Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
Written by admin on September 18, 2016
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Robert Griffin III is heading to Cleveland.
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In a move that pairs the former offensive rookie of the year with a dynamic, offensive-minded head coach in Hue Jackson, the Browns have acquired one of the most perplexing talents of the last decade in an effort to end years of tumult at the position. Griffin, who did not play a single snap in 2015 after being ousted by Kirk Cousins in Washington, will gamble on his future in a place known for their laundry list of swings and misses at the position.
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The Browns confirmed the news in an official release on Thursday afternoon. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports Griffin’s deal is for two year and is worth a total of $15 million with $6.75 million guaranteed. Rapoport adds that RGII is set to make $7.5 million in 2016 with $3.5 million coming in the form of a signing bonus.
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“We are excited about Robert joining the Cleveland Browns,” Jackson said. “He brings starting experience to our team and organization. He’s a young, athletic, talented passer and he’s really just starting out in this league. Just like every player on our team, Robert will have to earn every cheap seahawks jerseys opportunity he gets. He will compete with the rest of the quarterbacks on our roster and he helps improve our QB room, which was one of my goals upon taking the job. It’s a special room and we want to put special people and players in that room.”
Added Griffin: “I’m excited about the opportunity to join the Dawg Pound and help build something here in Cleveland,” Griffin said. “Coach Hue and Pep, I had a great meeting with them. I really believe in what they preach and how they can help not only me as a player but this team win games and that’s what we’re all about.
“I’m just excited to come in and compete. Nothing’s ever been given to me in my life, so I just want to go out and compete with the guys and grow with this team. I feel like that’s all I’m really focused on.”
Griffin, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, led Washington to the playoffs in his first NFL season. Over 15 starts that year, he won nine games, threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for more than 800 yards.
The departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and a significant knee injury complicated the rest of Griffin’s career to this point. A coaching change to Jay Gruden only made his chances of reclaiming a starting job in Washington worse. Between 2013 and 2014, Griffin threw for 4,897 yards, 20 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Griffin was barely active on game day in 2015.
Acquiring Griffin could scatter mock draft boards at this point, many of which expected Cleveland to acquire one of the NCAA’s premiere talents – Jared Goff, Carson Wentz or Paxton Lynch with the No. 2 overall pick. The Browns were a heavy presence at both Goff and Wentz’s Pro Days and figure to be active during Lynch’s as well. However, Griffin wanted to go to a place where he could start. Should the Browns take a passer high up in the draft they would run the risk of exposing Griffin to the same confidence-shattering competition that aided his downfall in D.C.
The team’s new brain trust, led by executive vice president Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta may have preferred a veteran option in order to build the rest of the roster around their quarterback first.
Based on the length of the deal and comments by those in decision-making positions, this is Griffin’s team now.
“We are excited to add Robert to our team,” Brown said. “Robert possesses a unique skill set at the quarterback position. He has played at a high level in this league and is intent on doing everything in his power to return to that level on a consistent basis. After meeting with him, having him work out for us and doing our diligent research, we felt it was right to grant him an opportunity with our organization. We were able to see and feel his passion and commitment to re-establishing himself as a starting quarterback in this league and his embrace of the hard work that will be is essential to his development.
“We’ve been clear on the importance of improving and stabilizing the quarterback position for our franchise. We have said that the draft is and will be our primary focus, but we will always look to complement the draft through free agency, and this is one of those examples. We look forward to working with Robert and getting him in the building with his teammates at the start of the offseason program on April 4.”
The move will be applauded by Browns fans tempted by the endless carousel of promising quarterbacks that have marched in and out of the doors of the team’s facility since 1999. Since that year, the team has started 24 different quarterbacks: Tim Couch, Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson Jerseys, Ken Dorsey, Brady Quinn, Bruce Gradkowski, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, Thaddeus Lewis, Jason Campbell Jerseys, Brian Hoyer Jerseys, Johnny Manziel Jerseys, Connor Shaw, Josh McCown and Austin Davis.
Griffin’s debut, though, may be the most anticipated since Couch’s in 1999 – or Manziel’s in Cleveland two years ago.
Manziel’s flame-out in Cleveland served as a catalyst for the team’s massive shift in organizational philosophy, which makes the Griffin acquisition so fascinating. Coaches and executives are defined by the quarterbacks they select to head the franchise, and Cleveland just picked a player pocked by question marks.
On one hand, Griffin is a victim of circumstance. His greatest asset — speed — was compromised by two serious injuries. He was pigeon-holed into an offense he wasn’t suited for, and in the white-knuckle spin cycle that is the NFL, he emerged as a supposed malcontent. The Redskins were a lightning rod of rumor and inference during the Griffin era, from favored treatment to strife in the locker room.
How much of that was actually true? That is part of what the Browns worked to find out over the past few weeks. Griffin visited with club higher-ups last weekend and also took a visit to the Jets earlier in March. Starting over gives him the chance to erase all doubts. Jackson is widely considered as one of the most innovative offensive minds in football. Even with the plodding Andy Dalton Jerseys in the Bengals’ backfield, he was able to incorporate read-option and triple-option elements into Cincinnati’s offense. Assuming Griffin is healthy, this is the skillset Jackson could have only dreamed of a few years ago.
Griffin was good enough to warrant a treasure trove of picks from the Rams back in 2012, a haul that netted Los Angeles eight players over three years: Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Isaiah Pead, Rokevious Watkins, Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, Zac Stacy and Greg Robinson.
During that first season, he seemed 100 percent worth it. Griffin made mind-boggling plays that separated him from the traditional mobile-quarterback moniker. Alongside Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, it looked as though the NFL was riding the new wave of positional athleticism, leaving drop back passers in the dust.
Griffin has been waiting for a chance to show this was not an aberration ever since.
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Now healthy, Houston Rockets’ Sam Dekker glad for dog days last year
Written by admin on September 7, 2016
LAS VEGAS — Away from the game, Sam Dekker needed to do something. Anything, really. He was recovering from herniated disc surgery, which ended the small forward’s season with the Houston Rockets Jerseys after three games.
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Dekker, a first-round draft pick by the Rockets, couldn’t participate in summer league games last season ,and once the regular season started, before the surgery, he sat the bench and rehabbed while learning the NBA game.
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Sam Dekker has been showing his athleticism in summer league games after recovering from back surgery. Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Dekker couldn’t even get out of bed without being sore, which is a hard thing to digest for a 22-year-old. So just two weeks after surgery in mid-December, Dekker said he made one of his best life decisions: He bought a dog.
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Dekker purchased a puppy with a husky mix, naming him Riggins, after the fictional running back Tim Riggins on the TV show “Friday Night Lights.”
Dekker needed the dog to calm his nerves because he’d played basketball since he was a kid, and now, living his dream as a professional, he was unable to play.
“He actually kept me sane,” Dekker said of his dog. “He kept my mind off the game when the guys were on the road. I would kick it with him and the strict thing was, ‘Sam, you got to keep walking, you can’t be sitting down.’ Having a puppy, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and not watching. That was the best decision I made: Something to take my mind off being hurt and the game, just get away. It still ate at me not being able to play, knowing I could have made an impact.”
Dekker has returned to the game he loves, fully recovered from back surgery, and in the first three games of the Las Vegas Summer League he has showed the athletic ability the Rockets love about him. Dekker has scored on dunks, drives to the basket, and, of course, a few outside shots.
He needs a well-rounded game to break new coach Mike D’Antoni’s playing rotation this season, if he doesn’t spend time in the D-League.
“It’s very refreshing to be on the court again and play the game,” Dekker said. “One thing I got to realize, there will be some kinks in the road just getting back to the form I want to be in, and I’m very hard on myself and I got to realize I got to relax a little bit. I’m just playing basketball and it will all come back. I’m feeling good and I’m feeling confident and just happy to be on the court and doing what I love.”
After missing the majority of last season, Dekker is understanding the simple things in life, like getting out of bed and playing basketball pain-free.
“Probably getting out of bed without being hobbled,” Dekker said of what he cherishes most. “That’s one thing, waking up, ‘Oh, I can bend my legs.’ That’s a good way to start your day. The most gratifying thing is waking up and not having any soreness and rolling out of bed and just being ready to go — we kinda take that for granted. But when you have an issue like that and you’re hobbled and trying to mask everything, it sucks. Being able to get up and feel good and take on the day is pretty gratifying.”
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MLB roundup: Yankees, Indians could make good trade partners
Written by admin on September 1, 2016
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As of this morning, Baseball Prospectus pLa Jerseysces the New York Yankees Jerseys Jerseys’ chances for winning the division at 2.1 percent and their odds of reaching the wild-card game at 5.1 percent. So unless their situation changes dramatically between now and Aug. 1, logic screams that they should be Sellers Jerseys, to take adVan Jerseystage of the extraordinary market value attached to AnDrew Jerseys Miller Jerseys Jerseys, Aroldis Chapman Jerseys Jerseys and others right now — value that will either dissipate or disappear one second after the Aug. 1 traDe Jerseys De Jerseysadline.
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Lest the Yankees Jerseys be like a character from the movie “Dumb and Dumber,” they should be prepared to move quickly, to traDe Jerseys assets and set up the team for 2017, and according to rival executives, that’s why they are trading proposals with other teams.
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Canucks acquire Etem from Rangers for Jensen
Written by admin on August 25, 2016
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The New York Rangers Jerseys traded right wing Emerson Etem Jerseys to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday for right wing Niklas Jensen and a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
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Etem, 23, acquired by the Rangers from the Anaheim Ducks for cheap bike jerseys Carl Hagelin Jerseys at the 2015 NHL Draft, had three assists in 19 games with New York and was a healthy scratch 14 times.
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Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Friday before the trade that Etem would be sent on a minor league conditioning stint this weekend. Etem was a healthy scratch in the Rangers’ last game Tuesday against the Dallas Stars Jerseys and was not going to be in the lineup against the Washington Capitals Jerseys on Saturday.
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Etem has 15 goals and 34 points in 131 career NHL games.
Jensen, 22, selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft (No. 29), has three goals and six points in 24 NHL games. He played five games last season for the Canucks and didn’t have a point.
Jensen had four goals and 12 points in 27 games for the Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate in Utica.
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Patriots owner reiterates support for Tom Brady
Written by admin on August 23, 2016
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With Tom Brady Jerseys’s four-game suspension recently reinstated, New England Patriots Jerseys owner Robert Kraft reiterated his support for the future Hall of Fame quarterback at a draft party Friday night at Gillette Stadium.
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“He’s a young man who is an exceptional person with the highest level of integrity,” Kraft said, via the team’s official website. “I feel so privileged to have Tom in my life and I truly view him as a son. With that in mind, I want to make two things crystal clear about the ongoing situation with the NFL.
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“Number one, there is no finer ambassador for the game of football, and the New England Patriots Jerseys, than Tom Brady Jerseys. We always have had, and will continue to have, Tom’s back. Especially when he’s being treated unfairly. He knows that. All the decisions that this organization and I personally have made throughout this ordeal have been focused on putting Tom in the best possible position for success.
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“Number two, I have been in constant communication with Tom over the past 16 months and we’ve had numerous conversations this past week. We are both on the same page and he knows exactly where my allegiances, and the total team’s (allegiances) are, relative to the extremely unfair discipline that he has been subjected to.
“I share in our fans’ anger and frustration with the penalties the league has levied, and the entire process and how it was conducted. But please trust that I am always trying to do what I believe is best for this franchise, and pledge that I will always continue to do that.”
Kraft accepted league-levied punishment prior to Brady’s suspension being announced last offseason. Part of that punishment was the loss of a first-round draft pick in 2016.
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Marlins spoil Nationals’ 2016 home opener
Written by admin on August 11, 2016
WASHINGTON — The Marlins had five players finish with multihit games as they bombarded the Nationals with 13 hits en route to a 6-4 victory Thursday, giving Don Mattingly his first win as Miami’s manager and spoiling Washington’s home opener at Nationals Park.
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Miami was all over right-hander Tanner Roark from the start, beginning with a three-run first inning and continuing after a one-hour, 25-minute rain delay. Martin Prado and Adeiny Hechavarria each drove in two runs. The Nationals chose to send Roark back out onto the mound after the delay, but he struggled through four innings and was tagged for nine hits, all of them singles, and allowed four runs.
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run triple in the first inning off Marlins starter Adam Conley Jerseys and Bryce Harper added a solo shot in the seventh, the 99th homer of his career, to provide the scoring for the Nationals. Harper’s solo homer MIA@WSH: Harper smashes a towering shot to rightBryce Harper crushes a deep solo shot off the panel of the second deck in right field for his second home run of the season
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Phelps weathers the storm: The long rain delay meant a quick outing for Conley. So, after the rain delay, David Phelps Jerseys got the assignment, and logged four important scoreless innings. The right-hander, who threw a scoreless inning Tuesday on Opening Night, wiggled out of some jams, but got through the fifth on 59 pitches, with 36 strikes, plus three strikeouts. In the fifth, he scratched through a first-and-second, one-out situation by retiring Ryan Zimmerman on a fly ball to right. The quick out came immediately after Mattingly made a mound visit, and opted to remain with Phelps. The threat ended on Jayson Werth’s groundout to second, a play the Nationals challenged wether first baseman Justin Bour Jerseys applied the tag.
Too many pitches for Roark: Roark arrived at Spring Training determined to win a job in the rotation and his confidence impressed the Nationals. But he labored through four innings, throwing 99 pitches. Thirty-one of those pitches came in the first, when he allowed three runs. Prado’s two-run single MIA@WSH: Prado plates two runs in the 1st inningWith the bases loaded, Martin Prado smacks a single up the middle to center field, scoring Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich
One and done for Conley: Conley, arguably the most impressive Marlins’ pitcher in Spring Training, had his 2016 debut limited to one inning due to the rain. The lefty was unable to protect a three-run lead, as he surrendered the two-out, three-run triple to Murphy. Conley struggled with his command, throwing 31 pitches with just 15 strikes. He walked two and struck out two, including Wilson Ramos to strand Murphy at third. Murphy’s bases-clearing triple MIA@WSH: Murphy clears bases on triple to rightDaniel Murphy hammers a triple off the right-field wall, plating Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman in the 1st
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Phelps gave himself a boost, delivering a two-out, run-scoring single that put Miami up, 5-3, in the fifth. The RBI was the first in Phelps’ career. He had been 4-for-40 (.100) entering the game. Phelps’ RBI single MIA@WSH: Phelps’ line-drive single extends the leadDavid Phelps Jerseys cracks a line drive to the center-field gap, driving home Justin Bour Jerseys from third base to extend the Marlins’ lead
REPLAY REVIEW The Nationals crafted a small rally in the fifth, putting runners on first and second with two outs to give Werth a chance to cut into the deficit. Werth bounced into a grounder to second baseman Dee Gordon Jerseys, whose throw to first took Bour off the bag and forced Bour to tag Werth running down the line.
Werth was convinced he avoided the tag, however, prompting the Nationals to challenge the ruling. After a two-minute, 20-second review, the umpires ruled the call on the field stood and the Nationals had squandered another scoring chance. Washington batted 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Bour tags out Werth MIA@WSH: Bour gets Werth in 5th, call standsJustin Bour Jerseys tags out Jason Werth running to first after he is pulled off the base, and after the Nationals challenge, the call stands
WHAT’S NEXT Marlins: Righty Tom Koehler Jerseys, who paced the Marlins in innings (187 1/3) and starts (31) last year, takes the mound for the first time Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET. In his career, Koehler is 3-6 (4.64) against Washington.
Nationals: The Nationals have the day off Friday, then return to Nationals Park to play the Marlins on Saturday. Righty Joe Ross begins his first full season in Washington trying to build off an impressive rookie campaign. After being called up from Double-A for a spot start, Ross eventually earned a spot in the rotation.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments
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Guard combo turns rebuild into playoff run in Portland
Written by admin on July 26, 2016
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PORTLAND, Ore. — In his small office near the locker room, an hour before one of his team’s latest surprise victories, Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys GM Neil Olshey was explaining how a season of rebuilding had turned into a run at the playoffs. Essentially he was talking about C.J. McCollum.
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“The one area we knew we were 100 percent confident was the backcourt,” Olshey was saying. “It’s not like this came out of nowhere.”
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Just seven months ago, Olshey had been trying in vain to re-sign his best player: LaMarcus Aldridge. When Aldridge left the 51-win Blazers to sign with the 55-win San Antonio Spurs Jerseys, an unforeseen line of dominoes began to fall. Portland’s old rotation was knocked down and replaced by something new. Veterans Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez were let go; prospects Mason Plumlee, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleigh and others were brought in.
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A familiar cast with dreams of reaching the NBA Finals around Aldridge has now been replaced by a lineup of four new starters in which no one, including team leader Damian Lillard, is older than 25. Normally, in such extreme circumstances, the acquisition of a high lottery pick becomes the urgent goal.
“I don’t blame the prognosticators for looking at us and saying, `They’re not going to win this many games,’ ” Olshey said. “The only known was Damian. Nobody else knew what C.J. could do.”
After a 15-24 start that itself was better than predicted, the Blazers have won 14 of 17 games while rising to No. 7 in the Western Conference. Lillard and McCollum (45.9 points together) have emerged as the third highest-scoring pair in the NBA, behind the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (51.7) and the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (51.2)
The career-highs of 25.0 points and 7.3 assists by Lillard have surprised no one. His per-minute stats are comparable to the 2010-11 MVP numbers of Derrick Rose, as noted by Olshey, but Lillard — a two-time All-Star — had already been trending this way over his three previous NBA seasons.
I don’t blame the prognosticators for looking at us and saying, `They’re not going to win this many games.’ The only known was Damian. Nobody else knew what C.J. could do.
– Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys GM Neil Olshey
The career-highs of McCollum — 20.9 points, 4.3 assists, 40.1 percent from the 3-point line — have been franchise-changers. The anticipated failure for this season has given way to renewal, instantly, with thanks to a skinny 6-foot-3 combo guard who had averaged 6.3 ppg over his preceding two seasons.
The impact has been stunning everywhere … except in this small office, and in the adjacent rooms down the hall.
“Damian and C.J. are our two best players,” said Olshey. “They are our two best passers, our two best shooters and our two best scorers. The irony is, if C.J. doesn’t get hurt in camp as a rookie, then we were having this conversation two years ago. He was that good.”
McCollum sets own career path
“Speak up,” McCollum politely urged the journalism students seated before him in the library at Madison High School. “If you’re going to be journalists, be proud of what you’re saying.”
There were more than 30 of them, aged 14 to 18. At his invitation, they each stood up, introduced themselves and explained why they were interested in journalism: to educate people, to write or speak out, to imagine or express opinions or change the world. McCollum’s mother, Kathy Andrews, who lives with him in Portland, was watching her son run the after-school meeting.
“He would probably be writing or speaking about sports,” she said, when asked what her son would be doing if he hadn’t become an NBA player. “He would be encouraging people.”
McCollum believed nonetheless that he was always going to become an NBA player, even when he was a 5-foot-2 freshman at Glenoak High School in Canton, Ohio. “He really had to be crafty and clever,” said Olshey. “He doesn’t look at himself as being undersized at 2 guard. He has been undersized his whole career.”
Inside Stuff: C.J. McCollum
C.J. McCollum of the Trail Blazers is in consideration for most improved player, but not only is CJ smooth on the court, he’s butter behind the mic as the host of his own radio show.
In his four years at Lehigh he pursued his ambitions without regard for the normal path. He was insistent on becoming an NBA player even though no one from his school had ever been drafted. He was going to write for — and edit — the student newspaper even though he was more famous than virtually all of the subjects of his stories. Here was the big man on campus chasing down the players on the soccer or lacrosse or women’s basketball teams to profile their lives and dreams. He was independent. He was unique.
“It was a fun process and it was challenging,” McCollum said. “Maybe it was ironic that people were reading stories that were written by me, and me having to reach out to other athletes and other sports. I don’t mind things not being about me. I’m totally comfortable with that, and I actually enjoyed seeing other people succeed, and writing about other peoples’ success.”
It was because of his independent point of view, maybe, that McCollum was not especially popular with some of his older Blazer teammates after he was picked No. 10 overall in the 2013 draft by Portland. McCollum did not appear to notice. And that has emerged as one of his strengths.
The Blazers can look back over these last three years and see that he was carrying himself with the same even-keeled enthusiasm and confidence even when he suffered a fractured left foot that sidelined him from the first 34 games of his rookie year. When the 2013-14 Blazers were revealed to be a startling 54-win contender in his absence, leaving little playing time for him, his behavior didn’t change. He was the same person when he played sporadically for the first four months of last season, and he was no different when injuries gave him the opportunity to average 18 ppg over a six-game stretch at the end of the regular season, and 25.7 points over the final three playoff games.
McCollum On Fire vs. Pelicans
C.J. McCollum explodes for a career-high 37 points with six rebounds and Damian Lillard adds 21 as Portland wins it 112-94.
The consistency of his approach, which was based in his oblivious self-confidence, created faith around him. Olshey resisted acquiring a veteran point guard so that all of Lillard’s backup minutes would be devoted to McCollum. The spot-up offensive system that had suited the postup game of Aldridge was redesigned by coach Terry Stotts to revolve around the pick-and-rolls of Lillard and McCollum.
Instead of accepting the departure of Aldridge as an excuse to rebuild slowly, the Blazers were in a hurry to find out what McCollum could do alongside Lillard. What they had going for them, most of all, was the blessing of Lillard himself.
Shared backcourt, shared respect
“This is where the game is headed,” Lillard was saying as he sat on his team’s bench before a recent game. “The league is getting smaller, quicker. And you have two guys out there like myself and him that have similar skill-sets and can make plays for everybody else. I can play the 1 and he can play the 1. I can play the 2 and he can play the 2. We can both do a lot. With the league going in the direction it’s going, we can be dominant having us both out there.”
It’s coming together quicker than everybody expected — except for us two. We are friends. I want to see him do well, he wants to see me do well.
– Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys guard Damian Lillard
Lillard, who had spent four years at Weber State, respected and related instantly to McCollum’s cultural independence. They were both from smaller programs with no NBA pedigree. “They were both used to being the guy who has to go get their own shots,” said Stotts. “In the NBA this is a little different, because you need everybody involved. But they were so much better at the collegiate level that their teammates wanted them and needed them to shoot.”
“We had to score a bunch in college,” Lillard said of himself and McCollum. “We had to do it the hard way. Through that work we gained confidence, so now we are sure of ourselves. So I can relate to why he is the way he is, his attitude towards things. He has an opinion about a lot of things, and usually he has looked into it and he is able to back up why he is doing it that way. He is confident. He is strong in what he believes. I think that is a huge part of why we get along so well.”
GameTime: Portland’s Star Duo
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann talks about the effectiveness of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum when they’re on the court together for the Trail Blazers.
The Blazers ranked No. 8 in offensive efficiency last season, and after all of the fearful changes they are No. 7 now — behind the best teams in the league (Golden State, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Cleveland, the Clippers and Toronto). Lillard and McCollum are averaging 1.4 ppg more than Aldridge and Lillard managed last year. On their first night after the All-Star break, Lillard scored 51 points and McCollum added 21 in a 137-105 blowout of the champion Golden State Warriors Jerseys. Next came 31 from McCollum and 30 by Lillard in a 115-111 playoff-race win over the visiting Utah Jazz Jerseys.
They are making things easier for each other. “Our turnovers are lower when we are on the court together, the percentages are higher when we are on the court together,” McCollum said. “We have good chemistry and we know where each other is going to be.”
McCollum’s improved ballhandling and confident decision-making enables him to make the spectacular plays look simple, and vice-versa. In transition he may pivot right and left and right again while continuing his dribble-drive to the basket. From the 3-point line he may step inside to draw the defense before finding a teammate in the corner.
Lillard Drops 51 On Warriors
Damian Lillard scores a career-high 51 points with seven assists and six steals to beat the Warriors on Friday night.
“He is one of the better ballhandlers in the league — he gets anywhere he wants to go — and he’s got more scoring areas than a lot of guys in his position,” Olshey said. “For a lot of 2s it’s either the 3 or at the rim. But he’s got runners, a floater, step-backs, midrange, fallaways. He can score in a lot of different ways, and with all of these pick-and-rolls he’s just so patient.”
“It’s coming together quicker than everybody expected — except for us two,” Lillard said. “We are friends. I want to see him do well, he wants to see me do well. I think it’s the fact that we spend so much time around each other; whereas you play with a guy and he might be in competition with you, trying to one-up and all of that stuff. We spend so much time around each other that that makes it even more easy. So it has been fun.”
Defense must pave Blazers’ playoff path
“Where we have to make the jump is defensively,” Olshey said.
The Blazers have fallen to No. 18 in defensive efficiency, but much of that has to do with the loss of Aldridge. At 6-foot-11, he had the size, strength and athleticism to defend the paint while dealing with the best bigs and switching effectively in pick-and-rolls, and so the Blazers’ interior defense continues to struggle and evolve in his absence.
“Most of the better defensive teams are the experienced teams or the teams that have been together longer,” Olshey said. “That’s going to come with time, and it’s my job to find where are the holes in what we are doing and try and replace them.”
Lillard does not believe that he and McCollum, each 6-foot-3, are too small to defend the backcourt. “When you talk about size, I don’t think that really means a whole lot,” Lillard said. “You look at the league and there are not a lot of guys who post up. It’s not like there’s a lot of guys that are going to take us to the block. It’s not like we’re guarding Michael Jordan down there at the 2. You’re not guarding those guys anymore.
“We will continue to get better at pick-and-roll defense, and isolation defense. But I think it’s weird that people mention us as a small backcourt, because nobody takes us to the block and just scores on us. That doesn’t even make sense to me.”
Olshey’s goal is to make the playoffs. “I would love it,” he said. The Blazers will lose their protected first-round pick to Denver if it falls outside the lottery, but the experience of a playoff race and a first-round series against the Warriors or Spurs can only help a team that is already ahead of the curve.
In the meantime McCollum continues to pursue his first and second careers in the same harmonic way that he coexists with Lillard. He hosts two radio shows per week in Portland. He plans to add to the “Press Pass” high school journalism program he has launched with the students at Madison. He has interviewed commissioner Adam Silver for the Players Tribune and written for other sites and publications. During NBA All-Star 2016 in Toronto, he could be seen doing standups and interviews at Basketball Without Borders for NBA TV’s “Inside Stuff”.
Amid Portland’s games, you might see McCollum conducting interviews with his opponents. He has asked LeBron James, J.J. Redick and others for tips on how they have improved.
“There’ll be a timeout and we will be walking and I will be like, `Is this play for you?’ ” McCollum said of a recent conversation with Redick. “And he’ll go, ‘Yeah, in my mind every play is for me.’ Some people get mad that we are having conversations. Hey, I’m trying to help my game.”
It’s all about asking the hard questions.
Ian Thomsen has covered the NBA since 2000. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.
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BC’s York is first D-I hockey coach to 1,000 wins
Written by admin on July 18, 2016
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AMHERST, Mass. — Jerry York got his 1,000th career victory Friday night, becoming the first coach in NCAA Division I men’s hockey to reach the milestone.
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York, 70, reached the mark with Boston College’s 8-0 win over Hockey East rival UMass. York, in his 44th season on the bench and 22nd at Boston College, has compiled a 1,000-595-108 record since his career began in 1972.
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In his 44th season, 22 of which have been at Boston College, Jerry jerseys for cheap York became the first coach in college hockey to reach 1,000 wins. He has compiled a 1,000-595-108 record since his career began in 1972. Andrew B. Fielding/USA TODAY Sports
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York has led his teams to five national championships, one at Bowling Green and four at Boston College, and is one of only three NCAA coaches to win a title at multiple schools.
York is also the career leader in NCAA tournament wins with 39.
In 2012, York secured his 925th career victory to pass Rob Mason and become the winningest coach in college hockey history.
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Vikings not worried about Walsh getting the yips
Written by admin on July 11, 2016
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Blair Walsh Jerseys’s missed chip-shot field goal cost the Minnesota Vikings a playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The miss was so devastating, even first-grade students felt bad for the kicker.
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Last week during the NFL Annual Meeting, Mike Zimmer brushed aside any thought that the missed 27-yard field goal would stick with Walsh.
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“I pretty much move on, but I’m going to try to make sure that he has success as much as possible,” Zimmer said, via ESPN.com. “You’re always only as good as your last kick, right? So we want to make sure that a lot of his kicks are good kicks now. We’re not going to start him out at a 60-yarder on the first day of (organized team activities). I don’t know that I need to build his confidence, but I’m going to make sure I don’t need to build his confidence.”
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Zimmer might not be worried about Walsh getting the yips, but let’s allow history to be our guide.
Below are several of the most devastating missed playoff field goals of the past several decades (no, Mr. Internet Commenter, this is not an exhaustive list). You’ll notice that Walsh already has a leg up on many, as the Vikings didn’t jettison him into the ether after the miss.
Billy Cundiff Jerseys, Jan. 22, 2012, AFC Championship, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots Jerseys
Cundiff yanked a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal a mile left, after the Ravens missed chances to bury the Pats. It was Cundiff’s final attempt for Baltimore. Cundiff spent five games the following year with the Redskins in which he made just 58.3 percent of his field goals. He earned two solid seasons with the woeful Cleveland Browns. In 2015, he participated as a kickoff specialist in one game for the Buffalo Bills Jerseys. He’s currently a free agent.
David Akers, Jan. 9, 2011, NFC wild card, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers
Akers, a Pro Bowler in 2010, missed two kicks — 41 yards in the first quarter and 34 yards in the fourth. The Eagles lost by five points. Those were his final kicks as an Eagle after 12 seasons in Philadelphia. Akers’ accuracy didn’t dive the next season in San Francisco, as he hit 84.6 percent of his attempts — better than his career average of 80.9. He also went 3 of 3 in the Super Bowl XLVII loss. Akers ended his career after the 2013 season.
Nate Kaeding, Jan. 17, 2010, AFC Divisional Round, San Diego Chargers vs. New York Jets
Kaeding entered the playoff tilt against the heavy underdog Jets as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history and posted a 91.4 percent conversion rate in the 2009 season. Then he couldn’t find the range, missing on attempts of 36, 57, and 40 yards. The Chargers lost by three points. After the playoff disaster, Kaeding’s career nosedived. In 2010 he posted the worst field-goal percentage outside of his rookie season. In 2011 he tore his ACL on the first kickoff of the season. In 2012 he injured his groin after three games, was released by the Chargers, signed with the Dolphins in December and proceeded to miss two of his three field-goal attempts. He retired in 2013.
Mike Vanderjagt, Jan. 15, 2006, AFC Divisional Round, Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The man Peyton Manning Jerseys once referred to as an “idiot kicker who got all liquored up and ran his mouth off” took Jerome Bettis off the hook as one of the greatest goats in playoff history. After a goal-line fumble by Bettis looked to give the Colts a chance to tie the game, Vanderjagt — currently the top retired kicker in terms of accuracy in NFL history — pushed a 46-yard attempt. The Colts moved on from Vanderjagt in 2006. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys, played 10 games, authoring the least accurate season of his entire NFL career (72.2) and was out of the league the following year.
Doug Brien, Jan. 15, 2005, AFC Divisional Round, New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Brien had not one, but TWO misses in the final two minutes of the game that could have won the contest — smash cut to Jets fans breaking things. The Jets lost in overtime. Brien was cut several months after the misses. The career 80.2 percent kicker latched on with the Bears in 2005, but lasted just three games before being released, ending his 12-year pro career.
Gary Anderson, Jan. 17, 1999, NFL Championship, Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons
The boot Vikings fans still kick themselves about. Anderson hadn’t missed all season. The Vikes were the clear favorite to win the Super Bowl. A 38-yarder to put the game out of reach. Wide left. Falcons win in overtime. Woof. Perhaps the good news for Walsh is that the Vikings stuck with Anderson until 2002. The kicker eventually bounced back, but not until struggling mightily in the immediate aftermath of the miss. Anderson went 19 of 30 in 1999, for a career-low 63.3 percent.
Scott Norwood, Jan. 27, 1991, Super Bowl XXV, Buffalo Bills Jerseys vs. New York Giants
You knew we’d get here eventually. “Wide right.” The Bills’ first Super Bowl loss of the worst foursome in sports history. Norwood pushed a 47-yarder right with eight seconds to play. Buffalo lost 20-19. Norwood stuck with the Bills the following season, posting a career low 62.1 percent (he finished with a career percentage of just 72.3 and spent four of his seven seasons in the 60-70 percent range). He was perfect in the playoffs that season, going 5 of 5. Norwood was waived in 1992 and never caught another NFL gig.
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Taylor making big impression in camp
Written by admin on June 29, 2016
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VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper Jerseys isn’t the only one who’s ripping the ball for the Nationals. Outfielder Michael Taylor Jerseys is arguably the hottest hitter on the team.
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In Thursday’s 8-2 victory over the Cardinals, Taylor hit a home run and drove in four runs. Entering Friday’s action against the Marlins, Taylor is 18-for-37 (.486), with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
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“He is really doing some things. He has opened up everybody’s eyes,” teammate Max Scherzer Jerseys said. “This is great about big league baseball. We brought in Ben Revere Jerseys and it’s only made Michael Taylor Jerseys better. When you have competition around, you bring the best out of everybody. … [Taylor] is growing up in front of our eyes and he getting even better. It puts a smile on everybody’s face.”
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Taylor went into the season as the fourth outfielder, but the way he is hitting, he could be more than that. There are experts and fans who believe he should start over Jayson Werth Jerseys in left field. There are others who feel that Taylor could platoon with Revere in center field. But as manager Dusty Baker put it, there isn’t any controversy as far as who starts in left or center. For now, the positions belong to Werth and Revere, respectively.
“He has been playing his butt off,” Baker said about Taylor. “Taylor and Ben have had great springs. They are doing what they are supposed to do. Ben is supposed to get on base and score runs. Michael has the capability of doing everything. But we are going to play three at a time, so isn’t any quarterback controversy. It is what it is.”
Harper called Taylor a special talent and enjoys watching his teammate on a regular basis. The two came up together in the Minor Leagues.
“He always had that power. The swing is getting better. He is getting better mentally,” Harper said. “If he gets more at-bats, that’s going to help him the most. He has a lot of speed, power and big-time talent. That power plays. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments
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