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Greg Manusky is returning, but Redskins’ need for change remains

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Whether they were going to hire another coordinator or just on fact-finding missions in recent weeks — it certainly sends a strong signal one way when you’re talking to available coordinators — the bottom line remains the same: They have to find a way to improve.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Even if the Redskins wanted to replace Manusky, it was a tough sell to the best available candidates. Their head coach, Jay Gruden, is entering Year 6 with one playoff appearance, three years ago; they have only around $20 million in cap room; and they have questions at quarterback. A potential hire would have to have confidence that the organization has the resources to build what is needed.10
The Redskins also will try to find a way to retain defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. He was still under contract with the San Francisco 49ers through this season, but that deal has expired. The Redskins want to keep him and are confident he’ll stick around. He has family in Florida, and the Redskins allow him the flexibility to go there often. Tomsula just has to decide if he wants to continue. (For what it’s worth, assistant head coach/offensive line coach Bill Callahan remains under contract and, as of now, the Redskins expect him back too.)nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

While secondary coach Torrian Gray still might return, the Redskins clearly want more help with the back end. San Francisco just hired Joe Woods as a passing-game coordinator; the Redskins were interested in him, as well. They could create a similar role for someone else. That way, Manusky can focus on the base defense and the run game and someone else can concentrate on helping improve on third down. That was, by far, the biggest issue with the Redskins’ defense this past season. They ranked 29th in third-down defense; in the last nine games, they ranked last, allowing a staggering 49.1 percent of third downs to be converted.

Of course, when players read or hear about other possible coordinators being interviewed, you have to wonder about the impact. Does this lessen Manusky’s voice or respect? Realistically, every coach at Redskins Park has to view their situation as a one-year deal.

There certainly seemed to be a difference in how the front seven defensive players viewed the situation last season as opposed to the secondary. It’s doubtful the front will stop heeding Manusky’s words, even after these past couple of weeks, and it’s equally doubtful the secondary is ready to embrace anything. In other words, not much has changed. That’s why the Redskins still need to bolster the coaching staff, while also adding a few more talented players.

Kyrie Irving says desire to win was root of frustration after loss to Magic

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“I never want to come from a place where I don’t want to sound like, or make it feel like, I don’t want to win a championship. Sometimes I may come off and say things, never to question my teammates in public like that ever again; I just want to win so bad,” Irving said on Monday at the Celtics’ shootaround.

After Boston’s loss Saturday, Irving said his team’s lack of experience was a factor in Boston falling short of preseason expectations.

The Celtics (25-17) are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference entering Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. They will play Monday without Irving (quad injury) and Marcus Smart (illness).cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Many considered Boston the favorite to win the Eastern Conference after LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Irving on Saturday suggested his team — which features several key contributors who lack championship experience — was feeling the burden of expectations this season.9

“It came from a place where I asked for a trade and I’m coming here and I believe in this organization and I want these young guys to be successful,” Irving, who won a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, said on Monday of his postgame critique. “In order to that, we all got to be on the same page and have that mindset that, a championship or nothing. And sometimes that can get the best of me at times.”

With Irving and Gordon Hayward sidelined with injuries, Boston reached the Eastern Conference finals last season. Younger Celtics such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Smart played key roles in the team’s run last season.

Boston coach Brad Stevens agreed that the increased expectations may be affecting the group. Although he noted that, internally, last year’s team expected to compete for a conference title despite the injuries to Irving and Hayward.

“It takes a lot of teams a long time to get there, some teams never get there,” Stevens said. “We’ll see if this team does from a [consistency] basis. But we’ve shown that we have a chance, so that’s good.”

Irving said it’s the responsibility of the entire organization to help the younger players deal with the burden of title expectations.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“But I’m leading this thing,” said Irving, who is likely to opt out of the final year of his contract in 2019-20 and become a free agent this summer. “I’m going to take most of it.”

Siakam, Leonard lead Raptors to a huge road win in Milwaukee

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The Milwaukee Bucks’ campaign to clinch the regular-season series against the Raptors fell short on Saturday. The Raptors were able to hold off Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 43 points and 18 rebounds, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and pull out a 123-116 win after trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half.

“We had a double-digit lead,” Antetokounmpo said after the game. “We gave it away. Then, we came back in the third quarter. We didn’t play hard. We didn’t move the ball. Not rotating defensively.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It was the first time the Bucks had lost at home to an Eastern Conference team this season and the first time they lost to the Raptors; Milwaukee won the first two matchups.
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After the game, a shirtless Antetokounmpo soaked his feet in a large ice bucket and stared at his iPhone for upwards of 20 minutes — his routine after losses. No Bucks player has had a 40-point, 15-rebound game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975, but still the loss nagged at him. Every few minutes, he would look up and mention a certain play to Thon Maker before returning to scrolling.

“This night is not going to change who we are,” Antetokounmpo said. “We still feel like we are one of the best teams in the NBA.“nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Bucks and the Fiserv Forum crowd held up their end of what could become a playoffs rivalry. Fans donning white, green and yellow Bucks jerseys stood shoulder to shoulder in Fiserv Forum’s standing-room-only sections, craning their necks to watch Eric Bledsoe steals and Antetokounmpo dunks over their Eastern Conference foe. They vehemently booed Toronto center Serge Ibaka after he blocked an attempted dunk from Antetokounmpo.
In the first matchup between the Bucks and Raptors, Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard did not play. It was a back-to-back for Toronto, and Antetokounmpo was in the league’s concussion protocol. Backup power forward Ersan Ilyasova led seven Bucks in double figures with 19 points in a 124-109 October win in Milwaukee. The second time the teams saw each other, Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry missed all five shots in a 34-minute, scoreless performance that saw the Bucks escape with a 104-99 December road win.

In this third matchup, the Raptors were without Lowry (back) and backup center Jonas Valanciunas (dislocated thumb). Milwaukee maintained control of the game for the first quarter, but by halftime, their once-double-digit lead had been whittled down to just one point. Sterling Brown’s 3-pointer ignited an 8-0 run to bring the Bucks back within four before a quick five points from Siakam pushed the Raptors’ lead back to nine. Toronto shot 56 percent from the field after Milwaukee took a 47-37 lead with 5:41 left in the first half.

Warriors, Kings set 3-point record in ‘incredible offensive display’

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The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings combined for an NBA-record 41 3-pointers during Saturday night’s 127-123 Warriors win at Golden 1 Center.

It marked the first game in NBA history in which both teams made at least 20 3-pointers; the Warriors went 21-for-47, and the Kings went 20-for-36.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was happy with the result and said his team knows that shooting from distance has become the new normal around the league.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The Warriors and Kings eclipsed the previous mark of 40 3-pointers, set in a February 2018 game between the Minnesota Timberwolves (19) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (21).9

Warriors star Kevin Durant said he did not believe the 3-point barrage the league has seen in recent years will continue much longer.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s fast,” Durant said of the current pace. “I’d rather play inside the 3-point line, but you got to adapt. I think a lot of players have adapted their games and changed how they play. But I don’t see this lasting too much longer.”

Why not?

“Just the volume of 3s,” Durant said. “The way the game is played, pick-up style. It will cease here in a second, but I think a lot of guys are just adjusting their games to the times. It’s fun for the fans, it’s fun for us at times. But it’s also tough to watch and tough to play against. But hey, that’s what we signed up for.”

The Kings, whose 20 3s set a franchise record, fell short down the stretch in a game that had 18 lead changes.

Jaylen Samuels latest cog in Steelers’ plug-and-play run game

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That Samuels, a fifth-round rookie, just ripped off 142 yards against New England — the most ever by a Steelers player against the Patriots, according to ESPN Stats & Information — is a credit to both Samuels’ development and a Steelers offense that has had success with a variety of backs.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Le’Veon Bell will seek an all-world contract for his All-Pro production, averaging nearly 130 total yards per game since 2013. His numbers are so prolific they prompted him to sit out the entire 2018 season to make sure nothing happens to them.

But when Bell’s out of the game, the Steelers can get their numbers, too.10

DeAngelo Williams rushed for 1,250 yards and 15 touchdowns on 298 carries from 2015 to ’16, starting 14 games with Bell out.

James Conner, who’s working his way back from a high ankle sprain, has 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns on 233 career carries. Though Conner’s production dipped in November, he was the AFC’s most potent weapon in October and has a conference player of the month award to show for it.

In 12 games and two starts, Samuels has 201 yards on 42 carries.

Those three have combined for 2,504 yards on the ground while in Pittsburgh, along with 982 yards on 126 receptions. In a little more than two years of starter’s work, that’s nearly 3,500 yards — not Bell-level production, but solid nonetheless.

Even Jordan Todman and Fitz Toussaint, who are both out of the league, combined for 123 yards on 28 carries in a 2016 playoff win over Cincinnati.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“That just shows we’ve had good running backs,” guard David DeCastro said with a smile.

DeCastro doesn’t need to say it, but one of the league’s most consistent offensive lines, a high-level quarterback and weapons on the outside open rushing lanes for backs. What Bell did with those lanes won’t be overlooked and will get him seriously paid.

You might be a better hitter than these five pitchers

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One of major league baseball’s great unanswerables is how hard it is. We know it’s extremely hard. The best in the world often struggle at it. But we don’t know how hard — how hard it would be for, say, you.

That’s because managers don’t play a random sample of us against the stars. They play only the very best, and even those very best players are quickly removed if they don’t look credible against the other very bests. The only exceptions to this design are when batters pitch, and when pitchers bat, because in neither event was the player selected for his skill at the task. Instead he is, as close as we get to see,nfl nike jerseys cheap china a randomly assigned adult attempting to do a major league act against a major league player.

But even position players pitching are a flawed experiment, because they all have great arms and they mostly pitch only when the competitive environment has unraveled. If we got to see designated hitters pitch in two high-leverage moments every game, then maybe we’d start to learn about how hard pitching actually is, but we don’t.10

Thankfully, we do get to see that on the other side. One or two times in every National League game the pitcher has to bat. The skill set for which the pitcher was selected from a very young age has virtually nothing to do with hitting, besides general athleticism, awareness of baseball strategy and a desire to go outside. While we can assume that the average pitcher will be a much, much better hitter than the average adult — just as he’s probably a better football player and badminton player than the average adult — the very bottom of the group should theoretically be pretty close to Like Us. If Aaron Nola were only as good at hitting as you are — if he simply couldn’t identify a 95-mph fastball quickly enough to convincingly swing at it — he’d still have ended up a major league pitcher. cheap nike nfl jerseys from china His inability to hit wouldn’t have been any obstacle to his progression to the majors.

Again, most pitchers won’t be that guy. But almost 400 pitchers were forced — forced, not selected — to bat in the majors this year. At least one of them has to be that guy, and by that guy, I mean: You. The person who meets this standard will be baseball’s true hero. It’s easy to go on TV and do something you can do. It’s courageous to go on TV and do something you outrageously can’t.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 44 tie career high, shed taste of sour loss

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Giannis Antetokounmpo had not let Wednesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers go when he took the court in Cleveland on Friday night.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Using his performance in Indianapolis as fuel, Antetokounmpo exploded for 44 points, tying his career high, to lift the Milwaukee Bucks past the Cleveland Cavaliers.10

“I think he’s a competitor — he wants to be great,” coach Mike Budenholzer said after the 114-102 victory. “Anytime he doesn’t meet the standards and expectations he sets for himself, the next game he is going to come out with a very aggressive mindset.”
Against the Pacers, Antetokounmpo scored just 12 points on a season-low seven shot attempts. Afterward, he sat for nearly 20 minutes in silence, staring at his phone and icing his feet and knees, reflecting on the game.

On Thursday afternoon, he slunk away from practice in Indianapolis and shut himself away to watch film with Budenholzer.

He showed up at Quicken Loans Arena early Friday night to get in an extended pregame workout. He was the first player ready to tip off and the first man in a Bucks uniform out on the court after the halftime break.

Against Cleveland, Antetokounmpo was looking to score from the get-go, scoring his first points off a dunk. With Khris Middleton (finger) and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring soreness) out of Milwaukee’s lineup, Antetokounmpo played 38 minutes.

When Antetokounmpo rested in the third quarter, the Cavaliers were able to go on a 10-0 run to slice the Bucks’ once-commanding lead to seven points.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“It’s a game I had to put in the past,” Antetokounmpo said of Wednesday’s showing. “Today was a great win for us. We have to keep building, keep getting better.”

Sam Darnold biggest reason Jets’ potential opening is attractive

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The New York Jets are expected to hire a new coach after the season, and that new coach will inherit a roster that needs major work on both sides of the ball, especially the offense. There’s a reason why they’ve won only 14 games in the past three seasons.

But they have a quarterback, and that will make the job attractive.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Unlike current coach Todd Bowles, who inherited the mistake-prone Geno Smith when he got the job in 2015, the next coach will start his tenure with a potential star in Sam Darnold. He won’t have to worry about signing a free-agent Band-Aid, and he won’t have to travel the country scouting pro days because his guy already is in the building.10

Darnold will be only 22 years old in 2019, having benefited from a season’s worth of experience and scar tissue — the battle wounds of an up-and-down rookie year. With proper coaching and an improved supporting cast, he should be so much better next season.

“Darnold is special,” Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson said after New York’s 29-22 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night. “You see it. He’s special, man. He kept us in the game, for sure.”

“Great performance,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien, a longtime quarterbacks guru, said of Darnold. “He has a great future in this league.”

Imagine if Darnold gets a wide receiver the caliber of Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, or even someone close to that. Imagine if he gets Le’Veon Bell at running back. Imagine if Chris Herndon continues to develop at tight end. Imagine if the Jets can make a couple of upgrades on the offensive line.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

That’s a lot of imagination, underscoring how far the Jets (4-10) need to go before they’re a contender. Unfortunately for Bowles, he probably won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of a fully developed Darnold. It’s too bad, because Darnold has a chance to end the franchise’s decadeslong quarterback curse.

It wasn’t pretty, but for at least one more night, the Browns are still in the playoff hunt

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“Right now for these young guys in there, every game is important,” said interim coach Gregg Williams, who improved to 4-2 since he took over for Hue Jackson. “We’ve been playing each and every week like it’s a playoff. So they’re pretty experienced right now.”
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The Browns will need help on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, if Pittsburgh (vs. New England), Indianapolis (vs. Dallas) and Tennessee (at the New York Giants) all win, the Browns are eliminated from the postseason regardless.

Which means the Browns will be fans of the Patriots, Cowboys and Giants — they need only one of the three to win to stay alive heading into their Dec. 23 game against the Bengals.9

Saturday’s game was a struggle — for both teams. But the Browns got a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield and some big runs from Nick Chubb (100 yards on 20 carries) as they beat the Broncos for the first time since 1990.

“No, it definitely wasn’t our best game, starting with myself,” Mayfield said. “But coming out with a win on the road is hard. And we did that.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Mayfield was nowhere near as effective as he had been the previous four games, but when it mattered most, he came through. After a T.J. Carrie fourth-quarter interception, Mayfield hit Jarvis Landry for 12, Rashard Higgins for 16 and Landry again for 6 before he found Antonio Callaway for the 2-yard touchdown that provided the winning margin.

Denver would get a field goal to cut the lead to one, but Chubb broke a 40-yard run and the Browns were able to keep the ball until 1:49 remained. On fourth-and-1 from the 10, Williams bypassed a field goal attempt and went for the win, but Chubb was stopped for a 2-yard loss.

“The easy thing to say is yeah, you can kick a field goal and make them score a touchdown, but if you get the first down nobody is going to say a thing,” Mayfield said. “We’re aggressive.”

NFL draft: What will the Cardinals do with a near-certain top-3 pick?

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When Arizona Cardinals coach Steve Wilks tried to pick out his roster’s most glaring holes recently, it took him a moment to settle on an answer.

“It is tough to say because there are so many areas that we can improve on,” Wilks said initially.

But Wilks was able to pick one.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I think the No. 1 thing is, when you have a franchise quarterback, as we do in Josh [Rosen], in my opinion, you have to do a great job of protecting him,” Wilks said. “I think it starts up front with the offensive line.”10

When it comes time for Wilks and general manager Steve Keim to take a deep dive into the roster following the franchise’s first 10-loss season since 2012, he’ll find a team riddled with holes — some gaping — and severe needs.

Fortunately for Wilks and Keim, the Cardinals will be picking at or near the top of this year’s NFL draft.

The Cardinals are currently projected to have the first overall pick in April, according to the ESPN NFL Football Power Index. If the season ended today, however, they’d own the No. 2 pick.

While fixing problems on the offensive line will be a must for the Cardinals this offseason, when it comes to the draft, they might be better suited to fix one of their other needs, ESPN NFL Insider Todd McShay said.

How many offensive linemen are worthy of being a top-five pick?nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“None,” McShay said. “I say that, but I also think you get to six or seven to 15 and I think there are two or three guys that are worthy of it.

“To me, if you’re taking a player on the offensive side with the first five picks you’re probably reaching a little bit because you have a need on that side of the ball.”