippers won the season series, 3-1, and took the fourth seed (and home court advantage) into the playoffs. Itll be a hard-fought matchup between two teams with dominant defensive-minded centers, and each team could stand to lose something going forward as a result of a first-round exit.

Golden State exerted more energy than it expected for an opening round at home. Draymond Green posted a near-triple-double with 19, 12 and nine, Kevin Durant was solid with 32 points, and Stephen Currys very good 29-point night was overshadowed by his opponents backcourt scoring clinic.

It took every contributor on this Warriors teams historic roster to secure what was supposed to be an easy win. It also took a pair of incredibly timed blocks from Green to have the fans at Oracle at ease with which side of the close game their team was on.

Portland is down 1-0, but this was a heroic display nonetheless. This team was considered out of the playoffs after it traded Mason Plumlee ahead of the trade deadline. Now, its worth wondering if this team can make it a series with the Warriors.
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NBA playoff scores 2017: Recap from Day 2 of NBA playoffs

The first weekend of the NBA Playoffs is over. We got an upset from the Bulls on Sunday, while the Wizards, Warriors, and Rockets took care of business at home. We’ll recap Sunday’s games right here:

Great point guards generally accomplish the same set of goals on the floor, each choosing their own preferred way to do it. Where Chris Paul is sneaky and exploitative, Russell Westbrook is soaring dynamics, and Stephen Curry thrives off causing panic, Wall’s trick is to treat the defense like they’re not even there. He’ll loft a touch pass over them to his big man, or glide by them effortlessly. Occasionally, he needs a bit of help — but his reaction here sums it all up, right?

Point guard Collin Sexton was also excellent for the U.S. The Alabama commit made plays for himself and others all night after an injury to fellow point guard Trevon Duval in the first half. He finished with seven points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals in the win.

Here’s three things we learned during the game. As a versatile safety/nickel cornerback, Baker’s highlight reel plays and explosiveness as an underneath coverage and run defender have earned him praise. And while NFL teams are intrigued with his potential starting ability, they aren’t as confident in his grade as a top-50 pick.

Baker’s projection is reliant on him becoming the next Tyrann Mathieu, which is a risk for an NFL team looking for a safe starting option. Baker’s best-bet projection is Damarious Randall, who was a surprise first-round pick for the Packers but has not yet lived up to that billing.

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The Warriors slumped after the All-Star break when Kevin Durant went down with a terrifying MCL sprain

The San Antonio Spurs take on the Golden State Warriors in a nationally televised game with definite playoff implications on Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET, and the Western Conference showdown will air on ESPN and can be live streamed on WatchESPN.

The Warriors slumped after the All-Star break when Kevin Durant went down with a terrifying MCL sprain, and they briefly surrendered the West’s No. 1 seed to the Spurs in mid-March. But they have since won their last eight games, including a seven-point win in a defensive exhibition against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

The Warriors drew the short end of the stick, though, and see the Spurs in the second game of a back-to-back. Science says they should rest their stars, though the NBA is staunchly against doing so on a national stage.

Carolina’s linebackers are talented run stoppers, but are often caught out of position when asked to cover tight ends. The team allowed Kyle Rudolph to gain 97 yards, Tony Gonzalez finished with 81 yards and a touchdown, while Zach Miller caught three passes for 42 yards.

The Panthers caught a break in Week 10 when Vernon Davis was injured in the first quarter. It changed how the San Francisco 49ers offense operated and forced Colin Kaepernick to do too much. Covering tight ends has been this defense’s Achilles heel, and the Patriots have the means to attack it.

Gronkowski represents a particularly unique challenge. Carolina’s secondary doesn’t have much size, and lacks the ability to compete in jump ball situations. This should be exploited at every opportunity.
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