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NFL injuries, Week 11: Wes Welker, Jabari Greer and more

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a disappointing 3-6 record, and tensions are rising regarding the team’s 25th-ranked offense. At the helm is a growing feud between the Steelers and veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has reportedly mulled requesting a trade from the team that drafted him in 2004.

On Friday, Michael Silver reported on NFL Total Access that there are grumblings within the Steelers front office that Roethlisberger doesn’t do the preparation necessary of a franchise quarterback.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is officially listed as questionable for Sunday when the Oakland Raiders are scheduled to travel to face the Houston Texans. However, his chances of playing appear closer to doubtful. It was undrafted rookie Matt McGloin who took the majority of the snaps for the Raiders on Friday, while Pryor appeared to be at much less than full-speed in practice. McGloin completed 60.5 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions.

That physicality and lack of a consistent attacking outlet started to make the rest of the US side struggle. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones struggled to offer any meaningful contribution, and the struggles of the midfielders intended to shield them meant that the USMNT’s makeshift defense struggled at times as well, especially when Panama challenged Graham Zusi with direct balls on counter attacks.

It seemed like the US were going to get some breathing room late in the first half when a brilliant moment of individual play from Christian Pulisic saw him turn both Anibal Godoy and Roman Torres inside out in Panama’s defense, before slipping a delightful ball to Dempsey to tap home and make it 1-0 for the USMNT.cardinals_1190-115x115

Ichiro Suzuki wants to play until he’s 50

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‘We have also begun work on an information portal for our campus to answer questions, and share policies and guidelines as they are developed through the UA System,’ he said.

They converted a fourth-and-10 with Brady hitting Rob Gronkowski for a big gain. New England crossed midfield and then deeper into Carolina territory when the Panthers were flagged for pass interference with 12 seconds to play. With four seconds to play and at the Carolina 18-yard line, Brady fired a last-ditch pass toward the end zone which was intercepted.

The first half was much rougher on the USMNT in this match than their game on Friday, struggling to even get coherent attacks going at times. Panama realized quickly that the referee was going to be on the lenient side with his whistle and took full advantage of it, playing an extremely physical defense that left US attackers bruised and wondering where their help was supposed to come from.

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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Desmond Trufant injury: Falcons CB ‘questionable’ to return

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Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant left in the first half against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night due to a thigh injury. The team announced on its official Twitter account that he’s questionable to return.

Trufant left the game early in the second quarter after suffering the injury to his thigh. It’s unclear when exactly the injury was sustained, as he left the field outside of a regular defensive play.

The rookie cornerback has struggled to cover Saints wide receiver Marques Colston early in the game, but he’s an important part of the Falcons secondary. The team can’t afford to be without a key defensive back against one of the league’s most potent offenses, and it’s now on Robert McClain to cover Colston.

Atlanta and New Orleans are locked in a close game — the Saints lead, 14-13, with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Neither team has broken out offensively yet, setting up a fascinating conclusion.

The Saints might not be the most complete team in the NFL, but they’re the best equipped to manage the tempo of the game. There have been overwhelming offenses in the past, but New Orleans has such varied weapons and Drew Brees is so talented that the team can throw deep and force teams to try and match them offensively. This is what happened on Sunday and why the 49ers lost.

We’ve seen teams lose by trying to stay in step with the Saints, but San Francisco self-sabotaged on Sunday when they quit on the run. Frank Gore had success moving the chains, but the 49ers inexplicably moved away from this strength and forced Colin Kaepernick to win with his arm. This was a bad move and only served to further hit the young quarterback’s confidence.
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It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Colts.

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Fast-forward. The team finally has a superstar, arguably its first. The franchise demanded that Cam Newton become a star. He was a Heisman winner who wasn’t Chris Weinke, a proven champion who was supposed to finally bring consistency to a woefully unreliable team.

Newton arrived in the NFL with an expectation things would come naturally and was humbled 19 times as the Panthers had back-to-back losing seasons. The young quarterback came under fire for his demeanor, his attitude and his towel.

Osmosis was supposed to pull success from Newton into the Panthers, but playing for this team leached it from him instead. Slowly, the ultra-competitive quarterback began to become complacent, the player that seethed and abhorred losing fell into the well-worn treadmill of stock statements and media placation. Carolina was once again soulless, and it felt like there was no lack of urgency starting with head coach Ron Rivera.

Morris carried the ball just nine times in the second half, erasing Washington’s good first half tendencies and reverting to bad habits. Unable to control the clock the team faltered, while the Vikings had less success on the ground, but they better understood that making Adrian Peterson the focal point would give them success.

It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Colts. The team’s defense allowed two rushing touchdowns from Chris Johnson in the first quarter while struggling on offense. Protection wasn’t there for Luck, and he was routinely pressured, which killed the deep passing game. Trent Richardson wasn’t able to run, receivers weren’t getting open and even turning to trick plays was ineffective.

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Jonathan Martin will meet with NFL investigators, per report

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Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin plans to meet with the NFL’s special investigator next week, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The NFL has appointed Ted Wells, a New York attorney with prior experience with sports-related cases, to investigate the claims of misconduct and hazing in the Dolphins locker room. Offensive guard Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by the team after a profanity-laden voicemail surfaced that featured several racial slurs and threats.

Tolzien was pressed into action early on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles after veteran Seneca Wallace left with a groin injury. The third-year former undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin came into Sunday with no career pass attempts, but finished 24-of-39 for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions as the Packers lost, 27-13.

After an impressive career with the Badgers, Tolzien was undrafted but signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers released Tolzien during final cuts, but he was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers and spent two seasons there before being released and signed by the Packers.

He will now try to hold the fort down until the All-Pro Rodgers can return, just 10 weeks after Tolzien was released by the 49ers. When Tolzien was at Wisconsin, he set the school record for completions in a season with 211 of them. Over the course of his two-year career as the Badgers starter, he completed 68 percent of his attempts for 5,164 yards, 32 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and 8.7 yards per attempt. And then Wilson came along.

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Kansas football still has an early top-15 class. Can KU keep its 2 Louisiana 4-stars?

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Last weekend I took a trip to New Orleans for the Nike Opening Regional Camp. One of the themes that stood out was the talented group of players committed to the University of Kansas.

Five weeks ago, Kansas had a top-five recruiting class. Green’s later years were touched by tragedy. In 2011, his 9-year-old granddaughter, Christina, was killed in Arizona in a shooting that targeted Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Christina was the daughter of Green’s son, John, who works as a national cross-checker for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I don’t know what’s in the water in Lawrence, but whatever it is, David Beaty better bottle it and hold it near and dear to his heart forever. This month, Beaty got verbals from three four-star recruits. WR JaMarr Chase, WR Devonta Jason, and CB Corione Harris all committed to the Jayhawks, part of a load of six early KU commits from Louisiana.

It’s dipped a bit, but KU is still in the top 15. That’s surprising.

Drew Brees just had one of the best seasons of his career after throwing for 5,200 yards and 37 touchdowns, but he’s also 38 years old. While it’s possible he launches passes downfield through his mid-40s, it makes sense for New Orleans to write up a contingency plan for his eventual retirement.

“He can talk all about his brand, talk about his sons, talk about basketball, talk about me. But keep my family out of this.”

In his Fox Sports Radio interview on Thursday, Ball responded with general indifference toward James’ threat.

“It’s just like people saying, ‘Keep my family’s mouth’ — whatever they’re saying, I don’t care. They’re not going to stop me from doing what I’m doing,” Ball said. “If they take a little edgy edge on it and they get a little touchy because I answered something a certain way, who cares?”
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Adrian Peterson free agency: Raiders emerge among 3 best fits for RB

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Adrian Peterson a while back provided not-so-subtle hints that if he couldn’t finish his career with the Vikings, he wouldn’t mind doing so with the Giants.

Now that Peterson will actually get to pick his second NFL team as an unrestricted free agent, don’t expect him to end up there.

The matchups include a rematch of January is NFC Championship, a perfect-world, Derek-Carr-stays-healthy clash between the Raiders and Patriots, and somehow, more Philip Rivers. As the quest to crown the league is most exciting offense continues, players like Odell Beckham Jr., David Johnson, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Tyreek Hill have no recourse but to wait and hope the difference between a good and elite playmaking squad can be found in the 2017 NFL draft.

Blitz is simplistic technology means the power to make Alex Smith ignore a wide open Tyreek Hill is now in your hands. The Chiefs have some solid pieces in place, but they are never going to win an offense-only shootout by pitting Smith up against Drew Brees.

Chargers-Giants is the toughest matchup of the Blitz Bracket is second round. Los Angeles at full strength gets solid advantages at tailback and tight end, but New York is dynamic receiving corps nets a big win at WR1 and a more even matchup at WR2. (Allen vs. Marshall is a debate that could arc in several different directions given the questions surrounding each talented wideout.) In the end, a coin flip gives this one to LA.

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RG3 injury: Redskins star kept out ‘because of the score’, says Mike Shanahan

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The Redskins caught a lucky break on Sunday’s loss against the Broncos. Despite taking a massive hit by Denver’s Terrance Knighton, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was ruled “okay” by Dr. James Andrews, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Head coach Mike Shanahan claims that he kept Griffin out due to the score after the game became a blowout Denver win.

Griffin was thrown to the ground and Knighton landed on his left knee in the fourth quarter. The quarterback grabbed the knee and was inspected on the sideline. Kirk Cousins entered the game shortly after and played in relief of Griffin. The former Baylor Bear finished 15-of-30 for 132 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

With Griffin’s diagnosis, he is likely to play in Week 9. The Redskins will next host the San Diego Chargers in Washington. The Redskins drop to 2-5 following the 41-25 loss to the Broncos in Denver.

Early-season criticism seems to have put Andy Dalton on a path to prove his doubters wrong. Never was this more apparent than on Sunday, as he threw five touchdowns and targeted eight different receivers. In the past, there was a question about whether Dalton was a quality QB, or whether a group of good receivers made him better than he really was. Against the Jets, he showed that he deserves to be in the conversation with the league’s top quarterbacks — even if he does boast a great supporting cast.
The New York Jets are a team with no offensive identity, and that’s why they couldn’t move the ball against the Bengals. This isn’t a product of coaching, but rather inconsistent play at every offensive skill position that makes it tough for a coaching staff to lean on any one weapon. In the past, Rex Ryan teams have been characterized by tough defense and running the football, but the current stable of running backs is awful.
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NFL picks and predictions, Week 8: Bills vs. Saints 2016

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The Buffalo Bills have skirted by rather well despite missing E.J. Manuel. Thad Lewis has stepped in as the team’s starter and won one of two games played. An 82.5 quarterback rating isn’t all bad given the situation, going along with a 62.5 percent completion percentage with three touchdowns to just one interception.

The Bills’ suprising mediocrity doesn’t compare to the turnaround that the New Orleans Saints have made, however. The team is coming off a Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots, but the loss was their first. The Saints started the season 5-0 after winning just seven games total in 2012. Unsurprisingly, experts overwhelmingly expect the Saints to win at the Superdome on Sunday.

Tampa Bay has lost some close games, especially earlier in the season, but the Bucs haven’t looked all that competitive in their last two meetings. The games were decided by 11 and eight points, respectively, but neither game was winnable for the Buccaneers.

Carolina opened up as narrow 3-point favorites for this matchup, probably due to the home-field advantage enjoyed by the Buccaneers. However, the line moved further in Carolina’s favor throughout the week, with the Panthers being favored by as much as 7 points, according to OddsShark.

The Raiders needed a bye week to heal some wounds, and as Silver and Black Pride reported, Wednesday gave them the news they wanted to hear. Starting center Stefen Wisniewski was back at practice on Wednesday after missing the past two weeks with a knee injury.

Losing Wisniewski forced the Raiders to do some shuffling at the offensive line, and it showed in the past two weeks. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been sacked 13 times since Wisniewski went out, with nine of those sacks coming last week against the Chiefs.13

Selection Sunday 2017: What to expect when the NCAA bracket is revealed

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The greatest Sunday of the sports calendar year and perhaps America’s most celebrated nonofficial holiday has finally arrived. Selection Sunday means hours of speculation, then an hour of observance, followed by a few more hours of reaction and predictions. The entire day is a symphony.

Check out our full NCAA bracket, updating live throughout March Madness. You can find a printable bracket here.

Reporters wanted to ask the pair if they were tired on Saturday after playing four games in four days. Naturally, fatigue crept in a little, but it’s something they’re both used to. Giles compared it to practicing four days in a row earlier in the season, which he admitted might have been more difficult than the games themselves. Then he smiled, and with Tatum sitting by his side, compared the short turnarounds to his time on the EYBL circuit.

This time, the competition was stronger and the lights brighter. The biggest difference, however, is that his friend Tatum was on his side instead of on the other bench. Just like the two had planned.

Coach Krzyzewski said that didn’t matter.

“Harry wants to be at Duke,” he said “I love him for that, and these guys know that too, and they love him. He’s always up. He’s got such a good personality.”

Slowly, Giles has built himself back up. Late in Duke’s semifinal win over North Carolina, he caught another lob from Allen, and that moment sparked a memory for Tatum.

“That was a flashback of what he used to do all the time,” Tatum said.

“He’s Big Play J,” Giles said. “He’s going to get it done every time. I know him.”15