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NBA Basketball News

The Rams are back in their old home in the Coliseum

I wouldn’t say I’m that good of a cook; my wife is good, and I like to help. We have kids — ages 8, 3 and almost 7 months — so we’re always switching it up to get them to eat. We eat at home a lot; my son has a gluten intolerance, so it’s hard to eat out sometimes. When you cook at home, you can be much more aware of the nutrition. You know exactly what is going into your food. During the summer, we eat at home every night. You can make a pretty good steak at home without spending 100 bucks.

NBC’s “Football Night in America,” the most-watched studio show in all of sports, averaged 7.359 million viewers through the first nine weeks of the 2017 season. That’s down 7.2 percent from the same period last season. CBS’ “The NFL Today” averaged 3.3 million viewers over the first nine weeks of the season, down 5.7 percent from the same stretch last year.

The Rams are back in their old home in the Coliseum; too bad this game won’t be in the old Met in Bloomington, outdoors, like in the NFL Films montages.

Elsewhere around the league (as Brent, Irv and Phyllis used to say), the Patriots and Raiders play in Mexico City, bringing back memories of playoff games past (Tuck Rule, anyone?), and the Eagles and Cowboys give us a taste of Tom Landry, Dick Vermeil, Buddy Ryan and Jimmy Johnson. If you want to throw in the Titans (formerly the Oilers) and Steelers on Thursday night, feel free, but not if you’re from Houston and hold really long grudges. Mike Renfro was inbounds, for what that’s worth.

Dallas drives into Philadelphia territory, but it stalls when Prescott overthrows a receiver on third-and-10. The Eagles will start their drive at their 10 following the punt. texans_082

Smith had his first touchdown since signing with Philadelphia on Thursday.

Well, it almost happened for the Dolphins’ Jordan Phillips, who hustled every bit of his 333-pound frame toward the end zone when he picked off Wentz:

It looked like a touchdown at first, but he was ruled out at the 2-yard line after replay. At least big guys coming up with interceptions is still fun to watch.

Smith had his first touchdown since signing with Philadelphia on Thursday. It was a beauty. Wentz heaves this one under pressure, and Smith is wide, wide open and into the end zone with ease:

What about the quarterback pointing to defenders outside the box while looking at the WR? Well that’s to let the WR know who his “hot” player is. I’m sure y’all have heard the term “hot route.” A hot route, or sight if it’s weak, is designed to get the ball out quickly during a pressure. The protectors on a certain play can only account for X amount of people. If one extra than X blitzes, that’s when a WR runs his hot route. This is what the quarterback is reminding the WR, who might not see who the center is pointing out.

Lastly, pointing is a sign that the quarterback knows what he’s doing. Lots of young quarterbacks are busy reading the defense or focusing on other things to be on the same page as the line. That’s how you get unfortunate quarterback hits, like the one Christian Hackenberg of the Jets recently took.

The most unexpected development Week 1 for the Eagles was the way their secondary stepped up when Ronald Darby left with an ankle injury. QB Kirk Cousins and WR Terrelle Pryor (6 catches, 66 yards) were kept in check, and second-year player Jalen Mills came up with a big INT. There are still many questions surrounding this CB group, particularly if Darby is down for an extended period of time, but they acquitted themselves well against Washington with help from the defensive front.steelers_123

49ers rookie Reuben Foster earns starting LB job

Reuben Foster has been named a starter by 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, according to the team’s website.

Shanahan told reporters after practice Tuesday that Foster earned the starting position at weak linebacker. However, the position can still be usurped by another linebacker should he perform better than Foster in the coming weeks.

That’s a lot to put on a team that barely finished above .500, 8-7-1, last season. But Washington, especially their franchised quarterback playing for his mega-contract and possibly entering his final season in town, have a chance to not only entertain the country often, but challenge the Cowboys and Giants for the NFC East title again.

The NFC East got a lot tougher since Washington’s last division title, in 2015, and there’s no real proof that they kept pace. They’ll find out soon enough with that opener at home against the Eagles, in Year 2 of the Pederson/Wentz era. Never mind chasing down the Cowboys and Giants, both playoff teams last year; they need to stay ahead of Philadelphia.

Whatever happens, everything will revolve around Cousins, who already has lost two crucial targets in free agency with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. He also has to break in new threats in Terrelle Pryor and oft-injured, second-year receiver Josh Doctson. The defense has to take a major leap. If it can’t, Washington will be fighting to keep out of the cellar.

Nobody will confuse this much-shorter righthander with the Big Unit, baseball’s Hall of Fame lefty. Johnson, the No. 16 overall pick by Atlanta in the 1966 draft, had the misfortune of being thrust into an expansion franchise. He went 8-28 as a starter for the Falcons, completing fewer than half of his passes (48.1) and having almost double interceptions (65) to touchdowns (34). He gets the nod over Kim McQuilken, who was terrible but for a much shorter time.dolphins_027

Cardell Hayes’ lawyers to question doctors of Will Smith’s widow before manslaughter sentencing

Racquel Smith, wife former Saints star Will Smith, leaves court in December during a trial for the man who killed her husband. Bryant Lee, for SB Nation
Two medical professionals who treated Racquel Smith, the widow of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, have been subpoenaed for a special hearing on March 14, an Orleans Parish court clerk confirmed.

Dr. Stephen Thon, an orthopedic surgeon at Tulane Medical Center, and Andrea Lott, an occupational therapist at the LSU Health Sciences Center, are believed to have treated Racquel Smith the night that Cardell Hayes, 29, killed her husband last April in New Orleans.

Hayes was convicted in December of attempted manslaughter of Smith, in addition to manslaughter of her husband, after she claimed several times during trial that Hayes shot her in both her legs on the night her husband was killed.

“I felt burning all through my body, and I just kind of grabbed my legs. I didn’t know where I’d been shot but I knew I was shot … I kind of just played dead,” she testified.

Smith said she was shot in both of her legs with a single bullet, and she showed her wounds to the jury. She also said that she had a surgically inserted metal rod in her right leg.

“He didn’t have that to do to my baby,” she testified, before addressing Hayes directly. “And you know it. Or to me. I didn’t do anything for you to shoot me.”

Hayes’ testimony conflicted with Smith’s. He testified in court that he asked his arresting officers how Smith got shot. He said they told him to “shut up” and keep walking.


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The Chiefs could give the Denver offense some problems as well

Given the seemingly lopsided nature of the matchups when the Chiefs have the ball, the burden will fall as usual on the defense if the Chiefs are going to win. The Chiefs could give the Denver offense some problems as well. But if the game is to be Cairo Santos Authentic Womens Jersey decided on a down-by-down basis, the Broncos have the advantage. The Chiefs are lugging around a consistently unproductive offense. Kansas City will have to force turnovers in big numbers or otherwise make up for offensive deficiencies with some big plays in the kicking game. Those things are difficult to predict. It’s not hard to predict offensive futility Charcandrick West Authentic Womens Jersey from the Chiefs because we’ve seen it in most of their games this season. Broncos 24, Chiefs 17

The onside kick occurred after the Redskins had closed the score to 24-19 and had all sorts of momentum with 9:22 remaining. They were finally cashing in opportunities, and the sense certainly was that Dallas would have a hard time stopping them. The Redskins entered knowing they might try an onside kick based off a certain look that they received.

“We had the look exactly the way we wanted to,” Gruden said. “We just kicked it a little hard. Twelve foot putt, we hit it 15 feet. Those are chances that, if we see something that’s there and we practice it and we like it, we’ve got to take chances to do it. It can change the course of the game. It was worth a chance.”

Hopkins added, “If that ball went 5 yards less, I give those guys a better shot. I just caught it too heavy. It was there. I just hit it too hard. Any kick like that is taking a chance, but I limited our chances in that I hit it too hard.”

The Redskins couldn’t really stop Dallas’ offense enough, either, as the Cowboys scored on five of their seven possessions (in which they weren’t killing the clock). So maybe Dallas rolls downfield anyway. The problem is the defense. One reason Gruden likely went for it was knowing that they needed to keep pushing to try to win and couldn’t rely on a three-and-out. Or any-amount-of-plays-and-out, no matter where they started.

“We joked about it,” Baldwin said. “I’m sure you guys know now we’ve been begging for that play for a couple weeks now, trying to get that done. However, I didn’t want it in the red zone. I wanted the target in the red zone.

McCown picked up where he left off for the Cleveland Browns

After Kessler left the game with an injury, McCown picked up where he left off for the Cleveland Browns and posted a 25.6 Total QBR. Like Kessler, McCown was sacked four times and completed about half of his passes (14-of-27) against the Steelers. He had a costly fumble in the fourth quarter which was returned for a TD by the Steelers (negative-1.7 EPA), as it came when the Browns were within one score, and sealed the victory for Pittsburgh.

Overall, Kessler and McCown combined to post an 18.2 Total QBR on Sunday, which was the team’s worst QBR in a game in the past two seasons. The Cleveland QB roller coaster continues as the health Dwight Freeney Womens Jersey of Kessler remains a question.

They simply needed to have more wins banked by now. They were lucky to start the year 3-0 while outscoring the opposition by just 13 points, and they were subsequently unlucky to go on a four-game losing streak while being outscored by only 18 points. It’s a shame, because the Ravens do have a genuinely great defense, especially against the run, in which they were No. 1 in DVOA going into Sunday, and then held Ezekiel Elliott to 97 rushing yards on 25 carries, which is impressive given Elliott’s recent standards of ridiculousness.

The Colts have to hope that Luck, who missed nine games last season due to injuries, will be able to get through the concussion protocol before their Dec. 5 game at the New York Jets because an extended absence will severely damage their chance of catching the Texans.

“You don’t ever want to be without anybody, but we have been down this road before Grady Jarrett Womens Jersey and handled it well,” Pagano said. “Faced a bunch of adversity and obstacles just like everybody else. This team that we are playing was without theirs [quarterback Ben Roethlisberger] for a game or two, I believe. It’s a part of the National Football League. Our guys will respond and it’s a matter of everybody stepping up their game.”

Promoter Kathy Duva, right, says Kovalev has more drive to succeed

“I had been around boxers before Sergey and I knew how difficult it was for me to talk a guy into a fight,” Klimas said. “They’ve been, for example, three months at the Don Turner camp and I call [the fighter] and say, ‘Look, we’re going to have a fight in three weeks.’ You know the answer I’m getting? ‘I don’t think I’m gonna be ready.’ What? You in the freaking camp for a month and now you’re telling me you’re not going to be ready in another three weeks? This man [pointing at Kovalev] never said that. He probably doesn’t even know how to say, ‘Who is my Brad Richardson Authentic Jersey opponent?’

“Every time I called Sergey [and said], fight on Saturday, [he said], ‘Good, what weight, where?’ That’s it. Never asked me is he right-handed, is he left-handed, how many amateur fights did he have, what’s his background? He’s not making any money but he knows he needs to go to fight. How can you not believe in him?”

Since Duva first saw him she has believed in him, too.

“Obviously, our attempts are way up,” McCarthy said. “But let’s be honest with how people are playing us, what’s going on on the video. We’re being challenged aggressively as far as coverage schemes. So it’s definitely real production.

“You look at the game in Tennessee [a 47-25 loss], I understand what the final score was, but there was a point there in the third quarter — maybe about the 7-minute mark — we clearly thought we were back in the game and didn’t get it to one score. The production that we were having as an offense was a big part of that, and they didn’t back off scheme-wise. They were as aggressive in the fourth quarter as they were in the first quarter. So it’s definitely real production.”

Adams: In what has been a breakout season for the third-year receiver, Adams is on pace for 88 catches, 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns — all career highs. Last season, he caught 50 passes for 483 yards and one touchdown. Adams already has been targeted 70 Brandon Prust Authentic Jersey times in nine games.

Cobb: Despite missing one game (and half of another) because of a hamstring injury, Cobb is on pace for 84 catches (which would be second most of his career) but only 811 yards (fourth most) and just five touchdowns (fourth most).

Larry Fitzgerald catches his 100th career touchdown pass

Larry Fitzgerald is now in a rarefied group of NFL receivers. He caught his 100th career touchdown pass Sunday, making him the 10th player in league history to ever hit the milestone.

Fitzgerald made his 99th career touchdown catch, a 3-yard reception from quarterback Carson Palmer, in the second quarter of the Cardinals’ Sunday Night Football matchup with the New England Patriots. His 100th TD catch came in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals fought to take a lead. The 1-yard Fitzgerald catch and subsequent PAT gave the Cardinals a one-point lead over the Patriots.

Garoppolo, starting at Will Sutton Jersey quarterback in Brady’s stead, looked competent throughout. New England’s first score of the night was a 37-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Chris Hogan, which capped off an eight-play, 74-yard drive for the Patriots.

Garoppolo certainly wasn’t solely William Perry Jersey responsible for the Patriots’ success, even if he did complete a pass to himself. New England’s defense was aggressive against the Cardinals offense, sacking Carson Palmer twice and forcing a fumble. Still, it was a perfectly respectable performance from Garoppolo, and he looked prepared and effective in Brady’s absence.

The Patriots turned the ball over, too, and the Cardinals capitalized on those opportunities. Arizona sacked Garoppolo twice, and former Patriot Chandler Jones and his new Cardinals teammate Calais Campbell each recovered fumbles. Those turnovers led to 14 of Arizona’s points.

The Cardinals know that, considering the ages of Fitzgerald and Palmer, this is the team’s only shot to win a Super Bowl with this group. After a 13-3 finish in the regular season last year, Arizona made it to the NFC Championship, but lost to the Panthers. The team wants to take that next step this season.

Fitzgerald continues to prove that he has plenty to contribute to the Cardinals’ offensive success. He hauled in his 100th career touchdown catch on Sunday night, joining an elite group of just nine other NFL players to reach that mark. Fitzgerald made catch after catch, converting first downs and keeping drives alive for Arizona.

The Cardinals were in position to win the game late in the fourth quarter with a field goal, but the Chandler Catanzaro attempt went wide left.

Despite the loss, the Cardinals look poised to try to take a step forward this year and build on last year’s successes. It was a big win for New England to start the season, and the Patriots appear prepared to be competitive in Brady’s absence.

Paul Pierce to return for 19th season, then retire

L.A. Clippers forward Paul Pierce announced Monday via The Players’ Tribune that he will return for his 19th season, then retire.

“This is it, my final season,” Pierce said. “It’s time to move on from the game of basketball. Just like any difficult decision, I think you’ve got to be at peace with yourself. I’m at peace with retiring, but I’ve got one more ride left. One more season. One more opportunity.”

Pierce, who turns 39 in October, said he felt uncertainty about coming back for 2016-17 because of the grind of another NBA offseason. But upon contemplating the Clippers’ first-round playoff loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, he said unfinished business pulled him back to Los Angeles for another title run.

“I think why not give it one more shot, especially the way we went out of the playoffs, the injuries,” Pierce said at Clippers media day Monday. “Obviously, you’ve got to be good, you’ve got to be lucky, but I just want to just give it one more shot.

“Like I said, to win a championship here for the Los Angeles Clippers would be monumental, and if I can be a part of that, that’s something I thought about, and that’s something that drove me from August, starting in August on.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers addressed Pierce’s decision to make this season his last as an NBA player.

“Paul has meant a lot to me, obviously,” said Rivers, who won an NBA title with Pierce in Boston in 2008. “When you win a title with someone, just like him and KG [Kevin Garnett] and the whole group, you’re connected with that person, those people for the rest of your lives, and you should be.”

In many ways, Erving was the original athlete-businessman for NBA players. His first deal with Converse was worth an unprecedented $20,000. Erving was also part of the first licensed video game “Dr. J vs Larry Bird,” which was released by Electronic Arts in 1983. As part of his endorsement, Erving took the option to purchase 20,000 shares of the company at $1 a share. He held on to it, which was eventually worth millions. He also was an investor in a Philadelphia-based Coca-Cola bottling plant for more than 20 years.

Erving, considered the father of the slam dunk, played for five years in the ABA with the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets before the merger with the NBA. He then played more than a decade with the Philadelphia 76ers, leading them to a title in 1983. Erving, whose number is retired by both the 76ers and the Nets, was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

Earlier this month, Rivers said Pierce was on the fence about returning for another season but that he believed Pierce has something left in the tank.

Pierce played the first 15 seasons of his career in Boston, nine of them for Rivers.

Rivers recruited Pierce to Los Angeles last season as a veteran presence with knowledge of how to win an NBA championship, hoping he would be the final piece to push the Clippers over the top. But injuries to All-Stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led to a first-round postseason exit.