Monthly Archives: January 2017

Brenda called PayPal because it kept trying to bill their bank for the same charge

You could make a compelling case for any of the top three teams on my list to be first overall. In San Diego’s case, the argument would be that they boast more upside potential, more guys with huge ceilings that are 10 percent likely to happen (or less) than any other system.

The Padres went very young in their rebuild, and they went big. Six of their top 10 guys were 20 or younger in 2016, and they signed a huge batch of teenagers on July 2, dominating the class among both pitchers and position players. Their draft similarly went for high-ceiling players, leading off with Cal Quantrill — who in hindsight might have been the best prospect in the class — with several other rolls of the dice on other pitchers coming off injuries who are showing positive early returns.

They’re third on this list because nearly all of that value is far from the majors, and there’s risk on every one of those guys — every teenage pitcher is a risk because of the natural attrition rate of arms, and some of these hitters haven’t even sniffed full-season baseball yet. They’re also more pitching-heavy, which entails a little more risk but probably makes sense given the market price for pitching. The major-league team might be ugly this year, but their affiliates will be fascinating to watch.

Brenda, who runs an animal rescue charity from her home office, rushed to the bank to cover the shortfall. Another time, after U.S. Bank sent her an “urgent-action required” letter about a $136.84 overdraft, she realized her plan wasn’t working.

“It was always going to be the last time,” she says. “If we just put this money in and got him out of this predicament, then everything would go away and be fine after that. And it never, never was.”

At one point, Brenda called PayPal because it kept trying to bill their bank for the same charge, causing multiple overdraft fees. Brenda says that when she explained that her son was trying to buy skins, the customer service rep was sympathetic, saying: All the kids are doing it.

Dez Bryant tells Cowboys he’ll skip camp, games if no long-term deal by Wednesday deadline

Dez Bryant is prepared to sit out regular season games if he doesn’t get a new contract by Wednesday. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver personally called the team’s executive vice president, Stephen Jones, to deliver that message as the deadline to extend franchise players approaches.

Jones, however, denied that Bryant had issued an ultimatum to him. But on Monday afternoon, Bryant left no doubts about his intentions.
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If the Cowboys are unable to sign Bryant to an extension before the Wednesday deadline, he will be forced to play the 2015 season under the franchise tag and wait until the 2016 offseason to receive an extension.

If Brady does take the matter to federal court, he wouldn’t be the first NFL player to do so. In February, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won an appeal of his indefinite suspension in front of a U.S. district judge and received reinstatement after losing his appeal to the NFL of the punishment in December.

Limited Mens Robin Ventura Jersey Dallas Cowboys pass rusher Greg Hardy is also reportedly considering an appeal to a federal court of his suspension, despite having it reduced last week from 10 games to four.

Brady has been the opening day starter for the Patriots for the past 13 seasons after earning the starting job early in the 2001 season. If he is unavailable for the team’s opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots will instead turn to 2014 second round pick, Jimmy Garoppolo, to take over.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks: If he stays healthy behind whatever mediocre offensive line the Seahawks have this year, he’ll once again put up great numbers. Then the Seahawks will finally pay him what he’s worth. The only downside is that Pete Prisco’s head will explode when the guaranteed money is finally reported.

SO WHAT does that have to do with Matt Ryan?

Doubletruck is the home for ESPN storytelling, a place to find great features and character portraits on the most important players in this weekend’s AFC and NFC Championship Games.
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After all, Young believed like an article of faith that a quarterback was only as great as his willingness to be weighed down. To account for the chaos of 21 bodies flying around on each play and unfailingly rise above, to be superhuman and immortal and, not for nothing, make it look easy. But Walsh was telling Young that he was wrong.

Limited Darryl Sittler Jersey Williams played alongside longtime NBA point guard Sebastian Telfair with the Tianjin Gold Lions in 2013-14 and helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

CBA teams are allowed to employ only two American players at a time, and league rules also place restrictions on playing time for international players. Williams said this meant the Lions would typically play Telfair in the first quarter, him in the second quarter and both of them in the third and fourth quarters.

Although the level of play in China is on the rise, Williams said the CBA will remain a notch below European basketball as long as those regulations remain in place.

“You can’t have that if you’re trying to be a top-tier league,” Williams said. “As far as Euroleague, you might have four or five guys who aren’t native to that country playing for a team, and they can play as much as they want.”

Josh Akognon: ‘How LeBron and Kobe feel’

There are few, if any, American athletes more qualified to speak about playing in China than Akognon.

The Cal State Fullerton alum, who played briefly in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, has played for five CBA franchises in six seasons while averaging 29.6 points per game.

The Falcons’ entire pass offense will be a matchup nightmare for the Packers

Why the Packers will win: After eight consecutive victories, the Packers are confident beyond measure. Two of the most important players in the postseason are the quarterback and the place-kicker, and the Packers couldn’t be situated better at either spot. Aaron Rodgers has never played at a higher level. In his past nine starts, he has thrown 24 touchdown passes and one interception.

And, oh by the way, Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdowns without an interception — and compiled an 88.4 Total QBR — in four starts at the Georgia Dome. Mason Crosby, meanwhile, has made 21 consecutive postseason field goals; his most recent miss was in 2010. The Packers are not perfect by any means. But you’re in a pretty good spot when your quarterback is playing out of his mind and your kicker can’t miss.
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The Texans won the AFC South despite their $72 million quarterback, not because of him. And upgrading the position is not going to be easy — or cheap.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have beaten nine different teams in the divisional round of the playoffs, and Saturday night’s 34-16 victory delivered them to a sixth straight AFC Championship Game.

Limited Youth Brent Celek Jersey This season’s Houston Texans were a thornier, more determined jimsonweed than most anticipated, but Brady finally shook them free from his designer peacoat in the fourth quarter Saturday night with help from his defense. Dicey as it got, the Patriots never trailed, and they’ll be right back here next Sunday to host the AFC Championship Game in front of 66,000 New Englanders who just wanna rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day.

It might feel rote, but it’s about to get real. The inevitable portion of the Patriots’ season has ended. When you get to the AFC Championship Game six straight years, it’s what happens next that matters.

Geno Smith finally defended by a Jets teammate

Jets players haven’t exactly rallied around Geno Smith in the aftermath of his jaw-breaking altercation with IK Enemkpali, but it appears as if one of the newest — and most controversial members of the squad — has his back.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall expressed sympathy for Smith Monday, and said the embattled quarterback isn’t to blame for the incident, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

“I’m very disappointed. I feel bad for the kid, because he was doing really good. But we have to move forward if we want to win. Geno knows that,” Marshall said.

“I was sitting right there and I would say this without going into too many details because we’ve already moved past it: Geno Smith did nothing wrong. He did nothing wrong,” Marshall added. “And that’s all I’m going to say about that because we have to move forward and I don’t want to be a distraction to our team, but Geno Smith did everything the right way.”

“What if it happens next time and it does hit me? You don’t get a second chance with bullets.”
Hayne’s brush with the potentially fatal incident made him realize it was time to refocus his life. He said he talked with his mom following the shooting: “I made sure I was really calm and pretended like I wasn’t worried and I wasn’t scared, but really I was petrified. She didn’t have to tell me anything I don’t know. I know I have to pull my head in.” From there, his career took off.

His preseason NFL success isn’t beginner’s luck.

While it’s easy to assume Hayne won’t have the legs to go an entire NFL season without being cut, Hayne has already endured tough times in his career that may have prepared him for the grind of American football.

Cruz didn’t practice Wednesday, which means his status for Week 1 against the Cowboys is in doubt

“For us, it’s all about going out there and executing the game plan. [Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel] will give us some great stuff to go out there and be successful with.”

But even when teams are able to get pressure on Brady, he usually finds a way to get off the throw.
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“I just think the guy’s the most poised quarterback in the NFL,” defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said. “Playing him, he doesn’t get rattled at all most of the time. He just keeps staying calm, and that’s what makes him so good. He just stays calm back there. Even when you do get the pressure, he steps up and makes the best pass.”

The Texans head to New England coming off an impressive defensive performance, albeit against a third-string rookie. They sacked Cook three times, forced him to throw three interceptions and held him to just 3.6 yards per attempt. Obviously, the challenge is going to be greater against Brady, and Houston is relishing the opportunity.

Mens Darius Slay Jersey The Giants examined Pierre-Paul Monday for the first time this summer, and determined he wasn’t ready to return. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin did say he was “optimistic” about Pierre-Paul, though, and said the team will continue to keep tabs on his progress. Pierre-Paul hasn’t signed his $14.8 million franchise tender, meaning he’s not currently under contract with the club.

Victor Cruz (WR, Giants):

Cruz didn’t practice Wednesday, which means his status for Week 1 against the Cowboys is in doubt. The veteran wide receiver has been sidelined for three weeks with a left calf injury.

Cruz’s absence is mitigated by the continued emergence of Odell Beckham Jr., but still hurts. Fourth-year wideout Rueben Randle will probably line up beside Beckham with Cruz out of the mix.

Darren McFadden will likely start at RB for Cowboys in Week 1

The heir apparent to DeMarco Murray’s role as the starting running back of the Dallas Cowboys looks like it will be former Oakland Raiders first-round pick Darren McFadden, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

McFadden is expected to be the No. 1 back Sunday night when the Cowboys take the field against their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants. Of course, it’s unlikely that any of the team’s running backs will approach the NFL-leading 392 rushing attempts that Murray took in 2014, and the team will rely much more on a running-back-by-committee approach, no matter who gets the starting nod.

On Wednesday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spoke about the merits of using multiple running backs and said that it’s advantageous having a versatile array of backs who can stay fresh.

These are actions done to create competitive advantages. And yet, no one seems to care. The violations are forgotten. No cheater label is handed out.

So, what’s the difference?
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Limited Bobby Rainey Jersey For one, the Patriots have all the qualities that hated teams usually do.They win all the time, their head coach comes across as smug, and their quarterback is a four-time Super Bowl champion with a supermodel wife and more money than most of us could dream of. All that creates jealousy, which creates animosity, which creates a desire to belittle a accomplishments. Saying the Patriots’ success is all the result of cheating is the classic sports fandom reaction.

That, however, is not say that the Patriots aren’t to blame. When the Browns or Falcons were accused of cheating, they admitted guilt and accepted the NFL’s punishment. Everyone moved on. The Patriots, on the other hand, take almost a defiant stand against the NFL, even when they reluctantly take the punishment.

Anthony scored or assisted on 20 of the Knicks’ 33 points in the fourth quarter

Porzingis outscored Antetokounmpo 8-3 in the fourth quarter before fouling out. The 7-foot-3 Latvian held Antetokounmpo to 3-of-9 shooting (0-of-5 on contested shots) and two turnovers for the game.

Antetokounmpo recorded his 14th straight 20-point game, the longest streak by a Bucks player since Michael Redd had 14 straight in 2006-07.

Anthony makes a big shot … and passes

Carmelo Anthony scored a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the game. Anthony went 3-of-10 in the fourth quarter but also had three assists. He had 10 assists for the game, the second time in his Knicks career he had that many assists (also in 2012 against the Celtics).

Anthony scored or assisted on 20 of the Knicks’ 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Knicks shot 7 of 9 off Anthony’s passes in the second half.

All 450 available roster spots in the NBA have been filled for most of the season to date, but eight teams suddenly have an opening. Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio are all down to 14-man rosters after making cuts from the list of players on non-guaranteed contracts provided in our last Son of WD dispatch.
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Game Mens Bobby Wagner Jersey In addition, Cleveland went from 15 to 14, with Atlanta going from 14 to full, when the teams completed the Kyle Korver trade Saturday. … In addition to the veteran free agents looking to make a return to the league in 2017 that we reported on earlier this week — guards Jarrett Jack and Mario Chalmers and forward Carl Landry — add the name Norris Cole. According to the latest from my ESPN colleague Chris Haynes, Cole is also nearing a return to full fitness after a hamstring problem scuttled his recent stint in China. …

USA vs. Canada live stream, World Juniors 2017: Start time, TV schedule, and how to watch online

The Hockey Gods have blessed us with a fun 2017 World Junior Championship, and now they’ve bestowed a tantalizing matchup for us on New Year’s Eve.

The United States and Canada will square off at 3:30 p.m. ET in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre to determine the winner of Group B. The two hockey rivals sit atop the group Dylan Strome Limited Jersey standings with matching 3-0 records and nine points apiece, meaning they’re all but through to the quarterfinal rounds.

Both have succeeded in what Womens Bill Ranford Jersey has ended up as the weaker of the two groups. While Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Finland have battled against the surprising Denmark and Switzerland, it’s been smooth sailing for Canada and the United States. Latvia and Slovakia have proven no challenge, and Russia has been a disappointment so far.

The team currently has some championship pieces, but with glaring holes, ZIPS currently projects them as a 79-83 team, far back of the defending pennant-winning Cleveland Indians. The Central Division is a bit in flux with the Twins and White Sox in rebuild mode, while the Tigers seem to be in a weird holding pattern. The opportunity to at least contend would seem to be there, but if the Royals don’t have the pieces, they could find themselves far back by mid-summer. Which leads us to….

Will the Royals have a firesale this summer?

With so many players eligible for free agency next winter, and with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement making it a bit less certain what the draft pick compensation will be, the Royals will likely look to trade off many veterans in July if they find themselves out of contention. But how far out of contention do the Royals need to be?

Khalil Mack draws holding foul then catches his own penalty flag

Khalil Mack was the best player on the field when the Oakland Raiders upset the Denver Broncos on Sunday. He hit quarterback Brock Osweiler seven times with five sacks, tying a franchise record. If he wasn’t making a play in the backfield, it was probably because the Broncos had to do everything they possibly could to stop him including holding him.

Against the Broncos, he drew a very obvious hold, and he was ready for the ref’s call.

Don’t worry, Khalil, the referees are on top of their game. Here, have taco while you get ready for the next play.

Here is an alignment that’s fairly new to the NFL and starting to spread through the league. I first recall seeing the Saints and Packers using this formation. It’s an empty set with two wing players protecting the edge. These edge protectors can help the tackles, but if there is pressure, they are there to protect the edge if the tackle has to help inside.

There are examples of players in close splits, both tight ends and wide receivers, who immediately release up the field without trying to make eye contact or disrupt the defensive end with body presence. Here’s a clip of that.

Moving on, here’s how a running back can help an offensive tackle. A chip from a running back can be useful when it’s properly placed. However, there are times when just the threat of a chip is good enough. We all know what a chip looks like. Here’s a clip of the threat of a chip block. The back tried, he missed, but I’d consider this an effort at helping a tackle.
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These first two are clips related to offensive philosophy. It’s what the Titans do often and it’s built into their offensive DNA.

This one is pretty obvious. It’s a chip block for the right tackle by the tight end.

Here’s one that not so obvious but it’s a clear way to distract the defensive end and help the tackle.

Authentic Kids Klay Thompson Jersey They are lined up in a bunch. With the motion, it puts into the defensive end’s mind that a toss is possible. Good design by the Titans, followed by the double releases near the defensive end. While this might not be thought of as help, it’s extremely helpful.