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McVay’s work-life balance, and secret superstars Gurley won’t play, Goff likely won’t vs. Texans | Rams’ official siteOn Thursday, McVay confirmed those two veteran offensive lineman will be out on Saturday. But he also added one name to the http://www.ramsfootballauthentics.com/john-johnson-jersey-authentic list of players who definitely will not play: running back Todd Gurley. And based on the availability of the Rams’ offensive line, quarterback Jared Goff’s playing status is also up in the air.Why McVay is right to sit Goff, Gurley in preseason | Rams WireAlthough Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay had previously hinted that Jared Goff and Todd Gurley would play in the team’s third preseason game against the Houston Texans, those plans appear to have been scrapped.NFL’s most dynamic team? 10 thoughts on the 2018 Rams | MMQBWith the NFL season just a couple weeks away, Andy Benoit is previewing every NFL team in reverse order of last season’s finish. Up today: the Los Angeles Rams, who finished 11–5 in 2017. This is an updated version of a story that originally ran in June for The MMQB’s California Week.For McVay, work-life balance is a work in progress | Sports IllustratedThe NFL’s youngest coach got here with a single-minded devotion to the game. Don’t expect the Rams’ savior to change anytime soon.Gurley on sitting preseason: “everyone’s dream” | ESPNLos Angeles Rams running back and reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley isn’t concerned that missing the preseason could lead to a slow start to the regular season.Rams trying out Easley at outside linebacker | Pro Football TalkThe Los Angeles Rams have decided to try out 6-foot-2, 273-pound lineman Dominique Easley at linebacker now that he’s back from an ACL injury that forced him to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.Rams-Texans: Four key matchups to watch in preseason Week 3 | Rams WireHere are four battles to watch when the two teams take the field this weekend.Robey-Coleman mastering the art manning the slot | Rams’ official siteWhen the Rams overhauled their cornerback position in early March by trading for Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, they made another move that didn’t receive as many headlines but may be just as consequential. Brockers is Rams’ secret star | NFL NetworkRams defensive lineman Michael Brockers hasn’t watched the tape. Not even any cut-ups. Last season’s 26-13 Wild Card Round loss to visiting Atlanta is still bitter to Brockers.NFL’s secret superstars on offense | Pro Football FocusOften the hardest part of creating a list like this, is defining what we mean by “Secret Superstar.” Is it secret to a reasonably versed generalist? Maybe secret to a hardcore fan of that team? You get the picture. Then we come to the term “superstar.” In this context, what does that mean? Outside of it’s alliterative properties, it means underrated or undervalued.Red-Zone Efficiency: Highest red-zone grades among returning NFL QBs | PFFPutting points on the board when working inside of the 20-yard line is paramount for offenses to have success, which is, of course, much easier said than done. Here, we preview the league’s best quarterbacks at making things easier for offensive coordinators in the red zone.Three ways the Rams have failed AD99 | Ramblin FanThe Los Angeles Rams are business as usual, even as Aaron Donald remains away from the team, with no one knowing when or how this all ends.Watch: Talib, Peters forget which day of the week it is | Rams WireAfter sharing a room and a golf cart in training camp, the two have become extremely close – so close that they both forgot what day it was on Wednesday.Rams, Pizza Hut announce partnership just in time for football | Rams’ official sitePizza Hut announced today that it has added the Los Angeles Rams to its roster of local team partnerships for the 2018 NFL season.Bryant, Reid top list of available free agents | CBS SportsHere’s a look at who’s out there and what their potential deals might look likeWill the Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowl LIII? A handful of NFL Network analysts think so! The Los Angeles Rams are so good they’ve got fans tattooing future Super Bowl championships on their bodies. If that doesn’t scream “contender” I don’t know what does! Actually Youth Ndamukong Suh Jersey , that’s not true. I do know what does. NFL analysts, experts, or whatever you’d prefer to call them saying that the Rams are legitimate contenders to hoist the Lombardi also suffices. But, as a fan, you can’t be truly optimistic about the upcoming season without having at least one. Tattoos on fans six months early? Box checked. The nod from NFL Network analysts? The crew recently selected which teams they think will compete for, and win, this year’s Super Bowl. The Rams fared well. T-1! How neat is that?! The problem here isn’t so much the “1” as it is the “T-.” You see, this 1 would be T-less, if it weren’t for five other, I hesitate to call them jerks, but let’s just say they’re folks who voted poorly. Gil Brandt, Cynthia Frelund, Elliot Harrison, Kevin Patra, and Adam Rank are putting their stock in...the New Orleans Saints. Horrible, I know. Preseason bandwagoners, I tell ya! We cannot have a tie. Only one team can win the NFC. And, last I checked, only one team can win the Super Bowl. So I’m going to be break the tie. I, Brandon Tavon Bate, am going to serve as the tiebreaker. It’s only fair that the tiebreaker go to the team that signed Aaron Donald to a six year extension today. A quick check on Wikipedia informs me that the Saints did no such thing. The Rams, however, did. And therefore they are the Super Bowl LIII champs, and you can feel free to tattoo your body.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-37 on Sunday at Heinz Field. Here are five hot takes from the game:1. ZeroThat’s how many days it’s been since the Chiefs beat the Steelers on their home turf. Until the game clock ticked down to triple zeros at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon Authentic nthony Hitchens Jersey , the previous count had reached 11,592.(Thanks to Gary McKenzie for making the original calculation).That’s more than 31 years — more than a whole generation, and even longer than the time between Todd Blackledge’s last start as a Chief and Patrick Mahomes’ first one.And it’s not a coincidence that those two are roughly similar periods of time, and occurred almost simultaneously.It’s hard to imagine a more telling illustration of how dramatically things have changed for the Chiefs in 2018 than Sunday’s victory in Pittsburgh. And in this moment, it seems appropriate to propose that we change the focus of our record keeping to reflect this new reality:It has now been 336 days since the Steelers defeated the Chiefs on the road.Of course, Mahomes will no longer be the Chiefs quarterback when this new streak reaches past 11,592 days. By that time, even my grandson Jack will be reaching the end of his career as Kansas City’s starting quarterback under head coach Eric Berry and offensive coordinator Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.Unless — unlike Mahomes — he opts to become a pitcher instead of a quarterback.2. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesAnd yes... it is the light of an approaching train.It’s painted entirely in red, and has Patrick Mahomes Hype Train in enormous gold letters on each side, so no one can miss it.This train has been running a regular schedule throughout the Midwest since April of 2017.But now, its speed is being increased, and its route is being expanded to include the entire country, with stops at every sports news outlet and talk show — along with break rooms and water coolers at every place of business.I’d normally want to remind you that a train traveling at such a high speed is inherently dangerous to ride, because it can run off the rails so easily.But it sure is fun, isn’t it?3. Hello Sammy Watkins!Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesIf you’ve been waiting for the high-priced offseason acquisition to make an impact on the Chiefs offense, your wait is over.On Sunday, he had 71 yards on four catches — plus another 31 yards on an end around.And that was just in the first half!He finished the game with 100 yards on six catchesWatkins really showed his stuff on Sunday — getting big yards after the catch, and repeatedly demonstrating his attitude as a ball carrier.This is the advantage Kansas City now possesses: when the opposing team has no choice but to prepare to stop Tyreek Hill, you can script your offense around Watkins (or some other receiver) to start the game.It worked beautifully for the Chiefs in the first half, and then they shifted the focus to Hill in the second.But even late in the game, Watkins had another big gain where he reminded everybody why the Chiefs wanted him on their roster.4.Hello Travis Kelce!Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesHere’s another new reality to which we now have to adjust: when one of the Chiefs receivers doesn’t have a big game, it doesn’t necessarily represent a problem.Travis Kelce had only one catch for six yards in last week’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, and more than a few people pointed it out.And that’s OK.Back when the Chiefs didn’t have so many offensive weapons, such a thing could be (and often was) a sign that something was wrong.But in Patrick Mahomes World, all of the Chiefs receivers are going to have days like that.And then they’ll have days like the one Kelce had on Sunday, where he had 106 yards on seven catches, along with two touchdowns.That’s the whole point of having so many offensive weapons — that the opposition has to prepare for all of them, and you get to decide which ones are going to get the emphasis.5. Goodbye rational discussion about the Chiefs defense.Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesNow that the Steelers are just the latest team to put up big yards on the Chiefs defense, the drumbeat is going to get louder.The defense is terrible.The Chiefs didn’t do anything about the secondary in the offseason.Bob Sutton is still living in the 1960s.I’m not going to argue against any of those points — and I doubt it would matter if I did.I’d just point out that if you have an offense that can score so quickly — which the Chiefs certainly do — the end result is that your defense is going to be on the field longer.On Sunday, the Steelers ran 20 more plays than the Chiefs did, and held the ball four and a half minutes longer.That adds up to a tired defense.Furthermore, if your team can routinely jump out to big leads early in the game — which so far, has been the case for the Chiefs — the opponent has no choice but to respond with more emphasis on the passing game.That adds up to a lot of passing yards given up.I’m not suggesting that we should just shrug our shoulders and accept it.The defense is going to have to be better for the Chiefs to have realistic playoff expectations.But with such an explosive offense in hand, it takes pressure off the defense, giving them time to develop as a unit and improve.They don’t have to be the best in the league.But if they can even be average, that might be enough for the Chiefs to be a very hard team to beat at the end of the year.Kansas City Chiefs defensive trends and tabulation for Week 4 Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand for your 25th ranked (in points per game) Kansas City Chiefs!OK, so that’s supremely excessive for the worst defense in the league in yards, yards per rush and first downs per game. It also ranks near the bottom in passing yards per game, yards per play and basically anything that isn’t third-down percentage (1st in the league) or sacks (12th in the league).It was a better performance this week against the Denver Broncos on the surface Youth Kendall Fuller Jersey , with yards and points at their lowest marks of the season, and the Chiefs found a little more pressure on the quarterback. However, missed tackles and blown coverages continued, with the addition of some miserable run defense to the tune of 7.2 yards per carry.Basically, they’re still bad.Fortunately, for Arrowhead Pride readers, I sat down and charted this week’s game to get all the numbers for you so you can see where the Chiefs were bad, worse and slightly OK throughout this week’s 60 snaps.The numbersThe Chiefs lined up in their base 3-4 formation 16.6 percent of the time, typically against the Broncos 12, 21 and 22 personnel. In those snaps, the opposition gained a staggering 9.86 yards per play and 7.78 yards per carry. Quite simply, the “run-stopping” defense didn’t stop the run.The Chiefs lined up in their nickel defense with two down linemen and four linebackers 41.6 percent of the time, making it their preferred formation once again. They allowed a not-too-shabby 4.43 yards per play out of this formation.The Chiefs showed their dime defense 16.6 percent of the snaps this week. On those snaps, the Broncos gained 5.41 yards per play.The Chiefs dropped an outside linebacker on 39.5 percent of the snaps in Week 4. That’s higher than usual this season, and once again, the vast majority of them came out of the 3-4 defense. Those plays gave up an abysmal 10.53 yards per play, and on average, the quarterback threw the ball in 2.08 seconds. Needless to say, dropping the outside linebackers didn’t give quarterback Case Keenum much pause this week.The Chiefs sent extra rushers 23.7 percent of the time. That’s the season record thus far for Sutton’s defense! Those plays gave up 7.88 yards per play and the quarterback got rid of the ball in 2.28 seconds, on average. The Chiefs showed pressure, brought a rusher from the second level while dropping another rusher, ran a stunt or blitzed on 42.1 percent of the snaps, which is ridiculously high for a Bob Sutton defense.The Chiefs rushed three players on THREE SNAPS. After a week with only a single three-man rush, Sutton dialed up a total of three this week. Those resulted in an average of 8.66 yards per play and an average time to throw of 1.92 seconds. Clearly, flooding the secondary with extra bodies or from abnormal areas was not effective this week.The Chiefs rushed four players on 68.4 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in a reasonable 5.19 yards per play and an average time to throw of 2.35 seconds.The Chiefs were in man coverage on 73.7 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in 7.51 yards per play and an average time to throw of 2.20 seconds. After a zone-heavy Week 3, the Chiefs reverted back to more of a man-coverage scheme this week. They played press-man coverage 60.4 percent of the time with their corners and slot safeties. That’s the lowest press percentage of the season for the Chiefs defense.The Chiefs were in zone coverage 26.3 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in a stellar 2.1 yards per play and an average time to throw of 2.55 seconds. Even though some coverages were blown that weren’t capitalized upon this week, this number would still have been trending downward form week to week.The average time to throw this week was 2.30 seconds. When the Chiefs forced the throw under 2.5 seconds (21 plays), they allowed 6.55 yards per play. When the throw took longer than 2.5 seconds (13 plays), they allowed 8.61 yards per play. Keenum got the ball out of his hands especially quick this week trying to avoid the Chiefs rush.Something goodI’ve spent this first quarter of this season detailing how poor the Chiefs secondary has been in passing players and executing their zone responsibilities. So when I found an opportunity to highlight a good play out of the Chiefs Cover 3, I took the opportunity.Here, the Chiefs are in a Cover 3 Buzz look, with Eric Murray spinning down as the weak-side hook defender. Kendall Fuller has the underneath boundary zone as the strong-side apex defender, and Orlando Scandrick has the deep boundary third behind him.Denver runs an out route, targeting the seam between the Fuller/Scandrick zones. Fuller gets good zone depth and takes away the quick throwing lane while still keeping an eye on the running back in the flat. This forces Keenum to have to loft the ball over Fuller, and that air underneath the ball allows Scandrick to get a good break on the ball and knock it away.When most think of present-day Sutton, they don’t think of especially risky pass rush plans. This week, with a higher blitz percentage, we got to see some more adventurous blitzes and the blitz shown above is definitely one of them.After a fourth-and-1 conversion late in the first half, the Chiefs found themselves backed up against their own end zone. The Broncos had one timeout remaining with 48 seconds left in the half. Sutton made a gutsy call to send six rushers and run a Cover Zero shell, meaning there’s no safety deep to keep a lid on the defense when the Broncos go empty. Each member of the secondary is man to man with a skill position player.Due to this gamble http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kareem-hunt-jersey , the cornerbacks are lined up in off-man coverage. This makes sure they keep all the routes in front of them, because the ball is likely coming out quickly with the extra pass rushers. Keenum calls an audible and calls a bubble screen to beat the blitz, which it does. This is a positive outcome for the Chiefs defense.By forcing the bubble screen audible, the Chiefs are able to close quickly on the receiver and tackle him in bounds, wasting both a down and forcing the Broncos to use their final timeout. This limits the number of plays the Broncos can run in their remaining downs before the half without that extra timeout.By forcing the issue, Sutton gave the Chiefs one of two outcomes if it’s not an incompletion: stopping the play in bounds for a short/no gain or getting home with the blitz. Either way, Denver has to burn its final timeout. The Chiefs defense held to a red-zone field goal right before half, and this play was a key ingredient in that outcome.Something badThere was plenty of blown coverage this week, but the Chiefs defense was by far at its worst against the run. The Broncos especially targeted Ron Parker as a box safety in the run on Monday.It’s first and goal on the above play, and Denver recognizes Parker in the box, up on the line. They motion Demaryius Thomas over Parker, and off the snap, Thomas blows the gap wide open, putting Parker on his back.Elsewhere, Anthony Hitchens shoots the A gap off Allen Bailey’s inside shoulder. The guard/tackle combo block stalls Bailey initially, and the guard pulls back to knocks Hitchens to the ground. The tackle has leverage on Bailey, and is able to move him easily out of the gap.The Broncos routinely moved Chiefs defenders well out of the play and got to the second level often, taking out the second and third-level run defenders. Denver completely bossed the Chiefs front all game long and when the Chiefs defenders did get some push, well......the Chiefs couldn’t tackle.At all levels, the Chiefs routinely find themselves in good positions to make a play, yet can’t bring down the ballcarrier due to poor tackling. Above, Bailey does great work to read the play, shed the blocker and attacks running back Royce Freeman in the gap. He hits Freeman square, but doesn’t wrap up and Freeman is able to run away into the second level. Parker misses a tackle coming up in support, and what should be a tackle for no gain or a short gain instead results in a chunk play setting up the Broncos for a second and short yardage.Something you may have missedIt wasn’t all awful in the run game this week. Here’s a fantastic play you might have missed from safety Eric Murray. After a tight end motions inside, Murray crashes down to become the force defender and blows up the fullback, forcing the running back to cut back into the defense, where Reggie Ragland has stacked a pulling guard, and Dee Ford is able to track down in pursuit to make the tackle.Murray gets no stat for this, but good film study tipped him off on this play and he was able to completely blow it up so the running back couldn’t reach the edge. Murray had a solid day in run support and a good day in coverage. This kind of dirty work is indicative of the types of things some may miss out of Murray on a week-to-week basis.The bottom lineIsaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsWe’re not a quarter of the way through the season, and the conclusion has been basically the same: this is a bad defense.They’re not executing, still missing tackles and blowing coverage right and left. I’ve heard claims against Sutton’s scheme, but the execution is so poor that it’s hard to even begin to see the scheme.Quite simply, they need to hit the “reset” button on this defense. Start brand new this week, wipe away the first quarter of the season, and pretend it’s the start of the season all over again. These are basic mental mistakes that every single one of these players are capable of cleaning up.Luckily, the Chiefs offense is buying this defense time to figure out their side of the ball and correct these very correctable mistakes. With two very important games in the next two weeks, let’s hope the defense can start climbing out of the basement of the NFL.

It’s not a glamorous job Youth Clay Matthews Jersey , but someone’s got to do it.For the Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark’s job is to essentially swallow up blockers on the line of scrimmage and open up holes for the players behind to make the big plays. When you watch a Packers linebacker stand proudly with his arms crossed after a sack or performing a war-cry after a tackle for loss, it’s likely that they’re there because of the grunt work Clark has done in the trenches. There are few players who are able to dominate the line of scrimmage like Clark can, and hardly any defensive tackle can get off the snap with as much quickness as he does. During the third week of this preseason, Kenny Clark joined Josh Jackson on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week with a 95.7 grade. His PFF grade for the entirety of 2017 rounded out at 87.9, good for 13th at the position.Oren Burks has been flying around the field this preseason, but take a look at who opens up the gap for this TFL: Clark takes on the double team, allowing Burks to burst through untouched. He helped Blake Martinez become a league-leading tackler a year ago in this same way. Furthermore, he is still only 22 years old until October.Much fuss has been made about what Muhammad Wilkerson can bring to the table with Mike Pettine now calling the defensive shots. Clark, however, is in a position to optimize Pettine’s blitz packages and free up players like Wilkerson http://www.authenticsgreenbaypackers.com/cheap-nick-perry-jersey , Nick Perry and Clay Matthews to make homes in the backfield. That doesn’t mean Clark can’t go and get his own sacks. He brought in 4.5 sacks during his sophomore season of 2017, and absorbing double teams isn’t exactly going to stop him from pressuring QBs: Those 4.5 sacks that Clark obtained last season were all collected during the last quarter of the regular season. Per PFF, Clark was seventh in pass-rush productivity last season. If that’s any indication of where Clark is going, he could be figuring out how to be more effective on passing downs. It’s a reasonable next step in his progression as a third-year player.Last season, I wrote about Clark having an emergent 2017. As anticipated, his great season didn’t show up on the stat sheet, but rather on the game tape. The Packers were also relatively thin on D-line options. This season they have Wilkerson, Mike Daniels, a healthy Montravius Adams, and Dean Lowry to rotate on the defensive line with Clark to keep players as fresh as possible.With some good injury luck, the Packers boast one of the best defensive line units in football thanks to the unheralded work of Kenny Clark and company.Packers Training Camp 2018: Practice updates & discussion for August 7 We are just a few days away from the Green Bay Packers’ preseason opener Youth JK Scott Jersey , but before that we have one last open training camp practice today as the team and fans prepare for the first game of 2018. Although that game takes place on Thursday evening with the Tennessee Titans coming to town, it’s time for one more set of bike rides this morning.On Monday, the Green Bay Packers got safety Kentrell Brice back on the field briefly, a boost for the thin safety group. However, Brice only made it a few plays before being pulled off the field from team drills. In addition, a pair of young cornerbacks — Kevin King and Jaire Alexander — missed Monday’s practice with shoulder and groin injuries, respectively. This makes the secondary an area to watch closely both in practice today and on Thursday in the preseason opener.Also worth monitoring is the status of defensive lineman Mike Daniels. After suffering an injury early last week, Daniels returned for one practice on Friday but has not participated since then. Granted, he was unlikely to play on Thursday anyway, but seeing him return to the field would be a welcome sight today.Keep an eye on those injuries this afternoon below as you follow along with the results of practice.Practice Updates from Packers MediaTweets from https://twitter.com/TexWestern/lists/packers-news

Finally Cheap Dre Kirkpatrick Jersey , real NFL football is back in our lives.Tonight marks the return of the world’s greatest game as the Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons in Game 1 of the 2018 season.The Eagles are fresh off their Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, though a lot of their top guys are sitting out tonight due to injury.On the other side, Atlanta is looking to get back to the Super Bowl after making it there two years ago but fell to Philly in last year’s Division Round of the playoffs.How to watch Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles When: Thursday, Sept. 6, 8:20 p.m. ETWhere: Lincoln Financial Field, PhiladelphiaTV: NBC Announcers: Play-by-play man Al Michaels is joined by color analyst Cris Collinsworth to call the first NFL game this season. Online Streaming: To watch the Eagles-Falcons game online, you could head to NBCSports.com/Live or use the NBC Sports app.Now, let’s talk football!The good and bad that comes with the Bengals never coming close to the salary cap The Bengals don’t really fly too close to the salary cap sun. In fact at this moment Cincinnati is looking like they will still have over $16 million left in cap space. That is based on Spotrac’s cap space. This isn’t uncommon for the Bengals though. Last season, they had roughly $11.2 million in cap space to work with, which ranked for the 13th-most cap space left in the NFL. However, in 2016, they only operated with about $6.3 million in cap space. It should also be noted that both of those numbers were under the league average, but there were also some pretty hefty outliers those seasons that helped with that. Some fans may be wondering why the Bengals don’t go the route of teams like the Giants, Chiefs, Washington and Steelers who often hover right around that salary cap line. Why aren’t the Bengals attempting to add that one last piece that could push them over the hill they just can’t seem to get over? Well, we’re about to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of running a team, and why it isn’t always a bad thing to keep some space.Staying around the salary cap limitTeams that operate like this are usually teams that are very active during free agency. Teams like the Giants, Dolphins, Saints and Washington love making those huge splashes by adding a big-name player. There are also teams with a big-name quarterback as well as several other big-name premiere players like the Steelers Bengals Ryan Glasgow Jersey , Ravens and more recently the Packers who have gotten far more aggressive in their offseason approach. The major advantage to these teams is that you know you have an owner and general manager who are committed to fielding a winning team. Losing isn’t tolerated, and that is reflected by moving on from failing players quickly.The major disadvantage is you often see these teams make tough decisions with good players. The Ravens are one of the best examples with this as they saw most of their talented offensive line from two to three years ago leave during free agency as the team brought in big-name defenders and skill position players. The Saints have also had to disassemble their once great offense and build it again after they completely mismanaged their cap by staying active in free agency while having big-name players up for extensions. They had to get rid of players like Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham for this reason. The other huge disadvantage is the outside players brought in don’t always perform. The Saints and Dolphins are the poster children for this. New Orleans has recently bounced back, but they went through some terrible seasons as their big-name free agents flopped. Miami is also recovering from their salary cap blunders.Teams who have done well with this recently though include the Rams and Eagles. They have taken the approach of building their team with a mix of a ton of low-risk players with a few high profile trades. Teams that operate this way are fun to watch in the offseason usually, but the rate of turnover can be incredibly high, which can result in the teams having a roller coaster success rate.Keeping spaceTeams operated in this fashion look to build in the draft. They are also focused on keeping their own talent. These are usually smaller market teams like the Bengals. This allows fans to really connect and grow a connection with their players. It also is far safer from an economical standpoint.The Colts, Titans and Bengals are probably the best examples of this. These teams have made big splashes in free agency, but they are few and far between. They are much more likely to pick over the bargain bin of low-risk players.As mentioned before, these teams are smaller market teams, which means they really don’t have the money to spend like some of these bigger teams. However, the money they do have is usually reserved for payers who have gone through their rookie deals that may also be willing to take a slight discount for the security of a longer contract and/or actually seeing the end of that deal. The added bonus is these teams rarely have to make tough decisions on if they should cut a veteran player in order to stay under the cap. This obviously changed this season with the Bengals when they parted ways with safety George Iloka. That appeared to be more of a shift in philosophy at the position due to rule changes, though.These teams don’t see as drastic a shift from being good to bad. It happens more gradually over a few seasons rather than year-to-year due to the low turnover rate. These teams sustaining long-term success is based off them basically picking and choosing which players to keep correctly.This has been more of a problem for the Bengals recently. They saw most of their free agent class after the 2015 season flock to other teams, and it left a major hole in the team at receiver with no young talent ready to replace them. The following free agent class went just as badly as they watched Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler sign elsewhere after their offensive line was already trending downward. Teams that don’t like to spend big usually are forced to draft consistently well. Otherwise, you have to watch a player like Cedric Ogbuehi try and replace Whitworth.The additional bonus is these teams also have the space to provide extensions to foundation pieces without really having to cut anyone in order to do it. It is a matter of if those players are willing to accept those deals, which hasn’t always been the case with smaller market teams. We just saw this come to fruition with Atkins and Dunlap locking in for four and three more years respectively.The best way for these teams to build a roster is also by hedging their bets with players competing for spots. The Bengals did a great job of this when they brought in Chris Baker through free agency and then drafted Andrew Brown to compete at the defensive tackle position. Ultimately, Baker wasn’t the player Cincinnati was expecting, so they were able to cut him and fall back on other players like Josh Tupou and Ryan Glasgow. The Bengals problem comes when they don’t do this at positions of obvious need more often.OverallThere really is no right way to run a team. We have seen champions built all sorts of ways. The Bengals struggles can usually be tied to struggling with players opting for more guaranteed money upfront in deals that will likely be cut short than a longer-term deal that they will actually see the end of.There is obviously the coaching factor as the Bengals refuse to move on from Marvin Lewis. It is obviously understandable to be frustrated watching talented players walk and watch a good team get disassembled due to frugality and players opting for bigger roles elsewhere. It is also frustrating to watch your team struggle to fill weak spots with new players. Those issues obviously aren’t defined by how much cap space the Bengals have though. The Bengals have a solid philosophy, but its execution misses the mark at times.

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All times are Eastern.

THURSDAY, May 3

CYC–COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPS-RATO’S RIDE

Every so often, a particularly steep descent will intimidate the 23-year-old Spanish cyclist. Understandable, considering that nearly four years ago Mauro Rato blew a tire during a race in Spain Patriots Danny Shelton Jersey , crashed into a wall and broke six vertebrae. It’s been a long climb back – one that landed him in Grand Junction, Colorado, and riding for Colorado Mesa University. He will be among the favorites as the USA Cycling collegiate road national championships roll into Rato’s backyard this weekend. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m. Thursday.

FRIDAY, May 4

FBO–RECYCLING THE PAIN

CINCINNATI – Defensive lineman Devon Still retired from football and started his second career, trying to help families cope with childhood cancer. He’s using lessons learned through his experience with 7-year-old daughter Leah, who became a national story during her recovery from the disease. Still calls it a way of recycling the pain and helping others heal. By Joe Kay. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday.

MONDAY, May 7

BUFFALO RISING?

BUFFALO Youth Sylvester Williams Jersey , N.Y. -It has never been easy being a sports fan in Buffalo, where losing – and the way the NFL’s Bills and NHL’s Sabres have lost – has been as customary as the winters are long and wings spicy. The teams’ most notorious moments even have names for them, be it the Bills’ ”Wide Right,” or Sabres’ ”No Goal.” And yet, a renewed sense of hope has arisen in this rust-belt city after the Bills selected quarterback Josh Allen in the first round of the draft, and the Sabres won the NHL draft lottery over the span of three days. By John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday.

TUESDAY, May 8

BKC–RICE REPORT-BASEBALL DRAFT MODEL

The Commission on College Basketball recommends high school basketball players be allowed to hire agents or advisers to help them weigh the pros and cons of turning professional. The commission also proposes that basketball players who declare for the draft but aren’t selected be allowed to retain their college eligibility. Those proposals are similar to NCAA rules governing baseball. Former TCU baseball star Evan Skoug said his experience with an adviser was invaluable in his draft process. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Again Joe Thornton Jersey , if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia(at)ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports

A Santa Clara County judge ruled Wednesday that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will not have to stand trial on domestic violence charges after determining there was no evidence that Foster ever hit his ex-girlfriend.

Judge Nona Klippen said prosecutors didn't meet the burden of probable cause on charges of felony domestic violence and forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness.

Foster was also charged with felony possession of an assault weapon after officers found a Sig Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle in his home while investigating his ex-girlfriend's domestic violence report. That charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

The 49ers have not allowed Foster to take part in the offseason program while he dealt with these charges and general manager John Lynch had said he would be cut from the team if it was determined that he hit a woman. Foster will be allowed back Thursday now that the domestic violence charges have been dropped.

"It has been made clear to Reuben that his place on this team is one that must continue to be earned," Lynch said. "We will continue to monitor the remaining misdemeanor charge."

The prosecutor's office released a statement expressing disappointment in the judge's decision.

"We are disappointed because the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Foster seriously hurt his girlfriend," the statement said. "Some have wondered why we still think Mr. Foster hurt his girlfriend when she said that he didn't. Recantation is common among domestic violence victims. Some are scared, some feel guilty, some are coerced, some need money. Whatever the cause, we move forward on cases when victims falsely recant because we know that if we don't more victims will be hurt."

The accuser Saquon Barkley Color Rush Jersey , Elissa Ennis, recanted her accusations two days after telling police she was hit in the head eight to 10 times by Foster. She testified at a preliminary hearing last week that the injuries were caused by a fight with another woman and she gave prosecutors video of that fight. She said she lied initially because she wanted retribution after Foster tried to end their relationship.

Klippen said recantations aren't uncommon in domestic violence cases but said there was no supporting evidence in this case that Foster had attacked Ennis.

"The injuries appear more consistent with a fight with another woman on a street than with being hit in the head by this defendant," Klippen said while ruling from the bench.

Klippen also pointed to the fact that Ennis appeared "unusually calm" while making a second 911 call reporting the incident. A bystander who gave her a phone to make the call testified she wasn't frantic and didn't appear to have serious injuries, and there was no evidence of prior abuse. Ennis also testified that she had made false allegations in another case after a boyfriend broke up with her.

Prosecutor Kevin Smith had no comment while leaving the courthouse after the ruling and Foster only gave a thumbs-up before getting into a car with his attorney.

The 49ers drafted Foster 31st overall last year after questions about his health and character caused him to drop from being a possible top 10 pick.

Foster delivered on the field, ranking second on the team with 72 tackles in 10 games as a rookie and looking like a key part of San Francisco's defensive future.

"I'm excited to get him back, give him a hug and move forward," left tackle Joe Staley said.

Foster was charged in January in Alabama with second-degree marijuana possession before the incident in February that led to this case. Foster is due in court next month for a hearing in his marijuana case.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will "continue to monitor all developments in the matter which remains under review."

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (11-6)

OPEN CAMP: July 26 Jason Zucker Jersey , Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina

LAST YEAR: Panthers enjoyed bounce-back season after failing to reach playoffs in 2017. Carolina lost three times to New Orleans, including wild-card playoffs. No deep threat, lengthy injury to TE Greg Olsen and poor pass protection doomed offense. Defense remained one of NFL’s best behind high MLB Luke Kuechly.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie WR D.J. Moore, WR Torrey Smith, WR Jarius Wright, RB C.J. Anderson, RB Kenjon Barner http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-p.j.-hall-jersey , G Jeremiah Sirles, DT Dontari Poe, rookie CB Donte Jackson, CB Ross Cockrell, S Da’Norris Searcy.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: G Andrew Norwell, RB Jonathan Stewart, DT Star Lotulelei, DE Charles Johnson, S Kurt Coleman Youth Albert Wilson Jersey , CB Daryl Worley, QB Derek Anderson.

CAMP NEEDS: Panthers need to adjust to three new coordinators: Norv Turner (offense), Eric Washington (defense) and Chase Blackburn (special teams). Turner’s relationship with QB Cam Newton critical to team’s success. Second-year RB Christian McCaffrey is featured back with Jonathan Stewart gone. Team expected to use more two tight end sets, play-action under Turner. Addition of WRs D.J. Moore, Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright should bolster passing game. Washington inherits defense looking to replace four starters (Lotulelei, Johnson, Coleman and Worley). Kuechly, DT Kawann Short, LB Thomas Davis Customized San Francisco 49ers Jerseys , CB James Bradberry and pass-rushing tandem Julius Peppers and Mario Addison (11 sacks each) all return. GM Marty Hurney thrilled with second-round pick CB Donte Jackson, who’ll start.

EXPECTATIONS: Core of team that’s been to postseason four of past five seasons remains intact, but aging quickly. Peppers is 38, S Mike Adams 37, Davis 35, and C Ryan Kalil and Olsen are 33. Newton is 29. Plenty of pressure to win now under new owner David Tepper before window closes. Carolina should compete for NFC South title with New Orleans and Atlanta if offense improves.

Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was considered a possible first-round pick before an irregular heartbeat was detected during a medical exam at the NFL Scouting Combine and questions about whether he’ll be able to have a long career in the NFL helped push him to the Raiders in the fifth round.

While he might not like where he wound up being drafted, Hurst likes the landing spot. He said that watched a lot of film of Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins while at Michigan and is excited to have a chance at filling a similar three-technique role with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who previously held the same job in Cincinnati.

“It definitely gets me amped up,” Hurst said Oscar Dansk Jersey , via NBC Sports Bay Area. “The Bengals, their best player was their three technique. That’s the focal point of their defense, and that’s what coach Guenther is used to getting, and what he has got his whole time in the NFL [with Atkins]. He drafted Geno, and it says something for him drafting me and P.J. [Hall, a second-round pick this year]. I think he expects a lot from us and expects us to fill that role he had with the Bengals.”

Expecting Atkins-esque production from any rookie would be a mistake, but immediate positive impact of any kind from Hurst would be a good development for both the Oakland defense and Hurst’s chances of putting those health concerns behind him for good.

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— Two hours of practice in the heat and humidity weren’t enough for Pete Robertson.

As dripping teammates slowly ambled to the locker room and showers Sunday http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-saquon-barkley-jersey , Robertson lined up on one sideline and sprinted across the field to the other sideline. Then and back, over and over again, for extra conditioning.

As the linebacker tries to make it all the way back from a debilitating back injury that threatened to take football away for good, he’s leaving nothing to chance as he tries to make the Washington Redskins.

“It’s been a long journey,” he said.

A very effective pass rusher at Texas Tech, Robertson figured to be drafted before he herniated a disk in his back while working out before the draft. The injury led to a pinched nerve, and after Robertson insisted on running at his Pro Day workout for scouts, he never heard his name called during the NFL draft.

He signed a free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks, but didn’t stick, and had been working the graveyard shift loading trucks at UPS for three months when his agent called. The Redskins were interested.

Before hanging up, Robertson told him, “‘They aren’t ever going to let me go’ and I’ve been here ever since.”

And more and more, he seems likely to stick around for a while.

“Petey has been unbelievable,” fifth-year coach Jay Gruden said before a recent practice. “Yeah Brandon Saad Jersey , he’s been great. Very, very athletic, and you’re talking about a guy that can possibly help on special teams, as your fourth or fifth linebacker, and he’s one because he can run.”

When the Redskins signed Robertson last December, they initially used him at running back on the scout team because of a need there. He got in four games and made two tackles late in the season. A defensive end in college, the team has since tried him at inside linebacker, Gruden said, but “that wasn’t quite his cup of tea.”

“We moved him back down as an outside linebacker/defensive end in nickel. He’s done very, very well.”

And made an impression on teammates with his willingness to work.

“You know, when we had a lot of guys down and out, he got a lot of reps and you could see the burst that he has and the speed,” offensive tackle Morgan Moses said. “He brings another aspect to the game and he works hard, man.

“There’s not one thing you tell him to do that he’s not going to do it. You tell him to go get some water 50 yards down the field Viktor Arvidsson Jersey , he’s going to run and get water 50 yards down the field. He just has that mentality.”

It’s an appreciation of a second chance Robertson wasn’t sure he’d get.

The thought that football might be in his past “went through my mind every night, every morning,” he said. “Before I went to bed, when I woke up. … I knew it wasn’t the end of the road for me. I knew it wasn’t. I never gave up on the dream, but you always have that thought in the back of your mind: ‘Is this it?'”

In the offseason, Robertson added back the 30 pounds he’d lost while away from the game during day-long weekday workouts with his cousin, Redskins star left tackle Trent Williams. Williams was rehabbing after a right knee injury, and Robertson knew he had to make a big impression once the Redskins opened training camp.

So far, he’s doing just that, and enjoying it every step of the way.

“I wouldn’t trade it for nothing,” he said.

DETROIT (AP) — Matt Patricia has appeared to push the Detroit Lions more than they ever were under Jim Caldwell.

The Lions seemed to run more and hit more. And, they may have gotten yelled at more.

On the practice field over the last several weeks, it wasn’t hard to see or hear Patricia.

The burly man with a bushy beard and a pencil over his right ear moves around a lot, spending time with various position groups during drills to share his expertise on both sides of the ball. He shouts to get his point across at times Panthers Elite Jerseys , including once when he didn’t like the pace in which players were moving from one field to another.

How does Patricia avoid overloading his players?

“Probably in the end you really don’t know until after the game, unfortunately,” Patricia said recently. “But you try to do a good job of gauging your players and how they’re handling the week. And obviously there’s a constant communication with the players to say, ‘Are we good on this? Do you think we need more? Do we need to cut back? Do we need to scale back from that standpoint?’

“I would say it’s always the biggest challenge early in the season because you’re kind of just really getting into that mode for the first time.”

And for the first time, Patricia will be an NFL head coach in a game that counts Monday night in Detroit against the New York Jets .

The 43-year-old Patricia declined to share his emotions entering a big day in his life, keeping people guessing, much like his mentor has done for years. He was on Bill Belichick’s staff for 14 seasons, serving as his defensive coordinator the last six years.

Many years earlier, Patricia began his path to leading a team in the league by matching wits with buddies while playing electric football. Patricia, who is from Sherrill, New York, would set up miniature players on a vibrating, metal field to face off with friends in games that would continue for weeks.

“I knew at a very young age the strategic part of the game was something that I just loved,” Patricia said when he was hired in February.

When the Lions hired general manager Bob Quinn two-plus years ago Youth Nyheim Hines Jersey , the former Patriots executive chose to keep Caldwell in 2016 and gave him a contract extension the next year. Quinn had his eye on Patricia over the last two years and cleared a path for them to reunite by firing Caldwell after last season’s 9-7 mark wasn’t good enough to put the team in the playoffs.

Even if Detroit got into the postseason and lost, Caldwell might’ve been replaced by Patricia.

Soon after New England lost in the Super Bowl, the Lions landed the coach they wanted by hiring Patricia, who earlier had other suitors.

Detroit’s players liked playing for Caldwell. His cool and calm ways were respected and they appreciated that he cared about them off the field. They found out quickly Patricia was bringing a change of pace: a demonstrative and louder leader.

“The way he came in just set the tone right away,” Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis said. “He came in, he laid down the law. He gave us the rules and he came in with energy.”

No one in the NFL is really sure what a Patricia-led team will look like because what he showed in the preseason is not expected to be anything like what he’ll do in Week 1 against the Jets. Especially with New York starting a rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold.

Jets coach Todd Bowles, though, knows what Patricia’s defenses looked like with the Patriots.

“They’re always very smart,” Bowles said. “They’re always very tough-minded, and the execution and fundamentals are outstanding. He’s brought that to New England, I’m sure he’s brought that to Detroit. They’ve always been tough. He’s handled us quite a few times, so we have our work cut out for us.”

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OXNARD Authentic Ryan Switzer Jersey , Calif. (AP) — Tavon Austin never really had a fresh start with a new coach in Los Angeles because of a wrist injury that plagued him and a hamstring that popped before the last of five disappointing seasons with the Rams.

The eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft believes the opportunity has arrived through a trade to the Dallas Cowboys and the health that Austin hoped would come with it. Having something to prove is nothing new for the 5-foot-8 hybrid receiver/returner/runner.

“There’s always going to be a chip on my shoulder, No. 1 because I’ve always been small,” Austin said. “I had the same thing coming out, when I went No. 8. So the chip’s always going to be there regardless. But last year was a little hard, my injury and I didn’t get a fair chance over there.”

At first, Austin really didn’t know what to make of the draft-day deal that sent a sixth-round pick to LA. He had largely been a spectator when the Rams ended a 12-year playoff drought in the first season under offensive-minded coach Sean McVay.

Austin’s first conversation with owner Jerry Jones boosted his spirits, and he later told reporters he was close to a recovery from ligament damage in his left wrist. He hasn’t missed a day at training camp as part of a revamped group of targets for quarterback Dak Prescott.

While he played in all 16 games for the NFC West champions with nine starts, Austin had just 13 catches for 47 yards. Most of his work was as a runner (59 carries, 270 yards and his only touchdown). Most of his time was spent on the bench.

“Last year was the first time I had hit rock bottom dealing with an injury and the media bashing me saying I couldn’t do it,” said Austin, who had 1 Adidas Carey Price Jersey ,689 yards and 12 touchdowns receiving and 1,238 yards and nine TDs rushing with the Rams, who were in St. Louis when they drafted him.

“But I stayed true to myself and I knew what happened to me. I wasn’t a person to cry or point fingers or find any sympathy. If I went out there, I went out there. I thought I was ready, so that’s what it was.”

Austin tries to stay out of the spotlight after practices at camp, only occasionally stopping for interviews. The 28-year-old is soft-spoken and reserved, but quick with a smile once he gets to talking.

The Cowboys signed a pair of free agents in Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, dumped franchise touchdown receptions leader Dez Bryant in a cost-cutting move and drafted Michael Gallup in the third round, a day before the trade for Austin.

The change of scenery offered Austin the rare chance to fill a leadership void despite being new to Dallas. Not only are the Cowboys likely to have four new receivers on the 53-man roster, they have a new coach at the position as well.

“He’s that veteran guy that I don’t know that I’ve really had that I can say, ‘Hey Radek Faksa Jersey , get them to do this,'” receivers coach Sanjay Lal said. “Because even in the walkthrough, he’s working through his footwork, he’s sinking his hips, which is how you build muscle memory. Don’t waste these reps.”

The way Austin sees it, he didn’t get Lal’s attention by doing anything unusual.

“I’ve never been a captain of a team,” Austin said. “But people always listen just because of my work ethic. When I’m out there just talking, I’m having fun and No. 2 just competing. It’s just in me. I definitely will take the role on being in leadership.”

He’ll also take the role of coming out of the backfield — assuming that happens at some point. With almost as many carries (184) as catches (194) in his career, Austin figures to remain a hybrid back. The Cowboys just haven’t shown much of the backfield component in camp.

“You can call him whatever you want to call him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s obviously very quick. He’s very fast. We’re comfortable lining him up as a receiver outside or inside and certainly in the backfield as well. He’s done all those things.”

Now Austin gets to try them with that elusive fresh start.

The 2017 season in Jacksonville featured a new coach, a new offense http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-chase-edmonds-jersey , and almost a new quarterback. But Blake Bortles rallied after a preseason benching, and he’s now ready to take his game to a new level in 2018.

“When we started last year, it was kind of an elementary level, in terms of 鈥業鈥檓 hearing the play, I鈥檓 thinking about the footwork I have to take, the identification, trying to remember what routes guys are running and all that,'” Bortles told George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel. “Now, I think I鈥檓 kind of owning the offense and having a better understanding of it. Obviously, it is a continuous study and a continuous grind to continue to master it and stay on top of it, but I definitely feel more comfortable with it.鈥?/p>

That’s what the Jaguars wanted when choosing to sign Bortles to a three-year contract Authentic Kirk Cousins Jersey , opting for the devil they know over the potential free-agency and/or draft busts they don’t. In a league where continuity often is overrated, Bortles could be a key factor in the Jaguars getting back to the heights they achieved in 2018, and possibly beyond.

Given the high quality around him, it won’t take much from the quarterback position to make a huge difference. And if there’s a huge difference in Bortles’ play this year, who knows what the Jags will do?

But Bortles knows that, no matter what, he won’t have huge numbers. Asked whether he’d take himself on his fantasy football team, Bortles was candid.

“Probably not,” Bortles said. “Maybe Leonard Fournette.”

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Justin Reid might have a leg up on most rookies when he joins the Houston Texans after spending years learning about the NFL from his brother Eric Travis Konecny Jersey , a first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2013.

"We break down film together, I go and visit him at his house," Justin Reid said. "We watched games together. He would let me in on what the game plan was that week, how they're playing certain personnel."

The elder Reid is a safety who spent the last five seasons with the 49ers, but is currently a free agent. Justin, a safety from Stanford, followed in his brother's footsteps when Houston took him with the 68th overall pick in the draft on Friday night.

General manager Brian Gaine said they valued the football pedigree in his family, but were more impressed by his other qualities.

"What I'll tell you about Justin is No. 1 (he has) the prototypical body type, height, weight, speed for the position Authentic Alexander Alexeyev Jersey ," Gaine said. "No. 2 production, graded well in terms of production. No. 3 was the versatility, interchangeable ability to play strong safety, free safety, the ability to play the run, the ability to play the pass. We feel like he's a fully dimensional safety at the position."

Reid was Houston's first pick in this year's draft after the Texans traded away their first-round pick to Cleveland to get quarterback Deshaun Watson with the 12th overall pick last year. They previously sent their second-round pick in this draft to the Browns as part of the deal to get rid of Brock Osweiler.

The draft was Gaine's first as a general manager after taking over in January when Rick Smith took an indefinite leave of absence to be with his wife, who is fighting cancer. But Gaine has plenty of experience in scouting and player evaluations, having worked as assistant general manager for the Dolphins and in player personnel for the Texans and the Bills.

He talked about having to wait through two rounds before making his first pick with the Texans.

"Unique circumstance, 20 years of doing this, I've never had that experience before," he said. "But in a way after yesterday it allowed us to kind of reposition ourselves and think about what's already occurred and kind of measure the supply and demand at the positions with 32 players already gone."

Reid started 11 of 14 games last season Youth Trenton Cannon Jersey , piling up 99 tackles, including 6 1/2 for losses with five interceptions and six pass breakups.

Houston addressed its need on the offensive line by taking Mississippi State tackle Martinas Rankin with the 80th pick. The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Rankin is a versatile player who has lined up at almost every position on the offensive line, but spent the most time at left tackle. He'll have a chance to play early, competing with Julie'n Davenport for the chance to protect Watson's blind side at left tackle.

"We see him as an offensive lineman and hopefully the best five play however that unravels here," Gaine said. "But naturally he was a starting left tackle in the SEC so my hope is he'd have the ability to do that, but we also believe that if he has to play guard, right side, left side, wherever we need him that this guy has the versatility to do that."

The Texans used their last pick Friday night to address another need when they chose Central Florida tight end Jordan Akins at No. 98. At 26, the 6-3 Authentic Sylvester Williams Jersey , 249-pound Akins is much older than most NFL rookies after spending four years playing minor league baseball after being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the third round in 2010.

WASHINGTON (0-0) at ARIZONA (0-0)

Sunday, Sept. 9, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE 鈥?Pick 'em

RECORD VS. SPREAD 鈥?Washington 7-9, Arizona 6-9-1

SERIES RECORD 鈥? Redskins lead 75-46-2

LAST MEETING 鈥?Redskins beat Cardinals 20-15, Dec. 17, 2017

AP PRO32 RANKING 鈥?Redskins No. 22, Cardinals No. 24

REDSKINS OFFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (16), RUSH (28), PASS (12)

REDSKINS DEFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (21), RUSH (32) Cardinals Game Jerseys , PASS (9)

CARDINALS OFFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (22), RUSH (30), PASS (15)

CARDINALS DEFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (6), RUSH (6), PASS (14)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES 鈥?Teams have met dating to 1932, when Redskins were Boston Braves and Cardinals were in Chicago. ... Both were in NFC East until realignment in 2002. ... Washington has lost all four season openers under coach Jay Gruden; new Redskins QB Alex Smith hasn't lost an opener since 2014. ... As Kansas City QB last year, Smith was 28 of 35 for 365 yards and four TDs in Chiefs' season-opening win at New England. ... Washington was 4-0 against NFC West last season. ... Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan only player in team history to start every game for eight consecutive seasons. ... New Washington RB Adrian Peterson led Arizona in rushing last season with 448 yards before season-ending neck injury. ... Arizona was plus-17 in turnovers in four preseason games. ... Cardinals DE Chandler Jones led NFL in sacks last season with franchise-record 17. ... Victory would make Steve Wilks first Cardinals coach to win his debut since Larry Wilson after Bud Wilkinson was fired in 1979 season. ... Arizona QB Sam Bradford is starting for fourth team in six seasons. ... Cardinals changed name of home field from University of Phoenix Stadium to State Farm Stadium. ... WR Larry Fitzgerald has caught pass in 211 consecutive games, tied with Tony Gonzalez for second-longest streak in NFL history. Fitzgerald was second in NFL last season with 109 catches, tying franchise record. Fitzgerald has 325 catches in last three seasons. ... Arizona CB Patrick Peterson made Pro Bowl in each of his seven NFL seasons. Jim Brown and Barry Sanders are only other players to do so. ... Cardinals went 1-3 vs NFC East last season. ... Arizona plays three of first four games at home. ... Cardinals switched from 3-4 base defense to 4-3. ... Fantasy tip: Cardinals RB David Johnson is back after missing 15 games with fractured wrist. Johnson led NFL in yards from scrimmage and TDs two seasons ago and is featured player in team's new offense.

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OAKLAND Tyler Johnson Jersey , Calif. — The Oakland Athletics will encounter one of their all-time nemeses Thursday afternoon when they face Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander in the finale of a three-game series.

The Astros have dominated the first two games of the series between American League West rivals, riding a total of 10 RBIs from Evan Gattis to 6-3 and 13-5 victories.

Houston has won seven of eight from Oakland this season.

The Astros have done it without any help from Verlander (8-2, 1.45 ERA), who has yet to face the A’s this season.

They have seen plenty of each other in the veteran’s 14-year career, including five times in the postseason, when Verlander has gone 4-0 against Oakland.

Included in the four wins were Game 5 clinchers for Detroit in 2012, when Verlander pitched a 6-0 shutout Youth Mike Remmers Jersey , and 2013, when he threw eight innings of shutout ball in a 3-0 win.

A’s general manager Billy Beane got so fed up losing to Verlander, he attempted to stack the Oakland pitching staff in anticipation of a rematch in 2014, acquiring Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel at midseason at the costly expense of Addison Russell and Yoenis Cespedes.

The A’s, who already had Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir anchoring their staff, never got a shot at Verlander in the playoffs that year John Tavares Jersey , losing 9-8 to Kansas City in the American League wild-card game, which Lester started and Hammel finished.

With Lester, Samardzija and Hammel all leaving the team the following season either via trade or free agency, the A’s haven’t been back in the postseason since. In fact, they’ve never finished higher than fourth place the last three seasons.

Verlander has a 10-6 record and 2.61 ERA in 17 starts against the A’s in his career during the regular season. He’s 5-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 10 starts in Oakland.

The A’s will counter with their modern-day version of Verlander, rookie right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25) Giants Game Jerseys , who has been brilliant in three starts this season.

Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in one of Oakland’s many veteran sell-offs since becoming a non-contender in 2015, Montas has allowed a total of three runs in 21 2/3 innings in wins over Arizona and Kansas City (twice).

Montas pitched twice in relief against Houston in 2017, getting shelled in one inning in each appearance.

He gave up three hits and two runs in the ninth inning of a 10-6 loss to the Astros in his 11th career appearance early in the 2017 season, then served up a three-run home run to Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss two weeks later.

Gonzalez had one of Houston’s four home runs in Wednesday’s shellacking, but the story of the game for the second consecutive night was Gattis.

The designated hitter, who had recorded four RBIs nine separate times in his career before this series began, enjoyed his second consecutive five-RBI performance in Wednesday’s win Authentic Connor McDavid Jersey , belting two home runs along the way.

Gattis had been just 3-for-12 with no homers and no RBIs in six games against the A’s this season before exploding for four hits, including three homers, in seven at-bats the last two nights.

The previous owners of the St. Louis Blues plan to sell their remaining minority interest in the team.

St. Louis Blues Chairman Tom Stillman said Thursday that Sports Capital Holdings will soon market the minority stake it has held since 2012. SCH is the holding company for the previous Blues ownership group and selling the minority interest means SCH will no longer have any financial interest in the team.

Stillman currently controls the current ownership group, which bought the Blues in 2012.

He stressed that the Blues are not for sale, only the minority interest. He says the Blues will remain in local hands and no operational changes are expected.

The Blues and the National Hockey League must approve the sale of the minority share.

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