Browns expected to dump Johnny Manziel after hiring Hue Jackson

Johnny Manziel’s tenure in Cleveland has been marred by controversy, and the team’s hiring of Hue Jackson as its new head coach signals the end of Manziel’s time with the Browns.
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Jackson, who finalized his deal with the Browns Wednesday, told owner Jimmy Haslam that he wants to “move on” from the troubled quarterback, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that Jackson does not want to stake his job and reputation on Manziel.

Game Chris Carpenter Jersey When Jackson was asked about Manziel at his introductory press conference Wednesday, he sidestepped the question.

In Week 17, he played a quarter and a half against the Chargers after taking over for Brock Osweiler, but it’s impossible to tell if he’ll be fresh and rested against the Steelers, or rusty and gimpy like he was for most of the season.

If the past is any indication, though, Manning’s performance won’t matter as much, as long as he doesn’t resume being a turnover machine. More important is how the Broncos defense plays. A Manning team has never lost a playoff game when the opponent has scored under 17 points. And this Broncos defense is the top-ranked in the league and especially tough at home.

But if the game is close, history shows that it’s the Steelers who are likely to win, since Manning’s teams can’t catch a break in the fourth quarter of tight playoff games. If the Broncos beat the Steelers, they will win the following week and move on to the Super Bowl.

At least that’s what the Peyton Manning boom-or-bust theory says. And it hasn’t been wrong in the last 10 years.

Jim Buzinski is co-founder of SBNation’s Outsports.com. He has also watched every Peyton Manning playoff game and still has nightmares over some of them.

The owners and commissioner Rob Manfred wanted a draft, but the players

A major flaw in the previous system was that a team with a bottom-10 record had a big advantage over a team with the 11th-worst record. The 10th-worst team would keep its first-round pick while the 11th-worst team would lose its pick if it signed a premium free agent. Likewise, the 11th pick in the draft is much more valuable than the 30th. Eliminating first-round picks from the compensation system makes things a little more even for all teams.
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The small-market teams are still protected as well. If a team that receives revenue sharing loses a free agent who signs for at least $50 million, that team will receive a bonus pick after the first round. This seems like a win-win for both parties.
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The Cardinals, who last year missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, spent about $120 million on player salaries last season, 11th in baseball. For the fourth season in a row, they trailed only the Los Angeles Dodgers in attendance, as an average of 42,524 fans bought tickets for their games.

“I’ve always felt that St. Louis is a special place to work in baseball, because clearly our fan base, regardless of their opinions, is extremely strong,” Mozeliak said. “They show up, they appreciate good baseball.

“I think they appreciate people who play the game hard, watch the types of players they admire. They’re very supportive of people who put out a strong effort. In terms of the culture shift, I think what’s happening is more of a society thing than something about the Cardinals.”

Should the Cardinals remain relatively quiet this winter and miss the playoffs again, the noise only figures to intensify in the fall of 2017. The plan, of course, is to keep that from happening. Given the team’s track record, with two World Series titles and seven playoff appearances since 2006, the Cardinals don’t feel the need to overreact to one disappointing season. Until it becomes a deafening roar, the frustration mouthed by Cardinals fans is just reassuring background noise.

MLB Rumor Central: Traction for Dodgers in Brian Dozier talks?

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Could the Los Angeles Dodgers be making headway in trade talks with the Minnesota Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier?

That appears to be the case, as the Dodgers have been aggressively pursuing Dozier and “have now piqued Minnesota’s interest,” Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.

Daniel Alfredsson Limited Jersey Rumor CentralThe Twins reportedly have set a high asking price for the 29-year-old, which isn’t a surprise after Dozier hit 42 homers and drove in 99 runs this year. He’s also signed to a club-friendly contract through 2018, which furthers his value.

However, the Dodgers have the prospects to get a deal done. Julio Urias is seemingly untouchable, but right-hander Jose De Leon and first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger are names that have come up frequently this offseason.

For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Jim Bowden pegged the chances of Minnesota dealing Dozier this winter at 45 percent.

They’ve had issues during this downturn, and against pick-and-pop bigs who feast when Jordan drops into the paint to corral a pick-and-roll; Myles Turner, Marc Gasol, and Brook Lopez have all rained fire from deep.

They might be due some good luck here; opponents have hit 40 percent of wide-open 3s against them, one of the beefiest marks in the league.

Regardless, they’ll adjust in the playoffs. The Clippers transitioned last season from a hyper-aggressive trapping scheme into their current drop-back system, but they can still bust out the frenzy against opponents who require it. They blitzed Damian Lillard 30 feet from the rim in the first round last season. If LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol start swishing midrange pick-and-pops, the Clippers will stick closer to them.

Antetokounmpo ties career scoring high, Bucks rout Cavs

After building a big third-quarter lead against the defending NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks poured it on in the fourth.

And when the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled their starters, including LeBron James, midway through the final period, the young Bucks still didn’t let up.

“We didn’t let them off the hook. We were attacking,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo, who tied a career high with 34 points while the Bucks stunned the Cavaliers 118-101 on Tuesday night.

“They are the champs, but this is a great win.”

Bucks coach Jason Kidd had high praise for Antetokounmpo, who was often matched up against James.

“He’s getting better with hard work,” Kidd said. “He was going against the best player in the world.”

Game Youth Trevor Siemian Jersey Antetokounmpo added 12 rebounds and five assists while Milwaukee ended Cleveland’s four-game winning streak. Jabari Parker had 18 points and Michael Beasley had 17 off the bench for the Bucks.

“It was a matter of us trusting each other,” Kidd said. “For a young team, sometimes it takes time. You want to put it in the microwave and instantly get it right away, but if you’re patient enough for the process and the journey, it will come.”

LAUNCH POWER: Sports scientists obsess about an athlete’s ability to transfer energy from his landing into his next liftoff. A typical athlete needs time to regather and unwind before his body can generate the energy to get off the ground again. “Giannis doesn’t have that,” Elliott says. “His system can handle those giant forces. He’s coming down at high velocity, and he doesn’t resist it … he’s able to [turn it into] an advantage.” One of the hallmarks of athleticism, transferring energy is what allows Antetokounmpo to bounce around the floor like he’s on a pogo stick.

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After field goal gamble fails, Broncos say it’s ‘do or die’ to make playoffs

Coach Gary Kubiak considered all the factors Sunday night, weighed all the options and went with his gut. He decided a tie wasn’t good enough. He sent kicker Brandon McManus out for a 62-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Denver Broncos a dramatic win over the Kansas City Chiefs in front of a frenzied crowd.

Instead, McManus’ kick fell Lamarcus Joyner Youth Jersey well short and to the left. The Chiefs turned the quality field position left behind into a winning kick of their own four plays later, Cairo Santos’ 34-yard effort bouncing off the left upright and then through to give Kansas City a 30-27 overtime victory.

“My thing is, we’re going to try to win around here,” Kubiak said. “I made that decision and it just didn’t work out. I have a lot of confidence in Brandon, I have a lot of confidence in our football team. That’s why I made the decision.”

Dak Prescott now leads the NFL in Total QBR after posting his second straight game with at least a 90 Total QBR on Thursday. He is the first rookie quarterback to do that since Russell Wilson in 2012 (two separate streaks). Thursday, he was great down the stretch again, as he went 6-of-7 for 79 yards in the 4th quarter. He has now completed 30 of his last 33 passes in the fourth quarter/overtime, dating Lance Kendricks Youth Jersey back to the start of overtime in Week 8 against the Eagles.

Prescott was particularly efficient in the red zone. He dropped back to pass three times in the red zone, and all three times, Prescott made key plays. He threw a touchdown pass, scrambled for a touchdown run, and threw for a first down inside the 20.

No QB has had more variance in his game-level QBRs this season than Roethlisberger, who has two games with a QBR about 95 and two below 20 this season. On Thursday against the Colts, however, Roethlisberger has his A-game as he completed 14-of-20 passes for 221 yards and three touchdown — all to Antonio Brown.

Jerry Rice’s NFL receptions record of 1,549 will be hard to catch, but Brown could make it interesting. At his current pace, surpassing 1,200 catches is far from unreasonable.

Jared Goff threw three touchdowns in the first half against the Saints, the first Rams quarterback to do that since Sam Bradford in 2010. Goff posted a Total QBR of 58.2 in the first half.

The Broncos had taken their last timeout to make the decision about what to do from the Chiefs’ 44-yard line, facing a fourth-and-10. After a brief discussion with special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, and with some lobbying from McManus, Kubiak elected to go for the win with 1 minute, 8 seconds to play.

The snap from Thomas Gafford, signed on Friday as an injury replacement for Casey Kreiter, was on the money, and holder Riley Dixon got the ball down smoothly. But McManus’ foot dug through the dirt in his attempt to power the ball for what have been a personal best.

Khalil Mack’s mantra for Raiders’ defense: By any means necessary

Lost in the afterglow of Derek Carr leading the Oakland Raiders to his eighth game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2015 season on Monday night in Mexico City was the play of the defense.

Yes, some of the same bugaboos that haunted the defense earlier in the season — tight ends running free, a shocking inability to get off the field on third down — reared their head early in the game against the Houston Texans.

Until they didn’t.

“I love it,” McCarthy said Friday. “It’s an expression of confidence. That’s a statement that he made. I read about it just like everybody else. I think it just shows what’s going on internally, but the fact of the matter is we have to win the next game. We all get that part.

“But this is a big challenge going to Philadelphia. It’s a very good football team. We talked about the specifics of how we look at them on Albert Wilson Authentic Womens Jersey offense, defense and special teams, the environment we’re going to play in. That’s my immediate focus. But I love those comments because it’s an expression of confidence, and that’s what we have.”

Aaron Rodgers’ comment was an extension of his postgame news conference after Sunday’s loss at Washington. After that game, he said he was “very optimistic” the Packers can still turn their season around.

Three days later, he was asked why he felt that Alex Smith Authentic Womens Jersey way. That’s when he gave his run-the-table answer.

“I feel like we can run the table, I really do,” Rodgers said. “The offense is starting to click a little bit more; we’ve just got to put together a game where we’re more consistent from the first snap to the last. We’ve been, I think, getting closer to that. We’ve really been clicking, at times, in the last few games.

Four years after Redskins, Cowboys have rookie duo that is envy of NFL

When the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving in 2012, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones thought he had seen the future and had the look of a man who hated what he had seen.

On that day, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, playing in his first game as a pro back in Texas, completed 19 of 27 passes for 304 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Rookie running back Alfred Morris carried 24 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.

But it was Griffin who had Jones looking ashen after the game. In Jamize Olawale Authentic Jersey the second quarter, Griffin completed 10 of 13 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns as Washington scored 28 points.

Opponents have worked to take away Smith’s running lanes. He rushed 11 yards for a touchdown against Tampa Bay, but that was his longest run of the season.

“It’s a statistic you see that’s a big enough outlier from years past,” Smith said.

His stats on third downs and in the red zone are every bit as much of an outlier. Smith’s passer rating on third down is 68.4, compared to 91.2 on all downs. His passer rating inside the opposition’s 20 is 88.2, and while that doesn’t look bad compared to his overall rating, it ranks 28th in the league.

Smith acknowledged those numbers need to improve but said Jerry Rice Authentic Jersey
they don’t necessarily indicate he isn’t playing as well as he did last season.

“Each season is different,” Smith said. “It’s its own journey. It’s different. The schedule is different. So to compare it to years past is hard. It’s just a different challenge.”

What he wants to improve on the most over the final six games?

“Winning,” he said. “The most important stat in all of sports is winning and losing. I really could care less about point production, leading the league in scoring.

“Obviously, from my personal statistics, it really doesn’t matter. My job is to win football games, and I’m willing to do any and everything to do so.”

San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa has been held without a sack for the last three contests

After totaling four sacks in his first three games, San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa has been held without a sack for the last three contests.

The Ohio State product still is tied for second among this year’s Deion Sanders Womens Jersey rookies with four sacks. But with six games left in the season, Bosa said he’s more focused on helping his team secure victories than putting up monster sack numbers.

“I want to win,” Bosa said. “I think all of our goals here is to go 6-0 these next six weeks. I don’t have any personal goals right now. I just want to win games, and that takes help for me.”

Bosa said one focus for San Diego’s defense will be improved play in the second half. The Chargers allowed 72 more points in the second half through the first 11 games than the first half.

“We’ve just got to finish as a defense,” Bosa said. “We’ve been playing teams really well in the first half and stopping the run. But there’s just something about going into that third quarter. I don’t know, we’ve just got to execute.”

Their run game has once again been spotty at best, and the Broncos are — again — trying to stay in the hunt for an AFC West title. Both the Broncos and Chiefs are 7-3 this time around — just behind the 8-2 Oakland Raiders in the division race.

Kubiak has already made the right tackle job an open competition between Donald Stephenson and Derrick Shelby Womens Jersey Ty Sambrailo, as Kubiak said both players will play, with the one who plays the best staying in the lineup. Kubiak has added the Broncos might rotate at other positions up front as well.

Best against best: Can Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott crack Ravens’ 679-pound wall?

Based on the Baltimore Ravens’ weightlifting feats, no one is surprised their run defense is anxious to flex its muscles against NFL leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

“They’re the best and we’re the best, and somebody Alex Burrows Authentic Jersey is going to come out on top,” Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams said. “Why wouldn’t you look forward to a game like this? We can’t wait.”

The Cowboys top the NFL with 161 yards rushing per game, churning out big gains with Elliott and a relentless offensive line. The Ravens are the No. 1 run defense with 71.3 yards rushing allowed, and it all starts with their 679-pound wall.

Defensive tackles Brandon Williams (340 pounds) and Michael Pierce (339) are massive. They’re prideful overachievers. And they’re powerful.

Pierce has squatted 725 pounds. Williams has squatted a teammate during a game.

Last week, Williams was messing around in practice and lifted safety Eric Weddle for a set of five. Then, late in the Ravens’ 28-7 win over Cleveland, Williams decided to celebrate when he saw he was standing next to the 195-pound Weddle.

“I asked him, ‘Hey, mind if I get another set?,'” Williams said. “He’s like, ‘Hell yeah!'”

Williams wins on creativity. Pierce wins on pure awe.

Thursday night’s national broadcast showed footage of Pierce squatting the Alexander Edler Authentic Jersey equivalent of almost four Eric Weddles last year at Samford.

“I think I could do a little more,” Pierce said. “At Samford, honestly they cut me off for health reasons. I didn’t have a belt.”

Their exploits in the weight room translate onto the field. To hold up against double-teams, Williams and Pierce sink their hips and rely on the powerful base they built up in the offseason. Their legs become anchors in the ground as they occupy blockers and free up linebackers C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr.

Astros’ offseason blasts off with additions of McCann, Reddick

The Houston Astros were my pick to win the American League West last year. In fact, I thought they would be the team losing to the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. However, they were hampered by a dismal 7-17 April and went on to go just 4-15 against the Texas Rangers. If you take away their 11-29 combined record between that slow start and their struggles against the Rangers, they were an impressive 73-49 the rest of the year and against everyone else, one of the best records in baseball.

They did that despite defending Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel dealing with shoulder soreness on the way to posting a 9-12 record with a 4.55 ERA, and despite top pitching prospect Lance McCullers Jr. being limited to just 14 starts because of his own shoulder problems. Both Keuchel and McCullers are expected to be healthy and back to their dominant selves in 2017.

That’s already going to make a big difference. But Michael Harris Authentic Womens Jersey in the meantime the Astros made three impressive moves this week to bring them closer to the Rangers, at least on paper: They hired Alex Cora as bench coach, agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Josh Reddick on a four-year deal and then traded for catcher Brian McCann of the Yankees. All three of these moves are significant, both on and off the field.

Jordan, albeit already with a Double-A regular season under his belt at that point, hit .252 (31-for-123) in the Arizona Fall League in 1994 while dabbling in the sport after several standout years in the NBA.

Tebow produced three Michael Griffin Authentic Womens Jersey doubles, two RBIs and eight walks while striking out 20 times in 62 at-bats and stealing one base in three attempts. That was good for a .296 on-base percentage and .242 slugging percentage.

But we, as analysts and baseball fans and GMs signing free agents, miss on veterans almost as often as we miss on young players, because the unknowns about player performance don’t go away, they just shift a little.