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.

Sam Darnold highlights from Day 4 of Jets OTAs

jets_036The Jets on Tuesday are back on the practice field, for their fourth organized team activities practice — and the second such session that is open to reporters.

Want to take a look at rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in action? Check out the video above.

The Jets began OTAs last Tuesday.

It is called a rookie minicamp, but it is not exclusively for rookies, which is why the newest Giants player is a 29-year-old with fairly extensive NFL experience.

The Giants, following the three-day camp, decided to sign cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, who played in the NFL from 2012 through 2016 with the Bengals and Ravens, appearing in 33 games (no starts). Lewis-Harris’ work in the rookie camp impressed the coaching staff — he was allowed to participate because he was an unsigned free agent. Harris, undrafted out of Tennessee-Chattanooga, has one career interception. He was most recently cut by the Broncos prior to the 2017 season.

To make room on the 90-man roster, the Giants waived cornerback C.J. Goodwin, 28, who previously played a total of 28 games split between the Cardinals and Falcons. Goodwin did not last two weeks with the Giants; he was awarded off waivers May 2.

This continues the offseason strategy of adding veterans to compete for jobs in the defensive backfield. The previous signings were William Gay, Teddy Williams, B.W. Webb and Curtis Riley.

In his first year as head coach, the 32-year-old McVay helped author one of the league’s more stunning worst-to-first narratives, morphing an offense that birthed an unwatchable, NFL-low 14.0 points per game under Jeff Fisher in 2016 into a powerhouse that pumped out a league-leading 29.9 points per tilt.

It’s going to make us a whole lot better because the up-tempo and his play-calling style is crazy unique, Peters said. It’s going to cause for us to be on our toes a lot.

It’s especially high praise coming from Talib, the 32-year-old veteran who spent years in Denver practicing against Peyton Manning and seasons in New England seeing Tom Brady ‘s magic-spinning up close and personal.

The ill news for Rams opponents is that adding Talib and Peters only improves the offense by forcing McVay’s roster of weapons to face top talent on a daily basis.

It’s good competing against them at practice, wideout Robert Woods said. Very challenging guys, different guys. You see Talib with his experience, you see Peters just jumping the ball.

Have we mentioned Los Angeles also added All-Pro defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh to the mix? For all the talk of what the Rams can do on offense, this defense has the position-by-position talent to create equal excitement.

Giants shuffle roster after rookie minicamp

The Giants swapped out six players on their roster for six that tried out for the team during their three-day rookie minicamp.

As a civil fraud lawsuit against Giants quarterback Eli Manning was pending, the NFL consistently declined comment on whether the Personal Conduct Policy applied to the allegations or any of the evidence that had come to light.

Now that the civil case has been resolved, the NFL has commented on the situation. “We monitored the situation and are satisfied that it is a civil matter that was resolved,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “Not a [Personal Conduct Policy] issue.” The Personal Conduct Policy expressly encompasses “[c]rimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering.”

He’ll start out behind Joe Schobert with the Browns and coach Hue Jackson said the team expects Avery to have a big role on special teams during his rookie season.

Since returning from thumb surgery late in the first round, guard Marcus Smart has been unflappable and Boston’s unquestioned deacon of toughness.

From sacrificing his body diving for loose balls or keeping plays alive with a rebound, to causing deflections on defense, to popping up out of the crowd for a timely rebound or tip-in, Smart is the proud everyman for a once underdog Celtics team that has outworked the Cavaliers through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals.

That’s me. That’s how I was raised, said Smart, who was Boston’s top performer off the bench in the Celtics’ 107-94 Game 2 win with 11 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. “I’m the youngest of four boys. My whole life I had to fight. bucks_517

Kurt Warner apparently comes in second for MNF (and possibly isn’t happy about it)

Before ESPN leaked to ESPN last week that Cowboys tight end Jason Witten plans to retire and join the Monday Night Football booth, Kurt Warner had been viewed as the clubhouse favorite to get the gig. The cat was so far out of the bag that Warner made a joke about looking first at the MNF schedule at the outset of NFL Network’s schedule release show last month.

Sanders, who pleaded guilty to assault and weapons charges in the case last month, fired the weapon into a crowd outside of the Allstar Night Club in Elizabeth on Dec. 2016. No one was injured.

Sanders was arrested weeks later and, during an interview with Elizabeth police, claimed Greene handed him the gun. During that same interview, Sanders conceded he had lied about Green’s involvement, according to audio of the exchange provided by Greene’s attorney, Joshua McMahon.

A 6-1, 185-pound three-star safety out of Baltimore, Biggers is a coup due to his length, athleticism and ability to cover down-field. Hence, the Knights could continue to recruit him into December if they see fit.

Biggers’ decision came down to UNC and Rutgers with North Carolina winning out following a recent visit to Chapel Hill — his second in less than a month.

However, his recruitment has come to an end, as he’ll don powder blue and white at the next level. Biggers is ranked the No. 12 recruit in Maryland and No. 43 safety in the country.

Eric Dickerson: Saquon Barkley won’t break rookie rushing record because Giants have ‘no offensive line’

Here is some bulletin board material for the Giants offensive line.

Given New England’s first-round selection of running back Sony Michel, don’t be shocked if Hill signs with another team sometime around Labor Day.) After drafting corners in the early rounds, the Bengals often look for talented pass rushers in the middle rounds.

Will Clarke has had the type of career that makes a team have to keep looking.
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Inside the NRA’s annual meeting: Guns, ammunition, family and politics

Joe and Connie Henderson packed up their car in Arizona earlier this past week and drove nearly 1,000 miles across desert and high plains to the National Rifle Association’s 147th annual meeting here. The couple came to their first meeting for two reasons: both to check…

Seahawks cut Cliff Avril with failed physical designation, which could end his career

Seattle’s purge of established stalwarts who played significant roles in their rise to NFC powerhouse continued with the release of defensive end Cliff Avril , though their decision to part ways with him came as a result of a failed physical. On Friday, the Seahawks announced that they cut Avril and lauded him for his contributions both on and off the field in Seattle. On Instagram, Avril thanked the Seahawks organization and the fans.

In five seasons in Seattle, Avril recorded 34.5 sacks in regular-season action and another 6.5 sacks in the playoffs. In all, Avril has 74 regular-season sacks since 2008 the 12th most in that span , according to Pro Football Reference’s database. For the Seahawks, it’s been an offseason of change as they’ve parted ways with Avril, Bennett, Richard Sherman , Malik McDowell , and Paul Richardson .

Meanwhile, trade rumors surrounded Earl Thomas all offseason, though he remains with the Seahawks for now . Chancellor also remains on the Seahawks’ roster as he tries to work his way back onto the field , but like Avril, it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play again.

Haspel, who serves as the CIA’s deputy director and has spent 33 years in the agency, most of it undercover, faces some opposition in Congress because of her connection to the interrogation program, which was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In late 2002, Haspel oversaw a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand, where one al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded. Another detainee also was waterboarded before Haspel’s arrival.

Three years later, Haspel was involved in the CIA’s destruction of nearly 100 videotapes that recorded the men’s interrogations, touching off an investigation by a special prosecutor who ultimately decided not to bring charges against those involved.  tigers_056-115x115