Lions’ Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia ‘in lockstep’ on personnel decisions

Detroit – Before a crowd of the nearly 4,000, the Detroit Lions held their annual Season Ticket Member Summit at Ford Field on Monday. The event, hosted by play-by-play announcer Dan Miller, had general manager Bob Quinn, team president Rod Wood and coach Matt Patricia taking questions from the audience.

Here were some of the highlights from that Q&A:

Patricia said he’s been working hard to familiarize himself the current roster, and while several of those evaluations were easy, there were about a dozen or so players he needed to study to see how they would fit into the schemes he wants to run in Detroit. That’s where he was able to lean on Quinn.

“Honestly, with Bob’s help, trusting his opinion and evaluation, knowing we look at players the same way, look at guys in the same light, how they’re used, their roles, Bob is familiar schematically what I do defensively and what I’ve done before. It was really an easy conversation,” Patricia said.

It was just last month that Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Beckham “will not set foot on a field” without a new contract. That came not long after a report by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo in February that OBJ wants $20 million per year in his next contract. Last year, he made it known in an UNINTERRUPTED interview that he wants to be the highest-paid player—not just receiver—in the league.

All of this drama follows a suspicious hotel room video involving Beckham earlier this offseason. Per ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert, Giants co-owner John Mara is on the record this offseason of saying he is “tired of answering questions about Odell’s behavior.”

When he is on the field, there is no denying the type of impact he can make. He had at least 90 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons before an ankle injury limited to just four games last year.la_kings_014

From Jonathan: Who are some of your top offensive lines going into 2018?

Meanwhile, the two teams that played for the national title also have reloaded on the line. Georgia lost left tackle Isaiah Wynn, but the Bulldogs might be deeper on the line this season as young players develop. Andrew Thomas, who started at right tackle as a true freshman last year, will replace Wynn on the left side. Lamont Gaillard returns at center, and Ben Cleveland seems to have locked down the right guard spot he won last November in an offensive line shakeup. At right tackle Isaiah Wilson, a five-star recruit in the class of 2017 who redshirted last season, seems to be holding off Cade Mays, a class of 2018 five-star recruit who enrolled in January. That could change by the time the Bulldogs open their season against Austin Peay. This spring, Kirby Smart predicted legitimate competition all along the line, and he wouldn’t hesitate to shuffle the group. So freshmen such as Mays and guard Trey Hill still have a chance to play their way into starting spots. And given the quality of the players they’d have to beat out to win those jobs, that competition can only make the Bulldogs better.

When Alabama beat Georgia in the national title game, then true-freshman Alex Leatherwood was filling in for Jonah Williams at left tackle after Williams went out with a sprained ankle and a ruptured deltoid in the third quarter. Williams is back now, which means Leatherwood should find a home at right tackle. Ross Pierschbacher, who has spent most of his career at left guard, has moved to center to replace graduated Bradley Bozeman. Lester Cotton has moved from right to left guard to replace Pierschbacher. Jedrick Wills, who also can play tackle if injuries force the Crimson Tide to shuffle, looks like the favorite at right guard.

After McMahon announced in January that he was re-launching the XFL, he sold $100 million in WWE stock to provide league funding. However, McMahon expects to spend around $500 million on the league in the first three seasons, reports ESPN.

People were focused on the $100 million, but the truth is that doesn’t even get us to the 20-yard line, league CEO and commissioner Oliver Luck told ESPN.

The biggest cost for the league will be salaries for the players and coaches. Luck said that average salaries for a 40-man roster would start around $75,000, but more popular players could earn more.

The original XFL, which only lasted for one season in 2001, paid players an average of $45,000 for a 10-week schedule.

The XFL will re-launch in 2020 with eight teams of 40-man rosters playing a 10-game schedule. McMahon said the game will be played faster—in about two hours—and will be more fan-centric. It will not feature any crossovers from WWE talent.

Dolphins see Frank Gore’s age as irrelevant

When it comes to NFL running backs reaching the age of 30, it’s usually the player who tries to convince anyone who will listen that he hasn’t changed. For 35-year-old Dolphins running back Frank Gore, the player doesn’t need to make the case on his own.

It’s irrelevant, coach Adam Gase has said regarding Gore, via Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post. He’s a different dude.

Gase experienced Gore in 2008, when Gase worked with the 49ers as an assistant coach.

Niko Goodrum (B), 15 percent, Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros (LHP Dallas Keuchel): Sometimes we’re reticent to use a hitter against a name-brand pitcher. Keuchel is still effective, but not someone to shy away from. Stating he’s the weakest Astros starter reflects how strong the first four are, though some of it is due to Keuchel’s skills being off so far this season. Specifically, the southpaw is fanning fewer hitters, amplified by a bit of bad luck with a higher BABIP. Goodrum’s career is far too young to draw anything from splits other than with an .886 OPS versus lefties, the switch-hitter is comfortable from the right-handed side of the batter’s box.

Indianapolis went 4-12 last year, which prompted a coaching change and continued change to a roster that General Manager Chris Ballard has worked to overhaul since getting the job in 2017. Some may see the need for that process to continue a bit longer before the Colts can return to the postseason, but safety Malik Hooker doesn’t feel that way.

I’m definitely the guy that I feel like we’re capable of winning now, Hooker said, via the team’s website. You know, we’ve got a lot of great players, a lot of good players coming back as well. So I feel like this year, we’ve got a young, fast and good, physical team, so I feel like we’re definitely capable of winning now.

Hooker is one of several Colts players returning from season-ending injuries. Being healthier will be vital to any hopes of a rebound, especially when it comes to quarterback Andrew Luck as it seems hard to believe that the Colts will see serious improvement if he hasn’t fully recovered from missing all of last year with a right shoulder injury.

It’s kind of a new phenomenon, Myers said. I think it’s kind of been born out of the last few years. I don’t know if it was like that before … so it’s funny to see how this has all developed.

It’s time for Eric Dickerson’s rushing record to go down.

One of the most coveted records in the NFL, the all-time passing yardage title, will probably belong to Drew Brees before the end of the 2018 season. He needs just 1,495 more yards — a number he often triples in a season — to pass Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.

But there’s nothing quite like watching a single-season record go down. The most famous records have been safe for a while, like Peyton Manning’s 55 passing touchdowns in 2013, Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 rushing yards in 1984, LaDainian Tomlinson’s 28 rushing touchdowns in 2006, and Michael Strahan’s 22.5 sacks in 2001.

Records were made to be broken, though. And while some are out of reach, there are plenty of historic marks that would be fun to see challenged.

Over the course of his NFL career, his $25 million in cash earnings have been offset to some degree by more than $4 million in fines, the bulk of which have come in the form of lost game checks due to suspensions.

That’s still $21 million, before taxes, which is a lot of ‘f you’ money. With the money he’s forfeited, Burfict has mostly poured green gasoline onto the Bengals-Steelers rivalry, making those games some pretty entertaining television, even on Thursday nights. I feel like we’ve all got a nice return on the millions he’s thrown into NFL’s player discipline system, and that money goes to charity, win-win.

It’s easy, and mostly correct, to say none of those guys are moving the needle in a post-LeBron world. They are not the difference between a successful, quick rebuild and a sputtering one. The Cavs would have had to hit on two of them to beef up the trade war chest in any meaningful way. They never gave themselves a chance.

But that is the cost of building a championship team. The Warriors flipped two first-round picks to open cap space for Andre Iguodala, and have been reduced in recent years to buying second-rounders. When you have a chance to win a championship — a real chance, not a Raptors chance — you go all-in. You hunt upgrades even on the margins.

The Cavs went for it right away after LeBron came back, dealing away Andrew Wiggins (and Bennett) for Love — even though Love in some ways played the same position as both LeBron and Thompson. Love could never transition to shooting-and-defense center the way Chris Bosh did. As a result, the Cavs never really weaponized the Love-LeBron pick-and-roll; teams just switched it.

The Broncos keep trying to add quarterback talent and take Connor Cook near the end of the third round to compete with Smith and McCown.

This week, the theme is What If? The Green Bay Packers have one particularly notable What If moment in recent years — surely everyone can think of the biggest one — but we have a pair of additional lingering questions about injuries that affected recent Packers seasons. In fact, one in particular might turn out to be a positive for the franchise in the long run, even though it caused the team’s star player some significant pain when it happened.

Coming off that loss, the Packers were still a top pick to make it to Super Bowl 50 coming into the 2015 season. And even without Nelson, the offense clicked early on, averaging well over 30 points per game in the first three contests. However, it all fell apart when teams realized that the Packers had no legitimate deep threat and started playing nothing but two-deep coverages against Rodgers, who was forced to scramble to make plays when his wideouts couldn’t get open.

The signs contained facts about racial inequality and reasons for criminal justice reform, as well as messages about the social justice initiatives that many NFL players have taken on. Jenkins later tweeted all of the messages.

A week later, Jenkins and other Eagles defensive backs hung YOU AREN’T LISTENING shirts in the Philadelphia locker room.

The Eagles were disinvited from the White House after President Donald Trump learned that a tiny contingent of players — possibly just two — planned to be at the celebration Tuesday. In February, Jenkins waited less than 24 hours after the team’s victory to tell CNN he didn’t plan on making the White House visit.

Many believed the Buccaneers were leaning toward LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the No. 5 pick, but when they were on the clock, Tampa Bay traded to No. 7 with the Jaguars. Dallas eventually swooped in to take Claiborne at No. 6 before the Buccaneers had a chance again, but Tampa Bay swore that Mark Barron was the move all along.

With both Claiborne and Barron on the board, it’s anyone’s guess if the Buccaneers would’ve selected either of those players at No. 6 or traded down. The Cowboys really liked Claiborne and gave up a lot to grab the pick from the Rams, but that was because Dallas felt it needed to jump the Buccaneers. There’s much less incentive to jump in front of Washington.

The Bills snapped their 17-year playoff drought with a 9-7 season in 2017.

At 50-1, the Cardinals have by far the worst division odds of any team in the NFL. Arizona’s win total of 5.5 is its lowest since 2004 (also 5.5), when Emmitt Smith was the starting running back.

The Patriots currently have the best odds to win the Super Bowl, are by far the biggest favorite in any division and have the highest win total in the NFL. This would mark the third straight season that New England enters as the Super Bowl favorite. The Patriots’ odds to win the AFC East are steep and the win total is 11, but keep in mind that New England has won nine straight division titles while also winning at least 12 games in every season from 2010 on.

The Steelers have won the AFC North in three of the previous four seasons, and enter 2018 with 2-5 odds to win it again. Pittsburgh hasn’t been this big of a division favorite since drafting Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Only the Patriots have a higher win total than the Steelers, who will be seeking to hit their over for the fifth consecutive season.

The 49ers, Browns and Giants all have two players left to get under contract.

Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray. What a truly bizarre team the Ducks are. They had 101 points, seemed primed to contend, got their lunch handed to them by the Sharks in a first-round sweep, and are now looking at a roster with three prime players pushing 34, signed through 2021 with full trade protection. And one of them, Ryan Kesler, might not play next season. Is the window open or closed? Is the supporting cast good or bad? Can they move a defenseman or not? This is why Murray gets paid the big bucks.

Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton. The newly minted Wild GM was tasked with tweaking the roster, but there were rumors that the tweaks included having stalwarts Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle on the block. They were a 101-point team, as all Bruce Boudreau teams seemingly are, but the middling results caused a change in management. So it’s on Fenton to improve the Wild in short order.

LiAngelo Ball worked out for the Warriors Friday and told reporters he was confident he would be drafted.

He was not.

Through two rounds and 60 selections Thursday, Ball went undrafted by any team in the NBA. Despite that he was optimistic leading up to the draft about what his time overseas would do for his future.

He said his time overseas helped him prepare for the next chapter of his basketball career.

I don’t think my game would be where I’m at right now, Ball said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. Going overseas helped more, in my opinion. In college, I didn’t get the playing time I thought I’d get. So I was able to develop better overseas.

Villanova had a nice night — For the first time in the school’s history, it had three first-round picks in the same draft with Bridges going 10, Donte DiVincenzo going No. 17 to the Bucks, and Omari Spellman rounding out the first round at No. 30 to the Hawks.

Star point guard Jalen Brunson then went 33rd overall to the Mavericks, where he could become a starter on a team in desperate need of leadership. The Wildcats have won two of the last three NCAA Championships, and it appears NBA teams took notice.

So why would the Penguins bring him in for five years? It’s based on a little bit of history, and a little bit of hope.

The history is with general manager Jim Rutherford. While GM of the Carolina Hurricanes, Rutherford selected Johnson No. 3 overall in the 2005 draft, but the University of Michigan player declined to turn pro. So in October 2006, Rutherford shipped him to the Los Angeles Kings in a package that brought Tim Gleason to Carolina. At the time, Rutherford said Johnson is going to be a very, very good, if not great, NHL player. Twelve years later, they’ll be reunited.

(And if there’s anything we know, it’s that Rutherford loves to bring back players he has acquired previously.)

The hope involves Sergei Gonchar. The former NHL standout, now an assistant coach with the Penguins, has been their point person for defenseman development for the past three seasons. He’s the guy who took Justin Schultz off the scrap heap and turned him into arguably the best defenseman on the team, depending on which version of Kris Letang shows up each game. He did the same development work with Ian Cole and Jamie Oleksiak. He’s the guy who will be tasked with getting Johnson somewhere closer to the 40-point player he was back in 2014-15.

Suns agree to one-year, $15 million deal with swingman Trevor Ariza

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to sign swingman Trevor Ariza to a one-year, $15 million contract, league sources told ESPN.

Ariza played 67 games for the Houston Rockets last season. He averaged 11.7 points last season for Houston, and the 33-year-old will likely be looked upon as a veteran presence in a young Phoenix locker room.

His only issue at Cincinnati was a sense of discomfort with being The Man. It was out of character for him. He took on big moments occasionally, but he never embraced the possibility of serving as the team’s first option or star.

That won’t be a problem now. Kevin Durant is there. Stephen Curry is there. Evans can be a player who fills whatever role is assigned to him. He’ll eagerly embrace that role and do it as well as the Warriors can hope.

Westbrook has organized the event, dubbed a summer hype house party, being held at a property near Lake Arcadia. He invited around 500 guests with the promise of a surprise performance by a multi-platinum artist.

Sources told ESPN that artist is Nas. The invitation says, The FOMO will be real. Invited guests were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The motivation behind the party is presently unknown, whether it’s about free-agency recruitment, an announcement of something or just a summer house party — but the timing is obviously intriguing.

Jones played on a loaded North Carolina State defensive line with four drafted players in this class alone and likely another for the 2019 class in Darian Roseboro.

Because of that, it was hard to isolate his play among his teammates on the line. On a Chargers interior line that is not deep by NFL standards, we will quickly learn how talented Jones is and how much of the Wolfpack’s success was because of him.

If he can pick up the pace immediately, he could be a 16-game starter and make it easier for the Chargers to release Liuget as a cap casualty next season. If he can’t, the team might have to restructure Liuget’s deal, promising him more years for a smaller cap him, effectively promising Liuget a starting role long-term.

Over the course of the year, that’s going to make a difference. Suh was one of the most productive defensive tackles last year in the backfield, and Godchaux doesn’t even have an NFL sack yet. Godchaux, Akeem Spence and Jordan Phillips, NFL bodies whom no one would call above-average, are going to be Miami’s three-man rotation this year on the interior. That is not a viable backup plan for losing Suh.

Since 1973, the debate over the designated hitter has raged on throughout Major League Baseball.

In my time covering baseball, particularly the Yankees, I have had first-hand experiences with those arguing for the DH. In 2008, promising starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was the heir apparent to the number one spot in the rotation.

However, in what became a 13-0 win in Houston (while the Astros were still in the National League), Wang tore two ligaments in his right foot, ending his season. He played a few more years in the show, but only a few more games in pinstripes.

More recently, Masahiro Tanaka suffered mild strains in both hamstrings while scoring on a sacrifice fly last weekend at Citi Field in the Subway Series. General manager Brian Cashman has said he believes he will miss about a month. Tanaka’s injury brings focus back to the question of the designated hitter’s absence in the National League. This week, I sat down and spoke with two good friends, and former Major League pitchers, Al Santorini and Fred Cambria, about the designated hitter, and the evolution of pitching.

The Philadelphia-based company is preparing an offer for 21st Century Fox.

In a conference call Monday with shareholders, CEO Brian Roberts told investors, As we discussed during our recent conference calls and webcast, opportunities arise for us to create more value for our shareholders like we did with NBCUniversal. Our current offer for Sky as well as our announcement last month that we’re also considering and are in advance stages of repairing an offer for the businesses that Fox is selling, are perfect examples of this.

For Yankees fans, that means not having to worry about missing games for a team that is setting itself up to contend for a World Series title for years to come.

One potential kicker. SNY, the television network home of the Mets, is owned by a conglomerate of broadcasting companies, including Comcast. So if Comcast acquires Fox (and as a result, YES Network) you will have one company (Comcast) with ownership stakes in the network homes to both of New York’s baseball teams.

How does Barkley compare to NFC East RBs?

Additionally, Mark Koncz was named director of player personnel after spending 1994-2017 as a member of the Carolina Panthers’ front office, including serving as pro scouting director during Gettleman’s term as general manager from 2013-2016.

Chris Pettit also earned a promotion on Wednesday, becoming the Giants’ director of college scouting after spending the past 13 seasons as an area scout since joining the Giants’ front office in 2005.

Here are the details of the changes within the scouting department, via a press release from the Giants’ PR staff:

Patrick Hanscomb is an area scout whose concentration will be the Mid-Atlantic area. Hanscomb spent the previous 10 seasons in the team’s pro personnel department.

Marcus Cooper has been hired as an area scout who will focus in the Southeast. Cooper spent the previous seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills, first as a player personnel assistant, then as an area scout, and last year as the team’s scout in the BLESTO Scouting Combine.

Shon Coleman heads into camp as Browns No. 1 left tackle

The Browns will be starting a season without Joe Thomas at left tackle for the first time since 2007 and offensive line coach Bob Wylie identified the guy pencilled into the job with the offseason program at its end.

Wylie said, via Scott Petrak of BrownsZone.com, that Shon Coleman will start training camp as the starter at the position. Petrak said that Coleman, a 2016 third-round pick who started at right tackle last year, has shown the athletic ability to handle the position while adding that his fundamentals still need work.

Those who would like to see tension between the two quarterbacks fighting for playing time behind Eli Manning shouldn’t hold their breath. Lauletta said neither of the two view the other as a threat, but rather as someone to learn from and grow with.

Everybody wants to make it some big competition, me and him competing, nobody looks at it like that, Lauletta said of Webb. You do what you can, everybody wants to play. Everybody wants to be out there on Sundays, but the best guys are going to do it.

We’re in this together, we’re a team. That’s kind of the Giants way.

He was conditionally reinstated last year and played in 15 games for Pittsburgh with eight starts, but reportedly asked for a trade last season since he didn’t feel he was getting the ball enough.

Many believe the Raiders took a chance on Bryant after he was traded for a third-round pick during the draft. Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie said in April, via SFgate.com : We feel good about bringing him in. And we feel good about giving Martavis an opportunity. And we think with our resources, we can help him.

There were days throughout my rehab process, so when you’re rehabbing, the light seems so far at the end of the tunnel. But to be able to see that light, and make it to the light — which is being active and standing on that sideline with my gear on — it kind of hit me a little.

I joked around with my agent, my adviser, told ’em, ‘Man, I’m a tough guy. I won’t cry.’ But reality set in, it was truly a blessing to be back out there and continue to live your dream.