Running back Tevin Coleman didn’t play when the Falcons faced the Packers in that Week 8 game. He was nursing a hamstring injury. Coleman’s replacement, Terron Ward, was the Falcons’ leading rusher in that game with 46 yards on six carries. But no running back on the Falcons’ roster is more explosive than Coleman. He can take it the distance on any play, and his improved hands have made him a more viable option as a pass-catcher. The one-two combo of Coleman and Devonta Freeman can be devastating when clicking on all cylinders.
Everyone knows Freeman is a do-it-all back with great toughness. But if the Falcons can find ways to get Coleman in the open field, look out. He had 11 touchdowns during the regular season and another one last week on a 14-yard reception when the Seahawks lost him in coverage.
No one questions Rodgers’ leadership now. Not after running after the table, not after Dallas. Before that final throw, Rodgers essentially drew up the play to Cook in the huddle. He was animated, gesturing as he yelled out directions to 10 teammates under the backdrop of 100,000 screaming fans.
“I said everybody kind of run over to the left, and get open — not exactly in those words, but that was basically the gist of it,” Rodgers later told the Dan Le Batard Show.
He was so into it that left tackle David Bakhtiari motioned to his quarterback to speed it up because they were running out of time.
And here, there were no communication issues, no bad vibes. A franchise quarterback was talking, and everyone listened.
“I don’t know if I’m smart enough to be able to figure out if he’s different,” he said. “He’s always been that leader since he got here; he’s always been the one wanting to step on the gas and go get it. And he doesn’t have any quit in him. I think the players on offense and even the defensive guys know that if they just give him a chance, we might be able to win a game that maybe we shouldn’t. He has that kind of magic.”
Limited Mens Ray Nitschke Jersey The NFL Players Association will pursue collusion charges against the Broncos and the Cowboys if Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant do not sign long-term deals with their teams, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. If the case does indeed go forward and the union wins, it could result in a payout worth more than $48 million for each receiver.
It was first reported two days ago that the union was looking into the possibility of collusion between executives from both teams; now, the NFLPA believes it has the evidence to proceed with a case. The union’s evidence stems from a reported conversation between Bryant and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones in which Jones told Bryant that he had discussed their contract negotiations with Broncos team president John Elway.
If the Players Association can prove its claim, one or both players could be awarded a payout worth up to three times what Calvin Johnson, the NFL’s highest paid receiver, makes at roughly $16.2 million per year.
Both players are haggling for long-term extensions after being handed franchise tags this offseason. The tag means both players will earn $12.823 million next season, making them some of the highest-paid receivers in the league. The tag comes with little security, however. Without extensions in place, Thomas and Bryant are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2016.
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The two are roughly equivalent players, so it would make sense if the Broncos and Cowboys wanted to get together to discuss their situations. Bryant and Thomas should command similar deals when or if they are extended. The problem is that NFL teams are prohibited from making such contact. By discussing contract terms with one another, the Broncos and Cowboys could, in theory, artificially cap the market value of their wideouts.
The same team that lost its final six games of 2016 has launched its 2017 by winning six in a row, good for the league’s longest active winning streak; when comparing the two stretches, the Clippers have been fueled by a dramatic improvement defensively. Tuesday, meanwhile, marks a full four weeks since Blake Griffin was shelved to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Doc Rivers said Griffin is progressing “great,” which means a return by month’s end is in play. The Clippers’ limited trade assets, by comparison, mean that as much as Rivers would like to strengthen his roster, it’s going to be tough for L.A. to make an impactful move. So maybe the closest thing to that has already happened; Kevin Garnett has officially signed on as a part-time Clips coaching consultant to work with their big men.
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The Kings are now 1-5 on a crucial seven-game homestand after Sunday’s setback to Oklahoma City at Golden 1 Center. The one victory Sacramento managed, over unraveling Detroit, required a comeback from 18 points, which gave Sacramento three such resurrections this season to rank No. 1 in the league in that category. DeMarcus Cousins has been too good individually to be denied an All-Star invite by West coaches, but the Kings just don’t look like legit playoff material … especially with that eight-game road trip we keep bringing up almost upon them. Defense continues to be a big problem; Sacramento had slipped into the bottom five of the league in defensive efficiency by the time the Russell Westbrook Triple-Double Train pulled into town.
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Reggie Jackson has absorbed the brunt of the scrutiny generated by Detroit’s plummet to five games under .500 because the Pistons were 11-10 without their $80 Million Man and are a distressing 8-14 since Jackson returned to the lineup Dec. 4. Yet it seems fair to wonder whether Andre Drummond has been let off too easy in the scrutiny department, given his inability to take the next step this season in the wake of last summer’s mammoth $127 million extension. Sunday’s half-court fling against the Lakers aside, Drummond has generated little-to-no buzz when it comes to securing his second straight All-Star berth this season. That can’t all be on Jackson.
Murphy was asked if he knew of a retired quarterback who could’ve completed that pass. He paused. “You hate to bring up a Cowboy,” he said, “but Roger Staubach in his prime.”
Murphy agreed with a reporter’s suggestion that John Elway could’ve also completed that pass before saying, “It’s a small number.”
That’s why Jerry Jones, losing owner, said he has never seen an individual player do more to dictate the outcome of a game. That’s why Dak Prescott, losing quarterback, said he was all but mesmerized watching his counterpart do his thing.
“It’s incredible watching him,” the rookie said. “I hate it in this circumstance, but he is an incredible quarterback.”
Cornerback Robert Alford said coming into the game the defense was “underrated” based on regular-season missteps. Well, either Dallas or Green Bay certainly won’t take anything for granted in next Sunday’s NFC Championship Game after seeing how the Falcons flew around the field.
Game Youth Tim Hardaway Jr. Jersey “You’ve got to play with confidence in this game,” Alford said. “Right now, it’s win or go home. If you don’t have confidence, you already lost. Confidence is something that we’re going to play with each and every week.
“This is football. You’re going to give up some plays. The opponent gets paid, too. It’s not like we’re out there playing against slouches or high school receivers. They are going to catch balls. It’s just how you bounce back from it and what you can do the next play for your team.”
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Now it’s on to what can the Falcons do next week to propel themselves into the Super Bowl.
New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Spiller is now expected to miss the remainder of the preseason, but the team does expect him back for the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13.
Spiller did limited work in training camp earlier in the week, missed a scrimmage on Friday and did not participate in the team’s preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Spiller joined the Saints this season after five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, who took him with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Indianapolis, led by Andrew Luck, has become one of the AFC’s elite teams, with only the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos seemingly standing in the way of a potential Super Bowl run. Have they done enough to make it over the hump and snag Luck’s first Lombardi Trophy?
These are questions that won’t be answered in Sunday’s preseason contest between the two teams, admittedly. But it is the first look we’ll get at the both of them, as the final two teams to get their preseasons underway. They’re going to meet in the only game on Sunday.
For Philadelphia, we won’t get to see starting quarterback Sam Bradford, as he’s still not quite recovered from the ACL injury he sustained last season. Instead, Mark Sanchez will make the start for the Eagles, and we’ll likely get a good dose of Tim Tebow for that game. We’ll probably have to wait to see DeMarco Murray’s first action as an Eagle, but Ryan Mathews should at least get a series or two.
In a move that protects the league from having a major announcement during a playoff weekend, the NFL extended the San Diego Chargers’ deadline to exercise an option to move to Los Angeles from Sunday to Tuesday.
Jake Long Authentic Jersey The news came after the NFL owners comprising the league’s finance and stadium committees met in New York on Wednesday.
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The extension was initiated by the NFL, not the Chargers, due to the fact that Jan. 15 fell on Sunday, and Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday.
The extension does not preclude the Chargers from announcing their intention to move the franchise to Los Angeles before then.
Also complicating matters is San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer is scheduled to give his State of the City address on here Thursday evening.
Bell rushed for 1,361 yards in 2014, second only to Dallas’ DeMarco Murray, and his 18.1 carries per game was fifth in the league. Bell’s eight rushing touchdowns tied for eighth in the NFL.
In addition to those numbers running the football, he caught 83 passes, good for 19th in the league among all players, and second to only Matt Forte among running backs. His 854 receiving yards was best in the league at his position. To say that he was productive is an understatement.
Despite these excellent numbers, it still may be difficult to conceptualize how important Bell was to the Steelers’ offensive attack, because they did put up top-level yardage and points last year. For context, let’s break down just how much Bell was used.
With 15 turnovers, including six against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and a fumble that cost the Lions a win over the Seattle Seahawks, the team can’t stay out of its own way. Still, even if an illegal bat was called, the Lions’ struggles go beyond bad luck.
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After finishing No. 2 in defense and No. 19 in offense in 2014, the Lions are near the bottom of the NFL in both categories. The Lions are 30th in points scored, and even sent Matthew Stafford to the bench in favor of Dan Orlovsky during a beatdown at the hands of the Cardinals. While Stafford will almost certainly get his starting job back for Week 6, he now leads the NFL in interceptions.
He recovered in time for the start of the 2012 season, and he made his presence felt with 87 yards on 16 carries against the Atlanta Falcons. That year, he had two games of 220-plus yards, and rushed for 100-plus yards in five other games. He finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yardage, behind only Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris and Marshawn Lynch.
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Unfortunately, the Chiefs finished that season with a 2-14 record and Charles was about their only contributor. But he made a full recovery, and while it’s not guaranteed he can do it again — he’ll be 29 years old when next season gets underway — he’s been through this before and that should be reason for a shred of optimism for Chiefs fans.
This is far from the 2008 Lions team that finished 0-16, but it would need a miraculous turnaround to even finish with a respectable record.
All five games for the Ravens have been decided by a touchdown or less, and with the No. 10 scoring offense, there’s still time for the team to turn things around. It’s almost definitely too late to earn the AFC North crown, though. The Cincinnati Bengals are off to their best start in almost three decades, while the Ravens are already four games back.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s controversial, game-winning shot to beat the New York Knicks on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden was the latest highlight in a season filled with them. At age 22, the Greek Freak has made the leap from promising young talent to MVP contender.
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Just how good has Giannis been?
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Is the unique Greek the best MVP candidate in the East, ready to compete for the trophy with Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James?
“We’ve already reached the point where we are willing to give up some 2s, even near the basket, to prevent corner 3s,” Gordon Hayward told ESPN.com. He ain’t lying.
The Hawks have not yet publicly addressed the report beyond Wilcox’s statement to Deadspin.
Danny Ferry, the Hawks’ previous general manager, stepped down in 2015 after a lengthy leave of absence following racially inflammatory comments about then-free agent Luol Deng. During a conference call with the Hawks’ ownership group, Ferry referred to comments in a scouting report when he described Deng as someone who “has a little African in him.”
Deng, who is from South Sudan, eventually signed with the Heat.
In 2014, Bruce Levenson, then-owner of the Hawks, chose to sell his controlling interest after he self-reported an email he wrote to the team’s co-owners and Ferry in 2012 that he called “inappropriate and offensive.” Levenson said in a statement at the time that the racially offensive comments he made came as he pondered ways to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide and increase fan attendance at Hawks games.
The Rockets outscore opponents by 12.6 points per 100 possessions when Beverley is on the floor, compared 6.6 for Eric Gordon, who started in Beverley¡¯s place while he recovered from injury. The agitating point guard routinely locks down his opponent, like when he hounded Steph Curry into a 9-for-21 shooting night in a win over Golden State and forced Isaiah Thomas into a 7-for-19 shooting night in a win over Boston.
Game Mens Tre Jackson Jersey And if the team continues to support Harden on his quest for world dominance (read: a historic NBA season), Houston could seriously challenge Golden State or San Antonio for a shot at an NBA Finals appearance.
A fumble there and the Lions would have had terrific field position for Matthew Stafford and company to go to work. The Lions¡¯ receiving corps has done an outstanding job finding holes in a banged-up Packers secondary. Instead, the Packers kept the ball, AND gained seven yards before Davante Adams was pushed out of bounds.
Then came the touchdown play, which was pure brilliance.
The Packers¡¯ offensive line deserves a lot of credit for keeping Rodgers clean for what felt like minutes in the backfield. The throw and catch are the stars of this play, though. Rodgers chucked the ball on the run to find a diving Geronimo Allison in the back of the end zone.
Kids David Johnson Jersey If the Packers can hold off yet another Lions¡¯ fourth quarter comeback, they¡¯ll have Rodgers to thank.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert left the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a concussion on Sunday. Eifert looked shaken up on the field and went to the locker room immediately after going to the sideline.
Eifert entered the concussion protocol and was announced as doubtful to return to the game, before the team eventually declared him out and confirmed the concussion.
Eifert caught two passes for 42 yards before Elite Kids Mike Webster Jersey leaving the game with an injury. He was listed as probable on the official injury report with a neck injury going into Sunday’s game, but everyone expected him to play.
Watt currently has 13.5 sacks on the season and is a big reason the Texans recently put together a four-game winning streak. That streak came to an end in Week 13, but the Texans are still in the running for a playoff spot and Watt will need to be at the top of his game if the Texans are going to make it.
A first-round pick by the Texans in 2011, Watt has 70.5 career sacks. He put up 20.5 sacks last season and 20.5 sacks in 2012. He is 1.5 sacks away from reaching 15 on the season, and he would be only the second player in NFL Elite Youth Kevin Byard Jersey history to record three separate 15-sack seasons in his first five years in the league.
Watt has not missed a single game in his NFL career.
In the Jags’ 51-16 win, Bortles passed for 250 yards and threw for three touchdowns while running for another, accumulating 114.6 passer rating. He now sits at 3,524 yards passing with 30 touchdowns to just 13 picks on the year, and at just 23 years old, joined some rare company.
The 23-year old Bortles joins just Dan Marino (Hall of Famer), Matt Stafford, and Daunte Culpepper as the only players in NFL history with 30 touchdown passes in a season at age 23 or younger. That’s impressive.