Redskins S DJ Swearinger campaigns for team to draft DT

DJ Swearinger knows exactly what he wants his Washington Redskins to do in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Swearinger was on Twitter Saturday night sharing his thoughts on what direction his team should take in the draft, making it clear that they need some help on the defensive line. He pointed out how poor the team was against the run last season.

Auston Matthews is heating up at just the right time, especially on the power play, an area where he wasn’t effective for the whole season. William Nylander is the stack with Matthews on and off the power play, while Zach Hyman can be ignored as the third member of the top line. Patrick Marleau is the veteran of the bunch and plays a role on the power play with Matthews, while connecting with Mitch Marner and Nazem Kadri at even strength. He could be a sleeper for the playoffs. Then the team has 36-goal scorer James van Riemsdyk on a third line with Tyler Bozak and Connor Brown. In net, Frederik Andersen has been in the postseason for five consecutive years now and should maintain his steady play from the regular season.

The Leafs are a sleeper pick for the playoffs overall. If they get by Boston, the conference finals are a possibility, and Matthews is the type of player who could be top five for scoring even if they don’t make it all the way.

But it’s not as if he was great before last season, and had a quick downturn, as he has been well below average for each of the past three years. Pro Football Reference has year-adjusted stats so we can compare across different stat environments. Flacco has been well below average in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt each of the last three years (and in pretty much every other measure, such as Passer Rating). You know how many other guys had a ANYA+ of 95 or lower (where 100 is average) in three straight seasons at age 30 to 32? One. Marc Bulger with the Rams from 2007 to 2009. He never played in another NFL game after that final season.

But that was about the only predictable aspect. The run by the Ottawa Senators was impressive and pushed Erik Karlsson to finish as the top-scoring defenseman. Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne scored the most fantasy points for goaltenders, with Ottawa’s Craig Anderson coming second. Leon Draisaitl matched Filip Forsberg for points, despite the Edmonton Oilers not getting out of the second round. Jake Guentzel’s 13 goals to lead the playoffs didn’t come out of nowhere, but he also wasn’t anyone’s pick for top scorer. Anything can happen.


NFL Rumors: Execs Believe Johnny Manziel’s Potential ‘Off The Charts’

Johnny Manziel’s lackluster performance Saturday in his Spring League debut evidently did little to deter NFL teams from keeping tabs on the free agent quarterback.

Manziel, a former first-round pick who hasn’t played in an NFL game since the 2015 season, was just OK on Saturday, completing 9 of 15 passes for 82 yards with a touchdown. But according to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, some NFL executives still are enamored of Manziel’s “potential,” perhaps envisioning the days of him thriving at Texas A&M en route to the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

Lewis was a feature back for New England down the stretch in 2017, but he got good money to go back to being more of a complementary passing game option in Tennessee. Imagine Lewis and third-year bruiser Derrick Henry as the lightning and (then the) thunder of the Titans. Marcus Mariota will love throwing to Lewis, too, as Matt LaFleur installs his version of the West Coast offense.

Landry supplements Duke Johnson Jr. and tight end David Njoku in the short passing game, and he also can play well off Josh Gordon running deeper routes. He’s the tough, reliable slot receiver the Browns have been missing since the best days of Andrew Hawkins. Landry should immediately be the go-to guy for Taylor; the only question is whether he’s too pricey for his specific role.

That marks Collins’ fourth suspension. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, then suspended for the first 10 games of the 2017 season, then suspended four more games in 2017.

Bird admitted on Sunday that he wasn’t being truthful this spring when he was telling everyone that he felt great. He now says that his ankle was affecting his swing “a hundred percent” because “you can’t rotate. You need your body. You need your lower half, especially to hit.

“Good hitters hit with their lower half. That’s it. The problem I was having, not only was it that, but it starts to go up the whole chain. And that’s an issue. Everything else. There’s just no point (trying to play) at that point.”

Bird can’t wait to return. He’ll make a little more progress on Monday when he gets his stitches out. Once his foot is completely healed, he’ll resume baseball activities.

His hope is to begin a minor-league assignment sometime by mid-May, then be off the DL and playing for the Yankees before June. bills_023

The NFL has released the preseason schedule for all 32 teams.

The Bengals will have a four-game slate that begins with the a home clash with the Chicago Bears in Week 1. The Bears won easily at Cincinnati late in the regular season. A date and game time for this matchup will be announced later, but it will be played sometime from August 9-13.

The Bengals’ preseason finale will come against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, August 30. The annual I-74 rivalry game will be played in Cincinnati this year. The Bengals and Colts have played the preseason finale every year throughout Marvin Lewis ’ tenure in Cincinnati, and this will be the 26th meeting in the last 27 years. This fourth game is usually dominated by players on the fringe of making the final roster, but some starters get limited snaps.

How is it “necessarily illegitimate?” The players are employees that are paid by the owner. At my job, I can’t perform an animal sacrifice in the breakroom & use religious freedom to get out any consequences from that action. This is really no different. The employer has a right to ask a potential employee if they plan on doing activities that are detrimental to the work environment or cause harm to the company’s finances.

How does this compare (or contrast) to something like ESPN firing Kurt Schilling for what he tweets? Legit question. Either case is making a hiring/firing decision based upon free political speech.

Malcolm Jenkins did his protest. He even got his owner involved. They actually took action and went to speak with LEOs and the Philadelphia government.
Is he being blackballed? No. Granted, he didn’t wear pig socks, but you cant say there is positively collusion when other guys have protested and are seeing absolutely zero backlash.rams_093

Color Rush on Thursday nights is no more, according to Fox

After three seasons of “Color Rush,” the monochromatic uniforms won’t be a Thursday Night Football staple anymore, according to Fox Sports executive Bill Wanger.

At NAB Show — a convention for the media, entertainment and technology industry — Wanger said Fox plans to go in a different direction for Thursday Night Football and steer away from “gimmicks” to get fans to watch. Color Rush was apparently one of those gimmicks.

But this doesn’t mean Color Rush alternates are gone, altogether. Nike is still the uniform provider of the NFL, the alternate uniforms already exist, and they will probably just be moved to another night of the week or used sporadically on Sundays. It just won’t be exclusive to Thursday nights.

The real challenge for Fox, though, will be if they can keep Thursday Night Football games from continuing to be poopfests . That remains to be seen.

He added of his recovery: “I’ve skipped steps before and I’ve paid for it before, and I’m not gonna do that again.”

Luck did suggest that he was making progress, however, noting, “If I wasn’t making progress, I would freak out,” per Holder. He also said his right arm is “feeling really good,” according to George Bremer of CNHI Sports Indiana.

“Still a bit of the journey left. Wanna be on the field with my teammates. Wanna be the best I can be,” Luck continued, per Kravitz, adding: “Not changing my throwing motion, but there are things I can do better from the ground up and that’s what been working on. Using my entire body.”

Luck also hinted that playing hurt in the past may have contributed to his recent injury woes

As Holder wrote, “One of the things Andrew Luck admitted in a vague way was that there might have been some impact from his decision to play hurt in 2015-16. This is a bigger factor in his issues than anyone has really admitted, from what I’ve been told.”rams_036

Horsin’ around: Gronkowski to run in 2018 Kentucky Derby

Gronkowski is going to run in the Kentucky Derby.

Hold your horses, though, because this is a thoroughbred named for the Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski.

The Kentucky-bred racehorse collected his fourth straight win, a clear victory in Friday’s Burradon Stakes at Newcastle in England, to clinch an invitation to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs announced Friday.

“Sanchez should have been out automatically for passing Stanton.”

“Thought Didi got a good jump on it,” right fielder Aaron Judge said. “Bang-bang play at home plate. I’m just glad Didi’s OK, and not hurt.”

In addition to that play, there was another controversial one in the sixth inning involving Yankees duo Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. New York was incorrectly the beneficiary of that call, Meals said.

Stanton began the play in question at third base and Sanchez was at first. With one out, Neil Walker hit a ground ball back to Orioles pitcher Richard Bleier, who ran toward Stanton, getting him into a rundown. While Stanton went back and forth between third and home, Sanchez advanced to third base.

Dallas shot 11 of 40 from 3-point range in its final road game. The Mavs will soon face big decisions in the draft and free agency that the Sixers were once contemplating.

“I hope that I represent a real-time example to other owners that can say, `Here’s the plan, and we’re really going to adhere to the plan and walk it down and not blink,” Brown said. “We have fantastic owners that have said something to me and they have delivered.”

Mavericks: Barnes started 0 of 7 from the field and missed his first three free throws. … Dallas finished 9-32 on the road.

76ers: The 1982-83 Sixers won 14 straight from Dec. 21-Jan. 21. … Philadelphia won 18 straight over two seasons in 1966. … The Sixers last lost March 13 to Indiana. … Ersan Ilyasova had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Brown said Embiid could resume conditioning and shooting as soon as Monday.buccaneers_090

Former Packers hero Jeff Janis signs with Browns

Wide receiver Jeff Janis, whose Hail Mary TD catch in a 2015 NFC Playoff game will be remembered in Packers’ lore, has signed with Cleveland, the Browns announced Friday.

The team also signed former Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton.

The Packers’ seventh-round pick out of Saginaw Valley in the 2014 NFL Draft, Janis caught only 17 passes in four seasons, mostly playing special teams. Yet he came up huge for Green Bay in the 2015 NFC Divisional Round overtime loss against the Cardinals, hauling in seven catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including the Hail Mary TD as time expired to send the game into OT.

“You don’t often a second chance at it,” Albers said. “If you give it, it’s good to get to go back out there. I felt pretty good about the outing. It’s unfortunate I blew the save.

“We kept at it and scored a run and pulled it off,” he said.

Brewers newcomer Lorenzo Cain tripped over the foot of Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez on a play in the ninth, and both exited. Martinez bruised his right Achilles. Cain has a sore quad.

St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas pitched 6 1/3 innings. He gave up four runs on eight hits. He struck out five and had a balk.

A two-run single by Manny Pina gave the Brewers a 4-3 lead in the fourth.

Both rivals have lined up their pitching best in this series — even though the Yankees hadn’t named a starter to replace the disabled CC Sabathia in Thursday night’s finale.

On Tuesday night, Luis Severino, off to a 2-0 start with a 1.38 ERA, faces Chris Sale, a hard-luck 0-0 with an 0.82 ERA. On Wednesday, it’s Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 2.92) for the visitors and David Price (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Red Sox. Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84 ERA) goes for Boston on Thursday.

Severino is 2-4 with a 4.32 ERA against the Red Sox in his short career, but he was 2-1 against Boston in his breakout 2017. Sale was 0-3 with a 2.65 ERA in five starts against the Yankees in 2017 — after going 4-1 against New York while with the Chicago White Sox.

Boston’s Andrew Benintendi is 6-for-14 (.429) with two homers and seven RBI against Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland is 4-for-12 (.333). But Sandy Leon is 1-for-10 (.100), Holt 1-for-7 (.143), Hanley Ramirez 4-for-19 with nine strikeouts (.211), Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-for-14 (.214) and Mookie Betts 4-for-17 (.235).

Red Wings sign GM Ken Holland to new two-year deal

Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland has signed a new two-year deal, putting a halt to speculation that his tenure would end following two straight seasons outside the playoffs.

“Ken has been integral part of four Stanley Cup championships,” team governor Chris Ilitch said in a statement. “He started out as a scout. Many of the players he scouted became integral to our success. He is tremendous evaluator of talent at our core. When I fly in an airplane, I love doing it with a pilot who has done it before. Ken has done it before.”

Holland, 62, has been the Red Wings’ general manager since 1997. Prior to that, he spent seven years as director of amateur scouting and three years as assistant general manager. Holland was one of the primary builders of a Detroit machine that made the playoffs 25 straight seasons and won four Stanley Cups.

Nationals catcher Pedro Severino doubled and has reached base safely in 12 of 21 plate appearances (six hits, four walks, twice hit by a pitch) since joining the team. Anthony Rendon doubled and scored on Howie Kendrick’s two-run double in the first inning. Rendon has seven hits in his last 14 at-bats.

Washington outfielder Bryce Harper walked three times to raise his OPS to 1.519.

Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman continues to struggle as an 0-for-4 night lowered his average to .097.

If the Bears do want Chubb, they may need to jump up from their current No. 8 slot in the first round because other teams who pick earlier could be feeling the same way. The Colts (No. 6) and Buccaneers (No. 7) finished 31st and 32nd, respectively, in the NFL in sacks last season. It also wouldn’t be a head-scratcher if the Browns (No. 4) or Broncos (No. 5) went that route because Chubb plays a premium position.

Albies also flashed some great defense late in the game.

After Ryan Flaherty tied it with a single in the ninth off Rockies closer Wade Davis, Atlanta’s second baseman saved the game — momentarily — with a diving catch of DJ LeMahieu’s line drive up the middle for a rally-snuffing double play. Wolters, who might have scored the winning run, instead was doubled off second base.

“That’s the beauty of the game,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the pair of defensive gems by middle infielders. “You don’t know what’s going to happen — and we saw a walk-off walk.”buccaneers_014

York: 49ers could be forced to ‘move on’ from Reuben Foster

The San Francisco 49ers took a gamble on Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster last year, trading back up into the first round to select him No. 31 overall. It was a gamble because the talented player had some serious red flags, both in terms of health and off-field issues, that were so significant some teams took him off their draft boards altogether.

After one season with the club, Foster is in some seriously hot water, having already been arrested twice this offseason. The first arrest was due to Foster possessing marijuana, while the second was of a more serious nature. Foster was arrested on domestic violence charges, and he was found to be in possession of an assault rifle when police searched his residence.

After speaking with several general managers and decision-makers in Orlando, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the Giants would have to be blown away to trade Beckham.

From what I understand just talking to teams… figure it’s going to be a first-round pick plus, Rapoport added on Up to the Minute Live. Percy Harvin, similar situation…. That was a first-round pick and a mid-rounder as well. So figure that’s the ballpark if the Giants want to deal him, which we don’t know for sure.

Quinn acknowledged Ebron’s salary was prohibitive when talking trades.

Yeah, it was, Quinn said. We talked to a lot of teams, but I think, I guess the general response that I got was, ‘The number’s too big.’

Following his release, Ebron signed a two-year contract, $13 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts, with performance escalators that could push it to $15 million. He’ll carry a $6.75 million cap hit this year and next.

Another way the Lions could have lessened Ebron’s financial burden in 2018 would have been working out a long-term extension, but it wasn’t discussed.

A first-round pick in 2014, Ebron caught 186 passes for 2,070 yards and 11 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Lions.

Although the Lions will look to add more competition at the position, they effectively filled Ebron’s roster spot by signing Luke Willson. An Ontario native who spent his first five seasons in Seattle, he’s had limited production as a pass-catcher in the NFL, but the Lions like his versatility.patriots_108-223x223

Kia Roberts, who suggested no discipline in Elliott suspension case, leaves NFL

Kia Roberts, the lead investigator whose recommendation of no suspension for Ezekiel Elliott was at the heart of the Dallas Cowboys running back’s legal fight against a six-game ban, no longer works for the NFL, according to multiple sources.

Elliott was suspended for six games during the 2017 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

A call to the NFL switchboard confirmed that Roberts no longer works for the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed Thursday that Gregory is preparing to apply to return to the NFL and the hope is the pass rusher can play in 2018, per David Helman of the team’s official website. Jones provided no further details.

Gregory missed the entire 2017 season after being suspended for at least one year for violating the NFL’s Policy for Substances of Abuse. The 2015 second-round selection has played in just two games since his rookie season.

Cassell was taken in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. He attempted just 39 passes over his first three seasons but in 2008 he was required to play in all 16 games in Brady’s stead. Brissett and Garoppolo were selected with a third- and second-round pick, respectively, in recent years. Brady, 40, has shown no signs slowing down, but Kraft stressed how the nature of the NFL requires teams to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Part of why the networks pay us the funding they do, and the reason this is the best entertainment product in America, is you don’t know – one play can change a whole season. One play with one person. To do a good job managing an NFL franchise, we’ve always said understanding quality depth management, that’s our business, Kraft said.

The jump from Brown’s league-leading $17-million contract signed a year ago, up to $20 million might seem steep, but the pass-rusher market saw a similar jump when Von Miller inked a contract in 2016 worth over $2 million more than the next highest-paid player at the position. Even if the Giants are struggling with how much to value Beckham from a contractual standpoint, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to receive his true worth on the trade market. New York is reportedly seeking at least two first-round picks for Beckham, but Adam Schefter of ESPN believes he’ll ultimately be traded for a first and a third, or a first and a fourth – essentially what the Minnesota Vikings gave up to acquire average and brittle quarterback Sam Bradford.

Butler wanted to confront Belichick during Super Bowl

Ben Richardson was nearly perfect in Loyola’s drubbing of the Wildcats, as he hit 7 of 10 shots — including 6 of 7 from deep — for a game-high 23 points with six rebounds and four assists.

Charles Matthews was terrific for the Wolverines in Saturday’s win, recording a game-high 17 points while adding a team-high eight rebounds.

Every win from here on out is a program record for Loyola, as the 32-win Ramblers are well past their 29-2 pace from 1962-63.

This is Michigan’s eighth Final Four trip, but just its second since the two trips vacated by the Fab Five.

These teams played three times between 1953 and 1969, with Michigan winning twice.

I suffer from a complex stew of mental health conditions, Rypien told KHQ-TV. Dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions, brought about from dozens of concussions and thousands of subconcussive injuries from playing this sport.

Rypien told the outlets, in separate interviews, that he was speaking out after the January suicide of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski and the death earlier this month of Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) High School principal Troy Schueller from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Rypien played collegiately at Washington State.

Let’s address this now, Rypien told the Spokesman-Review. Let me share my story so others can share theirs. Let’s get rid of this silence that happens when you’re caught up in this cycle and you don’t know how to find the help I’ve been afforded.patriots_017-223x223