11

Joe Flacco reluctantly performs unusual batted-passes drill

“He’s standing there with a bag in his hand that goes up to 12 feet high, unrealistically high for anybody’s hands,” Flacco said. “[One time] I just threw the ball and hit the bag on purpose. It’s just like, ‘I get your point. We got it.’”

Flacco added, “I was kind of laughing at him and getting mad at him at the same time.”

Flacco has had 11 passes batted down in the first six games of the season, which are tied with Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins for most in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They’re the only ones with more than seven deflected passes at the line this year.cheap nfl nike jersey

Flacco has had at least two passes knocked down at the line in four of his six games, including two in Sunday’s 21-0 win over the Tennessee Titans.11

“That’s something that’s a problem, because those are opportunities,” coach John Harbaugh said. “A lot of times, those guys are open, and those are chances to complete passes. That’s something that we’ve been working on the last couple of weeks. We still haven’t cleaned it up the way we want to, and we’re not happy about it. We need to clean that up.”

Should this be happening to one of the tallest quarterbacks in the NFL?cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Those guys that are in front of him are pretty tall, too, but [6-feet] Drew Brees, I don’t think, has a batted pass yet this year [Brees has one], to make that contrast,” Harbaugh said. “So it’s probably not as much about that as it is about other issues. It’s always a team effort. Anything like that is always a team effort, and we have to get better at it.”

This hasn’t been a major problem for Flacco throughout his career. Since entering the league in 2008, he has had 62 passes batted down at the line, which ranks 18th in the NFL.

In Flacco’s previous 10 NFL seasons, he never has ranked higher than 16th in any year in deflected passes.

“It is what it is, and it’s something we’ll continue to pay attention to as the year goes on,” Flacco said. “There are some that you can’t prevent, but at the same time, you have to look at it for what it is. There has to be a reason behind it. We have to correct it.”

1

Ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger eyes January return to management

Arsene Wenger wants to return to management in January, saying he has received “enquiries from all over the world” and does not know whether it will be with a club or a national side.

The former Arsenal manager said he could even be tempted to return to Japan, where he managed before moving to the Premier League in 1996.

However, Wenger dismissed the idea he would join Bayern Munich and said the club should stick with under-fire coach Niko Kovac.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Yes, it looks like it,” Wenger told Sport Bild when asked whether he is still planning to return to management. “I believe that [I’ll] start again on Jan. 1. I don’t know yet [where I’m headed]. I am rested, and I am ready to work again.”

“There are associations, national teams; it could be also [in] Japan,” Wenger said. “Thanks to my 22 years at Arsenal, I have big experience on different levels. There are enquiries from all over the world.”1

Wenger also said Mesut Ozil’s withdrawal from international football could be bad for his future.

Ozil decided to quit playing for Germany after the World Cup, saying he was subjected to racism following the team’s group-stage exit, and was widely criticised at home before the tournament over his decision to pose for a photo with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“I did not love it that he withdrew from the Germany team [because] the Germans respect what he achieved,” Wenger said. “A small bit of motivation disappears when you know that you don’t have to be ready for a World Cup, a European Championship. I love it when the players are as good as possible. He loses a bit if he does not play at an international level.”

3

Young QBs like Patrick Mahomes have struggled on road vs. Pats

The New England Patriots have had many notable accomplishments in the 19 years of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era, and Sunday night’s showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs brings one to the forefront.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The Patriots are 23-0 at home in the regular season against quarterbacks younger than 25 years old, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information. It started with a win over Tim Couch and the Cleveland Browns in 2001, while the most recent game to fall into this category was the 2018 opener against Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans.3

Next up: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who became the first player to throw for 10 touchdowns in a team’s first two games. He turned 23 on Sept. 17.

As one would expect from a Belichick-coached team, the Patriots aren’t relying on history to win them a game Sunday night.

“He’s looking like he’s been playing in the league for a few years,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. “You’re either a good pocket passer or a scramble quarterback, and obviously he does both well. One thing he does really well, that you don’t see a lot of young quarterbacks do, he tries to protect himself. A lot of runs, it’s him getting out of bounds or getting down a little sooner than expected. He’s a really good quarterback.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

At the same time, Mahomes has only six career starts, so Hightower acknowledged that part of the Patriots’ success Sunday night will be “maybe giving him some things he hasn’t seen before.”

That has helped against other under-25 quarterbacks who have come to Gillette Stadium over the past 19 years, a group including the Rams’ Jared Goff (2016), the Raiders’ Derek Carr (2014), the Colts’ Andrew Luck (2012) and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan (2009), among others.

7

Mason Greenwood needs patience and luck but can succeed at Man United

Manchester United’s 2018-19 season began in the unlikely surroundings of Glendale, Ariz. as Jose Mourinho’s side took on Club America of Mexico. A soporific game ended 1-1 and was only brightened up by young substitutes, one of whom coaches believe can be as good as — if not better — than Marcus Rashford.

“Did you enjoy that?” I asked Mason Greenwood as he walked through the mixed zone toward the United team bus. “Yeah!” he replied, smiling with childlike enthusiasm. Who could blame him, a 16-year-old living the dream of playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“Mason Greenwood has got the tools to go right to the top of the game and be a top player for United and England,” says Danny Webber, who also came through the United system and is a regular watcher of the club’s younger teams. “He’s two-footed and can take set pieces with either foot. He’s learning the centre-forward role properly now and he’s scoring a lot of goals, but he needs to be challenged.”7

Greenwood, who celebrated his birthday on the first of this month, has played for the Under-18s and 19s in the UEFA Youth League this season, scoring in games vs. Berne and Valencia. He still has some way to go, but what is clear is that he looks far too good for his age group, where he has scored seven goals in his last four games.

“He went to an Under-20 tournament at the end of last season and won player of the tournament,” Webber adds. “A player like him doesn’t come along very often and you need to keep stimulating him and giving him challenges. He needs to keep his head down, keep the right attitude and work at his craft, but he’s already got the stature. He’s six foot; he’s got a frame similar to Cristiano Ronaldo when he arrived at United. When Mason fills out that frame he’s going to have even more power because at the moment he is doing it on ability.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Greenwood is one of the few young players from his club involved with England. Nobody from United was in the national team’s Under-16 squad that trained at St Georges Park in August, while Manchester City had five players and Chelsea three. A recent 50-strong Under-15s camp featured only one from United; Tottenham had eight, Chelsea five and City four.

The Old Trafford youth system is still righting wrongs after several years of underinvestment, but the club have kept hold of Greenwood, despite numerous suitors that included Man City. He was recently given his first professional contract and the money involved is significant for him and his family.

12

Seahawks’ run game is rolling, but where’s first-rounder Rashaad Penny?

The Seattle Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing over the past three games with 473 yards, their most in any such span since 2016. They’ve had a runner hit triple digits in all three, something that hadn’t previously happened in their backfield since Marshawn Lynch did it at the end of the 2012 season.discount nfl jerseys china

The long-awaited rediscovery of their run game allowed the Seahawks (2-3) to win two straight after an 0-2 start. Then they nearly upset the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams last week with 190 yards on the ground, which led right guard D.J. Fluker to boast afterward that Seattle “literally kicked their ass up front.”

As coach Pete Carroll put it Wednesday, “This is what we’ve been seeking.”
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And yet Rashaad Penny has hardly been involved.

That wouldn’t be all that notable if not for the fact that Penny is the Seahawks’ first-round pick, a player who was expected to at least split carries with running back Chris Carson even if he couldn’t beat him out for the starting job. Instead, he’s apparently the third option in their running back rotation.nike nfl jerseys cheap

The Seahawks went with Mike Davis as the starter two weeks ago in Arizona when Carson was a late scratch. Then Penny didn’t play a single offensive snap Sunday against the Rams and got only one on special teams. His rushing totals through five games: 29 carries for 92 yards compared to 64/293 for Carson and 36/172 for Davis.

“He’s just looking for his opportunity,” Carroll said of Penny. “He’s dying to get in there. He’s just scratching, clawing to get back out there and get more turns. There just wasn’t enough [opportunities], but this is a long season, there’s a lot of carries, there’s a lot of running to be done. I can’t wait to see him get in there and get going too.”

That Penny has been a nonfactor in Seattle’s offense has invited criticism over the team’s decision to make him the 27th overall pick in April. The move was questioned at the time by those who felt Seattle would have been better off taking care of a position of greater need — cornerback or defensive end, for instance — that early in the draft.

12

Why Jake DeBrusk is more vital to the Bruins than you might think

It wasn’t the swine flu. Although Jake DeBrusk admits it certainly made for a more compelling tale from the road after the Boston Bruins returned from China.

“I don’t think it was actually swine flu,” he said. “But it felt like swine flu. Very similar. Very awful.”

As the Bruins went through China during the preseason, with games in Shenzhen and Beijing, everything was going through their 21-year-old winger. “We went on a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride to the airport and then a flight for 12 hours after that. That was tough.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

He was impressive in stretches last season, with 16 goals and 27 assists in 70 games, playing big minutes with center David Krejci on the team’s second line. He managed 143 shots on goal, fifth among Bruins forwards, and picked up a few votes for the Calder Trophy. But he was a rookie, and with that inexperience came bumps in the road, such as his one assist in six games and five games without a point.12

The role DeBrusk is playing for the Bruins this season is a critical one. His performance as the second-line winger could influence everything from lineup decisions to whether GM Don Sweeney feels the need to go shopping for another winger, as he did in acquiring Rick Nash last season. As DeBrusk’s sophomore campaign gets rolling, it’s that dependability that coach Bruce Cassidy needs to see.

“What we’re looking for is a little more consistency on the nights when the offense isn’t there,” he told ESPN last week.

“Saying that young guys disappear is maybe a little unfair. But sometimes they’re not as dialed in as they need to be. Mentally, they’re not as strong as the older guys, who know there are going to be rainy days. Some rainy weeks and months. So you just have to find a way to contribute. That’s what happens with the younger guys. They have a level of success, and that’s what they want every night, but life doesn’t work that way.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

DeBrusk knows this. That’s why he has sought council on how to handle what he has called “some ups and downs” in his first NHL season. “I listen to the veterans here. [Krejci] was helping me out, saying stuff that he went through. Obviously, he’s played for a while. He understands the game,” DeBrusk said.

12

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola apologises to Gabriel Jesus after Riyad Mahrez penalty miss

The result leaves City top going into the international break, but only above rivals Liverpool and Chelsea on goal difference.

However, Guardiola was happy with the point after losing his last three games against Jurgen Klopp’s side, and having done it at a ground where City haven’t won in 15 years.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“It is a point. We were close, more than ever to winning here but it is better than last season when we lose and especially when we try to be ourselves all the time,” he added. “We compete really, really good. We had our chance. It’s what it is.12

“I am so comfortable with the performance we have done. They didn’t have one shot on target. In Anfield, that is so complicated.”

Guardiola admitted City played a much slower game than in his previous visits to Anfield to restrict Liverpool’s ability to punish any mistakes — describing Klopp’s side as the best in the world at it.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Yeah, if you play so quick they are much better than us,” he said. “We want to create but when you make a mistake … If it is an open game at Anfield, you don’t even have one percent of a chance because they are so good, they play for that.

“We controlled it through Riyad, Bernardo [Silva], the guys to give the extra pass. Up and down they are maybe, no I’m pretty sure, the best team in the world in these transitions, offensive, defensive, it is built for that. In that situation, they are much better.”

11

Welcome to the postseason, Giancarlo Stanton, now comes the hard part

Successful pressure-packed postseason moments can really provide that life. After spending eight postseason-less years with a Marlins franchise that had trouble even getting to .500 regularly, Stanton — a key cog in the Bronx Bomber machine — can finally say he’s truly chasing a championship.

But in order for a title to come, with the Yankees already trailing the Boston Red Sox 0-1 in the American League Division Series following Friday’s 5-4 loss, and with Stanton coming up short in two clutch spots in the game, he still has work to do for his postseason impact to be felt.

“I wasn’t able to get it done,” Stanton said, just after he struck out in two late-game situations in which he represented the tying run. “I should’ve put the ball in play.”cheap official nike nfl jerseys

These moments of failure were tangible examples of something Stanton intimated earlier this week ahead of his playoff debut. He knew then that this postseason run, regardless how long it ultimately lasts, won’t be easy.11

“You know, it’s been a long road so far, and we’ve got work to do,” Stanton said. “But it’s going to be fun.”

Take one look at his body language coming into October and it’s plainly evident just how much of a blast he had been having.

Perhaps no moment better exemplified his enthusiasm for finally playing on the postseason stage than when he tagged a hanging inside slider in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 7-2 win over the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game. Extra insurance, the 443-foot home run Stanton crushed came off a mistake pitch from A’s reliever Blake Treinen. Stanton sent it, seemingly, into outer space.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“What a moonshot. I was looking for that thing to go out the stadium he hit it so far,” Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said.

It was how Stanton reacted to the homer, though, that best let the Yankees know how at ease he was entering his first career playoff series.

As soon as the ball left his bat, going on a towering fly, Stanton paused for a moment, admiring its arc before slowly jogging up the first-base line.

“It’s kind of what happens in the postseason when you’re feeling hot and you’re feeling great about what’s going on in that game,” New York center fielder Aaron Hicks said of Stanton’s stare-down.

12

Rob Gronkowski-Julian Edelman combo has been elusive for Patriots

The last time the New England Patriots had tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman on the field together for a regular-season game was Nov. 27, 2016. That’s a stretch of 31 games — almost two full football seasons, when including the playoffs.nfl cheap jerseys nike

The hope was that quarterback Tom Brady’s two go-to-guys would be teaming up again Thursday night at home against the Indianapolis Colts, with Edelman’s return from a four-game NFL suspension.

But those plans might be on hold.12

Gronkowski was held out of the team’s walk-through on Tuesday, as the club determined that staying off his injured ankle was a better course of action than having him go through a light practice session that features more mental-based effort than physical work. Edelman, meanwhile, looked like he had a little extra hop in his step in his first official practice since returning to the club on Monday.

“Obviously, it’s amazing. Great to have him back, because it’s another body for us, and it’s a great one — he’s Julian Edelman. He’s the leader of our room. We needed him back,” Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett said. “Not having Gronk out there sometimes … when Gronk does come back, we’re going to be hard to deal with because that’s a lot of bodies thrown at you.”

Because Edelman missed the 2017 season with a torn ACL and Gronkowski’s 2016 season ended after he tweaked his back early in a late-November victory over the New York Jets, Brady and the Patriots have grown used to not having them both in action at the same time. Not that Brady likes it.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Also, receiver Chris Hogan’s production has been down through the first quarter of the season, as he has been thrust into a leading role at receiver without Edelman. Similar to Allen, that’s asking a lot of a player in Hogan who has previously been more of a secondary option.

So when Gronkowski and Edelman are on the field together, it’s almost like the pieces of a puzzle nicely fitting together.

It has been a long time since that happened, and with Gronkowski sidelined from practice, it could be even a little bit longer.

11

Eagles facing early crossroad in title defense

Coach Doug Pederson warned as much, even pushing the mantra “Embrace the Target” beginning early this offseason to drill home that they are going to get their opponent’s best shot week after week.

That theory has largely held up through four games. The Eagles haven’t always been ready for it, or maybe equipped to handle it, and sit at 2-2 as a result. Next up is a desperate Minnesota Vikings team with revenge on their mind following the 38-7 pummeling in Philly in the NFC Championship Game.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“First of all, we have to understand that we are champions, and you have to play, you’re expected to play a certain way,” Pederson said. “When you don’t live up to that expectation, we need to just zero down on it and figure out why. The sense of urgency from players and coaches needs to heighten just a little bit. It’s not a panic mode, but it’s a heightened awareness of who we are as a football team, where we want to get to.”11

Right now, the Eagles are a .500 football team with an offense that ranks 26th in points per game (20.5) and third in penalty yards (343). The offensive line, touted as one of the best in the sport, has been leaky at times and was partly responsible for the 11 hits and four sacks Carson Wentz absorbed last week in an overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans. The defense has been unreliable on the road and is coming off a performance in which it allowed three fourth-down conversions on a single drive in overtime.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Injuries are piling up. The loss of safety Rodney McLeod (knee surgery) arguably cost them the Titans game (his replacement, Corey Graham, was out of position on the defining fourth-and-15 conversion) and leaves them vulnerable on the back end. He is the fourth Eagles player to hit injured reserve this season, joining wide receivers Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins and tight end Richard Rodgers. Jay Ajayi has a fracture in his back, and his running mates, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement, haven’t been able to stay on the field consistently.

Add the fact that Wentz (ACL/LC), defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle) and receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) are just getting back onto the field/rounding into form, and you can see where some of the issues are stemming from.

On the bright side, some of those key players such as Wentz and Jeffery are now back in the fold, and with the arrow pointing up. That’s the way right tackle Lane Johnson chose to look at it while discussing the state of the team on Tuesday.

“We’re starting to get everybody back,” he said. “It was only Carson’s second game. We’re getting Jordan Matthews back, getting Alshon Jeffery back, so it takes time for a cohesive group to get back into a rhythm. Sometimes it’s not pretty, and that’s the way it is.