Simmons’ versatility opens up so many weird lineup combinations.

Philly is almost deep! There will be a legitimate battle royale (with cheese) for minutes between Justin Anderson, Furkan Korkmaz and Sauce Castillo! Even Jahlil Okafor looks spry, pumping his trade value before the Sixers dump him to Chicago or Phoenix.

Want to go super big? Trot out Bayless (or Fultz), Robert “Bob” Covington, Simmons, Dario Saric and Embiid. Simmons alone is going to instill matchup panic. He will likely guard power forwards so Covington can envelope wings, but opponents won’t want their power forwards stuck on him.

Waymon Roberts passed away on March 17, two weeks shy of Opening Day. A retired master gunnery sergeant in the Marines, he followed the Dodgers religiously. “We didn’t talk every day, but I knew he was watching. There’s been so much this season that I could have told him about.”

There was the April call-up of rookie Cody Bellinger that jump-started the offense. There was the scuffle in San Diego on June 30, when Roberts shoved Padres manager Andy Green as the umpires tried to separate them. “Hey, I was out there defending my guys. My father would’ve approved.”

Roberts especially missed having his father around July 6 at Authentic Sven Baertschi Jersey Dodger Stadium. That was Dave Roberts Bobblehead Night — 13 years after the first Dave Roberts Bobblehead Day at Dodger Stadium had to be cancelled because he had just been traded to the Boston Red Sox.

But that July evening wasn’t just about the Miguel Cabrera Womens Jersey figurine. Singing the national anthem was his daughter, 12-year-old Emme Roberts, and throwing out the first ball was his son, 15-year-old Cole. As his wife Tricia recalls, “The Dodgers’ front office was at Waymon’s funeral and heard Emme sing there — all day long I kept thinking that my father-in-law would have gotten such a kick out of her getting ‘discovered’ at his funeral.”

Pace asked Trubisky to select a place for dinner so they could get to know him.

Led by Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and a host of supporting cast members, the Legion of Boom became famous for their hard-hitting play and colorful personalities. They reached their peak in Super Bowl 48, smashing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos en route to a 43-8 rout and the franchise’s first-ever Lombardi Trophy.

Although that was only three years ago, the group is getting up there in age, and changes could be afoot in the near future.

All good things in football eventually must end. The Greatest Show on Turf (the Rams’ high-flying offense of the early 2000s) couldn’t last forever, and neither could the Purple People Eaters (the Vikings’ fearsome defensive line from the 1960s). Players get older, contracts get expensive, and eventually there’s no choice but to break up the band. Things will be no different for the Legion of Boom.

Let’s take a look at Sherman, who was on the trade block this offseason after ruffling feathers in a feud with the local media. He also got some negative attention for jawing with defensive coordinator Kris Richard on the sidelines.

Pace asked Trubisky to select a place for dinner so they could get to know him. Pace’s only request was that the meeting was a secret. Trubisky did that, making a reservation at a steakhouse called Bin 54. The best part was how Trubisky put it under the alias “James McMahon,” (better known as Jim) the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl for the Bears.

The Bears seemed to really appreciate that touch he put on the reservation. “I thought that was cool,” Pace told the Tribune.

“That told me he was prepared, that he did his homework,” Loggains said. “You knew this moment wasn’t too big for him. He still was having fun with it.”

When the dinner ended, everybody made their way to the parking lot. That’s where they saw Trubisky driving his 1997 Toyota Camry, previously owned by his grandma.

avalanche_230

Allen’s frame and prodigious power suggest he’ll have no trouble transitioning to a starting role in 2017.

Allen’s frame and prodigious power suggest he’ll have no trouble transitioning to a starting role in 2017. Few players in college football were more explosive after the snap than the Alabama lineman, who careened into backfields and commanded double teams in his final two collegiate seasons. He can work over the center as a nose tackle or on the edge as a defensive end, using his strength and footwork to smother the pocket from several different angles.

He has a strong punch after the snap that drives blockers backward and creates avenues to leak into the backfield. He also reads plays well, allowing him to disengage once he identifies the play and slide laterally to attack ball carriers as they near the line of scrimmage. He’s good at finishing big plays once he sniffs them out, using an extra gear to drag quarterbacks to the turf.

He’s a dogged pursuer against the run who will relentlessly chase plays and make an impact even when teams game plan around him. That versatility could make him a three-down player in the NFL. He should be up to the task — he answered any questions about his conditioning last fall after recording nearly 750 snaps for Alabama.

All in all, Allen is a solid defensive lineman who grew exponentially as a college player and is now versatile enough to hold down several different roles on the defensive line. Washington is getting a player who blows up running lanes in the middle of the field and wraps up running backs. They’re also getting a defensive end who can collapse the pocket from the edge and make quarterbacks panic.
nike_redskins_1599-223x223

Phil Jackson’s criticism of Carmelo Anthony was actually a vicious self-own

During Phil Jackson’s exit press conference on Friday, the Knicks’ president delivered a message to media, detailing his intentions to move on from All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. When Jackson was asked if he wanted the franchise’s seventh all-time leading scorer to return to the team, the Zen Master said the team hasn’t been able to win with him.

That sentiment is true of Jackson, not Anthony.

Manning, who has been accused of taking part in the scheme so he could hang on to his personal items, sent an incriminating email in 2010. Manning was asked by his marketing agent, Alan Zucker, to satisfy a contract with memorabilia firm Steiner Sports for two game-used helmets and two game-used jerseys.

Instead of handing over the gear, Manning sent an email to the Giants’ the equipment manager Joe Skiba for “helmets that can pass as game used,” court documents show.

“Manning was looking to give non-game-used helmets to Steiner to satisfy — fraudulently — his contractual obligation,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Brian Brook, said in a statement.

“Since it appears that the Giants failed to preserve any emails between Manning and Joe Skiba, and the Giants are keeping Skiba on the payroll and paying his substantial legal bills, the above email exchange may be the only direct evidence that Manning knowingly gave fraudulent helmets to Steiner for sale to fans.”

Manning turned over the incriminating email last week, but Brook claims there are others he and the Giants didn’t turn over, including a previously disclosed 2008 exchange, after they won the Super Bowl.

The alleged fake memorabilia scheme dates back to at least 2004, Manning’s rookie year. The civil-racketeering lawsuit also claims Manning’s 2008 Super Bowl-winning jersey inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame is actually fake.
28

Here’s all the information you should know about every team with a chance at making the playoffs

The Cardinals have plenty of questions to answer about their offense after a 7-8-1 slump in 2017. Their plan? More touches for David Johnson, a change in position for Andre Ellington, and maybe even a new quarterback.

Bruce Arians on drafting a QB: “It would be one of the best situations for a young quarterback to walk into… for as long as it takes.”

The NBA playoffs begin on April 15. The standings are beginning to shape up, but there’s still a lot that won’t be determined until every regular season game has concluded. Whether Golden State or San Antonio ends up with the top seed in the Western Conference is one unknown, and making sure Cleveland holds onto the No. 1 spot in the East is also still up in the air.

Right now, this is what we do know about the playoff races. Tiebreakers will factor in for some race at some point, in all likelihood. There will be important games that haven’t been played yet. At this point, what teams have remaining on the schedule matters immensely, since there’s such a small portion of the season left.

Here’s all the information you should know about every team with a chance at making the playoffs — well, you know, at least a realistic one.

Unfortunately, having good reasons to put together a match of such importance generally outweighs a good-sounding matchup, and fans get real tired of title shots being handed out because someone made someone else angry like we often see on RAW. I mean, why on earth are Enzo and Cass in the tag title match at WrestleMania, anyways? It’s not like they’ve done anything actually all that interesting in the last year, much less something actually worthwhile of a title match. And the less said about Bill Goldberg winning the Universal Title, the better.
avalanche_040

Andrew Luck engineers comeback, 30-27

For a while it appeared the Colts would be the next team to fall for a trap game against a divisional opponent they should easily beat, but Andrew Luck once again lead Indianapolis back, winning 30-27 Thursday night in Nashville.

The night went from bad to worse as emotions overflowed. It looked like Indianapolis would be unable to get back on track after a series in which linebacker Erik Walden headbutted an offensive player and the team surrendered back-to-back penalties that gave up 27 yards. The Titans held a commanding lead 17-6 at halftime, and it looked impossible for the Colts to overcome their emotions, let alone the deficit.

There’s a lesson in all this, though. Never count out Andrew Luck. His statistics might not always be eye-popping, but there are few quarterbacks in the league more capable of putting a team on his shoulders when everything else is failing. The Colts didn’t just need their quarterback to lead the team back, they needed a steadying force. The second-year Luck was able to offer precisely that.

A grinding drive resulted in Donald Brown’s rushing touchdown and suddenly the team showed signs of life. The Titans fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the ball was back in Luck’s hands. It wasn’t a matter of being given and inch an taking a mile, rather the Colts quarterback asserted his will and improvised his way to the team’s third touchdown of the night on a play fake that left the Titans defense confused before he easily ran it in for the lead.

Indianapolis held on and was able to leave with another victory that could have easily gone the other way. The win almost certainly seals an AFC South championship for the Colts, now leading by three games with six to play. The Titans will need look to reload in 2017 and decide if they can move forward with Jake Locker at quarterback.
4

Michigan’s magical March continues as Wolverines find redemption vs. Louisville

Michigan center Moritz Wagner celebrates after a basket against Louisville.
29
The Michigan Wolverines are going to the Sweet 16. The No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament’s Midwest region beat the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals in the round of 32 on Sunday, 73-69, in Indianapolis. The Wolverines will play Oregon or Rhode Island next weekend in Kansas City. A live, updating tournament bracket is right here.

Michigan entered as the tournament’s hottest team. The Wolverines won six in a row, including a four-game jaunt through the Big Ten tournament and a first-round win against Oklahoma State. Louisville had just beaten No. 15 Jacksonville State, and the Cardinals posed the biggest threat yet to Michigan’s run.

“I think that’s a core responsibility of the team and I think it’s a very slippery slope for the league office to start getting in the business of telling a coach or team what minutes a player should play.”

The reality is that only a few teams in the league can afford to rest their best players and not worry about how a loss could affect their playoff chances. But those teams are the best in the league, and the ones that spend the most time on national television, which makes it a more visible issue.

Given that every team has millions of dollars invested in their stars, of course they’re going to prioritize their well-being over the fan experience for a single night. One study provided to ESPN showed that injuries were 3.5 times more likely on the second night of a back-to-back played on the road.

Jets coach Todd Bowles still evaluating Geno Smith

Todd Bowles addressed the media at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, touching on a number of different topics, including the team’s uncertain quarterback situation.

Bowles was noncommittal on the future of incumbent starter Geno Smith. He said that Smith “has a good arm, he’s a good athlete, and he can throw the ball and make all throws.” But the head coach wouldn’t elaborate on Smith’s ability to be a No. 1 QB Justin Britt Authentic Womens Jersey until he meets with him and has a chance to fully evaluate the 2013 second-round pick and “what he’s good at, what he’s not good at, what kind of intangibles he has going forward.”

Smith was in the discussion for worst starting quarterback in the NFL last season, fighting for supremacy with the likes of Josh McCown and Blake Bortles. Smith threw 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, including three in the first quarter during a Week 8 loss against the Buffalo Bills. The showing cost Smith the starting job until Michael Vick proved equally horrendous a month later, prompting then-head coach Rex Ryan to revert back to Smith in December.

Using the low end of the league’s latest salary cap estimate, five teams are projected to be above the cap right now, via Over the Cap: New Orleans Saints ($23.5 million), Arizona Cardinals ($10.1), New England Patriots ($4.9), Pittsburgh Steelers ($1.7) and St. Louis Rams ($1.1).

Suh’s tag would be north of $26 million, thanks to the aforementioned signing bonuses applying in the final year of his deal, 2014. On top of that, the Lions already have $9.7 million against the cap in dead money for 2015 and that number cannot be eliminated. If he’s tagged, it’s K.J. Wright Authentic Womens Jersey there. If he re-signs, it’s there. And if he leaves for another team, it’s there.

Griffin is currently working with his private quarterback coach, Terry O’Shea. When he returns later in the spring for official practices with Washington, he’ll have another coach working with him after the team hired quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.

Pittsburgh is starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva

There’s usually a correlation between the teams with the best offensive lines in the league — Dallas, Oakland, Atlanta — and the worst.

And as the season heads into its second half, the spotlight will shine on undrafted free-agent left tackles who have a disproportionate amount Dougie Hamilton Youth Jersey of pressure on them as they try to protect their quarterback’s blind side.

In Washington, starting left tackle Trent Williams — who some NFL coaches believe is the best unsung tackle in the league — will start a four-game suspension Sunday, leaving the Redskins to rely on Ty Nsekhe, an undrafted free agent from Texas State who now is on his fourth NFL team.

In Arizona, starting left tackle Jared Veldheer is out for the year with a torn triceps, leaving the Cardinals to start John Wetzel, an undrafted free agent from Boston College who also is on his fourth team.

Gordon is No. 3 in the NFL in rushing with 792 yards, and Ajayi is No. 6 with 646 yards. Both tall and agile athletes, the two share a physical, hard-charging running style complemented by speed to break loose in the open field.

Gordon and Ajayi developed a friendship while training together Jake DeBrusk Youth Jersey for the draft two years ago in nearby Carlsbad, California, at the EXOS training facility.

“I look at him as a brother,” Ajayi said about Gordon. “It’s going to be fun going against him as the matchup this week. We talked yesterday (Tuesday), and we talk quite often. So it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait.”

And that brotherhood has continued over the years. Gordon said he stayed at Ajayi’s house in Florida this year while rehabbing from knee surgery this offseason, and he took a trip to London to visit Ajayi’s native England.

Not at tight end, where Rob Gronkowski pretty much plays every snap and Martellus Bennett comes off only in the 3-WR/1-TE/1-RB grouping. and not at wide receiver, where Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan are locked in as No. 1 and 2 with Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell splitting reps in the No. 3 role. So the one position to watch is RB, where Dion Lewis is close to returning to game action, which could come as soon as Sunday against the Seahawks. The Patriots have planned to take it slow with Lewis, but he could eventually cut into some of James White’s snaps.

Stafford is having his best season ever

“The Hall of Fame has always recognized the important role a family plays in the career of a Hall of Famer and presents to the families of posthumously enshrined members a Gold Hall of Fame Crest identical to what is otherwise featured only on the Hall of Fame Gold Jacket.

“The Crest is framed along with a special memorial Medallion commemorating their family member’s Hall of Fame Enshrinement. Additionally, each Hall of Famer’s wife is presented with a gold Hall of Fame necklace and pendant.

Widows of Hall of Fame members are also now eligible for financial assistance through the Hall of Fame Enshrinees Assistance Fund established in 2001 by the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. And importantly, the Hall of Fame also extends a special invitation to the widows of Hall of Famers to return to Canton as our guests to reunite with her ‘Hall of Fame Family’ during the Annual Hall of Fame Enshrinement Celebration. In addition, with the completion of Hall of Fame Village over the next few years, the Hall will be able to offer assisted and independent care along with other important services.”

Before 2005, Linehan was the O.C. with the Minnesota Vikings, and directed a high-scoring offense with Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. As he installed our offense in Miami, you could clearly see his philosophy at work. He wanted to attack the defense down the field as much as possible. He loved the big play. He was aggressive, and many short routes were converted to “go” routes versus press coverage. He felt that if a defense was going to come up and play bump-and-run coverage, it was an offense’s duty to attack them down the field.

He had plenty of luck with this philosophy in Minnesota with Moss and Culpepper. The strong-armed quarterback could throw it a mile, and Moss was unstoppable in his prime.

After failing as a head coach in Bruce Bochy Jersey St. Louis, Linehan was hired to coach the Stafford-Megatron combination, which would go on to produce huge numbers. Stafford had the strong arm of Culpepper, and Megatron was as close to Moss as you could find in the NFL. In 2012, the combination created the best season for a wide receiver in NFL history, as Johnson finished with 1,964 receiving yards. The only problem: the Lions won four games. Stafford’s big arm and Megatron’s absurd performance meant nothing in the win column.

Jump to four years later, and Stafford is having his best season ever. He’s also without Megatron for the first time in his career. So was Johnson the problem? Obviously not, as he was one of the best wide receivers in the league during the last decade.

I believe the real problem was that the previous coaching staffs spent way too much time trying to maximize Megatron’s talent, and this, in turn, slowed Stafford’s progress. While the Lions quarterback has always had a strong arm and a gunslinger’s mentality, we’re learning in 2016 that he’s a significantly more well-rounded quarterback. As he enters the Buster Posey Jersey second half of his career, he’s winning games with his head as much as his arm. You’d never use the term “game manager” with Stafford, but he was exactly that in his huge win versus the Vikings on Sunday.