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

Josh Norman chimes in on Eagles’ White House cancellation

On Monday, the President pulled the plug on Philadelphia’s visit to the White House, apparently after realizing that fewer than 10 players would be participating. A player from one of the Eagles’ top rivals responded to the situation by posing a question via the President’s preferred platform for communicating with the masses.

Kodak had an endorsement deal with both Clark and Joe Montana, who threw the pass that became The Catch, but Kodak refused to pay Walls. Eventually he sued Kodak and got the money he was owed.

I ended up getting a lot more than Joe and Dwight got put together, Walls said.

The 32-year-old Edelman missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL during a preseason tilt.

But Dallas likely will no longer have a heavy reliance on a lead wide receiver and a No. 1 tight end.

The Cowboys don’t seem particularly interested in finding a true replacement for Bryant, who averaged 66 catches a year in his eight seasons in Dallas. The three-time Pro Bowl selection’s numbers dipped in recent years – he played just nine games because of injury in 2015, and he had a career-low 12.1 yards per catch last year – but he was the unquestioned alpha dog of the receiving corps.

Instead, Linehan said he’s looking for balance out of a group that includes slot receiver Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams (who is sidelined this spring while rehabbing a foot injury), and new additions Allen Hurns, signed as a free agent from the Jaguars, rookie third-round pick Michael Gallup and former Rams first rounder Tavon Austin.

This is how Eagles leader and Piscataway native Malcolm Jenkins explained his decision in February

I don’t want to take away from anybody’s experience or make it a big distraction. It’s a celebratory event, and I want the guys who choose to go or whatever to enjoy that, Jenkins said. Me personally, because it’s not a meeting or a sit-down or anything like that, I’m just not interested in the photo op.

Over the last two years, I’ve been meeting with legislators, both Republican and Democrat, it don’t matter. If you want to meet to talk about events in my community, changing the country, I’m all for that. But this isn’t one of those meetings, so I’ll opt out of the photo opportunity.

Storyline to watch: Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski report. Our long nightmare is about to be over. Brady and Gronk will report to mandatory minicamp after skipping all the previous voluntary situations.

A (former) star running back is still on the market, and could make sense for a NFC East rival of the Giants and Eagles.

In a column on potential landing spots for remaining NFL free agents, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell pointed out the Dallas Cowboys as a fit for Adrian Peterson.

If this is it, perhaps now is the time for a long-rumored dalliance to come into existence. The Cowboys are left with just Rod Smith behind Elliott, and while Smith has been a reasonable backup, it seems plausible that Peterson could still be an upgrade as a 100-carry back while playing a couple of series per game. At the very least, he would sell plenty of jerseys for a team that isn’t exactly teeming with skill-position weapons behind Elliott.

Peterson, 33, could team with Ezekiel Elliott to form the highest-profile backfield in the NFL. Last year, the future Hall of Famer rushed for 529 yards on 3.4 yards per carry across stints with the Cardinals and Saints. But with just 3.1 yards per carry since the start of the 2016 season, we could be witnessing the end of Peterson’s career as a viable NFL back.

Jose Abreu had an RBI double for the White Sox.

jets_034Price (7-4) held Chicago scoreless after allowing two runs in the first. He gave up five hits, struck out six and walked three, improving to 5-0 in his past six starts with a 2.89 ERA.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save.

Carlos Rodon took the loss in his season debut, giving up four runs two earned and six hits, striking out seven and walking two in five innings. The 24-year-old lefty started the season on the disabled list after left shoulder surgery last September.

Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk was the former Red Sox player honored in the middle of the third inning. He played with Boston from 1969-80 and the White Sox from 1981-1993.

Each game, the Red Sox show highlights of a past star and have him on the video board if they’re in town.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (8-2, 3.59) looks to keep his solid season going before Boston heads out on a 10-game road trip.Walk-off walk: Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-3 in 10 innings

TORONTO Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile didn’t need to swing his bat to drive in the winning run against the Orioles.

Maile broke a tie with a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-3 on Saturday.

I wanted to swing, Maile said. It just worked out the other way.

Maile walked on four pitches from Baltimore’s Mychal Givens (0-2) to score Justin Smoak as the Blue Jays improved to 7-1 in extra innings.

I got off rhythm and just wasn’t throwing strikes, Givens said.

It was Maile’s third game-winning RBI of the season. His 10th-inning single beat Kansas City 5-4 in the second game of a doubleheader on April 17, and his two-run homer in the 12th inning beat Boston 5-3 on May 11.

This game changer won’t be a threat to the NFL.

jets_035However, last week Graham posted a letter written to him by a fan who claims that, because Graham is skipping the trip, he is no longer a fan of the defensive end and he hopes the Eagles release him. The fan concluded: You have my permission to show this letter to your a—hole teammates — so they know how a long time Eagles fan feels about you miserable bastards.

Team owner Jeffrey Lurie has walked a tightrope on all of these issues. His team’s locker room has not been held back on expressing itself, even though he said last year that kneeling during the anthem as a protest is not very respectful or proactive.

Check it out, give us your thoughts, and list any accomplishments that you think we missed.

A rampant rumor emerged on Friday that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was on the verge of potentially being traded. On Saturday, Gronk addressed this situation while talking to reporters at a youth football camp.

It just shows how much fakes news is out there, Gronkowski told reporters, via CBS Boston. Hashtag fake news, that’s all I know. It’s true. It exists. See it all the time about me. It’s wild.

Gronkowski was asked about a specific rumor that coach Bill Belichick had agreed to trade Gronk, but that quarterback Tom Brady threatened to retire if it happened, prompting owner Robert Kraft to block the move.

What a nice guy, Gronkowski joked about Brady. But I haven’t talked to him. I didn’t even know about it until last night. Fake news.

While Friday’s news was fake, Gronkowski didn’t seem to know whether a trade could eventually happen.

I have no clue, Gronkowski said.

Ravens passing game ‘deep’ in transition from last year

Drop back. Throw long. Repeat.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was flinging the ball far downfield Thursday during a voluntary offseason training practice, targeting an array of receivers that includes newcomers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead.

Someone kind of joked that we completed more deep balls in practice today when we did the whole offseason last year, coach John Harbaugh said.

Joe’s known for throwing the deep ball, and I think we’ll hit a lot of those, Brown said.

Last year, when I was out there, I proved myself and going forward I plan to prove myself again, Bostic said. I got a lot of unfinished business.

So do the Steelers, who were gashed for 164 yards rushing and 45 points in a stunning playoff loss to Jacksonville. Though Pittsburgh led the league and set a franchise record with 57 sacks, the defense struggled at times following Shazier’s injury against Cincinnati on Dec. 4.

Throw out a Christmas Day game against Houston — which played without quarterback DeShaun Watson — and the Steelers allowed 33.5 points and 381 yards after Shazier’s exit. They’ll have a full offseason to get ready for life without him. The plan includes potentially flipping from a 3-4 to a 4-3 look in certain situations and getting creative with substitutions.

That’s where Edmunds comes into play. Though technically a safety, he served as a de facto linebacker late in his time at Virginia Tech when the Hokies played with five or more defensive backs. There’s also Matakevich, a special teams ace who will finished 2017 on injured reserve due with a shoulder issue.

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’ll introduce new bill to ban sporting gambling

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday he plans to introduce a new bill that would make sports gambling illegal, the same day the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned betting on sports.

Kraft joins a list of NFL figures, in addition to Elway, who have already been deposed in the case. Those include Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, league executive VP Troy Vincent, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Texans owner Bob McNair, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and GM Ozzie Newsome.

The offensive line is loaded, just like every other position group on this team. Did I mention they have Drew Brees? No, I did not. They do! And he’s still very good, even if the Saints don’t need him to do as much as they have in years past thanks to leaning on the running game. The only thing keeping them from having a higher win total is the division, and the NFC South caused their 2018 NFL win total to be set at 9.5 games.

“Rutgers is in my top couple schools,” said Sillah, the 6-4, 210-pounder. “It’s a great school with great academics and great football. And they have good coaches and it’s like a family environment. So it’s definitely one of my top schools.”

And he’s been recruited most heavily by the Scarlet Knights, as well as a handful of other schools.

“I want to be an athlete,” Barkley said (via ESPN). “I’m not just a running back. I play the running back position. I want to be an all-around back and all-around player.”

Barkley tallied 1,195 receiving yards and eight touchdowns over his three-year career at Penn State. He also added two scores on kickoff returns and a passing touchdown.

“I’m a guy that is willing to do whatever it is for the team,” Barkley said. “Whether it is a kick returner, whether it be a punt returner, whether it be running down on kickoffs, whether it’s line up in the slot, whether it’s run a dummy play, fake play.” (more…)

Report: Patriots restructure Phillip Dorsett’s contract

Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett agreed to a reduction in the roster bonus due the fifth day of training camp, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

Dorsett’s roster bonus dropped from $450,000 to $150,000, but he now can earn $100,000 in per-game roster bonuses and $150,000 in reception incentives.

The Patriots declined Dorsett’s fifth-year option, making this a contract year for the former first-round pick.

Looking back on the most recent ownership changes with the Rams, Jaguars and Bills, key adjustments were necessary for the teams’ long-awaited playoff breakthroughs last season. The Browns finally look like they might be on track to join them soon. The difference between those teams and the Panthers is the fact that Carolina is more like a blue chip at the time of the acquisition.

Tepper is saying all the right things and bringing all the good vibes as all new owners do. Now comes the real challenge of improving on an impressive bottom line.

Bryant reportedly turned down a multi-year deal with the Ravens ahead of last month’s draft with the hope of instead securing a one-year “prove-it” deal. The Ravens are the only team known to have extended an offer to the All-Pro veteran.

Bryant, 29, spent his first eight seasons with the Cowboys but hasn’t been signed after Dallas released him in April. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches.

“As has been said, I think we have spent a lot of time really, not just at this meeting, but really over the last year discussing the subject of the anthem and working with our players to try to make sure we could get to a place where all the different viewpoints could be respected. I think we’ve come out at a place that we as a group and the league are comfortable with. Obviously, we want to continue to work with our players and make sure that they feel that their point of view has been respected. I think the fact that those who are not comfortable standing for the anthem have the right to stay off the field. So, we’re not forcing anybody to stand who doesn’t feel that’s within the way they feel about particular subjects. But those who are on the field are going to be asked to stand.ravens_157

Report: Broncos not expected to exercise option on Shane Ray’s deal

While Shane Ray expected the Broncos to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract, it doesn’t appear they will after drafting Bradley Chubb.

Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News reports the Broncos are not expected to pick up the $9.23 million option on Ray’s contract for 2019. Ray is scheduled to make $1.68 million this season and would become a free agent in 2019 without an extension.

The 28-year-old journeyman is coming off a breakout 2017 season in which he recorded three interceptions and 13 passes defensed in just 10 games as the Indianapolis Colts’ top-performing cover man. He surrendered an opposing passer rating of just 60.3, which, according to Pro Football Focus, was the 10th-lowest qualified mark in the league. 

The Seahawks may or may not have Thomas on the trade block; they may or may not be “counting” on him; the Cowboys may or may not still have interest in trading for him; and Thomas may or may not holdout in the absence of a new contract. Are you following?

Thomas and the Seahawks appear to know as much about his future as you and I do.

This much is known: Thomas currently is scheduled to make $8.5 million in base salary before becoming a free agent in 2019.

Like Robinson, Graham didn’t come cheap. But it was refreshing to see the Packers spend some money on the open market, especially on a player who should immediately help them score points. The 31-year-old might not be good for 1,000 yards like he was earlier in his career, but Graham still earned a second consecutive Pro Bowl nod while catching a league-high 10 touchdown passes in the red zone last season in Seattle. 

If he hits a wall, only $11 million of Graham’s three-year, $30 million contract is guaranteed. But there’s a better chance the highest-rated passer in NFL history finds a groove with one of the toughest players in football to defend. 
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Giants sign A.J. Francis

Defensive tackle A.J. Francis didn’t have to wait long to find a new team and he didn’t have to leave the NFC East to do it.

The Giants announced that they have signed Francis to their 90-man roster. Francis was released by the Redskins on Monday.

Francis bounced on and off the roster in Washington last season and wound up playing in six games. He had 18 tackles in those appearances and also had two tackles in three games for Seattle and Miami during the 2015 season.

So even if I was hearing it, I didn’t quite believe that GM John Dorsey—a big measureables guy in the draft over the years—would pick a 5’10, 183-pound corner over a 6’4, 269-pound pass rusher.

So I figured I’d do a little digging, and I was able to come up three distinguishing factors (you’ll like the last one) between the two players, with one club source saying Clevelandloved both.

With Dorsey in his first season, the first overall pick in the draft in quarterback Baker Mayfield and several other notable acquisitions after an 0-16 season, the Browns have plenty of storylines for producers to craft a show around.

The Chargers are another team that can be forced to do the show and their General Manager Tom Telesco said earlier this year that he can see some benefits to the experience even if he is “not entirely” comfortable with inviting cameras into camp.

A firework blast was our queue to run—we’d take off sprinting through a wall of smoke as the team followed behind us.

I don’t think I’ve ever run faster in my life, fueled by the zero-to-60 adrenaline boost (and by the fear of getting trampled by the giant players behind us).

The reasons Davis, Ware and I love cheerleading are the same reasons you love the sport you played.

The camaraderie of being on a team, the honor and responsibility of representing an organization, the opportunities to travel and meet new people, and the thrill of performing your craft every week.broncos_010_decd4bcaeca0aa61-180x180

Rutgers’ Trevor Morris updates injury status, talks linebacker depth

The Big Ten’s top returning tackler is on the mend.

The Packers needed secondary help — they always need secondary help — coming into this draft. Green Bay allowed a 102 QB rating last season, and the image of their cornerbacks getting torched in the 2016 NFC championship game against Atlanta isn’t that far removed from memory.

There were staffing changes around coach Mike McCarthy this offseason, but the draft plan didn’t change. SIGN UP to stream the NFL Draft LIVE on DAZN in Canada It was expected the Packers would draft a cornerback in the first round – and they did in Alexander, a playmaker from Louisville who battled injuries in 2017. Gutekunst doubled down and grabbed Iowa’s Josh Jackson, an All-American cornerback who had first-round projections. Jackson Alexander is a solid pick. Jackson is a value pick. Their styles complement each other. The latter had eight interceptions for the Hawkeyes.

Bills General Manager Brandon Beane says he was working hard on trying to get the fourth overall pick, but Browns General Manager John Dorsey was holding out for too high a price.

I probably talked to John Dorsey more than anybody through the process, but we could not come to an agreement on what was fair, Beane told the Buffalo News.

Beane also had a deal in advance with Broncos General Manager John Elway that would have seen the Bills send the 12th overall pick, the 22nd overall pick and a second-round pick to Denver in exchange with the fifth overall pick. But Elway said he would only do that if the player he wanted was off the board at No. 5, and it turned out the player Elway wanted, Bradley Chubb, wasn’t available. Chubb was available, and the Broncos stayed put and drafted him.

Shazier was injured during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals in Week 13. On Cincinnati’s first possession of the game, Shazier went to the ground clutching his back after tackling Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. It looked like a normal, everyday kind of tackle until Shazier didn’t get up.
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