Julius Peppers says John Kuhn block got him cut

Julius Peppers is playing as the pass rushing bookend to Clay Matthews on the Green Bay Packers this year, one season after trying to beat the Packers with the Chicago Bears. On Thursday, Peppers told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that one play is likely the reason for his change in venue.

In Week 17 of last year, as Chicago and Green Bay battled for the NFC North title, Peppers narrowly missed a sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on fourth-and-8 before Rodgers uncorked a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, eliminating the Bears. Peppers remembers fullback John Kuhn getting just enough of him to halt his pass rush.

“I was pretty close. I was pretty close,” Peppers said. “We joked about it. He actually cost me my job. He got me released. I guess it turned out pretty good.”
When asked by Dunne if Peppers believes a sack would have saved his career in Chicago, the future Hall-of-Fame defender has no doubt.

Long criticized for not running the ball enough, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has finally given Murray a chance to impact each game this season. Murray is averaging 25 carries per game and the results have followed, with one troubling issue; fumbling. Through three games, he has fumbles thrice and lost all of them.

This is a recurring theme with Cutler, a man who likes to work in the shadows, away from the glare, play the game in it but not live in it. Cook said Cutler has never run toward an endorsement or a commercial that he just had to have, never pushed Cook to make him more visible, more public. Football and family and friends have always been enough for him. And now a husband and father to two young sons, he is even more content away from the dazzle.

“He is focused on football,” Cook said. “Focused on his family. He is really proud of his boys (Camden Jack, 2, and Jaxon Wyatt, 4 months). They are his two little tigers. His two little bears.”4

Browns DT Danny Shelton has minor wrist surgery

Lost in the Browns’ miserable 2016 season was the fact that former first-round pick Danny Shelton played quite well.

And this offseason, he went under the knife to repair a nagging wrist injury that he felt was holding him back.
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According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Shelton’s agent said the procedure was just a “small cleanup.”

The ascension of Shelton, combined with the 8.5 sacks posted by rookies Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah and the prospect of adding an additional pass rusher with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft can at least leave some breadcrumbs of hope for Cleveland fans this offseason. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams wasn’t going to replace Ray Horton without a specific vision for their unit, which will likely involve a switch in name back to the 4-3 front.

Elite Youth Nevin Lawson Jersey Of course, with most teams playing a majority of their snaps in the Nickel, that will involve rethinking the way the Browns can deploy their 2015 first-round pick. Shelton was most frequently used in the base 3-4 front last year, with a little more than 200 snaps in a standard three-lineman, three-linebacker, five-defensive back Nickel front.

While Houston also makes sense for the Cowboys backup, the Texans are stuck paying Brock Osweiler a whopping $19 million this season. That doesn’t mean the ineffectual starter is locked in for Week 1, but Texans owner Bob McNair recently downplayed the idea of chasing after Romo, telling the Houston Chronicle: “The challenge is trying to figure out what we can do with what we’ve got.” What the Texans have “got” is a radioactive mess at quarterback.

The Kings¡¯ DeMarcus Cousins trade somehow got worse

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The Kings trade sending DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield and a pick somehow got worse on Monday. How is that possible, you ask? Well, Kings GM Vlade Divac released a statement wishing Cousins well that said “winning begins with culture” and “character matters.” That is what we call in the business “shots fired,” and putting that out in your farewell letter to one of the best players in franchise history doesn’t exactly speak to strong positive culture or high character, now does it?

It got worse. (“Oh, COME ON!” you’re exclaiming. “How?!” Watch this.) Divac admitted during his press availability that the Kings had a better offer on the table two days prior, but that offer disappeared, so he took the Pelicans platter. He feared that keeping his options open until the Thursday trade deadline would have resulted in worse and worse offers. This is an innovative way to run a team, let me tell you. Basketball 3.0 for real.

Ace Sanders Authentic Jersey K-9 teams and Anderson County Technical Rescue were called to assist at the scene through the night.

On Tuesday, morning crews will switch out with overnight crews at about 7 a.m. Horses are also expected to come in at 8 a.m. for mounted searches.

Sheriff Chad McBride said the area where Henderson disappeared is very rural. He said the search started at Henderson’s home but has since expanded.
Henderson¡¯s Clemson bio provides more details about what his specific roles were within the school¡¯s athletic department.

Henderson works with donors to help establish the best method to provide gifts to Clemson athletics’ future. Bequests, trusts, endowments and other financial tools will be a part of gift and estate planning. He also works directly with Clemson University and the Clemson Athletic Capital Campaign offices to secure the best procedures for the donor and Clemson’s future for all capital gifts.

Super Bowl 2016 prop bet: Brandon LaFell scores the 1st touchdown

Brandon LaFell became the first player to score in Super Bowl 49 after finding the end zone on a quick slant pass from Tom Brady. With the score, another of the big Super Bowl prop bets is put to rest. Each year, there are a slew of prop bets surrounding the game, from the national anthem to the coin toss to this one: which player scores first.

If you happened to be among those who took the 125/1 odds on there not being a touchdown scored all game, then you’re out of luck. That was always a longshot bet, more so than third-string tight ends and fullbacks getting the touchdown.

Frank Gore Limited Jersey After a few tricks in front of a big group, Fernandez asks Perine and his girlfriend to come up front and does a trick in which he has them each write what each other means to them on a playing card. They fold them up put them in their mouths, and then kiss, and the cards switch via magic. The new card in Meg’s mouth reads “you’re my everything, will you marry me.”

Ain’t love great?

Despite the matinee start, the Rangers got off to a fast start. New York outshot Washington 19-10 and forced Grubauer to make several outstanding saves. The backup goalie stopped Kevin Hayes twice in close, made a save on Kreider’s breakaway attempt and he stopped Oscar Lindberg in the final minute.

“We were atrocious in the first,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “We played poorly and Gruby was outstanding. It could have been 5-0.

Hunter Henry Womens Jersey Critics figured the Blackhawks weren’t deep enough down the middle to fend off the Kings and other contenders after the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. And they still figured that after this deal.

Prospects who can make a major impact in 2017

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When I published my ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball, I was considering the long-term value of the players on the list and off of it. I was also considering how far away they were and the risk that they might not reach their ceilings and might fail to reach the majors at all.

Potential impact in 2017 was just a small consideration. Although there¡¯s clear value in being confident that Player X is going to produce for you this year, few teams will give up big, long-term upside for the certainty of a player in the short term (except when Trea Turner is involved).

This list goes the other way: It looks at 2017, period. Full stop. -30-. I¡¯m combining my evaluations of these players¡¯ potential for production right now with what I freely admit are educated guesses on playing time.

I don¡¯t think there are even 10 rookies today who clearly have everyday jobs or rotation spots in the big leagues for Opening Day, so half the list comprises players I expect to play three-quarters of the season or more but not break with a club on April 2.

I have ranked and written about the top 20 prospects for this year, and I have listed in a separate section at the end anyone else I think has a good shot of producing this year.

Arthur Moats Authentic Jersey The Cubs say there has been no movement between the sides since the team and Arrieta agreed on a $15.6 million deal for 2017. In the past, Arrieta has said he’s not necessarily interested in giving a hometown discount, though he didn’t make any such declarations on Wednesday.

Lions kicker Matt Prater will stay away from one thing this offseason: Kicking

Matt Prater will work out in the offseason. He’ll do cardio. He’ll lift. He’ll watch film. There’s one thing the Detroit Lions kicker won’t do much of, though.

He won’t actually kick.

“I don’t kick a lot in the offseason,” Prater said. “Now I really wait until OTAs to really start kicking. Just lift weights and get ready, watch film and try to learn from mistakes, but I think more of my mistakes are from human error more than anything.”

At this point in his career, Prater understands his process. He’s become one of the NFL’s top kickers — including representing the NFC in the Pro Bowl this year and making a 76-yard field goal in practice. He’s been consistent, too, making at least 80 percent of his field goals every year since 2012.

Matt Prater says he will wait until OTAs to really start kicking.

This season, he made 31 of 36 field goal attempts, including all seven tries from 50 yards or longer. He also hit all eight of his field goal attempts in the final three minutes of games this season, when pressure is higher.

Having Prater take a light kicking regimen in the offseason makes sense, too. He’ll be 33 years old by the start of the 2017 season and, while not old by kicking standards in the NFL, it’s worth it to the Lions to save the number of kicks on his right leg.

It’s why Detroit typically brings in camp legs during OTAs and training camp to help ease the amount of work Prater and punter Sam Martin have to put on their legs when games don’t matter and practices are daily.

Sure, it helps to have the camp legs in case of injury, but Prater and Martin appear to have their jobs locked in for the foreseeable future, so it’ll just save them from wearing out or potentially getting hurt.

Brock Osweiler was a huge disappointment after signing his big free-agent contract

This is unusual relative to the rest of Super Bowl history. Only 12 of the other 44 Super Bowls have been decided by one score. In terms of more advanced analytics, consider this: 17 of the 50 biggest single-play swings in Super Bowl win probability have occurred in games involving the Patriots since 2001. (Win probability is a statistical model that estimates, based on history, a team’s chances of winning given the exact circumstances of the moment.)

After yet another tight outcome in Super Bowl LI, let’s update the post we originally published last week. We’re using win probability to identify a handful of plays that have cemented the Patriots’ history. In some cases, the plays that most swung the likely outcome could be different than what you thought. Research is courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information senior statistics analyst Jacob Nitzberg.

Below: In each of the following charts, “diff” signifies the difference from the win probability at the start of the play to the end of the play, and the percentage always refers to the Patriots’ win probability.

Brock Osweiler was a huge disappointment after signing his big free-agent contract, and Houston is likely looking at other options (hello, Tony Romo?) for 2017. But the Texans can’t get out of the Osweiler contract yet, so he’s still in the picture to some extent next season. Can he be what they hoped he would be?

Former Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, one of the top prospects available in the 2017 NFL draft, says he won’t attend the April event in Philadelphia.
Garrett on Saturday said he’s been caught off guard by all the attention the comments have received.

“It was supposed to be pretty much a joke and not taken too seriously,” said Garrett, who is in Houston on Saturday for the Lombardi Award ceremony. “It kind of got blown up.”

He later added: “Take a joke, people.”

Shanahan never got a chance to redeem himself in overtime, as the Patriots scored on the opening possession.

Now on the edge of Matt Bryant’s field goal range, the Falcons attempted another pass rather than run the ball to pick up a few yards to help with the field goal try. To make matters worse, the Falcons were called for a hold and pushed well out of field goal range. An incomplete pass on third down led to a punt, and that punt led to a 10-play, 91-yard Patriots drive to tie the game.

Shanahan never got a chance to redeem himself in overtime, as the Patriots scored on the opening possession. There is no way to know if three straight runs and a field goal would have been enough, but it sure seems likely, doesn’t it?

The Falcons’ late-game woes mean the 49ers are getting a young coach who isn’t perfect. That’s not a surprise. But at the end of the day, 49ers fans should be happy that they snagged one of the top up-and-coming head coaches in the league as opposed to another retread or a yes-man hire like the one that was made with Jim Tomsula.

That was the case in the Super Bowl as well — until late in the game.

With 9:40 left to play in the Super Bowl, the Falcons held a 28-12 lead and were all but guaranteed their franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy. Coleman had five carries for 20 yards while Freeman ran the ball nine times for 74 yards and a touchdown.

So, the Falcons were up by two scores and Freeman was Freeman rushing for 8.2 yards per carry. That’s a pretty strong indicator of what the game plan should have been the rest of the way, especially after Coleman left with an ankle injury. From there it should have been the Freeman show.

Instead, the Falcons gave him just two more carries for the remainder of the game. In the final minutes of the Super Bowl, protecting a huge lead, and working with one of the best running attacks in the league, Shanahan’s Falcons ran the ball just four times.

Watt said in the last four months he has been focused on coming back even better than the J.J. Watt of old.

By the time Super Bowl LI is over late Sunday night, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman might be No. 2 on the all-time NFL list for playoff receptions.

It’s a remarkable achievement when one considers that four years ago, when Edelman was an unrestricted free agent, there wasn’t a team other than the Patriots that offered him a contract worth slightly more than the minimum.

So here was Edelman on Tuesday afternoon, his bushy playoff beard now going on four months since it has been trimmed, talking about how he has always played with a chip on his shoulder. He had it at Woodside (California) High School, and then San Mateo Community College and Kent State.

The chip certainly hasn’t gone away in eight NFL seasons, all spent with the Patriots, and I asked him how that free-agent experience in 2013 spiked his I’ve-been-slighted meter.

“When 31 other teams pass on you,” he said, “it certainly doesn’t hurt the cause.”

Since that time, one constant has been the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Edelman’s ability to hurt opposing defenses, especially in the playoffs.

Watt has been one of the best defensive players in his first six seasons in the NFL since the Texans drafted him in the first round out of Wisconsin. Watt has become one of the NFL’s elite players, already registering two seasons with more than 20 sacks.

Watt said in the last four months he has been focused on coming back even better than the J.J. Watt of old.

Beyoncé finds a new way to steal Super Bowl week every year

It’s a few days after Beyoncé is accused of lip-syncing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Beyoncé sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl XLVII press conference. She kindly asks attendees, “Would you guys mind standing?” And they do, because who says no to a request from Beyoncé? Unsurprisingly, she kills it, the people cheer, and she winks at her haters by asking “Any questions?”

There’s no telling with Buck and Aikman, but I’m going to take the under on this one. I think it would take a NFC Championship game-caliber blowout for the two broadcasters to mention Matt Ryan so often that they start calling him “Matty Ice.” Who knows, maybe I’m completely wrong here.

Hammering the over on this one. Even though he’s not playing, Rob Gronkowski has been such an integral part of the Patriots’ success, not only in the past but also this season as well. It would be a disservice to Gronk not to at least acknowledge him a few times throughout the game for contributing to New England’s success. Not to mention, J.J. Watt had a good minute-plus of TV time on the sidelines in the Texans’ Wild Card victory over the Raiders. Speaking of…

How many times will J.J. Watt be mentioned on TV during live broadcast?

With the Super Bowl being played in Houston, it’s only common sense to think Watt’s name will come up a couple of times during the broadcast. Taking the over again here, and it’s a no-brainer to me. H-town loves Watt, and let’s face it, he’s one of the faces of the NFL.

Once again, easy money. Like them or not, the Patriots’ overcoming the DeflateGate nonsense was a pretty fun story. It’s a story that dominated media headlines for about a year and will forever remain one of the most bizarre narratives in NFL history. It would be even more bizarre for Buck and Aikman not to mention DeflateGate at least twice during Sunday’s game.

Will “Houston we have a problem” be said on TV during live broadcast?