Monthly Archives: December 2016

Vanessa and his daughter [he had only one at the time] were all he had left to hold on to

He scored 24 points in the fourth quarter and locked down McGrady, and the Lakers won in overtime.

“After the game, I go back to the house and pick all my shit up,” he says. “I take my motorcycle and go to a motel.”

Kids Dan Bailey Jersey He says he was different after that night. In Muse, he describes the transformation as his personality splitting in two: Kobe — a flawed human with problems who still had to deal with them. And the Black Mamba — a serpent, conjured at the bottom of the ocean, who channeled his fear and anger into destruction on the basketball court.

Besides basketball, Vanessa and his daughter [he had only one at the time] were all he had left to hold on to. “Life was no different than basketball,” he says. “Once I made that connection, I’ll fight for my family all the way to the end.”

In his book “The Last Season,” Phil Jackson wrote of that game against Orlando, “The first game home after a road trip is always an adjustment, with players torn between their personal and professional responsibilities. They must meet the needs of a wife or a child, who have been waiting anxiously for their return.”
Kids Davonte Lambert Jersey
Read that again.

The summer before, he had reached out to a filmmaker named Gotham Chopra and asked whether he’d be interested in working with him on a documentary for Showtime.

“His assistant calls and invites me to breakfast down in Newport Beach on Aug. 22,” Chopra said. “And I’m like, ‘Shit, that’s my wife’s birthday. I can’t.’ She’s like, ‘No problem. He can meet you tomorrow night for dinner if you’re free. And, by the way, it’s his birthday.'”

It wasn’t ideal for a first meeting to take place at a birthday party. But you don’t turn down an opportunity like this. So Chopra shows up to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood early, hoping to get more than a few minutes with Kobe before the party gets going. But when he gets to the hotel restaurant, there’s no party. There’s just a small table in the back for the two of them.

Johnson already has the 19th-best single season by a running back in history

“Housing prices have skyrocketed, and people’s incomes have not met the same rise in rents or in other housing costs that we’ve seen,” said Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of LA Family Housing. “Too many individuals are falling into homelessness, and what’s really devastating in Los Angeles is how long they stay homeless. Our goal in LA Family Housing is to permanently end homelessness in people’s lives. To provide them the resources they need to move out Authentic Mens Niles Paul Jersey of homelessness, into their own home, and most importantly to stay stable and successful once they move into their own home.”

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Started in 66.4 percent of ESPN leagues, 17th-most among wide receivers, Fitzgerald flopped with three fantasy points in a high-scoring Kids Chance Warmack Jersey game on both sides. It was the sixth consecutive week in which he was held to single-digit fantasy points, and oddly enough, he was also held to single-digit fantasy points in every game from Weeks 11-16 in 2015.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Though a 10-point fantasy score is hardly a disastrous number, in a high-scoring week for quarterbacks such as this one, it’s particularly poor. Newton finished tied for 19th in scoring at the position through the 4 p.m. ET games, with what was his lowest single-week total of 2016. He was started in 66.5 percent of ESPN leagues, fifth-most among quarterbacks.

Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Listed as questionable with a knee injury, Hill was able to play on Saturday night, but he was shut out on the fantasy scorecard on seven carries. It was only the second time in his career that he was held to zero or negative points — he had minus-1 in 2015 Week 2 — and he was active in 76.2 percent of ESPN leagues, 15th-most among running backs in Week 16.

He now has 310 for the season, giving him a 51-point lead over Ezekiel Elliott, who will play the Monday night game. With a game to play, Johnson already has the 19th-best single season by a running back in history.

Osweiler being drafted over Russell

I’ve been fired before. And the absolute last thing I wanted to do after being fired was be around the people who knew I had gotten fired. I still duck former co-workers from years ago when I see them out and about to this very day. I am the Arya Stark of avoiding former co-workers in public. I have hopped in the freezer at Wal-Mart and impersonated a bag of Pizza Rolls to avoid a former co-worker before.

I can’t decide if Khan is gracious or a sadist for imploring Bradley to fly back with the team he no longer coaches. But he spent $760 million on the Jaguars, so he more than likely is the latter.

There’s a lesson to be learned from the Brock Osweiler experience.

Osweiler being drafted over Russell mainly because he’s 6’7 and Wilson is 5’10 should be a cautionary tale to GMs and scouts. But it won’t.

It was Elliott’s 13th rushing touchdown this season, which set a franchise-high mark for rushing touchdowns. Both Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker had 12 rushing touchdowns as rookies.

What’s most interesting is that Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who seemed annoyed after the game by the penalty Elliott drew for the celebration, didn’t seem all that upset on the sideline.

Garrett did bring it up, however.

“You can’t do that. They just threw a flag on you,” Garrett said to Elliott immediately afterward. “You see what I’m talking about? That’s a hell of a run, though.”

Garrett followed it up with a congratulatory pat on Elliott’s butt.

The celebration did draw a penalty for using the bucket as a prop, but the NFL opted to not fine Elliott for the celebration.

The Salvation Army has experienced a dramatic increase in donations since the Cowboys’ 26-20 win over the Buccaneers. Not only was it a fun touchdown celebration, but the attention drawn to the Salvation Army is helping people in need.

“They hit him pretty hard,” coach Todd Bowles said

Petty appeared to be in some discomfort after the game. He tried to make light of it, saying, “Hey, if I can take a hit from those two guys, I think I’ll be all right.” Bowles declined to say who’d start next week against the New England Patriots if Petty can’t play. It almost certainly would be Fitzpatrick, who was benched two weeks ago, when the team fell to 3-8. The other quarterback on the roster is rookie Christian Hackenberg, who has yet to dress for a game. The organization doesn’t believe he’s ready to play.

You have to consider another option if you’ve got a really good one. But McCarthy said this week that Rodgers told him, “Don’t hold anything back” because of the injury. “So we’re approaching this game no different than we did last week,” McCarthy said.

ESPN’s fantasy analysts don’t seem too concerned, because they still have Rodgers ranked No. 2 among quarterbacks this week.

A.J. Green (7:45 a.m.): Officially, we probably won’t get word that Green will miss today’s game until the inactives list is released. That said, all signs point to the Bengals waiting until Week 16 to get their star wide receiver back on the field. Upgrade Tyler Boyd in your fantasy rankings.

Aaron Rodgers (7:35 a.m.): Call it “just in case,” but it shouldn’t be ignored that the Packers promoted QB Joe Callahan from their practice squad on Saturday. That gives them a backup to Brett Hundley, should Rodgers’ calf force him to miss any or all of Sunday’s game. It doesn’t mean Rodgers won’t start, but it certainly indicates Green Bay’s fear he might not be able to finish the game.

Ty Montgomery (7:30 a.m.): With James Starks sidelined because of a concussion, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Montgomery will start at running back for the Packers. Christine Michael is also expected to get some backfield work.

Michael Floyd (7:25 a.m.): According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the wide receiver will not be active today as the Patriots take on the Broncos. Floyd signed with New England on Thursday after being released by Arizona because of a DUI arrest last week. He was, however, expected to travel with the team to Colorado.

Oakland Raiders (7:20 a.m.): While there’s still a questionable tag on both starting wide receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are both expected to play on Sunday, despite being listed as limited throughout the week of practice. That could be very good news for QB Derek Carr’s chances for a solid fantasy outing.

Official Sunday inactives should begin coming in at approximately 11:30 a.m. ET for the early games, 2:30 p.m. ET for the late games and 7 p.m. ET for the Sunday night game.

Maybe the Patriots felt the Vinatieris’ emotional attachment to the region would carry the day

Vinatieri is the only NFL player to score at least 1,000 points for two franchises

Maybe the Patriots felt the Vinatieris’ emotional attachment to the region would carry the day. But Adam did not give Belichick a chance to match the Colts’ offer, and his wife, Valerie, shed a few tears over the move. To some, this seemed like a bigger gamble than the one taken by Vinatieri’s third cousin, Evel Knievel, when he tried (and failed) to rocket himself across the Snake River Canyon. Vinatieri signed on to replace the league’s most accurate leg, Mike Vanderjagt, whose miss at the end of the divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh had just cost Indianapolis its season. The Colts had been eliminated by New England in their 2003 and 2004 championship seasons, and they were paying Vinatieri for one specific reason:

So welcome to the season, and possibly the era, of the B-plus NFL team. As a handful of franchises bottom out and others, such as Carolina and Cincinnati, sag unexpectedly, there have been unanticipated wins to go around for the likes of Miami and Tampa Bay. But not one of the teams posting gains this season is great yet, and some are literally only half-good.

Any member of the burgeoning pretty-decent club might keep drafting well and evolve into, say, the next Steelers. But there’s another possibility. From 2010 to 2015, the number of games that NFL teams’ key players lost to injury jumped by 36 percent, according to Football Outsiders. Injuries might now be so rampant that it’s practically impossible to build complete, high-quality units that survive intact for 16 weeks. After all, Green Bay didn’t plan an unbalanced roster this year any more than Minnesota; injuries blew apart the Packers’ defense and severely set back the Vikings’ offense. It only takes one or two big names — such as Clay Matthews or Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson — to go down. As star athletes spend more time on the sideline, the standings are more likely to churn.

Lull or tipping point? We can’t be sure yet what 2016 will prove to be. But we can already see the NFL is heading someplace different.

The NFC North could go one-and-done in the playoffs

Three things we learned

1. Green Bay’s offense is a mess

For the first 2 1/2 quarters of this game, the Packers’ offense was as bad as we’ve seen it all year. None of the receivers couldn’t get open. Eddie Lacy and James Starks got bottled up by Minnesota’s line. Aaron Rodgers resorted to constant checkdowns and at times looked like a rookie quarterback with questionable decision-making.

Eventually the Packers woke up in time to mount a comeback and make this game entertaining in the fourth quarter, but the damage had been done. This offense has a lot more problems than just losing Jordy Nelson, and those problems couldn’t be fixed over the course of the season. Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson will need to go back to the drawing board this offseason.

2. The Vikings’ offense wasn’t much better, and it almost cost them the game

Minnesota had its own problem sustaining drives. Bridgewater threw for just 99 yards on 10-of-19 passing, with no touchdowns and an interception. The offense’s inability to stay on the field led to the defense getting gassed late, sparking Green Bay’s comeback in the fourth quarter. If Minnesota hopes to make any noise in the playoffs, it will need to find more consistency on offense.

3. The NFC North could go one-and-done in the playoffs

Despite the game reaching absurd heights of spectacle late, neither team looked too impressive. In fact, for a while it was one of the dullest Sunday Night Football games of the year. You would’ve hardly thought that the NFC North title was on the line.

Kelly the general manager probably deserved to be fired, but that’s not the case when it comes to Kelly the coach. So now the Eagles will join the cluster of teams that will spend their January searching for a new head man instead of playing in the postseason. Just two years ago, Kelly led them to the playoffs and appeared to be the savior.

There are several explanations for Kelly’s abrupt departure, most notably his apparent alienation of everyone in the organization. Eagles running back DeMarco Murray, who’s only averaged 3.5 yards per carry this season, reportedly told Lurie recently the team had “lost confidence” in Kelly.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

The Marlins have the best offer on the table for Kenley Jansen

Jim Bowden’s take: The Marlins have the best offer on the table for Kenley Jansen. The Nationals have asked his camp to come back to them before they make a deal, and the Dodgers would like to have him back — but not at Chapman range.

Rival evaluator on the White Sox trades: “They’re kicking some butt.”

Eddie Matz’s take: The Nats finally joined the winter meetings party by acquiring Adam Eaton, but the cover charge sure was steep: two first-round pitchers (Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning) and a top-50 prospect who throws high-90s cheese (Reynaldo Lopez). I guess they really wanted to move Trea Turner back to shortstop.

Here’s how Mozeliak characterized the team’s thinking on a platoon: “That is definitely part of our thinking or potential thinking. It’s not necessarily what our goal is.” It sounds like Dyson is more of a fallback.

Eddie Matz’s take: This could just be posturing — much like the Orioles did during last year’s winter meetings with Chris Davis — in an effort to get Trumbo’s camp to flinch. If it’s sincere, and the O’s are ready to move on, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, Trumbo led the majors in home runs last season, but he’s a liability in the outfield, and Baltimore already has a first baseman (see: Davis, Chris). In other words, $70 million or $80 million is an awful lot to pay for a DH.

Scott Lauber’s take: Having traded for Tyler Thornburg to handle the eighth inning, the Red Sox are turning their attention to adding another bat to help replace David Ortiz’s production. According to team president Dave Dombrowski, it would ideally be a left-handed hitter who can play first base. Mitch Moreland fits that mold.

Cowboys insist they’re not going to rest their starters with a playoff spot sewn up

The Cowboys clinched their playoff spot last week. Now, they’re just going through the motions to get home-field advantage all sewn up. When that happens, don’t expect them to rest the starters. Jerry Jones said as much on his Tuesday radio show.

That raises the bigger question of whether Tony Romo will get to see the field again this season. On the one hand, reps are good, even garbage time reps. On the other hand, can they really afford to put Romo at risk for injury? If he gets hurt in a meaningless Week 17 game, that leaves the Cowboys on the hook for a lot of money, a lot more money than they’d be on the hook for if they traded him in the offseason.

Teams almost never say they’re going to play their backups once they have their playoff spot locked down, but they usually do it anyway. The best bet for the Cowboys might be to let Dak Prescott cool his heels for a little bit, as well as Romo, and let Mark Sanchez take a few reps.

Right now, the Chiefs and Patriots each have 10 wins, 10-3 and 10-2, respectively. New England has yet to play its 13th game (that happens Monday night when they host the Ravens). The Patriots have a conference record of 7-1 versus 7-2 for the Chiefs, which gives New England a leg up in the first tiebreaker scenario.

The Chiefs have the Titans and Broncos at home over the next two weeks, and finish the season in San Diego.

If both teams win the rest of their games or finish the season with an identical record, the Patriots still have an edge because of their record against common opponents. The Chiefs and Patriots have both played the Broncos, Jets, Steelers, and Texans. So far, the Patriots are 3-0 against those teams and the Chiefs are 2-2, with losses to the Steelers and Texans.

Eric Berry is a big play waiting to happen for the Chiefs

Whether he’s scoring six or two, Eric Berry is a big play waiting to happen for the Chiefs.

Equally as important to the 9-3 Chiefs are the things Berry does behind closed doors. He’s usually the one who gathers the Chiefs at the end of pregame warm-ups for some final words of inspiration. If anyone has something to say at halftime or after the finish of a game, it’s frequently Berry.

“He’s always got the right words to say whatever the situation is,’’ guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif said. “Before the game, when he has something to say, it gets everybody fired up. When he says something at halftime, he’s able to keep us focused and keep us ready to go in the second half. When he says something after the game, whether we lose or we win, he always has everybody paying attention.’’

An unusual public display of Berry’s oratory skills came in the fourth quarter against the Panthers, minutes after his interception and touchdown. Cornerback Marcus Peters forced and recovered a fumble in the final minute with the scored tied.

“You can go back to the year we won the Super Bowl [1969],” said former Chiefs linebacker Bobby Bell, now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “People don’t realize this, but the Raiders beat us twice that year. When they came to Kansas City they beat us and when we went out there they beat us. We had to go back to Oakland and play them a third time.”

The Chiefs then broke through with a 17-7 victory that sent them to Super Bowl IV, where they beat the Minnesota Vikings.

“It used to be like this every time we played them,” Bell said. “Every year, we’d be fighting with them for who’s going to be the No. 1 team.”

“Fighting” was often in the literal sense. The teams frequently fought one another on the field, most notably in the 1970 game between the teams at Kansas City’s old Municipal Stadium. Oakland defensive end Ben Davidson speared Chiefs quarterback Lenny Dawson with the crown of his helmet when he was already on the ground. Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor intervened, touching off a bench-clearing brawl.

“We hardly played a game against the Raiders when there wasn’t a fight,” Bell said. “I think Al Davis would pick out one of his rookies and put him in the game and tell him to start a fight.

Antonio Brown unlikely to play vs. Broncos after hit from Vontaze Burfict

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is unlikely to play in this Sunday’s AFC Divisional game against the Denver Broncos after suffering a concussion in a Wild Card Weekend win over the the Cincinnati Bengals, according to a report from ESPN’s Bob Holtzman.

Brown, who was accused of faking his concussion by Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, has entered the concussion protocol and a source told Holtzman that it’s “not looking good” for him to play this week.

Brown, 27, left the game with less than a minute remaining after a hit from Vontaze Burfict. The hit drew a 15-yard penalty and Burfict he has since been suspended for three games next season. The play ended up being the final offensive play of the game for the Steelers after another personal foul from Adam Jones moved Pittsburgh inside the red zone and the team kicked a 35-yard field goal on the next play.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed after the game that Brown suffered a concussion from the hit:

Without Edelman, the Patriots offense struggled to replicate its hot start to the year. After racking up at least 350 yards of total offense in each of the first nine weeks, including 507 yards and 40 points against the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, the New England offense was held under 350 yards in five of the last six games.

Even with Edelman back in the lineup, though, finding offense against the Kansas City Chiefs could be tough. The Chiefs finished No. 3 in points allowed and racked up 22 interceptions, second to only the Carolina Panthers. In the Wild Card round, the Chiefs forced five turnovers from the Houston Texans in a 30-0 shutout win.

A seventh-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Edelman tallied only 714 receiving yards in his first four NFL seasons combined before exploding for 105 receptions and 1,056 yards in 2013. It was enough to earn him a four-year, $17 million contract in the 2014 offseason and he followed it with another 92 receptions for 972 yards.

Prior to his Week 10 injury, Edelman had 61 receptions for 692 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games for the Patriots.