Bayern didn’t need to be good vs. Sevilla but they have to get sharper

On a big European night, nothing excites the locals in Munich more than Real Madrid, their bogey team, getting beaten. It didn’t matter so much on cheap nfl jersey shop Wednesday that it was Juventus, not Bayern, who were scoring against Cristiano Ronaldo et al. The 3,000 travelling fans from Sevilla also joined in the celebrations each time the two video screens lit up with the barely credible news from the Bernabéu.

Ten minutes from the end of Wednesday’s fairly uneventful 0-0 Champions League quarterfinal second-leg draw at the Allianz Arena, injured midfielder Arturo Vidal, a former Juventino, climbed up a few stairs to the press box, sat down with Chilean journalists and watched the Madrid game on a laptop. It was obvious that nothing of note was going to happen in the Bavarian capital.

The stadium announcer pointedly failed to update the ground when Ronaldo put paid to one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League with his 98th minute penalty. News of the disappointment was only relayed after the final whistle had long gone in Munich.

Coming so quick on the heels of Barcelona’s sensational elimination at the hands of Roma, Real Madrid crashing out would have left the Bavarians feeling much better about their chances of lifting the European Cup for a sixth time. (In the four seasons since their 2013 triumph in Wembley, they were eliminated four times by Spanish opposition.) But even without a satisfactory denouement in the Spanish capital, the events in Madrid and Rome markedly increased Bayern’s sense of wellbeing. They gave their own rather uneven performance against Sevilla an instant air of respectability. What would otherwise have been a frustrating home game with a lack of clear-cut chances and guile suddenly looked prudent and controlled.

“We calmed down the game in the second half and played it out in a focussed way,” Jupp Heynckes noted contently. “You have to draw these kind of games to go through to the next round.”

Against not exactly elite opponents, you can win these kind of games too, of course. Heynckes’ line-up with only two-and-a-half central midfielders — Javi Martinez, James Rordiguez, the roving Thomas Muller — spoke of attacking intent but in practice, Bayern played like a side managing a lead rather than chasing one. At times in the first half, their cautious stance verged on passivity. A better team might have punished them.

“Maybe we could have been more courageous in some moments, maybe we were a bit too passive at times,” Muller said. “But these are details that don’t always go right. nfl jersey online shop On the whole, we didn’t underestimate them and we weren’t too afraid to commit [men forward]. The attitude was right. We helped each other out a lot.”


Real Madrid’s UCL hopes ride on Zinedine Zidane finding the right combination up front

Zinedine Zidane slinked past a steward and disappeared down the tunnel when the final whistle sounded at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night. He knew what most of us watching knew; Real Madrid had dodged a bullet.

The Frenchman figured that while Real Madrid had done their job by qualifying themselves for the last four of the Champions League, they weren’t part of the narrative any longer; at least not on the night. Zidane doesn’t care much for narratives and loves when he’s not a part of it. This particular script’s final scene did not involve Cristiano Ronaldo’s bulging muscles, or Real Madrid at all really.

As the credits got set to roll at the Bernabeu, shop nfl jerseys online we had a showdown between Gianluigi Buffon and referee Michael Oliver. Real Madrid became secondary. And Zidane had work to do.

The reason he disappeared down the tunnel was because he was far from happy with what he had just witnessed and because he knows he has problems that he is struggling to find answers for. The team is laden with talent but riddled with problems. It’s better to have one obvious nadir opposed to several contenders and this Real Madrid side continues to offer up examples of their poor form.

They are not operating in a plug-and-play system and one change can mean an entire shift of system and style. They have several square pegs and an ocean of round holes and Zidane is faced with problems regardless of who he starts. It is intruding on their confidence and the lack of consistent minutes doesn’t help either.

The synergy between Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Isco is way off and Bale was hauled off after an uninspiring 45 minutes. Zidane insisted that he changed Bale and Casemiro in order to alter the dynamic of the game. “I took Bale off because I had to make a change,” he said after the game when the inevitable questions arrived, “I wasn’t happy with the plan. It wasn’t an issue with Bale or Case, but I had to make a change”.

For all of Zidane’s savvy in news conferences and his ability to answer endless questions about Bale and the rest, he is yet to figure out the gestalt psychology of this team. Maybe, just maybe, with Karim Benzema in his starting XI, the whole gets close to being as much as the sum of its parts. Zidane has been telling us for weeks and months now of Benzema’s importance. Maybe he believed what he was saying, cheap nfl jersey shop or was trying to coax his compatriot out of what he says is a “rough time of it” recently. Based on what we saw last night, the French manager does not see Bale as a striker, needs to accommodate Ronaldo’s new life as a No. 9 and needs to adapt.


Rangers lose Rougned Odor (hamstring) and Doug Fister (hip) to DL

The Rangers placed second baseman Rougned Odor and right-hander Doug Fister on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, a day after both aggravated injuries in the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

Odor is expected to be out three weeks with a left hamstring strain. He tweaked the hamstring when stretching to take a throw in a game on Thursday but played nfl authentic jerseys all three games over the weekend against Toronto before leaving Monday night’s game in the first inning. He came up lame after scrambling back to first base on a short fly out to right field.

Fister (1-2, 3.95 ERA) will be out two to three weeks because of a right hip strain, and Colon will come out of the bullpen to take his spot in the rotation.

General manager Jon Daniels said Fister had some symptoms for a few weeks before coming out of Monday’s start after five innings.

“He felt it bothering him, his delivery and affecting how he was doing it,” Daniels said. “Hopefully, he responds to treatment, and then we’ll go from there.”

Right-handed reliever Tony Barnette was activated from the 10-day DL after missing the first 12 games of the season because of a lower back strain. Infielder-catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa was called up from Triple-A Round Rock and was looking to make his major league debut.

Profar has been in a utility role for the Rangers, starting games at third base and second base this season. Profar was 19 when he homered in his first big league at-bat in 2012, but he missed all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons because of right shoulder issues. He split each of the past two seasons between the Rangers and Triple-A Round Rock.

“It’s certainly a luxury to have a guy that we consider an everyday player to be able to jump right in there,” Daniels said. “[It] gives a talented young player an opportunity to play on a regular basis. There can be some benefit in that.”

Colon, who went to spring training on a minor league contract, started the fifth game of the season after the Rangers reworked the deal to keep him. When Martin Perez came nfl jersey wholesale off the disabled list, Colon went to the bullpen and on Sunday struck out four in two innings against Toronto in only the 10th relief appearance of his 21-season career.


Rangers SS Elvis Andrus sidelined with broken right elbow

The losses are mounting quickly for the Texas Rangers, both in the standings and in their starting lineup.

By the time the Rangers finally reebok nfl jerseys had their first day off of the season Thursday — the last team in the majors to get a break — they were the first team with 10 losses.

They also found out they will be without No. 3 hitter and 10-season starting shortstop Elvis Andrus for six to eight weeks because of a broken right elbow, though additional tests Thursday determined that he won’t need surgery.

He was hit by a pitch on his throwing arm in the bottom of the ninth inning of their fourth straight loss, 7-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

“A freak deal … not a whole lot you can do to prevent it,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Definitely an emotional one for all us to see him go down.”

Andrus will go on the disabled list for the first time in his career before the series opener in Houston on Friday, when the Rangers plan to recall first baseman Ronald Guzman from Triple-A Round Rock. Guzman will be looking to make his big league debut.

Second baseman Rougned Odor (left hamstring) and center fielder Delino DeShields (left hand) are already on the DL, along with right-hander Doug Fister (right hip strain). DeShields has been out since March 31, and Odor and Fister went on the disabled list Tuesday.

“In the interim, there is a toughness that you have nfl authentic jerseys to have as a group, as a team, as an organization, to maneuver through things like this,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Not just on the field, but off the field and where the mindset is at.”


Colts TE Eric Ebron sees ‘perfect fit’ with a healthy Andrew Luck

That’s the same reason running back Frank Gore came aboard back in the spring of 2015. Gore and Luck played a total of 22 games together in three seasons because of Luck’s injury problems.

The Colts, and Ebron, hope Luck won’t be spending the 2018 season on the sideline. nfl jerseys from china They need him back on the field after dealing with a shoulder injury for nearly the past three years.

“The reason why I came here is because of Andrew Luck, to keep it honest,” Ebron said. “It doesn’t really matter where I played or where I went, I just wanted a quarterback and someone that I knew could get me the ball and pretty much work with me the way that I knew that I needed to be worked with. And I think Andrew Luck was the perfect fit. Doing my research and my time upon him, I just felt like that was the perfect move for me was to come to Indianapolis and be a weapon for him.”

Ebron spent four seasons with the Detroit Lions, where he failed to live up to the expectations of being the No. 10 pick in the 2014 draft. It didn’t help that receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive lineman Aaron Donald were selected two and three spots, respectively, after him. Ebron was released by the Lions last month after 186 receptions for 2,070 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Colts signed Ebron a week later.

“I’m here. I’m here,” Ebron said. “Frank Reich did a damn good job if I’m here. He knows how to sell you now. … He’s very, very strategic and very, very offensive-minded, which helps people like me in situations of where you want to create the mismatches and you want to do the things that help you evolve and be great. That’s what I like with what Frank said.”

Reich’s offense is predicated on exploiting mismatches. The Colts’ new head coach often did that with the tight ends while serving as Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator the past two seasons. Ebron will have the inside track on being the No. 2 tight end behind Pro Bowler Jack Doyle, to go with receiver T.Y. Hilton on the outside.

“I’ve done a lot of things at a very young age and I do have that as a positive,” Ebron said. “My deal is to just take it to the next level. At this place here,official nfl jerseys cheap I have a new start, I have a new finish. I have a new rep, and that alone means a lot. I look forward to making that rep a good one.”


ESPN draft analysts link Quenton Nelson, Roquan Smith to Bears

The Chicago Bears have yet to win many games in the Ryan Pace era, but there’s no disputing the fact that the Bears’ 41-year-old GM has some of the best general-manager hair — wholesale nfl jerseys next to the Los Angeles Rams’ Les Snead — in the league.

It’s also true that Mel Kiper’s fashionable and ever-evolving hairstyle has been the envy of draft analysts from coast to coast for decades.

So it’s only fitting that Kiper played the role of the Bears general manager in place of Pace in ESPN’s 2018 ‘Grade: A’ three-round mock draft, released this week.

To be clear, Kiper is not making these picks based on the scuttlebutt he hears around the league as the draft approaches. Rather, the draft guru is making what he considers the best choices for each team at each given slot.

Because the Bears currently do not have a third-round pick — by virtue of last year’s trade with San Francisco to move up one spot for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky — Kiper only made a pair of choices for the Bears.

At No. 8 overall, Kiper is standing firm with Chicago drafting Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

As we’ve detailed on numerous occasions, the idea of Chicago’s selecting Nelson makes sense on several levels — even though the value attached to a guard that early in the draft is relatively low.

The Bears have a clear need at guard after the team declined veteran Josh Sitton’s teamoption, and Nelson is widely considered the best offensive line prospect in the draft, nfl jerseys from china and he played for new Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand at Notre Dame. Nelson is built like an offensive tackle, so the possibility of moving him to right tackle — Bobby Massie’s contract expires after the 2018 season — sounds plausible.

Plus, three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long is battling back from three separate surgical procedures. Long said emphatically last week that he’ll be cleared by the beginning of the regular season, he’s missed 14 games over the past two years.


Giants still unsure of running scheme with OTAs and draft looming

The New York Giants running game has been lost at sea. It has been floating there for several years. And they’re still not sure exactly how they’re going to find it and fix it under new coach Pat Shurmur.

The Giants running attack lacked commitment and identity the past few years, when they consistently finished in the bottom half of the league. china wholesale nfl jerseys The last time the Giants had a Top 10 rushing attack was the 2010 season. They were 26th in the NFL in rushing offense last season after finishing 29th the previous year.

With a new coach bringing fresh schemes, there is hope that the running game will improve. The Giants just aren’t sure at this point what form their rushing attack will take by the time the 2018 season rolls around.

“We’re going to see what our guys do best,” offensive line coach Hal Hunter said last week. “If you got guards that can really pull and trap and run power plays, then that is what you want to do. If that is not their strength, then maybe you’re more of a zone team or zone-lead team.

“I’m saying we probably won’t know that until we know what we’re going to hang our hat on until we come out of camp, had a chance to put the pads on and do those types of things.”

They might have a better idea after the draft. By then the Giants will have spent some time on the field and likely added to their roster. There is a very real possibility they add Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick, or they could add a running back on Day 2 capable of contributing immediately.

Both the NFL’s leading rusher (Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt) and Offensive Rookie of the Year (Alvin Kamara) were third-round picks last year.

The Giants were a directionless bunch the past few years. They tried to regularly run power plays out of the shotgun. They played primarily without a fullback and didn’t have a blocking tight end for most of the past few years.

At times they tried to run inside zone, but didn’t have the elusive backs or line to make it a successful staple. In the end, they didn’t commit to much of anything. They were a pass-first team that occasionally ran.

It seems that the Giants are leaning toward a power running attack this season as currently assembled. Hunter called new guard Patrick Omameh a hard-nosed, gritty, nfl jersey china wholesale get-in-your-face tough guy. He raved about how newly-signed left tackle Nate Solder was one of the few left tackles who could run block.


When it comes to drafting QBs, Cowboys have mostly window shopped

The Dallas Cowboys began their draft meetings this week at The Star. They have needs all over their roster and there have been clues as to the direction they might go when the draft starts April 26.

The Cowboys have hosted some of the top wholesale nfl jerseys china wide receivers, linebackers, defensive tackles, offensive linemen and defensive ends on their top-30 visits. Quarterbacks were noticeably missing from their list of visitors.

It’s not that the Cowboys haven’t met with or had private workouts with quarterbacks. They have. But on their list of needs, quarterback isn’t viewed as an early priority.

With Dak Prescott, the Cowboys believe they are set with their starting quarterback. They also like the potential of their backup, Cooper Rush, who won the No. 2 job after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan.

The Indianapolis Colts selected four, mostly because they had Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall picks in 1998 and 2012. The Denver Broncos, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers have selected the most at 11. The Washington Redskins have picked 10.

On average, teams have picked seven quarterbacks (6.97) in the first 18 drafts this century.

The Cowboys, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are the only teams not to take a quarterback in the first round since 2000. The Patriots have had Tom Brady as their starter since early in the 2001 season.

Go back to when Jerry Jones purchased the team, the Cowboys have selected only five quarterbacks: Troy Aikman with the first overall pick in 1989 and Bill Musgrave in the fourth round of the 1991 draft.

At the very least, the Cowboys need another quarterback simply because they don’t have enough arms on campus. While they are sold on Prescott as the starter, would they be wise to select a future starter if things don’t pan out the way they expect? While they like Rush as a backup, he has thrown only three passes in a regular-season game.

Early in Jason Garrett’s tenure as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, the Cowboys valued the backup position by rostering high-priced veterans in Brad Johnson, china wholesale nfl jerseys Jon Kitna and Kyle Orton. Aside from the 2015 trade for Matt Cassel after Tony Romo broke his collarbone, the Cowboys have gone cheap at backup quarterback with Brandon Weeden, Kellen Moore, who is now the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach, and Rush.


Marquette King Agrees to 3-Year Contract with Broncos; Worth Reported $7 Million

The Denver Broncos and free-agent punter Marquette King agreed to terms Thursday on a three-year deal, the team announced.official nfl jerseys cheap

Mike Klis of 9News in Denver first reported the news. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the deal is worth $7 million.

The Oakland Raiders waived King, 29, on March 30 after he spent the past half-decade serving as a special teams stalwart in the Bay Area.

Over his five years as a starter, King averaged 46.8 yards per punt. Last season, the Fort Valley State product averaged 47.4 yards per punt and finished third in net punting average at 42.7 yards.

The only players who ranked ahead of him in that stat—which accounts for touchbacks and returns—were Brett Kern of the Tennessee Titans (44.6) and Johnny Hekker of the Los Angeles Rams (44.3).

The Broncos’ decision to sign King likely puts current punter Riley Dixon on the chopping block.

Denver selected the former Syracuse standout in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL draft. He averaged 45.6 yards per punt this past season, but he also had a league-high two punts blocked.

Denver ranked 27th in the NFL in reebok nfl jerseys net punting average last season with Dixon, while the Raiders were third behind the leg of King.


Michael Bennett’s Lawyer Calls Felony Charge from Super Bowl 51 ‘Ludicrous’

A lawyer for Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett called the felony charge of injury to the elderly filed against his client following an alleged incident at Super Bowl LI “ludicrous.”

On Saturday, wholesale nfl jerseys attorney Rusty Hardin told Zack Rosenblatt of NJ Advance Media the situation, in which Bennett is accused of injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic member of the security team following the NFL title game at NRG Stadium in Houston last year, wasn’t violent.

“There was no fighting, there was no pushing,” Hardin said. “The entire thing is ludicrous. That’s what I think we’ll find when it’s all over.”

Houston Police Department chief Art Acevedo held a press conference after the felony charge was announced and called Bennett’s alleged actions “pathetic.”

“He’s morally bankrupt,” Acevedo told reporters. “There’s no excuse for that. None. Zero.”

He added the woman involved, who uses an 800-pound motorized wheelchair, suffered a sprained shoulder.

Bennett was trying to access the field to celebrate with his brother, former New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, when security stopped him. Hardin explained to Rosenblatt that there was a misunderstanding and his client had the proper credentials.

“The people they were trying to stop (Bennett and his family) had badges that said they could go on the field,” Hardin said. “That always is the case at the Super Bowl. They always let the players down with their families to celebrate with their loved ones.”

He also said Acevedo’s comments on the matter were “uninformed.”

Bennett is due back in court April 23, nfl jerseys china but Hardin said he may try to move the next appearance as he continues to gather information.