NFL’s Most Likely Candidates for a Sophomore Slump in 2018

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Top rookies such as Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard and Eli Apple all suffered through various degrees of the sophomore slump during the 2017 NFL season.

The phenomenon can happen for all sorts of reasons nfl replica jerseys china  including injuries, off-the-field factors, changes to the roster or depth chart, a tougher schedule and increased competition from a league that suddenly has a full year of tape on a star rookie.

While most young players make a big jump between their first and second seasons, breaking out as a rookie sometimes leads to regression a year later.

The following 2017 rookies are in danger of a sophomore slump in 2018.

Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards, scored 10 total touchdowns, produced five 100-yard games, caught 36 passes and was the engine for the NFL’s most productive rushing offense during the 2017 regular season. replica nfl jerseys wholesale

However, a few factors are worrisome as he heads into his sophomore season.

Fournette averaged only 3.9 yards per carry and was held under four yards per carry during 10 of his 13 regular-season starts, so he was fairly hit or miss. During his three games in the playoffs, his average dipped to less than 3.5 yards per carry.

The 2017 fourth overall pick battled through a recurring ankle injury for long stretches of his rookie season, which is a troubling trend that dates back to his LSU days. Fournette seemed to lack juice whenever he was dealing with the balky ankle. replica nfl jerseys china

Just as importantly, the Jaguars were often fine without him.

As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted, replica nfl jersey Jacksonville went 3-0 and rushed for more yards per game during the three games Fournette missed last season. Backups Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant combined to produce 883 rushing yards and average 4.4 yards per carry in 2017.

Ivory is gone, but might the Jaguars lean more on Yeldon and Grant to lessen the load on Fournette and keep his ankle healthy? His sophomore slump might not be severe, but his inefficiency and injury issues could make it difficult for Fournette to reach his rookie numbers. nfl replica jerseys wholesale

Denver Broncos: Running Back

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General manager John Elway and the Denver Broncos can’t be accused of sitting on their hands this offseason. The team added a new starting quarterback in last season’s surprise star, Case Keenum. It bolstered both the weapons around him with rookie wideout Courtland Sutton nfl jerseys nike cheap and the protection around him with veteran tackle Jared Veldheer.

That’s a good thing—because Denver might be throwing the football a lot out of necessity.

After the team released C.J. Anderson in a cost-cutting move, the keys to Denver’s ground game are in Devontae Booker’s hands. The same Booker who has averaged 3.6 yards per carry in two seasons and struggled with fumbling issues.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Rookie Royce Freeman may push Booker to start after a standout career at the University of Oregon. But the 6’0″, 229-pounder needs to show he’s the elusive slasher we saw a few years back and not last year’s grinder who gave rise to questions about a heavy college workload (947 carries in four years).

The Broncos have the makings of a vastly improved offensive team in 2018. But if Keenum’s going to repeat last year’s big numbers in his new home, Booker and Freeman will have to produce on the ground and give the Broncos a measure of balance.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

Chicago Bears: Offensive Line (Right Side)

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There’s something brewing on the shores of Lake Michigan that hasn’t been seen in a good long while.

As quarterback Mitchell Trubisky enters his second year, he’ll do so with a revamped receiving corps that includes a No. 1 wideout in Allen Robinson and a rookie playmaker in Anthony Miller. They also drafted an impact defender eighth overall in Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.

But despite what has to be considered a successful offseason, problems remain for the Bears—chief among them the offensive line’s right side.

Right tackle Bobby Massie is an average (at best) starter who’s heading into a contract year with precious little depth behind him. Right guard Kyle Long is attempting to regain his Pro Bowl form after a litany of injuries wrecked each of his cheap custom nfl jerseys last two seasons.

It would take less time to rattle off Long’s parts that haven’t been injured over that span.

Both Long and Massie are being counted on to play big roles in Chicago’s attempt to leave the NFC North basement behind them.

It’s a gamble.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has a bit of Jekyll and Hyde to his game. Afford the 30-year-old a clean pocket, and Dalton can pick apart a defense with the best of them. Get in Dalton’s face though, and things can get ugly.cheap customized nfl jerseys

Thanks to the awful play of tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher last year, defenders were in Dalton’s face a lot—and the Bengals missed the playoffs for a second straight season as a result.

Cincinnati tried to improve Dalton’s protection in the offseason, trading down in Round 1 in a deal that brought veteran Cordy Glenn to the Queen City. Any move that sends Ogbuehi to the bench has to be considered a positive.

But the Bengals are counting on Glen cheap nfl custom jerseys n’s ability to do something he hasn’t the past couple of years: stay healthy. Over that span, Glenn has missed 15 games—including 10 a year ago thanks to foot and ankle troubles.

There’s a reason the Bills were willing to part with him.nike nfl jerseys cheap

Fisher’s had injury issues of his own. The 25-year-old has yet to make it through a full 16-game season, and he missed half of the 2017 campaign with an irregular heartbeat.

There’s a good chance the Bengals will be forced to turn back to Ogbuehi at some point in 2018.nfl jerseys cheap nike

And Dalton’s will have guys in his face again.

The Summer of Boogie: Pelicans’ Top Offseason Priorities and Potential Targets

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The New Orleans Pelicans’ ability to rally and reshape themselves after DeMarcus Cousins’ Achilles tear helped them score their first playoff-series victory of the Pelicans era—and, more importantly, of Anthony Davis’ career.

But it also cast a fascinating cloud of uncertainty over their offseason, which started after Tuesday’s series-ending 113-104 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

If they could sweep the Portland Trail Blazers nike nfl jersey cheap  and take a semifinal tilt from the champs without Cousins, what does (or should) that mean for his impending free agency?

He’s the second-most talented player on the roster, but perhaps his absence created more favorable on-court conditions for Davis. Plus, Achilles tears present tricky recoveries for any player, let alone one carrying 270 pounds on a 6’11” frame.

This was always going to be the Summer of Boogie in the Big Easy, but the narrative has changed. What seemed like a no-brainer decision to route several Brink’s trucks his way has now given way to conversations about offering him a much cheaper and shorter contract than anticipated.

“The Pelicans have broached internally the idea of offering Cousins a two- or three-year deal at less than the max, per sources familiar with the discussions,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported. “I would not expect that to go over well with Cousins’ camp.”cheap nfl jerseys nike

The Cousins conundrum is by far the biggest obstacle New Orleans needs to clear this summer. But there are also other free agents to re-sign or replace, a late-draft dart to throw in June and tricky roster-building puzzles to solve so this 48-win season becomes a springboard to something greater and not the peak of the Pelicans’ powers.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

New Orleans already has at least $92.8 million on next season’s books. Considering the NBA projects a $101 million salary cap and $123 million luxury tax, the Pelicans have virtually no wiggle room even before they start spending.nfl jerseys nike cheap

That’s an issue considering all the spending New Orleans must do over the coming months.

Cousins isn’t signed. Neither is Rajon Rondo, their starting point guard and fourth-most utilized player in the postseason. Same goes for Ian Clark, cheap nike nfl jerseys china who paced Pelicans reserves in playoff minutes, and Jordan Crawford. Darius Miller, who led the club with 147 triples, has a non-guaranteed salary. Cheick Diallo, Emeka Okafor and DeAndre Liggins have partial or non-guarantees.

Wayne Rooney Has Reportedly Told Everton He Wants to Join MLS’ DC United

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Wayne Rooney has reportedly told Everton that he wants a transfer to DC United in the MLS, according to Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail.

Per that report, “the former England captain is on the verge of joining the MLS club after his representatives travelled to Washington, D.C., for talks. Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, was in the U.S. capital to discuss a contract that will run until the end of the 2020 MLS season.”cheap nfl custom jerseys

The deal would reportedly be for a £12.5 million fee.

Steven Goff of the Washington Post reported that “inside the old walls of team headquarters at RFK Stadium, there is cautious optimism—’We’re holding our breath,’ one person said—that United will land the greatest scorer in the history of Manchester United and the English national team, who also stands second in Premier League annals.”nike nfl jerseys cheap

Rooney, 32, has scored 10 goals and two assists in 31 Premier League appearances (27 starts) for Everton this season. He earned him a grade of 6.64 from WhoScored.com, ranking him 15th on the Toffees.

The impact he would offer DC United and the MLS, however, is far greater. Much like Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining LA Galaxy, Rooney would add a big-name, marketable star to the league, albeit one perhaps past his prime.nfl jerseys cheap nike

Rooney’s move isn’t guaranteed, of course. As Goff noted, Rooney is set to make around $10 million this season, meaning United would have to open up the purse strings to satisfy him. But per Goff, United have reportedly been monitoring players like Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, nfl nike jerseys cheap Mario Balotelli and Andres Iniesta and reached out to Rooney last summer, so the club appears ready to make a splash.

NFL Reportedly May Make Standing for Anthem a Team-by-Team Choice

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The NFL is considering allowing teams to make their own decision whether to require players to stand for the national anthem, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

Owners are expected to vote on a potential change at this month’s upcoming meeting, including a possible league-wide policy that would require all players to stand. Other options include allowing players to remain in the locker room or keeping all players in the locker room until after the national anthem.buy nfl jerseys online

Leaving the current policy, which features zero restrictions on player action, is also an option.

“My guess is they will leave it up to the teams,” a high-ranking official said of the expected changes.

Standing for the national anthem has been a point of contention for the past two seasons, beginning with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Other players have followed his lead, creating backlash from a wide variety of sources, including from President Donald Trump.

The owners held a meeting about possible fixes to the situation in October, with owners like Jerry Jones of the Cowboys and Bob McNair of the Texans openly against players protesting during the national anthem, per Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.authentic nfl jerseys from china

On the other hand, owners like the Eagles’ Jeffrey Lurie have specifically separated themselves from Trump’s words, according to recordings obtained by Ken Belson and Michael D. Shear of the New York Times.nfl jersey on sale

Giving owners a choice in the matter takes the pressure off the league office and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and places it at the feet of each team.

The question mark is how fans in each city will react to the decisions made by their favorite team on this divisive issue.cheap baby nfl jerseys

Everybody Overlooked Telvin Smith and Deion Jones

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Lesson to be learned: Don’t sweat size

A total of 143 players came off the board before the Jaguars selected linebacker Telvin Smith in the fifth round of the 2014 draft,new nike nfl jerseys cheap  even though in hindsight Smith should have been a first-round selection. Four years into his career, the Florida State product has 452 tackles, seven interceptions, 6.5 sacks and four forced fumbles and is coming off a Pro Bowl appearance at the age of 26.

A total of 51 players came off the board before the Falcons selected linebacker Deion Jones in the second round of the 2016 draft, buy nike nfl jerseys cheap even though in hindsight Jones should have been a top-10 selection. Two years into his career, the LSU product has 244 tackles, six interceptions and two defensive touchdowns and is coming off a Pro Bowl appearance at the age of 23.

Good players are overlooked in every draft, but the mistake teams appeared to make with Smith and Jones (and to a lesser extend Aaron Donald, for that matter) is they discounted those players based on their size. At 6’3″, 218 pounds and 6’1″, 222 pounds, respectively, Smith and Jones are two of the smallest linebackers in the NFL.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal  But they’re also two of the best young defensive players in the league, along with undersized and underdrafted front-seven defenders Eric Kendricks (taken 45th overall in 2015), Kwon Alexander (taken 124th overall that same year) and Donald (taken 13th overall in 2014).

Time and again, “undersized” players have defied expectations by making up for that lack of size with drive, range, speed and playmaking ability. But teams continue to pass on players out of fear they won’t be able to hold up at the next level.

In less than a week, we’ll find out if 6’1″, 236-pound Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith will become the latest victim of that stigma, because Smith has top-10 talent but lacks top-10 size.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

2012-13 Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

When Kevin Durant eventually retires, he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. And he was never more efficient than in 2012-13, even if he ultimately lost out on MVP to his chief rival.

Then throwing up gaudy numbers for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 24-year-old wholesale jerseys cheap nfl small forward shot 51.0 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from three-point territory and 90.5 percent on free throws to join the elusive 50/40/90 club while averaging 28.1 points. Making his feat even more impressive, he averaged that many points during a season that featured slower tempos than we see in 2016-17. hi-res-b646438af77c3e267de94f5182239f01_crop_exact

Durant has since improved as a facilitator—a main part of the reason he followed this campaign by getting the better of LeBron James and earning the league’s top individual award. He’s grown as a defender, to the point that, when healthy, he’s been an All-Defensive Team contender with the Golden State Warriors. wholesale cheap nfl jersey china

But before this season’s career-best mark, he produced his highest true shooting percentage with Oklahoma City in 2012-13. And given how often he shot, that was enough for him to help carry the Thunder to a 60-win season while he racked up win shares and finished the year trailing only James in NBA Math’s TPA. cheap nfl authentic jerseys wholesale

In Februar, Dwayne Wade received a question on Twitter about whether he should have won MVP cheap wholesale nfl jerseys from china  in 2008-09. His response was to the point: “I always tell Bron to take care of my trophy. It’s like both of ours he just keep it at his HOUSE!”

Kudos to the future Hall of Famer for his self-confidence, but he doesn’t have much of an objective argument. He could argue until he’s blue in the face about his importance to a Miami Heat squad that only barely qualified for the playoffs with a 43-39 record, and that’s where he’d have a point cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china  But that doesn’t tend to work in most MVP discussions, especially when compared to the leader of a 66-16 squad with superior individual metrics:

After Desperate Deadline Deals, Cavs Still Face Same Question: Save Us, LeBron?

CLEVELAND — The headlines wrote themselves.

The minute the final buzzer blew and the clock showed three zeroes, Isaiah Thomas’ first game against his former team spun off a litany of takes. Did the Cleveland Cavaliers pull the trade cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china trigger too soon? Was this—the 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds—the Thomas the Cavs thought they were getting when they acquired him for Kyrie Irving, among other moving pieces, seven months earlier?

Sure, it took Thomas 16 shots to get 20 points. Yes, the All-NBA guard was exploited defensively, catching the wrong end of a LeBron James pick-and-roll. But Thomas’ Lakers produced a resounding win, while the players he was traded for—Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson—had 20 points combined with worse efficiency.

The Cavaliers turned a post-Christmas skid into one giant slam of the reset button. In one of the more substantial reboots the cheap nfl wholesale jerseys NBA has seen in the last decade, general manager Koby Altman shipped out six players and acquired four, doing so in hopes of improving fit and locker room morale. Since the Feb. 8 trade deadline, however, results have been mixed, as the team has gone 8-7.

Cleveland, despite having a post-All-Star break schedule littered with lottery-bound teams, is the owner of the fourth wholesale jerseys cheap nfl seed and sits just a half-game ahead of the Washington hi-res-d44b612dd26bbd731dc1b06509722107_crop_northWizards. Thomas, meanwhile, has produced a month of March that has seen averages of 19.4 points, 6.4 assists and 2.6 wholesale cheap nfl jersey china rebounds, while the Lakers—a youth-filled team in the midst of a rebuild—have won eight of their last 11 games.

While IT is just one of the 10 players involved in Cleveland’s trade-deadline machinations, what if his recent success is indicative of larger issues? What if the Cavaliers’ first-half struggles were not a Thomas problem as much as they were (and still are) a Cavaliers problem?

Worse: What if the trades—the ones made to jump-start a team in search of its fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance cheap wholesale nfl jerseys from china—cause the engine to backfire?

Washington V.P. of player personnel Doug Williams nitpicks Kirk Cousins on his way out the door

Cousins’ tenure with Washington is over and Cousins will get a very large contract to play quarterback for another team in the near future. However, that didn’t stop a prominent member of the Redskins franchise taking one last shot at Cousins as he heads out the door.

Doug Williams, a Super Bowl winning quarterback with the Redskins and the team’s senior vice president of player personnel, wholesale cheap nfl jersey china gave his impression of Cousins’ play and being unable to sign Cousins gettyimages-453787682-e1520913149618

It wasn’t exactly glowing.

“We watch opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, not the yardage,” Williams said of Cousins. “How many opportunities did you pass up? How many opportunities did you give your players to make plays. Little stuff like that.”

No quarterback makes every correct decision in front of him. Not Tom Brady. Not Joe Montana. Not Peyton Manning. Cousins is no exception. However, he’s posted three straight seasons with over 4,000 passing yards and a passer rating of at least 93.9.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys from china

“For me to say he handled right or wrong is not for me to say,” Williams said. “I can only say from my perspective – only me – if I was in his shoes, which I couldn’t be in his shoes, it would be hard for me not to still be here. Being in the nation’s capital, cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china and having something to work with. When you talk about the offensive line, it’s a certain thing. And then there’s the comfortability part of it. No. 8 was here for six years. And had an opportunity to be here for the next five, I’m sure, if that’s what he chose.

“But that’s what free agency is all about. You give a man an opportunity to do what he wants to do. The No. 8 era is over. We got to put that on the side and start the No. 11 or whatever era.cheap nfl jersey wholesale  It’s over.”

Washington erred by being cautious and waiting to offer Cousins a long-term contract. The quarterback market was always going to increase exponentially and Cousins’ play over the last three years ensured he was only going to become more and more expensive to keep around. That has given Cousins the chance to hit the market and choose his destiny. It’s no wonder he’s choosing somewhere other than Washington.