Paxton Lynch: ‘I’ll be ready’ if I’m needed to play

For a stretch of time late last season, it felt as though the final weeks of the season would be Paxton Lynch ‘s last stand in Denver.

He’s a special player, Bettcher said Wednesday. He’s a guy that’s going to create nightmares for any defensive coordinator, and matchup problems on any given down.

Instead, Fowler enters the final year of his rookie contract on a base salary of $3.6 million with a goal to prove himself worthy of a large payday.

I know how good of a player I am, Fowler said, via John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. I know I’m one of the best players in this league. When I go out there, I’m going to make the best of my opportunities every time. I’m working hard to have the best season of my career.

Fales finished the 2017 season with the Dolphins, playing in the regular-season finale and completing 29 of 42 passes (69 percent) for 265 yards. He’s the only contender for the No. 2 job who was on the roster last year; Osweiler and Bryce Petty joined the Dolphins in the offseason.

Still, Fales has a long way to go to become the primary backup to Ryan Tannehill.

We felt like [keeping Fales] was a good first step for us and really we wanted to see how everything played out, because between free agency and the draft, you just never know how things are going to shake out, coach Adam Gase recently said, via Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. By adding Brock and then Bryce, I think it’s been a good competition.

That’s really what we’re going to be doing going into training camp. We’re just going to let those guys compete and see who wins out.

Gase made it clear that he won’t decide on a backup until August, or maybe September.

Falcons coach says discussions with Julio Jones have begun

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones made his statement by skipping the team’s mandatory minicamp, but the team remains confident he’s not going to be a malcontent.

In fact, coach Dan Quinn said he expected Jones would be quite happy by then.

Though Gelis might get the biggest title of Wednesday’s newcomers, Stefania Rizzo might have the most familiarity. She had been a rehabilitation specialist at Fortius Sport & Health. The Vancouver-based institution is where Lin had spent this season doing more than just rehabbing from his ruptured patella tendon on opening night.

Lin’s decision to rehab in Canada instead of around the Nets raised some eyebrows, but working with Fortius co-founder Rick Celebrini, the Nets point guard also retrained muscle memory and learned to run, jump and move more efficiently. Rizzo, who regularly shares Lin’s rehab updates on social media, will replace Aisley Toolan as director of performance rehabilitation.

I don’t know. I didn’t notice that, O’Brien said, via the team. I’m sure that was cleared with the proper people. I’m not the brace doctor or the brace coach.

Watson tore his ACL last November and has been doing 7-on-7 work at OTAs as he pushes to return to the lineup for the start of the regular season. Running back Lamar Miller seems to think that’s a likely outcome as he said, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com, that he doesn’t really notice any issues with his knee, other than his coaches holding him back from certain drills.

That will likely remain the case as minicamp wraps up, but it sounds like it won’t be a surprise if Watson’s doing just about everything come the start of training camp.

Daniel Liburd, replacing Meehan as head strength and conditioning coach, has an NFL background. He was the Steelers’ assistant strength and conditioning coach after nine seasons in the same capacity with the Bills.

Rams hope their defensive chemistry experiment will be explosive in the right way

Wade Phillips stands in the middle of the Los Angeles Rams’ practice field, turning slowly to watch a group of defensive linemen going through drills near one end zone.

Phillips turns, shifting his gaze to the linebackers, near midfield, working on force fumble drill, and finally to the defensive backs, who are practicing catching interceptions by the far sideline.

Phillips, the Rams’ 70-year-old defensive coordinator, raises his right arm in the air and spins his right finger. Rotate! Phillips yells, then animatedly claps his hands as players trot past him.

You have no choice but to respect what he brings to the table, safety Lamarcus Joyner told USA TODAY Sports. He respects you. This isn’t daycare to him. He’s not trying to treat you like you need any special attention. He sets the platform of trust, and gives you the accountability to be able to trust you, and players, we hone in on stuff like that. We respect the fact that he respects us as human beings and as people.

So that begged the question when the precocious rookie stepped to the microphone following Wednesday’s minicamp practice: does Barkley remember any passes he has dropped upon taking the field after being drafted by the Giants seven weeks ago?

The honesty with which he responded was not the most impressive part of his answer.

The fact that Barkley was able to break down exactly what he did wrong on the play that featured his only drop as a professional to this point is just another facet to his quest for perfection.

An angle route out of the backfield.

Didn’t anticipate the defender and turned up the field without completing the catch.

Learn from it. Don’t let it happen again.

Each NFL Team’s Most Promising Building Block Entering 2018

NFL teams are built by accruing young talent and letting it blossom. They benefit from cost-controlled rookie contracts and from knowing who they can include in their future plans.

Here, we’re looking at all 32 franchises and who their promising building blocks. To define these players, we made sure they were 1) rookie-contract players, 2) 25 years old or younger and 3) have a chance to start in Week 1.

Last year, Grady Jarrett posted 23 tackles at or behind the line for the Atlanta Falcons. That number ranked fourth among interior defensive linemen, behind just Cameron Heyward, Ndamukong Suh and Kawann Short, all nationally recognized talents.

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper left the game in the top of the eighth inning when he was hit by a pitch from Yankees reliever Dellin Betances. Betances threw an 0-2 curveball that hit Harper near the big toe on his left foot. Harper went about halfway up the first-base line before retreating to the dugout and exiting.

Harper was hit by two pitches on Tuesday. He also took a fastball off the right elbow during the top of the fifth inning from Yankees starter CC Sabathia. Harper doubled over in pain outside of the batter’s box before walking with a trainer to first base. Harper finished his third career game at Yankee Stadium 0-for-0 with two walks and two HBPs.

Tuesday marked the start of just the second series for Harper at Yankee Stadium during his career. He played two games in the Bronx during the 2015 season, where he went 3-for-8 with a solo home run.

Jerry Rice, Tom Brady remember 49ers great Clark

The NFL community mourned Monday the passing of San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark, who died at the age of 61 following a battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Clark’s Niners teammate Jerry Rice, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and other NFL players remembered the Niners great on social media.

Dwight Clark was one of my idols growing up in San Mateo. I was lucky enough to be at the game where my hero Joe Montana perfectly placed the game winning throw/catch to Dwight in the corner of the end zone to beat the cowboys in the 1981 season.

The skill’s there. He’s another guy that needs to work on his shot, Binghamton coach Rick Kowalsky said. He’s a pass-first type of guy, and he likes to go to his backhand a lot. But he has to work on getting his shot off quicker and not over-handling the puck. Playing a little more give-and-go style.

The Eagles released a statement yesterday that didn’t directly address anything to do with the White House.

A Tuesday morning series of tweets clarified the president’s position on how the NFL will be expected to proceed. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!he wrote in one tweet. NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!he added in another. The president yoked other sports to his new dictates during his tweetstorm in a way that suggested he was marginalizing the Eagles and NFL. Meanwhile, the White House prepared to hold its own Super Bowl ceremony without any Super Bowl participants Tuesday afternoon in what promised to be an odd celebration of symbolic patriotism and itself.

The NFL’s compromiseon anthem protests, reached late last month in some star chamber session during the owners’ meetings, stipulates that players on the field must stand and show respect,giving them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer. There’s no mention in the NFL’s policy of hand on heart,and allowing players to remain in the locker room was the closest the NFL came to a concession to the rights and feelings of players.

The Seahawks have one stud in pass-rushing end Frank Clark. They’re trying to make up for the lack of Richardson, Bennett and Avril with more depth and youth.

eagles_039A player to watch opposite Clark is Dion Jordan, who revived his career with strong situational play last season. The attention Clark demands this year will give Jordan better opportunities to get to the QB. That will buy time for rookie second-rounder Rasheem Greene to emerge as a backfield disruptor who can slide inside the way Bennett did.

Inside, as the Seahawks lost Richardson to Vikings, they picked up both Minnesota’s former starter in Tom Johnson and its top backup in Shamar Stephens. Those two will push Jarran Reed and Nazair Jones to be better. Johnson and Stephens were better than the incumbents against the run last season, which could get them on the field more if others can replace the lost pass-rush production.

Nationals: Scherzer (10-1, 1.95) struck out 10 in six innings in an April 25 victory at San Francisco.Goldschmidt homers twice, Diamondbacks beat Rockies 9-4

DENVER Paul Goldschmidt has looked like a new slugger since the calendar turned.

Goldschmidt continued his sizzling June with two long home runs and a double, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 9-4 on Friday night.

It was his second straight game with at least three hits, and he has raised his average by 32 points in the past eight days.

The league is facing labor grievances from Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, both of whom claim they have been blacklisted due to their decisions to kneel during the anthem in protest of social injustice.

The media in attendance wasn’t going to let that be the only explanation as one reporter pressed about the allegations from the White House that the Eagles chose to abandon their fans and not attend the ceremony as a complete team.

What you’ve seen and what you’ve heard is enough, and I’m not discussing it, Pederson said. I’m not discussing it because we’ve got two OTA practices, I’ve got a mandatory minicamp next week, and I’m focused on that.

He added: We’re united. We’re a team. Been that way since I’ve been here. We’re focused on today, great practice, today and tomorrow, three days next week and our goal is 2018. Nobody’s talking about it. It’s over, behind us and we’re moving on.

The Rockies promoted Vasto from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated right-hander Jairo Diaz for assignment to make room for Vasto on the 40-man roster.

eagles_040Vasto and fellow left-hander Sam Howard made their major league debuts. It was the first time in club history two players made their debuts in the same game.

Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (6-2, 2.87 ERA) will open a three-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (6-6, 5.66) will start Colorado’s six-game road trip against Philadelphia on Tuesday night.Red Sox beat punchless Orioles 2-0 in 12 innings

A strong effort from Dylan Bundy only gets him a no-decision, as the Red Sox hit two sac flies in the 12th inning for a 2-0 victory.

Marte led off the second inning with his fourth home run of the season off Kyle Freeland and added an RBI single in a three-run sixth.

Freeland (6-6) allowed four runs and struck out eight in six innings for Colorado. The Rockies have lost seven straight at home for the first time since April 23 to May 10, 2016 to fall below .500 for the first time since April 11.

So what’s the takeaway of this alternative look at the fantasy catching world? It’s a bit of a paradox, but I would argue that the second list is the better way to decide which of two players to start in your lineup, even as it may directly contradict the top-10 catcher list in terms of where their potential future value lies in the overall player universe. The reason for this contradiction is, in part, because in narrowing down the player pool to only catchers, we’re using a smaller sample size which means hot/cold streaks will have a bigger impact in the comparison than they would in the overall player universe.

In other words, I’m not planning on trading away Posey for Gattis, because Posey is far more likely to get me more fantasy value for the rest of the season. However, if I have two of this trio on my roster, and all else being equal (for example in terms of matchups and playing time), Gattis might get the call in the short-term because of where the two sit on that more focused check-in.Fantasy baseball forecaster for Week 11: June 11-June 17

There’s just no way he can afford to buy new Cavs jerseys for everyone

eagles_041Randall has been an up-and-down player so far in his NFL career, but the Browns already picked up his fifth-year option so he’s not set to free agency until 2020. He’ll move to safety after three years of playing cornerback in Green Bay, and if Randall excels in his new role, he could be on his way toward a sizable contract.

For now, though, he’s set to make $1,090,381 in base salary in 2018 with a $424,037 roster bonus. As Randall’s former teammate Davante Adams pointed out, that’s not going to cut it.

But he could go even cheaper. Randall could find the kind of blank practice jerseys that a high school would buy for dodgeball in gym class. Purchase in bulk and just a couple dollars per jersey is doable.

As for RG3, he might not have a long-term future in Baltimore, but he could play a key role in Jackson’s development. With Flacco focused entirely on winning and in the process, prolonging his career with the Ravens (which is what he should be focused on, by the way), mentoring duties could fall to RG3.

Remember, when Dak Prescott was in the middle of his rookie season, it was Mark Sanchez who mentored him. RG3, for all of his shortcomings as an NFL quarterback, can probably help Jackson navigate the gaps he won’t be able to see on his own in part because RG3 already fell into those gaps during his doomed career in Washington.

The San Francisco 49ers have their priorities in order.

Smith fills a void next to Danny Trevathan, but he’s not expecting to walk into a starting position, per NBC Sports Chicago reporter JJ Stankevitz. “I’m not thinking about just being a starter,” Smith said. “I’ll start on special teams if that’s what they want me to do, I’ll do it. It’s not like I’m just saying, ‘Hey, I have to be the starter.’ You crawl before you walk.”

It’s a humble approach that you’d like to see in a rookie, but the defense would immediately improve with Smith as the all-purpose defender in the middle. He’s certainly a Week 1 starter.

The Arizona Cardinals acquired a quarterback who’s ready to play right away. Josh Rosen operated in a pro-style offense under head coach Jim Mora at UCLA. He doesn’t need extensive work getting comfortable under center and comes into the league without concerns about accuracy.

Throughout the evaluation process, the talk about Rosen’s game focused on his character. Is he too outspoken? Does he really love football? Well, we’ll have answers to those questions in his rookie year—but not in Week 1.

Over the last year, four teams have begun to stand out as potential suitors : Cavaliers, Sixers, Lakers and Rockets.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Houston and Los Angeles may not even be realistic options if James wants to win a title again soon.

During a segment on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption on Thursday, Windhorst spoke about James’ future and where he can’t see the all-time great signing.

Well, I just can’t see him going to the Western Conference, Windhorst said. I can not see it. Unless it’s, ‘I just want to be happy and live in Los Angeles.’ Because if just he and Paul George go to the Lakers, unless there’s some other move I can’t see and they’re competing with the Rockets and Warriors, they may win 47 games and get the four seed, then be out in the second round. Maybe he does that, but my gut says he still wants to compete for championships. He’s got to stay East. bucks_243

Report: Free-Agent CB Jalen Collins Suspended for 1st 10 Games of 2018 Season

Former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins, who is a free agent, has reportedly been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2018 season, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Collins was a second-round pick in the 2015 draft but only appeared in 24 games over the past three years. He was waived by the Falcons last November and hasn’t found a new job since.

Unfortunately, that was Collins’ last appearance in a competitive game, as his suspensions led to the end of his career with the Falcons. With another violation on his record, it will make it difficult for him to get another job in the NFL.

Opinions were split on the first three quarterbacks, although the legendary Rose Bowl battle between Leinart and Young loomed heavily on every scout’s mind. Leinart lost his job to Kurt Warner in Arizona, while Young mixed game-changing plays, bad decisions and inconsistency during his run in Tennessee. Young made two Pro Bowls but lacked the longevity of Cutler. As then-Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist documented in 2015, Shanahan wanted to draft Leinart, only for the Cardinals to beat them to the punch. Cutler would be the last highly touted quarterback to hit the NFL with a significant losing record in college until the Titans drafted Locker in 2011.

Along with the retirement whispers, Gronkowski’s name popped up in a flurry of offseason trade chatter. That was never a serious consideration for the Patriots , though, with NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo noting the team never engaged in trade talks over their monstrous tight end.

Amid all the retirement talk and trade rumors, Kraft — in his third decade as an NFL owner — has learned to roll with the punches.

“Look, things can change, but I’ve been dealing with this for 24 years,” Kraft said. “It’s always something. My job is to try to keep things cool, have continuity and attract the best people. And we’ve done OK over the last 24 years from where we were the (previous) 35. I can’t predict everything that is going to happen. There are acts of God. Anyone could be in a car accident, so we have to develop contingency plans for everything — coaching, players. But I’m optimistic about the future.”rams_035