Broncos believe Case Keenum’s 2017 season was a preview of what’s to come

So, it’s Keenum and not Cousins (or any of the other available quarterbacks) who the Broncos have chosen to help lift an offense that has fallen on decidedly hard times.

“He may be just hitting his stride right now,” said Broncos president of football custom nfl jerseys cheap operations John Elway. “A lot of times it takes different situations to get comfortable, obviously. Case was in a good situation last year with the Vikings. My plan is to put him in that same situation this year where he can be successful and have the year — if not a better year this year than he had last year — and continue on.”

Elway added that, with Keenum, he has “high expectations of what we can do.”

It is telling in the Broncos’ evaluation of Keenum that the coach who put him under center in 2013 when the Houston Texans lost Keenum’s first eight NFL starts still has a high opinion of Keenum now. Gary Kubiak was eventually fired by the Texans after that 2013 season. After Kubiak recharged his career with a successful 2014 as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator, he won a Super Bowl as the Broncos’ head coach in 2015.

Kubiak, after stepping away from coaching following the 2016 season for health reasons, was then hired for what has become a growing role in Denver’s personnel department. In the Broncos’ evaluations of Keenum, Kubiak is known to have lauded the quarterback’s leadership (a mental toughness honed by a bumpy developmental road as a former undrafted rookie) and his room for growth.

Elway publicly confirmed last week that the Broncos tried to trade for Keenum just after Peyton Manning’s retirement in March 2016 but could not reach a deal with the Rams.

“We had interest in Case back then, [but] I think it was more the fact that the Rams didn’t want to let him go because we wanted him and were trying to get something done,” Elway said. “They knew what they had in Case, so therefore we couldn’t get it done … nike nfl jerseys cheap also Gary’s relationship with Case and knowing Case, that was a big feather in Case’s cap. As far as I’m concerned, an effect of what Gary thought of him really as a man and what he could do in that locker room for us.”

It is a bit of a gamble to give more weight to one year of production over five, but the Broncos said they’ve done the work, and Keenum said he’s ready to do his part. The Broncos represent Keenum’s first chance to enter an offseason program and training camp as the unquestioned starter.


Importance of Vikings backup QB Trevor Siemian? Think Case Keenum

The Minnesota Vikings know firsthand how having a skilled, reliable backup quarterback can be a game-changer for a franchise. Finding someone to step in at a moment’s notice and do more than just move the ball efficiently downfield was a test Minnesota aced last year — and one the Vikings hoped to repeat this free agency.

Case Keenum proved to be the most important offseason acquisition nfl jersey for cheap in the NFL in 2017 after he was thrown into the fire for an injured Sam Bradford in Week 2 and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.

Aside from signing a potential franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins, viewed as the missing piece for a team in search of its first Super Bowl victory, Minnesota emphasized adding an element it had relied on heavily last season: quality depth.

The former Broncos quarterback came to the Vikings via a trade, a move that was made official Monday. Minnesota sent its fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft in exchange for the fourth-year quarterback and a seventh-rounder this April.

Siemian embarks on the next chapter of his career in a similar position to Keenum’s ahead of last year: a former starter who heads to Minnesota for a fresh start, a redefined role and an opportunity to take his career in a different direction.

It panned out as the opportunity of a lifetime for Keenum, who posted career numbers in completion percentage, passer rating, TD-INT ratio and Total QBR in Minnesota, which earned him a big payday with Denver in free agency. Siemian could be the next beneficiary of such an immense turnaround.

The former Northwestern standout took over for Peyton Manning the season after the future Hall nfl jerseys cheap authentic of Famer led the Broncos to a win in Super Bowl 50. Siemian started 24 games in Denver, where he left with a 13-11 record despite struggling throughout 2017, getting benched in favor of Paxton Lynch and then being called upon to start again last December before his second shoulder injury in just more than a year ended his season.

Phillies’ Eickhoff expected to miss 6-8 weeks

Two days after introducing Jake Arrieta as their new staff ace, the Philadelphia Phillies suffered a hit to the middle of their starting rotation.

The Phillies said Friday that starter Jerad Eickhoff is expected to be out six to eight weeks with a strained lat muscle and will begin the season on the disabled list. Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez were lined up to slot into the 3-4 spots in the team’s rotation after Arrieta and Aaron Nola.107

Manager Gabe Kapler told reporters cheap nfl throwback jerseys at Spectrum Field that Eickhoff suffered the injury late in a 3-1/3 inning appearance against the Pirates on March 9. The Phillies sent Eickhoff back to Philadelphia, where the diagnosis of a lat strain was confirmed.

“There might be a blessing in disguise here,” Kapler said. “We’re always thinking about keeping guys healthy and strong and limiting their total innings count. Those are things that are always on our mind, so it’s possible the innings are limited on the front end and then in September, October, he’s strong and healthy and prepared to go through a full season.”

Eickhoff, 27, came over to Philadelphia from Texas with fellow prospects Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro as part of an eight-player trade that sent pitcher Cole Hamels to the Rangers in 2015.

Eickhoff got off to a promising start with the Phillies in 2016, when he went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 197 1/3 innings. But his velocity declined last season, and he missed time with back stiffness and nerve irritation in his pitching hand. He finished the season at 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 128 innings.

Kapler said the team thinks that Eickhoff’s current injury is unrelated to his upper-back problems a year ago.nfl shop jerseys

With Eickhoff likely out until May, Nick Pivetta could assume a bigger workload to start the season. Ben Lively, Thomas Eshelman, Zach Eflin and Jake Thompson are the other starters in Philadelphia’s camp in Clearwater.

Trade with Jets more proof Colts are confident in Andrew Luck’s shoulder

One of the things that the Indianapolis Colts’ trade with the New York Jets proved on Saturday is that they remain confident that quarterback Andrew Luck will be healthy next season.

Why else nike nfl jerseys for cheap would they have traded back from No. 3 to No. 6 in next month’s draft, which features as many as four quarterbacks who could be selected in the top five? The Colts likely would have stayed put at No. 3 if there were legitimate concerns about Luck’s health.94

Colts general manager Chris Ballard was as adamant as he’s been about Luck’s health at the NFL combine last month, when he said he believes his franchise quarterback will be ready for the 2018 season.

“Do I have any doubt that he’s going to be ready? No, I don’t,” Ballard said at the time.

Through all the front-office, coaching and roster changes the Colts have made in the past 14 months, the key for the organization continues to be Luck’s ability to be healthy.

The desire to cut corners caught up to the Colts when Luck’s body started breaking down in 2015. nfl jerseys nike cheap He has missed 26 games in the past three seasons and it’s likely no coincidence that the Colts missed the playoffs in all three of those seasons.

The Colts — and Luck — have had their sights on the quarterback playing in 2018. It started when they shut him down after continued soreness following a cortisone shot last October. It continued when he spent six weeks rehabbing in the Netherlands. Then there were the comments by Ballard and Luck, saying he won’t need a second shoulder surgery. Luck spent several weeks in Southern California working with throwing coaches to regain the form in his surgically repaired right shoulder.

Jets’ trade could mean Bradley Chubb, other top picks available to Bucs at No. 7

With the New York Jets trading into the third spot of the 2018 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in better shape to land a top-five caliber prospect at No. 7. That’s assuming that the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the Jets all select quarterbacks,nfl jerseys cheap nike which could cause a few of the elite prospects to fall into the Bucs’ lap. Here’s a look at who may be available:

Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State93

A dream scenario would be selecting Bradley Chubb, arguably the top defender in the draft. The Bucs have focused heavily on improving their defensive line play this offseason, signing defensive tackles Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein and defensive end Vinny Curry in free agency. But Chubb is a true edge rusher who can play every snap from Day 1. This would also be a big help for 2016 second-round pick Noah Spence, who is recovering from his second shoulder surgery in two years.

The Browns, who also select at No. 4, don’t need a pass-rusher after drafting Myles Garrett in 2017 and Emmanuel Ogbah in 2016. The Denver Broncos no longer need a quarterback with a top pick after trading for Case Keenum, but do have needs with their pass rush,cheap nfl jerseys nike which is where Chubb could come in. But they also have to account for the loss of Aqib Talib, which could bring a cornerback into play. With the Bucs signing center Ryan Jensen (the Colts were looking at him as a guard), general manager Jason Licht may have effectively forced the Colts to draft offensive guard Quenton Nelson.

Sammy Watkins feels that he can reach full potential with Chiefs

For all of his size, speed and receiving ability, Sammy Watkins is still waiting for his first monster receiving season. Between injuries, changing teams and other factors, he’s been on the brink but never quite there.

That’s something Watkins acknowledged Thursday after signing as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs.nfl jerseys cheap nike He said he joined the Chiefs in part because he feels he can best reach his potential playing in an offense coached by Andy Reid and quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes II.82

“I just feel like I have more in my tank,’’ Watkins said. “I feel like I can get a head start and be my best version of myself.’’

Watkins will have to share the ball in Kansas City, which already had a strong collection of skill players in tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Kareem Hunt. But if he stays healthy, Watkins has a shot to beat his career bests.

In his four NFL seasons, Watkins’ high in catches is 65, set in 2014 when he was a rookie with the Buffalo Bills. He had 1,047 receiving yards for the Bills the next season, and his career high for touchdowns, nine, also happened in 2015.cheap nfl jerseys nike

One reason Watkins feels he can improve, he said, is the presence of Mahomes. The Chiefs traded up last year in the first round to get Mahomes and believe he can be the franchise type of quarterback they’ve lacked for years.

“I’m a young guy,’’ Watkins said. “I’m only 24 years old. I just feel like me and him can get better together. We can grow together. All the guys we have on this team, we can grow. It’s a young team.

Alec Ogletree will be asked to do more than just play linebacker for Giants

Whatever the New York Giants did last year on defense,custom nfl jerseys cheap it didn’t work. They imploded, finishing 31st in the league in total defense and having three cornerbacks suspended because of their conduct.

New general manager Dave Gettleman’s answers to last year’s problems began with a trade for middle linebacker Alec Ogletree. He was the captain for the Los Angeles Rams’ defense, and he’s going to be asked to do much of the same for the Giants.81

“We’re very excited to have made the trade for Alec,” Gettleman said in a statement after the trade became official. “He gives us our defensive quarterback. He was a two-time captain with the Rams, voted on by his teammates. He’s a leader, and that’s very important to us. Just as important, he’s a quality three-down Mike linebacker. We’re just thrilled to have him.”

It hasn’t taken long but already Ogletree is working for the Giants. His first job with the team has been recruiting.nike nfl jerseys cheap He’s been trying to lure free-agent defensive back Tyrann Mathieu to New York.

Mathieu is a coveted free agent who has played for Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona.

“I think he would have a big impact,” Ogletree said. “Of course, being in the division with him and just seeing his body of work, playing with him in college — well, not playing with him, but I know the type of football player he is and I definitely think he brings a lot to the table, for sure.”

Premier League elite get reality check from Champions League contenders

And then there were two. So much for the Premier League planting its flag deep in the Champions League landscape by claiming at least half of the eight quarterfinal berths for this season’s competition.

For the first time in Champions League history, five English clubs made it through the group stage to contest the round of 16, but only two — Manchester City and Liverpool — survived to fight another day on the road to the May 26 final in Kiev.70

Tottenham were eliminated by Juventus, and Manchester United humbled by Sevilla before Chelsea were sent spinning out of the competition by a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona on Wednesday. In fairness to Antonio Conte’s team, few gave Chelsea much hope of making it past Barca,best nfl jerseys who showed just why they are the favourites to win the Champions League again this season.

English clubs are certainly getting stronger after a particularly fallow period in the Champions League in recent years. Since Chelsea became the last English team to win the competition in 2012, the Premier League has had had only six representatives in the quarterfinals. During the same period, La Liga has had 18, with the Bundesliga providing 10.

Only Barca, Bayern and Real have won the Champions League since Chelsea in 2012, so their accumulated wealth of experience and belief in this competition cannot be underestimated. The English clubs are dragging themselves back off the canvas, but their naivety among the elite is why they continue to fail when they are expected to succeed.

City were guilty of such naivety and complacency when going out to Monaco in last year’s round of 16, while United and Spurs suffered because of similar failings this time around.

Are City and Liverpool really good enough and, more important, smart enough,nfl jersey for cheap to beat the likes of Real, Barca and Bayern this season? That is the real issue for the English clubs and we are about to discover whether they really can live up to the hype or if this is destined to be another season of disappointment.

Rangers option outfield prospect Willie Calhoun to minors

The Texas Rangers have optioned prospect Willie Calhoun to the minors, ending his bid to be their Opening Day starter in left field.

Calhoun, 23, had been a second baseman before being traded to Texas in the deal that sent Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers last year.nfl authentic jerseys Rangers manager Jeff Banister told reporters Tuesday that the organization wants Calhoun to get more outfield work in the minors.69

“We’ve seen his ability as a hitter,” Banister said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We challenged Willie to get to work on the defensive side of his game. … He’s going to be a good player, but we’ve got to do some work on the defense to complete that.”

Calhoun, who was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, batted .243 with one home run and five RBIs this spring. His demotion likely means that Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson will start the season in a platoon in left field for the Rangers.nfl jersey wholesale

The 5-foot-8 Calhoun appeared in 13 games late last season with the Rangers, batting .265. He batted .300 with 31 homers in 128 games at the Triple-A level last season in the Dodgers and Rangers organizations.

Julius Randle is changing the narrative of his future

Julius Randle has heard more times than he cares to count how Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers will put on a full-court press this summer for two superstar free agents at his expense.

The Lakers’ big man is fully aware that his future is tied solidly to the team’s master plan to woo the likes of LeBron James and Paul George this summer and that he will more than likely have to go to help clear up to $70 million in cap space.reebok nfl jerseys


“Oh, man, it came to a certain point where I was just numb to it,” Randle said.

But Randle is not sitting idly by and accepting whatever his fate may be. Instead, he’s doing all he can to show the Lakers, and the rest of the league, what he can do.

With James in Staples Center for perhaps the last time as a Cleveland Cavalier on Sunday, Randle turned in a superstar performance, posting a career-high 36 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks before a nationally televised audience.nfl jersey wholesale He made his final nine shots and scored 19 points in the last 18 minutes to turn a close game into a Lakers rout.

Randle is trying to alter the narrative about him having to go in order to land James and George by playing the best basketball of his career, and in the process, he’s doing his best to make the Lakers think twice about what to do with him.

“I haven’t talked to a lot of other coaches about him, but what he’s doing right now, he has to be on everyone’s radar,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s playing unbelievable basketball. He’s a matchup nightmare for teams; he’s versatile. This is just me guessing, but I would imagine most teams are pretty impressed with what he’s doing.”