Soaring music plays, and “STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI” flashes across the screen.

Now we see big-ass drones flying across a desert. They’re shooting out red stuff, so they look like they’re bleeding. Now there’s a guy in a space suit. Now there’s another guy in a space suit, and he’s running through the halls of a space castle, I’m pretty sure. Now more hovercrafts are shooting stuff.

Darth Vader and some other Bad Dudes with lightsabers show up briefly to march across more darkness. R2D2 is also there. He’s standing in front of civilization, which appears to be burning, which feels less like a Sci Fi film and more like our current global reality.

Soaring music plays, and “STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI” flashes across the screen.

Having won a national championship, All-American recognition, and three pairs of Golden Pants [for beating Michigan], there really wasn’t anything more for McMillan to accomplish in Columbus. His name will almost assuredly be announced in the first two days of the NFL Draft this April. Regardless of how his career turns out at the next level, one things is clear: McMillan deserves to have his name mentioned aside the best Ohio State linebackers of all time.

The Hinesville, Ga. native was twice All-Big Ten, a 2015 finalist for the Butkus Award (which seeks the nation’s top linebacker), and had one of the NFL Combine’s best linebacker 40 times. He’s considered one of the 2017 draft’s top five or so linebackers:

If a team is looking for a rock solid, run-stopping linebacker, McMillan is that player. At just under 6’2 and 240 pounds, McMillan is a classic middle who can come up and stuff the run. When McMillan squares up his shoulders and drives through the ball carrier, he never misses. He plays with good instincts, and when he’s in zone coverage, he knows how to read the quarterback’s eyes to make a break on the play.nike_jaguars_580

Iso Joe has been doing this for a while.

When Derrick Favors inbounded the ball to Joe Johnson in the final seconds of the first game of the Jazz-Clippers playoff series, Chris Paul immediately began face-guarding Gordon Hayward. The forward is Utahs best scorer, and Paul thought he was best helping his team send the game into overtime.

Drew Stafford Elite Jersey The Clippers forgot about Johnson, the most prolific game-winning scorer in the last decade.
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The 35-year-old made them pay by doing what he does best.

Johnson said during his walk-off interview that the one-on-one with Crawford was what he wanted. He finished with 21 points on nine-of-14 shooting, but no shot was as big as his hanging floater as time expired. Our hats off to Jazz head coach Quin Snyder for opting not to call a timeout after Chris Pauls layup tied the game at 95-95 with just 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Behind Johnsons game-winner, the Jazz stole a game on the Clippers home floor. They did it without Rudy Gobert, who left the game with a knee injury 11 seconds into the first quarter.

Johnson has now nailed eight game-winning buzzer-beaters over the past 10 years, according to ESPN. No other player has more than four. Hes clearly comfortable with the ball in his hands, and even Paul may have forgotten about that.

We take Joe Johnson for granted. He is one of the best scorers ever, having eclipsed the 20,000 point mark last month.

Thomas has leaned heavily on teammate Avery Bradley

“He’s trying his best to compartmentalize when he’s here to work on what he needs to work on, but I’m sure that’s difficult,” Stevens said. “But we were together for some film, some walk-through, and we’ll be back together [Tuesday]. I think he’s as good as he can be.”

Added Stevens: “It’s really tough when he’s sitting there, and some of his family’s back in Seattle, and some of them came here to mourn with him. I think the next extension of your family is who you’re around every day, your team, and so these guys are really terrific teammates. They care about one another and they support one another. Obviously, that’s what you’d hope you have in a team. It’s probably not always the case.”

Limited Mens Steve Largent Jersey Thomas has leaned heavily on teammate Avery Bradley, a fellow Tacoma native, in recent days.

“Me and Isaiah have known each other since we were kids, since we were 11, 12 years old. So we’re just family,” Bradley said. “And no matter what goes on, we’re always going to have each other’s back. We’re always going to be there for one another. And I think he knows that and I know the same about him.

The second way to answer the question about the right time to panic is to look at those 76 other teams and see how their seasons ended up. Did any of them make the postseason? Are there success stories?

There are success stories! There are also a lot of absolutely lousy teams. There are also a lot of cautionary tales that are more important than the raw count of postseason teams that started 2-10.
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Soccer with a video assistant referee is a bit weird, but ultimately, a lot better

Humanity’s confident march into its technological future took another stride forward this week, as the progress of an international football match was determined not by a man with a whistle, as is traditional, but a multi-million dollar artificial intelligence developed in secret by FIFA over the last seven years.

I’m not as concerned with Allen’s shoulders as others. Any team picking starting at No. 2 who shares that belief should take Allen and feel good about it. He dominated at Alabama and can play inside and outside. Although the Bears took a similar-style player in Jonathan Bullard last year, Allen is much better.

Coach of the Year is one of those awards folks don’t get too hepped up Game Kids Zach Parise Jersey about, despite fuzzy criteria and a perennial lack of consensus. This year’s race is really interesting precisely because there are no runaway candidates. There are a few contenders who have separated themselves from the pack as we approach April. We’ll get to them.

But in order to offer a full review of the league’s 30 head coaches — in this unusually stable season — we’ll start by eliminating those not in contention for consideration. This isn’t to say these coaches have done a bad job, just not a job worthy of league-wide accolades.

Of the “Big Four” sports in North America, the NHL is the one notorious for getting in its own way when it comes to promoting its own sport. The John Scott All-Star Game debacle is an example. So Game Kids Spencer Paysinger Jersey is running the Blackhawks in so many outdoor games that people get sick of a fun event. Not to mention something goes wrong every single time the league has the world’s attention.

Combine Lattimore with the additions of Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien in free agency

Morris: The Titans could go pretty much anywhere on the defensive side of the ball with this pick, but their biggest hole is cornerback, even after signing Logan Ryan in free agency. This is a very deep draft at corner, but Marshon Lattimore is clearly the cream of the crop. His tape shows the ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and stay with a top-flight receiver on a go route.

Combine Lattimore with the additions of Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien in free agency, and Jon Robinson has done a really nice job rebuilding the Titans secondary. This frees them up to focus on getting a playmaker for Marcus Mariota with their No. 18 pick.

Analysis: This pick is all about value consideration and risk. The value determination is whether or not you rank Lattimore higher than wide receivers Corey Davis and Mike Williams. The risk is that Davis and Williams might not be available by the time the No. 18 pick comes up. There will be a good cornerback there at No. 18. After all, it’s one of the strengths of the first two rounds of the draft. There may not be a good wide out.

In July of 2017, WWE looked at a roster that was steadily expanding in numbers and steadily increasing in quality, and decided to split their two brands again. Many were worried about how stars would be handled on the two different shows and what directions they would go it — as it turned out, that would be two very different directions.

RAW retained the glitz and glamour feel it’s held for a long time as the show’s top brand, but with longtime WWE anchor figures in John Cena and Randy Orton both heading to SmackDown in the draft, it created an opportunity for fresher faces to step up in their place and become leading stars in the company. Some guys have definitely done that, with Kevin Owens especially seeing his star rise significantly, earning a long run with the Universal Title that only just ended a few weeks ago at the Fastlane pay-per-view.

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It was probably more like a few ifs, but the schedule appeared conducive to success.

Womens Deryk Engelland Jersey The basketball gods who had been so cruel to North Carolina a year earlier were kinder — and far less flamboyant — this go-round. The Tar Heels somehow retained possession and cashed in with a tough one-handed runner from Isaiah Hicks with only 27 seconds remaining. We’ve already talked about what happened next.
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While he’s typically known for touting his $600 lizard shoes on old NWA and WCW shows to stunt on his opponents and naysayers, this time he talked sneakers. Puma and WWE released a line of apparel at Foot Locker featuring Flair. “I got my own shoes, man, you gotta see them. Of course I sold all of mine so people have to go find my shoe somewhere else.” Relishing in his own success, no matter what the subject is, is peak Flair.

“They can’t get rid of me,” he says.

This kind of showmanship can go both ways. Flair can parade around and hyperbolize and he can also put something down for entertainment’s sake. Flair, who was billed from Charlotte, N.C. as a wrestler, is notorious for being the No. 1 heel for the Carolina Panthers.

Last year, I said SJSU was a couple of ifs away from a pretty big season. It was probably more like a few ifs, but the schedule appeared conducive to success.

This year, not so much. S&P+ projects the Spartans 105th, which could earn you a few wins in the MWC. But a brutal non-conference slate features trips to Texas, Utah, and BYU and a visit from USF, and S&P+ says SJSU has no better than a 25 percent chance in any of those games. The same goes for conference games against SDSU and Colorado State.

The schedule also features six relative tossups with win probability between 35 and 60 percent, but the Spartans might have to win all of them to reach bowl eligibility. Even if Brennan turns out to be SJSU’s Fleck, that’s probably not going to happen.

San Jose State is building for 2018, then. The Spartans will have rebuilding at cornerback and on the offensive line next year, but an abundance of sophomore and junior starters should make next year’s squad pretty dangerous.

Saints vs. Falcons 2017 final score: New Orleans ‘D’ turns up pressure for 17-13 win

The New Orleans Saints didn’t make it pretty, but they ultimately came out on top against Atlanta Falcons, 17-13, on Thursday night. The offense was unable to capitalize on long drives in the second half, but the defense stepped up and applied constant pressure on Matt Ryan, stifling the Falcons’ offense and allowing Drew Brees and Co. to get away with a win despite a relatively quiet performance.

Limited Youth Shane Lechler Jersey The Saints took a 14-13 lead at halftime. They could have taken a deficit into the locker room, but the Falcons settled for field goals on long drives to the 21- and 6-yard lines, respectively. The Saints were able to finish on their two long drives. Drew Brees had two touchdown passes in the first half, finding Benjamin Watson in the end zone on a one-yard toss and Jimmy Graham for a 44-yard score.

Boston lost so the Cavaliers are back in the No. 1 seed by percentage points. Here’s the Malcolm Brogdon dagger that beat the Celtics. Meanwhile, I wrote about reasons to be concerned about the Cavaliers and reasons to relax about the Cavaliers.

The Warriors completed an epic back-to-back, beating the Rockets and the Spurs and essentially locking up the No. 1 overall seed. In San Antonio, Golden State trailed by a bunch early, but no lead is insurmountable when you have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors are so complete, and Kevin Durant is still out.
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It’s retro week in Indiana, as the Pacers decided to bring back Lance Stephenson on a three-year deal that is more like a rental for the rest of the season and a guaranteed contract for next year. The Pacers made the deal by waiving Rodney Stuckey, who needed to be cut by the end of the regular season to remove his 2017-18 salary from the books. It’s almost like signing a folk hero is … a cover-up to distract from the fact that the Pacers are cutting salary in a playoff chase?

What are things that people like that are, in reality, total garbage?

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.

Seahawks fighting to hold onto conference lead

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.
17

Jake Locker injury: Titans QB reportedly has season-ending foot injury

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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.