Jerry Jones denies Cowboys trying to trade Orlando Scandrick, CB says otherwise

The Cowboys are living up to their promise to revamp their defense during the NFL Draft. Does that mean cornerback Orlando Scandrick is out the door?

After selecting three defensive players in the draft Thursday and Friday, NFL Media reported the Cowboys were shopping Scandrick, a nine-year veteran.

JASON DAY: Probably true, I think. Yeah, he has got some game. He played with my buddy, David Lutterus in the qualifier, and David shot 3-under and he lost in a playoff. But I was chatting to my buddy last night and he said that he’s got a lot of game, hits it good. Obviously he’s a football player first, but sneaky talent. Yeah, it’s quite impressive to see how guys like that can adapt to different sports, and golf and football are totally different sports, and for him to be good at both of those — now granted, it’s a kind of a big step from going from where he is to professional level, but once again, to be able to shoot the scores that he does and while playing football at the time is pretty impressive.

Pretty high praise from the former world No. 1, but Lutterus witnessed flashes in Romo’s game, too (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram):

“As a pro you can see who can really hit the ball and who can’t, and he strikes it. If he wanted to [become a pro], there’s no question about it — I think he could make it. You know what he’s got? He’s got the mind. We’re going down the 13th hole and he said something about two par-5s and eagling this and do that. I’m thinking, ‘Whatever.’ And then he goes and eagles the next hole. I’m like, ‘That’s the way you’ve got to think, right? So that was pretty cool. That taught me something. That’s how the best think.”

Romo finished T-40 in a field of 117 players vying for seven spots in sectional qualifying. Lutterus, who shot a 3-under 69, earned the second alternate spot in a playoff.

Russell Westbrook didn’t ‘give a f***’ about his stat line and it’ll cost him $15,000

The NBA has fined Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook $15,000 for “inappropriate language” during his postgame media session on Wednesday, the league announced.

Westbrook posted a triple-double with 51 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists in the Thunder’s 115-111 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Oklahoma City has now fallen to 0-2 in the series.

When asked about his stat line, Westbrook responded, “I don’t give a f— about the line, we lost.”

Wins and losses have been the sticking point all season for Westbrook, who broke Oscar Robertson’s regular season triple-double record and became junike_chargers_368st the second player to average one in NBA history this year. His play helped guide the Thunder to a 47-35 record, good enough for the Western Conference’s sixth seed.

He scored 51 points on Wednesday but took questionable shots in the fourth quarter as he shot 4 of 18 from the field. The series now shifts back to Oklahoma City for Games 3 and 4.

Now then, the pieces lie where they are. A reporter with locker room access to a team insinuated the captain of the Washington Capitals orchestrated a takedown on Sidney Crosby, without evidence no less. Not only is this bad journalism, it’s inflammatory and downright dangerous to do so without anything other than opinion to back it up.

Opinions are fine and good, but to come after a star NHL player in a piece that seems to be written with serious intent without some proof of insider knowledge of what happened in the locker room is setting a horrible standard.

Other prominent Pittsburgh media members also had various takes on the entire situation.

Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap were the only players to have managed more than five sacks in a season.

Dee Milliner ended up going ninth overall to the New York Jets, where he didn’t pan out. The Jets waived him after he only played nine games for New York over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and now he’s a free agent.

Ansah, on the other hand, was a good pick for Detroit. He had a down year last season due to injury, and he contributed just two sacks. In 2015, though, he started all 16 games and had 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

No matter who your team ends up picking on draft day, just remember: You may hate the pick, but it’s entirely possible that you’re wrong. Tell us which player your team passed on that made you furious at the time, but in retrospect was the right call, in the comments.

Like the Chiefs, the Bengals have a lot of draft picks to work with after receiving one compensatory selection in each of the last four rounds. Cincinnati doesn’t typically make big trades in the draft, but it may not cost much to get a little higher in the top 10 and ensure that the team lands one of the top defensive ends.

In the last three years, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap were the only players to have managed more than five sacks in a season. Maybe the Bengals could sit tight for Derek Barnett, but if either Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen are on the board after the first four or five picks, Cincinnati may opt to slide up.

McKinley overcame an impoverished childhood and family issues to develop into one of the 2017 NFL Draft’s most impressive pass rushers. As a child, he was smuggled away from a man in Mississippi who was convinced he was his biological father. The high school he attended was known for its violence — so much so gunshots weren’t an uncommon occurrence during track meets. He was raised by his grandmother and cousins, and had to work his way up through junior college to become academically eligible to play in the FBS.
nike_cardinals_1168

Why it’s impossible not to root for NFL prospect Travis Rudolph

When Travis Rudolph’s name scrolls across your TV during the NFL draft, stop what you’re doing and think of what he’s been through.

As he realizes his NFL dreams, the moment will be bittersweet because of the tragic and reportedly accidental death of Rudolph’s father, Darryl.

A coworker was in an adjacent room moving a firearm off a shelf. The gun discharged and fired a bullet through a wall and into Rudolph’s neck/back area. He was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center where he died.

An initial investigation deemed the shooting accidental. The sheriff’s office stressed the investigation is active and ongoing. It is unclear who owned the gun or whether anyone will face charges in the shooting.

That’s at least two starters, and potentially three whenever Trubisky would get on the field in Cleveland. Can Cleveland get a fourth starter with the 52nd pick? It looks likes Chris Pokorny of DBN found one.

Pokorny: It certainly is a luxury to have four draft picks in two rounds, allowing the Browns to address their four biggest holes — defensive end, quarterback, safety, and now cornerback. The last two picks, including Tabor, will help rejuvenate a secondary that has not been able to rely on highly paid cornerback Joe Haden for several years now. Tabor also boasts good ball skills and a confident personality that could spread through the rest of the defensive unit.

Analysis: During the draft process Tabor has been knocked largely because of the 4.62 40-yard dash speed at the NFL Scouting Combine. The last time that happened to a Florida cornerback it worked out pretty well for the Browns. That player was Joe Haden, who has personally endorsed Tabor leading up to the draft. If Tabor can play even close to Haden’s level (at least when Haden is healthy) it would be a stellar choice.
angels_483

What if the Browns actually take Mitchell Trubisky at No. 1?

Early in the draft process, there were a few contrarians who believed the Cleveland Browns could take a player other than Myles Garrett, but they trickled away and eventually the Texas A&M pass rusher became the consensus choice to be the No. 1 pick.

The Browns could be playing smokescreen games, but I actually believe there is conflict there. With the possibility that the Browns could go with Trubisky, let’s imagine that scenario playing out in two weeks:

Instead, Belichick prefers that players bond through team experiences — which, he conceded, is a challenge, considering players regularly come and go. He pointed to a training camp in which he made a deal with former Patriots tackle Matt Light to catch a punt from 50 yards.

“You catch it, we’ll take the night off; you drop it, we’ll double up on sprints,” Belichick said. “You good with that?”

Light took the offer and former Patriots Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown schooled him for 30 seconds. Light caught the punt, and the Patriots got a night off. Belichick then said something that might only make sense in his mind — or might explain the genius behind his prolonged coaching dominance.

Fresh off the heels of an interview with CNBC’s Suzy Welch, Belichick doubled down by addressing the Ohio State Coaches Clinic at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Thursday.
nike_dolphins_961

the Raiders are not barred by the club’s current lease from relocating to another community.

The Commissioner and membership had found in 2016, in the context of considering an application by the Raiders to relocate to Los Angeles, that the Raiders’ current home stadium is not adequate for NFL football, and must be replaced, a conclusion agreed to by the civic leadership in Oakland. Notwithstanding the established preference for clubs to continue to serve their existing fans and communities, the member clubs concluded that the Raiders should be permitted to relocate from Oakland. This conclusion has not changed in the past year.

Similarly, the Raiders are not barred by the club’s current lease from relocating to another community.

For more than a decade, the Raiders have worked diligently and in good faith to improve the club’s stadium situation in Oakland. The NFL determined not to accept relocation applications prior to the 2015 season, and the Raiders were not permitted to relocate to Los Angeles prior to the 2016 season. This gave Oakland leadership additional time to address the Raiders’ acknowledged stadium issues.

The NFL emphasized that the member clubs would be unlikely to accept contingent or uncertain stadium proposals as a basis for requiring a club that otherwise qualifies for relocation to remain in its home market. The stadium proposals received from Oakland are dependent on various contingencies and involve a number of significant uncertainties that the membership concluded cannot be resolved in a reasonable time. This is true even though the League has long accepted the community’s position that it will not invest public funds into stadium construction.
nike_bears_2573-223x223

The Flames continued their losing streak at the Honda Center with an unfortunate own-goal

The Bucks play the league’s riskiest defensive scheme. They gamble all over the court, betting that their collective length will spook opponents into hesitating. Often times, it doesn’t and they give up bushels of efficient shots. (Ben Falk, a former 76ers and Blazers front office executive, wrote an in-depth explanation of the Bucks’ boom or bust strategy that’s worth taking 15 minutes to read).

But when it does work … holy hell. Look at how many times they spook the Pacers out of shot attempts.

The Calgary Flames have still yet to win a game at the Honda Center. In their last 29 games in the Ducks barn, the Flames have yet to win a game.

The aptly named “Honda Center curse” struck again late Saturday evening as the Flames looked to take the Ducks to overtime. Instead, a lucky bounce off of Lance Bouma’s skate gave the Ducks the game-winning goal with just minutes to play in the third period.

The Patriots traded the 2012 first-rounder they acquired in the Ingram deal for a better first-rounder. They used that to select Chandler Jones, who developed into the team’s top pass rusher before being traded for a second-rounder last spring. They beefed up their defense even more by trading the 31st (Doug Martin) and 126th (Jared Crick) to Denver to select All-Pro Dont’a Hightower.

New England could have beefed up its defense even more but traded with the Chargers to duck out of the second round. Green Bay picked up 2016 NFL interception leader Casey Hayward with the 62nd selection, while the Patriots whiffed with the third-rounder they picked up (Jake Bequette) and turned the fifth-rounder that came with it into a trio of depth players headlined by Olympic rugby star Nate Ebner.
nike_steelers_1405

In all, only two starters on the four national semifinalists will be freshmen.

Kentucky got nipped by North Carolina in the Elite Eight one round after taking out Ball and UCLA, Duke was stunned by South Carolina in the second round, and Kansas went down in surprising fashion as well, falling to Oregon in the Elite Eight despite the luxury of playing the game in Kansas City.

The result of these losses plus a few others is that each of the last four teams still alive in the NCAA tournament haven’t been overly reliant on freshmen this season. Only one freshman on any of the four rosters, Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, is thought to have a shot at making the jump to the NBA after this season. While Collins is supremely talented, he only averages 17.2 minutes per game for a Bulldog team loaded with proven vets.

In all, only two starters on the four national semifinalists will be freshmen.

As any NBA fan should know, shooting is of the utmost importance in today’s league. That is a big issue for De’Aaron Fox.

He only shot 24.6 percent from three-point range on the year, and struggled to convert outside 15 feet all season long. There aren’t many great NBA point guards shooting less than 33 percent from beyond the arc.

Lacking an outside shot allows teams to duck under ball screens against Fox and sag off him. That, in turn, makes it harder for his teammates to find space to score because Fox’s defender leaves him to crowd the lane. That combination can be really damaging to an offense. Even when he converts, you can see how much the defense sags off Fox’s jumper. His man doesn’t even put a hand up to contest the shot.
diamondbacks_132

Final score 1-1, USMNT barely does enough to get point

It wasn’t a particularly good match and it certainly wasn’t the result they were looking for, but the United States are coming out of Panama with a road point in hand after a 1-1 draw in the Hex round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF. A Clint Dempsey goal was quickly equaled by Panama in the first half, and the US couldn’t find another breakthrough in the second half as they dealt with midfield woes and a heavily physical opponent.

McMillan has done a perfectly cromulent job with a weird roster. Nothing in Indiana is his fault. They are just … there.

The Hawks have fallen fast, and Bud can’t exactly blame odd front office moves since he also runs the front office.

Casey looked like a contender until Kyle Lowry’s injury helped derail Toronto’s 50-win quest. (It’s again in play after a win streak.) But there are too many better candidates at this point. Casey had his chance, so to speak, last season when the Raptors leaped into contendership.

The Bucks and Grizzlies have been fine, and Kidd and Fizdale are doing fine jobs under difficult circumstances (as in, having no shooting). But neither Milwaukee nor Memphis surprised anyone, and neither team is good enough to drive the conversation toward their coaches. The Bucks and Grizzlies just kind of … are.
nike_colts_1144

NFL news roundup: Jay Cutler ruled out, Erik Walden suspended

“Yeah, in review, yeah. I think so. I’m pleased that … well, two situations. You never like to end the game with some controversy like that on a call, but I’m pleased that our officiating crew got together and communicated and discussed it and, ultimately, I believe we got it right. So that to me is the part that is coming away from it. I’m pleased that our crew was able to discuss it and make the call right.”

Ultimately, the loss could have major playoff ramifications. Certainly, New England is going to make the playoffs in the AFC and will take the AFC East crown. The loss could affect seeding though, as the Patriots are 7-3 and chasing the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, who are both 9-1.

At the end of a horrific March laced with mediocre defense and a bit of panic, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have fallen out of the No. 1 seed. The two-time defending Eastern Conference champions now face something rarely seen by LeBron James teams: uncertainty.

It’s no longer obvious that the Cavaliers will be back in the NBA Finals.

LeBron has represented the East in the NBA Finals in each of the past six seasons, so this would be quite a change if the Cavaliers were to fall short. As Kristian Winfield reminds us, however, LeBron’s teams have only been the No. 1 seed in two of those six seasons. When LeBron’s teams have had the opportunity to face the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, they have dominated.

But the past cannot always predict the future. So we are left with the question: Should the Cavaliers be worried? As you will find, there are reasons to panic and reasons to relax.cardinals_1094-115x115