Tony Romo, Troy Aikman believe Jason Witten will excel as analyst

Chris Mortensen’s report Friday that Jason Witten is retiring — or considering retirement — took most by surprise. But his good friend and former quarterback Tony Romo had a “pretty good idea of it.”

“We talk all the time,” Romo said, via Mark Lane of DFW’s WFAA.

There are only four lead NFL analyst jobs, and Romo and Troy Aikman have two of those. Witten could join the former Cowboys quarterbacks and Cris Collinsworth in a lead role, though he reportedly has multiple offers.

He has starter ability in this league, clearly, head coach Mike McCarthy said, per Zach Kruse of Packers Wire. In my opinion, if he was in that class this year, he would have been part of the first five quarterbacks, the first-round guys. He has exceptional arm talent.

Rodgers isn’t going anywhere, so if the Packers only keep two quarterbacks, Hundley seems like the odd man out. However, he has plenty of talent for a backup, so some team would jump on him and his $760,000 salary.

Howard spent 2017 with the Baltimore Ravens, where he started all 16 games. He has also spent time with Oakland (2014-2016) and the Jets (2011-2013). The 31-year-old Northern Iowa grad was signed as an undrafted free agent by Philadelphia in 2010 and saw action in four games during his rookie season.

Two years ago, tight end Ryan Griffin had a breakout year for the Houston Texans, catching 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. Houston subsequently inked him to a three-year, $9 million deal.

In the first year of that new contract, Griffin wasn’t as nearly as productive. He appeared in seven games and had caught only 13 passes before a concussion prematurely ended his season. In Griffin’s absence, Stephen Anderson increased his own value with 342 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Anderson isn’t the only player Griffin will have to compete with this offseason. Houston also has MyCole Pruitt, rookie third-round pick Jordan Akins and rookie sixth-round pick Jordan Thomas on its roster.
colts_041

Mark Ingram won’t have many options once a written decision is officially published

Plenty of confusion has emerged regarding the circumstances surrounding the four-game suspension imposed on Saints running back Mark Ingram. My current goal will be to clear some of it up. If possible.

When the report of a PED suspension for Ingram first emerged, it seemed that his appeal rights hadn’t been resolved, raising among other things the question of whether his argument on appeal could still be successful.

The arbitrator’s opinion is due on or before Wednesday, May 16. Upon having the opportunity to review the arbitrator’s opinion, we will explore what further options are needed.”

Since both Bobbitt and Jones have only one active NFL client each (presumably Ingram, who per a league source only recently hired them), there’s a chance they simply don’t know “what further options are needed” because they don’t know “what further options” are available. The truth is that, as a practical matter, there are none.

They have promoted seven members of the department and hired two people from outside the organization.orioles_014 One is Mike Bradway, who spent the last 10 years with the Eagles and was most recently their assistant director of college scouting. He will be the assistant director of player personnel with the Chiefs and Greg Castillo, who previously worked for the Saints and spent offseason time on the Chiefs roster in 2013, is the college scouting coordinator.

“Mike and Greg will be great additions to our staff,” General Manager Brett Veach said in a statement. “I have a lot of familiarity with Mike from our time together in Philadelphia. He’s got a great football mind and is a talented evaluator. Greg’s work ethic and attitude give him a really high ceiling in this profession and he’ll be an asset to our department moving forward. Both of these guys will fit in seamlessly to our staff.”

J.B. Bickerstaff agrees on 3-year deal as Grizzlies head coach

The Memphis Grizzlies reached agreement with J.B. Bickerstaff on a three-year contract to become the franchise’s head coach, league sources told ESPN.

Bickerstaff coached the final 63 games of the regular season as the Grizzlies’ interim head coach, while often limited in personnel. He replaced David Fizdale, who was fired on Nov. 27 after a 7-12 start.

“We got some looks,” said Wall, whose entire team had only 12 assists. “We just missed them.”

Raptors: After averaging 18.5 turnovers in Games 3 and 4 at Washington, Toronto had only seven in Game 6.

Wizards: Were without starting SF Otto Porter Jr., who had a medical procedure Friday to prevent permanent muscle damage because of compartment syndrome in his left leg. … Kelly Oubre Jr. started in place of Porter and hit his first 3-point attempt, before missing all six other shots he took.

Toronto will host Games 1 and 2 in the second round, no matter the opponent. The Raptors lost to the Cavaliers each of the past two seasons — swept in the second round a year ago, and beaten in six games in the conference finals in 2016.

Graveman was 0-5 with an 8.89 ERA in six starts. He has the most losses, runs allowed (28) and hits allowed (41) in the majors. Graveman was last optioned to the minors in 2015 after starting the year 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts. He came back a month later to go 5-2 with a 1.78 ERA over his first nine starts following his return.

Bassitt was called up from Nashville last Friday but didn’t get into a game before being sent back down.

Font was 0-2 with an 11.32 ERA in six relief appearances with the Dodgers before he was designated for assignment on Monday. He was traded to the A’s for minor league left-handed pitcher Logan Salow on Wednesday.

Heyward broke his jaw when he was hit by a pitch late in 2013 but said the thought of going to the playoffs got him through when he returned. It was the following year in which he had some lingering effects.

“The next season, it was kind of awkward at times when facing left-handed pitchers for a while,” Heyward said.

Bryant could be taking his time simply until he feels comfortable again to step into the batter’s box. Maddon was asked what Bryant’s loss means to the team as the Cubs are 2-1 without him, including the game in which he was hit by the pitch.steelers_031

Eagles restructure Lane Johnson’s contract

The Eagles have carved out some more cap space by reworking right tackle Lane Johnson&s contract.

“I made a mistake and take full responsibility,” Liuget said a statement released by the team. “As part of my training program, I placed my trust in someone who, in hindsight, was not well-versed in the NFL’s policy on banned substances. As players, we’re told time and again that the NFL holds you responsible for anything in your body. Even if you take it accidentally, it’s on you. Pretty cut and dry. You hear it and think, ‘That won’t be me, that can’t possibly happen to me.’ Yet here I am, suspended four games. And that’s my fault.

A lot of ers came and went over that time, but defensive tackle Kyle Williams was there for most of it. Williams was in his 12th season with the team before he got a taste of the offs and that wasn’t enough to send him off to a life of retirement.

To me, when I feel His presence, life is full Whenever Rodgers needs someone to give him support to keep him on track or face issue, it only takes a phone call.Averaged 12 yards per catch.The Knights extended the lead to 3 when James de Haas finished a rebound chance front early the third period.- AP Sports 08 2015 – Notre Dame CB KeiVarae cleared by NCAA, reinstated…It’s officially official: Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae play for the Fighting again 2015.So, how much is enough?’ I love, but if that makes or breaks our team, shame on us, Showalter said, per Schmuck.

During his year he suffered a knee injury that ended his after just three. But O’Leary told College Football 24 he has yet to receive his grade from the Draft Advisory Board, before adding, I’m not really worried about it too much.But there is real question whether democracy can survive procedures which exclude the people from decisions.It’s as though field didn’t exist.Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave.1914 The Miracle Braves climb out of last place with a 3 win over the Reds.

He needs an opportunity to find more comfort in the pocket, but the left tackle market in free agency was weak. Solder, who will turn 30 years old in April, was alone in the top tier.

To secure him, the Giants had to bid aggressively, and they wound up giving the former Patriot a four-year contract worth $62 million with $34.8 million guaranteed.
49ers_217

The Philadelphia Eagles can’t seem to do any wrong in the eyes of many after hoisting a Lombardi Trophy with Nick Foles under center.

Cooper-Nelson is a nice starting point, but Nelson is slowing down, so looping back to the market for a Terrelle Pryor or Jordan Matthews is a good idea and frees up draft picks to help craft Jon Gruden’s nasty defense.

Looking at the roster, though, there is a problem brewing at tight end behind Zach Ertz. The team cut veteran Brent Celek and then lost up-and-coming talent Trey Burton to the Bears. Considering Ertz hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2014, this could be a problem down the road.

Safety remains a concern, though, and asking a rookie to step in and play well right away isn’t the best idea. The open market has interesting low-buy targets such as Eric Reid and Tre Boston. If they want to get a bit more expensive but not go wild, Kenny Vaccaro could be a fit.

Undergoing a transition in the secondary isn’t easy, so one savvy signing could make things easier.

He also impressed while bouncing back and forth between right tackle and left guard.

Editor’s Picks 2018 NFL free-agency coverage: All the latest signings and trades We’re keeping track of every notable signing throughout March right here, as the new league year begins.

In an offseason that has been filled with departure after departure, the two-time defending AFC champion New England Patriots have finally added a key cog in free agency.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that New England has signed veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

Clayborn himself also made the announcement on his official Instagram account.

This is a pretty big get for New England.
patriots_148

Angels’ Shohei Ohtani gets shelled in three-inning outing vs. Mexican club

Shohei Ohtani gave up six runs on five hits, “two of them well struck,” in a three-inning appearance in an Angels ‘B’ game against the Tijuana Toros of the Mexican League on Friday, the Orange County Register reports.”

The plan was for Ohtani to throw 60 pitches in four innings, but he was pulled after throwing 64 through three. Of his 64 pitches, 42 were strikes.

Ohtani has pitched about seven innings through three spring training outings so far, giving up 10 runs and striking out six.

“It’s going to be a process,” catcher Rene Rivera said of Ohtani’s development, per the L.A. Times. “It’s going in a good direction.”

Seattle’s offense should be fine, but the pitching is suspect. And when you have suspect pitching, your season usually doesn’t produce a ton of wins. But if the Mariners can outslug teams, and if Felix Hernandez can stay healthy and approximate the King Felix of old, .500 is doable. But none of us ever really knows what’s going to happen, which is about 80 percent of the fun of baseball.

But if Ohtani is used primarily as a starting pitcher and only sparingly at the plate, he’s a game-changer for the Angels’ rotation. He slides in behind Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney, and though Ohtani did not pitch much in Japan in 2017, he was quite successful on the mound in the three seasons prior, throwing at least 140 innings in each while posting an ERA that ranged from 2.61 to 1.86. There’s little question that Ohtani makes the rotation better.

The Twins’ bullpen posted a 4.40 ERA last season, the fourth highest in the AL, while striking out just 7.66 batters per nine innings, the second lowest rate in the majors, ahead of only Baltimore. The six teams with the highest strikeout rates among relievers last season, per Fangraphs — the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, Indians, Cubs and Red Sox — all made the playoffs. So Minnesota overhauled its bullpen by signing Fernando Rodney (10.57 K/9 last season) from Arizona, Addison Reed (9.00 K/9 with a 2.84 ERA) from Boston and Zach Duke, who struck out 10.03 batters per nine innings in 2016 before an injury-riddled 2017 with St. Louis.seahawks_033_d6975e0c59ef48a7-180x180

Durant, Curry, Warriors beat Wiz 109-101 after museum visit

Coach Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors allowed a 16-point lead shrink to two at halftime against the Washington Wizards. Nothing that a typically dominant third quarter by the Warriors couldn’t solve.

“We may not have won this game earlier in the season,” coach Terry Stotts said. “We’re playing with more resolve and more confident now. We had the belief that it was going to break at some point.”

“Over the course of a season, some teams get better; some teams don’t,” Lillard said. “Some teams figure it out; some teams don’t. Historically, we’ve been a team that as the season goes on, we have ups and downs, but toward the end we start playing better.

“We’re at a point where things that would have happened earlier on in the season aren’t happening now. That’s the sign of a team that’s maturing, that it’s growing and getting better.”

Starting small forward Moe Harkless (knee) is questionable for the Blazers Saturday night. This is the first time Portland has been 10 games over .500 since finishing the 2014-15 season at 51-31.

Bogdanovic finished with 23 points, Fox added 21 and Willie Cauley-Stein scored 17 to pace five Sacramento players in double figures.

Final overall statistics were not available from the game, the second time in eight days that has occurred in Sacramento. The Kings blamed a malfunction of the NBA’s scoring program which locked up near the end of the fourth quarter.

The Celtics (44-19) continue to hang their hat on defense, but their offense since the season resumed has been outstanding. Boston ranks second only to the Golden State Warriors in offensive rating (119.5) over the last four games, with a net rating (15.1) that’s third in the NBA.

Still, defending Rockets guard James Harden, the MVP frontrunner who averaged 30.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists in February, is paramount. Harden produced a robust 63.6 true shooting percentage last month, his second-best mark in any month this season. Boston is justified in making Harden its primary focus.49ers_171

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport then reported, “The belief is Bill Belichick will be back.

Zac Al-Khateeb: The Eagles have proven themselves capable of beating the Patriots this postseason on both sides of the ball. Philadelphia’s defense, led by the D-line, has kept quarterbacks uncomfortable all year and has allowed a paltry 78 rushing yards per game in these playoffs. Foles has looked good in the last two games and heads an offense built to play with a lead.

Mike DeCourcy: The peril of making a Super Bowl prediction, or a prediction in any game involving these Patriots, is there’s a very good chance you will be 100 percent correct for as much as 58 minutes and still wrong in the end. Think about it. The three biggest games they’ve played in the last 12 months all involved extremely capable opponents who controlled the action — or in Atlanta’s case at last year’s Super Bowl, dominated — and found a way to lose in the end: Falcons, Steelers, Jaguars.

Tom Brady will be back and of course Robert Kraft will be as well. The things to work out include what to do about Alex Guerrero, Tom Brady’s trainer, and how to get over some of the angst involving the trade with Jimmy Garoppolo.”

It’s been an intriguing storyline all season that there’s friction within the organization, but despite ESPN’s latest report that seemed to backtrack itself, Belichick and Brady are expected to be back for the 2018 season.

This game has the feel of a back-and-forth affair with neither team starting slow. It probably comes down the last possession, and Brady will need only one final minute to push the Patriots to victory — and the first Super Bowl repeat since they beat the Eagles in Super Bowl 39. Patriots 30, Eagles 27.

During a Wednesday news conference, Ballard described the system as “easy for young players to play because it’s simple and it allows them to play fast and physical. That’s what we want to be.”

Eberflus coached linebackers in Dallas the past seven seasons, including the past four years under “Tampa-Two” guru Rod Marinelli. Balllard also got to see Phair coach first-hand when both were with the Bears in 2011 and ’12.

The Colts adroitly deployed a “Tampa-Two” system when Tony Dungy was head coach from 2002-08. The unit was spearheaded by standouts such as safety Bob Sanders, linebacker Gary Brackett and defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

The system itself is largely predicated upon zone-coverage concepts, outside speed rush and defensive tackles whoclog offensive linemen and allow scraping linebackers to make tackles.

“I feel very lucky to have Matt in the building running a scheme that I think fits our team that wescout for and that fits our building,” Ballard said. “We’re playing on an indoor surface. We’re going to be playing in ideal weather 8-12 games a year that’s going to be based on athletic ability and speed. That’s how this defense is built.”bills_037

The GOAT arguments for anybody else officially have disappeared.

So if you’re looking a tiebreaker for the crossover sport GOAT, this would be it: Brady is still doing his thing at 40, and he shows no signs of stopping. It actually seems more like he’s warming up to the best football of his career.

For Brady, a win in Super Bowl 52 would not just be gravy like it was for John Elway and Manning. The Patriots quarterback still has the sizzle and steak for however long he wants it. Beating Father Time is his most impressive victory.

Talk to younger NFL players about Brady — they don’t waste much time in dropping the GOAT note. Brady has set the impossible standard every athlete in American team sports now chases, so everyone is trying to be like him.

Brady is a student and a master of the game at the same time. Even with all the greatness seen in every American sport over the years, he has taken the art and science of winning to a place it has never been.

The award has been won by the winning team’s quarterback in eaight of the last 11 seasons. The three non-QBs over the past 11 years? That would be Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith and Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

“The most important thing for me is doing the very best that I can every time,” he said before that Super Bowl win over the Falcons. “I take the field to be the best. I know that winning the game is a lot better than losing this game, because I’ve had some of the longest nights of my life after these losses. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it’s a win.”

Brady didn’t walk into the NFL with any kind of pedigree other than the fact that he was a Michigan product. He had to fight at first just to stick on the Patriots’ roster before he earned his shot at the starting job.bills_013

The Raiders needed a win to maintain their grip on the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

Instead, they received a 27-6 drubbing at the hands of the Denver Broncos and lost backup quarterback Matt McGloin, who was starting in place of the injured Derek Carr. That result, coupled with the Chiefs’ 37-27 victory over the San Diego Chargers, drops Oakland to the fifth seed and takes away a first-round bye.

Their prospects as they enter the AFC playoffs don’t look bright — although a first-round matchup with the Houston Texans, who also lost its latest starting quarterback to injury, should give their fans some relief.

The situation between Prescott and Romo produced quarterback controversy story lines all season long until the Cowboys definitively said they would stuck with Prescott for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Dallas’s desire to avoid rekindling that controversy may have prompted the hook for Romo following just his one drive.

Romo, on the other hand, has been a delight to Twitter, which is filled with examples of him calling out runs, passes and blitz before they happened. But there’s more to Romo than his “Amazing Kreskin” ability to predict plays, Nantz noted on the call.

“He has multiple pitches, so to speak. A lot of folks came off the first real broadcast and tried to paint a picture of him as this incredible play-caller. But there’s much more breath to his skill level than just that,” said Nantz.

Of the players, Mnuchin said: “They have the right to have their First Amendment off the field. This is a job.”

Another White House official, Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short, said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” that Trump is standing with the “vast majority” of Americans who believe the flag “should be respected.”

Bills’ Benjamin goes down with knee injury: Benjamin left the game and has been ruled out after taking a hit to his knee in the first half against the Chargers.

Rivers cleared: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has cleared the concussion protocol, which means his streak of 185 consecutive starts since 2006 is likely to continue.jaguars_088