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Thread: The Bum's 2017 NFL camp openings

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    Study break; Rookie QB Dobbs eager to step in for Steelers
    August 9, 2017

    PITTSBURGH (AP) Don't get Josh Dobbs wrong. The Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie quarterback is amped to take the first snaps of his NFL career on Friday night when the AFC North champions open the preseason against the New York Giants.

    The fourth-round pick from Tennessee - who may or may not be Ben Roethlisberger's eventual replacement depending on whom you ask - wants to get in the huddle with the starters.

    He wants to hear the roar of the crowd and the sound of offensive coordinator Todd Haley's voice crackling in his headset. He wants to stand at the line of scrimmage, scan the defense, put the puzzle together and go.

    Of course there will be pressure to show the Steelers they made the right decision when they took him with the 135th overall pick, the same exact spot the Dallas Cowboys took Dak Prescott last spring. But Dobbs is well aware pressure is relative, one of the byproducts of earning a degree in aerospace engineering.

    Trying to read a defense and put the ball in the right place is one thing. Trying to figure out how to safely get people - be they pilots or passengers - from one place to another safely is another, one with considerably more significant consequences than an incomplete pass.

    ''You have a lot of lives at stake with every problem that you do,'' Dobbs said.

    So while Dobbs fully expects a range of emotions when he sprints onto the field with his No. 5 game jersey pulled tight, fear of failure won't be one of them. It's simply not part of his considerable vocabulary.

    ''I'm just anxious to compete,'' Dobbs said.

    And Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is anxious to see if Dobbs' poise and precision during the opening weeks of camp translate when it (almost) really matters.

    ''At that position, you're defined by how you perform under certain circumstances,'' Tomlin said. ''And it'll be good to get him in that stadium on Friday night and watch him in terms of putting his skills on display. This is just the first time out.

    ''I'm interested in his game day demeanor, his ability to communicate through circumstances, not only with his fellow players but with his coaches as well.''

    Dobbs won't lack for opportunities. Roethlisberger is getting the night off and primary backup Landry Jones will sit while battling an abdominal injury.

    With Bart Houston the only other active quarterback on the roster, Dobbs should play the entire first half and perhaps well into the second in what marks as the beginning of extended audition to take over whenever the 35-year-old Roethlisberger - who weighed retirement over the winter before deciding to return for a 14th season - decides to walk away.

    Not that Dobbs is ready to look that far down the road. He can't predict his own future let alone Roethlisberger's.

    So he'll just continue to bury himself in Haley's playbook and try to be ready when and if the time comes, if it does at all.

    ''I learned quickly at the college level that you never know when your time is going to come,'' Dobbs said. ''It's a peculiar position that you play. You're expected to, whether you have one rep in practice or you have 50 reps in practice to come in and play at a high level just as the starter did.''

    Dobbs made his debut at Tennessee as a true freshman in 2013 against Alabama, pressed into action when Justin Worley went down with a thumb injury. He managed just two touchdown passes in five games that year. More growing pains followed in 2014 before he took off as a junior. He set a school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season (12).

    The Steelers aren't as interested in Dobbs' legs so much as his right arm and his voracious appetite to learn.

    Following a whirlwind spring Dobbs spent the five weeks buried in Haley's playbook, focusing just as much on the ''why'' as the ''what'' and the ''how.''

    Now comes the fun part: seeing how quickly he can translate all that knowledge into performance. He looked pretty comfortable running a two-minute drill with the starters on Wednesday, throwing a touchdown as the clock ticked toward zero.

    ''He doesn't second-guess what he's doing,'' said rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has quickly developed a bond with Dobbs.

    That comes later in the film room where Dobbs will grade himself out. And there is no Bell curve. There can't be. When in the huddle, his job is the same as Roethlisberger's. It's heady territory, but one Dobbs believes he can navigate.

    ''You have to own the position, own the playbook,'' Dobbs said, ''say (the play) with confidence and keep moving forward.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    Fight for LA: Rams, Chargers scuffle during joint practice
    August 10, 2017

    IRVINE, Calif. (AP) The Fight for LA finally has some punch.

    A handful of skirmishes broke out Wednesday when the Los Angeles Chargers visited the Los Angeles Rams' training camp for the teams' second joint practice in five days.

    The fights mostly arose between the Chargers' offense and the Rams' defense during a lively scrimmage.

    In the first and best scrap, Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson threw a punch at Chargers receiver Dontrelle Inman before Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman pushed Inman to the ground - and Chargers receiver Keenan Allen responded by body-slamming Robey-Coleman.

    Even veteran Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers chipped in with some trash-talking of the Rams' defenders during the workout, but Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines' bloody face was the only noticeable result of the short-lived brouhahas.

    The players and coaches left UC Irvine with the first on-field instance of bad blood between two franchises currently competing for the hearts and minds of Los Angeles' football fans after moving to town one year apart.

    ''We're definitely building a nice little rivalry with the Rams,'' Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said. ''That's what I got out of today.''

    The franchises have co-existed peacefully in the seven months since the Spanos family announced the Chargers' intention to join the Rams in Stan Kroenke's lavish Inglewood stadium complex, which will open in 2020.

    The Chargers also moved north with a bold advertising campaign built around a ''Fight for LA " slogan, and they actually released a new video from the campaign earlier Wednesday.

    That fight hadn't really materialized until the teams got together for a workout lasting more than two hours. They are holding their training camps 5 miles apart in Orange County.

    ''It's a fun experience being out here,'' Rams quarterback Jared Goff said. ''I'm sure there's a little bit of a rivalry among the fans with both LA teams now, but it was a good day today, and it was a lot of fun to see both teams' fans out here.''

    The teams also held a joint practice last weekend at StubHub Center, the Chargers' new home stadium, without anything approaching a fight.

    Everything changed in Irvine, where Johnson and Inman set off the festivities with a scrap after the whistle.

    ''He probably landed (a punch) on my helmet, which is kind of nothing,'' Inman said of Johnson. ''I think that's stupid. If you break your hand, then what? But nah, I think it got real intense.''

    Johnson, the Rams' highest-paid player, indeed threw a punch at Inman, and Robey-Coleman flattened Inman as the third man in. Johnson said the scuffle arose from Inman leaving his hand in Johnson's facemask for far too long.

    ''Where I'm from, if somebody initiates it, you're going to finish it,'' Johnson said. ''But it was a fun competition. ... I'm from Stockton, (California) and the Stockton came out in me. At the end of it, he got in my face, and I'm not going to let anybody disrespect me.''

    The intensity and feistiness likely were secretly thrilling to both coaches, who used the joint practice to shake their teams out of the preseason doldrums with their exhibition openers looming this weekend.

    Sean McVay and Anthony Lynn both expressed relief that nobody got seriously hurt in the workout.

    ''I liked the energy,'' McVay said. ''Going against another quality team is something that's going to be helpful for us going forward. ... (Fights) are a good learning opportunity for us as a team, about keeping that composure in scrimmage situations.''

    The teams won't play each other during the regular season, but they will face off in a preseason game at the Coliseum on Aug. 26.

    Neither team expects any bad feelings from this workout to linger - and most players were back to casual friendliness by the time they wrapped up this practice at dusk.

    During their first year of cohabitation, the clubs will spend their weeks about 90 miles apart on opposite ends of the sprawling Los Angeles metroplex. After their preseason showdown, the Fight for LA will be mostly an advertising slogan and a point of debate for fans.

    The Rams' faithful made their feelings known in Irvine with rude chants directed at the Chargers. Talkative Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward had a running dialogue with hecklers during one drill, but it was mostly in good fun.

    ''I just saw a lot of good competition out there,'' Lynn said. ''I didn't encourage the fighting, but I was pleased with the intensity.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    2017 AFC Preview
    August 22, 2017


    The AFC stands a blasť 154-169-2 SU and 154-160-11 ATS in non-conference clashes against the NFC the past five seasons, including 6-1 SUATS as double-digit favorites.

    They have gone 172-148-5 ‘Over’ in those games, including 100-83-3 ‘Over’ when playing as a dog.

    In intra conference games – AFC versus AFC – overall the teams off a SU underdog win have struggled to get back up the following game, going just 65-93 SU and 62-88-8 ATS. Inside those numbers is a paltry 1-14 SU and 4-11 ATS mark for dogs of 6 or more points.

    Passer Rating Differential

    In a passer-friendly league these days, it’s important to know that you win when you have a quality quarterback, and you lose when you don’t.

    Of the 50 teams in the NFL that ranked in the Top 10 in season ending defensive pass efficiency, 32 of them make the playoffs (although only three last season).

    Among those a total of the 14 teams combined to finish the season ranked in both offensive and defensive pass efficiency, with 13 of them finding their way to the postseason. The only one that did not: the 2015 New York Jets of the AFC.

    This is our NFL AFC Division pointspread prognosis for this season...



    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8 -130
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 123.5

    Rex Ryan’s grandstand firing of OC Greg Roman following an 0-2 start last season wasn’t enough to save his hide as his toxic personality, along with his defenses that finished No. 24 and 26 in two years with the Bills, proved to be his Waterloo. Fired brother Rob also won’t benefit from the finally healthy services of last year’s top pick, DE Shaq Lawson who never fully recovered from preseason shoulder surgery, or 2nd-rounder LB Reggie Ragland who sat out the entire season with a torn ACL. As for the offense, Dan Graziano of ESPN notes that of the quarterbacks who have played at least 20 games the past years, Tyrod Taylor ranks 4th in TD/INT ratio and 7th in Total QBR.

    The addition of WR Zay Jones, who set an NCAA single-season record with 158 receptions at East Carolina last season, along with the healthy return of stud Sammy Watkins, should help Taylor and 1st-year head coach Sean McDermott ease the pain of a difficult schedule that finds the Bills taking on foes with a projected 134.5 wins. And if upper management can prevent any further pillaging from their division rival Patriots, maybe even retired anchor Chris Berman will, once again, circle the wagons in upstate New York.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Rex Ryan’s record with Buffalo was the best of any of the previous five Bills’ head coaches.

    PLAY ON: vs. NY Jets (9/10)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 7 -120
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 134

    There’s a lot to like about the 2017 Dolphins as owner Stephen Ross laid out a bundle in resigning key personnel while trying to hold on to the core of his 10-6 team. There’s also a lot to be concerned with as the Fish allowed went just 4-13 ‘In The Stats’, allowed more points than they scored, and were also only 2-4 SU against winning opposition last season. The latter is extremely alarming considering Miami tackles the 3rd most difficult schedule in the league (projected wins 134) and the 6th toughest based on win-loss records from last year (148-119).

    Numerous close calls (seven games decided by overtime or 4 points or less) had the Dolphins gazing at defense in the draft, headlined by pass-rusher Charles Harris (Missouri) in the first round. Looking for red-zone help, they also re-united TE Julius Thomas with head coach Adam Gase. The offensive line looks to be a strength as Laremy Tunsil, last year’s value-packed first-round pick, will move to his natural position at left tackle, though they will need Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey to overcome nagging injuries that has caused him to miss 19 games over the past four seasons. The main question is whether retread QB Jay Cutler can adequately fill former starter Ryan Tannehill’s shoes.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Since 2000, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald notes the Dolphins have drafted a total of 12 players that have totaled 12 Pro Bowl seasons.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Buffalo (12/17)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 12.5 +100
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 124

    Tom Brady got his ‘one for the thumb’ in leading the Pats past Atlanta, capping the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. We’re not sure who groaned more: the growing legion of New England haters or the sportsbooks who took a virtual bath, especially on 2nd half action. After suffering its first shutout loss at Gillette Stadium in franchise history in Week Four, Brady returned from suspension and the Pats never looked back. We don’t want to say he’s getting old but your TV might still have knobs on it as old as Brady (40). Nonetheless, he adds another weapon to his “5’10” arsenal” in deep threat Brandon Cooks, complimenting Julian Edelman out of the slot and pass-catching back James White.

    A 9th straight postseason appearance figures to be in the bank as a difficult non-division lineup is offset by the soft AFC East. And the more things change in the ever-developing NFL, the more they stay the same in Foxborough: the Patriots will continue to employ one of the NFL’s smaller coaching staffs (its 15-member group is far below the league average of 20). It’s an old school approach that Belichick feels leads to better communication. One thing’s for sure… with or without rabbit ears, his message is clear.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Since 2006, five defending Super Bowl champions have failed to make it back to the playoffs the following season.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Atlanta (10/22)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 5 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 131.5

    You know you’re in trouble when your owner asks the fans for patience. Even Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath, who displayed just that when waiting for a kiss from his main squeeze, Suzy Kolber, said, “Right now I don’t think there are many teams wary of the Jets.” Recognizing an obvious need to officially begin their rebuild, the Jets said adios to mainstays Ryan Clady, Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall and Darrell Revis. They then proceeded to trade down four times in the NFL draft to acquire much-needed extra selections for an aging roster.

    Quizzically, QB Josh McCown (19-46 SU in the NFL, including 2-20 the last 22) figures to start until they figure out what they want to do with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Together they form a sluggish MPH (McCown, Petty, Hackenberg) trio that is simply not up to speed in this league. Its no wonder why the Flyboys season win total came in at 5 – the same number of victories they finished with last season after posting 10 wins in HC Todd Bowles’ rookie season. Despite filling obvious needs, New York’s draft also looked like something out of Noah’s Ark as the Jets drafted positions in pairs: two safeties, two receivers and two corners. Right now they are hoping the ‘beat out’ Cleveland for the top spot in this year’s draft.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Jets are 15-0-1 ATS as division dogs against foes off a division ATS win.

    PLAY ON: vs. Miami (9/24)



    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9 +110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 127

    Yes, Joe Flacco has won 83 games since entering the league in 2008, only trailing Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan during that span. However, since winning the Super Bowl and signing a monster contract in 2013, Flacco’s total QBR rating ranks 21st, behind the likes of Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The firing of OC Marc Trestman five games into the season didn’t help as the Ravens ended the year averaging only 2 points and 10 yards per game more than with him. Nor does the lack of depth at wide receiver as Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are primarily deep threats that struggle to make plays (Perriman has yet to produce 65 receiving yards in a game). Thus, the signing of WR Jeremy Maclin should help.

    So in typical Ravens’ fashion when all else fails, John Harbaugh will, once again, turn to a defense that features six new starters and a deep secondary. Harbaugh is pumped, going on record as saying “I don’t want to overstate the expectations, but I’m not afraid to do that, really. I expect these guys to be great.” That should certainly help a team that played in a whopping 11 games last season that were decided by one score (7 points) or less.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Half of the Ravens’ road wins the last two years have been at Cleveland.

    PLAY ON: at Oakland (10/8)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8.5 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 123

    Apparently London Bridge wasn’t the only thing falling down across the pond. Cincinnati’s trip to Wembley Stadium in late October against the Redskins resulted in a 24-24 tie and the Bengals could never really get it in gear from that point on, closing out a dismal 2016 campaign with a 3-5 finish (all five losses by 5 or fewer points) – and ending a streak of five straight one-and-done postseason appearances. However, things are looking up for Andy Dalton in America’s Queen City. Cincy has added speedy WR John Ross and controversial RB Joe Mixon to an explosive offense that features WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert.

    In addition, no team will face an easier set of foes in 2017 as the Bengals’ schedule of opponents tallies a combined 123 projected wins. Marvin Lewis' men also have the luxury of traveling the second fewest air miles in the loop (7,652) while taking on the NFC North - a division they have owned of late as evidenced by a 10-2 SU and 8-3-1 ATS mark since 2005. It’s all for naught, though, unless the offensive line can keep their red-headed rifle upright and seeing ‘Green.’ With that, it’s hard to look past the fact that Cincinnati last tasted playoff victory in 1990.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Cincinnati is 12-2-1 ATS as a pick or dog of 3 or less points off a DD win under Lewis.

    PLAY ON: vs. Detroit (12/24)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 4.5 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 132

    The quarterback-starved Browns passed on signal callers with their two first-round selections but the carousal added another pony in the following round with the selection of DeShone Kizer. Kizer will likely open the season holding the clipboard for Brock Osweiler and/or Cody Kessler but history suggests it won’t take long before he gets his chance as the Browns have cycled through 26 QBs since 1999 (New England has used a total of five in that span and would have been three if not for Brady’s suspension). Still, color us intrigued as it looks like Hue Jackson has the Brownies heading in the right direction. They upgraded their offensive line and amassed a ton of draft picks (12) for 2018, including two firsts, three seconds and a pair of fourth rounders. All this while earning top grades in this year’s draft.

    One constant is LT Joe Thomas (160 consecutive starts in 10 Pro Bowl seasons) who will need to remain productive as the game plan should be to pound the ball on the ground with RBs Isaiah Crowell (4.8 YPR) and Duke Johnson (4.9 YPR). The hire of DC Gregg ‘Bounty’ Williams is a good move but that will lead to a change of schemes (back to 4-3) for the third time in seven years. A salty division slate, along with a 1-5 SUATS log at home versus the NFC North, figures to keep the Brownies in the oven for another season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Since 2006, the Browns have drafted 7 QBs that have gone 22-69 collectively.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Green Bay (12/10)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 10.5 -130
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 129

    Playing every away game in an Eastern Time zone for only the third time in NFL history, the Steelers capitalized by going 5-3 SUATS in those games en route to a 11-win regular season – keeping Mike Tomlin’s 10-year streak of never having a losing campaign intact. And not only will the Steelers, like last year, travel the fewest air miles (6,790) in the league, they’re also expected to be favored in all but two games this season (small dogs at KC, small home dog to NE) according to Cantor Gaming in Las Vegas. The full time return of WR Martavius Bryant is a scary proposition as Ben Roethlisberger has never played a full season with all three B’s (Bell, Bryant, and Brown) in the lineup (provided LeVeon Bell eventually signs a contract).

    The feel-good addition of RB James Conner compliments Bell while second-round selection WR JuJu Smith-Schuster gives Big Ben another weapon (can you say 40 TD passes!) to improve on an already impressive 138-66 SU record in his NFL career, including 25-10 SU and 23-12 ATS in division roadies. Anything less than a fourth consecutive double-digit win season and a second straight AFC North title will be a disappointment for the Terrible Towels.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Persistence has paid off for Pittsburgh: the Steelers have made 29 playoff appearances over the last 45 seasons. They are also only the fourth NFL franchise to earn 600 victories, trailing only Chicago, Green Bay, and NY Giants.

    PLAY ON: vs. New England (12/17)



    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8 -120
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 130.5

    It’s been reported that head coach Bill O’Brien changes quarterbacks more often than he does underwear, which if true, could lead to a malodorous situation in Houston this season. The truth of the matter, though, is no one gets more from a stable of mediocre quarterbacks than the QB whisperer as his teams have started 8 different signal-callers in his three years with the Texans, yet somehow managed to pull off 28 wins and a couple of playoff appearances along the way. Despite paying dearly for first-round pick Deshaun Watson, it’s unlikely the Clemson star will join the stable anytime soon as O’Brien’s philosophy is rookie quarterbacks should be seen and not blurred (and if all else fails, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear a few Tony Romo ‘whispers’).

    The return of J.J. Watt, who missed 13 games last season after undergoing back surgery, along with the rise of DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney – who is now playing at the level expected when Houston made him the top pick in the draft four years ago – ensures the defense is no laughing matter. It also should send the Texans back to the postseason out of a very winnable AFC South.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Houston is 12-0 SU and 10-2 ATS as a favorite against foes off a loss under O’Brien.

    PLAY ON: at New England (9/24)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8.5 +120
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 122.5

    There’s a new buzzword in Indy this season: DEFENSE. According to Bill Barnwell of ESPN, new GM Chris Ballard shored up the league’s fourth worst defense per DVOA via the draft and free agency. (DVOA is a statistical metric devised by Football Outsiders.com that measures Defense-adjusted Value Over Average – sort of like MLB’s ‘WAR’ Wins Above Replacement statistic. It allows you to compare teams and players overall and their offenses and defenses with better accuracy than standard measures such as yards gained and yards allowed, which don’t adjust for opponent quality.)

    The offense, which ranked 7th in the league in points scored and 9th in total yardage won’t need metrics as long as Andrew Luck is back at full strength following off-season shoulder surgery – and that’s iffy as of this writing. Luck (46-30) is coming off a quiet 4,24/31 TD/63.5 completion percentage performance and will face the league’s softest SOS slate with foes going just 112-147 last season. Sure, the offensive line still needs help but if last year’s three selections (nabbed with the first five picks) come around and Ballard’s defensive plan pans out, the Colts could get off the 8-win schneid and return to the postseason for the first time in three years.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: QB Andrew Luck is 21-3 SU and 20-4 ATS in his NFL career in games following a Colts’ SUATS loss.

    PLAY ON: at Houston (11/5)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 6.5 -150
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 124.5

    Despite holding half of their opponents to under 300 yards last season, the Jags managed to net only three wins as they lost a league-high eight games by a touchdown or less. It marked their sixth straight losing season, as they have not made the playoffs since 2007. Hence, they got busy in the offseason, bringing in numerous free agents, removing the interim label from head coach Doug Marrone and naming Tom Coughlin VP director of football operations. They also landed RB Leonard Fournette who should make an early splash as five of the Jags’ first six foes ranked in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt last season. That can only help QB Blake Bortles, who next to Philip Rivers (52), has tossed more interceptions (51) than anyone in the league over the past three years (it’s never a good sign when your QB has more pick-6s than wins).

    The Jaguars will also need to outplay Vegas projections as they are predicted to be favored in only six of their sixteen contests and will count on Marrone to handle division duties as the former head man in Buffalo (15-17 SU) is 10-4 ATS in division games, including a near spotless 5-1 ATS at home. A September 17th date versus an improved Tennessee team will put that number to the test. It will also be crucial to Bortles’ future as a starter with Jacksonville.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Jaguars are 1-10 SUATS at home in games after facing an NFC foe.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Indianapolis (12/3)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8.5 -130
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 124.5

    Taking the Titans from 3 wins in his rookie season to 9 victories last year, QB Marcus Mariota’s career looks promising – as long as he can avoid the dreaded injury bug that cut short each of his first two seasons in the league. That becomes a major hassle should Tennessee be forced to turn to Matt Cassel. The rest of the offense is also in good hands as dynamic first-round draft pick WR Corey Davis joins Rishard Matthews, who exploded over the final 12 games of the season, catching 65 balls for 945 yards and 9 TDs. The backfield is also well fortified as DeMarco Murray re-established himself as a bonafide anchor while Derrick Henry averaged 4.5 YPR in his rookie campaign.

    On the other side of the ball, the Titans reinforced a secondary that ranked 30th overall with key free agent signings. Yes, we realize that head coach Mike Mularkey is just 14-34 SU in his last 48 games dating back to his days with Buffalo, but if they can take advantage of a soft schedule that finds only six foes owning winning records in 2016 (116-148 overall), then they just might make some noise in the vulnerable AFC South.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Music City Titans are 10-1 SU and 8-2-1 ATS versus sub .500 NFC West opponents.

    PLAY ON: vs. Indianapolis (10/16)



    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 8 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 133.5

    It’s a good thing rookie head coach Vance Joseph, a former defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins, won’t have to spend too much time shoring up a stop-unit that ranked 3rd in the league in points allowed (18.6) and 4th in overall total defense (316.1) last season. That’s because he’ll be spending most of his days (and nights) figuring out who will be under center while tackling the second most difficult slate in the league based on opponents’ win-loss records last year (150-114), and fourth hardest looking at foes’ projected wins (133.5) for this season.

    Will it be Paxton Lynch, Denver’s top pick in the 2016 draft? Trevor Siemian, a 7th-rounder in 2015? Or perhaps Mr. Irrelevant – Chad Kelly – the final selection in the 2017 class will eventually get his chance. If healthy, the signing of RB Jamaal Charles could be a coup for a rushing attack that averaged less than 100 YPG for the first time in recent history. Simply put, the Broncos will need to get back to a bread-and-butter run offense in order to avoid the ‘Lynch’ mob and book their usual postseason spot. ‘Ad- Vance’ notice: Christmas (at Kansas City) and New Years (vs. Oakland) will likely decide how the AFC West is won this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Broncos are 15-3 SU and 14-4 ATS in their last 18 division away games.

    PLAY ON: at Kansas City (10/30) - *KEY


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 132

    After trading up 17 spots in the first round of this year’s draft, many feel Patrick Mahomes II will be Andy Reid’s quarterback in the near future. Considering Mahomes went 0-9 SU in his college career against ranked opponents and the Chiefs square off against the toughest SOS in 2017 with foes sporting an overall .573 win percentage (153-115), Reid should consider jumping in the Delorean ASAP and driving back to the future. Despite being outgained by 34 YPG and losing the stat battle in 11 of 16 contests, the Chiefs managed to collect 12 scalps in 2016.

    That immediately puts them on our early-season fade list unless they can improve on a defense that is often forced to play a Dime package (6 DBs) due to lack of depth at linebacker and ranked 22nd or worse against the run five of the past six seasons. However, if oft-injured MLB Derrick Johnson returns and RB Kareem Hunt, who surpassed 300 touches and came into his own as a weapon out of the backfield last year at Toledo, can fill in for the departed Jamaal Charles, things for Andy could be just dandy in the wild, wild AFC West. But we simply don’t trust teams from one year to the next that lead the league in net turnovers. They tend to regress to the mean in a mean way.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The last quarterback drafted by the Chiefs to win a game in the NFL was in 1983.

    PLAY AGAINST: at NY Jets (12/3)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total 7.5 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 128.5

    There was plenty of crying for Philip Rivers last season in San Diego as the Chargers all-time passing yards leader – who hasn’t missed a start since taking over the reins in 2006 – suffered a career-high 21 picks while completing just over 60% of his passes, far below his career completion percentage. It’s no wonder why the Chargers drafted stud WR Mike Williams and used three of their seven draft picks on offensive linemen. Unfortunately, Williams is out until at least October with a back injury. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bolts allowed the most pass pressure in the league over the past three seasons. That same massive line, though, is the main reason RB Melvin Gordon showed considerable improvement.

    The defense also asserted itself with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram forming a fierce pass-rushing duo. However, the schedule-maker did the Chargers and rookie head coach Anthony Lynn no favors this season as they take on a league-high 11 foes that owned winning records in 2016. The feeling here, though, is if this team can shake their annual injury bug (they led the league with 355 man games lost last season) and pull out a few close ones (1-8 in games decided by a TD or less), they could supplant the Chiefs as playoff contenders.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Chargers are 24-4-1 ATS as road dogs of more than 4 points since 2004.

    PLAY ON: vs. Miami (9/17)


    Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9.5 -110
    Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 124

    Future bettors who rolled the dice on the Raiders last season were rewarded early as the Vegas-bound Silver and Black easily topped their projected win total of 8.5 by delivering 12 victories, despite the fact that they were actually outyarded on the season. With that a serious red flag pops up – especially if they can’t match a trend that saw them go 8-1 in games decided by a TD of less. A relatively easy schedule this season (according to Vegas, not the NFL) may see them top the number (9.5) this year, especially with a healthy Derek Carr driving a potent attack that features WR Amari Cooper and recently added RB Marshawn Lynch and TE Jared Cook. Unfortunately, the Raiders made no high impact moves to help Khalil Mack and beef up a front seven that failed to sack Brock Osweiler in a humbling Wild Card round loss to the Texans.

    The good news is last season was the first time since 1967 that Oakland won five consecutive road games; the bad news is Blackjack Del Rio’s bunch is 1-8 SU versus the NFC East since 2005. Still, we’ll consider a double down ‘under 10 wins’ should the public drive the number up as teams who lead the league in net turnovers (tied with the Chiefs last year) average 16.5 less net TO’s the following year. Think about that before jumping off the high board again with the Black-and-Silver in 2017.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: After going 1-18 SU since 2009 in games in Eastern Time zone cities, the Raiders went 3-0 in 2016.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Buffalo (10/29)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    NFL notebook: Browns TE DeValve kneels during anthem
    August 22, 2017

    Seth DeValve is believed to be the first white NFL player to kneel during the national anthem when the Cleveland Browns tight end joined his teammates in what he referred to as a prayer group prior to Monday's preseason game against the New York Giants.

    DeValve said recent events in Charlottesville, Va., had a lot to do with his decision. The 24-year-old went a step further by saying the situation hits close to home as his wife, Erica, is African-American.

    "I myself will be raising children that don't look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now," DeValve said. "So I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do."

    The display by the Browns on Monday, in which a dozen players kneeled, is the NFL's largest protest since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in August 2016.

    --Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is on track to start the team's upcoming preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Tuesday.

    Rivera plans to make a final decision for Thursday's game on Wednesday, per multiple reports. Newton has yet to dress for a preseason game as he works his way back from a surgically repaired shoulder. The 2015 NFL MVP has participated in team drills on both Monday and Tuesday.

    Newton had surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff that was expected to require a four-month rehab process.

    --The New England Patriots
    activated linebacker Dont'a Hightower from the physically unable to perform list.

    A defensive captain, Hightower had been nursing an undisclosed physical ailment that kept him off the field in voluntary spring practices. He had been wearing a brace over his right knee during the start of training camp.

    Hightower signed a four-year contract extension this offseason with a base value of $35.5 million and more than $17 million in guaranteed money. The 27-year-old Hightower's fourth-quarter strip sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was one of the key plays in Super Bowl LI, helping the Patriots complete their rally from a 25-point deficit to win the contest.

    --Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is weighing his options in regard to running back Ezekiel Elliott's participation in Saturday's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.

    Garrett told reporters that Elliott could either sit out or see as many as eight to 12 snaps in the contest, which amounts to what is a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

    "I haven't made that decision. I just haven't had those discussions with him," Garrett said of the 22-year-old Elliott, who faces a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The ban stems from the league's 13 month-long investigation into domestic violence accusations made against Elliott by former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.

    --New York Giants safety Landon Collins criticized Cleveland Browns defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun for his hit that injured wideout Odell Beckham Jr. during Monday's preseason game.

    Collins' primary issue was Boddy-Calhoun's decision to go low on a high throw to Beckham, who exited the Giants' 10-6 loss with a sprained ankle. Beckham is undergoing additional tests on Tuesday.

    "I cannot have a teammate next to me playing that way," Collins said, per the New York Daily News. "I cannot condone it. It's not something I seek. He had all the opportunity in the world to make a different play. The play wasn't a penalty, but it's something everyone knows ... you don't do."

    --San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers came out in a story published in Outsports, becoming the first openly LGBT coach in all of men's professional sports.

    Sowers became just the second female coach in the league earlier this month when she was hired full-time with the 49ers for the 2017 season.

    "No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are," the 31-year-old Sowers told Outsports. "There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation. The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day."

    Sowers, who came out to her family in college, was hired as a 49ers offensive assistant working with the wide receivers.

    --The Arizona Cardinals activated linebacker Deone Bucannon from the physically unable to perform list.

    Bucannon underwent surgery on his right ankle in May on the heels of missing the final three games of the regular season.

    The 24-year-old Bucannon had 91 tackles in 13 games last season. He has posted more than 80 tackles in each of his three NFL seasons and has five sacks, four fumble recoveries and one interception.

    --The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed long snapper Andrew DePaola and waived injured cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, the team announced Tuesday.

    DePaola has registered eight special teams tackles while playing in all 48 games over the last three seasons with the Buccaneers. He will compete with fellow long snapper Garrison Sanborn, who had spent the last nine campaigns with the Buffalo Bills.

    Adjei-Barimah recorded 62 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble over 23 contests over the last two seasons with Tampa Bay. He had been plagued by a knee injury that he sustained late in the 2016 campaign.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    NFL notebook: Browns QB Kizer to start next preseason game
    August 23, 2017

    Three weeks into his first NFL preseason, DeShone Kizer emerged as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.

    The rookie second-round pick out of Notre Dame earned a chance to solidify his spot atop the pecking order of passers for the Browns with a start in Cleveland's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.

    "This morning, I informed our quarterbacks that DeShone will be our starter for the third preseason game against Tampa," head coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday. "He has made a lot of progress by investing the time necessary to learn our offense, working hard to improve on his fundamentals while also effectively moving the offense in preseason games. Development is so important for a young quarterback, this is the next step he needs to take and he deserves this opportunity. We are very excited about seeing DeShone in the role of starter for this week, as he is certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season."

    Cody Kessler entered training camp as the presumed starter. A rookie in 2016, Kessler entered the lineup after injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown. Kessler is 12 of 17 in two preseason games but averaging less than 6.0 yards per completion. Brock Osweiler, acquired in a trade from the Houston Texans, is completing 54.5 percent of his passes with one interception and Kevin Hogan has only one pass attempt.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne will start Thursday's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, coach Doug Marrone announced .

    Fellow quarterback Blake Bortles will also receive reps with the first team.

    Marrone has not been pleased with what he has seen from his quarterbacks thus far in the preseason.

    Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft and the team's starter since Week 4 of his rookie season, was ineffective in his four series in the first half against the Bucs, all of which ended in punts.

    --New York Giants
    coach Ben McAdoo didn't shed much light on the condition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

    McAdoo didn't elaborate if Beckham sustained a high or low ankle sprain on a hit by Cleveland defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun during a 10-6 loss to the Browns in a preseason game on Monday night.

    "He's got an ankle (injury), he's in there getting treatment," McAdoo said. "We're just taking it day by day."

    McAdoo also did not confirm or deny an ESPN report, citing sources, that said Beckham may not be ready for New York's season opener at the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 10.

    --The Giants
    waived offensive lineman Michael Bowie following a charge of domestic assault and battery in Oklahoma.

    Bowie, 25, turned himself in to authorities on Monday after a warrant was issued last week. He was charged with one count of domestic assault and battery and two counts of malicious injury or destruction of property.

    The NFL is investigating the incident and Bowie could be subject to potential discipline by the league under the personal conduct policy.

    The team waived offensive lineman Corin Brooks, and waived/injured wide receivers Darius Powe and Andrew Turzilli with hamstring injuries. In addition, the Giants signed wide receivers Marquis Bundy and C.J. Germany, and linemen Richard Levy and Matt Rotheram.

    --If Le'Veon Bell's
    Tuesday night tweet is legit, the running back plans to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the beginning of next month.

    Bell has not been with the team during the preseason, working out on his own during his holdout.

    On Tuesday, a fan tweeted to James, "So like when is le'veon bell gonna show up??," Vadarmendariz asked in regard to fantasy football.

    Bell tweeted a simple response: "9-1-17" with a wink emoji. When the fan responded that his announcement was good news, he replied, "you're welcome."

    Sept. 1 is one day after the Steelers' preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns.

    --Baseball legend Hank Aaron
    came to the defense of Colin Kaepernick, saying the unsigned quarterback is "getting a raw deal."

    Aaron told BlackAmericaWeb.com in an online video published Wednesday that Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL owners who disagree with his politics.

    "I think he's getting a raw deal," Aaron said. "If you look at all the quarterbacks in the league right now, I think you have to say he is 1, 2, 3, 4. I don't think anybody can do the things he could do. I wish somebody would open up and give him a chance to do his thing."

    Aaron endured racism throughout his legendary baseball career. The Hall of Famer was the target of racist taunts, death threats and hate mail throughout his historic chase of Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974.

    --The Chicago Bears signed left tackle Charles Leno to a four-year, $38 million contract extension.

    The deal through the 2021 season includes $21.5 million in guarantees, according to multiple reports. Leno was scheduled to earn $1.797 million in the final year of his rookie deal.

    The 25-year-old Leno, the Bears' seventh-round draft choice in 2014 out of Boise State, played in 38 games over three seasons with 30 career starts.

    The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Leno took over left tackle on a permanent basis in Week 4 of the 2015 season and started all 16 games in 2016.

    --Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn ended his 26-day holdout and returned to practice on Wednesday.

    Penn is entering the final season of his two-year, $11.9 million contract he signed in March 2016. By comparison, at least 14 offensive tackles in the NFL make $10 million per season.

    The 2016 Pro Bowl selection has yet to miss a regular-season game since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007. The 34-year-old sat out the Raiders' wild-card playoff loss to the Houston Texans last season with a left knee injury.

    --Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has been ruled out of Saturday's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, the team announced.

    The contest will be the second straight missed by Freeman, who reportedly is navigating his way through the final stages of the concussion protocol. The two-time Pro Bowl selection is not practicing, but has been running sprints on the side of the field.

    --The San Francisco 49ers signed free agent defensive lineman Sen'Derrick Marks to a one-year deal to add depth at the position.

    The 49ers have been hit with injuries on the defensive line, including defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (ankle) and defensive end Ronald Blair (groin).

    --The 49ers
    activated free safety Jimmie Ward off the physically unable to perform list, the team announced Wednesday.

    Ward has been sidelined since sustaining a hamstring injury during the team's conditioning test on the first day of training camp.

    --The Indianapolis Colts activated center/guard Brian Schwenke from the physically unable to perform list.

    Schwenke, who signed as a free agent with the Colts in March to play guard, had been battling a foot injury that kept him out of offseason workouts and training camp. The veteran offensive lineman can practice with the team immediately.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #51
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    The Latest: Kaepernick's supporters rally outside NFL office
    August 23, 2017

    NEW YORK (AP) The Latest on efforts in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem (all times local):

    8:45 p.m.

    Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (KAP'-ur-nihk) are demanding he be signed by a team before the National Football League season starts next month.

    They gathered outside the NFL's New York City headquarters on Wednesday to show their support for the free agent, who once played in the Super Bowl but opted out of his contract and hasn't been signed.

    Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games as a protest of police brutality targeting blacks. His supporters say he's being blackballed. Critics point to his playing ability and say he should have stood.

    The Rev. Jamal Bryant says the league doesn't mind if black players get concussions but ''they just got a problem if black players get a conscience.''


    6 p.m.

    Hundreds of supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (KAP'-ur-nihk) are rallying outside the New York City headquarters of the National Football League to support him.

    Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and is now without a team. His supporters say he's being blackballed. The free agent once played in the Super Bowl but hasn't been signed by any football club.

    Some critics say it's about his ability as a player. Others say he should have stood for the anthem.

    The NAACP sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday about the situation, saying it's ''no sheer coincidence'' Kaepernick is unsigned. The civil rights organization wants a meeting with the NFL to discuss the situation.



    The NAACP wants a meeting with the NFL commissioner to discuss the fate of Colin Kaepernick (KAP'-ur-nihk).

    He's the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who refused to stand for the national anthem - kneeling as a protest against police brutality. He once took his team to the Super Bowl, but he's a free agent now, and no club has signed him.

    The NAACP says in a letter to the football commissioner, Roger Goodell, that it's apparently ''no sheer coincidence'' that Kaepernick hasn't been picked up.

    Derrick Johnson - the NAACP's interim president and CEO - says ''no player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech.''

    The NAACP plans to participate in a rally Wednesday at NFL headquarters in New York in support of Kaepernick.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  7. #52
    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    Thursday’s six-pack

    — In last 30 years, Nevada sportsbooks haven’t had a losing September in college football.

    — New England Patriots are favored in every game from Week 1-Week 16; spreads for Week 17 games are not posted in the summer.

    — Nick Saban is 31-2 in SEC games against the current 13 coaches at other SEC schools.

    — A’s traded Rajai Davis to Boston, for an 18-year old OF prospect who is playing in the Dominican Summer League.

    — Raiders’ LT Donald Penn ended his holdout. practiced on Wednesday.

    — Mitchell Robinson, a 5-star prospect and top-10 recruit this past spring, is not expected to play college basketball after he left Western Kentucky in July. Good luck there; hopefully the kid goes overseas for a year and at least plays SOMEWHERE.


    Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…….

    13) Long time ago, the Dallas Cowboys had a very fast WR named Bob Hayes; this is in the 60’s, when the Cowboys first got really good. Bullet Bob Hayes was a sprinter— Dallas picked him in the 7th round of the 1964 Draft, with the 88th pick. Great pick— Hayes caught 371 passes in the NFL— 71 of them were touchdowns.

    Detroit had the 89th pick that year; they took a lineman from Wichita State that you may have heard of, even though he didn’t play in the NFL.

    Guy named Bill Parcells, whose 76th birthday was this week.

    12) Baseball is terrific because odd things can happen at any time; LA’s Rich Hill had a perfect game thru 8 innings last night in Pittsburgh, but his 3B made an error in the 9th inning- the game remained scoreless thru nine innings. Hill stayed in the game, even though his blister issues usually mean he comes out before he gets to 100 pitches.

    In the bottom of the 10th inning, Josh Harrison got the Pirates’ first hit, a walk-off homer that ended a great pitching duel. He hit Hill’s 99th pitch over the fence, ending a great game.

    11) Doug Fister allowed a leadoff homer Tuesday night, then didn’t allow another hit in a 9-1 Red Sox win in Cleveland. It was Fister’s first complete game since 2014.

    10) According to ESPN.com, underdogs covered 52.5% of college football games last year, the best year for underdogs in the last 12.

    9) Anthony Rizzo played some 3B Tuesday night, the first lefty to do so in a major league game in 20 years.

    8) Atlanta Falcons will leave a day earlier than usual on their five non-divisional road trips this season; they feel it helps with team bonding.

    7) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy LY; he tried hard to gain weight in the offseason, and is seven pounds heavier than last year, 30 pounds heavier than when he was a freshman.

    6) Good news for NBA’s TV partners, with Cavaliers-Celtics playing on Opening Night. Kyrie Irving t-shirts were 75% off at the Cavaliers’ team store Wednesday.

    5) Indians put Salazar/Miller on the DL Tuesday; they put Jason Kipnis on the DL yesterday. If you’re involved in fantasy baseball, you realize this: baseball players get hurt a lot.

    Red Sox put Jackie Bradley Jr (thumb) on the DL.

    4) Scott Blumstein won the World Series of Poker this summer; before the event, four of his friends gave him $60 each towards the $10,000 entry fee— those four friends will each come away with $40,750 before taxes, after Blumstein won the $8.15M first prize.

    3) Since 1994, the Philadelphia Eagles have had 119 pass plays of 50+ yards, most in the NFL, two more than the Packers, three more than New Orleans.

    Defensively, Atlanta has allowed 127 pass plays of 50+ yards, 20 more than any other team.

    2) Since 2012, Temple (39-24) is the best team in the country against the spread, but Matt Rhule is the coach at Baylor now— we’ll see if Temple can keep up with their successful ways.

    Over the last five years, UConn (18-40) is the worst team in America against the spread.

    1) On August 15, a guy in Las Vegas bet $500 on BYU to win the national title, at 300-1, which would net him $150,000 if the Cougars won the national championship. There was another $200 bet on BYU back in June, at 500-1. Someone like BYU this season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....



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