11

49ers won’t take him, but Kyler Murray moves will impact Niners’ draft

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray’s announcement last week that he intends to focus on football made waves in the Bay Area, particularly at the headquarters of the Oakland Athletics.

While the A’s most directly felt the impact of Murray’s apparent decision to bypass the chance to play baseball for them, the ripple effect of Murray’s news made its way to the area’s local football teams.

On the surface, the San Francisco 49ers and Murray won’t have much to do with each other. The Niners have a huge investment in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and there’s next to no chance that Murray will be on San Francisco’s radar with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

There’s a long way to go until the draft, but many are expecting Ohio State pass-rusher Nick Bosa to be the top overall pick, which, for now, is held by the Arizona Cardinals. Given the 49ers’ need for a dominant edge rusher, Bosa would be an ideal fit.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have been connected to Murray since video surfaced of new coach Kliff Kingsbury praising Murray last year and saying he’d take him with the top pick.11

Kingsbury has attempted to quell that speculation, saying that Josh Rosen is the guy in Arizona. But you don’t have to look hard to find examples of teams being committed to a quarterback right up until the moment they aren’t. In 2015, the Rams spent months trying to convince the world that they were sticking with Sam Bradford. Then, on the first day of the league year, they traded him to Philadelphia for a package that included Nick Foles.

If, over the next couple of months, Arizona trades Rosen and drafts Murray, that would be the easiest path to giving the Niners a chance to land Bosa.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Even if that doesn’t happen and Arizona stays with Rosen, having Murray in the mix could improve the Niners’ position. With teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins in need of quarterbacks — and others, such as the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers lurking as potential surprise entrants in the derby — the only way to ensure landing the signal-caller they want is to trade up to No. 1.

Simply put, any situation in which someone other than Bosa goes No. 1 overall would be a boon to the Niners, and while Murray’s presence doesn’t guarantee such a scenario, it certainly doesn’t hurt the chances of it happening.

10

Patrick Mahomes inherited clutch gene from his major league dad

To understand how Patrick Mahomes, 23, could remain so composed on his rocket-ship rise to stardom is to know his family’s history when it comes to big games and the poise required to win them.

Nearly two decades before Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs started preparing to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Mahomes’ father, Pat, was as nervous as a pitcher could be while waiting for that phone to ring in the New York Mets’ bullpen. But once it did ring, and once the caller requested his services, everything changed.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

The Mets had lost eight of nine games at the end of September 1999, a collapse that appeared certain to cost them their first postseason appearance in 11 years. Their manager, Bobby Valentine, assured his players they would still make the playoffs if they could just rediscover the belief they had in each other. The Mets would need to sweep Pittsburgh in the season’s final series for a shot at advancing, and Valentine trusted few Mets more than he trusted Mahomes, a fearless 29-year-old righthander who was about to make the biggest pitches of what would be an 11-year career.10

“For the first time in my life I had a manager who totally believed in me,” recalled Mahomes, who had already pitched for the Twins and Red Sox, and for the Yokohama BayStars in Japan. “Bobby was the first manager who let me be me on my mound.”

Valentine also let his reliever bring his 4-year-old son to work. Mahomes had one of the Mets’ clubhouse guys put together a uniform for young Patrick, who was allowed on the field during batting practice.

“An adorable kid,” Valentine said. “I recall Patrick running around in my clubhouse, jumping up and giving guys high-fives after games. During batting practice Pat would take him into the outfield behind second base.”

Some coaches warned Mahomes that he needed to guard his son as line drives were whistling all over Shea Stadium, but the pitcher thought Patrick already knew how to handle himself on a ballfield. Pat and Patrick used to play a game called 500 that earned a participant 25 points for fielding a ground ball, 50 for fielding a one-hopper, and 100 for catching a fly ball. Patrick figured he needed to run down some 100-pointers during BP if he wanted to finally defeat his dad. He was 5 years old in the 2000 season when he caught his first big-league fly, off the bat of Robin Ventura. “I can still remember him holding up the ball, all excited,” his father said.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

But back in the fall of 1999, times were tense at Shea. On the night of Oct. 1, the Mets and Pirates had tumbled into extra innings when Valentine asked Mahomes to face the middle of the Pittsburgh order.

12

James Bettcher’s first season came with giant limitations

Bettcher is a coach accustomed to leading top-10 defenses, which he did in each of his three seasons as a coordinator in Arizona. He is used to playing uber-aggressively and attacking opposing quarterbacks with blitzes from every direction. His Cardinals defenses were 10th, second and first, respectively, in blitz percentage each of the previous three seasons.

Things were certainly “different” in his first year with the Giants, beginning with Bettcher failing to command a top-10 defense for the first time in his career. It wasn’t what the Giants or Bettcher were expecting when he was hired last offseason. The Giants finished 24th in total defense (371.4 yards per game) and 22nd in weighted DVOA (42 percent).china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Hamstrung by a lack of lack of talent and inexperience, this was an unfamiliar Bettcher defense. The Giants blitzed only 26.3 percent of the defensive snaps, which was 22nd in the NFL. That was significantly less than when Bettcher blitzed 33-45 percent of the time in his three years with the Cardinals.12

“Different place. Different players. Every situation is different,” Shurmur said. “No different than working on offense if you have a different style of quarterback. You have to maximize the strengths of the players you’re working with. Same here. Our roster looks a little bit different than it did in Arizona, so he’s trying to do what he can to try to get the most out of our players.”

Three of the four top-paid players on the roster are on offense. Gettleman used the No. 2 overall pick on running back Saquon Barkley. His top free-agent acquisition was left tackle Nate Solder, who signed the largest contract in NFL history at the time for an offensive lineman, and his biggest move since taking the job was signing star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a long-term deal that made him the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history. Four of the Giants’ past five first-round picks were also offense, offense, offense. This team is invested in its offense.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Yet the defense that itself scored three touchdowns in the second half of the season was the primary culprit for 5-11? It’s a tough narrative to accept for what another NFL executive described as a group of “mismatched parts and not many playmakers.”

It seems a strange approach to deflect blame from an offense that took time to get accustomed to Shurmur’s new scheme and get its offensive line in order. The second half of the season was better, but it was already too late.

11

Rockets’ James Harden falls 2 points short of extending 40-point streak

With a missed layup with five seconds remaining, James Harden’s historic scoring five-game run of at least 40 points came to an end in the Houston Rockets’ 110-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

“Well, we held [Harden] under 40, so I guess that’s a win,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

Harden finished with 38 points on 13-of-35 shooting, including 5-of-17 from 3 and maybe most notably just 7-of-7 from the free throw line.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“Honestly that streak is pretty cool for stats and whatnot, but honestly the win is more important,” Harden said. “So, came up short and now we’ve got another opportunity to go home and play Denver, who’s playing exceptionally well. So we’ve got to regroup.”11

Harden said he was unaware he was two points short of 40 when he drove to the rim down nine with a few seconds left. He had an obvious off night, with coach Mike D’Antoni suggesting there was possibly some lingering emotion hanging on Harden and the team after their stunning overtime win against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Harden started slowly, scoring only nine points on 3-of-15 shooting in the first half.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“My shots were flat in the beginning of the game,” he said. “So I just had to adjust a little bit, get them up. That was another thing, for myself I’ve got to get off to a better start. I picked it up in the third quarter and the second half, but that first half I had the same opportunities I normally get but my shot was just a little flat.”

Harden got it going in the third, scoring 20 in the quarter on 8-of-13 shooting. He had the full arsenal at his disposal — step-back 3s, drives to the rim and, of course, free throws. But after playing the entire third, he sat out the opening of the fourth quarter and didn’t score in the final frame until hitting a 3 with 2:13 left. He got three free throws after an unusual call when Evan Turner fouled PJ Tucker while Harden was taking a 3, and hit a deep 3 with 34 seconds left.

9

West Ham’s Felipe Anderson making a strong case for a role with Tite’s Brazil

The Brazilian, who arrived from Lazio in the summer, is suddenly exceeding expectations in his debut season with West Ham. There were fitful signs of promise in an uncertain start for him and Manuel Pellegrini’s new look lineup.

After just one goal in his first 10 Premier League games, Anderson has now hit the target seven times in his last nine matches. Many of these have been match-winners — like the pair against Southampton on Thursday night that turned defeat into victory. It did him no harm at all that this came in the only match played on the night. here was nothing else to share the spotlight and so, back home, the question is starting to be asked; how long until he has a place in the Brazil squad?cheap nike nfl jerseys china

His chances are clearly increasing. He has been around the squad for a while but to this point, there have probably been three things against him.9

One is his inconsistency. He had an up and down time in five years with Lazio. With no international games until the end of March, he now has to keep producing in order to gain the approval of Brazil coach Tite.

The second blemish is his previous record in the famous yellow shirt, which is hardly impressive. Nearly six years ago, Felipe Anderson was one of the main hopes of a Brazil side that went to Argentina to dispute the South American Under-20 Championships — always an important conveyor belt to the senior side. The tournament was an unmitigated disaster, both for him and for his teammates as Brazil failed to qualify for that year’s Under-20 World Cup. Worse than that, they failed even to reach the decisive second round of the South American competition. And even worse than that, they managed to finish bottom of their group of five. Felipe Anderson made little impact, scoring one goal from the penalty spot.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

He treasures an Olympic gold medal from the Rio Games of 2016 but it is not a competition that he can look back on with a great deal of pleasure. He was in the starting lineup for the opening game — a dire 0-0 draw against South Africa. he scoreline was the same, and the performance even worse in the next match against Iraq. Felipe Anderson was withdrawn at half-time, and spent the rest of the tournament on the bench. He came on towards the end of the final against Germany, but was not trusted to take a penalty in the shootout.

11

It’s time for Panthers to shut down Cam Newton for the season

It’s not just time to sit Cam Newton for the rest of the season. It’s time for the Carolina Panthers to consider a potential long-term replacement for their franchise quarterback in free agency or the NFL draft.

The uncertainty surrounding lingering problems with Newton’s right shoulder raises many questions that extend beyond Carolina’s six-game losing streak and 1 percent chance of making the playoffs. If the 2015 NFL MVP needs to have a second shoulder surgery in less than two years, what are the long-term implications? Would he miss an entire season, as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck did in 2017 after having a similar surgery?cheap nfl jerseys china nike

And if surgery isn’t the answer, would resting Newton for the next two games and the entire offseason assure this issue won’t reappear in 2019?11

Newton played well the next two weeks to help Carolina improve to 6-2. Even after the team fell to 6-5, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner boasted he was playing the best football of his career. Then he threw four interceptions the next game in Tampa Bay.

Newton has now thrown at least one interception in six straight games after throwing one in only three of the first eight.

Newton’s arm strength has been such an issue that backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke has come in for a Hail Mary pass three times.

“You can’t rub magic dust on it, go to this or that person, have the placebo things done where you think certain things are what they are — and you come out and you’re still the same,” Newton said. “Over the past couple of weeks, nothing has really changed.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

One thing has. The Panthers (6-8) are for all practical purposes out of the playoff picture, and they’re focused on next season with two games remaining against Atlanta and New Orleans.

That puts the onus on coach Ron Rivera and the medical staff. As of Tuesday, Rivera wasn’t willing to commit to sitting Newton the final two games because the Panthers have a “slim glimmer” of hope of making the playoffs.

12

Without Chris Harris Jr. and Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos must lean on youth

Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph has watched his team overcome obstacles this season, using words like “grit” and “fight” to describe his players’ efforts.

Now they’ll need those two things more than ever, as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was lost for the season Wednesday with what team officials believe is a torn left Achilles tendon. Sanders suffered the injury in Wednesday’s practice, or roughly 72 hours after cornerback Chris Harris Jr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection, fractured a fibula against the Cincinnati Bengals.

That’s one of their premier players on offense and one of their premier players on defense out with injuries just as the team had finally clawed its way back into the playoff race.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“This is the 2018 Denver Broncos,” said quarterback Case Keenum. “Nothing’s been handed to us — we’re going to earn everything we get.”12

It also means a team that has leaned, and leaned hard, on its rookie class will do so again. Because while necessity may be the mother of invention, desperation might be the dad. In Sanders’ case, he was already in a wide receivers meeting room each day with four other players who either were rookies or had spent much of their rookie years in 2017 on the Broncos’ practice squad.

That was the choice the Broncos had largely already made when they shipped Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans on Oct. 30. At the time it put Sanders on the depth chart with two rookies (Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton) and two inexperienced players (Tim Patrick and River Cracraft).

The Broncos claimed Andre Holmes, a 30-year-old in his seventh season, off waivers less than an hour after they had finished Wednesday’s practice. The Broncos saw Holmes plenty during his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, and Holmes had a touchdown catch against the Broncos last season when he was with the Buffalo Bills.

But Holmes or no Holmes, it will be the youth movement at wide receiver that determines how the Broncos move the ball in the passing game in the weeks to come.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“When you see somebody go down, it sucks, but each person who has been hurt will tell you that the person replacing them has to go in and do their job,” Sutton said. “If they don’t, the team ultimately suffers and nobody wants to see the team suffer.”

What that means for the Broncos is Sutton has to be, and play like, a No. 1 receiver. He’s won some matchups this season as a complementary player, often physically overwhelming defensive backs, but now he’s going to get a steady diet of top coverage players who would have been covering somebody else if the Broncos were anything resembling a healthy team.

12

Saints’ offense erupts with five first-half TDs in win vs. Bengals

Bold prediction: The New Orleans Saints will keep their spot as the No. 1 team in ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings this week.

The Saints (8-1) scored on each of their first nine possessions Sunday in a 51-14 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals — – making them just the third team to do so since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The only thing that stopped them was the clock. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater started taking a knee after the two-minute warning.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Apparently the Saints’ offense was just getting warmed up during the first half of the 2018 season.

They scored touchdowns in each of their first five possessions Sunday to take a 35-7 halftime lead. And they have now scored a total of 96 points over the past two weeks to leapfrog the Kansas City Chiefs as the top-scoring team in the NFL this season (36.7 points per game).12

“We just found our swag, we found our stride,” said Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who scored two more touchdowns to bring his season total to 14. “This team is persistent, consistent, we take advantage of opportunity. The schemes that Sean [Payton] and those guys upstairs, the offensive coordinator [Pete Carmichael Jr.] put in place, we execute. We execute and we make sure we handle our business, from top to bottom, no matter who’s in.

“Everybody knows their role and plays their role. Nobody’s trying to one-up each other.”

The Saints have now won eight straight games as they head toward a showdown with the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in New Orleans next week.

But they took it up a few notches on Sunday.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Drew Brees was 22 of 25 passing for 265 yards and three touchdowns — including two to receiver Michael Thomas. Mark Ingram had 162 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. And Kamara had 102 yards from scrimmage, along with his two TDs.

Ingram, Kamara and Thomas were all throwing up “Xs” in the end zone during the first half as an homage to receiver Dez Bryant, who tore his Achilles tendon Friday just two days after joining the team.

11

Which players are benefiting most from a bump in usage rate?

On a night long associated with reanimation, Derrick Rose’s season-long reawakening reached dizzying heights against the Utah Jazz on Halloween.

Already averaging 14.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, the 2011 MVP put on a throwback performance that also marked a career high with 50 points, plus he added 6 assists, 4 3-pointers, 2 steals, 4 rebounds and a win-preserving block.

As with any player in a relatively new situation (he appeared in only nine games for the Timberwolves last season), it’s important to track how said player’s role is evolving. Trades, free agency, the draft, injury (or recovery from injury), a new coaching staff, dissension in the rotational ranks —nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal  there are many factors that can suddenly thrust a player into a new role.

A reshuffled role can radically alter a player’s fantasy outlook. In Rose’s case, several forces have coalesced to reignite Rose’ statistical fortunes. Rose’s long-term recovery from injury, the roster-wide ripple effect of the Jimmy Butler situation, his relationship with coach Tom Thibodeau, and Jeff Teague’s injury have intersected to give Rose a real chance to turn back the clock on a night-in, night-out basis.11

Hopefully, you were fortunate enough to pick up Rose’s services before last night. It’s been clear from the jump that Rose could prove tp be more than Jeff Teague insurance for fantasy managers.

It’s a common fantasy trap to place too much worth on early-season performance. It’s also a common fantasy trap to be lured into the promise of acquiring the services of a former big name. But in this case, there’s been one second-level stat that portended Rose’s revival: usage rate.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

If you’re unfamiliar with usage rate, our NBA Analytics Glossary defines it as such:

“The percentage of a player’s possessions in which he was directly involved in the attempt at a basket (via a shot attempt, free throw attempt) or a turnover. Can give fantasy players an expectation of volume for certain counting statistics.”

Usage rate’s impact within fantasy is easy to assess: The more you have the ball in your hands, the more you’re liable to accrue production. (If you hail from the world of fantasy football, think of usage rate as touches, carries, targets.)

Any usage rate above 30.0 is elite. Fourteen players cracked a 30.0 usage rate in 2017-18. It’s no shocker that star players dominate usage rate. Lead roles demand possession. Last season’s leaders: James Harden (36.3), Russell Westbrook (34.1), Joel Embiid (33.5), DeMarcus Cousins (32.3), LeBron James (31.6) and Devin Booker (31.4).

But what position dominates usage rate’s upper middle class? Point guard. One look at the second tier in usage rate (25.0-29.9) underscores the point guard’s importance in fantasy basketball.

12

Riyad Mahrez fits Pep Guardiola’s template while adding something new to City

In basic terms, the reigning Premier League champions’ purchase of a former PFA Footballer of the Year, for a club record fee, was clearly a huge statement of intent. But when Manchester City completed the signing of Riyad Mahrez in the summer, there was a legitimate question about his precise role in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI.nfl cheap jerseys nike

After all, City had just won the Premier League with a record 100 points, courtesy of a side based around two outright wingers, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, stretching the play. This was arguably the most fundamental part of City’s attacking approach, and when Guardiola occasionally played Bernardo Silva — a left-footed midfielder, always coming inside — on the right flank, more for the sake of rotation than tactics, City’s attacking wasn’t quite so dynamic.

Mahrez was a curious fit. Somewhere between an inverted winger and a No. 10, the Algerian was a dribbler accustomed to playing on the counter-attack and carrying the ball directly towards goal, and the outside-right position at City demanded entirely different characteristics. So far, though, Mahrez has proved his worth. After a slow start at the Etihad, where he was gradually eased into the side, now Mahrez is increasingly looking like one of City’s key players. His tactical role at City can be summarised concisely by assessing the nature of his four league goals so far.12

Mahrez scored two in a 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff City, one in a 5-0 victory over Burnley, and then came his first major goal for City, the winner in Monday’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Those four goals, stylistically, can be divided into two; Mahrez has scored two pairs of identical goals.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

His second strike against Cardiff, and his late goal against Burnley, were the type of goal we’ve come to expect from left-footed right wingers, strikes that can now be described, and universally understood, as Arjen Robben-esque.

Against Cardiff, Mahrez collected a loose ball on the edge of the box, cut inside by using the outside of his favoured left foot, and then whipped a shot into the far corner. His goal against Burnley was a more elegant variation: collecting a forward pass from Fernandinho, 25 yards out in an inside-right position, Mahrez touched the ball once with the inside of his left foot, then three times with the outside to work the ball into a shooting position, opened out his body, before majestically bending the ball into the top corner. Joe Hart didn’t move. It was the archetypal goal from an inverted winger.

But playing purely in that manner would mean City losing their most prolific route to goal from last season. Time and time again, City unlocked opposition defences through Sane and Sterling, with one winger charging down the outside, sending a low cross into the box, and the other winger arriving at the far post to convert, often into an open goal.