The proof will always be in their actions in free agency

Re-sign TE Jared Cook and G T.J. Lang. The Packers have $43.6 million in cap room after releasing Sam Shields, and some of that money has to go to retaining contributors from their 2016 team. Cook is still a limited player and can be wildly frustrating at times, but Aaron Rodgers’ numbers were significantly better with him on the field:
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Find some help across from Ansah. Devin Taylor was effective as a rotation defensive end in 2015 but struggled as the full-time starter in 2016, racking up just 4.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Taylor will be a free agent. The Lions got an unexpected boost from interior lineman Kerry Hyder, who recorded eight sacks, but they need another edge rusher to give Ziggy support. Given how expensive top-end pass-rushers will be in free agency, though, the Lions will likely look to the draft or the lower tier of the market to flesh out their defensive line.

Former Broncos coach John Fox joked: “We wanted to see if we could go all the way from one side of the deal on offense, all the way over to the other.”

McCoy can, and will, work with any quarterback the Broncos put behind center. And that flexibility, that versatility, is something McCoy has emphasized since his arrival for his second stint with the Broncos — he served as Denver offensive coordinator from 2009 to 2012.

“This is going to be a very player-friendly system,” McCoy has said. “I think that is one thing we have always done. … I think we’re always going to try and do what the players do best.”

Game Davon House Jersey The proof will always be in their actions in free agency, but the Broncos, from general manager John Elway to coach Vance Joseph to McCoy, have said the plan is to pick Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch to be the team’s starting quarterback next season.

That’s why I have QB ranked ninth in my position-by-position breakdown of the Saints’ offseason needs

The Giants traded up to grab him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Nassib never really received his chance to play or compete for a starting job with the indestructible Eli Manning in front of him. After an unconvincing preseason last year and elbow surgery in December, Nassib could benefit from a fresh start after he failed to win over the Giants organization in his four years as Manning’s caddie. The only way for him to prove himself will be to do so in real games. He will get that opportunity only elsewhere. It’s time to move on.

However, Brees has only one year remaining on his contract — which is how the Saints wanted it. Brees wanted a long-term extension last year, but the Saints preferred to evaluate the position year-by-year.
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If not, the position is still in awfully good hands for the time being.

That’s why I have QB ranked ninth in my position-by-position breakdown of the Saints’ offseason needs. But it might be No. 1 when it comes to intrigue.

P.K. Subban came to the rescue. Sort of. Seconds after the Predators defenseman scored, Gaudreau waltzed down the other way and beat Devan Dubnyk to restore a four-goal lead. Carter and Joe Pavelski combined to make it 7-2.

Nobody scored immediately in the second game, so you knew we were in for a whole different brand of hockey.
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With a little more defensive play mixed in, the Metropolitan broke through first with Simmonds scoring a beautiful breakaway goal. But it was Sergei Bobrovsky making jaws drop: the Atlantic goalie pulled off a fun spin-o-rama to retrieve a puck.

… Victor Hedman scored for the Atlantic and Erik Karlsson followed through for the Metro to restore the one-goal lead.

The way the Bruins are handling Julien¡¯s dismissal is a complete embarrassment

The Bruins announced early this morning that Claude Julien has been fired, ending his near decade-long run behind the Boston bench.

The news was announced in a simple Tweet with a link to an accompanying news release, ending the reign of (arguably) the best coach in franchise history with a few terse words.

Whether or not Julien was the man for the bench job is a matter of opinion, really. Some say he¡¯s been given nothing to work with and has done a decent job with limited pieces, while others say that things have gone stagnant and it¡¯s time for a new voice.

The Blackhawks challenged for offside on the goal, and by one clear review, Chicago seemed to have a strong case for the goal to be overturned. Instead, the offside was deemed ¡°inconclusive¡± by the officials and the goal stood. The call could have been a game-changer, but Chicago was able to grab the lead again before heading into the third period.

You normally think of Iron Men to be old, grizzly veterans that have seen more than a fair number of years at the NHL level. The Wild, for all of their veteran players, now have a young face as their newest consecutive games leader in 24-year-old Charlie Coyle.

Game Youth Jose Fernandez Jersey On Wednesday, Coyle played in his 284th consecutive game, a streak he started way back in November of 2013.

You know, because it’s an Iron Man [email protected]_3 has set a new @mnwild record by skating in his 284th consecutive game.
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NFL MVP Matt Ryan has reached elite status, but new challenge awaits

Matt Ryan has never had much time for critics of his play over the course of his nine-year NFL career. He has the $100 million contract but entered the 2016 playoffs with only one career postseason victory. That didn’t exactly translate into elite status for a quarterback, but Ryan wasn’t getting caught up in labels.

“It’s never been about money,” the Atlanta Falcons star told ESPN.com before this season. “I’m not complaining. Money is just one of the things that comes along with it. With that comes added criticism, and there’s a certain expectation. What I need to do is do my job as best I can and not worry about what everyone else thinks about what you’re getting paid. … For me, the things that are important are the things that affect the outcome of games. That’s what I focus on.”

His mother, Galynn, has been dealing with an undisclosed illness, and it’s put a strain on the tight-knit Brady family. So if there was a picture that captured the essence of Brady’s emotions leading into Super Bowl LI, it was this.

The emotions peaked even higher as the confetti fell at NRG Stadium on Sunday night.
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Brady took the stage and raised the Lombardi Trophy and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”

“It’s going to be a great celebration tonight,” Brady said from the stage. “Thank-you to all of our fans. Everyone back in Boston, New England, we love you. You’ve been with us all year. We’re bringing this sucker home!”
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The verdict: Cheffers made the right decision. According to the rulebook, Cheffers has the option to call a timeout to “repair or replace game equipment, except player equipment.” Grade: A

Black took a heavy load of classes the summer before his rookie NBA season

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A favorite complaint of Ranadive’s critics is that the credit for the killer revenue projections rightfully belongs to Chris Granger, the Kings’ president and an NBA veteran. “The success on the business side is despite [Ranadive], not because of him,” says a league powerbroker with an intimate knowledge of the process in Sacramento.

Matt Darr Youth Jersey Then there is the gripe that feels sharper, more personal: that Ranadive is obsessed with his former team, the Warriors. One league source who knows the owner well says Ranadive, who still lives in the Bay Area, has an “unhealthy fixation on the Warriors.” Sources close to the Kings partnership say that Ranadive “can’t help himself” from claiming credit for innovations in Golden State. Ranadive hired a former Warriors assistant coach (Mike Malone), insisted the team run a Warriors-like offense (despite having few shooters who can fan out to the wings in transition and virtually no frontcourt players who excel in pushing the ball) and, sources say, determined that Malone would have two seasons to make the playoffs. Why two? Because the Warriors’ Mark Jackson made the playoffs in that amount of time. Kings business executives use catchphrases, calling the team a “real estate company” or a “technology company,” that were popularized in Oakland during Ranadive’s time there.

Ranadive lobbied hard to be the controlling governor in Sacramento based on his experience as a Warriors minority partner and his ties to India, a market that’s a prime focus of the NBA. There’s a running joke in the NBA that the Warriors led Ranadive’s Kings campaign as a means of ridding the partnership of its most abrasive owner.

Black took a heavy load of classes the summer before his rookie NBA season. He took more classes during the summer of 2015. He completed and turned in his thesis during the 2015-2016 season. Black’s academic adviser gave him the final word via a phone call. Kansas paid for it all and offered a great academic supporting cast.

When Dan Quinn left his defensive coordinator job in Seattle to become the head coach of the Falcons

Falcons: Speed and physicality. When Dan Quinn left his defensive coordinator job in Seattle to become the head coach of the Falcons, his signature phrase was “fast and physical.” It took a bit, but Quinn eventually established such an identity within his defense. It started with NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley Jr., who used his devastating speed off the edge to record 15.5 sacks to go along with six forced fumbles. Then rookie middle linebacker Deion Jones, one of the fastest linebackers the Falcons have had in years, put his stamp on the defense with a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown against his hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, in his first game inside the Superdome.

Duane Brown Youth Jersey Atlanta won that game 45-32. Jones finished the season with a team-high 106 tackles, and fellow rookie Keanu Neal, the enforcer at safety with his punishing hits, finished right behind with 105 stops. Free safety Ricardo Allen showed the range and open-field tackling to help eliminate big plays, and the cornerback tandem of Robert Alford and Jalen Collins made up for the loss of speedy Pro Bowl CB Desmond Trufant (pectoral surgery).

In the Super Bowl’s early years, the halftime show was about filling time while fans and TV viewers went to the concession stands or their refrigerators to get more beer — or took care of other necessities. As former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle once said about halftime: “That’s when everybody goes to the bathroom.”
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For instance, the first time Houston, the site of Sunday’s game, hosted the Super Bowl was in 1973, and the halftime show featured the University of Texas marching band and Miss Texas playing the fiddle. Yes, the fiddle! That’s a far cry from the next time it was in Houston, in 2004, when Justin Timberlake briefly exposed Janet Jackson’s nipple in the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” that is probably remembered by more people than the actual game. (Reminder: The New England Patriots edged the Carolina Panthers 32-29.)

2016 NFL Draft set for April 28-30

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The 2016 NFL Draft will be held between April 28 and April 30, the NFL announced on Wednesday. The location of the draft has not yet been determined, which is going to be a big deal going forward given the changes made last year. Last year, the draft was held in Chicago, the first time the city had hosted the draft since 1964. New York City had been the host of the draft from 1965 to 2014.

NFL training camps for this coming season are set to get underway in late July, with the preseason set to begin on Aug. 9 with the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. The regular season will officially get underway when the New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10.

The next two seasons were even more productive for Redman. Then, 2013 happened. “I got hit in training camp,” he recalled. Players get hit all of the time. That’s part of football. This injury was different, though. “A tingle went down to my toes every time I bent my head down,” he shared. “I couldn’t run at full speed. I couldn’t turn my head without it hurting. I was trying to fight through the pain and injury, but I couldn’t perform.” He was also scared, a big problem for an NFL player. “There I was, an NFL running back afraid of getting hit,” he said.
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The Steelers put Redman on the inactive list for two weeks. “I kept complaining about my neck. I told them I needed to see a doctor.” One day in October, he checked in at the facility before a CAT scan he was finally able to schedule. Mike Tomlin caught up to him as the star running back was leaving for his appointment. “We’re going to release you. I tried fighting for you,” Tomlin said. Redman was stunned, even more so when he realized they were releasing him healthy instead of putting him on the injured reserve where he could have continued to receive a paycheck.

Matt Ryan is still on fire

Not much has changed in the two months since this story was published. Matt Ryan is still on fire. He is still the favorite to win MVP. He has still managed to retain the art of quarterbacking while letting go of the drag that has plagued him in previous years. He needs a win on Sunday against the Packers to change the perception of his career, but make no mistake: Win or lose, he has already changed the reality. — S.W.

Jordan Crawford Mens Jersey “I have no clue. We’re not where we want to be. That’s all I know,” Popovich said. “And no team is where they want to be. Maybe Golden State is. But the rest of us are trying to get there.”
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The Spurs made that painfully apparent in the first half by giving up 71 points while committing 17 fouls, which sent the Timberwolves to the line for 30 foul shots. The Timberwolves converted 29 of those free throws, including 26-of-26 to start as they took a 71-67 lead into intermission on the strength of a 41-point second quarter.

Coming into the season, the Spurs had allowed only one 70-point first half during Popovich’s tenure as head coach (Jan. 4, 2011, at the New York Knicks). So far this season, the Spurs have surrendered two such first-half performances.

He also cut down on his turnovers with only nine, with seven interceptions — one in the red zone — and two lost fumbles. During a four-game winning streak to finish the regular season, Ryan threw 11 touchdowns with no interceptions. The most important number was 11, the number of wins Ryan helped the Falcons accumulate against five losses, a record that resulted in the NFC South title and a first-round playoff bye. Read the full vote.

Tom Brady threw two interceptions against the Texans

John Riggins Game Jersey Whoever the Patriots play next week — the Kansas City Chiefs or Pittsburgh Steelers — will be their toughest opponent since Week 7. If the Patriots win, they’ll face the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers or Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl LI.

Everything the Patriots have gone through to overcome Brady’s Deflategate suspension and cap his revenge tour comes down to next week and, ideally, a game two weeks later in Houston. Everything that has happened so far feels as if it was supposed to happen, and it has delivered them within two tough wins of a fifth Brady-Belichick Super Bowl title.

George Johnson Game Jersey With the Chiefs lined up for a two-point conversion to tie the game, the Steelers showed a resolve that drove them the past two months. James Harrison, doing the unthinkable at age 38 with a sack and many other pressures Sunday, beat Eric Fisher off the edge once again, drawing a holding penalty to negate a two-point score. Then, safety Sean Davis — the culprit on a helmet shot on receiver Chris Conley to keep a tired Steelers defense on the field — soared over the middle of the field to knock down an Alex Smith pass in the back of the end zone.

This was a grind-it-out win all the way, with Le’Veon Bell running wild for 170 yards and Harrison’s defense turning a hot Chiefs offense lukewarm.

The Steelers’ offense resided in scoring territory all night, reaching the red zone four times and the Chiefs’ 25-yard line or closer seven times thanks to a nearly 400-yard attack. It scored no touchdowns on those drives despite another dominant day from Bell. The Chiefs’ red zone defense was tremendous and the Steelers couldn’t beat it.

So the Steelers went pure survival mode, methodically moving downfield for 3s and letting the defense do the rest.

Roethlisberger said offensive coordinator Todd Haley asked him which play he liked, so the quarterback mentioned a crossing route they hadn’t run all game. Brown went behind linebacker Justin Houston and Roethlisberger put it on him.

Jason Pierre-Paul still isn’t recovered from his fireworks accident from over the summer

The Packers probably took the biggest injury hit around the league this summer when they lost Jordy Nelson for the season with an ACL injury. But the man who’s expected to replace the majority of Nelson’s production, Randall Cobb, is battling health problems as well.

Cobb injured his shoulder during the Packers’ second preseason game, and just returned to practice Wednesday. There’s no definitive word on whether Cobb will suit up to take on the Bears in Week 1, but the fact that he’s practicing is a good sign.

If Cobb can’t go Sunday, second-year wideout Davante Adams would become the new number one receiver in his absence.

Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, Giants):

Jason Pierre-Paul still isn’t recovered from his fireworks accident from over the summer, which cost him a finger and will likely cost him his first few game checks this season as well.
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“You know you’re going against the best and it’s a big opportunity because you want to be at your best and try to make a play against him,” cornerback A.J. Bouye said. “And at the end of the day it all comes down to winning and changing the game on defense and getting the ball in our offense’s hands.”

O’Brien knows how Brady prepares for games, and he is aware the four-time Super Bowl champion will have a good idea of what the Texans will present defensively.

“We’re not going to show him anything that he hasn’t already seen,” O’Brien said. “He’s been doing it for years, 17 years or whatever it is. I mean, that’s part of what makes him who he is. He’s seen it all. He’s very well-prepared. He’s played against a lot of these players. He’s played against this scheme.
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“We just need to kind of do what we do and execute and play every play. Be very focused on every single play, I think that’s big for us.”