Browse Month by April 2018
Los Angeles Chargers

With destiny back in Devils’ hands, why they won’t change approach

The Devils are trying to keep their focus within their own locker room, even if it is human nature to scoreboard watch this late in the season.

Yes, the Devils know the Florida Panthers lost in regulation on Wednesday, keeping the Devils three points ahead for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils control their own playoff destiny with six games left to play in the regular season, but their focus hasn’t changed. They continue to look at the next game on their schedule.

It’s nice to know we control our own destiny and we control how we play, forward Taylor Hall said. And we have a couple more home games and some hard teams coming up. No one ever said it was going to be easy, and the fact that Florida has gone on this run, it’s pretty incredible for them. So they’re still going to nip at our heels, they’re still going to win some games. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s nice that we can control how we play going forward here.

The Devils’ lead over the Panthers has been relatively small throughout March, but they have never surrendered it to fall out of a playoff spot. They did that by keeping their minds on the task at hand, and that will be their goal over the next 10 days.

As far as right now, the race, you know it could change every day, forward Travis Zajac said. I think for us, it’s trying to make sure we’re in the right mindset as a team, as individuals and trying to get our game as sharp as we can these last six.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound junior is one of the best players on the Rutgers baseball team and is a legit prospect for this year’s Major League Baseball Draft despite serving a suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules earlier this season.

If not for the strong likelihood that he will sign if he gets drafted in baseball this June, Harris would certainly be penciled in as a contributor to a defensive backfield that, according to Scarlet Knights coach Chris Ash, lacks depth this spring.

But is Ash counting Harris to contribute if the MLB Draft scenario doesn’t work out

I haven’t talked to Jawuan about coming back,” Ash said. His focus right now is baseball. I know he’s got dreams and goals of hopefully going on and getting drafted and having an opportunity to play Major League Baseball. I know he started the year off pretty good for baseball and he’s a pretty good player.patriots_034-223x223

Los Angeles Chargers

Brandin Cooks: I’m blessed to be part of an organization on the rise

In an offseason in which the Rams have added a number of good players, the newest one is excited about what is being built in Los Angeles.

Brandin Cooks said at his introductory press conference today that he’s excited about the direction the Rams are going in.

“It’s part of the game. I’m extremely blessed for this opportunity to be part of a special organization that’s on the rise,” Cooks said.

The biggest threat to Averett’s first-string status in 2017 didn’t come from a blue-chip recruit. It came from a pothole. Averett stepped in one prior to Alabama’s Sugar Bowl game against Clemson before boarding the team bus en route to practice.

“My foot turned a different direction, a direction it’s not supposed to turn, and I put all my body weight on it,” said Averett, who was admittedly distracted when sending a text message while stepping off a curb. “When I sat down on the bus, I’m like, ‘OK, I rolled it a little bit. I’ll be all right.’ I mean, it’s not the first time I did that. I’m from Jersey. We’ve got a lot of pot holes.

“When I got off the bus, I realized I couldn’t put any weight on it. I was like, Woah, this is more serious than I thought. (The trainers) picked me up and walked me to the training room and I had to deal with it there.”

Any team that would trade for Beckham also would need to be willing to give him a long-term contract in the range he reportedly is targeting: $20 million or more per year.

If the Giants don’t want to make a major financial commitment to Beckham, a trade could still happen. Maybe another team decides to give up two first-round picks, maybe the Giants decide to accept less than two first-rounders. Regardless, the fact that the Giants have entertained the thought of not having Beckham means a deal could still happen at some point between now and the first night of the draft.

But our coaches did a great job coaching those guys up, and the young players stepped up. It became an extremely competitive position and allowed us to win a lot of games.

One of the true strengths of the 2017 Eagles was depth and having players ready to step up if injuries occurred to starters. How conscious were you of that in building this roster?texans_033

Chicago Bears

Malcolm Butler on Being Benched in Super Bowl Loss:’This How We Gonna End This’

Malcolm Butler is speaking out about being benched by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles last month.

Butler played in 97.8 percent of New England’s defensive snaps during the season prior to the Super Bowl. He led the team with 12 passes defensed.

After four seasons with the Patriots, Butler signed a five-year deal with the Tennessee Titans earlier this month.

Despite Schultz’s report, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller did not have Jackson going in the first round of his latest mock draft. That didn’t stop Miller from projecting four other quarterbacks going in the first six picks, though, with Sam Darnold going No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, Josh Allen going No. 3 to the New York Jets, Baker Mayfield going No. 5 to the Denver Broncos and Josh Rosen going No. 6 to the Buffalo Bills.

Miller projected the Cardinals to select cornerback Mike Hughes instead of Jackson with the 15th pick, although he did have the Louisville product as the next-best quarterback prospect behind those first four on his post-NFL Scouting Combine big board of rankings.

Jackson was a nearly unstoppable playmaker at the college level as the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and the ACC Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017.

He routinely hurt opposing defenses with his arm and legs and tallied 3,660 passing yards, 1,601 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns with just 10 interceptions in 2017.

If that deal is with the only team reportedly interested, the Rams, the best the Giants can get is Los Angeles’ 23rd and 87th picks in this year’s draft. Strangely, last year’s 23rd and 87th picks were actually made by the Giants, who took tight end Evan Engram and quarterback Davis Webb, respectively.patriots_175-223x223

Pittsburgh Steelers

Inside the supposed $40 million Sam Bradford deal

Two years ago, Sam Bradford signed a two-year, $36 million deal with the Eagles. Last week, he signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Cardinals.

If it sounded too good to be true, there’s a reason for that. It is.

So if Keenum tears an ACL in training camp and for some reason can’t for two years, he gets $36 million. If that happens to Bradford (again), he gets $15 million. Which seems a lot more fair and equitable given their respective performances from a year ago in Minnesota.

For Gronkowski, the physical anguish of the 2017 season, which led him late in the regular season to tell people that he was likely to retire, was paired with some mental fatigue from the high-strung culture within the Patriots organization, sources said. Nothing has occurred since the end of the season to convince him that is going to change — and Gronkowski knows he’ll need to be ready for a similar toll on his mind and body if he returns in 2018.

The Washington Redskins went 7-9 despite being torn apart by the injury bug in 2017.

The season leader in adjusted games lost was without Trent Williams for six games, Spencer Long for nine, Chris Thompson for six, Shawn Lauvao for seven, Terrelle Pryor for seven, Josh Norman and Brandon Scherff for two each, and Zach Brown for three.

But they still ranked above the middle of the pack in DVOA.

Smith will likely join former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones in backing up Phillip Rivers.

Smith played four seasons with the New York Jets after going 39th overall in the 2013 draft, then spent last season with the New York Giants.

Smith started one game for the Giants, throwing for 212 yards and a TD in a 24-17 loss against Oakland.

Smith has appeared in 35 games, including 31 starts, and thrown for 6,174 yards with 29 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 659 yards and seven TDs.

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