Gronkowski was on the cover of Madden NFL 17 last year

One of the things that stands out is how clean his mechanics are. He has close to what I would call the ideal throwing motion. This is one of the traits his Los Angeles comrade and fellow first overall pick wannabe, USC’s Sam Darnold, doesn’t have.

First, look at how high his elbow gets. He’s causing zero stress on his shoulder blade, and that’s good.

He “slashes” a bit on his follow through, meaning his arm comes a little bit across his body after he releases, but that’s normal. No one is going to have a straight up-and-down motion with the elbow starting from that good of a position.

We see Darnold’s elbow is much closer to his head, so he ends up going almost straight down. So yes, it looks better than the slashing motion of Rosen, but I feel like he’s causing more stress on that shoulder.

Tom Brady’s so convinced he’s not going to be cursed by the Madden cover that he’s smashing mirrors and walking under ladders.

Gronkowski was on the cover of Madden NFL 17 last year, which is a big deal and an accomplishment for any player. It means you are one of the more visible and recognizable players in the league, and one of the best.

Though, with the Madden glory comes a perceived curse. Many players who have graced the front of the video game since they were first allowed to in 1999 have suffered awful seasons, whether it be just a regression in play or an injury.

Tom Brady was announced as the cover athlete for Madden NFL 18, and will be hoping to avoid his own version of the Madden curse.
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Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu got a surprise note from a family who shared his flight

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu made an impression on a family sitting behind him on a flight. The family was so impressed by Sanu that they wrote him a note thanking him for being a good influence on their son.

Sanu, who played at Rutgers, was on his way to New Jersey for his alma maters spring game. The family behind him was taking their son to Connecticut for hockey training.

Authentic Youth KeiVarae Russell Jersey Sanus teammates have said that hes the biggest trash talker on the field, but its always in good fun. Hes also one of the friendliest players in the Falcons locker room, and he set a memorable example for this young hockey player.

Green-Beckham was one of the nations highest-rated recruits coming out of high school, but never had the kind of NCAA impact expected of a five-star athlete. He spent two seasons at Missouri before being dismissed from the program due to legal issues, gaining fewer than 1,300 yards through the air in the process. He spent the next season on Oklahomas sideline due to NCAA transfer rules, then declared for the 2015 draft where the receiver-starved Titans snapped him up.

Authentic Youth Laken Tomlinson Jersey Tennessee expected him to be their next Derrick Mason. He wasnt even Kendall Wright. Despite showing flashes of brilliance, he was traded to the Eagles for sixth-man offensive lineman Dennis Kelly in 2016. Green-Beckham may still develop into an All-Pro, but it wont be for the Titans.

Sorry, die-hard WWE fan, but WrestleMania isn’t just for you

Are you a WWE fan? Actually, let me be a bit more specific.
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Are you a die-hard WWE fan? The one who has a subscription to the WWE Network and watches all of their pay-per-views? Ever since the roster has been split into distinct brands, there are too many pay-per-views to keep count, and the names all become one abstract blur (Hello, Roadblock: End of the Line). Then there’s also the NXT roster, the cruiserweights of 205 Live, and the British competitors from the United Kingdom Championship tournament: all tertiary story lines within the WWE Universe. If that wasn’t enough, there’s always the network’s original shows. Oh, and then there are RAW and Smackdown Live to keep up with.

If you are one of these fans who devote that much time to professional wrestling, congratulations! You have all those hours of content to enjoy. A seemingly unlimited amount of pro graps isn’t daunting to you; it’s a welcomed challenge. All you have to do is turn on your TV or computer and relax.

Kids Karl Klug Jersey However, there is one caveat in this. Most of WWE’s shows are meant to culminate, in one way or another, in this Sunday’s WrestleMania 33. And that, unfortunately, is not for you.

But there’s another side to it. When we fail at something, when we face disappointment in life, we want someone to bail us out – we want the win despite our failures. Bank executives take dangerous multi-billion-dollar risks that blow up in their faces? No big deal, the taxpayer will pony up for your bonus! You get into a car wreck because you were texting on your phone? Don’t worry, the insurance company will cover it.

When the Cards were postseason eligible again, it would be his team.

Pitino knew he needed reinforcements after losing all five of his starters from an Elite Eight team the season before. Still, he was careful not to throw too much responsibility at Mitchell as a freshman. The Cards were instead led by a pair of grad transfers in Damion Lee and Trey Lewis with Mitchell carving out a role as a super-athletic ball of energy off the bench.

The dunk that sticks out is a tip-slam against Florida State, one that required Mitchell to dart in from the three-point line and soar over a Seminoles defender for the put-back. It was a brief glimpse of what Mitchell could be: a guard who made up for whatever he lacked in size with raw power and one that wasn’t afraid to go through you to show it off.

Mitchell had to count moments like these as a small victories, because he knew his freshman season offered no light at the end of the tunnel. Louisville was at the center of a wild prostitution scandal and the program was quick to self-impose a postseason ban. It was unfair to seniors like Lee and Lewis, but for Mitchell it was easy to see as something of a reprieve.

When the Cards were postseason eligible again, it would be his team.

Though it wasn’t Christian Pulisic’s liveliest match in a Dortmund shirt, the American international nevertheless delivered when it mattered. Drafted into the Dortmund starting lineup in place of the injured Marco Reus, the 18-year-old arguably netted the decisive goal of the biggest game of his side’s season so far — and he certainly took it well. It’s not often coaches are comfortable relying on teenagers in the latter stages of the Champions League, though Thomas Tuchel will know better than anyone that Pulisic is no ordinary teenager. He’s not just a star in the making, but a star full stop.

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Cavaliers hold off scrappy Bucks in Cleveland

The Bucks fought and scrapped and hung around all night against the Cavaliers but as goes the rest of the Eastern Conference, it was never in question that the Cavaliers were ultimately in charge. Despite the slump the Cavaliers went through in January, they seem to be clicking just fine now. Even with J.R. Smith and Kevin Love sidelined, they continue to lead the Eastern Conference with ease.

The young Bucks stuck with Cavaliers even through the fourth quarter but it was a late surge from Kyrie Irving that put them away for good. Irving hit back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer that put John Henson on the floor and put the Cavs up, 94-85. He then hit Derrick Williams with another three-pointer that put the game away for good.

The New York Knicks released Jennings on Monday after the guard requested an out in order to play for a contending team.

Jennings can’t officially sign his new deal until he clears waivers on Wednesday at 5 p.m. He will travel to Washington on Wednesday to complete his new deal.

Jennings, 27, will fill a dire need for the Wizards at the backup point guard position. Fourth-year point guard Trey Burke will eventually be demoted to third-string point guard. The team has 15 players on the roster and will need to waive a player to make room for Jennings.

At 34-23, the Wizards are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

In 58 games for the Knicks this season, Jennings averaged 8.6 points and 4.9 assists while shooting 34 percent from 3-point range. This will be his fifth NBA team.
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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

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.

LeSean McCoy is throwing a party with very specific guest requirements

The start of NFL training camps is quickly approaching, and some players are trying to enjoy their last bit of summer before the grind of the season begins. Bills running back LeSean McCoy is among them and is throwing a party on July 26. He even invited people from social media!

And by people I mean women who are 21 years old or older, have a photo ID and sign a confidentiality agreement without knowing where the party will occur, other than in “Philadelphia/New Jersey” or what will happen at it. McCoy initially posted an advertisement for the party on his Instagram account, before deleting it.

McCoy deleted the Instagram post, possibly because the Bills complained that it included their logo.

Bills spokesperson: “We have reached out to LeSean and informed him that players are not permitted to use team marks for personal use …”

Jacoby Brissett, QB (senior): To date, Brissett has not quite been the sum of his impressive parts. He has NFL size at 6’4 and 235 pounds, and he put together an impressive 23:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio a season ago. But he’s incredibly inconsistent as a passer. He completed 66.7 percent of his passes against Florida State a season ago, and followed it up the next week against Clemson by completing just 22.2 percent. The tools are there – including good athleticism and solid arm strength – but he needs to show more overall development to be considered a legit NFL starter.

Tyriq McCord, OLB (senior): This coming season is going to be a very interesting one for McCord. Al Golden, Mark D’Onofrio and Co. switching him to OLB seems more of an indication of the lack of depth at that spot — as well as the potential emergence of both Chad Thomas and Al-Quadin Muhammad at DE — than it does with McCord being a natural fit. Nonetheless, it could be a blessing in disguise for the senior, in terms of impressing scouts. (More on McCord here.)

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