Falcons’ young defense ‘can be great,’ and confidence is growing

The Falcons have talked for a few weeks now about their defense making significant strides, but it probably means a little more when such praise comes from an opponent.

That’s exactly what happened after Saturday’s 36-20 divisional playoff victory over Seattle. Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin couldn’t help but give the young Falcons defense its due credit.
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“I think they can be great,” Baldwin told ESPN.com. “They are young, but they have a lot of talent. They have a lot of athletic, gifted talent. No one particular person stood out. It was just their effort. They played really, really hard. And you’ve got to respect that about any team.”

Woods, 46, has been an NFL assistant since 2004 and was recommended to Kubiak by Joseph when Kubiak was putting his Broncos coaching staff together in 2015. Woods has managed one of the most vocal and Type A position groups on the team. This past week, safety T.J. Ward said, “Joe has done a great job in our room,” and added that as a potential defensive coordinator, “Joe would do a great job of that too.”

Joseph set the table for Woods’ promotion on Thursday, when Joseph was formally introduced as the team’s newest head coach. Woods, a bright coaching prospect who some in the league have said could be a head coach someday, was believed to be in line to be the Broncos’ coordinator if Phillips did not return.

“Joe’s a bright coach, and he’s obviously ready to be a coordinator in this league,” Joseph said last week. “…Joe is a guy who can obviously defend the NFL pass game. … I love Joe. I’ve been a friend with Joe for a long time; he’s a great ball coach.”

Game Youth Teemu Selanne Jersey Phillips was a wildly popular presence among the Broncos’ faithful, and his departure to the Los Angeles Rams last week to be their DC was chronicled as if he were a head coach. Phillips’ defense powered the Broncos’ Super Bowl run in 2015.

In case you forgot, the NFL moved back the extra point

3 things we learned:
1) The rookies stole the show

Both squad’s first-round picks, wide receivers Phillip Dorsett and Nelson Agholor, combined for seven catches and 108 yards receiving in the first half. Agholor’s blazing speed was on display in the Eagles’ second possession of the game, as he grabbed a high screen pass from Mark Sanchez (surprise, surprise) and took it to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown.

Cornerback Eric Rowe, who Kelly selected in the second round this spring, also forced a fumble at 14:27 in the second quarter.

2) In case you forgot, the NFL moved back the extra point

It’s nice to see the confidence from Griffin, whose career has been mired with controversy and injury ever since he won the Rookie of the Year Award. He tore his ACL in a wild card game against the Seahawks three seasons ago, and suffered a disclosed ankle in Week 2 last year. All the while, he engaged in a seemingly yearlong feud with head coach Mike Shanahan in 2013.

But there is a difference between confidence and outrageous hyperbole. Given how poorly Griffin compares to the real top quarterbacks in the league, this statement falls into the latter category.

Later in the interview, Griffin did concede that his resume doesn’t stack up to the greats at his position.

“Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be,” Griffin said. “There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.”

Washington head coach Jay Gruden said Monday he thinks Griffin is on his way, via Pro Football Talk.

You can read the whole file or quickly find your team by selecting one of the links below

With the benefit of hindsight, let’s look back at which franchises best positioned themselves for 2016 and beyond with their offseason acquisitions, and which came to quickly regret many of their draft picks and free-agent signings. ESPN NFL Insiders Mark Dominik, Bill Polian, Louis Riddick and Field Yates helped compile the original offseason grades last May; this go-around I did the grades myself, with some help from folks in the league.
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Mens Charles Johnson Jersey You can read the whole file or quickly find your team by selecting one of the links below.

Baltimore’s offseason moves look better in hindsight. Eric Weddle provided the production and leadership the Ravens sought. Fellow free-agent addition Mike Wallace produced his first 1,000-yard season since 2011. Cornerback Jerraud Powers was another solid veteran signing.

I learned that Hill grew up in a tiny town in Georgia, where he was raised by his grandmother, and that he ran the 200 meters in 20.14 seconds as a high school senior, which would’ve been the sixth-fastest time at the London Olympics. I learned that, after a couple of seasons at a community college, he enrolled at Oklahoma State, where he was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

I learned why he was trending on Twitter. On Dec. 11, 2014, five days after Hill had led OSU to a comeback victory over Oklahoma, he was arrested and charged with the felony of domestic abuse by strangulation.

No one understands that tension better than Ray Rice. “Once you’re associated with it, you’re never getting rid of it,” he told me a few weeks later. “You’ve got to go out there and understand that.” Hill’s past, in other words, will follow him as long as the people with a vested interest in football continue to bring it up — but it isn’t clear that they will, or that they’ll do it with care.

the Cardinals also believe third-year linebacker Kenny Demens is done for the year with a knee injury suffered in Week 4

His hair. Much like OBJ himself, his hair just looks like a giant souffle that rose too quickly, and if he’s ever going to get to the root of his problems he needs to understand that the NFL is a microscope league and his blondes have more fun routine is making him look like a parasite not a specimine.

Jack Eichel Game Jersey Theres only one sport in the world where dancing makes you look cooler and its called rugby. Memo to Beckham- there called the “All Blacks” not the “Black roots with Frosted tips” and the dance they do is called the Haka, not the caca.

Mens Luis Gonzalez Jersey Just because Beckham wants to play like a Superman doesnt mean he should model his hair after lead singer of goldfinger. Now he just looks like Frylock got left out in a Chernobyl snowstorm, and the fallout has just begun, because you can bet that the fact that he spends longer stretching out his hair then his hamstrings is starting to wear real thin on his teammates.

In addition to Okafor’s injury, the Cardinals also believe third-year linebacker Kenny Demens is done for the year with a knee injury suffered in Week 4.

“I do not feel good,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Sunday after the game when asked about the prognoses for Demens and Okafor.

Freeney was the subject of an ESPN Outside The Lines report in September that showed how the seven-time Pro Bowler was scammed out of $20 million, for which he sued Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.

The Cardinals have been one of the NFL’s best teams, despite relying on the contributions of older NFL stars like Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Freeney’s 111.5 career sacks make him 21st all-time, just a half of a sack behind his long-time Colts teammate, Robert Mathis.

Randall Cobb, Damarious Randall questionable for Packers’ wild-card game vs. Giants

The Green Bay Packers should have at least one of their top-three cornerbacks for Sunday’s wild-card game against the New York Giants, and it’s possible they could have their top-three receivers.

Cornerback Damarious Randall and receiver Randall Cobb were both listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but the fact that they both made it through the week of practice — Cobb on a limited basis and Randall as a full participant — suggests they should be in a better situation than they were last week.
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At halftime, he sits at a cubicle in the Seahawks’ locker room, head down. Pete Carroll appears, squats in front of him and levels his gaze into Fant’s eyes.
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“George, just be you. Just get back to being you.”
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll’s advice to Fant after a rough first half
Fant is incredibly important to Carroll. No player better represents the gamble the Seahawks have taken at the very heart of their team, sinking resources elsewhere while hoping to mold inexpensive, raw talent into an offensive line that can dictate tempo and allow Wilson to work his magic.

“George,” Carroll says, “just be you. Just get back to being you.”

But getting back to being you is hard when you’re still trying to figure out who you are. Rodgers has 15 TDs to zero INTs during this six-game winning streak. He’s feeling it and finding Jordy Nelson early and often. To me, the big matchup on the other side of the ball is if Green Bay can get a pass rush against Manning. If the Packers can’t, then Odell Beckham Jr. could burn a depleted Packers secondary. But Rodgers is so hot right now, I think he melts the tundra. Packers get it done.

NFL scores 2017: Live results, highlights, news, and more from Week 17

Jimmy Howard USA Womens Jersey A roller coaster of an NFL season reaches its conclusion on New Year¡¯s Day. A lot of teams played for pride and draft positions, and the final playoff standings were at stake for some. You can keep track of the NFL playoff picture here.

The Raiders are playing for the AFC West title and a first-round bye. To lock up both, they need to win or tie with the Broncos. If they can¡¯t get it done, they¡¯ll have to hope the Chiefs manage to lose to or tie with the San Diego Chargers.
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McGloin suffered a shoulder injury, and his return to the game is questionable. The Raiders trail the Broncos in Denver 17-0.

This list isn¡¯t all addition by subtraction, though. After a couple years of stockpiling and developing prospects, some of them are finally arriving. They aren¡¯t sure things, but I for one am stoked on them.

Those kinds of numbers provide two guarantees. First, someone is going to pan out. Maybe not enough to turn the 2017 A¡¯s into a good team, but of the 15 players referenced above, all of whom I expect we¡¯ll see this season, at least a couple will stick. That means there¡¯s a good chance your favorite player on the 2019 team will be a rookie this summer. As for the second guarantee: spring training is going to be the most fun it¡¯s been in years. This audition is going to be wild, especially if you¡¯ve been closely following the farm system with us here on AN.

Dez Bryant made another incredible catch at Lambeau Field that actually didn’t count

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Dez Bryant appeared to make an incredible catch against the Packers at Lambeau Field, but referees overturned it after a challenge.

Here, Bryant makes an incredible effort to bring down over (and through!?) Packers defensive back Damarious Randall, but after the Packers challenged the play referees decided that he didn’t maintain control all the way to the ground. Indeed, if you look near the end of the play, Bryant appears to lose control of the ball for a moment before securing it again into his stomach.

Previously, Bryant appeared to make an incredible touchdown grab against the Packers in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs, only to have the call overturned. The Cowboys went on to lose, 26-21.

Referees made the right call then, and they appeared to make the right call Sunday … but maaaan if it doesn’t feel like Bryant should get at least one of these calls to go his way one of these days.

The Texans are 6-6 after a deflating loss to the Buffalo Bills last week. The defense in particular was disappointing, giving up 30 points after allowing an average of just 8.8 in the previous four games. The biggest gaffe ended up deciding the game — the defense seemingly forgot to cover Bills tight end Charles Clay, who walked in for a 40-yard touchdown.

To compound matters, superstar J.J. Watt broke his hand in practice this week. He’s expected to play, but it remains to be seen how the hand will affect his performance. Watt is once again emerging as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, racking up 13.5 sacks in 12 games.

On offense, Brian Hoyer has been playing well recently, partly thanks to breakout star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. In his third season, Hopkins has been lighting up the league with 86 catches, 1,169 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hoyer will need to keep feeding targets to Hopkins if the Texans hope to hand New England its third straight loss.

Or that his teammates didn’t want him to pass?

“It was like I was forced to,” Kobe says. “By the crowd and mostly by teammates.”
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What was more ridiculous? That his 60 points was twice as many as any Hall of Famer has scored in his last regular-season game. That, at age 37, he was five years older than anyone else who has scored 60 points? That no one has taken 50 shots in an NBA game in 49 years?

Or that his teammates didn’t want him to pass?

“I challenged him to score 50 points and that motherfucker got 60,” O’Neal said as he stood on the court long after Kobe had left it, trying to process his final brazen act.

“It would have taken me four months to get 50 shots on any of the teams I played for,” Horace Grant said. “And that motherfucker took 50 in one night.”

Beat the top-ranked team in the league — in the Game of the Season so far — and you quickly vault to No. 1 in ESPN.com’s weekly NBA Power Rankings.

It took your faithful Committee (of One) mere seconds to compute that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be moving back into the top spot after their memorable comeback Sunday from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to topple the mighty Golden State Warriors.

” I do think about how we could have won more championships together-all the time. I think about that one we lost to Detroit [in 2004]. That would have been awesome. ”
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“He passed Michael [Jordan], which is unbelievable in itself. He’s the highest-scoring guard that ever played the game. The greatest-scoring guard. That’s his legacy.”

“It’s just like me and him having dinner on his birthday,” Chopra said. “I’m like, ‘We didn’t have to do this on your birthday.'” Kobe shrugged and said he’s just not that into celebrating it.

They ended up talking for hours. First about Michael Jackson, one of Kobe’s closest mentors, whom Chopra’s father, Deepak, had been a spiritual adviser to. Then about Chopra’s love for the Boston Celtics. The connection was instant.

Carr has struggled in the past few weeks, but with six 300-yard passing games

The Raiders, though, haven’t played well at home this season. They are 2-5 at the Coliseum and 4-3 on the road, and haven’t won at the friendly confines since Nov. 1 against the Jets. Their only other win at home came against the Ravens back in Week 2. Still, with the threat of relocation looming, the Raiders could be inspired to play their best football in front the famed “Black Hole” and the rest of their fan base.

After being eliminated from postseason contention following Sunday’s loss to the Packers, finishing off their home slate with a bang is pretty much all that is left to play for in Oakland. This will be the 13th straight playoff-less season for the Raiders, a streak that began after their Super Bowl run in 2002. The only team with a longer active drought of missing the postseason is the Buffalo Bills, who haven’t had a playoff appearance since 1999.

Johnson is playing well this year, though not at the elite level he enjoyed prior to 2014. He finished the 2012 season with almost 2,000 receiving yards and he notched 1,492 yards in 2013. However, he played in just 13 games in 2014 and had 1,077 yards.

Game Womens T. J. Oshie USA Jersey He is slightly behind that pace this season, with 71 receptions for 981 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. He is still the team’s leading receiver, ahead of Golden Tate, who is also having a down year. Tate has 675 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Theo Riddick and tight end Eric Ebron are next on the stat sheet in receiving yardage.

Game Youth Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jersey Monday’s game has no playoff implications for either team, but with jobs potentially on the line for players and the coaching staff, everyone in Detroit will be happy to see Johnson active.

The Galloways say there’s still work to be done,

“I know how it is to start school with your three shorts and your four shirts,” Sabrina said. “It’s like, ‘If I don’t have that, my goodness. What am I gonna do?'”

But the Galloways think the aftermath of the flood ultimately brought out the best in their community.
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Frank White Authentic Jersey “Baton Rouge is a city that’s very resilient,” Sabrina says. “It’s unfortunate that we had to see both sides, with the police officers getting killed as well as an unarmed black man getting killed again. It’s a trying time, but with the flood happening and seeing the city unify over tragedy made a big circle. It’s coming together. There’s a brighter future.”

The Smith injury, if it’s serious and causes him to miss significant time, is problematic. James, Love and Kyrie Irving are all playing at such a high level, it’s hard to imagine them doing even more as the season progresses.

Smith was someone you could point to and say, “Well, he isn’t playing anywhere near the level he’s capable of (just 8.6 points on 33.7 percent shooting so far), so when he gets it together, he can help Cleveland get better as the year goes on.”

It’s hard to imagine LeBron James shouldering more of the load for the 20-6 Cavaliers — his 39.4 minutes per game in December is the most he’s played in this month since he was 22.

Throw in Griffin’s real desire to add another wing defender by playoff time — think of the role Dahntay Jones played last spring, only younger — and his plate is full.