Month: February 2018

The league likewise is taking a long-term view.

“They knew going in this wasn’t a one-game or one-year solution where they could turn a light on and get the support they expect to get moving toward the opening of the new [stadium],” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said during a conference call with reporters this week. “We remain confident the city of Los Angeles can support two franchises and committed toward making that happen.”

The early stages of this NFL season have been plagued by poor offensive play resulting in dull, low-scoring games. And the Thursday night games never have been exactly known for their crispness and can’t-turn-away watch-ability.

With Kelly following him out the door, the NFL’s coaching vacancies now stands at six, with the Chargers firing Coach Mike McCoy on Sunday night and Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak officially stepping down due to health reasons. Kubiak helped lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl just last season. The Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams have already parted ways with their head coaches.

In one other bit of key NFL offseason news, by losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime — despite several good chances to win the game late and in OT, and despite the fact the Steelers rested all of their key offensive starters — the Cleveland Browns have locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft thanks to their inglorious one-win season.

Sports Illustrated media columnist Richard Deitsch named Romo SI’s 2017 “Media Person of the Year.” Wrote Deitsch: “Having currency (Romo was on the Cowboys’ roster until April) does not always translate into astute analysis but Romo’s knowledge of the league — specifically the formations and fronts of teams and how an offense attacks a defense — made him an invaluable resource for NFL viewers.”

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The Titans have a chance to show what they can do against a top AFC playoff contender when they play Thursday night at Pittsburgh.

The Dolphins offered little resistance Monday night. Still, it was an excellent performance by the Panthers, with Cam Newton excelling both as a passer and a runner.

A victory over the Steelers would signal that the Titans might be capable not only of reaching the postseason, but of being a factor once they get there.

The Chiefs return from their bye needing to reestablish that they are among the league’s top teams. It hasn’t looked that way lately, with three losses in four games since a 5-0 start. They play Sunday in the Meadowlands against the Giants, who are in total disarray. Anything less than a decisive victory would raise further questions about the Chiefs.

The shocking win in Seattle was followed by Sunday’s loss at home to the Vikings. There’s no disgrace in losing to a very good Minnesota team. But it remains one step forward and one step back for these Redskins, who perhaps have found their level. Unfortunately for them, that level appears to be right around the .500 mark.

Case Keenum remains the starter at QB despite throwing two interceptions in the loss at Carolina. Keenum’s performance against the Panthers was an issue. So, too, were the performances of an offensive line that allowed Keenum to be sacked six times, and a defense that permitted the Panthers to run for 216 yards.

The crowd’s behavior at the end of Sunday’s game was not acceptable. It’s the Jaguars’ responsibility to ensure that things like that don’t happen in their stadium, and they must keep their fans under control. As for the game, beating Seattle counts as a very good win for a team that looks more promising all the time.

It’s fair to question whether Matthew Stafford has played to the level demanded by his monstrous contract. But don’t ever question the QB’s toughness or late-game mettle. Both were on vivid display in Sunday’s gritty victory in Tampa.

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A hyperextended knee could force Amendola to sit out Week 8 against the Chargers.

That’s an attractive matchup for owners who have anyone on the Patriots. Teammate Chris Hogan stands to inherit some additional targets. He has five games with 60 or more yards; that trend should continue.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings: Minnesota’s top wideout fully practiced on Thursday and Friday, and seems in line to play Sunday at Cleveland. Diggs’s return is a sigh of relief for his owners, who hope he picks up the pace he was setting through the first four weeks of the season. He should be in your lineup on Sunday.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars: Fournette doesn’t play this week with Jacksonville on a bye, but for owners wondering about his status upon his return, the expectation is that he’ll be fine for Week 9.

I don’t really know. I’ll watch the playoffs. I’ll probably have feelings of disappointment that the Redskins aren’t there very often. It’s hard to just say “I quit.” Maybe I’ll just shut it off for a while. I don’t really know.

He has hit 100 mph and will work with an upper-90s fastball and upper-80s slider that can show plus. He’ll show a curveball and changeup but can slow his arm enough on the latter to tip better hitters off that he’s throwing it.

Lockhart was a vocal and forceful presence during his time in the league. He responded aggressively to reports he deemed unfair to the league’s record on health and safety issues. This season, he conducted regular conference calls with reporters to make certain the NFL’s views on relevant issues were known.

“When I got here, my mission was to shake things up a bit,” Lockhart wrote in Thursday’s memo. “As one of the most important and iconic cultural institutions in our country, the NFL is subject to almost as much scrutiny as our Government. Americans’ passion for the game generates debates every bit as heated as those in politics. In fact, as I’ve shared with some of you, the two years in this role feels a lot like my two years as White House press secretary.

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Fixing the arcane and clunky Catch Rule should be atop the league’s to-do list for on-field improvements in the offseason.

Pence and his wife exited the game after members of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the national anthem to protest racism in America and police violence, claiming that it was disrespectful to veterans.

“I’d have thought you were crazy to think that, or I was crazy to think that,” Brady said. “This has just all been — I guess it’s my life, so I’m living it, and it feels very natural and normal, just because I wake up every day and I feel very much the same as I did when I walked in here 18 years ago, I really do. It’s a great privilege to play here, and it’s a great privilege to play in the NFL, and I try to represent the team well, I try to represent my family, I try to do things the right way, and I’m very blessed. I could never imagine getting the kind of team achievements we’ve done and had.

So I can just throw it in their general direction, and because I’m not under pressure and because they’re in the area, it won’t matter. And you saw what happened. I threw the ball and it looks like I’m throwing to nobody, but in my opinion — or before I threw the ball, my opinion was he’ll be in the general area.

But let’s hope the Raiders or Jets take their plight as a motivator to fix another puzzling article in the rulebook.

No, I’m not. First, we need to do something similar for player on-court and off-court stats. Jacob Goldstein started this process recently on Nylon Calculus, though his method tends to overstate the magnitude of good or bad luck for players because it doesn’t account for the fact that more missed shots also mean some points via offensive rebounds.

I’m a little more skeptical at the lineup level because the samples are so much smaller in most cases that I think looking just at shooting luck will ignore other possible sources of randomness.

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