Adjustments will make kickoffs “much more of a punt play”

Everyone else spoiled, some quickly, others gradually.

Fiedorowicz’s career, but even when healthy, one thing we always said about this offense is it could sure use a good tight end.

Fiedorowicz never quite fulfilled his pass-catching potential.

Alfred Blue and Jay Prosch have given the Texans some good clock-burning snaps late in games (where Bill O’Brien loves to go heavy personnel and pound the rock).

But both are lower-tier role players, meaning the only other pick after Fiedorowicz who truly panned out was Andre Hal, who converted from cornerback to safety a few years ago, bringing valuable flexibility to Houston’s foundational matchup zone coverages.

Hill said that he “jumped on a plane as quick as I could” when the Patriots showed interest in having him visit and that meeting the team’s coaches convinced him to sign without taking any other meetings. Hill said those coaches told him he’ll have to earn playing time in a competitive backfield.

The Bears learned how much they value Kyle Fuller when their division rival Packers tried to sign him in free agency.

Thought to be content letting Fuller walk after a great rookie season, two underwhelming seasons and then a very solid 2017 contract year, the Bears instead inked him for four years, $56 million.

Fuller is a stellar zone defender who can convert into man coverage.

The NFL seeks to reduce the space and speed of the collisions on kickoffs, which produced 71 concussions between 2015-17, according to McKay.

According to Seifert, the changes include: Coverage teams would lose the 5-yard head start they previously had; five players required to align on each side of the kicker; elimination of all wedge blocks, including two-man double teams; eight of the 11 return team members would line up within 15 yards of the restraining line, with blocking prohibited within those 15 yards; and elimination of pre-kick motion.

Onside kick rules would remain mostly the same.
sabres_271

Lions Trading DT Akeem Spence To Dolphins

Mike Garafolo reports that the Lions are trading DT Akeem Spence to the Dolphins on Thursday.

The Lions have already announced the trade, which will send Spence to Miami for an undisclosed 2019 draft pick.

Collins missed the Giants’ three-day minicamp last week and will not be healthy enough to participate in upcoming OTAs. For a player who embraces his role as a vocal team leader, missing the formative time with new teammates and learning a playbook has been a difficult blow.

It was definitely tough, Collins said. But at the same time at least it’s not about to happen before the season and I don’t have to miss anything before the season. It gives me the time to continue resting my body, let my arm heal completely and come back strong.

Collins has been named to two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons. The 2017 regular-season finale the only game after he broke his forearm in Week 16 was the first game and start he has missed during his career.

A race expected to match the top two 3-year-old fillies in No. 2 Monomoy Girl and points leader Midnight Bisou, the morning-line favorites, soon became Monomoy Girl’s to lose. The chestnut filly charged from the outside No. 14 post into contention and the lead and held ground in a thrilling side-by-side stretch battle with Wonder Gadot before Monomoy Girl kept the small edge to the wire.

Wonder Gadot’s team filed a foul claim against Monomoy Girl for a bump down the stretch, but racing stewards dismissed the claim, giving Monomoy Girl its sixth win in seventh starts and trainer Brad Cox a signature hometown win in the 144th running of the Kentucky Oaks.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said signing Ryan to an extension was the team’s top offseason priority. Owner Arthur Blank told ESPN that Ryan would be compensated well after being named NFL MVP and helping the Falcons to the Super Bowl during the 2016 season.

Matt is getting what he has earned and we all know the marketplace for a great quarterback, Blank said Thursday. League revenues are up, club revenues, new stadiums and the players are the heart of the game. They’re the ones on the field and they certainly deserve their fair share.tigers_015-115x115

Packers WR Trevor Davis won’t be charged in LAX arrest

Trevor Davis’ arrest for making a bomb joke at Los Angeles International Airport did not result in charges filed after the Green Bay Packers wide receiver met with the Los Angeles City Attorney, a spokesman for the office told ESPN on Thursday.

City attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said Davis appeared at an informal hearing in the city attorney’s office, and although it has up to one year to file changes, he did not expect any further action.

Tyler Chatwood (1-3) won for the first time with the Cubs, allowing one run in six-plus innings. He was pulled after a leadoff single in the seventh.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was out of the lineup two days after being hit in the head by a pitch. Maddon said before the game that the 2016 NL MVP has a cut above his left eye but no concussion after being drilled Sunday by Colorado’s German Marquez.

Maddon said he would speak with Bryant before making out Wednesday’s lineup.

Happ was 3 for 4 with two RBI, and Contreras hit his first home run of the season.

The NFL investigated and said this week that it found no evidence any team asked inappropriate questions during interviews at the scouting combine.

“The league conducted a thorough investigation, which included a formal review and report from every club that interviewed Mr. Guice during the combine, as well as discussions with Mr. Guice, his agent and others,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday. “The investigation did not confirm that any club made the reported inquiries.”

Tomlin has allowed eight home runs in 12 2/3 innings over four appearances. The right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Jason Kipnis had an RBI groundout in the third, but right fielder Jason Heyward’s throw home got Rajai Davis at the plate to end the inning. Davis tried to score from second on Jose Ramirez’s single, but was out on a headfirst slide. Cleveland challenged but the call was upheld.

Heyward also took a hit away from Kipnis with a sliding catch in the sixth.dolphins_095

Giants not interested in ex-Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

Dumped by the Cowboys , Dez Bryant has expressed a desire to join an NFC East rival, preferably the Giants .

Now that veteran wideout Brandon Marshall has been released and Bryant is working out with Odell Beckham , it’s natural to wonder if Big Blue will reciprocate that interest.

“If you have the ability to evaluate the most important position in sports, in my opinion, the tiebreaker is you just got to believe it,’’ Accorsi said. “Now, there’s no guarantee, we’re all human. There’s no guarantee you’re gonna be right.’’

There is no guarantee the Giants will make the right call, up so high in the first round the night of April 26. Before they can be correct, they must have a conviction.

Torres hit .370 with a homer and 11 RBI in 13 games and 46 at-bats at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, playing mostly second base and third base. That was how he followed up a rough spring in which he went with a chance to win the starting second base job but hit only .219 in 32 at-bats.

“Every day I played in the minor leagues, I would feel better and better,” he said. “My (hitting) timing is getting better every day. Every day I feel more comfortable.”

The Yankees believed Torres could have suffered from rust, having missed about half of last season following July Tommy John surgery on his left arm. While he was healthy come camp — he even asked the Yankees to play in the Venezuelan winter league — the team believed he needed more work in the minors to get himself back into game shape.

The Yankees acquired Torres from the Cubs at the 2016 trade deadline. New York sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago for a package of prospects headlined by Torres and outfielder Billy McKinney, who made his major-league debut earlier this season. The Yankees re-signed Chapman that offseason after he helped lead the Cubs to a World Series.

“A lot of ups and down. A lot of momentum swings. That’s what you have to expect in a playoff game, I’m kind of learning. You have to keep an even keel. There’s always a chance to turn the tide,” he said, as he stood in the Devils’ dressing room after Game 3.

One year ago, Hall stood in that same room in a green Bauer Hockey T-shirt and a Toronto Blue Jays hat, his locker cleaned out for the summer after a year of “grieving” and a last-place finish in the conference.steelers_119

Draymond Green: Davis Bertans should’ve earned flagrant foul, too

Golden State forward Draymond Green said he should not have been the only player to receive a flagrant foul 1 late in Monday’s 116-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of their first-round series.

Green said he’s not concerned about the flagrant point.

“Nah, I don’t care. It is what it is,” Green responded. “Life goes on. There’s more important things in life than worrying about a flagrant point. Maybe it’ll get rescinded. I got choked, put in a chokehold like I was in the WWE or something. So it might get rescinded. Who knows?”

Smart said he does not believe a bone marrow transplant is a possibility for his mother, but he said, “She’s a fighter,” and, “We’re trying to see what can work right now.”

Smart said that his mother being surrounded by family made it easier to return to Boston to watch his team open the playoffs against the Bucks.

“She told me she’d rather I was here than back there, doing what I love to do, because she loves to watch me play, because that would put a smile on her face, if I got back healthy and back on the court,” Smart said before Tuesday’s Game 2 at TD Garden.

Smart’s YounGameChanger Foundation strives to help young cancer patients, and Smart often visits local hospitals to meet with patients.

Smart said he’s trying to balance being around the team while waiting to find out more about treatment options for his mother.

“You want to be here. I love playing basketball,” Smart said. “A lot of my friends and family were telling me that basketball is my eye of the storm, where I’m the most calm, where I can think and release all that pressure. But it is hard to leave her, knowing the situation. But my family members are all there, and she has everyone around her.”

Stanton, who has been perfecting his right-field swing all spring, told The Post: “It should be good with Yankee Stadium and that short porch.’’

Neither big man is afraid of big expectations, and this spring Stanton said “it’s definitely possible’’ the duo could be the first teammates to join the 60-60 home run club.

But they also will not be ruled by those expectations.jets_034

He said the Devils’ organization played a big role in making that possible.

Our teammates, coaches and everyone have been so great to me, helping me, Boyle said. Coming to the rink is so fun. It’s been a ton of fun, playing the game is fun. We put a lot into it. We get our heads wrapped around in pretzels sometimes with this game. It’s tough. It’s demanding, but it’s a lo of fun, and we’re in a good spot. All things considered, it’s a lot of challenges, but we came out stronger than we thought we were before the year started.

We just couldn’t get that (seventh) inning pitched, Showalter said. That would have set up the rest of the game for us if we could have gotten that inning pitched.

Correa finished with two hits and three RBI after providing an early highlight with an inside-the-park homer in the first.

Adam Jones had three hits and three RBI for the Orioles, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning, and Jonathan Schoop doubled and hit a solo homer.

Houston ace Justin Verlander struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings, but was charged with four runs and six hits. Hector Rondon (1-0) got the win despite yielding a run in the seventh.

Obviously, you probably guessed that Bill Belichick of the Patriots wasn’t in the photo. He’s never in the photo ! Actually that’s not true: Belichick appeared in the photo back after the 2015 season. But that’s the exception, not the rule. Maybe Belichick thinks photos are a frivolous waste of time (he’s not wrong) or maybe Belichick thinks the time could be better spent exercising outdoors (again, not wrong) or talking to friends and family (again, absolutely not wrong). There’s plenty of other NFL people to discuss business with, along with tons of agents to negotiate with, that Belichick doesn’t need to stand in the sun and sweat while someone tells him to say the word cheese.

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas makes his first big league appearance since Aug. 25, 2014, when he starts Monday at Milwaukee. He spent the past three seasons with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan’s Central League.

Mets: RHP Matt Harvey, coming off a 5-7 season, makes his 2018 debut Monday against visiting Philadelphia and Ben Lively.patriots_014

Kirk Cousins: It came down to my desire to win

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins wants to win a Super Bowl, and he thinks he’s in the right place to do so.

Cousins said this morning on PFT Live that he had a long list of reasons to choose Minnesota over the other places he could have played, but the major reason was that he saw the Vikings as the team that put him in the best place to be the quarterback holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.

Newsome noted Grant had ankle trouble toward the end of last season, but Grant’s agent Rocky Arceneaux said that Grant has been cleared and that his client has been working out without issue. Arceneaux added that Grant would be able to play in a game right now, but he won’t be playing one for the Ravens at any point.

My fear is the voters keep using it as a ruler to rap the knuckles of anyone they feel needs to learn a lesson.That’s the kind of move that could make a GM’s career if it comes off – but anyone be brave enough to try it?That’s right the Pittsburgh Penguins team that does not lose very often Bruins beat him at home fort three.Setting the has earned a lot of publicity for his pass-rushing abilities, but defensive ends have more than one responsibility., Ohio — and Griffin weren’t the only ones upset with LeBron ‘ public criticisms of the Cavs roster and demands for another playmaker.

The Suns have been outscored by 284 points Knight’s 853 minutes.He also had 1 yards rushing 1981.20 Montreal.Then, yeah, it changed some.The Cardinals drafted a safety to ultimately play ahead of him.

That was something I talked with the coaches about.A while back, Alfie wrote about the positional expectations for Odrick.It also tied Monk for 11th place on the NFL’s all-time list.And he hasn’t had less than four shutouts a year for them.

He returned to the starting job the next week after coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese were fired. Any thoughts that Manning might follow them out the door come the offseason went away when incoming General Manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur threw enthusiastic support behind Manning remaining the team’s starter.

Neither man showed much concern about Manning being in decline at 37 years old and Shurmur said he thought the quarterback has multiple years left as a good starter. He’s currently signed through the 2019 season.
49ers_070

Top prospect Ronald Acuna aims to play way onto Braves’ opening day roster

In the meantime, Acuna is learning to manage expectations both his own and those of fans.

“Luckily, I feel for me baseball is my true passion and I love it,” he said. “It’s something I feel like I’m good at, so when I’m out there on the field, it feels like it’s the only thing to focus on because that’s what I care about.”

Acuna has a chance to join Camargo and Albies for walks to work on March 29, the day of the Braves’ season opener. Or maybe he’ll still make the hour drive to Gwinnett for a few weeks. No matter where he starts, the chances are high that he’ll be in Atlanta soon.

Feb. 20: Souza’s acquisition provides the Diamondbacks some much-needed power after J.D. Martinez departed via free agency, though Souza shouldn’t match Martinez’s home-run output, especially not with a humidor being introduced this season. Drury should play regularly for the Yankees while enjoying a similarly favorable hitting environment. Solak, meanwhile, could be a dark horse contender for the Rays’ second-base gig at some point this season.

Feb. 17: Shohei Ohtani’s arrival in L.A. practically guaranteed a part-time role for Cron, as Albert Pujols will need to shift to first base more often to accommodate Ohtani at DH. In Tampa, Cron has a much clearer path to everyday at-bats at first base, though he’s moving to an even worse park for power. He’s a low-end mixed league corner infielder.

Now, the dozens of unsigned free agents will have the chance to work out under former Astros manager Bo Porter, according to the report.

Unsigned free agents will be able to report to the spring-training camp on Tuesday. The first workout will be Wednesday. The site will remain open until March 4, but based on attendance, arrangements can be made to extend until the end of March.

Thursday’s news comes on the heels of some particularly heated rhetoric between MLBPA chief Tony Clark and commissioner Rob Manfred, focusing on the glacial pace of signings this winter. Six of the consensus top 10 free agents remained unsigned as of Thursday.

USA Today noted that such a free-agent camp isn’t unprecedented. There was a free-agent showcase camp in Florida in 1995, following an eight-month labor stoppage that canceled the 1994 World Series.
patriots_014

LeBron James becomes youngest NBA player with 30,000 points

With his seventh point in Tuesday’s game against the Spurs, Cavaliers forward LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 career points.

James turned 33 on Dec. 30, and at 33 years and 24 days when he got his 30,000th point, he is more than a year younger than Kobe Bryant was when he reached the milestone at the age of 34 years and 104 days.

Arizona tied it with 4:39 left in the third as Hjalmarsson scored during a mad scramble to send the game to extra time. It was his first goal in 70 games, dating to Jan. 8, 2017.

“I think since the new year we’ve been playing great,” Hjalmarsson said. “We’ve been getting a lot of points and we’re just going to try to keep it going here with however many games are left.”

It was the last of four meetings between the teams this season, with Edmonton winning two of the previous three. … Oilers D Adam Larsson returned from attending his father’s funeral in Sweden, but was a healthy scratch with rookie Ethan Bear playing in his third NHL game. … Coyotes D Alex Goligoski did not make the trip, staying in Arizona with his wife, who is expecting the birth of their second child.

DeMarcus Cousins has the 10th 40-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist game in NBA history.

Sure, Boogie had the benefit of a double-OT game to add to his stats, but still. Those are all old-school stars from the 1960s and 70s. Nobody puts up numbers like that these days.

But Cousins is no stranger to big stats. Remember when people talked about a double-double (10 or more points and rebounds) being a big deal? Monday was Cousins’ fifth game this season with 20 or more points and rebounds.

It’s tough to pick just one highlight out of a 40/20/10 performance. How about these two key scores in the second overtime (because it wouldn’t be nearly as fun talking about this if the Pelicans had lost).

Lindgren stopped Butcher’s initial shot, only to have Coleman steer home the rebound.

Zajac polished off the first period with his tallies. Kyle Palmieri fired a shot from the left circle that Zajac tipped in with 1:52 left. Hall got the point that extended the streak with 12 seconds remaining when Zajac slammed home his rebound.giants_034

Josh McDaniels planned to go into the offices at 1 Patriot Place on Tuesday and leave with a box full of his belongings.

Instead, he kept his office the way it was and made a phone call to Colts general manager Chris Ballard with bad news.

McDaniels backed out of the Colts head coaching job at the last minute Tuesday and it was Bill Belichick who convinced him to do it.

Rosen paid homage to both on Instagram by posting a photo of himself wearing an Eagles jacket and cap at age 14. The caption read that Rosen’s grandma “said she would die if the Eagles ever got back to the Super Bowl and got revenge” for losing to New England in Super Bowl 39.

“I just gave her a call, relieved to hear her voice,” Rosen wrote earlier this week.

Rosen’s fondness for the Eagles didn’t end there.

While attending Super Bowl 52 pregame festivities in Minneapolis, Rosen had the chance to meet Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

“Honestly, it’s the beginning of 2018. And they’re talking about that in 2020,” Tebow added. “I’ve got a lot of life in front of me before that even happens. So I’m not even going to worry about it.”

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 while at Florida, where he led the Gators to a pair of BCS national championships. He was a first-round pick of the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, but was out of the league less than five years later after failed tryouts with the Patriots and Eagles.

He has been working as a college football analyst for ESPN and spent last year playing baseball in the Mets organization.

The Raiders ranked 25th in rush offense and 29th in turnover margin while ranking among the 10 worst defenses in getting off the field on third down last season. Oakland still had a top-10 statistical defense, however, and Gruden is a fresh set of eyes on an offense that ranked in the top 10 in scoring in 2016. With a strong draft and a few key moves, the Raiders can compete again. nike-youth-cardinals-035