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Lets get one thing out of the way: Zane Gonzalez is a really good kicker. He may even be the top prospect at the position since Sebastian Janikowski. And that means that like Janikowski and Roberto Aguayo, Gonzalez is probably about to be picked laughably early.
It used to be common practice to take a kicker relatively early in the NFL draft. In the 14 drafts between 1986 and 1999, there were nine kickers drafted in the first three rounds, and then the Oakland Raiders topped everybody by taking Janikowski at No. 17 overall in 2000.
Tabors size is ideal for the position, but its his ability to leverage his frame into an advantage by using proper technique that makes the former Gator special. A twitchyplayer in coverage, Tabor has quick feet and the recovery speed necessary to play an aggressive style of defense.
Part of what makes the cornerback such a technician is his mental processing ability — Tabor is a patient player, and he has the closing burst necessary to contest passes at a high level. These traits are what help make Tabor such an excellent press corner – hes content to mirror opponents and let routes develop, but also instinctive to make plays on the ball and agile enough to recover should he guess wrong.
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Tabors 28 passes defensed, eight interceptions and three defensive touchdowns are impressive, but whats even more so is the fact that Tabor manages to play such an aggressive style while maintaining discipline. Tabor wasnt penalized often — he was only flagged six times over the past three seasons, with three of those coming in a single game — and, per Pro Football Focus, only allowed two touchdowns in his three seasons.
Paul George has four first half triples, helping Indiana keep up with the Cavaliers, who is shooting over 50 percent with seven makes behind the arc.
Elite Kids Kyle Lowry Jersey 20 seconds, fourth quarter: Paul George just hit a 30-foot three to give the Pacers a chance.
After a LeBron James miss, the Pacers have the ball down by one with 20 seconds left. Here. We. Go.
4:53, fourth quarter: Cleveland is still up, but Indiana is hanging around thanks to Lance Stephenson, who has 16 points. Paul George has been quiet as a scorer, but just set up Jeff Teague for a critical three. Cavs 103, Pacers 99.
End of third quarter: Cavaliers lead 92-84 as James continues to absolutely dominate: 26 points, 10-of-13 shooting, 10 assists, five rebounds. The other two of the Big Three have come up big, too, with Kyrie Irving dropping 21 points so far and Kevin Love notching 17 points on seven shots.
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6:08, third quarter: Paul George is incredible ¡ª like, damn. 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting so far in every different way, from pull-up threes in transition to post turnarounds when a smaller defender ended up on him.
Chris Paul can be admonished for many playoff performances, but in this one game, when his team needed him the most, he stepped up. The only problem was that he was the only one who cared to try. Tunsil took items such as the Apple device from this person over a period of time in exchange for a promise of a future financial agreement once Tunsil turned pro, specifics of which are unknown. Tunsil would sit out seven games during the Rebels 2015 campaign in connection to receiving free use of a rental and loaner cars as well as a free airline ticket. As the draft neared, Tunsils circle began to change ¡ª he signed with Sexton shortly after Christmas ¡ª and the would-be business manager was pushed out.
In the first round of the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, the Carolina Panthers and Cat Scratch Reader took Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. There’s nothing wrong with the selection because Howard is such a good talent. However, it leaves some obvious needs at pass rusher and cornerback going into the second round.
While Chicago is icing a weaker team than in years past due to injury, one that many were surprised to see take home the No. 1 spot in the West, the Predators have one of their best playoff teams ready for a long run.
Of course, they’ll have to get through the NHL’s dynasty team of the last decade. A tough challenge, even with the Blackhawks’ injured lineup.
Chicago has had Nashville’s number all season. Besides the Predators besting the Blackhawks at the beginning of the season, Chicago wrapped up the five-game series with a sweep of the remaining matches. Richard Panik and Patrick Kane have, particularly, been the thorn in the Predators’ side this year with a combined 16 points against.
Pekka Rinne. The Predators goaltender is arguably the team’s weakest link. Rinne’s performance this season was better than his last, but his .912 save percentage in 48 playoff games still leaves something to be desired. Where Rinne goes, the Predators go. And if he struggles against the Blackhawks, they might not make it out of round one.
Can the Predators defense, led by P.K. Subban and Roman Josi, slow down the experienced and talented Blackhawks forwards? How Nashville matches up against the Blackhawks’ top-six is key. As for Chicago, Victor Ardvidson became a force for the Predators this year. How will they manage to contain him after a breakout year?
The Blackhawks. Chicago comes into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak, but they’ll sink back into their sweet spot easily to take Game 1.
It ain’t that, man, he says. I just try to do my thing on the field to get ready for the game, instead of being in the way.
From a wide-ranging profile with NFL.com’s Michael Silver:
I’ve never seen anybody win the game in the media. But at the same time, I understand what it could do for you, if you wanted to be someone who talks a lot. But that’s not me…
Football’s just always been hella fun to me, not expressing myself in the media. I don’t do it to get attention; I just do it ’cause I love that (expletive).
And from a 2014 interview with former teammate Michael Robinson:
You think your spring games a big deal? Why dont you go to Columbus, Ohio where the demand is so high for spring games that people have resorted to scalping.
Four of the highest attended spring games of all time belong to the Buckeyes, and the last two seasons each set records. This year, the game is sold out, with tickets going for $5 each at face value. But this year, the games attendance wont get to six figures:
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Due to renovation to Ohio Stadiums C-Deck, plus a 20% chance of rain, the Buckeyes are going to have at least 20% less fans than the 100,000+ theyve showcased each of the past two seasons.
Limited Kids Prince Amukamara Jersey Some 82,000 are expected to pack the Horseshoe, so its still going to more than double all but a few schools in spring game attendance.
Elite Paxton Lynch Jersey “I’m a cornerback that thinks like a Mike linebacker,” he told SB Nation in an interview. He clearly prizes hitting and tackling, traits not instantly associated with most cornerbacks.
“My preparation is everything for me. I didn’t really have any hobbies outside of football. If I’m not playing football, I’m watching tape on some player. I’m trying to study on Google, just trying to find any kind of tidbit that I can.”
His play style really is sort of linebacker-ish. During a four-year run at Colorado, Awuzie played outside cornerback, nickelback, and safety. He never became an interception master (he had three in four years), but he knocked down a bunch of passes and made a bunch of tackles.
The AL West was expected to be up for grabs, and the first couple weeks of the 2017 MLB season have done nothing to change that expectation. The Astros have won four straight, and are now in first place at 8-4. The Angels were in first, but now they’ve lost five in a row and are 6-7 after dropping a series to the division-rival Rangers and getting swept by the Royals. The A’s, the only team that aren’t considered a contender in the West, sit at 5-7 after dropping a pair to Houston, while the Mariners climbed out of the cellar and temporarily forgot about their bullpen nightmares by sweeping the now-last-place Rangers.
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It’s been a rough season on and off the field for Tampa Bay. There have been injury woes and other issues, with Greg Schiano’s job security called into question. The Bucs, however, appear to be improving. They jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the road against Seattle two weeks ago, but were unable to hang on. The Bucs jumped out 15-0 against Miami last week, and rallied back to win, 22-19.
Tampa Bay will be without its two leading rushers with Doug Martin and Mike James out for the year due to injuries. Rookie Mike Glennon will once again start at quarterback. Glennon has been up and down this season, flashing some potential at times. Tampa Bay will enter the game near the bottom of the league in passing yards, averaging just 188.7 yards per game.
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But it was an away draw, which was all the Americans needed to feel OK about their chances to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Panamanians are one of the USMNT鈥檚 top rivals for a top-three spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, and they still need to come to the United States. If the USMNT beats Panama at home in October, they will have taken four points out of six off a team they鈥檙e competing with, which is good enough.
That鈥檚 not to say the USMNT is in excellent shape. Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to kick off the final round of qualifying were alarming enough that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati thought he had to make a managerial change to ensure results turned around instantly. They have, with a win over Honduras and a draw away to Los Canaleros, but the Americans aren鈥檛 done digging out of their hole.
Here鈥檚 what the USMNT is facing on their road to make the World Cup.
Garrett Celek Elite Jersey Over the five cycles that CONCACAF has used the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying format, the average third-place team has finished on 15.6 points. No third-place team has ever won more than 17 points. The USMNT currently has four points, so to reach that target of 17, they鈥檇 need to take 13 points from their remaining six matches.
Justin Jackson knew North Carolina wouldn’t be able to escape the word all year. At least they could try to own it.
The Tar Heels had just started to get together for the new season a few short months after being on the wrong side of Kris Jenkins’ historic national championship buzzer-beater. The first thing they needed was a fresh players-only group text, one without departed stalwarts Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson and with this year’s freshman class.
The past twelve months for the Washington Redskins have been as bizarre as any for a professional sports team. Robert Griffin III has gone from questionable rookie-star, to world-beater, to injured, to being a diva for rushing back too quickly, to division champion, to symbol of Dan Snyder’s incompetence, to the medical equivalent of learning a country’s geography because we’re bombing it, to cornball brother, to diva, to being Back, to a complete and utter indictment of Dan Snyder’s decision to give up another fortune of draft picks. (Whew.)
Now we’re back where we started; a Redskins team at 3-7 and playing for their jobs.
The team is basically an inferior version of the 2007-2010 Indianapolis Colts, but with a racist nickname. One good pass-rusher, a terrible secondary, Pierre Garcon, a good running back, and a superstar under center. It’s a painfully average team that has found itself in the midst of a thousand stupid story-lines over the course of the last year, but the melodrama surrounding everything that Robert Griffin III says puts them all to shame.
Limited Womens Minnesota Vikings Jersey Tony Romo’s fate is decided. Instead of leaving the Dallas Cowboys for one last shot at a starting job and his first Super Bowl, he will reportedly be leaving the field entirely to pursue a career in broadcasting, according to Adam Schefter and Todd Archer.
His health was given as a major reason for the decision. Back injuries and a broken collar bone have limited him to just five games in the last two seasons.
On the whiteboard behind Garino, Orlando seems to have listed 58 players it would potentially target in a trade or free agency. A few of those players are far-fetched. Some others are well within reason.
The fifth foul on Collins, who’d been Gonzaga’s most effective big man, came with 5:03 left to play. He was whistled as he jockeyed with Meeks. Collins probably should have been more careful, but this wasn’t a clear foul.
There have also been outright missed calls that aren’t really a matter of interpretation. After Gonzaga’s Jordan Mathews cleanly air-balled a three-pointer late in the second half, officials awarded the Zags possession. The ball had gone out of bounds, and the referees ruled the Heels had deflected it. But clearly, they didn’t.
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This cuts both ways. Gonzaga lost its best chance to mount a comeback when the referees missed an out-of-bounds call on UNC’s Kennedy Meeks in the final 30 seconds. That call was less obvious than this one but came in an even higher-leverage spot.
Poor officiating is a part of sports sometimes. Human error can’t be entirely worked out of college basketball, but you don’t like to see it in the biggest moments of the year.
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Brian Galliford at Buffalo Rumblings used some pretty awesome slides to break down how the Jets were able to slow Spiller in Week 3, and concludes that formation monotony and poor execution by the Bills were the major contributing factors:
The first thing worth noting: a lot of Spiller’s runs were packaged play, read-option calls out of very similar alignments, and New York was very clearly ready for those plays. E.J. Manuel made some poor reads in the read-option, Buffalo had plenty of blocking breakdowns against the Jets’ stout front seven, and Spiller wasn’t particularly effective setting up blocks or reading holes, either.
But Lynch noted that it鈥檚 unlikely.
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鈥淏ut the Raiders are a great brand and I think it kind of transcends the location,鈥?Lynch said. 鈥淚’m sure a lot of those people will go down to Vegas and have a good time supporting in the future.”
San Francisco鈥檚 CEO, Jed York, said the 49ers didn鈥檛 see a change in revenue the last time the Raiders left the Bay area, or when the team returned to Oakland. He expects the same this time around.
“The Raiders fans are a unique group,” York said, according to ESPN鈥檚 Nick Wagoner. “I don’t know that they’ve necessarily been loyal to L.A. or to Oakland, I think they have always been loyal to the Raiders. I think you’ll see the Raiders following them wherever they may go, and going to Las Vegas in a few years, I think you’ll see that really take place.鈥?
The one thing that may change for the 49ers鈥?organization is a new focus on philanthropy in the East Bay area. The Raiders currently do a lot of charitable work in that community, and the team鈥檚 departure will be of great consequence to the people there.
That was the culmination of a splendid stretch run for Brogdon. He scored six points in the final 2:25 and had three crucial assists in the fourth quarter to close out the best team in the East on the road.
Maybe we shouldn’t hand over the Rookie of the Year award to Dario Saric just yet.
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What is it with the Ravens and oddly delayed games? It’s hard to say how much the two-hour deluge put a crimp in Baltimore’s chances at a road win, since the Ravens tend to be pretty dreadful on the road in any weather. Just to be on the safe side, though, Ray Lewis blamed a conspiracy and a few of Roger Goodell’s weather satellites for the delay that brought the Ravens low. Four remaining home games and two on the road is about as sure a bet for a 4-2 finish as you’re likely to see, but Cincinnati’s 2.5 game division lead is a pretty good bet to hold up down the stretch.
Bill Belichick’s “take away what you do best” approach on defense ran into its Kryptonite – an offense that does a lot of things kinda well while counting on its defense to hold you under 21. That formula, plus an untimely Ridley fumble, doomed the Pats to defeat on the road. Hey, if we can call a Pick Six a “Schaub”, we can call a goal-line fumble a “Ridley.” Tom Brady continues to look far better when he’s throwing to professional receivers, but that Panther defense made one play too many.
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Toledo’s special teams were less awful in 2017 than they were the previous year, but they still weren’t a strength. And the better aspects of special teams (punting, punt returns) were driven by seniors.
The Superdome’s Supermen ran their home record to 6-0, but they needed every bit of N’awlins voodoo to get past the Niners. Drew Brees is a guaranteed weekly 300 yards, and the only other guarantee is that two of the Saints’ top three receivers will change every week.