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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kahlil McKenzie commences the Chiefs-Raiders trash talk

And so the athleticism that second-rounder Brian O’Neill showed at rookie minicamp was encouraging to a staff looking for some competition in camp at those positions come summer.

“Well, that’s fine. He can [take over someday],” Roethlisberger said to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But I plan on playing for three to five more years, depending on how the line goes and staying healthy, if I can stay healthy. If he’s going to be their guy, that’s great, but in my perfect world it’s not going to be for a while.”

The only time Roethlisberger didn’t play last year was when he rested in Week 17, but he missed time due to injuries in the previous two seasons. That underscores the need for a capable backup in Pittsburgh, which is a role the Steelers will be hoping Rudolph can fill in the immediate future while questions about what’s next remain on the back burner.

When it did, suffice it to say, the staff was excited to get to work on modernizing the scheme in a way that, they hope, will benefit both Flacco and Jackson.

What will that look like in 2018?

The Arkansas offensive lineman became a hot name as the draft approached and was the first center selected.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said after the draft he fielded several trade offers for the 20th pick but felt he couldn’t pass on a chance to add a rock like Ragnow to the middle of the offensive line.

Everything we’re about is kind of what he is, Quinn said, via MLive.com. So at that point in time, it was a real easy pick. He was a guy we kind of had our eyes on for a while, and it kind of worked out that way.

The Lions have invested heavily in their offensive line the past half-decade, including 2016 first-round left tackle Taylor Decker, 2016 third-round pick Graham Glasgow, and free-agent signees Ricky Wagner and T.J. Lang. Detroit previously used a first-round pick in 2015 on guard Laken Tomlinson, and third-round picks in 2014 and 2013 on Larry Warford and Travis Swanson, respectively, though none remain on the team.

Ragnow projects as a Day 1 starter; the question is whether he will line up at center or guard. sabres_075

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints schedule 2018: New Orleans faces little Big Easy in NFC title push

The Saints were the strongest team in the mighty NFC South last season. For New Orleans to build on that playoff run, it will need to navigate through one of the NFL’s strongest schedules in 2018.

The combined 2017 record of New Orleans’ opponents, thanks in part to having two other playoff teams in its division, is 137-119. That’s tied with Detroit for the second toughest in the league.

Here’s breaking down the Saints’ entire schedule and how their 2018 games set up Drew Brees & Co. for a Super Bowl push.

Bottom line: Brees was re-signed and got some help in the passing game, and the defense got better in the back seven. Those moves came before the draft, from which both sides of the ball will be boosted even more. Despite the degree of difficulty in their schedule, the Saints are on par talent-wise with the heavyweights they will be playing. Brees and coach Sean Payton are back in business as threats to lead New Orleans to its first NFC title in nine years. Record prediction: 12-4

Eagles starting QB Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury during a win over the Rams Dec. 10, which thrust Foles into a leading role. The veteran quarterback went 2-1 as a starter in the regudolphins_116lar season, but then a perfect 3-0 during Philadelphia’s run to a championship.

Foles threw for 971 yards and six touchdowns in the three wins including a 373-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Super Bowl.

NFL Media is also reporting that Foles is getting a $2 million signing bonus in addition to added incentives if he remains the starter during the season. Wentz is expected to be back early in the year, but with the extent of his knee injury he could miss some time early on.

The #Eagles and QB Nick Foles agreed to terms on a $2M raise for 2018, source said, but he can earn much more. Foles can make up to $14M total in playtime, playoffs and Pro Bowl incentives. … He’s been paid a $3M roster bonus & signing bonus of $2M. He will make a $4M salary.

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The Indianapolis Colts already traded down once in this year’s NFL draft.

General Manager Chris Ballard would be open to doing it again before the team makes their first selection next Thursday.

Joining NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Friday, Ballard was asked whether he’s prepared to trade down from the No. 6 spot if the opportunity arises to stockpile additional picks.

If what’s past is prologue, the Los Angeles Chargers should be marking down an L for their Week 1 matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

K.C. has owned Philip Rivers and the Chargers in recent seasons. L.A. has lost the past eight meetings against its division rivals — random fact: Rivers’ youngest daughter, Clare, has yet to witness her father beat the Chiefs.

While speaking about the makeup of the Chargers’ schedule with Ricky Henne of the team’s official website, Rivers pointed out how opening with a division opponent makes it vital getting out of the gate fast.

There might not be a better way to reignite a rivalry between two division foes seemingly headed in divergent directions than for one of the series’ most infamous figures to switch sides. Sherman was released by Seattle after seven years, during which time he routinely antagonized the Niners. But it didn’t take him long to find his landing spot, as he zeroed in on an ascendant San Francisco team led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Even if he’s not back at full form as he recovers from an Achilles injury, the first matchup with his old mates is appointment viewing. 

Titans CB Malcolm Butler vs. Patriots (Nov. 11, Week 10)

Bill Belichick’s decision to bench Butler in the Super Bowl still remains somewhat of a mystery. While this divorce might not be as acrimonious as some others, it will undoubtedly be intriguing to see how one of New England’s former heroes settles in with his new surroundings. With Mike Vrabel taking over as head coach and running back Dion Lewis defecting to Nashville with Butler, there are plenty of juicy connections here. 
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Capitals name Braden Holtby as Game 3 starter

Down 2-0 in their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Washington Capitals are going back to Braden Holtby in net for Game 3 on Tuesday night.

Philipp Grubauer started the first two games. He was the first Capitals goaltender other than Holtby to start a postseason series since 2011.

“Our decision starting Gruby was just the numbers he’s put up over the last while, and Holts was a true pro,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s been working with our goalie coaches on his game and got some momentum toward the end of the season. So you look at what [Holtby’s] done in the playoffs, all those things, I think it’s a pretty good option for us. And coming here to Columbus, here in Columbus, he’s had a lot of games here, and he feels pretty comfortable.”

He does have a 2.00 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in 60 playoff games.

“Braden’s going in tonight, and he’s going to do what he’s done for a while,” Trotz said.

If he doesn’t, the Capitals will be on the cusp of being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the second straight season. They haven’t gotten past the second round since 2012-13 and have never won a Stanley Cup.

Former Raider Marquette King signed a three-year deal with the AFC West-rival Broncos on Thursday, less than a week after Oakland released him in a move that didn’t seem so surprising after the motive came to light. Gruden, the Raiders’ new $100 million man, had issues with King’s eccentric personality and thus pushed for his departure, according to a number of Oakland reporters.

King, who had three years left on the 2016 contract he signed with the Raiders, sounded like he had ulterior motives of his own in choosing the Broncos — and getting the chance to face the Raiders twice in a season.

“I just wanted to find the best place that I thought I would fit,” King told Denver reporters in a conference call after inking his deal. “I think there is somewhat of a revenge factor in there, too.”
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Jacksonville Jaguars finished one game away from their first Super Bowl trip in franchise history in 2017.

That had far more to do with the NFL’s best defense and a punishing ground game than anything Blake Bortles did with his arm.

The 25-year-old did more damage with his legs than his arm in a playoff win over Buffalo, and he was uneven against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Bortles played well enough against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game that the Jaguars re-upped him on a three-year, $54 million deal.

Whether that deal turns out to be a bargain or a bust depends on which Bortles shows up in 2018.

Springer made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the fourth, and Altuve added a run-scoring double with two out in the sixth.

Jones had two hits for the Orioles, who have dropped three straight after winning their opener.

Astros All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa departed after the second inning with discomfort in his left big toe. He fouled a ball off that foot on Sunday but did not leave the game. He wasn’t sure if he’d play on Tuesday.

Tom Brady got hurt, tearing his ACL in the season opener. While backup Matt Cassel led the Pats to an 11-5 record, it wasn’t enough for a playoff berth.

In the 2018 season, the Patriots will depend on a 41-year-old Brady to lead the way. The three-time MVP may be aging better than just about any NFL player ever thanks to a combination of nutrition and sorcery, but he still isn’t getting any younger.

Losing left tackle Nate Solder leaves a question mark on Brady’s blind side. And while the Pats previously had a security blanket in young signal-callers such as Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, Brady’s backup is now 32-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer.

If Brady stays on the field, the Patriots will win their umpteenth consecutive AFC East title. But the end of an era could get here in a hurry if he can’t.

Cashman said Wade is the most realistic option we have as an additional outfielder.patriots_017

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We’ve seen Marcus Peters traded to the Rams and Alec Ogletree shipped to the Giants.

Michael Bennett was sent to the Eagles, and we’re expecting the beginning of the end for the Legion of Boom, with Richard Sherman’s release.

Each of those moves are like dominoes, great big, hard-hitting dominoes, that will have ripple effects on how the free agent market and the draft unfold this year.

Washington had three choices with Kirk Cousins this year: tag him for a third season, let him walk, or lock him up with a long-term deal. As predicted, they let him walk. But instead of bungling their QB situation any further, they opted to make a trade for Smith.

Of those 108, Wilson is 101st in targets per routes run, 94th in receptions per routes run, and 98th in receiving yards per route run.

After the quarterback landscape began to take shape on Tuesday with three ex-Vikings quarterbacks finding jobs elsewhere in Case Keenum and Denver, Sam Bradford and Arizona, and Teddy Bridgewater and the New York Jets, Cousins and McCartney decided against any other visits.

“We had intentions to potentially consider a second visit and, as I said, on that Tuesday, it was a mad scramble for every team to fill that quarterback slot,” McCartney said.

“It wasn’t necessary at that point.” McCartney said Minnesota was “not even close” to the best offer Cousins received, but he would not reveal which team chose to offer Cousins more money.

“It’s not easy doing business,” he said.

New England was 30th in the league against the run, and while Branch had been impressive in previous seasons, he had fallen so far out of favor that the Pats scratched him for Super Bowl LII in favor of keeping Malcolm Butler inexplicably active.

New England will probably decline Shelton’s fifth-year option, given that run-stuffing defensive linemen just aren’t making eight-figure salaries often in free agency; but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Pats offer Shelton a contract extension if he starts his career in Foxborough well.

The return isn’t much for the Browns.

Cleveland sends a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft to the Patriots, although it’s unclear whether it’ll be the pick the Browns acquired from the Packers on Frida y or the fifth-rounder the Browns picked up from the Chiefs for another former first-round pick, Cam Erving.

In return, Cleveland will get a 2019 third-rounder, but given the Patriots’ nearly unprecedented run of success, it seems extremely likely that pick will fall into the 90s next year. patriots_005

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NBA trade rumors: Trail Blazers among teams interested in DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan has been one of the hottest names ahead of next month’s NBA trade deadline, and the Trail Blazers are the latest team to show some interest.

Portland, winner of three straight, has jumped to sixth in the Western Conference standings. The Clippers are still in postseason position (eighth in the standings) but have struggled to consistently find their form.

Since the beginning of the Damian Lillard-C.J. McCollum era, the Trail Blazers have lacked physicality in the post. Despite their explosive backcourt, the Trail Blazers have been unable to find much playoff success.

Despite fingers being pointed at Love throughout his time in Cleveland, Love has brushed off his shoulders and kept moving. He did it once again Tuesday afternoon in responding to questions about Monday’s meeting.

Lost in all of this drama is Love’s production this season, which earned him a spot as an All-Star reserve. He is scoring 18.4 points and grabbing 9.4 rebounds per game while shooting over 50.5 percent from 2-point range and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc on 5.5 attempts. He is a reliable shooter outside and creates scoring opportunities on post-ups. And when his touches dropped after Isaiah Thomas joined the team full-time, he didn’t say one negative word.

Westbrook thought it was “outrageous” George was not voted an All-Star when four players from one team were selected, i.e. Durant and his Warriors teammates. His postgame comments also included a thinly-veiled shot at Damian Lillard.

“Unbelievable, I think it’s just outrageous in my opinion,” Westbrook told reporters of George’s All-Star snub after Tuesday’s win over the Nets. “I don’t know who else made the team but four people from one team, you got guys complaining about getting snubbed until they get it, you got guys that are talking all the time but the guys that deserve it should be in.

“I just don’t understand, it doesn’t make any sense, the guy is leading the league in steals, competes every night, is top-two in his position, it doesn’t make any sense regardless of anything else. There are certain ‘All-Stars’ in this league, everyone is not an All-Star. Just because you get voted in doesn’t make you an All-Star. I think its outrageous but it is what it is.”giants_155

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

He was the guy who wasted a first-round pick on Tim Tebow, a player almost no one else thought could play quarterback at the NFL level.

He went 8-8 in his first season, plunging to a 2-8 finish after starting with six consecutive victories. They were alive in the playoff hunt on the final day of that season, but lost at home by 20 points to the Chiefs. KC finished that year — no kidding — 4-12.

It got no better in the second season, when he was allowed to coach a dozen games but won just three of them. Management had seen enough. After firing him, the Broncos made the playoffs the next five years in a row, including two Super Bowls and one championship.

Forget the offseason. This would be the top storyline of the 2018-19 postseason if the stars align for that matchup. Imagine if Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s return coincides with a playoff matchup against the Patriots – 17 years after the Tuck Rule” game on Jan. 19, 2002, that is considered the launch point for Belichick, Brady and eight Super Bowl appearances.

Would a Raiders’ victory knock down the rest of the Patriots’ dominoes the AFC has been hoping would fall while simultaneously renewing one of the NFL’s most-fabled franchises?

Going back to the first hire of the offseason, the Bears wasted no time in landing Matt Nagy, who succeeded Pederson as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. The Colts’ pursuit of McDaniels was predicated on the fact that they wanted an offensive-minded coach to reboot the career of a hopefully healthy Andrew Luck. Reich, as Pederson’s latest right-hand man, is the right man for the task.

The biggest difference between McDaniels and Reich is experience. McDaniels turns 42 in April, but he’s had a previous head-coaching stint in Denver plus multiple long stretches on New England’s staff. Reich turned 56 in December, but he entered coaching late, only 10 years ago.

After being one of the best-ever backup QBs for the Bills behind Jim Kelly, Reich has built his second NFL career in his own right. In 2008, his first shot came with the Colts’ offensive staff under the legendary Tom Moore. That crosses over into another familiar coaching name with the Colts — Bruce Arians.

Arians, as interim coach during Luck’s rookie season in 2012, was NFL coach of the year filling in for Chuck Pagano. Arians got his head-coaching shot later than most, and unexpectedly. After few winning seasons with Indianapolis and Arizona, his short time in that capacity will go down as a success. Reich’s age shouldn’t be a factor, because as Arians did, he connects well to young players.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The long-term status of Miami Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons is uncertain after the veteran defensive player went missing Saturday

It probably isn’t a recipe worth following — spotting teams double-digit leads time and time again — but it’s working. This team, short-handed and embattled as it is, is finding a way to get the job done.

You can’t overstate the job Pearl has done in getting Auburn to this point, but it’s also impossible to overlook how the program got into this position in the first place.

The Dolphins, with what was supposed to be their season opener postponed to November because of Hurricane Irma, relocated to California ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chargers and, on Saturday, the team was unable to locate him. Although he was accounted for Sunday, he was listed as inactive ahead of the 4:05 p.m. EDT kickoff. Timmons had started 101 consecutive NFL games.

Jones’s aim, he and his associates have said, is to slow the negotiating process so that all owners have time to consider whether paying Goodell so handsomely is wise. Some owners have interpreted it as a move to oust Goodell in what amounts to a temper tantrum by Jones over the six-game suspension given to Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott under the personal conduct policy. Jones has said the two issues are unrelated. He has said he has the league’s best interests at heart.

“We do need to improve,” he said following a Cowboys’ victory over the Washington Redskins late last month, talking about the “challenging times” being faced by the NFL. “There’s no question about that. We need to improve throughout, every constituency in the NFL …. This could be a great occasion for us to look for accountability, get it and move forward in a very productive way.”

It is a season that has included President Trump urging owners to fire players who protest during the anthem; Houston Texans owner Robert McNair enraging players by saying during an owners’ meeting that the NFL “can’t have the inmates running the prison”; and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began the players’ protest movement last season, filing a grievance accusing teams of colluding to keep him out of the league.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette says Steelers fan was involved in his traffic accident

Remember that minor fender-bender involving Leonard Fournette Tuesday in Jacksonville? Turns out the motorist who ran into him was not only a Steelers fan, her family had been at the Jaguars’ game in Pittsburgh last Sunday.

The Jaguars rookie running back was uninjured in the three-car, chain-reaction crash on I-295, and the woman who ran into the back of his 2017 Mercedes Maybach was also OK бн although quite surprised to see who she had hit.

It definitely felt good to be out there, Wilson said. I really did miss my teammates and just being out there. It’s a lot of fun and felt good to get back in it.

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said Wilson was the difference in the game.

She’s a world-class player, Mitchell said. One of the best human beings on the planet that plays women’s basketball.

Former Kentucky forward Alexis Jennings added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Gamecocks (16-3, 5-2). The junior averaged 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds during her two seasons with the Wildcats.

Former Sooners wide receiver and current Dolphins wideout Kenny Stills was live on Instagram talking football when Mayfield’s verified account popped up among those monitoring the event.

According to the Miami Herald, the Dolphins will be looking to add a quarterback in the draft this April and may even add one in the first round.
Almost every mock draft has Mayfield going in the first round, so the scenario is certainly possible. Now, is it likely he slips to the 11th pick? That remains to be seen. patriots_141_ce6f338aae9bea9a-180x180