Would a Healthy Andrew Luck Even Make the Colts Playoff Contenders?

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The Indianapolis Colts can’t make the playoffs without Andrew Luck—that’s pretty clear. The possibility only slightly increases with Luck in the lineup.

The team’s personnel—especially the defense and skill positions—is filled with question marks, though you wouldn’t know it from general manager Chris Ballard’s recent comments.

“I think we’re sitting on a sleeping giant. I really do,” Ballard proclaimed, per Andrew Walker of the Colts’ official site.

The Colts are coming off a 4-12 campaign and have a new coaching staff (after being dumped by their chosen candidate) and a quarterback who hasn’t thrown a full-sized football in over 500 days. Optimism needs to be tempered no matter how excited the franchise is about the possibilities.

“I’m really excited to work with [Luck],” new offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said, per the Goshen News’ George Bremer. “He’s a sharp guy, off-the-charts intelligence, football IQ. So what a guy to be able to work with. And obviously the sky’s the limit when we have a quarterback of his caliber.”

A few promising signs emerged for the Colts nfl jerseys cheap nike in the last month, starting with Luck’s recovery from 2017 offseason shoulder surgery.

“He’s doing good,” Ballard said of Luck, per Walker. “Strongest I’ve seen him, both mentally and physically.”

The Colts have been down this road before. They expected their signal-caller to be ready for the start of the 2017 campaign, but he didn’t play a snap before being placed on injured reserve in November.

An injured player becomes part of the forgotten during an extended layoff. Luck’s presence has always loomed over the organization, but his overall talent and what he means to the team must be re-evaluated. Will he return from nfl nike jerseys cheap shoulder surgery like Drew Brees did in 2006, or will his career path closely follow Chad Pennington’s?

The first overall pick entered the league as the closest thing to a perfect prospect. His combination of size (6’4″ and 240 pounds), athleticism, arm talent, intelligence and polish made him the most sought-after quarterback in the last 25 years.

Luck has fallen short of expectations because of injuries, and how he responds will show his mettle.

“I mean, look, we’re sitting on a unique human being; what he stands for [is] everything we want to stand for,” Ballard said. “Really, one of the growths that I’ve seen in Andrew—I mean, Andrew is very talented, and he’s been talented his whole life. And we’re really getting to see some of his internal grit right now to get over a hump that was very difficult to do.”nike nfl jersey cheap

Quenton Nelson’s selection with the sixth overall pick will become the foundation upon which Luck and the Colts can stand. Nelson is the closest thing to a surefire draft pick. He developed into a dominant force for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his highlight reel, even as an offensive lineman, is the stuff of legend.

With Nelson nestled between Anthony Castonzo cheap nfl jerseys nike and Ryan Kelly, the left side of the Colts offensive line is settled. The right is far more fluid.

Second-round pick Braden Smith is the favorite to start at right guard, while the organization recently signed eight-year veteran Austin Howard to compete at right tackle.

The potential pitfalls of inexperience along the interior and replacing nike nfl jerseys for cheap three starters could have a negative effect despite the overall talent upgrade. Mistakes will be made. Hopefully, Luck won’t pay the price again.

David Johnson Has Big Plans for 2018

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In 2016, Arizona Cardinals tailback David Johnson topped 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns in a breakout performance. Last year, the only thing that broke was Johnson’s wrist—in the first game of the season.cheap customized nfl jerseys

To say that Johnson has big plans for his return is an understatement.

While appearing on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football recently, Johnson said he set his sights on a select club in 2018.

“My goal is still 1,000 [yards] rushing and 1,000 receiving,” he said.

The 26-year-old is attempting to join Roger Craig of the San Francisco 49ers (1985) and Marshall Faulk of the St. Louis Rams (1999) as the only tailbacks in NFL history to have at least 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. He came up just short in 2016, rushing for 1,239 yards and adding 879 more on 80 catches.cheap nfl custom jerseys

New Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has been impressed by what he’s seen from Johnson so far.

“He looked outstanding today,” Wilks told reporters Tuesday after the first OTA. “It’s good to have him back out there. Just flying around and the things that he’s doing right now is pretty exciting.”nfl jerseys cheap nike

To be fair, the tailback doesn’t have especially good odds of meeting his goal. An awful lot of things will have to go right, including the health of both Johnson and the majority of the offensive linemen in front of him.nike nfl jerseys cheap

But it’s not like Johnson tore an ACL or popped his Achilles. He didn’t suffer an injury that will negatively impact his speed or agility. And by breaking his wrist on the first weekend of last season, he inadvertently gave himself the maximum amount of time to recover before taking the field in a game that counts.nfl nike jerseys cheap

The Latest on the Saga of the Wandering Dez

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Despite the fact that wide receiver Dez Bryant has been without a team since the Dallas Cowboys released him in mid-April, he said online that he doesn’t regret turning down a multiyear contract offer from the Ravens.custom nfl jerseys

“Nope not one bit and very appreciative for the offer,” Bryant tweeted. “What’s crazy is how reports like this will try to tarnish someone’s character.. the slight jab saying it’s not easy to get along with. I thought the media would give up by now with betraying me as something that I’m not.”

Bryant didn’t specify the jab, but there have been rumbles that his reputation and attitude may have cooled some teams’ interest.

He has at least one person trying to find him work who isn’t his agent. Newly minted Monday Night Football analyst (and former teammate) Jason Witten told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on a podcast that the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints would be a good fits.customized nfl jerseys

“I think Dez is certainly going to have some great opportunities,” Witten said. “He’s motivated, and I think he’s going to end up going to the Green Bay Packers. I think that’s a great spot for him.”

However, after Witten’s comments surfaced, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com said that while the Packers have considered Bryant, “nothing is imminent.” The Saints’ level of interest in unknown, although at this point, it’s worth pointing out the team didn’t refute Witten’s speculation.

Both would be good landing spots. nfl custom jerseys cheap Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are veteran quarterbacks who are capable of putting the ball in a spot where Bryant could use his physicality to go and get it.

Someone’s going to eventually take a flier on the wide receiver. There are too many teams in need at the position, and even if Bryant’s not the player he once was, an incentive-laden contract carries little risk.cheap custom nfl jerseys

But this saga doesn’t appear close to over yet.

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

NFL Cheerleading Can Still Be Saved

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Bailey Davis couldn’t wait for the calendar reveal party. This was August 2016, in her second year as a member of the Saintsations, the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders, and she’d worked so much harder on toning her body for the calendar shoot than she had as a rookie. She’d been eating clean, going to Pure Barre and CrossFit and she’d even won a plank competition by holding the pose for 33 minutes. The result was her very first six-pack,nike nfl jerseys cheap  a tangible sign of her discipline. She hoped that six-pack would help her make the cut—her own month on the calendar.

Davis arrived at New Orleans’ Royal Sonesta Hotel with her teammates, all dressed in black cocktail dresses for the formal event. They greeted team sponsors and Saints employees, but mostly they whispered about who might get a month this year. The first sign of trouble was the team photo—four rows of smiling women in white bikinis—projected across the backdrop of the ballroom stage. Davis’s eyes were stuck on the middle of the second row, on the altered version of herself. Her breasts had been noticeably enlarged, and the change wasn’t subtle; teammates (some of whom have actually had breast augmentation) teased her about her double-Ds. “I was super embarrassed,” Davis says. “It was the first thing you saw when you walked in.”

Throughout the course of the night, each page of the 16-month calendar was revealed for the first time, January 2017 through April 2018. Davis, who had a page as a rookie, sat through 11 months, growing anxious as she waited to see nfl jerseys cheap nike if she had made the cut. Relief came with the reveal of December; her photo flashed on screen, in a red bikini, posing on a waterbike. Her chest was back to its normal size—an obvious difference from the group shot plastered on the backdrop of the stage. But the moles on her stomach were missing, and her six-pack had been erased.

Davis was annoyed at her smoothed-over stomach, but she wasn’t completely surprised. Airbrushing away all traces of perceived masculinity had been a trademark of the Saintsations swimsuit calendar long before Davis joined the team.

“No one had a six-pack in the calendar,” she says. “I wanted a rip-tuck picture for the calendar, but they smoothed it over because someone said, Guys don’t like six packs on girls.”

(In a statement to The MMQB, outside counsel for the Saints said that nike nfl jersey cheap until June 2017 the Saintsations were outsourced to a third party-organization, St. All-Star LLC, including the 2015 and ’16 seasons, Davis’s first two years with the team. nfl nike jerseys cheap The Saints discontinued the calendar after the 2017-18 edition in question, which was prepared in 2016.)

Growing up, Davis had an especially close connection to the Saintsations—her mom worked for them as a field director, one of several assistants for the squad—and always dreamed of dancing on the sideline in black and gold. She joined the dance team at Jones County Junior College and tried out as soon as she was old enough for the Saintsations. She expected it to be the height of her dance career and push her to improve her technique. cheap nfl jerseys nike But once she made the team, the reality was much different. “Routines got watered down to look better for the girls who couldn’t really dance,” she says. “If you gained a little bit of weight or if you didn’t sell enough calendars, you weren’t going on the field. Everything but your ability determined whether you got to dance or not.”

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.

Christopher Johnson: Sam Darnold Pick Will Be Seen as Moment Jets Became Great

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Sam Darnold has yet to play a snap for the New York Jets, but that didn’t stop team CEO Christopher Johnson from hyping up what the quarterback’s arrival could mean for the franchise.

“I honestly think [people] are going to look cheap customized nfl jerseys back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new gear, that they became a great team,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday at a charity event.

The Jets selected Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, addressing a longstanding need. Since 2000, eight different players have finished as New York’s leading passer. Of that group, only Brett Favre reached a Pro Bowl.cheap nfl custom jerseys

The Jets traded up to get a quarterback, swapping first-rounders with the Indianapolis Colts and sending three second-round picks to Indianapolis. It was a big price to pay to move up three picks, but the deal should be worth it down the line.

Darnold threw for 7,229 yards and 57 touchdowns in two years with USC. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller ranked the former Trojans star as the No. 1 quarterback in this year’s draft class, comparing him to Tony Romo.nike nfl jerseys cheap

Johnson may not have done Darnold a favor by putting such high expectations on him, but the presence of Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown should ensure the Jets don’t start Darnold before he’s ready.nfl jerseys cheap nike

If Darnold fulfills his potential, then his selection in the draft could certainly be a turning point for the Jets, who have struggled for more than two decades to find a franchise quarterback.

Bucks’ Thon Maker Credits Kevin Garnett For Improved Play vs. Celtics

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Is Kevin Garnett the Milwaukee Bucks’ new secret weapon? Bucks center Thon Maker suggested as much Tuesday when he credited the NBA legend for his improved play in his team’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Not only has Garnett worked out the Bucks at various points this season, he also posted a personal hype video on Instagram that is motivating Maker to raise his game. “He posted it on his Instagram, and somebody showed it to me,”nfl cheap jerseys nike  Maker said after the Bucks’ shootaround, per ESPN. “And then I watched it and I sent it back to him and told him how motivational it was and said I liked it. So then we started talking.” Maker played just one minute in the Bucks’ losses to the Celtics in Games 1 and 2, missing both of his field-goal attempts and grabbing only one rebound. Garnett then posted the video last Wednesday. Maker responded with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 10 blocks in 55 combined minutes in Games 3 and 4. His improvement was instrumental in the Bucks winning both contests and evening the series at 2-2. Maker expanded on the crucial psychological lessons he learned from Garnett. “The biggest thing is having that attack mindset on both ends of the floor,” Maker said. “With him, he doesn’t care who you are in front of him if you’re playing against him. On the defensive end, (defending) your shot and protecting your teammates. The biggest thing when it comes to your teammates, him dealing with his teammates, was always touching a guy, telling him, ‘Stay up,’ keeping the guys positive. “And then on the offensive end, just getting everybody involved, but also looking to attack because his man would be back. That’s what he was telling me: ‘If your man is back, shoot it. And tell them, How dare you back off?’” Garnett bonded with the Celtics in 2007, the moment he arrived in Boston that summer. His key role on the Celtics’ 2008 NBA championship-winning squad and subsequent title-contending teams made him a favorite among just about everyone connected with the organization. Many of these folks might ask: “So what gives, KG? Can you knock off the inadvertent Buck assistance for a little while?”nfl nike jerseys for cheapnike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Marcus Smart to Return from Thumb Injury in Game 5 vs. Bucks

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The Boston Celtics will get a boost for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks with the return of Marcus Smart.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Smart is expected to return from his thumb injury on Tuesday. china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Smart had surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb on March 16 with an estimated recovery time of six to eight weeks.

The injury occurred during a March 11 game against the Indiana Pacers when he dove to the ground for a loose ball.

Stevens told reporters on a conference call Saturday that Smart was getting closer to being cleared for live game action. cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think it’s just a matter of you have to have that post-surgery healed to be able to take a hit even with the brace on it,” he said. “That’s the hold-up. Other than that, I think he feels pretty good. He’s shooting the ball, he’s doing everything in a workout that you can do. It’s just a matter of being cleared for live play.”

Smart’s return will ease the burden on Terry Rozier, who is averaging 36.3 minutes per game against the Bucks. cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The Bucks and Celtics are tied at two games apiece heading into Tuesday’s matchup at the TD Garden.

Blake Griffin to Miss at Least 1 Week After Foot Injury Diagnosed as Bone Bruise

Detroit Pistons power forward Blake Griffin is expected to nike jerseys nfl cheap miss at least one week due to an ankle injury.

According to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com on Friday, Griffin’s ailment was diagnosed as a bone bruise, and it will be re-evaluated in a week.

Per Langlois, Griffin underwent an MRI after missing Thursday’s 103-92 win cheap nike nfl jerseys from china over the Washington Wizards.765411d17725169d71089726a3114703_crop_north

The 29-year-old Griffin has been a key contributor in Detroit since being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers this season.

As a member of the Pistons, he is averaging 19.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 25 games.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Overall this season, the five-time All-Star is putting up 21.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Despite Thursday’s win, the Pistons’ playoff hopes are fading, as they trail the eighth-place Milwaukee Bucks by five games with seven games left to be played for both teams.

With Griffin out, Anthony Tolliver started at power forward Thursday and registered 14 points. Henry Ellenson chipped in nine points and five rebounds off the bench.

They will likely share minutes at power forward alongside center cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys Andre Drummond until Griffin returns.