Move the Sticks: Top five most explosive players in the NFL

Move the Sticks’ Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks count down their top five most explosive players in the NFL.

The answer isn’t easy. Part of it, I think, is money. The NFL has gone from being a league that loved money (like we all do) to one obsessed over it—over making as much of it as possible. Even if doing so compromised its standing and principles.

A few years ago, Tagliabue told GQ’s Gabriel Sherman that he saw Goodell beginning to make decisions only in economic terms, and at the expense of more important things, like the league’s relationships. When you’re obsessed with money, you do whatever it takes to protect it. You let authoritarian presidents take shots at you, and you cower because you don’t want to mess with your piles of cash.

Claiborne decided, in the end, to bet on himself in 2018.

Especially with me on the other side, we’re going to be pretty good, Claiborne said. I feel like when you’ve got us two as corners, you can open up the defense a little bit more. You can blitz a little bit more, because I feel like you’ve got guys out there who can stand up and cover.

Claiborne thinks Bowles shares this opinion, that the Jets can take more chances with blitzing.

NFL Network’s Nate Burleson talks about the potential suspension of Jameis Winston and how it can ‘derail’ the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season.

If the suspension is upheld and Winston misses time, the Buccaneers will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick to start at quarterback. Fitzpatrick will turn 36 during the 2018 season, but has plenty of starting experience and stepped in for Tampa Bay for three starts in 2017 when Winston suffered a shoulder injury. He was re-signed to another one-year deal after the season.

Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots were agile enough to change alignments week to week.

How will Patricia era look?

This isn’t only the start of the Patricia era, it’s the start of the Quinn-Patricia era. The Lions hired Quinn from the Patriots in 2016, but he inherited Jim Caldwell as his coach and made few coaching changes. When Quinn hired Patricia, his buddy from scouting trips they took together as Patriots grunts, it really kicked off the start of Quinn being able to realize his own vision through a trusted alliance with his old friend.

When Bruce Arians retired as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in January, he recommended then-Redbirds defensive coordinator James Bettcher as his successor, according to Dan Duggan of NJ Advance Media.

I thought he was more than ready to be a head coach and he’s one of the best young coordinators in the league. His statistics speak for themselves. But what he did with our defense the second half of our season was amazing, especially when we were out of the playoffs and we just got better and better. Credit to him that our guys kept playing so hard for him.

Ledbetter also noted the Falcons are concerned that Jones has been working out this offseason with a former wide receiver who was known for disrupting the locker room. 

The fact that he’s running around with Terrell Owens has the front office uneasy, Ledbetter said. The fact that he’s held out and is kind of bucking the whole Brotherhood thing has them a little bit uneasy, too. So, they’ll have to mend some fences, no question about it, once he returns.

When the Falcons held their mandatory minicamp last week, Jones was not with the team as he continues to seek a new contract.

The good news is that there are conversations that have begun, Quinn told reportersThursday. We’ll keep those private. I have a lot of faith in the organization and also in Julio that things will get resolved with good communications. I’m sure that’ll be a part of it as well.

Mike Pouncey on Donald Trump and Protesting: ‘If He Wants to Talk, We’ll Talk’

Mike Pouncey on Donald Trump and Protesting: ‘If He Wants to Talk, We’ll Talk’ More Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Mike Pouncey said he believes NFL players would be willing to have a dialogue with President Donald Trump regarding presidential pardons.

But Lauletta is walking in the shoes Webb wore as a Giants rookie last season and taking advantage of having such close access to their previous owner.

Everybody wants to make it some big competition: Me and him competing, Lauletta said of his relationship with Webb. Nobody (on the team) looks at it like that. You do what you can. Everybody wants to be out there on Sundays, but the best guys are going to do it.

Giving bust free agent Ray Edwards a five-year, $27.5 million deal in 2011 was a mistake, too, but going with Matthews over a wide variety of eventual stars—and Donald in particular—takes the cake.

The defeat was the Yankees’ second in three games. They have won seven of their last 10 games.

The Red Sox retook the first place in the American League East, beating the Orioles earlier in the day, for the first time since April 6.

The Yankees had spotted Gray a 3-1 lead come the third inning. And it seemed he might keep it. Despite working a high pitch count, Gray had been coming off two strong starts — a eight-inning, scoreless outing in Toronto the latest. Two starts prior, Gray had giving up just a run in six innings.

Saquon Barkley, Jerry Rice to bare all in ESPN Body Issue

Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley showed at the Scouting Combine that he’s a very well proportioned individual. He’ll show even more soon.

Barkley has agreed to appear nude in ESPN Magazine’s annual Body Issue, which comes out next week.

Zach Weatherford — who designed the workouts for the U.S. Navy SEALS, and has drawn praise from Nets team leader DeMarre Carroll — will still head the team as director of human performance. The Nets had just promoted Sebastien Poirier to head athletic trainer, and created a new director of sports science position for their former strength and conditioning coach Dan Meehan.

The Giants announced after Thursday their 6-3 win over Miami, the 32-year-old broke the fifth metatarsal in his left hand, which is an injury very similar to the one Madison Bumgarner suffered in spring training.

He is hopeful to be back soon after the All-Star break.

Longoria having surgery Tuesday. Not needed but will help speed recovery/minimize muscle atrophy to have a permanent pin inserted. Out 6-8 weeks but aims to return shortly after All-Star break.

Longoria was batting.246 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs before the incident. He has five years remaining on the six-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Rays before the 2017 season. He was acquired via trade by the Giants in the offseason.

It is likely Kelby Tomlinson will see a good amount of time at third base in Longoria’s absence.

Priority DL target Ireland Burke back at Rutgers, still holds Knights up high

Saturday, the Rutgers staff welcomed 6-3, 297-pound Ireland Burke back to campus, after a three-month hiatus. The Pope John (Sparta, N.J.) defensive tackle recently recovered from an ACL injury which kept him out of the spotlight for most of the past year. But now he’s back healthy, much physically stronger and put together, and ready to re-establish his recruitment.

Coach Dan Quinn didn’t provide much of an update on Julio’s situation, other than to say he’s been in touch with the wideout.

As for the players, to a man, they brushed off Jones’ absence the way you flick a mosquito off your forearm.

A sampling of responses from Falcons players, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution :

Center Alex Mack : The biggest disruption is the questions that you guys ask. Everything else is business as usual.

Linebacker Deon Jones : The type of player that (Julio) is, we know that he’s going to come in prepared and ready to go. We are just focusing on what we have here. When he gets here, it’s going to be back to work like it never happened.

The Lions got rid of former first-rounder Eric Ebron in March and he signed with the Colts. The Lions backfilled with former Seahawks tight end Luke Willson and former Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo.

New Jersey officials estimate the state will see about $13 million in tax revenue from the betting in the fiscal year that begins July 1 — though some officials say that’s a conservative figure.

Under the bill ( S2602 / A4111 ), the state Division of Gaming Enforcement would regulate the wagering. Casinos and tracks would pay an 8.5 percent tax rate on the revenue to the state, while online bets would be subject to a 13 percent tax rate.

Giants, Odell Beckham inching closer to a possible contract showdown

Once Beckham gets a clean bill of health, ending his recovery from a broken leg that wiped out most of his 2017 season, a new chapter in his NFL career could be starting. And it could entail Beckham doing nothing until he gets paid something more than he’s currently due to make.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY explains the possibly looming contract showdown between the Giants and Beckham, which will happen if, once Beckham is cleared to practice, he refuses to do so.

And if the Giants are willing to give Beckham what he wants, the Giants possibly should trade him to a team that will.

However it plays out, everyone will know more about whether Beckham is willing to take a stand once he gets clearance to practice. And that’s apparently coming very soon.

I just had to gain a bit more weight, Bolles told reporters on Tuesday. Just so I can anchor when I get those bull rushes and things like that. I talked with my coaches and the front office and they want me to get a little bit bigger. So, I’ll probably stay around 300-305 [pounds]. That’s sort of my range. I feel more comfortable there. I feel more explosive and powerful. Probably no more than about 308 is what I’m feeling. I feel confident there. My body feels good and I’m looking forward to the season.

So are Broncos fans. Last year’s sub-.500 showing was an aberration, and the Broncos haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since the early 1970s. To avoid that fate, they’ll need Bolles to improve — among plenty of other things.

Oakland’s voluntary work ends this week and they’ll have a three-day minicamp next week to wrap up the offseason program altogether. Guenther said Tuesday that he doesn’t know if Mack will be taking part, but that he’s going to be well behind the rest of the team whenever he does report to work.

Browns closing in on extension with Duke Johnson

The Browns may have bolstered their backfield with the additions of veteran Carlos Hyde and rookie Nick Chubb, but that doesn’t mean Duke Johnson is being phased out of the offense.

Cleveland is closing in on a contract extension with Johnson, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via sources close to the situation. The deal is expected to be finalized on Thursday.

Instead, the real focus should be on general manager Brian Cashman and to what lengths the front office goes to take the Yankees from juggernaut to World Series favorite in the loaded American League.

While names like Chris Archer, Cole Hamels and Michael Fulmer are all interesting, one possible trade target tops them all: San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

Yanks after RP?

Watch the video above for my thoughts on why the Yankees must go all-in to make the Giants an offer they can’t refuse for the postseason legend.

New England Patriots ‘ receiver Julian Edelman ‘s comeback from a torn ACL suffered last year in the preseason has hit a snag. Citing league sources, ESPN reported that Edelman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Smith was excellent last year, throwing for 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions with a passer rating just south of 105. Most impressively, his yards-per-attempt mark landed at a career-high 8.0, a figure that throws cold water on the idea that Smith is the league’s supreme dink-and-dunker. Washington’s weapons come close to replicating the favorable setup Smith enjoyed in Kansas City. Don’t be surprised when he gets similar results.

Houston takes the lead in the 9th inning on a balk to win 8-7 and take a 4-game sweep on the road from Texas.

eagles_075ARLINGTON, Texas Houston manager A.J. Hinch thought it was clear that Texas closer Keone Kela balked with the go-ahead run at third base in the ninth inning.

Rangers counterpart Jeff Banister says he had never seen a balk ruling after umpires didn’t make the call immediately when a pitch was thrown.

Either way, the Astros have the first four-game sweep of their Texas rivals.

There was nothing, no umpire called a balk, Banister said. My argument was didn’t know that we could come out and get the umpires to convene to try to see what everybody came up with. Upsetting in the sense that you can’t argue against a balk.

Springer walked to lead off the ninth, went to second on a wild pitch and took third on a flyout by Yuli Gurriel after an intentional walk to Jose Altuve. As for the confusion after the pitch to Gattis, Hinch didn’t think there was much of an argument.

Carlos Santana hit a solo homer and added a sacrifice fly and Jesmuel Valentin drove in his first major league run for the Phillies, who have dropped three straight and nine of 12.

Velasquez retired the first two batters before issuing two walks and throwing a hanging curve to Braun. The right-hander allowed four straight two-out hits in the fourth, including consecutive RBI doubles by Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw.

Manager Gabe Kapler then drew mock cheers when he bounced out of the dugout to lift Velasquez, who was charged with 10 runs on nine hits.

We thought maybe his mechanics were a little off in the first couple (of innings) and then something clicked, Kapler said of his 1-2-3 third inning. But then ultimately, you saw, the wheels fell off.

Brewers: Eric Thames (left thumb) had a scheduled day off from his minor league rehab assignment. Counsell said Thames, who played first base and left field the previous two days, should return next week.

Former teammate thinks T.O. will show up for Hall of Fame induction

eagles_078Receiver Terrell Owens has said he won’t show up for the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. One of his former teammate’s believes Owens eventually will change his mind.

Buccaneers backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who spent a season with Owens in Buffalo, thinks Owens will be there.

We had a good rapport and I consider T.O. a great teammate, Fitzpatrick told Ira Kaufman of JoeBucsFan.com. When he came to Buffalo, he had been in hot water a little bit. But he still had a lot of juice and I was impressed with the way he worked and grinded every rep at practice. When all is said and done, I think he’ll show up in Canton.

Clark was selected by the 49ers in the 10th round of the 1979 NFL Draft. He spent all nine of his NFL seasons with the team, racking up 6,750 receiving yards and 48 touchdowns.

It was good, Manziel said in a fourth-quarter sideline interview with TSN’s Matthew Scianitti. Getting out there and seeing the field, seeing how these routes play out in a game vs. practice. I felt like I missed a couple things, but had some completions, led a little bit of a drive right there. I don’t know if intentional grounding is different up here than it is back in the States, but that was frustrating. Just learning the game, feeling it out. It was fun, though, I had a good time.

Manziel, who entered the game late in the second quarter in relief of starter Jeremiah Masoli, showed promise on his final possession as he led Hamilton on a 12-play, 62-yard drive that eventually stalled in the red zone after he was whistled for a 22-yard intentional grounding penalty.

All in all, Manziel took 23 snaps and looked to be most effective when he used his legs to get outside the pocket. He did just that before finding Damarr Aultman for a 21-yard completion in the third quarter, flashing a glimpse of the playmaking ability that made him a Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M.

Manziel, who hadn’t played in a professional game since December 2015 as a member of the Cleveland Browns, was unable to inspire his team to a victory as the Toronto Argonauts walked out with a 36-18 win.

How Does NBA’s Conference Finals Viewership Stack Up Against the NFL, MLB And NHL?

eagles_079How Does NBA’s Conference Finals Viewership Stack Up Against the NFL, MLB And NHL? More Think people are tired of watching LeBron James and the Cavaliers? Think they’re bored of watching Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors? Guess again. The NBA Conference Finals that saw the Cavs go up against the Boston Celtics and the Warriors take on the Houston Rockets was the most-watched Conference Finals in six years, drawing an average of 9,015,000 viewers across TNT, ABC, and ESPN. Those numbers were up +40% compared to last year’s Conference Finals that pulled an average of 6,417,000, according to Nielsen.

Vinnie Iyer: Using a relative scale, Leonard is the 1 and Beckham is the 10. The NBA is the more individual-driven sport so it’s more acceptable for one to fight for his best solo credentials. While Beckham’s antics are arias at La Scala, Leonard looks like he’s doing Pinter off-Broadway.

Jordan Greer: Through seven seasons, Leonard has played more than 70 regular season games only twice, and this mysterious quad injury leaves more questions than answers about his future. It seems as though the issue is more about his comfortability than the damage to his quad, so it should worry the Spurs (or any potential trade suitors) down the road. But Tadd nails the main point — basketball isn’t football. Beckham could take a blind-side hit to the head or have a safety go low on that ankle. There’s always more risk with that much contact on every play.

And when Torres makes a mistake, he’s able to turn the page like a veteran, then often make up for it, as he did Tuesday night.

I personally believe that’s where Gleyber is at his best in that I think he’s equipped to handle all that the Major Leagues are going to throw at him and what being a Yankee and playing in New York and all that’s going to come his way, Boone said. I feel like his foundation and who he is will allow him to deal with anything that comes his way.

Manning passed for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns for the Colts. Luck’s numbers are 19,078 and 132, both third in team history. Johnny Unitas passed for 39,768 yards and 287 TDs.

But the relentless Knights earned a power play and cut the Caps’ lead to 3-2 late in the second when Theodore slipped a long shot through heavy traffic.