49ers schedule 2018: Jimmy Garoppolo will keep winning in San Francisco

The 49ers ended the 2017 season winning their final five games, all with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback. With Garoppolo entering his first full season in San Francisco, there’s plenty of hope for that success to carry over into the team’s 2018 schedule.

Beyond their six-game NFC West slate, the Niners also face the NFC North and AFC West. They have a good chance to improve by several games in Kyle Shanahan’s second season as head coach after rallying to finish 6-10 last season.

Bottom line: Garoppolo already has proved to be a game-changer for the 49ers, and momentum has proved a key factor in projecting near-future results. The 49ers will live up to being a buzz-worthy team by taking advantage of a favorable schedule, putting them in the wild-card conversation in the top-heavy NFC. Record prediction: 10-6

As a developmental league, the AAF won’t be picky about where it finds talent. It can’t afford to be.

“I would say this is a league of opportunity,” Ebersol said. “And I would welcome the opportunity to coach those kinds of guys.”

The AAF plans to start with eight teams playing a 10-game regular season. Franchises will be located in Orlando, Atlanta, Memphis, Salt Lake City, and Arizona. Three more teams will be announced.

It’s unlikely that the AAF will be able to pay a guy like Kaepernick enough money to persuade him to play. But if he doesn’t play there, it apparently won’t have anything to do with his protests during the national anthem.
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Hockey world mourns Humboldt Broncos after tragic bus crash

The eyes of Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock blinked back tears Saturday as he tried to express his sorrow for the victims of the Canadian junior hockey team who were killed or injured in a crash Friday night.

Smith’s sentencing hearing is moved up a week, from July 25 to July 18 because of a family emergency involving the prosecutor. Smith is sentenced to 12 days in jail for the weapons charges and another 12 days for the DUI charges. The sentences are set to run concurrently, with Smith able to serve them by joining a work crew on Mondays. Smith also is sentenced to three years’ probation and 235 hours of community service and is fined about $4,000. He is prohibited from drinking alcohol or being in a liquor store during his probation. The felony weapons charges are reduced to misdemeanors; the judge in the case notes that Smith has no criminal record involving violence.

Court documents in the Ray McDonald sexual assault case include an allegation that Smith had been drinking at McDonald’s home on Dec. 13. Smith’s agent strongly denies that his client was drinking.

The Raiders announced they have lured Tom Shaw from Orlando to serve as their strength and conditioning coordinator.

Shaw founded Tom Shaw Performance, where he trained athletes at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. He has worked with the Patriots and Saints, coaching speed and conditioning.

His four assistants include Jon Gruden’s son, Deuce. Kelsey Martinez, Rick Slate and D’Anthony Batiste are Shaw’s other assistants.

Leveraging some of the NBA’s rich player-tracking data from the weekend, we find some unique names emerging in some of the more fantasy-relevant opportunity rates. For instance, the Suns’ Tyler Ulis is sixth in the NBA since Friday with 93 touches per game. Smith Jr. is fifth in the NBA during this small but revealing sample, while the Knicks’ Trey Burke is just ahead of Jeff Teague and Mitchell in touches per game. Having the ball often helps lead to surface stats, with Smith Jr. fourth in the league in potential assists per game (18.5) and Ulis sixth (18) in two games since Friday.buccaneers_053

Drew Brees on no Jimmy Graham reunion: It’s the nature of the beast

As stumbled down the stretch of the regular during consecutive losses to Tennessee, New England and Kansas City, Siemian’s quarterback rating was 77.A good college receiver who’s unlikely to translate to the pros, Ruffin has small hands and is painfully short on athleticism, running 4 at the Combine with a lineman-like 27 2-inch vertical.Running back Arian had a 50-yard catch and run against the Seahawks, and quarterback Tannehill should have hit on a touchdown pass if Stills hadn’t dropped the ball – literally.It earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl, and now he’s been rewarded with a new multi-year deal with the team.Some you just that they’re blocking really running routes.

The Cardinals missed the offs the last two years, and now they’ll have a new coaching staff, and so Mathieu declined the team’s request that he take a pay cut. He’ll shop himself, not necessarily to the highest bidder, but to the team where he thinks he’s going to have the best chance to be a big part of a winner.

Mauro continued, “I want to thank the entire Giants organization for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to compete.”

I’ve got a lot left, Stewart said, via the New York Post. The only reason why I would be ing is if I knew I could and I know I can , Dave knows I can 〞 there is a lot that I feel I want to prove and writing my own story as far as how things shape up moving forward for me.

The Giants addressed the offensive line on Wednesday by signing tackle Nate Solder and guard Patrick Omameh, which should help Stewart’s chances of making good on his assessment of his own abilities. It should also help any back the Giants bring in to round out their backfield group 〞 Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins are also on hand 〞 because it seems unlikely that they’ll put all their eggs in Stewart’s basket when it comes to bringing the ground game back to life.

Drove two hours each way to Giants practices the 1980s just to impress him.1 seed 63% percent of the time while the Patriots win it 36% of simulations.Following his playing career, Mullin worked the Warriors’ front office from 2002 and was named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations on 22.49ers_135

Five fun facts as LeBron James chases 30K career points

LeBron James enters the Cavaliers’ Thursday game against the Magic with 29,959 career points, just 41 shy of 30,000.

Should he score those 41 points during Thursday’s game, James, 33, would become the youngest player to reach that milestone mark.

If James keeps up his trajectory, he will finish this regular season averaging more than 27 points per game (he’s currently averaging 27.3) and will would join Bryant, Chamberlain, Malone and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average more than 27 points in eight seasons. Michael Jordan takes the cake with 11 seasons with 27-plus ppg average.

James has attempted the most 2-point shots per game over the course of his career, averaging 15.5. The only player who comes close during that span is Amar’e Stoudemire with 13.2 per game. However, James sits in sixth place in actually making those 2-pointers with 54.5 percent. Shaquille O’Neal leads all players with 10-plus 2-point attempts with 59.7 percent.

While shooting more than 60 percent from the floor, James has had 26 games in which he has scored 40 points or more in his career. Especially with 30,000 on the line, he could he net more than 41 points Thursday. In comparison, the player who comes closest to that games-with-40 mark is Kevin Durant, who has scored 40 or more in 19 games. Kobe Bryant scored 40-plus points on 60 percent shooting 18 times, and Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade have all done so 14 times.

If you want to see more fun Opta facts, check them out on Twitter.

It also marks the second time Davis has had consecutive games of 45 and 15, and only seven players in NBA history have done it even once. He’s closing in on Shaquille O’Neal for the most 45-15 games since the merger.

Jrue Holiday contributed 23 points and seven assists to the New Orleans win, and DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 27 points.

The win, which nola.com calls the “most impressive victory of the season” for New Orleans, marks the third straight for the now 23-20 Pelicans.packers_023

One year after ending the Raiders’ 13-season playoff drought, Jack Del Rio has already been kicked to the curb.

Smith, a 2017 All-Pro selection after two straight Pro Bowl nods, is a freak show, and this season he has been arguably the NFL’s best safety. In his sixth season, all with Minnesota, Smith matched a career high with five interceptions, and he set a new career high with 12 passes defensed.

Kelce, who has been the Eagles’ starting center (when healthy) for seven years, still has a case to be made as the NFL’s best at his position. He remains the anchor of what has become one of the league’s best offensive lines, even without Jason Peters.

After the Raiders’ 30-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, Del Rio announced that he’s been fired and in something that came as a surprise to absolutely no one, Jon Gruden has been hired to replace him.

To lure Gruden out of the ESPN broadcast booth, the Raiders gave him a 10-year deal that will be worth up to $100 million. Although the Gruden hire makes plenty of sense for the Raiders, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work out. Gruden has coached since 2008 and hasn’t won a playoff game since leading the Buccaneers to a win in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Abdullah Anderson, DT, Bucknell — Anderson was one of the defensive stars at the Rose Bowl. He’s quick off the snap with a strong push. The 6-4, 295-pound pass rusher knows how to use his hands and he had a strip-sack that led to Herron’s touchdown in the NFLPA Bowl.

Jacob Alsadek, OG, Arizona — Alsadek is huge at 6-7, 325, and understands how to redirect pass rushers. He has good balance and bends well and does a good job of getting to the next level.

Troy Apke, S, Penn State — Apke was an excellent special teams player at Penn State and showed off his ball skills at the NFLPA Bowl. After having just one interception all season and two for his career, the 6-1, 198-pound safety picked off Michigan quarterback John O’Korn in Saturday’s NFLPA Bowl and was named game MVP.chargers_070

This is the Bears’ window to escape the NFC North cellar.

The Giants gave Ben McAdoo his … well, not a vote of confidence, but he’s not going anywhere the rest of this season. Now they return to MetLife Stadium, where they lost 51-17 to the Rams last time in the building.

The brief window of optimism about the Bears hanging in the playoff race slammed shut fast with three straight aggravating losses. Now it’s just getting Mitchell Trubisky experience and making decisions on the coaches, front office and roster. If the Eagles are going to cool off at any point, this week isn’t likely to be the time. Jay Ajayi has now broken off long runs in each of his two games since the trade from Miami. Dropping a weapon like that into this offense doesn’t even seem fair.

Speaking of underwhelming quarterbacks in Jaguars history, that defense is doing Blake Bortles a big favor in covering up his weaknesses and giving him chances to do something with the few times he needs to throw. He has the seventh-lowest passer rating (81.8) among current starters, and it’s not hurting his team.

Yes, a shutout is a shutout, and three shutouts are three shutouts. Also yes: The Ravens’ defense has accomplished this against some dreadful offenses in the Bengals, Dolphins and Packers. But that means the defense is doing what it’s supposed to do, and if Joe Flacco and the offensehold up its end, the Ravenskeep their playoff hopes alive. It helps that they’re 11-1 at home in prime time under John Harbaugh.
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Dallas, AT&T Stadium chosen as site of 2018 NFL draft

Dallas has been chosen as the host of the 2018 NFL draft, with all three days taking place at AT&T Stadium, commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday.

The event will be held April 26-28 at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys had earlier pushed for the draft to be held at both AT&T Stadium and The Star, the team’s new training facility in Frisco.

Philadelphia had been in contention to again host the draft, while Green Bay and Kansas City were considered long shots.

It will be the first time the draft will happen in an NFL stadium. Last year’s event drew an estimated 250,000 fans and was held outdoors for the first time, taking place on the steps of the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The draft never has been held in Texas. A move there represents yet another venue for the event after a run from 1965 to 2014 in which the draft was held annually in New York.

After two years in Chicago, the draft returned to Philadelphia earlier this year for the first time since 1961.

It took Brady fewer games to reach the mark than Favre and Manning. Brady, 40, only needed 240 regular season games to compile those 186 wins. On the other hand, it took Favre 298 games while Manning played in 265 games. Now, Brady can break the all-time record for most regular season wins by knocking off the New York Jets next Sunday.

What does this mean for Brady?

This is yet another reason the five-time Super Bowl champion is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all-time. Brady is a four-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time league MVP, and a 12-time Pro Bowler. His entire career is loaded with accomplishments.
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They sweep and head to their fifth National League Championship Series in 10 years.

If the D-backs win: Who starts Game 4? Game 1 starter Taijuan Walker lasted just one inning after giving up four runs. Zack Godley relieved him and threw 100 pitches in relief over five innings. So that would likely point to Patrick Corbin, since Walker’s start may still be too fresh in Torey Lovullo’s mind. Corbin had a weird year, pitching much better at home even though Chase Field is a good hitters’ park. He had a 3.15 ERA there and allowed just seven of his 26 home runs at home. One-year home/road splits are tricky, but Lovullo probably goes with Corbin if the D-backs remain alive.

If the Dodgers win: They sweep and head to their fifth National League Championship Series in 10 years. They’ll get to line up Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, which wasn’t the case in either 2013 or 2016 (he started Game 2 both years).

With that in mind, look for Cubs manager Joe Maddon to stack his lineup again with lefties, which probably means Jon Jay and Ben Zobrist at second base (or maybe he gives Ian Happ a start). Note the Cubs are carrying 14 position players, so that also gives Maddon more flexibility off the bench in case Baker brings in one of his lefty relievers.

The prediction: Arrieta is a bit of an unknown with his health, but this could be a game in which both managers have to go to the pens early. Maddon does have John Lackey in reserve. Look for a little more offense, but the Cubs use their home-field advantage to clinch the series with a 5-4 win. Yes, another one-run loss for the Nationals.

Fertitta: This is a really well-run team. Competitively, they do whatever they can to put a good basketball team on the floor every year. It has very good management, from [CEO Tad Brown] to [general manager Daryl Morey] to the head coach to [general counsel Rafael Stone] to PR. It’s kind of weird to walk into a situation where I don’t have to make any changes.

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Alabama started running the ball more with Yeldon and Eddie Lacy and finally got on the board.

During the two-hour meeting, the players also noticed there was no consensus among owners about what to do. Each owner was dealing with the protest differently, and the differing approaches — and ideas — seemed to rile up themselves more than anything the players had said.

Alabama started running the ball more with Yeldon and Eddie Lacy and finally got on the board. Receiver Amari Cooper was a popular target on the next scoring drive, and by halftime the Crimson Tide were within six. Still, Saban wasn’t happy.

Nico Johnson: “Our game plan that week was to make Johnny a pocket passer. We didn’t want him getting outside and ripping and running and extending plays because that’s what he was great at. Well, we didn’t do that. So Saban, after seeing us frustrated on the sideline for not doing our job, he ripped into us. And Coach Smart said the same thing: ‘Just do your job. Just do your job.’ Because we weren’t. A lot of us weren’t doing our job and a couple players got pulled out because of that.”

Lacy began to pile up yardage in the third quarter and the Crimson Tide added a field goal to cut the A&M lead to three points. As day turned to night and the deficit shrunk, the home crowd fed off of it.

Texas A&M receivers coach David Beaty: “One of the biggest memories for me was just how electric that place was. It was unreal. That’s why you want to play college football, right there.”

The next A&M possession was two plays: a 42-yard Manziel toss down the right sideline to Swope and a 24-yard corner route to Malcome Kennedy for a touchdown to give the Aggies a 29-17 lead.

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There are two new high-tech helmet models you’ll likely be seeing on the field this season

I think LeBron was the wisest…going to a state with ZERO income tax. That’s just smart. Can care less about Irving and Mr. Burn Haden. It’s not like Haden ran an interception back for a TD to win the Super Bowl or anything.

Kosar, a Youngstown native, became the Browns’ starting quarterback as a rookie in 1985, and led the franchise to its most successful period since the 1960s. In 1993, Kosar was released by the Browns, with coach Bill Belichick citing his diminishing skills. Kosar signed with the Cowboys, who won the Super Bowl that season.

There are two new high-tech helmet models you’ll likely be seeing on the field this season, both of which try to offer greater protection against concussions. The first is the Vicis Zero1, the product of a Seattle startup operation. A bunch of Seahawks players have tried it out, and it has also been spotted on a few other players, including Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Among other things, it features an exterior shell that deforms upon impact. Here’s a good video report (additional info here and here):

Next up is the Schutt F7, which is easy to spot because of its two exterior flex plates (and was the subject of a detailed Uni Watch report earlier this year). It has been showing up here and there in the preseason.

“The farthest they’ve been is Nashville,” Edwards said of his mum and pop, who plan to take in Weeks 3 and 4 of the NFL season when the Jets play home games against the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. “I’ll show them the 9/11 Museum, the Statue of Liberty. A Broadway show, that’s for sure. Times Square.
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