Don’t worry about Cowboys as Ezekiel Elliott suspension uncertainty continues

As the seemingly never-ending Ezekiel Elliott suspension story unfolds, many presume the weekly drama of will-he-or-won’t-he-play is a huge distraction for Cowboys coaches, players and team executives. Many also think Dallas’ opponent each week is frazzled by uncertainty as it decides whether to prepare for Elliott.

“Why is this relevant? Because, based on the quality of the product McAdoo and Reese oversaw on the field Sunday, you couldn’t have blamed Giants ownership if they’d barred their head coach and GM from entering the bus, instead leaving them to cab it to the airport and fly middle-seat coach cabin back to Jersey. But you can bet the thought ran through the disillusioned minds of John Mara and Steve Tisch.”

With its recent performances, the Redskins’ defense has fallen to 31st in points per game. The Giants’ defense is tied for 21st.

Both teams struggle on third down on both sides of the ball. Washington is 22nd in third-down efficiency on offense and 23rd on defense. The Giants are 29th on offense and 27th on defense.

The Titans and Steelers both enter “Thursday Night Football” in Week 11 on four-game winning streaks, with Pittsburgh (7-2) tied for the best record in the AFC and Tennessee (6-3) tied for the lead in the AFC South. Such a matchup of AFC playoff contenders makes for one of the more appealing Thursday night games of the 2017 season.nike_steelers_714

This team is too talented and well-coached to not bounce back from a tough loss a few weeks back against Syracuse.

The Tigers have a huge game coming up this weekend against an NC State team that lost a physical game against Notre Dame over the weekend. Collapses by FSU and Louisville don’t help Clemson’s schedule argument, but Boston College is better than people thought, and at Virginia Tech, at NC State, South Carolina and the ACC title game would all be strong wins. If this team goes 12-1, I think it should be in.

If the Dodgers win: Yasiel Puig will become a prophet. After the crushing loss in Game 5, the flashy right fielder guaranteed that the Dodgers will push an already epic World Series to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Last Friday, as the Golden Knights won their season-opener in Dallas, 2–1, a viewing party raised money to support Nick Robone, an assistant coach for UNLV’s club ice hockey team who was shot but survived. “I knew [Las Vegas] was a small town and everyone is there for everyone,” Engelland says, “but it’s definitely showing a whole new side, how much everyone wants to help.”

It all crested Tuesday night when the Golden Knights, unbeaten on the road in their first two games against Dallas and Arizona, made their home debut at T-Mobile Arena. Prior to the start, each player was escorted onto the ice by a local first responder. Survivors of the shooting performed the ceremonial puck drop. A 58-second moment of silence was held, during which the names of the 58 slain were projected onto the ice in gold lettering. The national anthem was led by members of the Route 91 festival. Then Engelland took the microphone.
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Dolphins trade RB Jay Ajayi to Eagles for fourth-round pick

The Miami Dolphins have traded running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round draft pick, it was announced Tuesday.

The NFL’s trade deadline was 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

“I think the NCAA has a great opportunity,” Robinson said. “We should be doing a better job of presenting these kids with the opportunity to come to college.

“The NCAA should be that organization that says, ‘We’re your lifelong friend,'” Robinson said. “‘You come here and we will change your view of the world.’ Both parties are better if they come to college, even if it’s just for a year or two.”

And yet, given all of those details, Lindor went into his home run trot, and he was right to: The ball would have been gone if it hadn’t been for Judge. This is how our brain is learning to process batted balls in 2017: Little shortstop hits a great pitch not that far; it’s probably a home run! Thank goodness for fly outs to subvert those expectations.

Judging from the 217 camera shots (so it seemed) in Game 4 of the World Series showing Sen. Ted Cruz in the second row behind home plate, he likes nachos, and Coors Light in the silver bottle.

Good call by Joe Buck on the George Springer homer that broke up the Alex Wood no-hitter and the Game 4 shutout with two out in the bottom of the sixth: “Alex Wood gives up one hit. It was loud, and it went far.”

In that circumstance—season on the line, any shot at the national title on the line—J.T. Barrett’s fourth quarter has to be one of the most clutch quarters any college quarterback has ever played: 13 of 13, 170 yards, three touchdowns, coming back from 11 down with five minutes left. Completing 85 percent for the game in that environment … that’s a wow.canadiens_1419_739e514744fb7c70-180x180

Giants lose 4 WRs to injuries vs. Chargers

The Giants have lost four wide receivers to injuries Sunday. First, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall both went down on one drive.

Shepard was helped to the sideline with an ankle injury, and then a few plays later, Marshall injured his ankle and was carted off the field. Trainers were seen working on Shepard on the sideline during the second quarter, but the Giants ruled both players out for the rest of the game. Marshall suffered a sprain ankle, according to Adam Schefter.

Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: One target?! Granted, the Cardinals weren’t much in need of a passing-down back on Sunday, playing a limited number of third downs and leading for most of the game, but Ellington was still expected to play a bigger role than this. A greater number of fantasy owners actually started Ellington (27.8 percent) than Peterson (22.8), but Ellington put up a doughnut and had zero carries to Peterson’s 26.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders: After the Raiders gave the 31-year-old veteran 18 rushing attempts in Week 1, Lynch hasn’t received more than 13 in five games since. He was facing a Chargers defense that had afforded more than 30 PPR fantasy points combined to opposing running backs in each of the past three weeks, but Lynch scored just 6.3 despite the favorable matchup. Expect his ownership percentage to drop from its current 98.1.

But I honestly feel that Reiff’s contributions at left tackle. . .not the least of which is giving the Vikings’ quarterbacks the confidence that they might not get their internal organs rearranged on every single snap. . .has been the biggest part of that.falcons_028

Goodell said he has had no discussions about the topic with President Donald Trump

“I understand what our fans feel about this issue and we feel the same way about the importance of our flag, about the importance of patriotism, and I believe our players feel that way,” Goodell said. “They will state to you and they have stated to everyone publicly, they are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag, but they also understand how it’s being interpreted. That’s why we’re trying to deal with those underlying issues.”

Let’s start in Oakland with Ryan Jensen of the Ravens. This kid has been playing well lately and continued Sunday. First, the long red hair flowing out of the back of his helmet is awesome. Even better is this block from Sunday.

“Tony’s contributions have played a significant role in helping put our franchise on the path to success and for that, we are all very grateful,” Kendrick said. “He has always represented the team with class and has left a mark on the franchise that will benefit us for years to come.”

Said Hall: “Having his Hall of Fame credentials, vast experience and knowledge of the game as resources to rely upon and learn from has been tremendous. The transition to the new leadership team has been smooth and flawless with his willingness and positivity. I will forever value his hard work and our friendship.”

Added Hazen: “Tony has been of great value to me, personally, and our staff during the past season, and Im very appreciative for all that he has done here and the manner in which he handled the transition. I always had respect for him and his accomplishments prior to working with him every day, and that has only grown in the past year. I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
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Marshawn Lynch’s first game as a Raider in Oakland

Lynch officially made his post-retirement debut last week against the Tennessee Titans. Everything about it reminded us why we missed him so much during his year off from the NFL. But this week marks Lynch’s first game in Oakland, in front of a home crowd.

Lynch entertained us last week with his play and with classic Marshawn antics, like flipping the Titans’ Karl Klug a double bird and interrupting Jack Del Rio’s post-game presser to make sure he wasn’t going to get fined for ducking out without talking to the media.

Now Lynch will finally get to play in front of a home crowd in Oakland, his hometown that he loves so dearly. And we can’t wait.

Shortly after the end of the 2017 NFL Draft, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar posted his first mock draft for 2018. While an NFL and college football season will warp most of Kadar’s predictions, he was optimistic about the class of passers on the horizon.

USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen were projected as the top three picks, respectively. Not far behind was Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph at No. 8 and Jackson at No. 11.

Sure, some of you may have heard the fake news that Gronk played football at Arizona State. Some of you may even think you witnessed it. This didn’t happen. It must’ve been some weird group hallucination. Maybe you all need to lay off the ayahuasca, but hey, I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

If Gronk’s origin story were a movie, what followed upon his arrival in Foxborough was a montage along the lines of Will Farrell in Elf learning how to ride the subway, or the kids in Stranger Things taking Eleven to school.
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Aaron Rodgers proves once again that no one is better at free plays

Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. But one of his greatest skills is identifying free play opportunities and taking advantage of them.

In the third quarter of the Packers’ season opener against the Seahawks, Seattle was in the middle of a defensive substitution when Rodgers saw his chance, and he took it. While linebacker Terence Garvin is still trotting off the field, Rodgers calls for the snap and launches a 32-yard pass to Jordy Nelson in the end zone.

Coach Mike Tomlin said he tried to be “thoughtful” about Bell’s workload, considering his absence.

When asked about any apparent Bell rust, coach Mike Tomlin cited the team’s 13 penalties for 144 yards.

“That put us behind the chains and minimized the running game,” Tomlin said. “Write that.”

Bell is known to get stronger as games progress, and he showed a glimpse of that with a 15-yard gain on the Steelers’ final drive that helped seal the game. That’s why Bell wouldn’t mind more touches in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I wanted to help the team win, so I want to feel involved at all times,” Bell said.

“I think ownership and sometimes fans specifically think whoever is the next guy has never missed a draft pick and maybe never will,” said Mark Dominik, who was Tampa Bay’s general manager from 2009-13. “When you bring a person (to interview), there’s going to automatically be this, ‘Well, he missed on a second-rounder,’ or, ‘This draft class didn’t pan out.’
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Newton spent more time on Tuesday talking about his brother’s performance than himself.

Ryan is only signed through 2018, and there have been discussions about an extension. Ryan is averaging $20.75 million per year on his current deal. When he signed it, he didn’t become the league’s highest-paid player. But when the Falcons do extend last year’s league MVP, he probably will.

Ryan has been consistently good over his career, but he took his game to a new level last season as he led the NFL’s top-scoring offense to a Super Bowl. The Falcons are currently backed up against the cap, with Spotrac projecting them $6 million over before factoring in any increase for next season. Extending Ryan could free up some space short-term and would be a win for Ryan and the team.

The elder Newton, 28, has the physical size and the “it” factor teams look for. But this is a critical time for him, as he comes off statistically the worst season of his career and surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.

Coach Ron Rivera said on Sunday that his quarterback was “ready” for the opener. He said on Tuesday that Newton wouldn’t be limited on any kinds of throws.

“Now hearing him talk on the phone and hearing his responses to certain things … I’m telling him, like, you’re giving people hope,” Newton said. “Like a team that probably has been known for their band, you know, people are going to the football games now to watch football … not just to listen to the band play.”
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