Marvin Lewis stands by John Ross despite dreadful rookie year

The Bengals made wide receiver John Ross the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, and he had about as bad a rookie season as possible: He never caught a pass, and the only time he touched the ball, on a running play, he fumbled.

But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis denies he has any issues with Ross, and thinks a much better second season is in store.

There’s some anticipation building that the Patriots, especially after the Cooks deal, might pull off another shocker and go after Odell Beckham Jr. But the extra first-rounder allows them to land Tom Brady’s successor however they want, even over QB-needy rivals like the Jets and Bills, if necessary. For now, if New England stays at this pick, Rudolph is an ideal prospect.

Moore has been getting more buzz as a first-round pick, and there’s a chance his stock rises even higher. Moore could help Philadelphia replace Torrey Smith with his ability to make big plays both before and after the catch.

Flacco found a bit more success as the year went along and is currently on track to have a full offseason of work. That’s good for the Ravens because he’ll be working with new receivers in John Brown and Michael Crabtree and coach John Harbaugh says it is “critically important” that they get on the same page.

“[The reps are] the most important thing of all,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s website. “You have to practice. It’s a practice sport. You have to get good. You can’t just roll the ball out there and be great, especially in the passing game. … But with those guys getting the reps and getting really good at what they do, and even beyond that, let’s go to work outside of practice and build that rapport.”

Flacco has not made a habit of getting together with his receivers for a passing camp during past offseasons, but the circumstances of this year and a three-year playoff drought may be enough to alter his approach.bills_125

Nine former players volunteer for CTE study in living patients

An Arizona study looking for players to submit to a study that will detect Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy in living patients has found nine, so far. They’re looking for 191 more.

Former Pro Bowl tight end Steve Jordan and eight others provided blood, saliva, and urine samples on Wednesday. They also competed a 140-question form.

Picking the three All-NBA centers is going to be impossible — or the last two, for voters who list Anthony Davis at center instead of forward. Good luck picking two among LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Al Horford, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan and Clint Capela.

There are two distinct tiers there, with the dividing line coming after either Gobert’s name or Horford’s. Jokic is the worst defender among those first four (Aldridge, Towns, Jokic, Embiid), but he might also be the best offensive player. Towns is the most diverse scorer, and they all average more points per game than Jokic. But Jokic creates so many more points for others via assists, and the general gravity of his game. In that sense, he has a bigger role than Towns does playing alongside Jimmy Butler. He is the fulcrum of everything Denver does — and a more adaptable fulcrum than Aldridge, who needs so much run through slow-it-down post-ups.

“A lot of people have the perception that I quit,” Cravens told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as I took care of what I needed to do. My health is most important. Once I handled that, then I could come back. I didn’t really have the option to return, even when I did get cleared. I’m just ready to get back out on the field and play.”

As Cravens missed the 2017 season, he says, he was devastated not to be out there.

“Whenever the NFL would come on, it would really make my skin crawl. It would just burn me up on the inside, seeing guys that I competed against, seeing my teammates out there and I couldn’t be out there. It hurt me. It hurt me bad,” he said.

Now Cravens is ready to get back on the field for the first time since 2016.

Those three urine tests, according to the documents, were authorized by Delray Beach physician Michael Ligotti.bills_062

The Lions have never hosted a home playoff game at Ford Field.

Logan was drafted by the Eagles in the third round of the 2013 draft and played out his rookie deal in Philadelphia, playing in 59 games and compiling 5.5 sacks and 167 total tackle for the Eagles.

The Chiefs signed the free-agent Logan to a one-year, $8 million deal in 2017 to make up for the loss of Dontari Poe. Logan replaced Poe’s production from 2015 and 2016, tallying 1.5 sacks and 52 total tackles in one year in K.C, but didn’t make enough of an impression to warrant another deal.

Logan was ranked 86th on Around The NFL’s list of top 101 free agents and was the second-best remaining defensive lineman available behind former Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Quotes from the report made their way into a USA Today story at the time by Richard Weiner, and surprisingly, Walsh raved about Leaf. “He is gifted, in just a natural throwing motion that is so quick,” Walsh reportedly said in his evaluation. “With a flick of his wrist, he can get the ball just about anywhere he wants. He is a good competitor, amazingly agile and smooth and graceful in his movement as a big man can be. He handled the Washington State offense beautifully. In a sense, it was an aerial circus.” Mike Shanahan, then the coach of the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos, said the “excellent” Leaf was “a big, strong kid with unbelievable arm strength. He’s played in a system very similar to a lot of NFL teams. That cannot be underestimated.”

Manziel completed 9-of-15 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, but he also took three sacks in only two quarters. Poor protection had a lot to do with that, and his best play of the game came when he threw a touchdown pass on the run.

That particular play reminded us of the Manziel who won a Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M, and apparently some NFL executives agreed.

With the draft fast approaching, Quinn didn’t rule out trading out of the No. 20 spot, but said the team isn’t desperate to fill any holes after addressing their needs in free agency. The GM said his draft board is close to being set, but there will continue to be some tweaking in coming weeks as the team hosts its pre-draft visits, the coaching staff offers additional input and the final medical re-checks are done.

Quinn said he has a list of five or six players, in his mind, who will be options if the Lions stay at 20.bills_045

Sebastian Janikowski To Visit Seahawks

The Seahawks are set to meet with an acclaimed kicker, and Sebastian Janikowski may have a taker for what would be his age-40 season.

Janikowski will make a Tuesday trip to Seattle to visit the Seahawks, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

“I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active because I won’t,” Reid told ESPN. “I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country and improve on the issues happening in this country. I don’t think it will be in the form of protesting during the anthem. I say ‘during’ because it’s crazy that the narrative changed to we were ‘protesting the anthem,’ and that wasn’t the case. I think we’re going to take a different approach to how we’re going to be active.”

No matter where you stand on the issue, it seems Reid will find a different avenue for his protest than during the anthem. It’s natural this topic would come up when Reid met with the Bengals and isn’t really cause for alarm. At least the Bengals were willing to give him a chance by bringing him in for a visit, which is more than any other NFL team can say at this time.

“It would be hard to say that he’s not getting any calls just on talent alone. I think any team that is considering him is going to weigh his political views and the strong stance that he’s taken the last couple years, and that’s unfortunate, but it’s just kind of what it is. So hopefully, teams will look past that and evaluate him as a player, and I think as a player he deserves a spot in this league. But I’d be kidding myself if I said that his stance isn’t playing a role in him not having a call yet.”

Reid chimed in himself:

Reid also said in March he didn’t plan on kneeling during the anthem this season, per the Associated Press:

“I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country and improve on the issues happening in this country. I don’t think it will be in the form of protesting during the anthem.bills_012

Odell Beckham Jr. Trade Rumors: NFC Team Rejected Giants’ 2 1st-Round Picks Of

The New York Giants reportedly asked for two first-round picks in a potential trade involving wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. but were turned down.

Michael Silver of NFL.com reported the news by citing a “high-ranking executive of an NFC team.”

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com also reported the receiver “will not set foot on a field without a new contract extension.”

The 2018 campaign is set to be the last season of Beckham’s deal after the Giants exercised his fifth-year option worth just less than $8.5 million, per Spotrac.

Even with the injury concerns, there is no questioning Beckham’s ability and potential. He was a Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons and had more than 1,300 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns in all of those years.

He is also only 25 years old and figures to have a number of impressive seasons in the near future if he remains healthy.

Still, at least one team reportedly didn’t think he was worth two first-round picks.

While answering those questions, Davis and the companion were asked if they had any knives or explosives. Davis then “turned to his companion and said to her ‘Yes, did you pack the explosives?'”

Davis was then arrested, booked and released on $15,000 bail and will be in court on May 3. TMZ Sports was first to report the arrest.

“The Packers are aware of the matter involving Trevor Davis,” the team said in a statement, per Jill Martin of CNN. “We are in the process of gathering more information and will refrain from making any further comment as it is an ongoing legal matter.”

Davis, 24, was a fifth-round pick by the Packers in the 2016 NFL draft. In two seasons, he’s caught eight passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. He primarily served as a punt and kick returner for the team in 2017, averaging 12.0 yards per punt return and 22.8 yards per kickoff.rams_087

The Oakland Raiders open workouts under coach Jon Gruden on Monday without a key member of the defense present.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported pass rusher Khalil Mack is not in the building to kick off offseason conditioning, according to team sources. Rapoport adds it’s an unusual move for Mack.

Phase 1 of workouts are voluntary for NFL players.

He has 18 points in 19 games as a member of the Lightning, including six power-play points on the top unit. There has been some trading on the second line throughout the season, with the most effective pair on the line being Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde have traded in and out of the other spot, making them somewhat risky for a playoff pool. Andrei Vasilevskiy was the best goaltender in the NHL for the first half of the season, but tired down the stretch. We’ll see if he left anything in the tank for the postseason. But if you like the Lightning to succeed, he’s an easy pick. As tired as he may be, the Lightning have no choice but to ride him.

“I started to see he started to distance himself a little more and a little more and a little more,” Lewis said. “Listen to me. I don’t care about religion. I’m talking about a foundation.

“When your foundation is disturbed, when everything you are doing is the opposite of what got you to this place, then you are making your own life hard.”

Like Carter, who was an admitted drug abuser early in his NFL career, Lewis has experience with poor off-field judgement. Whether that makes him sound experienced and wise or hypocritical — and his comments are fair or unfair — is up to you.

Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice  in the stabbing deaths of two men in 2000, and both accused parties (not Lewis) were acquitted under self-defense.

That, ironically, was Lewis’ crowd. But it didn’t stop him from saying this about Beckham:

“You show me your crowd, I will you show your future,” Lewis said. “Justin Timberlake ain’t never played no football. I love Justin, but he ain’t getting on the ground like that.

“These guys (Beckham) is hanging out with, they are in studios all night. They don’t have to get up. They don’t have no discipline when it comes to athleticism. It’s a totally different discipline.”rams_030

Tee-time bookers: Why your favorite team won’t win the Stanley Cup

For a handful of teams, it took the full 82 games to lock down a playoff spot, but the field is set for the 2018 NHL playoffs.

Any of these 16 teams could be in contention for the Stanley Cup come June, but only one team will win it all. So, what will send the other 15 to the golf course this summer without the sport’s ultimate prize?

No team is perfect, regardless of their dominance, and in a seven-game series, anything can happen. We looked at the underbelly of every playoff team and determined a tee-time booker — the statistical area that could prove to be its downfall, early exit and, yes, reason for a tee time at the local golf course.

Here is a look at the numbers-based shortcoming of all 16 playoff-bound teams.

Brown thought rookie Markelle Fultz was just “OK” after getting nearly all the backup minutes at point guard ahead of T.J. McConnell. Brown said he hasn’t decided if Fultz will be part of the postseason rotation.

“That remains a little bit of a mystery to us,” Brown said. “And it should. He hasn’t played, as we all know, much NBA basketball.”

With the win in the final European Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, Gronkowski moved to 3-0 on synthetic surfaces this season and punched his ticket to the Louisville classic on May 5.

Gronkowski closed out 2017 with a win, making him perfect in four starts since earning a runner-up finish in a pair of turf starts to launch his career.

The umpires misinterpreted the rule in the heat of the moment.

“What we had on the field, what Ronnie [third-base umpire Ron Kulpa] had on the field, was as soon as Stanton ran by him into foul territory there, he had him out for abandoning his effort, which gave Sanchez the base so when they tagged him, he wasn’t out.

“That was our explanation on the field. We were incorrect. The ruling is when a runner from second, in that situation when a runner from second has occupied third and the lead runner goes beyond third base to the outfield or wherever, runs past it, the interpretation is the runner from second is past that runner, the lead runner, so he is out automatically without being tagged.buccaneers_084

NFL free agent news: Well-traveled QB Brock Osweiler signs with Dolphins

Quarterback Brock Osweiler on Friday signed with the Dolphins, his fourth team in two seasons but reuniting him with Miami head coach Adam Gase, who was his offensive coordinator with the Broncos from 2012-14.

Osweiler has played in 42 NFL games — including 25 starts in which he is 13-12 — since Denver drafted him in the second round (57th overall) in the 2012 draft.

Since going 5-2 as Peyton Manning’s regular-season injury replacement with the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos in 2015, Osweiler has been on the move.

The pace picked up again once facilitators Bledsoe and Middleton (18 points) re-entered the game, with Milwaukee taking a 45-42 lead at halftime.

Vucevic added 10 rebounds to pick up his 29th double-double of the season. … Biyombo was 6 of 7 from the field. … The Bucks with a regular season record of 668-536 in their 30 seasons at the Bradley Center.

“Complacency. I think that is kind of what happens to a young team with early wins.” — Gordon, on Orlando’s struggles after starting 8-4 this season.

Last month, Manning turned down Fox’s offer to be the lead analyst for “Thursday Night Football” after already turning down ESPN’s offer to take over for Jon Gruden on “Monday Night Football.”

Fox acquired the rights to “Thursday Night Football” through 2022 for $3.3 billion in January.

“We are growing a culture,” Brown said. “And, oh by the way, we’ve won 50 games and we have home-court advantage and we’ve tied a record. That’s true. But that is never really what’s most on my mind.”

Harrison Barnes scored 21 points on 9-of-25 shooting, and Dennis Smith Jr. added 20 points for the Mavericks, who have lost three straight and six of seven.

“I thought we played pretty hard,” Carlisle said. “This is a very hard team to play.”buccaneers_068

Vandalism charges dropped against Bills WR Zay Jones, report says

After being released from a Los Angeles area hospital Wednesday, Bills receiver Zay Jones has one less thing to worry about following a naked and bloody incident involving his brother, Vikings receiver Cayleb Jones.

According to Buffalo’s 7 Eyewitness News, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office dropped a felony vandalism charge against Zay, citing insufficient evidence.

Zay was arrested Monday at an apartment building in L.A. naked and bloody after attempting to smash through a glass window on the 30th floor.

Instead, he trotted back out and worked a four-pitch sixth inning that lasted about 2 minutes in real time. And after he finally yielded a single to Vogelbach in the seventh, Junis struck out Guillermo Heredia and got Ichiro Suzuki to fly out to cap his dominant performance.

Seattle finished with two hits and left five runners on base.

“We didn’t do a whole lot offensively. Obviously, we didn’t get a hit until later in the game,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “They just beat us. We had a bad night.”

Last season, Washington was led on the ground by Samaje Perine, but the former Oklahoma star rushed for just 603 yards on 175 carries (3.4 yards per carry average) with just one rushing touchdown. Chris Thompson, a great pass-catching running back, also proved unable to maintain an every-down role.

The Redskins pick 13th overall in this year’s draft, meaning they likely will be out of the Saquan Barkley sweepstakes. But they could try to move up and get the Penn State star.

Second-round running back options for Washington likely will consist of USC star Ronald Jones II, who rushed for 1,550 yards last year, and Georgia stars Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. LSU’s Derrius Guice could also be available.

The Redskins moved away from quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason, trading for Alex Smith to replace him. While Smith has proven capable of moving NFL offenses, the Redskins will still need a solid running game to keep defenses honest.buccaneers_008

Rams become 1st team in NFL history to hire male cheerleaders

There will be male cheerleaders on the sidelines of NFL games for the first time ever this upcoming season. The Los Angeles Rams announced Wednesday that two men – Quinton Peron and Napolean Jinnies – have joined their previously all-female cheerleading squad.

I don’t know how you’re going to play the game, added Norman. If your helmet comes in contact How are you going to avoid that if you’re in the trenches and hit a running back, facemask to facemask and accidentally graze the helmet It’s obviously going to happen so I don’t know even what that definition looks like. The rule applies anywhere on the field, notably when blockers and defensive lineman slam into each other. That sort of encounter led to Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier sustaining a spinal injury last December and being sidelined for at least the 2018 season. I understand trying to be safer, I get it. We saw what happened to Ryan Shazier, and I get it and understand that, Norman said. But at the same time, it’s football. The NFL reported a 13 percent increase in diagnosed concussions, 38 more in all, from 2016 to 2017.

The more we saw of the concussion plays, and the more there was a common technique, it became more apparent that we needed to get to the technique that can protect the person doing the hitting also, McKay said.

Can fans carry umbrellas The stadium policy says this: Umbrellas are permitted in Yankee Stadium; however, an umbrella may only be used if, when open, it provides protection only to the guest holding it and does not interfere with other guests’ enjoyment of the game, match or event or compromise other guests’ ability to view the game, match or event. Large and/or golf umbrellas are not permitted in the Stadium. Guests may be asked to close their umbrella if it is obstructing the view of other guests.

Weather forecasters are calling for an afternoon high of 43 to 46 degrees and a nighttime low of 40.

The normal high for New York City on April 2 is 56 degrees, and the normal low is 40. patriots_102-223x223