Category Archives: Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams

The Seahawks still have an elite, ground-covering middle linebacker in Bobby Wagner. K.J. Wright remains close to elite on the weak side, too. Those two won’t let up.

jets_014The strong side, however, is starting from scratch. Michael Wilhoite wasn’t re-signed, and Terence Garvin landed with the Dolphins as a free agent. The best returnee, D.J. Alexander, played almost exclusively on special teams last season.

Such a void prompted the signing of Barkevious Mingo. Given how great Wagner and Wright are, the Seahawks could afford to take a chance on the former Colt and 2013 first-rounder of the Browns.

The Tigers played in Detroit Stars jerseys, while the Indians wore Cleveland Buckeyes uniforms to honor Negro Leagues Weekend.

The big question is how much Penny will be able to handle as a rookie. He was a productive workhorse at San Diego State, but he wasn’t deployed much as a receiver. Seattle, however, looks ready to use him beyond early downs with comfortable routes and protection schemes. Schottenheimer is devising a large role for the rookie due to the lack experience and reliability in the rest of the backs.

The Seahawks have been desperate for a back capable of staying on the field through every down and distance since Marshawn Lynch; don’t be surprised if they use Penny as if they think he can be the sequel to Beast Mode.

Carson, despite the injury, should stick on the roster as the backup. He’s a well-built runner of whom Seattle wants to see more. As for Prosise and McKissic, there might not be enough passing-down work left for them, but they provide some position versatility. (And McKissic has some special teams value.) One could be considered a hybrid to classify among the wide receivers.

Russell Wilson needs better rushing support, and with other factors lessened around him, Penny shining immediately as a co-centerpiece of the offense would be huge for Seattle.

Six to 10 states could have sports betting programs by Week One

The floodgates are open, but it may take a little time for the water to get through.

In the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling that paves the way for states to adopt sports wagering, a sports media executive with knowledge of the overall betting landscape and dynamics has predicted to PFT that six to 10 states will have sports betting programs in place before the NFL regular season begins.

The new Bears tight end, just one of several big-money additions to Chicago’s offense entering 2018, admitted that Trubisky still has to prove himself in his first full season as a starter. But he also said he’s “extremely impressed” and “definitely” has “no doubt about his ability and what he’s able to do.” Drafted second overall just like Wentz, the Eagles’ 2017 MVP candidate, was a year before him, Trubisky opened his rookie season on the bench behind Mike Glennon but started the team’s final 12 games, throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 196 yards.

That statement ended by expressing the view that “the athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”bucks_513

First, he should be a box-office draw. Even though Manziel hasn’t played in the NFL in almost three years, he’s still one of the most famous names (or, perhaps infamous is more accurate) in professional football. Also, if he plays like he did at Texas A&M and for brief flashes with the Browns, he should be a very good player in that league. The Tiger-Cats’ preseason opener is June 1. Their regular-season opener is June 16 against Calgary.

The NFL will be watching NFL teams have not been fighting to get Manziel into a camp. NFL teams watched Manziel at a couple college pro days this offseason, but that story got overblown. He was asked by college players if he could throw to them during their workouts. It’s not like NFL teams were there just to see him. However, the teams were there and got to see he has been working out. They’ll keep eyes on his CFL games to see if he can still make the plays that led to him being a first-round pick. The NFL has plenty of unexciting quarterbacks on the back ends of rosters; Manziel could prove to be an upgrade.

New NFL kickoff rules designed to cut back on high-speed collisions

NFL kickoffs will look a lot different in 2018 after league owners formally approved a series of rule changes Tuesday at their spring meeting in Atlanta.

The Giants cornerback made headlines for all the wrong reason last year and was even suspended one game for “a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team.”

He reportedly was defiant towards teammates and coaches and the locker room got so bad with him that teammate Landon Collins called him a “cancer.”

“Obviously the off-field issues got in the way of his preparation.” If everything goes well in Canada, there’s certainly a sense that Manziel can play in the NFL as a backup and be a change-of-pace guy who comes in, shakes things up and makes some plays.

“At the end of the day, when we go in the cage, we’re just going to be two fighters. Obviously we’ll both have some athleticism that has carried over from the NFL, but I don’t consider him former NFL player Greg Hardy, I consider him MMA fighter Greg Hardy, and that’s how I’m going to approach what he’s bringing to the table,” Lane told FloCombat.com.

Lane played as a defensive end with the Jaguars, Lions and Bears from 2010-14, but didn’t see the same amount of success that Hardy had in his NFL career, playing only 30 regular-season games. However, he might have an edge on Hardy in the octagon as Lane is 4-0 as a professional MMA fighter.

New Orleans jumped in DVOA last year from No. 6 to No. 2 despite the focus on running the ball — 2017’s offense was the most similar to the Saints championship team in several years thanks to balance and an ability to work the ground game. Even with Ingram missing for the first quarter of the season, the Saints should be able to make do with late-round rookie Boston Scott (what a name) and Kamara.

How does a youth hockey league not notice $200,000 is missing?cowboys_100

NFL to consider several proposed kickoff rule changes

Several proposed rule changes aimed at improving player safety during kickoffs will be presented to NFL team owners at next week’s Spring League Meeting in Atlanta.

The proposals, which need to be approved by 24 of the 32 NFL team owners before being ratified for the 2018 season, will make kickoffs more like punts and limit full-speed collisions. The proposed adjustments were made in conjunction with special teams coaches and members of the league’s Competition Committee during a player safety summit at the league’s headquarters in New York earlier this month.

Then there’s the money, something of which Brady has plenty but apparently is seeking more. His contract situation has always been a fascinating topic. He has accepted lower salaries over the years to help the team sign quality players, a strategy that has paid off in Super Bowl appearances and victories.

I’ve always been partial to Game 4 of a 2-1 series. It determines the entire feel going forward. After 48 minutes, the series is either tied or almost decided, with very little middle ground. The tension is momentous.

We have two such Game 4s in these otherwise very boring conference finals — starting Monday night in Cleveland. If the Cavs win, they go to Boston with the world’s best player, momentum, and very rational confidence — as opposed to the irrational brand that drives every Jordan Crawford/Clarkson one-versus-everyone prayer. Boston cannot bank on winning every home game (right?). If Boston wins, Cleveland stares again into the LeBron-might-leave abyss — only with an even deeper deficit.

Ty Lue is riding with centers — Tristan Thompson and the revitalized Larry Nance Jr. — and gave both of them a clear directive in Game 3: stick with Al Horford at all times. Horford is one of the wiliest screeners in modern NBA history. He loves to slip picks before really setting them, or to veer off toward the 3-point arc. He’ll sometimes meander out as if to set a screen, only to stop five feet short and force his defender to navigate a confusing situation.ravens_170

Titans sign Kendrick Lewis

At a moment when teams around the league are stocking their roster with rookies, the Titans have added a veteran safety to the mix.

The Titans announced they have signed Kendrick Lewis, who took part in the team’s recent minicamp on a tryout basis, to a deal for the 2018 season. Safety Denzel Johnson has been dropped from the roster in a corresponding move.

Lewis was a fifth-round pick by the Chiefs in 2010 and spent four seasons in Kansas City before moving on to Houston in 2014. He spent the next two seasons with the Ravens and has been out of the league since they released him last year. He’s made 81 career starts and has 323 tackles, nine interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Titans have Kevin Byard and Jonathan Cyprien back from last season, but Da’Norris Searcy‘s departure has left an opening in the reserve ranks that Lewis will try to fill.

It’s best he’s back in the locker room, he’s back around us, Crawford told the Morning News. I think it will be good for him and good for us. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told the Morning News on Wednesday, First and foremost, we’re more concerned with Randy fixing himself off the field. I applaud him. I think he’s worked hard to get to this point that he can apply for reinstatement. By no stretch are we just saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to bank on that. ‘ We’re still thinking about him and hoping he gets everything done the right way off the field.

Appearing on PFT Live, G.M. Dave Caldwell explained that Jacksbroncos_014_82732420edc2fbab-180x180on, whom Caldwell and executive V.P. of football operations Tom Coughlin praised before the draft, wasn’t in the mix for the pick that ultimately became defensive tackle Taven Bryan.

“He was not at the time,” Caldwell said. “We did think very highly as him as a player. With his ability to create and create plays with his feet. We felt like that he was going to eventually be a player — that he could develop into a player that you can win with. That wasn’t the situation that we had for us with the pick at 29. We had some guys that we really coveted that we felt could come in and help us right away this year.”

Cleveland leaders say there have been no talks with the Browns about a new stadium

City officials say they have not had any formal conversations with the Cleveland Browns about a new or remodeled stadium, although they would welcome the opportunity to work with the NFL team toward economic development.

Kentavius Street, DT, NC State Grade: C+ Weight-room strong, but doesn’t fully translate on the field. Freakish flashes but gets stuck on blocks too often. 129. Will Richardson, OT, NC State Grade: A Richardson plays with immense strength and has deceptively good feet. Thrives in pass pro. 130. Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State Grade: A Clowney-like linear freak athlete. Powerful jolt with long arms. Embarrassment of riches up front on Eagles defense. 131. Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State Grade: B Hyper athletic. Reliable pass-catcher. Explosive. Lacking in vision department.

Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State Grade: B+ Tall, lanky. Somewhat stiff. Ability to make acrobatic catches and high-point when coverage is tight. 133. J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri Grade: B+ Height/speed vertical threat. Strong too. Tracks well. One-trick pony but will thrive downfield. 134. Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham Grade: C+ Slightly early. Runs very hard for being a small RB. Some twitchiness. 135. John Franklin, DE, Stephen F. Austin Grade: B Heavy-handed pass-rushing DT. Lacks burst. Quality depth on loaded Rams DL. 136. Marquis Haynes, OLB, Mississippi Grade: A Stand-up LB with powerful hands he uses well. Could add more weight and strength. Some flashes of quickness around the edge. 137. Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford Grade: D+ Has blocking experience but not good in that area. Limited receiver too. Good size.

However, Brady did add that if the ratings are dropping, it’s definitely not because his friends have stopped watching.

Michelle Wolf didn’t plan to sleep within steps of the White House. She just likes old hotels.

Then I remembered how close it was, the comedian said on a frigid February morning from the restaurant in the Hay-Adams. So yesterday, I walked outside and I was like, ‘Right. The White…

Avonte Maddox, a former standout in the defensive backfield at Detroit King, was selected by the world champion Philadelphia Eagles with the 25th pick of the fourth round (125th overall).

Rated by 247sports as a three-star prospect coming out of King, Maddox committed to Pittsburgh, where he was an immediate contributor as he played in all 13 games as a freshman. After starting all 13 games at cornerback as a sophomore in 2015, Maddox missed three games in 2016 and two in 2017 due to injury.tigers_003-115x115

Ex-Broncos OL Orlando Franklin retires after 7 seasons

Orlando Franklin is calling it quits.

The former Broncos and Chargers offensive lineman announced Saturday that he is retiring after seven seasons in the NFL.

It’s striking that of the No. 1 analyst jobs at the four networks that carry NFL games, three are held by former Cowboys — Aikman, Romo and Witten.

Some of it has been the moon and the stars aligning, Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys’ senior vice president for communications, told USA TODAY Sports. They all had serendipitous stuff happen.

Aikman’s shot at a No. 1 role came when John Madden left Fox. Witten’s opportunity comes as Gruden went back to coaching. Romo landed after injuries wiped out the bulk of his final two seasons.

As Witten contemplated his move, Dalrymple told him, There are four of these jobs in the whole world as lead game analyst. They may not open up again in 10 years.

Sorry, Cowboys haters. Whenever that high-profile role opens up, well…

He wouldn’t beat Justify that day, but I’ll tell you what, he came out of that race really good. He cooled out in the testing barn after the race. He’s never trained better any time we’ve had him in the barn.

But Ruis had lost the race.

Then he lost his jockey.

For Ruis, it was not a day for California dreaming much less the aroma of Kentucky Derby roses. Javier Castellano, the jockey who had handled Bolt d’Oro so well, put the punctuation mark on Ruis’ doom and gloom. He telephoned the owner and told him:

I love your horse, but I never thought I would get this much pressure to ride Audible instead.

It was a jockey’s euphemism for I know how it feels to you, but a jockey can’t jeopardize his bread and butter.

Todd Pletcher has four horses in this Kentucky Derby and he wanted Castellano, who often rode for him, to be up on one of them.canucks_015

Bryce Petty Reportedly Claimed off Waivers by Dolphins After Release by Jets

The Miami Dolphins reportedly claimed quarterback Bryce Petty off waivers from the New York Jets.

Field Yates of ESPN first reported the update Friday.

In a move widely expected, the Jets waived Petty on Thursday. New York signed Teddy Bridgewater and re-signed Josh McCown earlier this offseason and then selected Sam Darnold with the No. 3 pick in the 2018 draft.

There’s a chance one of two defensive ends — LSU’s Arden Key or Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard — will have a Foster-like fall into the 49ers’ laps, but the team is also keyed into Florida State’s Josh Sweat in this same range. Auburn’s Josh Holland and Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor also fit the unique LEO role in San Francisco’s defense.

A slider the 49ers would jump on is UTEP guard Will Hernandez, but Auburn’s Braden Smith is bound to be around in this range as another option. At wide receiver, Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman has drawn interest from them as a big-bodied target.

In contrast, the defensive back spike early and the middle-tier prospects don’t carry the same value. Following the best-available theme should work well for the 49ers on Day 2.

Kanye West, who recently had a Twitter love-fest with Trump, has been invited, says Scott, along with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick and other athletes and musicians of multiple races and ethnicities.

It’s not going to be a black-only event, says Scott. It will be a melting pot.

Kaepernick, of course, is the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who famously initiated a wave of protests by professional athletes in 2016 when he knelt during the national anthem before NFL games as a protest against injustice against African-Americans, especially police shootings of unarmed black men and teens. Trump, as a presidential candidate, vilified Kaepernick, saying, Maybe he should find a country that works better for him. And later, as president, Trump said players who kneel for the anthem should be fired.nike_jets_1636

Sam Darnold, Josh Allen to visit Giants this week

The Giants will have two of the top quarterbacks in the upcoming draft at their complex for private visits this week, although the chances remain high that only one of them will be available when the team is on the clock at No. 2 next week.

But those who know Gettleman believe he would not use the second pick in a draft on a flawed player, particularly when he has a quarterback who is healthy and has won two Super Bowls—though Eli Manning has not played well in recent years—and a quarterback he never got to see last year (rookie Davis Webb)—because of stupid Giants’ decision-making in the last month of a lost season. Gettleman has to look at this draft and think about two players: — Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, the best back to come into the league in years.

Think of Philly defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, even with Star Wars weaponry all over his depth chart, trying to defend Barkley, wideouts Odell Beckham Jr., and Sterling Shepard and rising-star tight end Even Engram, with a solid left tackle (Nate Solder) suddenly making Manning less vulnerable to a great pass-rush. Beckham is 25, Shepard 24, Engram 23, Barkley 21.

Joel Embiid used some body english as he scampered down the baseline and tried to will Marco Belinelli’s off-balance 3-pointer through the net.

Belinelli buried it, because of course he would. Even the wild ones go in of late for the Sixers.

With their injured Embiid on the bench, the 76ers proved one more time in their biggest game in six years they can romp without their All-Star. Embiid wore a white mask as he rang a miniature Liberty Bell — then the Miami Heat got their bell rung in Game 1 of the first-round series.

The best thing reporters can do at T-minus 10 days to the NFL draft is listen to all the people they trust and know that much of what they’re saying might be a best guess because so few people inside an organization (one, perhaps) truly know what that team is about to do in the draft.dolphins_084

Giants host FIU WR Thomas Owens for pre-NFL Draft visit, source says

The Giants  continue to scout the wide receiver position ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft later this month, hosting Florida International wide receiver Thomas Owens on a top-30 pre-draft visit Monday, an individual with knowledge of the visit tells NJ Advance Media.

Owens, 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, caught 59 passes for 887 yards and six touchdowns while averaging a career-high 15.0 yards per reception in nine games. A knee injury suffered during a Week 10 practice cut Owens’ season short.

Latest Giants 7-Round Mock Draft: Darnold, Barkley, or Chubb at No. 2?

The injury also cost Owens an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis.

Does not impress going in to crack block on safeties (Marshall ’17). Allowed a skinny post to slip through his hands vs. Old Dominion in 2014. Covers just five yards in his first four steps. Displays limited energy setting up post-corners as an X-WR. Questionable long gear on nine routes. Sinking at the top of his routes has been an issue dating back to 2014.  Fails to consistently come back downhill for the ball (UCF ’16-PBU, Killings). Knee injury cut short his 2017 campaign.He’s made questionable decisions blocking back towards his GL (clip, UCF ’16). Will run the stutter-and-go outside the numbers (as an X-WR) but does not re-accelerate into the second portion of the pattern.

Bryant, 29, was released by the Cowboys on Friday and responded on Twitter:

He also hinted he might want to remain in the NFC East.

“I won’t say any teams, but being in the division, that’s a huge possibility,” he told Jane Slater on NFL Total Access, per Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com. “That’s a huge possibility. That’s something that I want. … It’s personal. Like I said, it’s very personal. I already had a plan of training and getting my mind right. I just want to do it that much more.”

If Bryant’s recent Instagram follows are any indication of his future plans, however, the wide receiver may instead choose to remain in Texas.

Toward that end, Wuerffel has assembled a 12-man roster that includes former UF standouts with NFL backgrounds like Doering, Taylor Jacobs, Brandon James, Frankie Hammond and Travis McGriff. Wuerffel’s club will need all the help it can get considering former NFL stars Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett are fielding teams, as well.dolphins_115