Samuel L. Jackson does not like what he sees

Remover of flying reptiles and noted Falcons fan Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t had much to cheer about this year, not when it comes to his favorite NFL team anyway. Something set him off on Thursday night during the Falcons game against the Saints.

I like to imagine he’s saying “get these mother f–king Saints out of this mother f–king Georgia Dome.”

Here we have Richardson (yellow) trying to run down hill right behind the guard’s (red) pulling block. If the guard does his job there should be a crease right inside of him and with Richardson running downhill for once, the result should be a nice gain.

In general, Brown seems to know where the double team will be on these power plays and, smartly, aims for a spot just outside of it. That gets him to and through the hole as soon as possible, which is what these blocking schemes were created for in the first place!

It’s worth pondering whether Richardson has that level of comfort yet with the way these plays are being blocked since he did get traded in the early part of the season, but at some point he just has to put his head down and run as if he is trying to make it through a brick wall. Hell, he is only averaging three yards per carry as it is; I doubt that approach could possibly turn out any worse.

Of course, sometimes it’s not on Richardson, it’s on his blockers instead. These next two plays show two different counters where two different guards totally whiff on their kickout blocks and get him blown up. Not a hell of a lot he could do on either of those plays except make sure he held on to the ball.

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Steelers took the field on Sunday that Big Ben was requesting a trade

If you think there’s any such thing as “tanking,” then you’ve probably seen Major League one too many times. (And hey, even the Cleveland Indians in that movie weren’t trying to lose. They were just bad.) And don’t give me the 2011 Indianapolis Colts and the whole “Suck for Luck” thing, either. The 2011 Colts lost Peyton Manning, the guy that might be the greatest quarterback in the history of the game (and, for my money, is just that). The guy was the de facto offensive coordinator on that team for years, practically called plays and audibles in his sleep, and basically transcended the whole Colts’ scheme.

It turns out that when you lose a guy like that and replace him with guys like Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, there’s a slight drop-off. Weird, huh?

But they still weren’t “tanking.” The 2011 Colts were competitive in plenty of games. . .they were just a bad football team. Much like the 2011 Vikings and 2011 St. Louis Rams were bad football teams. Much like the 2013 Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Vikings are bad football teams. There’s a difference between a team that’s “tanking” and a team that simply isn’t very good.

And speaking of not being very good, that brings us to the second part of the equation that explains why “tanking” is non-sensical. Who on earth would this team be “tanking” for?

Rumors started to fly like a Georgia sorority girls skirt before the Steelers took the field on Sunday that Big Ben was requesting a trade. And who can blame him. All Bens done in Pittsburgh is win two Superbowls under two different head coaches which really says something about his abliity to understand completely diffrent dialects of American English no offense.7

Foster is speaking with specialists in hopes of avoiding season-ending back surgery.

Arian Foster has been dealing with a hamstring injury for weeks. Now, the running back is reportedly dealing with a back injury. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Foster is seeing specialists in hopes that he can receive treatment that will keep him from undergoing season-ending surgery.

Hurd, who played for the Bears and Cowboys during his five-year NFL career, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for plotting to buy and distribute large quantities of cocaine and marijuana; charges that stem from a 2011 arrest. According to an informant, Hurd told an undercover agent that wanted to buy between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana a week during a 2011 meeting in Chicago. He was arrested again in 2017 in connection with another drug deal with his cousin, Tyrone Chavful.

The details of McCrum’s accusations and the phone records he presented as evidence are unclear, but they suggested that the elder Houston, not Hurd, was Chavful’s partner in the drug ring.

Chris Houston spent three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before being traded to Detroit in 2010. He has started all nine games for the Lions this season and has 36 tackles, one interception and seven pass breakups.

It seems like less is possible after two seasons at Wisconsin, three preseasons, and two teams that decided not to keep Tolzien around. It’s not that teams haven’t made mistakes with undrafted free agents before (Kurt Warner) but even the Dallas Cowboys knew to keep Tony Romo around for awhile.

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What are the chances the Saints sign Johnny Manziel?

Ever since the Cleveland Browns cut Johnny Manziel in March 2016, rumors have swirled about when and where he would return to the NFL.

Wait, no. That’s not true.

First, the rumors were whether or not he’d be indicted for domestic abuse after a high-profile altercation with his then-girlfriend (he was). Then, they were about if the league would suspend him for substance abuse issues (it did). In between, the question was whether his high-powered agent would drop him as Manziel partied his way up and down the West Coast (he did).

The Redskins also lost defensive lineman Chris Baker, who is joining Jackson in Tampa. The Redskins already had plenty of holes to fill and now things are worse as the team seems rudderless.

The Browns bolstered their offensive line by signing former Packers center JC Tretter and former Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler. The Browns also re-signed guard Joel Bitonio. Then the Browns traded for quarterback Brock Osweiler from the Texans in a deal that was more about acquiring another second-round pick next year than it was about getting Osweiler, who will probably never suit up for the Browns. Cleveland now has eight first- and second-round picks over the next two years, meaning the Browns could actually be a contender in the AFC North by 2018.

We could be seeing a changing of the guard in the NFL soon. Heck, even the Rams made some decent moves in signing offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth from the Bengals and former Bills wideout Robert Woods.

Wentz got off to a hot start to his rookie season before he fell back to Earth as the Eagles lacked a big-play receiver. They potentially signed two on Thursday in former 49ers and Ravens receiver Torrey Smith and former Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery.
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NFL Draft: Ryan Ramczyk is unique path to pro football should be considered a positive

Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk figured his livelihood would involve wearing a face mask.

And not necessarily one attached to an NFL helmet.

Not every team can compete with the best. If we learned anything this season, it is that Westbrook needs help. Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott were a good start, but the Thunder need another All-Star — they need a Kevin Durant.

Meanwhile, those who said the rich, entitled jock really wasn’t sacrificing anything with his kneeling must be aware by now exactly what he sacrificed.

Until someone proves it wrong, he has sacrificed his NFL career. Teams find Manuel, Foles and Smith to be more reasonable options at what they have made clear is the most important position in their sport.

NFL teams are free to prove that wrong. So far, early in free agency, they haven’t. The 31-year-old running back would have been due $18 million in salary against the cap in 2017 had he stayed in Minnesota. The Vikings did not pick up the option on Peterson is contract and, on Thursday, confirmed they would be moving on from him.

Considering the Vikings’ hard fall from being NFC contenders, Peterson will want that status again out of his new employer. If he is willing to accept reasonable money for a back of his age with high mileage and more of a committee or backup role, there are three championship-caliber teams that make sense for him.

Though not a literal trade, Peterson in Oakland and Latavius Murray in Minnesota would in effect be exactly that. The Vikings confirmed their Peterson break-up hours after they announced their acquisition of the former Raiders back.

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Clay Matthews injury update: Packers LB could return on Nov. 10

The Green Bay Packers are hoping to have their star linebacker back on the field in two weeks, according to ESPN.com.

Clay Matthews, who broke his thumb back in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions in a 22-9 win, is getting all of the pins removed on Nov. 4. Should everything go as planned from there, it could only be a few days before he is back in pads making an impact.

“There’s a potential for (a ruptured Achilles), yes,” Schwartz said. “That’s what we’re looking at. And if he does, that would be season-ending. That would be disappointing, but let’s pray it’s not. But that’s what the initial diagnosis was.”
Broyles suffered the injury on a punt return in the third quarter. He called a fair catch as the return man and let the ball bounce into the end zone. He did not take contact on the play, but had to hobble back to the sideline where he was greeted by trainers who went with him back to the locker room.

If Broyles is out, he will have suffered a season-ending injury for a third straight year. His 2012 rookie season ended after 10 games with a torn right ACL. He tore his left ACL during his senior season at Oklahoma.

The Lions’ wide receiver corps has been snake-bitten with injuries and off-field trouble the last few seasons, outside of Calvin Johnson’s brilliance. The good news for Detroit is that Nate Burleson is nearing a return to the field. After suffering a broken forearm in a pizza-related car accident earlier this season, Burleson was able to work out before Sunday’s game, and is hoping to return after the Lions’ Week 9 bye, according to the Free Press.
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Brandon Meriweather suspension: Sentence reduced to 1 game after appeal

Brandon Meriweather had his suspension reduced to one game without pay after his appeal in front of NFL officer Ted Cottrell, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports. The Washington Redskins safety was initially suspended two games after drawing two personal fouls on separate plays for head-hunting Chicago Bears wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery this past Sunday.

“He’s gotta get better. He’s gotta get to the point where the reliability factor is there as strongly as it always has been,” the coach said today. “Has it been there up to this point? No. But we’re saying ‘let’s work, let’s get back to work and get this done.’ We count on this guy.”
Nicks has been the source of much conjecture around New York in recent weeks. With the team seemingly out of the playoff picture before Halloween, there has been talk of potentially dealing the former first round pick. Nicks’ deal expires at the end of this season, giving the Giants plenty of motive to send him packing if they do not plan to re-sign him.

Even after Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 114 yards, he still gets dogged with questions about his injuries. Gronkowski spoke with media on Wednesday and said that he is putting his injury history behind him and will focus on upcoming opponents.

Gronkowski still wears a long brace on his forearm, a byproduct of his surgery over the summer. He broke his arm in Week 11 of the 2012 season and returned in to play at the end of the season before re-injuring the arm. When all was said and done, Gronkowski has had his arm operated on four times since the initial injury.

Here is a quick look at the res7t of the news from Wednesday evening.

Potential 1st-rounder Sidney Jones tore his Achilles on the day’s last drill, per report

On Saturday, the University of Washington held its Pro Day, and a projected first-round draft pick suffered a possible damaging injury to his draft stock. Cornerback Sidney Jones, projected to be taken in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, was injured while participating. The Seattle Times later reported the injury as a torn Achilles.

Projected first round pick Sidney Jones tumbled to the ground during positional drills at the #UWProDay with an apparent left leg injury.

So here they are, ranked from best to worst. Rankings include the quality of the whole thing, both the words and the emoji, hence the name hashtag emoji.

This is by far the best emoji. It’s a trash fire, for crying out loud, which speaks to the hot mess that is deep down in all our souls (or not so deep down, no judgment). Plus, the hashtag itself, #BracketBusted, is applicable really at any time during the tournament, except for the beginning and the end, unless this is the year someone finally gets it right.

This one just gives all the feels. The emoji is great, and evokes fond memories of championships gone by. I’d like to also advocate the use of this hashtag for situational irony, whenever someone goofs up big time.

Washington (41-24) has been one of the NBA’s hottest teams and is now only 2.5 behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. Portland (28-36) falls to two games behind the Denver Nuggets, clinging onto the West’s eighth seed.

The MVP candidate posted 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists to record his 32nd triple-double of the season. Doing so, he moved past Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most triple-doubles in a season in NBA history. The only person left to pass is Oscar Robertson — the only player in league history to average a triple-double over an entire season.
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Brock Osweiler trade from Texans to Browns affects the entire NFL

The first official day of NFL free agency left no void of headlines. None was bigger than the deal that ended the Brock Osweiler era in Houston for the low, low cost of two draft picks.

The Texans shipped their starting passer to the NFL’s most famous quarterback graveyard, shedding his $16 million salary and earning the chance to hit reset on a seemingly eternal quest for a franchise cornerstone. In return for renting out their cap space, the Browns will receive second- and sixth-round picks while sending their fourth-rounder down to the Lone Star State.

It’s a salary dump more familiar to the NBA’s trade deadline than the opening day of NFL free agency, but it makes sense for both teams. And while the primary actors have the most to gain from Thursday’s shocking news, the tendrils of this deal will reach out across the league’s landscape this spring.

Almost every game on the schedule seemed to come down to “Does Southern Miss have it today?” The wins were mostly definitive; the losses were, too.

Southern Miss in seven wins — Avg. win expectancy: 88% | Avg. percentile performance: 64% (~top 45) | Avg. yards per play: USM 6.6, Opp 4.5 (+2.1)
Southern Miss in six losses — Avg. win expectancy: 13% | Avg. percentile performance: 17% (~top 105) | Avg. yards per play: Opp 7.1, USM 5.4 (-1.7)
Aside from the strange, come-from-behind win over Kentucky in the season opener (UK went up 35-10, then the Eagles went on a 34-0 run), USM left almost no suspense in their other six victories; only the New Orleans Bowl win over UL-Lafayette came by single digits, and Southern Miss outgained the Cajuns by 229 yards. It was a fluke that the game was that close.

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J.R. Smith compared his injury recovery to the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals

J.R. Smith could return to the court Thursday for the first time since suffering a fractured right thumb on Dec. 20. Sitting out for 10 weeks is difficult, and it won’t be easy for Smith to regain his rhythm as Cleveland gears up for a title defense.

Which is why this reminds him of the time some rival of the Cavaliers blew some insurmountable lead in the NBA Finals. Via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

“It will be difficult,” Smith said, “but being down 3-1 [in the NBA Finals] is difficult.”
That’s the best part about the Cavaliers’ comeback last year. No matter the adverse situation they face, they can always downplay it by making fun of the Warriors. What a luxury that is.

It seems like a formality that the Chicago Bears will cut Cutler, who is finally at the part of his contract where the dead money won’t outweigh the cap savings. Cutler will turn 34 in April, and in addition to his usual turnover problems, he’s had trouble staying healthy, playing just five games last year. Cutler hasn’t put together a full 16-game season since 2009, his first year in Chicago.

At this point in his career, Cutler is more of a liability than an asset, but he still has enough name recognition that some team will probably take a chance on him. He’s been linked to the New York Jets, who just hired Cutler’s former QB coach, Jeremy Bates. However, that seems like a longshot. The team is also trying to find a trade partner to no avail. Regardless, Cutler will be an option for teams that think they can win now if they find the right veteran QB.
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