Eagles schedule 2018: Philadelphia set up to avoid Super Bowl hangover

The Eagles will go into the 2018 NFL season as reigning Super Bowl champions. That makes them the most wanted team through every game on their schedule.

It will be tough for Philadelphia to make the NFC playoffs, let alone win the conference again, given their closest competition has reloaded to take aim. The Eagles do, however, benefit from a rather favorable schedule. Looking at last year’s records, their opponents combined to go 122-134. That’s tied for 13th “easiest” in the NFL.

When taken with a little perspective, it’s hard to comprehend. But it’s James’ own fault; he has been so great for so long that he has turned transcendent into mundane.

This week, a former student at James’ high school in Akron, Ohio, started a GoFundMe account looking to raise money to erect a statue in James’ honor in the city. He is the most famous resident in the history of the entire region. He has donated millions to its schools and children. And two years ago, he won Cleveland its first pro sports title in 52 years. That he doesn’t already have a statue is an upset.

Accoording to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, he’s scheduled to address the owners one final time before they vote to approve the sale at their meeting in Atlanta.

The 81-year-old Richardson was once one of the most powerful owners in the league, a close confidante (if not patron) of commissioner Roger Goodell. But he was on the wrong side of the league’s efforts to get back to Los Angeles.

He was pushing for a joint stadium in Carson for the Chargers and Raiders, a very old-NFL move which fell by the wayside for bigger new-money deals in Inglewood by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and eventually the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.

Why Yankees’ Miguel Andujar has gone from red hot to struggle city

colts_001`Miguel Andujar wasn’t going to look like prime Manny Ramirez forever.

At some point, he’d struggle, the way any player might, particularly a 23-year-old in his first extended big-league look.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone thinks he knows what’s up with Andujar at the plate. He talked about it before Friday’s game against the A’s at Yankee Stadium, the start of their three-game set.

Part of it, Boone said, is that teams are pitching him a little tougher.

A rematch with Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James awaits them, but for a Celtics team that has had to trudge uphill throughout the season, still playing at this point of the postseason feels like reason to celebrate.

And while most people can’t fathom how the Detroit Lions failed to uncover Matt Patricia’s 1996 arrest during their month long coaching search, Banner had an entirely different response when he stumbled across the news Thursday morning on Twitter.

My reaction when I saw it was, ‘Oh my God, this could have happened to me,’ Banner said.

This could have happened to almost anybody.

Patricia has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the 22-year-old case, saying Thursday, I was innocent then and I am innocent now.

He and a friend were charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault during a spring break trip to South Padre Island, Texas. The two were indicted by a grand jury in August of 1996, and the case was dismissed in January of 1997 when the accuser declined to testify.

“I was troubled by it,” sociologist and civil activist Harry Edwards recalled, “not so much because [Woods] seemed to be disassociating himself from African-American roots but because, as a man who has from the outset been perceived and defined by society under the rubric of the ‘one-drop rule’ as black/African-American, given the inevitability of trials and tribulations ahead, he undercut his support base, left himself no place to turn — no struggle heritage, no survival heritage to lean on, no identity, no refuge.”

Bill Belichick has choice opportunity

Coming off a Super Bowl win, last year’s Patriots chose to plug some of their most significant holes with young established players, not draft picks. That meant as the 2017 draft played out, they were more bystanders than players.

Ben Arledge, Insider editor: As already noted, there more seasoned teams than the Golden Knights lingering out there in the West. And, for that matter, there are some pretty good hockey teams battling it out in the Eastern Conference. One of those also would stand in the way of the Knights should they navigate their own conference.

Sidney Crosby and David Pastrnak have alone combined for more goals (eight) in their first three playoff games than the entire Vegas team scored through four. In all, the Golden Knights managed just 1.75 goals per game and just 1.53 per 60 minutes. I still think it’s unlikely Vegas can get through those thoroughbred teams en route to 16 wins, despite the impressive clinching of the first four.

With all that said, I can’t continue to naysay this team. No one thought Vegas was going to hit 109 points during the regular season or win the division. Then again, no one thought it was going to reach 80 — or even 70 — points. As mentioned, I thought the Kings would be able to handle the Knights despite their own deficiencies. But I was wrong, and I’ll happily admit that now. The Golden Knights are legitimate Cup contenders, and they have shown once again that they were drastically underestimated by bouncing Los Angeles in four games.

That doesn’t mean all is well. Gronkowski has taken his trademark individuality to the extreme this offseason, declining to declare that he’ll play and, most recently, arguably trolling coach Bill Belichick over Gronkowski’s obvious intention to treat voluntary workouts as just that.

It’s possible Gronkowski simply wants more money, and that if the team wants to address a contract that will pay Gronk $8 million this year, maybe Gronk will have more enthusiasm about April, May, and June non-mandatory practices.

As to Gronkowski’s pay for 2018, the $8 million he’ll make matches the $8 million per year that former Eagles third-string tight end Trey Burton will earn in Chicago this year, and it’s $2 million less than the $10 million per year that Jimmy Graham will make in Green Bay. Clearly, Gronkowski is underpaid.

Washington bringing back nose tackle Phil Taylor

Washington’s giving Phil Taylor another chance to complete an amazing comeback.

According to Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, the veteran nose tackle is coming back on a one-year deal.

Taylor missed last season after tearing his left quadriceps during the preseason, and has battled knee problems throughout his career.

The former Browns first-rounder hasn’t played in the league since November 2014, but was penciled into the starting lineup for Washington last year in what would have been an incredible return from injuries. Now he gets another chance to do it at age 30, which will be that much more impressive.

Thus, the premise of King’s item — that Rosen may be dismayed with Mora’s comments from last week — presumes that, in reality, Rosen isn’t delighted by them. The truth may be that he is.

So why is Rosen visiting the Browns this week, you ask? Again, he’s sufficiently self aware to know how others regard him, and he doesn’t want to be regarded as a guy who is trying to engineer the draft process in his favor. Even if he is.

Johnson played only 43 snaps before a wrist injury that required surgery. He spent the season on injured reserve.

Johnson, 26, earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2016 with 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns. His return is good news for new coach Steve Wilks, who is expected to rely heavily on Johnson in 2018.

And one other position the Rams need to be thinking about is left tackle, where last year’s acquisition of Andrew Whitworth was a great move in the short term but not a solution in the long term. Whitworth will turn 37 this year and realistically won’t be around much longer. Left tackles are expensive, and the Rams will need to go shopping for a new one to protect Jared Goff sooner rather than later.buccaneers_022

As U.S. women celebrate, men’s team looks ahead to 2022, possible NHL return

The 20-year-old had a star-making moment in the women’s final, stopping 29 of 31 shots in regulation, plus four of six in the shootout, to propel the U.S to its first gold medal since 1998. In overtime, with Canada on a power play and with the left side of the net seemingly wide open, Rooney made a diving stick save that is sure to become U.S. legend.

But life without McDavid and Draisaitl gives me pause, as does the fact that Maroon doesn’t exactly bring much speed to the table in comparison to other left wing deadline options like Evander Kane and (especially) Michael Grabner. I feel like much of the buzz around him comes from the contract and the hope that he costs via trade less than players like Kane, Rick Nash and Hoffman. I wouldn’t give up a first-rounder for him, but someone probably will.

Sabres winger Evander Kane is one of the biggest names on the market. Could we see Jumbo Joe Thornton feathering passes to him with the Sharks? Will the Predators pounce if they don’t land Rick Nash? And would Kane be a good fit on the Kings’ top line?

Entering the season, the Golden Knights faced the longest odds of any team just to make the playoffs. Now Vegas is on track to do the unfathomable: finish with the NHL’s best record, thanks to its balance, gritty goaltending and “next man up” mentality.

With the experience, Duvernay-Tardif also has been able to learn things that he can apply to both of his careers moving forward.

“Everything regarding training and all of the science of the sport, like what do you eat before a competition, how do you hydrate, how do you recover, what’s your pattern of sleep, it’s all stuff that is relevant for me as a future doctor but also as a football player,” he said. “I’ve learned stuff for my own personal routine.”

Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: I don’t know if there’s any player in particular I would avoid, but I do think some have price tags that are toxic. As the trade deadline approaches, you hear the names Martin Hanzal and Kevin Shattenkirk surface in conversations.49ers_042

Redskins lose running back Chris Thompson with broken fibula

Chris Thompson’s season is over.

Washington (4-6) was unable to hold the lead as the Saints (8-2) rallied for an improbable 34-31 victory in overtime.

Train wreck: The Raiders were considered a contender at the start of the season. And after a 2-0 start, that expectation seemed legit. Since then, the Raiders have been held to fewer than 20 points in six games (all losses) and have seen their playoff chances dip to 4.8 percent, according to FPI. Unless they can string together some wins, this season is off the rails.

Toss-up: Another loss and the Cardinals probably can be written off, but they do play four of their next five at home, so there is a chance to pick up some wins. If they can win a few more without Carson Palmer and David Johnson, that’s worth something.

The Patriots have claimed the veteran tight end off waivers a day after he was cut loose by the Packers, New England announced Thursday.

Bennett caught a career-high seven touchdown passes with New England last season before signing a three-year, $21 million contract with Green Bay in March. The Packers waived him Wednesday with a “failure to disclose physical condition” status, hours after coach Mike McCarthy said Bennett wouldn’t play this weekend against the Bears due to a shoulder injury.

While it remains to be seen how that ailment will affect Bennett’s availability going forward, scooping him up now is a classic Patriots move. Due to the way Bennett’s contract is structured, it will cost New England less than $725,000 to have him on the roster the rest of the season.

If and when he gets healthy, the 30-year-old Bennett should be able to step back in as a complement to Rob Gronkowski. The only other Patriots tight end with a reception this season is rookie Jacob Hollister, with three catches.

Magic: Visit Memphis on Wednesday night for their third game in four nights.

The Broncos’ woes, which were on full display in Monday night’s loss to the Chiefs, aren’t all on Trevor Siemian, but they may cost him his job anyway.
Siemian finished 19 of 36 for 198 yards and a touchdown, and has now thrown eight picks and only three TD passes in the past five games. The Broncos have lost all but one of them.

The Chiefs were threatening to put the game out of reach later in the first quarter when coach Andy Reid got cute with the play-calling. Rather than keep the ball in the hands of Smith, who hasn’t thrown a pick all season, he let wide receiver Tyreek Hill throw it — and he was intercepted in the end zone.

Kansas City still led 20-3 when the Broncos’ offense finally found some rhythm.

“It just wasn’t our night offensively, so we’ve got to do better the next game,” said Holiday, who had six turnovers. “We’ve got to be better taking care of the ball and I will personally get better.”

Pelicans: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night. “It’s frustrating. I feel like I’m seeing [Bell] got the ball 35 times, and I got it seven in the first half and then don’t touch the ball again,” Mixon said. “[Jeremy] Hill only got one touch in the second half. It’s frustrating to us running backs. We feel like we’re in the room, and we feel like we’re part of the offense. If it worked in the first half, why not do it in the second?”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Mixon needed to “show maturity” with his comments. However, his words did not affect his playing time. Mixon caught a screen pass that went for 67 yards in the first half of the game against the Colts. He finished with 11 rushes for 18 yards and three receptions for 91 yards.

Rivers, Chargers could challenge Patriots

Now comes Rivers, who had two 300-yard games in the 0-4 start but has thrown for 258, 268 and 183 in the three wins.

And, of course, Rivers comes in joined by tight end Antonio Gates, always a headache for opposing defenses.

“Phil is a tremendous player, a great competitor, a really smart player,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday, adding he got to know Rivers while coaching him in a Pro Bowl. “He’s a real football guy like Tom (Brady), like Peyton Manning, guys like that. They’re just deep into it.

2.5 percent. Thursday’s win over the Chiefs might have saved the Raiders’ season, but there’s still a lot of work left to do. They won’t play in Oakland again until after Thanksgiving, and they currently have the third-toughest remaining strength of schedule. Good luck with that.

The first three meetings with the AFC East resulted in three straight losses to the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Patriots, each in more embarrassing fashion than the one before.

“Whatever plays are called are called,” Lewis said.

It seems to be a fairly safe bet that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who injected some life into a unit that was awful before he took over for Ken Zampese after Week 2, will put the ball in the hands of Mixon and Green pretty early.

A slow start in this one is the last thing the Bengals need. With a three-game road trip coming up in which they will be underdogs in every game (Jacksonville, Tennessee, Cincinnati), they can’t afford to flub this one.chargers_006

Browns seek first victory of season vs. Jets

When the NFL schedule came out in April, many looked at the Jets-Browns Week 5 matchup as one that could possibly decide the top pick in next year’s draft.

It still might for Cleveland, which is one of four remaining winless teams (along with the 49ers, Chargers and Giants).

But for the Jets, Sunday’s game at the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium gives them the opportunity for their first-three game winning streak since they won five in a row from Weeks 12-16 of the 2015 season.

It also gives New York quarterback Josh McCown a chance at his first win in Cleveland, something he failed to do in two seasons playing for the Browns.

“We have to correct it. We had a great practice, and I don’t know about the dumbing down of the calls because I still feel like we had some calls out there, but we have to be able to handle it.”

Giants receiver Odell Buckham Jr. said, “You don’t hang your head. For what? OK, you lost a couple games. You’re a man. Adversity tests your manhood. So let’s see what kind of man you are.

“Are you going to fold, you going to break, you going to give in or you going to keep pushing? I know that we’re going to keep pushing. I know that for sure. That’s the goal is to get everybody in here to push each and every day.”

Like Lynn, McAdoo has also said he will attempt to simplify things for his struggling ballclub in the week of practice leading up to the game.

Bennett was not arrested or charged in the matter.

I think he sounded the funniest with his “Gotta stay focused” he must have said “Focused” so many times he was like a cartoon character. Reminded me of “Mugsy” in the Bugs Bunny bit: “Alright Mugsy, take the rabbit into the other room and let him have it” “Da,, Okay Boss OKAY”.

Free safety, confidential: Jimmie Ward is the projected starter at free safety if healthy, but he’s still not at full health, and after stretching with his teammates, he was kept out of position drills because of a month-long hamstring issue. So who would start in his place, Jaquiski Tartt or Lorenzo Jerome?

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Jerome and Tartt have three days to compete for that potential starting role, one the team won’t consider Ward for unless he strings together consecutive positive days on the field.

Ilgauskas was a first-round pick of the Cavaliers in 1996. He made his debut a year later and spent 12 seasons in Cleveland before joining LeBron James in Miami as a free agent in 2010.

Bennett was not arrested or charged in the matter.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Kevin McMahill, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. undersheriff, said officers were responding to a call of an active shooter in a nightclub at The Cromwell Hotel and Casino when they encountered Bennett amid large groups of people running for cover and hiding in the casino. Officers later determined no shooting occurred.