In our first-ever Secret Garbage Bracket, we each present our list of eight items that people universally seem to like a good deal … but are actually, in fact, garbage. We present thing in bracket form because THIS IS MARCH AND IT IS THE LAW. We attempt to figure out the secretest garbage by broaching the following topics:
Game Kids Walt Aikens Jersey With the chance to open up a lead in the division, the Lions instead honked to a three-win Steeler team. The Lions’ sack-or-scorch pass defense got scorched for more than 360 yards, and Matthew Stafford again struggled on many non-Megatron throws. Of course, stopping Calvin Johnson is no easy task, nor is keeping man-beast Ndamukong Suh out of the backfield. But teams that can at least slow down that dynamic duo may find a bit of paper tiger in the Lions’ DNA.
St. Louis Rams – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama: The Rams luck into the second half of a dream draft scenario. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, the top safety eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft, would be an outstanding fit with the Rams, who could use a rangy, hard-hitting player in the secondary.
Baltimore Ravens – Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson: Torrey Smith has become a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens this season. Joe Flacco doesn’t have any other weapons to work with, though. After losing Anquan Boldin to free agency and tight end Dennis Pitta to injury, the Ravens’ offense has taken a big step back. Adding a dynamic player like Sammy Watkins, who is physical at the catch point and has the speed to burn the defense deep, would do wonders for this offense.
Connor McDavid Authentic Jersey Pittsburgh Steelers – Cyrus Kouandjio, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: The Steelers have failed to address the offensive line in recent years, and the lack of protection has compounded into a tough couple of years for Ben Roethlisberger.
With the season just past the halfway point in 2017, the playoff picture in both conferences is starting to come into focus. Sunday features a number of big games with postseason implications; here is a closer look at the bigger matchups of the day.
“What happens if you go to your coach and say, ‘This guy’s bothering me.’ He’s going to look at you and go, ‘Are you crazy? You wuss. You’re not tough. Get out of my office.’ I’m not saying that’s what would happen with [Dolphins Coach Joe] Philbin, because I don’t know, but that’s what’s going to happen with 95 percent of coaches.”
Cleeland shared a locker room with Icognito as a member of the St. Louis Rams toward the end of his eight-year NFL career, and doesn’t have fond memories of the suspended Dolphins lineman.
“I’m not afraid to say that he was an immature, unrealistic scumbag,” Cleeland said. “When it came down to it, he had no personality, he was a locker-room cancer, and he just wanted to fight everybody all the time. It was bizarre beyond belief.”
It was a damaging loss for Washington, and their playoff hopes are now in tatters. Griffin’s quarterbacking style also changed during the season. Many of his struggles this season have correlated with unwillingness to stand in the pocket, take hits, and bounce back up after getting knocked down. It’s not abnormal for doubt to seep into a player’s mind following an injury, especially one as vicious as the ligament tear RG3 suffered. Against the Vikings, however, Griffin stood tall throughout the game, even though he was sacked four times on the evening.
Thursday night’s loss effectively ends the Redskins’ season, as the division-leading Dallas Cowboys are now too far out of reach. There’s a silver lining, and it’s Robert Griffin III who regained his confidence and poise in the team’s loss. It’s not much of a consolation prize this year, but it will benefit the team down the road.
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We take a seat. The host asks us to tell him what we’ve learned today. He brings one of the women up. Her name is Elena. She introduces herself as the “future Mrs. Gronkowski.” Naturally, Rob Gronkowski comes up and pretends to propose. She tells us what she learned about tackling: “You get aggressive, you get low, you wrap it up.” Words to live by. The women start to joke with Gronk about “always making sure you wrap it up.” Just your basic football fundamentals.
It is finally time for a Rob Gronkowski “Instructional Lecture.” He teaches us about a play the Patriots do called the “Hooker.” Seriously, can someone give me a concussion test?
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There are, by now, only two things left for us to do on the football field. A 25-yard dash to see who is the fastest girl in camp, and then an obstacle course. Gronk times the runners himself, calling out the winners.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker might have a season-ending foot injury, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Further reports indicate that he has a Lisfranc injury, which would require surgery. It would be his second serious injury this season.
Locker left Sunday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the injury. He came up limping after a simple handoff, with no defenders touching him. After spending time on the trainer’s table, Locker walked to the locker room. Ryan Fitzpatrick came in and finished the game. He started two games earlier this season.
Locker’s three-year NFL career has been derailed by multiple injuries. He missed two games this season with a hip injury and missed most of last season with a fractured shoulder. If Locker is done for the year, that leaves the starting job back up to Fitzpatrick, with Rusty Smith as the backup. Fitzpatrick had a decent performance on Sunday, but lost a fumble that turned into a defensive touchdown and handed the Jaguars their first win of the season.
The Texans had millions of reasons why they shouldn’t pursue Tony Romo, and most of that was in the money tied to starting quarterback Brock Osweiler.
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Now they can pursue a trade with the Cowboys or go after Romo in free agency, if Dallas releases him. Houston cleared that when a deal, originally reported by Adam Schefter, sent Osweiler, a sixth-round in 2017 and a second-round in 2018 pick to the Cleveland Browns for a fourth-round pick in 2017.
The money tied to Osweiler’s absurd contract was the deterrent to grabbing Romo. Osweiler had $16 million in guaranteed money for 2017. Releasing Osweiler would have resulted in $25 million of dead cap. That’s substantial, and somehow Houston managed to get Cleveland to take that deal; now the path is clear for Romo. If they don’t do it, then Denver might.
There isn’t really an outlet called The National Media that covers college football.
It’s not easy being the overwhelming favorite almost every time you play. Based on group picks posted by CBS, ESPN, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today, the Tide were nearly unanimous media picks to win that semifinal.
After the game, Tide players seemed to agree The Media had assumed Bama player overconfidence:
We knew from the get-go media was saying we were overconfident and things, but we really don’t listen to the media, anyways, defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson said. We just came out here and played Alabama football.
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Authentic Bobby Ryan Jersey The big change to this position group is the absence of Michigan is Jake Butt, who suffered a torn ACL at the end of the 2016 season and was unable to participate in workouts at the combine. Mayock moved Butt to the Special Exceptions group. Everett moves up a spot to No. 4, and George Kittle comes in at No. 5. Howard is a quality receiver and remains the clear-cut No. 1 at the position, but Engram ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine, which makes him stand out in this group, too.
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John Ross beat Chris Johnson is long-standing 40-yard dash record with a 4.22, but he stays right where he was before in Mayock is rankings at No. 3. Zay Jones, who says he has the draft is best hands, and Cooper Kupp switched spots, and Mayock added Smith-Schuster to the list, tied with Kupp at No. 5.
A month before the 2016 season kicked off, the Fire decided to trade attacking midfielder Harry Shipp.
While he is not exactly a huge box office draw, Shipp grew up in Illinois and joined the Fire is academy as a teenager. Among the few hardcore fans they do have, he was a popular player. He was also the team is best player in 2014 and 2015. He was only 24 years old at the time.
If this seems like an obvious point to you 鈥?This team filled with All-Stars is sure better than the typical team 鈥?my apologies. It took a few games for me to realize just how incredible the entire roster is, both defensively and offensively. Even by the standards of a superteam, even compared to the stacked WBC rosters of 2009 and 2013, this is one of the best two-way lineups you鈥檒l ever watch. I鈥檒l start my case with a single bullet point:
The NCAA women’s tournament carries on Sunday as two No. 1 seeds will be in action and looking to advance. Notre Dame and South Carolina both tip off in the second round against beatable opponents, and neither has been pushed too hard in the early going.
No. 1 seed Notre Dame will also be in action Sunday, with the Irish facing off against No. 9 Purdue. Notre Dame has lost just three games this year — to Tennessee, NC State, and UConn — and the Irish look primed to repeat last year’s Sweet 16 run. If they win, they’ll get the winner of Ohio State-Kentucky in the Round of 16.
Bennett does not like to go fast. That’s a hallmark of literally every team he’s ever coached. Bennett’s Washington State teams took among the fewest possessions in the country every year from 2007 to 2009. His UVA teams have been sloth-like, too. There has never been a Bennett team that’s been even a remote exception to this rule.
So UVA teams haven’t scored a lot of points, for the most part. That makes sense, because points are a counting stat. You can’t get them without fresh possessions. The last four UVA teams have all been in the top 40 nationally in adjusted efficiency rating, but they haven’t been near that in total points per game: 287th, 223rd, 232nd, 309th.
Virginia doesn’t need to score many points. The Hoos take an average of 21 seconds off the shot clock on every possession, making them the slowest team of the 351 in Division I. Bennett’s defenses are awesome, and when you combine their awesomeness with the offense’s pace, you get a defense that allowed (entering Saturday) 56 points per game. That’s the best mark in the country.
The No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks and No. 9 Seton Hall Pirates went head-to-head in a wire to wire NCAA Tournament matchup expected to end with a big finish. But it was a questionable flagrant foul call that extended Arkansas¡¯ lead to three points down the stretch and cost the Pirates in a 77-71 loss that dashed their hopes at advancing to the next round.
Limited Mens Spencer Ware Jersey With less than 20 seconds left in the second half and the Pirates down just one, Seton Hall¡¯s Desi Rodriguez intentionally fouled Arkansas¡¯ Jaylen Barford and was originally called for a common foul on the floor. But officials reversed the ruling into a flagrant foul one, awarding the Razorbacks two free throws and the ball.
The last two seasons, Middle Tennessee has been the team from the C-USA that has played the role of spoiler to higher seeds. In last year¡¯s tournament, the Blue Raiders, the C-USA champions, were given a No. 15 seed and were set to face No. 2 Michigan State. The Blue Raiders won the first-round game 91-80.
And then on Thursday, we saw Middle Tennessee again enter the tournament as a No. 12 seed, with a matchup against the No. 5 seed Minnesota Gophers. The Blue Raiders were in control of the game throughout and ended up winning by a final score of 81-72. But of course, as we said after this game, although the lower seed won here, this wasn¡¯t really an upset. The Blue Raiders are an absolutely legit team.
They returned two of their top scorers off that roster ¡ª Giddy Potts, who led the country in three-point shooting percentage last season, and Reggie Upshaw Jr.
Limited Mens Sean Smith Jersey Seton Hall took a one-point lead with 1:40 left by way of layup by Carrinton, who finished with 22 points on eight-of-17 shooting. But it was Carrington¡¯s late-game turnover costed the Pirates a shot at advancing to the next round.
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Heading into Thursday evening’s conference tournament action, the Kansas State Wildcats were the first team out in my late afternoon bubble update. That’s no longer the case after the Wildcats did what was required in the final Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal of the night, defeating the Baylor Bears for the second time in 2017.
Now, it’s still going to be close for K-State even with a 4-8 record against the Top 50, thanks to a poor non-conference schedule (229th) — that’s simply playing with fire when dealing with the Selection Committee. So defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers in tomorrow’s semifinals might still be necessary for Bruce Weber’s team.
As for the Bears, the result ended any hope they had of jumping back to the top line of the bracket.
There appeared to be a power struggle between McCloughan and team president Bruce Allen and head coach Jay Gruden. McCloughan wanted the team to sign Cousins to a long-term deal last season, instead of using the franchise tag.
Despite Washington’s issues, Cousins is coming off a statistically big year. He completed 67 percent of his passes, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards to go with 25 touchdowns against 12 picks. However, he lost two big weapons in free agency: wide receiver Pierre Garcon to the 49ers and deep threat DeSean Jackson to the Buccaneers. Earlier in the offseason, his offensive coordinator, Sean McVay, bolted to LA to become the head coach of Rams.
Now it looks like Cousins is staying in Washington for one more year. He’ll get paid handsomely for it, but testing free agency is likely going to be on his agenda after next season.