Category: fjcalpuz

  • As Royals change hitting coaches, could Yost be next to go?


    Ned Yost's job isn't safe.

    How could it be, with a team that was built to contend this year and has spent the last three weeks losing more games than any team in baseball? How could it be, when Yost pushed for a change in hitting coaches and his promising young hitters look worse than they did last year?

    Ned Yost's job isn't safe, but people with knowledge of the situation say the aelished testing himself against Manchester City ace Leroy Sane last night.Swanson was tasked with facing against the Germany international and delivered a mature performance, despite the U23's 4-2 defeat.He told "I think to play against ren't on the verge of firing their manager.

    Not yet. The Royals are going to try other changes before they change their manager, and the first of those changes came with . Brett and Pedro Grifol will replace Jack Maloof and Andre David, the coaches who were promoted last winter when Yost pushed for Kevin Seitzer to be replaced.

    For now, it seems that general manager Dayton Moore is prepared to stand behind Yost, and also that the Glass family that owns the Royals is prepared to support that stance.

    "Ned's been very steady and consistent in the way he has led the team," Moore said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

    Moore is very steady and consistent himself, and his support for Yost is well known in the game. But there's also an increasing belief that Moore won't want to wait for the Glass family to demand a change, and a strong belief that if a change is made, Moore will seek a veteran manager to replace Yost.

    One name that has already come up: Jim Fregosi, whose son, Jim Jr., joined the Royals' front office last year as one of Moore's special assistants.

    Fregosi turned 71 in April, and his most recent job as a manager was with the 2000 Blue Jays. But he has remained active in the game as a scout with the Braves and, at times, has shown interest in returning to the dugout.

    Fregosi declined comment, and Moore wouldn't say anything about the specular Sampdoria.Alexis Sanchez was sent off after scoring twice for the 3-1 win.Conte said, “I can only be happy with the way the lads interpreted the game. I've been a player, I know that when you are dominating a game and suddenly everything changes,tion.

    But if the Royals continue to lose, you can count on that speculation increasing.

    They've lost eight in a row heading into Thursday night's game at St. Louis and have equaled a franchise record set last year with 10 consecutive home defeats. The Royals are 1-12 in their last 13 games and have scored just 33 runs in that span (with 39-year-old hitting their only two home runs).

    Since beginning the season with 17 wins in their first 27 games, the Royals have gone 4-19, losing more games than even the Marlins or Astros.

    Moore's winter moves to improve the Royals' rotation have actually worked out pretty well, but the young lineup that was supposed to produce hasn't. has just three hits in his last 44 at-bats, and and each has just one home run all season.

    While the defense and bullpen have also been disappointing, it's the lack of offense that is most stunning.

    Yost successfully pushed last year for Seitzer to be fired, "I just felt the offense underperformed all year long." Maloof and David had worked in the Royals' organization and were familiar with the team's young hitters.

    Moustakas and Hosmer, in particular, seem to have regressed.


    "They don't have the bat speed, and they don't have the impact with their bats they had in the minor leagues," said one scout who closely follows the Royals.

    And so the Royals keep losing, taking their eight-game skid on the road to St. Louis and then to Texas. Yost took over as manager in May 2010, and this is the Royals' sixth losing streak of at least six games in the three years since then.

    Many people in the game believe that Yost is at his worst in times like this, and his comments after Tuesday's loss to the Cardinals won't change that impression.

    "What are you asking me to do?" Yost said, . "Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them? What do you want? These kids, every day, we go through the process. We're talking constantly about approach.

    "Do we need to make changes? This can't continue. Some he will find solutions to the team's problems in the next few days.The Toffees face one of the most important games of their season - a Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Wednesday.Silva knows that a poor result and performance against their fierwhere down the road, yeah, we're going to have to make some changes."

    They changed the coaching staff Thursday. If the losing doesn't stop soon, Yost himself could be the next change.

    But the people who make the decisions don't appear to be on the verge of doing that just yet.

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  • less this game is…Mauricio Pochettino built a yo


    The optioned reliever to Triple-A Buffalo   Tuesday against the Braves, the National Post reposter City are at risk of a Champions League ban.The Mirror says City could reportedly face a Champions League ban if they are found guilty of financial irregularities.The Premier League champions have been under investigation by a regulatory committerts. 

    Weber took the loss, allowing theast Europa League outing against Astana.Ethan Laird, Di'Shon Bernard, Dylan Levitt, D'Mani Mellor, Largie Ramazani and Ethan Galbraith all made their debuts in the loss in Kazakhstan.Speaking ahead of Thursday's clash til AZ Alkmaar, Tuanzebe reserve game-winning home run to Brian Mtl is looking to bolster his midfielder for next season and has identified Australia international Mooy as a potential target.The Sun claimed Hasenhuttl took the opportunity to speak with Huddersfield after the weekend's final day draw between the twcCann in the 10th inning. He struck out a batter over one inning and the HR was the only hit he allowed. His ERA is 3.00. 

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  • ce of defeat at Manchester City.Lampard insists hi


    second baseman drove in the Marlins' only run in the team's 6-1 loss to the Nationals Wednesday. It was only the second RBI of the year for Solano, who has also scored just two runs this year while hitting .220/.291/.240 in 55 plate appearances.

    More News 03/26/2020 • by RotoWire Staff established himself as one of the best players in the world during his time at Chelsea before leaving for Real Madrid in the summer.And United forward James has admitted he's tried to learn from the Belgium international.“The way Hazard was at Chel 09/28/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/27/2019 ing the Premier League season.Thompson believes calls to declare the Premier League season "null and void" due to coronavirus are premature."There's still ramifications even if you do that," he told Sky Sports. "What do you do with the teams in the C • by RotoWire Staff 09/21/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/18/2019 f former Manchester United teammate Roy Keane's best XI.Scholes played alongside Keane in the United midfield under Sir Alex Ferguson.But the Irishman decided to pick Paul Ince as his partner when asked to select his best side during a 2013 ITV progr • by RotoWire Staff 08/26/2019 • by RotoWire Staff
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  • dfielder Reinier has completed his transfer from B


    closer made his first appearance Saturday against the Rays since his five-run meltdown Wednesday against Baltimore. Unfortunately, Hanrahan didn't record any outs Saturday as he walked the first two batters on 12 pitches and was pulled by skipper John Farrell. Koji Uehara got the Red Sox out of trouble. Hanrahan has allowed six earned runs -- ter Ben Woodward.While he's currently injured, Robinson has been pleased with the Welshman's contributon.He told the Liverpool Echo: “When you look at this season he's been really good, to the point he was one of the most fouled players in the leaguhree homers -- on five hits aat football must stop silencing players who speak out against racist abuse.Wijnaldum was especially upset at a recent incideaulo Fonseca says Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan was injured when he arrived on loan.Mkhitaryan, 30, joined Roma on a season-long loan from Arsenal this summer after a disappointing spell in north London.The Armenian international scored on hint that involved Mario Balotelli in an Italian Serie A game.The Netherlands international has taken a vocal position on the mand four walks over his last 1 2/3 innings for an ERA of 11.57. He remains the team's closer for now.

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  • r-Chelsea-Olivier-Giroud-striker-prefer-stay-Londo


    third baseman enjoyed another solid performance at the plate during Friday's series opener agae of reports of chief exec Ivan Gazidis havgnises he's been struggling with Bayern Munich.On-loan from Barcelona, Coutinho has drawn criticism in recent games."All games and teams in the Bundesliga are difficult; we always have to fight until the end," he said after victory over Union struck a deal with Ralf Rangnick to replace him.Sacked director Boban said that Milan had already agreed a deal with Rangnick to take over back in December.After defeat to Gat Arsenal expect Unai Emery to be sacked imminently.The Spaniard looks destined to leave the Emirates after a poor start to the season.Saturday's draw leaves them eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.And now staff at the Emirates believe it is enoa, Pioli said: “I read itinst the Orioles. Youkilis picked up an RBI single in the third inning and finished 3 for 3 with an intentional walk in a 5-2 victory. He has hit safely in the first nine games and is batting .424 with two home runs and seven RBI.

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  • Luiz admits Arsenal must improve defensively if t


    With the needing a fifth starter just once before April 30, it could be awhile before we see in the starting rotation again. Assuming manager Ron Roenicke opts to use a spot starter on April 20 against the Cubs, owners would have to stash Fiers for the next two weekly scoring periods before they could use him again.

    Had Fiers stayed in the rotation, he just might have been someone you sat for a two-start option in the next two weeks anyway, but that doesn't mean he's easily replaced. There will be at least some one-start weeks when you would use him, and he is close to a must-start in two-start weeks. Starting pitchers who can provide a strikeout per inning with good control don't grow on trees (or sit quietly on waivers), so Fiers is worth keeping around.

    More News 27D ago • by RotoWire Staff o Icardi for defeat to Juventus.Wanda, who also acts as Icardi's agent, helped move the striker to PSG.“We watched Inter-Juventus, of course,"their Carabao Cup semifinal defeat to Manchester City.United were subjected to a humiliating 3-1 defeat at home to local rivals City in the first leg of their semi on Tuesday. “You're disappointed when you lose a game against local rivals, but whic Wanda told Tiki Taka.“In the first half, it seemed that Inter needed to do more.“He didn't miss the g 03/11/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 03/06/2020 • by RotoWire Staff Villa or Brighton.The Rovers star is in hot demand this summer, with the 25-year-old a key target for two Premier League clubs.Dack managed 15 goals and seven assists in the Championship last season. But his boss Mowbray is confident he will stay fo 10/01/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/28/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 09/21/2019 • by RotoWire Staff
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  • ldo insists Neymar joining Real Madrid would not b


    Detroit starting pitcher (1-0) permitted three runs and six hits over five innings during the ' 8-3 victory over the Yankees Friday. Fister carried a shutout into the fifth inning before surrendering all three runs, including two on a homer by Kevin Youkilis, extending his uneven performance from spring training.

    The right-hander, whose 5.68 ERA in Grapefruit League play was fueled by some command issues, walked two batters and struck out two. Of most importance for Fister, he finished the game unscathed after suffering an injury during his season debut last year and missed a month of playing time.

    Fister'anchester City boss Pep Guardiola has all but given up on their defence after a stunning 3-2 defeat at Wolves.City blew a 2-0 lead and had goalkeeper Ederson sent off at Molineux on Friday night.Afterwards, Guardiola said: "Eighty minutes 10 against s next start is projected for Thursday against Toronto. He held the Blue Jays to just one run over eight innings with nine strikeouts in his lone outing against the AL East opponent last season.

    More News 02/13/2019 inted as Spain coach.Enrique, whose daughter died from bone cancer in August, is returning as Spain manager five months after stepping down for personal reasons.Enrique resigned in June after 11 months in the job and announced in August thaCrouch has come to the Egyptian's defence, comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won 25 major trophies in his career largely thanks to his relentless self-drive.“Salah has definitely become more single-minded over the last 12 months, to the pt his nine • by RotoWire Staff 11/02/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 08/13/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 06/17/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 06/10/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 06/10/2018 • by RotoWire Staff
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  • 2020 NFL Draft: Five QBs who won’t go in first round but should be on your radar, starting with Jalen Hurts


    Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love, Justin Herbert -- these are the names that appear destined for the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow will be the first overall pick and Tagovailoa, Love and Herbert could all be off the board by the middle of the round. And there's even a chance Jacob Eason finds his way into Round 1 too.

    But what about those second-tier quarterbacks who won't hear their name called on Day 1, and may even have to wait until later on Day 2 -- or even Day 3? Who should we be watching for after the Burrows, Tagovailoas, Loves, Herberts and Easons are long gone?

    Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

    How fast is Jalen Hurts? That's what we wanted to know as we headed to Indianapolis last week for the combine. He didn't disappoint, running a 4.59 40-yard time, which answered any lingering questions about his athleticism.

    Hurts completed 69.7 percent of his throws last season for Oklahoma, with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. And that's before we include the 1,298 rushing yards and 20 TDs. And while he's five inches shorter than Herbert and three inches shorter than Love, he's every bit the athlete. No, Hurts doesn't have their arm strength, but he can make every throw -- just as we saw in '19, and during Senior Bowl week.

    The knock is that Hurts is still raw; when his first r can deal with an injury to Fabinho.The Brazilian had to be withdrawn in the first-half of Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Napoli.He said: "It is a blow, a big blow for the whole team, of course also for him as a player but there are situations you have toead isn't there, his eyes usually drop and he looks to run. That almost always works in Lincoln Riley's offense against overmatched opponents but is problematic in the . But there's no reason to rush him onto the field at the next level; for us, Hurts is but eight years younger and already a better passer. Put another way: There's no reason to rush Hurts onto the field as a starting quarterback. Instead, have a package of plays for him -- much like the do for Hill -- and ease him into the role of full-time QB.

    He's too good a player to waste away on the bench while he learns the intricacies of becoming an NFL passer, and it's why we expect him go to in Round 3. But don't be shocked if he slips into Round 2.

    Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

    We wanted Jake Fromm to return to Georgia for his senior season. He chose to declare for the draft -- as is certainly his right. But in the weeks since his announcement nothing has changed in our evaluation of him. At the combine, he ran a 5.01 40-yard dash -- the slowest time among the 13 quarterbacks there -- and his 30-inch vertical ranked ninth.

    His lack of athleticism wasn't a surprise -- he wasn't particularly athletic during his Georgia career -- by Napoli as new coach after the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti.Ancelotti was dismissed on Tuesday night after guiding Napoli to the Champions League round of 16.Gattuso admits he has been in contact with Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis since Sunbut it's just a reminder that he needs to be in the perfect system to have sustained success at the next level. There is no questioning his football acumen but as the players around him get stronger and faster he'll need more than a high IQ to win from one play to the next.

    As we came to expect from the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Fromm in 2019 was almost always efficient from the pocket, regularly making the right reads and delivering short and intermediate passes accurately and on time. But questions about his arm strength and deep-ball accuracy persisted, even when the opponents were incapable of providing much in the way of competition.

    Yes, he was the beneficiary of one of the country's best offensive lines and running games, and that will be hard to replicate at the next level unless he lands with a winning franchise, but it's not like Fromm hasn't had his moments. He looked like a young against Notre Dame, but at other times during the season he looked like a quarterback destined to be a backup at the next level.

    It's reasonable to think Fromm could go in Round 3 but it wouldn't surprise us if he lasted until Day 3.

    Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

    Anthony Gordon is the latest prolific passer to come out of Washington State, but his game in many ways doesn't resemble that of his predecessor, Gardner Minshew. At the combine, Gordon didn't run the 40 but he more than held his own in the throwing drills and continued to make the case that he has one of the quickest releases in this draft class. We first saw that in person in Mobile, Ala., back in January when Gordon shined at the Senior Bowl.

    And if Senior Bowl week was all about Justin Herbert and Jordan Love proving themselves to critics, Gordon was out to show that he was more than "just another guy from Mike Leach's Air Raid offense." In fact, Gordon made a good case for being the best player on the field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the Senior Bowl game. The knock on him coming into the week was that he didn't always make the best decisions with the ball at Washington State, as evidenced by his 16 interceptions. But as Gordon told CBS Sports, his goal at the Senior Bowl was to prove that he could minimize those mistakes, and that's exactly what he did.

    Gordon was often efficient and accurate during the three Senior Bowl practices, even if he didn't have the arm strength of the other QBs. But he showed during the game that arm strength is not everything. His savvy pocket presence served him well, and his footwork appeared improved from the 2019 season, when he would occasionally throw flat-footed, which led to off-the-mark passes that were sometimes intercepted.

    Like Minshew before him, Gordon could be a pleasant surprise at the next level.

    Steven Montez, Colorado

    Steveose Mourinho plans to start Eric Dier against Bournemouth.Mourinho caused a major shock on Tuesday when he substituted the England international - bringing on Christian Eriksen after just 29 minutes of the Champions League match against Olympiakos. Sn Montez looks the part. And the combine did nothing to change that. Montez ran a 4.68 40-yard time, and had a vertical of 33 inches. That, along with his physical tools makes him -- on paper, anyway -- an attractive prospect.

    "I think I have the biggest arm in the draft, point-blank, period," Montez said at his combine press conference.

    He might be right, but Montez struggled to put it all together at Colorado, which is why his first-round arm might not get him drafted until sometime on Day 3. He showed glimpses of big-play ability during Senior Bowl practices back in January but struggled in the game with poor decisions and a turnover. And that outing mirrored a lot of what we saw from him under center for Colorado in '19.

    Cole McDonald, Hawaii

    Cole McDonald threw 33 touchdowns last season for Hawaii, and threw 36 the season before. The problem was that he also threw 24 interceptions over that same span. At 6-feet-3 and 215 pounds, he's not big by NFL quarterback standards, but there's no denying his arm strength and athleticism. And that athleticism was on full display at the combine where McDonald blazed a 4.58 40-yard time and a 36-inch vertical --- both tops among the quarterbacks in attendance.

    But McDonald can sometimes make poor decisions, and his mechanics will need some fine-tuning at the next level. His deep-ball accuracy also needs improvement, though his athletic ability could make him an intriguing Day 3 prospect for some .

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  • NFL Honors: Cardinals’ Kyler Murray wins Offensive Rookie of the Year, beating out Josh Jacobs, A.J. Brown


    MIAMI -- At NFL Honors on Saturday night, quarterback took home the Offensive Rookie of the Year award for 2019, beating out the likes of running back and receiver A.J. Brown.

    It wasn't a particularly close race. Murray actually garnered over twice as many votes as Jacobs and nearly three times as many votes as Brown. It's worth noting that Eagles running back Miles Sanders did receive one vote, too.

    Murray, the first-overalse says Liverpool striker Sadio Mane should be a Ballon d'Or winner.Mane had a sensational season winning the Golden Boot in the Premier League and lifting the Champions League with Jurgen Klopp's side.Asked if it's the winger's time to receive the Bl pick after a Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma, was drafted by the Oakland Athletics, but somewhat surprisingly decided to forgo a career in baseball to enter the . Despite trading up for the year prior, the Cardinals decided to begin again with Murray, who turned a three-win Cardinals team that was mostly uncompetitive with Rosen and Steve Wilks into a competitive 5-10-1 team with Kliff Kingsbury. 

    In a full 16-game season, Murray completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 picks, and an 87.4 passer rating. He added 5are interested in signing Mateusz KRui Costa as a junior.Bernardo joined Benfica at seven years of age and left at 19 for Monaco."It was 12 years. I played so long for Benfica because it was my team and my dream as a child to be a club player," he said.On Rui Costa, Bernardo continuedlich from Leeds United.The midfielder was impressive last season, excelling under Marcelo Bielsa's high intensity system.However, the 29-year-old only has 12 months left on his Leeds contract.If he refuses to sign a44 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

    As a sign of his promise, Murray submitted two of his best performances of the season against the same defense playing in LIV on Sunday. In two narrow losses to the NFC champions, Murray completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 391 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 114.0 passer rating, also adding 101 yards and a score on the ground. It's worth noting that Murray did all of this behind an offensive line that , per Football Outsiders.

    Murray's win marked the first time a quarterback has won OROY since quarterback narrowly won over his teammate, , in 2016. It snapped a two-year streak of a running back winning.

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  • Saints’ Taysom Hill on 2020 free agency: ‘I definitely view myself as a franchise quarterback’


    In an offseason where , is in a fascinating position. The quarterback has really been a gadget player in the New Orleans offense over the course of his tenure with the club, but it appears that his role could change as early as 2020. Hill is slated to become a restricted free agent this offseason and he's seemingly looking to become QB1 in either New Orleans or with whichever will have him as one. 

    "I definitely view myself as a franchise quarterback," Hill told the during week when asked if he views himself the heir apparent to . "As you go into free agency, this is the time when you sort of find out how people view you. We haven't gotten into free agency long enough to really know how these guys view me and we'll just handle it as it comes." 

    It's certainly possible that Hill continues his career in New Orleans. After all, Drew Brees is still mulling retirement and if he walks away it would appear that the Saints would be more than willing to make him the starter going forward. Even if Brees hangs on for another year, there have been previous reports that suggest the Saints would .The Brazil fullback is a free agent after his contract with PSG expired last month.Manchester City are currently frontrunners for his signature, with Alves mulling over a reunion with his former manager at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola.Sky Sports says Gu to Hill. 

    "There's no denying that I loved my time in New Orleans," Hill said. 

    He added: "Do I want to leave? The fact of the matter is no I don't. But as you look at free agency, you have to findiano Diaz has declared he wants to stay with Real Madrid.The striker struck twice in yesterday's 3-2 defeat of Villarreal."I am very happy for having won at home and on top of that, scoring," said the striker."We enjoyed it and the fans too, which is the right opportunity for you. You have to find the situation to take care of your family. I want to play quarterback in this league. If New Orleans don't view me that, well then I have to leave."

    Hill, who will be 30-years-old by the start of the regular season, came into the league as an undrafted free agent out of BYU. He eventually found his way to New Orleans where he blossomed into a Swiss Army Knife weapon for Sean Payton. On top of being used as a quarterback, Hill has lined up in the backfield and as a receiver. This past regular season, he passes for 55 yards, rushed for 156 and caught 19 passes for 234 yards and seven total touchdowns. 

    From here, it'll be interesting to see New Orleans' play on the situation. They could simply match any offer sheet that comes Hill's way this offseason or they could place a high enough tender on him that essentially makes it more costly for a franchise to bring him aboard. With Drew Brees' future in a state of flux, how the for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.The pair worked together at Borussia Dortmund."I joined Dortmund as a young player and initially it wasn't easy," Lewandowski told Prawda Futbolu."Obviously Jurgen wasn't my dad, but in different ways he sort of adopty handle Hill will be telling. 

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  • 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Tom Brady sticks with Patriots and they get him a speedy receiver, Jaguars add defense


    Senior Bowl week is here, which marks the start of draft seahe can make it at parent club Manchester City.The El Tri ace is currently on-loan with LA Galaxy and has confirmed he's just penned new terms with City to 2022. The 22 year-old was snapped up by City two years ago from Santos Laguna. Antuna signing ason, and rumors are running rampant about basically every prospect. Javon Kinlaw was the best player on the field in Mobile on Tuesday, and he lands inside the top 10 in this mock.

    Also, there's no way the Patriots let Tom Brady si insists transfer speculation around the Spurs squad isn't the cause of their dismal form.Eriaer.United currently sit two points above the relegation zone after a poor start to their season but the board believe Solskjaer is the right man to guide them out of the club's current situation.The Times says they have a three-point plan they want ksen, who is not interested in signing a new deal at Spurs, says that is not an issue."It doesn't matter at all. Everyone is professional and in all clubs thgn with another team, right? In this mock, he stays in Foxborough, and the front office gets him an ultra-gifted wideout who can get open.

    The draft order is now set through No. 30 overall. Position rankings are based on .

    Now, to the picks.

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  • 2018 NFL Training Camp: Vikings begin work with heavy hearts after Sparano’s sudden passing


    EAGAN, Minn. -- They buried a coach, a friend and a good man Friday, but then it was back to work for the Saturday, as tough as that may have been for some players and coaches.

    One day after the funeral for offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who passed away suddenly from a heart attack last Sunday, the Vikings took the field for training camp practice No. 1 with their former coach on their minds.

    In their new state-of-the-art facility, there were reminders of Sparano throughout. 

    The scoreboard in their 6,500-seat stadium had a picture of Sparano as memorial tribute and the players and coaches won't forget him.

    But the reality is life has to go on for the Vikings. Coach Mike Zimmer, who has dealt with his fair share of heartache after losing his wife suddereth Bale needs to win back the supporters' "hearts".Bale was jeered by home fans during victory over Real Sociedad - his first appearance since celebrating Wales' Euros qualification with a flag mocking his commitment to Madrid.After the 3-1 win, Conly when he was a defensive coordinator in Cincinnati, talked of how his team had to move forward as tough as that may be in a lot of ways, especially for him since he was friends with Sparano for a long time from their days coaching in Dallas.

    "It's hard, and for a few days it's going to linger on," Zimmer said. "This is the National Football League. We're going to have to work, get back to work. And these guys understand that. We've had a lot of adversity here over my four years. So we're not immune to that. We've typically done a good job of overcoming those things."

    Things like Zimmer missing time because of eye surgery, losing quarterback two years ago to a devastating knee injury in training camp and then losing quarterback in Week One last season.

    Through it all, the Vikings have continued to be a playoff team and went to the NFC Championship Game last year. That takes focus.

    Zimmer announced tight ends coach Clancy Barone would move to the offensive line as co-line coach with former assistant offensive line coach Andrew Janocko. Zimmer wanted to keep continuity and felt keeping the job in-house was the right thing to do, but he also noted how the line played as Sparano lived.

    "Our offensive line kind of took his personality over," Zimmer said. "Toughness and physicality. But more important, he was a great person and a great man and a great friend of mine. " 

    All eyes on Cousins

    The focus this year for the Vikings will certainly be on quarterback . After all, the Vikings were a team a game away from the , and signed Cousins as a free agent this spring to a three-year, $84-million deal that was fully guaranteed.

    ogna.His deal in LA expires in December, with established Serie A sides such as Napoli and former club Inter Milan touted as possible destinations. But Corriere dello Sport says Bologna are interested in making a surprise move for the superstar strik

    That puts him firmly in the crosshairs.

    "It's a team game and I've learned that I've played some of my best games and we've lost and I've played some of my worst games and we've won," Cousins said. "So I just never view it as it's only me out there. If I do my part and contribute, that's all I can ask for. And I have to trust the guys around me to do their part."

    He says he's the same guy he was in Washington with the , even if he is a little higher paid than he was there.

    "I don't see a whole lot of reason to change," Cousins said. "It's worked for me."

    He had success with the Redskins, but he didn't win a playoff game there, not that it was all on him. Even so, if the Vikings are at least in the title game this time around, the finger pointing will almost certainly be aimed at Cousins.

    Cook looks healthy

    Running back took a handoff during Saturday's practice and exploded through the line for a big play.  He looked quick, fast, decisive and, quite honestly, like he did before tearing his ACL 10 months ago, ruining his rookie season in the fourth game.

    It was an amazing thing to see him run the way he did in the team's first practice, especially since he wasn't wearing a knee brace.

    Cook actually says he can be a better version of himself. He sure looked like it was possible in his first work since the injury.

    "I know the work I put in, and it's still a process, but I have a long ways to go to Week One," Cook said.

    Cook ran for 354 yards, a 4.8 yards-per-rush average, and he caught 11 passes for 90 yards. He was on his way to being in the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation before tearing up his knee against the on October 1.

    "It was a tough year, but I learned a lot from it and gained a lot from it," he said. "I learned how to fight through adversity. I just felt like I got better from that experience."

    The Vikings have no limitations on Cook right now, which is why he jumped right into the team's work Saturday.

    D-line depth an issue

    The Vikings have one of the best defensive lines in the league, adding from Seattle to play next to inside at tackle. The ends are and , both with outstanding edge-rush skills.

    The problem is depth. Griffen played 86-percent of the snaps last year, which is way too many for a 30-year-old player.

    The Vikings plan to lighten that load, especially since he missed most of the offseason with a knee issue. He was back on the field for the open of camp and looked a little leaner than in years past.

    Behind the four, veteran Tommy Robison is a nice fifth lineman, but they need some young players to really step up this season to help fill the rotation. Fourth-round pick from can play a variety of spots and they epared to punish Manchester City if they're found guilty of breaking financial football laws.Reports last week suggested City may face a Champions League ban if found guilty with UEFA referring the case to Club Financial Control Body adjudicatory chaalso drafted end in the sixth round, but he is raw and might need a year of seasoning. 

    Competition at O-line

    Rookie second-round tackle got some work with the first team Saturday at right tackle and could end up starting there. O'Neill, a former basketball player, who made the transition from tight end to tackle at Pitt, will battle for the job. Hill started nine games last season, including both playoff games, but O'Neill will make it a nice battle this summer. 

    The line, which was a big issue two years ago, is much better now. is set at left tackle, (coming off a season cut short by a broken ankle) is at left guard, at center and at right guard. 

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  • Here’s a list of underrated rookies to watch as 2018 NFL training camps open


    Training camp is officially underway in the NFL, with the and already on the field prepping for the 2018 season. This year's draft was high on drama thanks to the interest around the quarterbacks, but there are plenty of other players worth keeping an eye on as the regular season approaches.

    Let's take a look at the assortment players I'm watching during training camp and preseason to see if they have what it takes to make an early impact on the 2018 season. 

    Players listed here are, at the very least, somewhat under-the-radar. For example, listing here was not the goal. He's in store for the lion's share of backfield touches for the as a rookie. We all know that. 

    Where to start with Gallup?  -- and WR3 behind and -- in the 2018 draft class. He somehow lasted until the third round and landed in an amazing situation in Dallas. The lost 272 targets from their 2017 squad, the highest figure in the NFC, and he's only looking at and ahead of him on the depth chart. 

    All that led to him being my in May. A receiver has won the award just three times in the last 15 years ( in 2003, in 2009, and Jr. in 2014), so recent history isn't exactly on my side. 

    But Gallup's an ultra-polished receiver who does everything well albeit unspectacularly -- route running, ball-tracking, yards-after-the-catch. If anything, it'd benefit Gallup, the Cowboys offense and my OROY pick, if the former Colorado State standout improved in a specific area to make it a clear-cut strength and trump card. 

    I wasn't as high on Kirk as the masses or the were. He was my 129th overall prospect (fourth-round value), but Arizona's front office nabbed him in the second round at No. 47 overall. He just didn't seem as twitchy or play with as much burst as the hype, which led to disappointing work after the catch. Kirk's combine performance lent more credence to those thoughts and generated a rather blah , with agility drills (three-cone, short shuttle, and long shuttle) in the 23rd, 6th and 5th percentiles respectively among all combine receivers starting in 1999.

    And, he predominately worked in the slot at Texas A&M, which is precisely where has thrived late in his career with the Cardinals. So it's an awkward schematic fit. Just because I didn't love Kirk as a prospect doesn't mean I'll ignore him as a rookie. Here's the veteran depth chart in front of him to start camp; , J.J. Nelson, and . Clearly, Kirk has a fine opportunity to emerge as the No. 2 receiver option for either or , and after spending a second-round pick on him, the Cardinals will give him every chance to move into that role right away.

    Kirk must prove he can not only create separation on the perimeter but evade tacklers with the ball in his hands with some regularity to find the important niche as Fitzgerald's apprentice early in his NFL career.

    In 2017, reliable vets and ate 232 of the team's 566 targets (40.9 percent) ... and gone are 208 more targets from a season ago due to the departures of , C.J. Anderson, A.J. Derby, , , and . So yeaaaah, despite being firmly behind Thomas and Sanders on the depth chart, Sutton should have the inside track on being the team's third wideout.

    And while offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave inherits a two-headed monster at receiver like the one he had during the ' breakout 2016 season (with and ), third-option was still targeted 77 times that year.

    I adored Sutton as a prospect -- he was No. 5 overall on my Big Board and my top receiver -- and viewed him as much more than a big body who could rebound in the end zone. He was deceptively slippery and fluid with the ball in his hands. According to Sports Info Solutions, for in 2017, a figure actually higher than Kirk's (5.22). Running hard-to-distinguish routes will be Sutton's biggest hurdle to clear as a rookie, but how quickly he begins producing will have a big impact on Denver's offense in 2018.

    Corbett's probably taking over for at left tackle this season, so the size of the shoes he's filling makes him an offensive linemen worth monitoring closely this summer.

    He'll battle for that starting blindside protector gig, and whoever wins that job will have a unique test on their hands with the nimble or improvisational under center this season. While both quarterbacks can help their blockers by eluding pass-rushers, their scrambling skills can prolong plays, which can put offensive linemen in precarious situati a new level with the level of their transfer spending.Atleti are some way from what they were when he first took over."No, not anymore," Simeone told La Nacion when asked if Los Rojiblancos were still the people's team."Now we have an extraordinary ons. 

    Corbett's violent hand usage and above-average mobility to the second level were strengths of his game at Nevada. I want to see how quickly and comfortable he is in his kick slide against quick and long NFL edge-benders. Also, is he strong enough yet to drop a sturdy anchor when facing outside rushers who convert speed to powee Charnley is adamant there's now a greater focus on bringing through academy talent.Charnley feels that the emergence of Matty Longstaff this season and long-term deals for the likes of Kell Watts, Joe White and Elliot Anderson show that future coulr? To start though, I wouldn't be shocked if he beats Coleman in camp. Actually I'll be surprised if he's not Cleveland's starting left tackle Week One. 

    In the early portions of the 2018 draft, many wondered, including myself, why the repeatedly passed on selecting a receiver. After picking two cornerbacks and a linebacker, Moore was taken in Round 4, then two similar prospects in Valdez-Scantling and St. Brown were added in Rounds 5 and Rounds 6. It may have simply been the way the draft fell, but the trio of pass-catchers grabbed by Green Bay indicates new GM Brian Gutekunst had a type he wanted at that position. 

    Moore, Valdez-Scantling, and St. Brown are tall, somewhat lanky and raw linear players with flashes of freaky, Martavis Bryant/Josh Gordon type downfield explosiveness. has made many average receivers productive, and there's just not much experience behind and in the Packers' wide receiver room. I'll be watching who from this comparable rookie trio takes advantage of the departure of and becomes a star under Rodgers' guidance. All three must get more sudden in their route running. More so than anything, they need to showcase their size-and-speed combo with the ball in their hands to earn 40-60 targets as a rookie. Keep your eye on Moore running slants. He dominated on that route at Missouri. 

    Rankin was borrrrr-ing to watch at Mississippi State, a compliment for an offensive linemen. From the technical side of the game, I have no concerns about Rankin. He has light feet, plays with a timely, powerful punch, and is rarely caught off balance against any type of rusher.

    He doesn't play with loads of power though, and the majority of young offensive linemen have -- recently -- struggled as pros because they're just not what I call "NFL strong" until their second or third seasons in the league. Rankin will find himself with a distinct possibility to block the left side for in Houston, and the blocker's main competition is 2017 fourth-rounder who didn't do anything to earn that spot long-term as a rookie. 

    Watson had a brutal 8.5% sack rate in his seven games last year, which would've been the 5th-highest percentage among qualifiers had he been one himself. Coming off a torn knee ligament, it's an absolute must for the to provide their potential franchise quarterback with better protection. It's not just about whether or not Rankin can beat out Davenport in camp and the preseason but how effective he is once the games start to count. 

    Let's go ahead an assume is back to his normal awesome self this year. I mean, he's been sidelined for well over a calendar year now. Looking back at the 2016 campaign, which, believe it or not, was an underrated season-long performance for Luck, T.Y. Hilton and combined for a 230 targets out of 584. The third through seventh finishers in targets from that year are no longer on the team. After Hilton, Fountain and Cain really only have to look up at free-agent acquisition on the depth chart.

    Hello, opportunity. Cain was my No. 115 overall prospect in the 2018 draft. Fountain was No. 157. Both are smooth downfield gliders who really cover some ground despite seemingly exerting modest effort. Cain did run 4.43 at the combine, and Fountain timed in at 4.51 and jumped 42.5 inches at his Pro Day. The explosiveness is clearly there with both of these pass-catchers, and with Hilton drawing No. 1 corners each Sunday, one if not both of the rookies will likely face lower-level cover guys on a regular basis. 

    In 2015, 22-year-old racked up 64 receptions, 733 yards, and six touchdowns with Andrew Luck and under center. Fountain and Cain combining for a better stat line as rookies is doable. Athleticism won't be a factor for either wideout. Fountain will have to learn the nuances of betting press coverage in the NFL. Cain's hands must be more reliable than they were in his final campaign at .

    Many ridiculed the Davenport selection because of the major price -- 2019's first-rounder -- and a belief he's not "ready" to contribute as a rookie. I loved the aggressiveness by the , especially with the ' window closing and because I see no reason why Davenport can't wreak havoc opposite Cam Jordan in his debut professional season. 

    Sure, he'll go from facing Conference USA tackles to NFL tackles, but Davenport's a speed-to-power monster with long arms, a respectable array of pass-rushing moves, and a high motor. 

    New Orleans were getting a lot out of before his injury a season ago, and Davenport has more natural ability. I'll be watching Davenport's progress early on. If he plays with the amount of tenacity he showed on the last day of practice at the Senior Bowl -- when he was legitimately unblockable -- the Saints will be flat out ridiculous on the defensive side of the ball with the playmakers they have in the secondary reaping the rewards of one of the NFC's most underrated pass-rushing groups. 

    When healthy during his rookie season in the NFL, looked exactly like he did at . Total game-wrecker. He's suspended for the first two games of 2018, and San Francisco opens with the and . Unheralded vet could be in line to jump into Foster's spot for those outings, but Warner has the refined game and agility to be a similar sideline-to-sideline thumper for the . 

    At BYU, Warner was routinely capable of dispatching blocks to get to the football, and, as evidenced by his impressive 6.90 three-cone time and 38.5-inch vertical, more than enough athleticism to mirror ball-carriers and stay with tight ends in coverage. 

    In front of him on San Fran's defensive line are three former first-round picks, so Warner should be kept relatively clean against the run. As is the case with most young linebackers, he'll face the biggest challenge in coverage. And more point-of-attack strength than what he showed in college will be necessary. The 49ers need to weather the storm early, and Warner is a sleeper worth paying attention to in camp to see if he can resemble Foster in September. 

    Last year, logged 938 defensive snaps. was on the field for 827 plays. Orakpo will be 32 when the regular season starts. Morgan's 29. I'm assuming Tennessee picked Landry in the second round to be a complement to those two proven edge-rushers in 2018 then move into a prominent position as he grows at the professional level. 

    Landry was a polarizing prospect, mainly because in 2016, he looked like a top 15 pick then in an injury-riddled 2017, he played like a mid-rounder. The former Boston College star had the most scintillating pairing of burst and bend around the corner. His 6.88 three-cone drill was in the , and his 36-inch vertical placed him in the 82nd percentile. 

    The main issue I had with Landry's game was its lack of variety. If he didn't win with a blazing speed rush, the play was over for him. Don't get me wrong, that speed rush is Vic Beasley-like, but if Landry is to emerge as a star in the NFL -- and many believe that's in the cards for him -- he'll need to develop effective pass-rushing moves and counters off his outside rush. If he demonstrates more refinement at the pass-rushing apex as a rookie, the defense will take a sizable step forward with what would be three quality edge-rushers. 

    Guice's fall to the No. 59 overall selection in the draft was completely befuddling, and any specific examples or instances were never cited for the "maturity" or "off-field" concerns that apparently precipitated the plummet. I'm firmly in the camp of those who viewed Guice as a superior prospect to former teammate and top-five selection . Guice runs just about as powerfully as Fournette and is undeniably more elusive at the second and third levels of the defense. 

    He and 2017 fourth-round pick formuRudiger says that he has what it takes to become one of the leaders within the team.The Blues are crying out for a leader in central defence, as it is one of their major issues so far this season under Frank Lampard.Rudiger made his return from injurlate a thunderous duo that won't be fun tackling. 

    I want to see if Guice grabs the "feature back" spot from Perine as a rookie or if the two seem destined for a legitimate 50-50 split in their ball-carrying committee. I have no worries about Guice running inside, and I know he'll consistently finish his runs with brute force. However, he needs to play to his 4.49 combine speed to maximize the occasions when Washington's offensive line opens huge holes for him. 

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  • Andrew Luck not throwing during OTAs but Colts coach Frank Reich ‘not worried at all’


    It has now been 508 days since quarterback last played in an game. 

    Luck had shoulder surgery last offseason and, despite the Colts organization repeatedly insisting that it was confident he was on track to return, he did not suit up at all during the 2017 campaign. Now we're into 2018 organized team activities, and Luck is still not throwing the football.

    Despite that fact, new Colts coach Frank Reich, much like his predecessor Chuck Pagano, is not worried about Luck's health. "No," Reich said, . "I'm not worried at all."

    Luck has been taking snaps from center and working on his drop-backs during OTAs, but has yet to throw. Until he does, there's going to be some concern throughout much of the NFL world that the QB is still not back to full health. Still, Reich is comfortable playing it just as the doctors tell him to. 

    "I'm completely comfortable with him throwing when he's ready, when the doctors say he's ready," Reich said. "He's totally engaged in every aspect of what Sun says United are preparing a £100million war chest to help their bid for Champions League football, and the Borussia Dortmund winger is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's top priority.After Romelu Lukaku was sold for £75m, and with Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pwe're doing mentally. The physical part for a guy like him, you've got to work at it, but I'm not worried about that. That's plenty of time."

    Desperately wish you had a 30-minutes-or-so, daily NFL podcast in your podcast app every morning by 6 a.m.? Put some Pick Six Podcast in your life and join Will Brinson as he breaks down the latest news and notes from around the league, as well as the . It's a daily dose of football to get you right for that commute or gym trip.   |  |  | 

    Indianapolis at least made an effort this offsor Bellerin were locked in a fierce rivalry at Arsenal.The two players made a name for themselves as extremely fast players, and while both were at the Emirates they continuously battled to see who was the quickest.Mertesacker told The Athletic: "Heceason to ensure Luck is moattle convincing Dries Mertens to leave Napoli this week.The Sun says the experienced Belgian striker has been targeted by boss Frank Lampard to ease his goalscoring problems and help push for a top four finish.But Mertens, 32, maintains he has a perre protected on the field, if and when he does return. The Colts used first- and second-round picks on guards and Braden Smith. The previous Colts regime did not invest nearly as much in the offensive line, and it resulted in Luck being hit more often than any other QB in the league. That led to various ailments, including the shoulder injury from which he is still attempting to return. 

    The Colts believe that coming back too early from previous injuries led to the situation Luck is in now, so they want to take things slow while he attempts to return from this one. "Can't cut things short," Reich said. "There's no reason to cut things short. It's a day-by-day process and evaluation and [we're] just staying trusting in that."

    That's a wise strategy because Luck's long-term health is more important than any individual day of practice or any single game, but each day that passes is yet another that Luck's not on the field, and one fewer available day to prepare for the next season. 

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  • Jerry Richardson: ‘No doubts’ about ‘personal devotion to the Carolinas’


    (US Presswire)

    Over the past two weeks, a number of different items surfaced connecting the to football in Los Angeles. While the rumors have gained some steam, they're more likely just leverage for team owner Jerry Richardson to get some public funding for Bank of America Stadium renovations.

    Amid all the speculation, Richardson issued a statement Sunday reiterating there should be "no doubts" about his "personal devotion to the Carolinas."

    "It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of our Pank Lampard's young Chelsea team and his former Borussia Dortmund squad.Klopp won the German title twice with Dortmund in 2011 and 2012 with a youthful side that upset powerhouse Bayern Munich. "It's a really exciting team. It reminds me a little bit nthers. Nothing has changed," Richardson said. "As someone who was born in North Carolina and lived much of my life in South Carolina, I hope that there would be no doubts about my personal devotion to the Carolinas."

    The Panthers-to-Los-Angeles rumors began last week when from Charlotte Chamber of Commerce chief Bob Morgan, who called the notion "sobering" and said "that reality scares the hell out of me."

    The article specifically cited a lack of sutestimonial at Manchester City.Vlap was roped into the Premier League Allstars line-up."Kompany wanted to show us how they work at this club. After the training, he asked if there were a few volunteers to play with the Premier League legends. They haccession plan for Richardson as owner, and Erik Spanberg of the CBJ reported that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "directly or indirectly made overtures" to the Panthers during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

     Sunday that "California officials have been courting" Richardson and the Panthers but have had "nlic of Ireland.The veteran attacker has enjoyed a great season in the Premier League.The 33-year-old is in great form, and Ireland boss Mick McCarthy says he is impressed with what he has seen.Long could be in the next squad McCarthy aims.He told repo luck so far."

    The Panthers would be a pretty ideal candidate for the move. They've got a highly marketable franchise quarterback in . But it would require them wanting to move. And that's not something Richardson wants.

    This politicking and rumors of the move will persist for a while, mainly because Richardson would almost certainly prefer the city of Charlotte to be a bit nervous about losing the Panthers by failing to improve the stadium.

    But there's almost a zero percent chance they'll depart for California while Richardson is in control of the team.

    For more , rumors and analysis, follow , subscribe to our watch daily at 3 p.m. ET and . You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: .

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