Robert Kraft: Patriots may need to draft a quarterback

Last year the Patriots traded away the last two quarterbacks they drafted, Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo. Now it might be time to draft a quarterback who will stick around long enough to succeed Tom Brady.

That’s the word from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was asked at the league meeting if the Patriots need to draft a quarterback and acknowledged that might be the case.

The Giants should be listening to all trade offers from teams that want to jump the Jets to get their preferred QB, but in the wake of the Jason Pierre-Paul trade, their pass rush becomes even more of a glaring weakness. Chubb would thrive in New York’s new defense as a sack artist with a variety of moves; the next Chandler Jones for coordinator James Bettcher.

The Jets’ move to No. 3 cost them a lot, so let’s hope they feel good about the quarterback they want to get. Rosen proved at the Combine he can be the face of a big-market franchise to go along with his immense potential as a pocket passer.

It seems likely that the Redskins will be adding help on the defensive line via the draft later this month, but a full season from Allen might wind up as the biggest positive change up front from last season.

A dream scenario for the Browns after the Jets’ trade — Cleveland could get its top quarterback and top non-quarterback. Barkley would finalize the Browns’ offense, though Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward fits for their defense, too. They also could trade back if a team covets the last of the top four quarterbacks.

The Broncos are planning to keep Paxton Lynch behind Case Keenum, so quarterback might not be their target in Round 1. Instead, they’ll look for an immediate upgrade for their still-improving offensive line. Nelson can be just that.

Carolina brought back Julius Peppers for one more year, but it’s finally time for the Panthers to draft his replacement. Davenport has some concerns both developmentally and motivationally, but his athletic comparison to Peppers is obvious.bills_123

Ziggy Ansah not signing franchise tender anytime soon but likely will before camp

Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah has no immediate plans to sign his franchise tender, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

But Ansah, who currently is in Ghana, is expected to sign it before training camp.

Wait even a half-second, and that advantage shrinks. Ojeleye can set his feet. Guerschon Yabusele, guarding Gobert, could dip back into the paint and barricade Exum’s path. In the NBA, defenses close seams in a flash. The new Exum is diving through them like Indiana Jones ducking under a lowering wall (without the hat grab).

Utah has scored 1.2 points possessions anytime Exum drives and shoots, or dishes to a teammate who shoots after one or zero dribbles, per Second Spectrum — a mark that ranks 14th among 300-plus who have recorded at least 50 drives.

He also commented on one of Cayleb’s Instagram posts: “Without you, I wouldn’t be here. you literally saved my life cayleb. nobody will understand what happened, but as long as I have you I could care less. You’ve always had my back. Since day 1. True definition of my brothers keeper, til the end.”

Zay Jones also thanked his fans for supporting him.

The charges were eventually dropped, and the Bills seem comfortable enough with the situation that they aren’t going to cut him or anything.

Kade Potter, a 23-year-old recovering heroin addict from rural Kentucky, was Jamie’s roommate at Sea of Recovery and slept in a bed just a few feet away in a garage converted into a bedroom. Potter told Outside the Lines that in the brief time he and Jamie shared a room together, they frequently abused drugs. Jamie’s drug of choice, he says, was Xanax, the same drug he had abused in college.

Former Vikings tackle Grady Alderman dies at 79

Grady Alderman, one of the “50 Greatest Vikings,” passed away Thursday, the Vikings announced. He was 79.

Alderman, an offensive lineman, played for the Vikings from 1961-74. He was a backup for the Detroit Lions his rookie season (1960) before being selected by the Vikings in the expansion draft. Alderman was a six-time Pro Bowl pick and a two-time All-Pro selection during his Vikings career.

You can quibble with a couple of those choices. Maybe you prefer Luck over Wilson, even though Wilson has won a Super Bowl and has been far more productive in Seattle. Perhaps you think Jimmy Garoppolo has already proved to be better than Derek Carr. And there are some cases in which there really were no winners: The Bills would probably prefer to have Geno Smith over EJ Manuel, but you suspect they would rather have stayed out of the quarterback market altogether in 2013. You get the idea, though: The first guy often isn’t the best guy.

It’s fair to note that this doesn’t tell the whole story. Teams that pick first are often some of the worst organizations in football, and they’re among the worst because they’re bad at talent evaluation and subsequent development. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy — in other words, the Browns stay the Browns.

“Honestly, I don’t really care what people say on Twitter or what they say if they are cheering for me or not cheering for me,” Reed said. “I’m out here to do my job, and that’s to play golf. I feel like if I’m doing it the right way, then that’s all that really matters.”

It was a good answer. ESPN writer Kevin Van Valkenburg  made a great observation in 2016: “There is a little bit of New Jersey attitude in Reed.” He isn’t going to be deferential about anything in a sport that rewards the athletes for doing things “the right way.” 

This isn’t the UFC, where throwing a handtruck through a bus window will only improve a competitor’s profile. Still: With so many robotic PGA Tour players out there, you’d think more fans would find Reed’s cockiness is refreshing. There’s only one guy like him. 

“If there was not a mic around, and you went out and asked every single guy, and if they knew you weren’t media, and you asked them where do you want to be, they’d say No. 1 in the world,” Reed said. “And if they don’t, then those guys aren’t winning every week or even having the chance to win golf tournaments because they’re not believing in themselves.” bills_047

Raiders, Khalil Mack Not Close On Extension

Reggie McKenzie has long said he is targeting this offseason for a Khalil Mack extension, and that deal is expected to ensure the top Raiders talent is the NFL’s highest-paid defender. But this process has evidently encountered some turbulence.

Mack did not show for the first day of Jon Gruden‘s offseason program Monday, Ian Rapoport of reports (on Twitter). This is out of the ordinary for Mack, who is going into his final year of his rookie contract (via the fifth-year option). And this might be contract-related.

The Raiders and Mack were discussing an extension, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets, adding the team was hoping to get this done quickly. But Gehlken reports the sides are not close on a deal.

Shurmur was asked whether he believed the trade rumors – fact or fiction – would affect Beckham moving forward.

“I’m not worried about it. I really believe that Odell is a professional and he wants to be great,” Shurmur said. “He understands the importance of the offseason and he’s a competitive guy and, again, we had already started communicating before all that information kind of got out there and was talked about a great deal. He’s a professional and I’m glad he’s here.”

The safety market has been very slow to develop and even those who have signed contract such as Morgan Burnett got less money than many were projecting. Reid is among a group of notable free agent safeties that also includes Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro, T.J. Ward and Tyvon Branch.

The $62 million signing of Solder to play left tackle triggered a transition to right tackle for Flowers, who has not played that spot since early in his college career at Miami.

The Giants could still look for an upgrade at right tackle, perhaps in Day 2 of the draft with prospects such as Oregon’s Tyrell Crosby or Pittsburgh’s Brian O’Neill.

Flowers has his third offensive line coach in four seasons, his third head coach and he is being asked to change positions in what promises to be the most important year of his professional life.bills_015

NFL Draft Rumors: Giants Would Select Sam Darnold at No. 2, Not Josh Rosen

The New York Giants have the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL draft and seem to have narrowed down their options.

“Their top three choices are [Sam] Darnold, Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb,” an NFL executive told Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media. “They are debating Barkley vs. Chubb, because they need an edge-rusher, but the scouts love Barkley.”

That would signal a rebuild is on the way, whereas if the Giants drafted an impact player like Barkley or Chubb, it could help the team contend for the playoffs in 2018.

Though it’s always difficult to trust rumors that come out as the draft approaches, these options match up with reported visits by prospects to New York.

Art Stapleton of the Record reported Thursday that Chubb was visiting the Giants and that Barkley, Rosen, Darnold, Allen and Baker Mayfield would visit them.

Everything was copacetic as Apple and the Giants reported for the first day of the team’s offseason workout program on Monday. Apple spent most of his offseason in California with several of his Giants teammates, and some relationships were mended.

“We talked. Definitely we talked. We’ve definitely buried the hatchet a while ago,” Collins said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s my guy, my brother. I’m always going to have his back. We knew what kind of caliber player he is. He knows what kind of caliber player I am. We’re just trying to get to work and make this season go.”

The Giants are trying to rebound from a disastrous 3-13 season where everything seemingly went wrong. Three cornerbacks were suspended at different points of the season for their conduct.

Apple had trouble with teammates and coaches during the troubling year, on and off the field. But the former first-round pick remains on the roster after ending last year by being suspended and told to stay away from the team.rams_089

Tyrod Taylor faces off against the team that wanted to jettison him for more than a year.

After missing the entire 2017 season with a mysterious, lingering injury to his throwing arm, Andrew Luck is appealing to the Indianapolis faithful for patience as the Colts assemble for Phase 1 of their offseason program.

Toiling through an extraordinarily deliberate rehabilitation program, Luck began throwing again in February. To this point in the process, however, he has yet to reach the next level of throwing “The Duke” — the NFL’s official football.

“When the time is right,” Luck explained, “I’ll pick it up.”

Although the face of the Colts franchise is tempted to accelerate his rehab efforts, he emphasized the importance of diligently following his prescribed timetable.

With that Week 1 target date in mind, Colts fans shouldn’t expect to read rave reviews of Luck’s progress in mastering Reich’s offensive scheme during practices over the next two months.

The goal is to be ready for training camp “without a governor on,” Luck added, meaning full participation with no limitations. Once he reaches that pivotal stage, the three-time Pro Bowler expects to embark on a successful season that will have him in the running for NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

“I am very, very confident and very, very optimistic,” Luck explained. “I’m going to be absolutely fine and come back better than I was. I think I’ll be a better quarterback, a better teammate, a better person and I’m very confident.”

Case Keenum hosts the team that believes it upgraded at his position. Toss in the fact that Keenum and Kirk Cousins debut with their new teams on the same field and you’ve got yourself an enticing storyline. Taylor could also be battling the No. 1 overall pick for the starting gig. Preseason is little more than a walkthrough for starting quarterbacks, but if you don’t think at there is at least a little bit of residual bitterness in the bones of Taylor and Keenum after they were cast aside following playoff berths, you’re underestimating the competitive edge NFL players harness daily.

Well, duh, no amount of revenge in the preseason would make up for a Super Bowl loss. That doesn’t mean watching the reigning conference champions duke it out is worthless. Both Bill Belichick and Howie Roseman have retooled their squads this offseason to make another run at the Lombardi Trophy. How will those new pieces mesh? We could also get the nascent return of Carson Wentz to the playing field after his ACL tear last season.

Owner Robert Pera ‘committed to Memphis’ as home of Grizzlie

Robert Pera, the controlling owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, announced Monday that he will retain his majority interest in the team in connection with the “buy-sell” process.

Pera, 40, made the announcement in an open letter that was emailed to Grizzlies season-ticket holders. He will continue to operate the team with controlling interest after making a “buy-sell” agreement with minority partners.

In his letter, Pera said he is “committed to Memphis as an NBA market and as the home of the Grizzlies.”

Story homered for the second straight game, sending a fastball into the left field seats in the fourth, one inning after Nolan Arenado singled in a run .

Freddie Freeman’s RBI double with two outs in the sixth made it 2-1 and chased Bettis.

Braves: 3B Johan Camargo (right oblique strain), who went 0 for 4 Friday while playing shortstop for Class A Florida, will move his rehab to Triple-A Gwinnett after DHing Saturday. “He feels good, health is not an issue,” Snitker said. “It’s just about wanting to see some pitches.”

Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon battled through a stiffening back and was replaced by defensive sub Mike Tauchman to start the 10th.

ESPN has not announced terms of the deal.

“Tonight was obviously a debacle,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We were stuck in mud from the beginning of that game.”

Portis scored 13 points in the first quarter to help erase an early 16-7 Nets lead.

In the second quarter, baskets by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson bookended a 14-1 run for the Nets which opened a 61-47 lead with 1:11 left until halftime.

Crabbe knocked down four of the Nets’ nine 3-pointers in the third as Brooklyn pushed the lead past 20 points, cruising the rest of the way.

“It’s pretty tough, man,” Portis said of defending Brooklyn. “It’s like playing the Rockets. They shoot a lot of 3s. They shoot a lot of contested shots. That’s what their coach preaches.”

Vikings-Eagles scheduled to open 2018 season, report says

The 2018 NFL season opener should be a good one.

Even though the NFL schedule hasn’t been released, the Vikings and Eagles will face off as the first game of the season, according to Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94WIP.

Brian Elliott made 17 saves in his second game in goal after returning in Thursday’s 4-3 win over Carolina following a 25-game absence because of core muscle surgery on Feb. 13.

Elliott was shaky in the win over the Hurricanes, allowing a pair of soft goals while making 19 saves. He didn’t have much action against the Rangers.

Provorov got the Flyers on the board 6 1/2 minutes into the game when he scored on a 6-on-5 advantage as a result of a delayed penalty. Sean Couturier sent the puck toward the crease from the left of the goal, and the puck caromed off Provorov’s right shoulder and past Lundqvist. The goal stood after an officials’ review.

D Brady Skjei is the only Rangers player to appear in every game this season. Four Flyers: Couturier, Provorov, Giroux and Jakub Voracek, accomplished the feat for Philadelphia. … Eric Lindros was the previous Flyers player to reach 100 points, with 115 in the 1995-96 season. Giroux’s other hat trick came in Game 2 of the first round of the 2012 playoffs against the Penguins. … LW Matt Beleskey, acquired in the trade that sent Rick Nash to the Bruins on Feb. 25, made his Rangers debut and C Steven Fogarty made his NHL debut for New York.

But the Patriots have a knack for turning journeyman receivers into stars, so this is a good career move for Patterson. It’s also a good move for the Pats, who’ve learned the last couple of seasons that you can never have too many quality receivers after Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski faced injuries.

“That’s been a pretty good combo for us,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I’d rather win the game a little earlier, but there’s some comfort when Bregman is up to bat and Fisher is on second.”

Chris Devenski (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win. Robbie Erlin (0-1) took the loss.

Gerrit Cole struck out 11 in seven sharp innings for Houston, giving up five hits and walking none. Since being acquired by the champion Astros, he has given up one run in 14 innings and fanned 22, a franchise record for the most strikeouts through the first two starts.

Browns WR Corey Coleman identified in beating victim’s testimony

Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman was accused Tuesday in court testimony of leading a group that beat a personal trainer unconscious during a confrontation in a stairwell, reported.

The victim, Adam Sapp, testified in Cleveland during the trial of Coleman’s brother, Jonathan, that he now remembers Corey Coleman at the front of the group that ambushed him on Dec. 31, 2016.

Sapp said he didn’t remember whether the Browns star hit him but that he remembers that Corey Coleman was at the front of a group that followed him into the stairwell of a parking garage connected to an apartment building.

“It’s a fast, hard-nosed game,” he said. “The intensity ramps up and the style of play. It’s hard to score. There are a lot of 2-1 games, 3-2 games, and you have to find different ways to score. I’ve always prided myself on being able to score in different ways and I think the physical element as well. That’s a big part of the playoffs. Guys who have 20 hits all year the next thing you know they have 20 hits in two games. It’s definitely a different animal, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it.”

DeBoer said he expects all his players to be available for Game 1 on Thursday with the exception of Thornton, who has been out since Jan. 23.

It’s not clear whether this is a run-of-the-mill training session for Donald. If it is, then it helps explain how he has been able to dominate offensive lines over the years and record 11 sacks and five forced fumbles last season.

If this is a new regimen — and if Donald is only getting better from it — then the rest of the league should be taking note and tripling its offseason efforts.

Obviously this could all just be for show and the knives don’t do anything, but notice this: Donald isn’t the one wearing protective padding; the knife-handler is, too.

Little went right in a season Buffalo opened 1-5-2 and closed 2-9, extending the franchise’s longest playoff drought to a seventh straight year.

Buffalo matched a franchise low for home wins by going 11-25-5, including a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers in the Winter Classic at New York City. The Sabres finished last in the NHL with 199 goals scored, 91 goals at home and in being outscored by 81 goals.buccaneers_010

Report: Redskins trade Cravens to Broncos for 5th-round pick

The Washington Redskins have agreed to trade troubled Su’a Cravens to the Denver Broncos in a five-pick deal that will see the two teams swap draft selections in the fourth and fifth rounds, with the Broncos also sending another fifth-round pick to Washington to complete the deal, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, citing a source. The Broncos will receive the 113th and 149th overall picks while the Redskins will get the 109th, 142nd, and 163rd overall selections in return, Schefter reports. Cravens tweeted his response to the deal on Tuesday.
The Broncos have been rumored to be pursuing Cravens since February.

The 22-year-old safety was a Redskins second-round pick in 2016, but Cravens sat out the entire 2017 season after an injury-plagued rookie campaign. Aside from a biceps injury and going under the knife for knee surgery, Cravens said he feared he suffered permanent damage to his eyesight due to a concussion. He threatened to retire ahead of the 2017 season and Washington placed him on its exempt list. He was reinstated by the NFL in February. The Broncos continue to retool their secondary. The No Fly Zone that once featured Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward will move forward with Cravens joining Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart, and Justin Simmons.

Steelers:It’s gut check time in Pittsburgh. After falling short of the rematch with the Patriots that many presumed was predestined, the Steelers have to address the self-destructive tendencies that have haunted them in key stretches. Still, few teams can keep up with them when they’re at their best.

Saints:New Orleans looked ready for this level — and beyond — before Stefon Diggs dashed the hopes of Drew Brees and Co. with his last-second touchdown in the divisional round. With an ascending roster powered by young talent, it’s difficult to find many holes here.

Vikings:Kirk Cousins very well may not be the missing ingredient for a title run. But with a championship-ready defense and plenty of weapons around him, the prized quarterback shouldn’thave to play hero to return Minnesota to this stage.