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Lakers begin quest for next top superstar to carry banner

Lakers begin quest for next top superstar to carry banner

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There’s a large magnetic board in Mitch Kupchak’s office containing the names of every player on the Laker roster, and what grabs him every morning is the name that’s missing.

“Not seeing him up there is not a great feeling,” said the Laker general manager. “But I mean, really. We had him for 20 years. You can’t expect that. We’re thankful we had him that long.”

Kobe Bryant is no longer in the building or on the board, and as Kupchak said, the Lakers will suffer if only from the loss of an icon. In the past, the franchise had an astonishing ability to follow one successful era with another, and the question now is this: Is Kobe’s successor already on the roster?

If you haven’t noticed, he flipped the vacancy switch on his way out the door.

“He’s gone,” said Kupchak, “and it opens a new chapter new jersey wholesale.”

The search started in earnest Friday at the Samsung Summer League and intensifies Saturday when Brandon Ingram, who has the highest star ceiling on the roster, is matched against the Sixers and Ben Simmons, putting the draft’s top two picks on the floor. As summer league games go, this is must-see TV.

The Sixers took Simmons over Ingram because they (and other scouts) felt Simmons had better franchise-player qualities. But Ingram doesn’t fit the mold of a booby prize, more like Simmons is 1A and Ingram 1B. That’s how the Lakers see it after witnessing a few scrimmages and his Summer League debut against the Pelicans. Ingram was very versatile on the floor, had a nice off-the-dribble game and finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Kupchak raves about Ingram’s basketball IQ and readiness.

“He’s got a presence on the floor,” Kupchak said. “He’ll handle the ball. He’ll direct people around. He’s got an uncanny knack for anticipation.”

Unlike Kobe, Ingram won’t have the luxury of breaking in with a teammate at the level of Shaquille O’Neal or on a winning team. While next season likely won’t be 17-win miserable as the one just completed, the Lakers are young and without an All-Star. Ingram must therefore fight against the effects of possibly losing a string of games, and the occasional poor performance, although his makeup — secure and laid-back youth sports jerseys wholesale— suggest he’ll be mature enough to cope with it.

Also, he isn’t attracting the same soaring level of expectations as Kobe did as a 17-year-old straight from high school. So there will be a comfortable learning period where he can rebound from mistakes and also gain weight, which is his only obvious flaw.

There’s a large magnetic board in Mitch Kupchak’s office containing the names of every player on the Laker roster, and what grabs him every morning is the name that’s missing.

“Not seeing him up there is not a great feeling,” said the Laker general manager. “But I mean, really. We had him for 20 years. You can’t expect that. We’re thankful we had him that long.”

Kobe Bryant is no longer in the building or on the board, and as Kupchak said, the Lakers will suffer if only from the loss of an icon. In the past, the franchise had an astonishing ability to follow one successful era with another, and the question now is this: Is Kobe’s successor already on the roster?

If you haven’t noticed, he flipped the vacancy switch on his way out the door mesh jersey wholesale.

“He’s gone,” said Kupchak, “and it opens a new chapter.”

The search started in earnest Friday at the Samsung Summer League and intensifies Saturday when Brandon Ingram, who has the highest star ceiling on the roster, is matched against the Sixers and Ben Simmons, putting the draft’s top two picks on the floor. As summer league games go, this is must-see TV.

The Sixers took Simmons over Ingram because they (and other scouts) felt Simmons had better franchise-player qualities. But Ingram doesn’t fit the mold of a booby prize, more like Simmons is 1A and Ingram 1B. That’s how the Lakers see it after witnessing a few scrimmages and his Summer League debut against the Pelicans. Ingram was very versatile on the floor, had a nice off-the-dribble game and finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Kupchak raves about Ingram’s basketball IQ and readiness.

“He’s got a presence on the floor,” Kupchak said. “He’ll handle the ball. He’ll direct people around. He’s got an uncanny knack for anticipation.”

Unlike Kobe, Ingram won’t have the luxury of breaking in with a teammate at the level buy jerseys wholesale of Shaquille O’Neal or on a winning team. While next season likely won’t be 17-win miserable as the one just completed, the Lakers are young and without an All-Star. Ingram must therefore fight against the effects of possibly losing a string of games, and the occasional poor performance, although his makeup — secure and laid-back — suggest he’ll be mature enough to cope with it.

Also, he isn’t attracting the same soaring level of expectations as Kobe did as a 17-year-old straight from high school. So there will be a comfortable learning period where he can rebound from mistakes and also gain weight, which is his only obvious flaw.

There’s a large magnetic board in Mitch Kupchak’s office containing the names of every player on the Laker roster, and what grabs him every morning is the name that’s missing.

“Not seeing him up there is not a great feeling,” said the Laker general manager. “But I mean, really. We had him for 20 years. You can’t expect that. We’re thankful we had him that long.”

Kobe Bryant is no longer in the building or on the board, and as Kupchak said, the Lakers will suffer if only from the loss of an icon. In the past, the franchise had an astonishing ability to follow one successful era with another, and the question now is this: Is Kobe’s successor already on the roster wholesale jerseys?

If you haven’t noticed, he flipped the vacancy switch on his way out the door.

“He’s gone,” said Kupchak, “and it opens a new chapter.”

The search started in earnest Friday at the Samsung Summer League and intensifies Saturday when Brandon Ingram, who has the highest star ceiling on the roster, is matched against the Sixers and Ben Simmons, putting the draft’s top two picks on the floor. As summer league games go, this is must-see TV.

The Sixers took Simmons over Ingram because they (and other scouts) felt Simmons had better franchise-player qualities. But Ingram doesn’t fit the mold of a booby prize, more like Simmons is 1A and Ingram 1B. That’s how the Lakers see it after witnessing a few scrimmages and his Summer League debut against the Pelicans. Ingram was very versatile on the floor, had a nice off-the-dribble game and finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Kupchak raves about Ingram’s basketball IQ and readiness.

“He’s got a presence on the floor,” Kupchak said. “He’ll handle the ball. He’ll direct people around. He’s got an uncanny knack for anticipation.”

Unlike Kobe, Ingram won’t have the luxury of breaking in with a teammate at the level of Shaquille O’Neal or on a winning team. While next season likely won’t be 17-win miserable as the one just completed, the Lakers are young and without an All-Star. Ingram must therefore fight against the effects of possibly losing a string of games, and the occasional poor performance, although his makeup — secure and laid-back — suggest he’ll be mature enough to cope with it.

Also, he isn’t attracting the same soaring level of expectations as Kobe did as a 17-year-old straight from high school. So there will be a comfortable learning period where he can rebound from mistakes and also gain weight, which is his only obvious flaw.

Week Under Review: Comparing the NFL to the cast of Hamilton

Week Under Review: Comparing the NFL to the cast of Hamilton

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Once you shuffle past criminals, social media trolls, helicopter parents and people who only talk about themselves during social situations, in comes the next tier of annoying humans: those lucky enough to have seen Hamilton with the original cast who won’t shut up about it. That’s where I enter the picture wholesale jerseys.

I saw Hamilton exactly 22 days ago. Since then, I have spent the last 21 days obsessively checking resale ticket prices simply out of curiosity, watching old clips of the cast performing at the White House, the Grammys and on the street, while simultaneously listening to the soundtrack nonstop as if I’m “running out of time.”

• Where Are They Now: Refrigerator Perry is mired in an unstable spiral

My Hamilton infatuation has become so pronounced that I have been poring over interviews with the cast just to see if any of them happen to be particularly ardent NFL fans, a foray to being featured in this column. Turns out my dream of the show’s genius creator, lyricist and Alexander Hamilton portrayer Lin-Manuel Miranda freestyling about the Jets quarterback situation is likely just that (though he does seem to love tennis). Or that proud Oakland native Daveed Diggs, who brilliantly plays Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, going deep on the Raiders is unlikely to happen given that Diggs calls himself a fan of the Raiders and 49ers. (Gotta pick one athletic jerseys wholesale, Prez.)

So instead of trying to bring Hamilton to the NFL, how about bringing the NFL to Hamilton? Several original cast members are leaving next week, and while most replacements are lined up (though curiously not Tony award winner Leslie Odom Jr.’s) things may become unwieldy at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in the post-Miranda era. Have no fear because here’s a replacement cast of NFL figures perfectly suited to play each of Hamilton’s key characters because they share strikingly attributes to that cast in playing to their own house.

Note: These castings are based off Miranda’s adaptation of Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton, not the book itself, which at 832 pages is inherently richer in detail and character development.

Roger Goodell as King George III

And no don’t change the subject. Cuz you’re my favorite subject. My sweet, submissive subject. My loyal, royal subject. Forever and ever and ever and ever.  – King George III (You’ll Be Back)

Too easy. Goodell is already a monarch and brutalized NFL players with little financial guarantee or concerns for their health. His disciplinary system is the epitome of “taxation without representation.” The only question is whether the players will stand up from their freedom when the CBA is up for renewal in 2021. It might behoove them to see Hamilton before then.

• Where Are They Now: Mike Williams stages another football comeback

Tom Brady as Alexander Hamilton

I’m young, scrappy and hungry and I’m not throwing away my shot! – Hamilton (My Shot wholesale cheap jerseys china review)

There was a well-documented time in Brady’s career when he could stand in a room of other quarterbacks like storied Drew Henson or Drew Bledsoe and be asked,  “Who are you?” But like Hamilton, who came to the United States with plenty of reasons not to morph into a legend, Tommy Brady, disregarded at the combine and not drafted until the sixth round by the New England Patriots, would create his own destiny through an intense work ethic and sheer force of will.

Brady has spearheaded the Patriots 15-year dynasty with his “practical, tactical brilliance” but like Hamilton, it has been the extra credit that has catapulted him to legendary status. Hamilton read and wrote like he was “running out of time.” Brady studies film and eats prunes like he’s running out of time. Just like Hamilton, one can argue Brady “changed the game” by perfecting the inside passing attack with a precision that no other quarterback can match.

In an interesting twist, Hamilton spurned his pregnant wife Eliza for Eliza’s sister, who was much more his intellectual equal. Not that Brady can relate. Hamilton also tarnished his otherwise stellar legacy by being caught “cheating” (more on this below).

Bill Belichick as George Washington

Just like Washington’s Continental army lost the New York campaign before it ultimately won the Revolutionary War, Belichick took a character-building career tumble that could have forever derailed his destiny. Fired by then-owner Art Modell of the Cleveland Browns in 1996, wholesale jerseys reviews Belichick was given a second chance in New England. While he possessed the shrewd, astute and affectingly cold leadership traits of Washington, it wasn’t until he found his “right-hand man” in Brady that he became the greatest head coach in NFL history­—the same effect Hamilton had on Washington.

As it stands, given the option, you’re starting any new franchise with Belichick as the leader. Of course, Belichick’s ingenuity as a football general is also colored by his penchant for toeing the line on rules of engagement ever so closely, and perhaps closing them on occasion. How does that compare with America’s most beloved founding father? Turns out, quite well.  According to the official Washington historical website, “George Washington quickly recognized the need for effective intelligence gathering efforts and developed a number of spy rings and secret agents to gather information behind enemy lines.” Sound familiar?

Five weeks after Tom Brady’s appeal, court decision should be close

Five weeks after Tom Brady’s appeal, court decision should be close

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Some quick-hit thoughts regarding the New England Patriots and the NFL:

1. If initial projections by some legal experts are correct, wholesale jerseys this could be the week that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s request for an en banc hearing. Brady’s legal team filed its official appeal May 23, and at the time ESPN legal analyst Andrew Brandt, among others, estimated that a ruling could come as early as three weeks or possibly take as long as six weeks. Monday marks five full weeks since Brady’s appeal, which means we’re officially in the red zone for a court decision.

2. What is it like working under Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia? Here is how 2013 first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper, now in his first year with the Patriots, described it during last week’s Sirius XM NFL Radio interview: “He’s just the type of guy who is going to get on you, like every coach, but when you’re doing it correctly he’s going to make sure you know that. And he’s going to give you the repetitions it takes on building the fundamentals and laying the foundation, so once you do get with the live bullets flying you’re ready to go and it’s second nature. That’s one of the biggest things I’d say about him, every day it’s doing the same repetitions, and it’s, ‘Oh, this again?’ You quickly learn that it starts to translate into the practice film, then it will translate into the game film, and that’s when you’re successful.”

3a. One of the notable transformations on the Patriots’ roster is at defensive tackle wholesale custom jerseys, where the club released its two players — Chris Jones and Dominique Easley — who best fit the description of a penetrating 3-technique. In their place, the club has favored bigger, stouter tackles who aren’t built to win with an explosive first step or penetrating move as they are with power or to hold the point of attack (e.g. Terrance Knighton, Vincent Valentine). When I asked defensive line coach Brendan Daly earlier in the offseason about the “disappearance of the 3-technique,” he politely contested my choice of words by pointing out how the defense is getting some of that from its defensive ends when they move inside in passing situations, and also from linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins when they pressure up the middle. It was a brief chat with Daly, but one I appreciated because it prompted me to look at things differently.

3b. In discussing the concept of defensive ends moving inside to rush on passing downs, one of the most topical players of late to highlight is San Diego Chargers rookie Joey Bosa, the third overall pick out of Ohio State. The Chargers envision him playing on the edge but also moving inside in some passing situations. It was something the Patriots’ Jabaal Sheard did wholesale best jerseys in 2015, which coach Bill Belichick previously mentioned was new to him, and he seemed to handle it well.

4. Jones is essentially competing with veteran Earl Mitchell for a backup spot behind Ndamukong Suh in Miami. The system being implemented by Dolphins first-year defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has similarities to the Bengals’ 4-3 (think about Geno Atkins as a penetrating 3-technique), which makes sense when considering Joseph spent the past two years as Cincinnati’s defensive backs coach and he also brought linebackers coach Matt Burke with him to South Florida. Meanwhile, Easley is behind All-Pro tackle Aaron Donald in the Rams’ 4-3, with coordinator Gregg Williams recently touting the overall line as arguably the fastest in the NFL. So both former Patriots have landed in schemes where the traditional 3-technique wholesale cheap jerseys china review — usually undersized but often explosive — is a bigger part of the scheme.

5. The Pro Football Writers of America announced its five annual awards last week, and Patriots left tackle Nate Solder was edged out by Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry for the George Halas honor, which goes to the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. Berry is a deserving choice — as is Solder, who has used his NFL platform to raise awareness for testicular cancer (Solder had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014). In addition, Solder’s son Hudson, who was born in July 2015, was diagnosed with kidney cancer last fall and Solder and his wife, Lexi, have shared his story to raise public awareness. Solder will return in 2016 from a biceps injury that cost him most of the past season, and he should be a strong consideration for the award again at this time next year.

6. Former Maine Black Bear Mike DeVito, who retired from the NFL this offseason after six years with the Jets (2007-2012) and three with the Chiefs (2013-2015), is exploring some opportunities in the media and will provide color commentary for televised UMaine games in 2016. We caught up on the radio last week, as DeVito was co-hosting a sports radio program on 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, and his first question about the Patriots was with the offensive line. DeVito said as the Chiefs prepared to face the Patriots in the playoffs last season, they felt the O-line was one area that could be exploited. The big changes this year for New England: The return of Scarnecchia as coach, Solder’s return to health, the possibility that Cooper (right guard) realizes his potential as the No. 7 overall player selected in 2013, third-round draft pick Joe Thuney as a possible starter at left guard, and a potential open competition at center headlined by incumbent Bryan Stork and second-year man David Andrews.

7. Patriots top draft choice Cyrus Jones, in an interview with Tide 99.1 in Alabama last week, highlighted some of the similarities he has noticed in coming from Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide program to Belichick’s program. The primary link: “Coach Belichick is definitely a coach that demands discipline from his players. He runs a tight ship.” Jones is quickly learning what Alabama alum Hightower learned after the Patriots selected him in the 2012 first round. Hightower said of Belichick and Saban, “I literally think they’re exactly the same … two peas in a pod.”

8. Patriots No. 3 tight end Michael Williams, who tore his left ACL on June 8 in mandatory minicamp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve, is waiting for swelling to subside before undergoing surgery. The expectation is that the surgery will take place the week of July 4. He’ll rehab during the season in hopes of being ready to go next offseason, when he is a restricted free agent usa wholesale jerseys.

9. After the Cavaliers captured the first professional sports championship for the city of Cleveland since the Browns won the 1964 NFL championship, Browns cornerback Joe Haden told TheMMQB.com that it was motivation for the Browns, who are in the midst of another rebuilding project. Did You Know: The Browns have missed the playoffs each of the past 13 seasons, which is tied with the Raiders for the second-longest active streak in the NFL. The Bills, who last made the playoffs in 1999, have the longest active playoff drought.

10. Something to look forward to later this year: With this marking the 15-year anniversary of the Patriots’ first Super Bowl championship team — the 2001 squad that shocked the St. Louis Rams (aka The Greatest Show on Turf) — the club gathered a few of the reporters from that era to reflect, reminisce and travel back in time to that special season. Along with Tom Curran, Ron Borges and Bryan Morry, and led by host Bob Socci, we taped several segments that will run throughout the season on the team’s website (starting the week of July 25). So many meaningful stories to tell from that magical run.

Just one step more will help LeBron wipe away pain

Just one step more will help LeBron wipe away pain

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Well, on the eve of Game 7, let’s just say LeBron James was so at ease, he could go hours without deodorant and not stink wholesale jerseys.

“I’m going to give everything I’ve got to my teammates and my coaching staff, as I’ve always done,” he explained. “And I live with the results. One thing I can’t live with is if I don’t go out and be true to the game; that would stop me from sleeping. So I’m ready to go.”

This should come as scary news to the Warriors, and the most refreshing news for Cleveland since 1964, the last time the city celebrated a professional sports title of any kind. LeBron is chilly like Harrison Barnes’ shooting percentage because inside, his confidence is burning. The jump shot is falling, the path to the rim seems six lanes wide and suddenly he’s doing whatever he damn well pleases in this series. He knows that he’s on, perhaps, the finest stretch of his career, all things considered. Yes, he did have that gargantuan series against the Pistons in 2007 (48 points, nine rebounds, seven assists in Game 5). Yes, sport jerseys wholesale he did chop down the Celtics in 2012. But neither was the NBA Finals.

Nor did they put the Cavs on the doorstep of history.

The agent for a Cavs’ player who shall not be named made a point of grinning and insisting the Warriors are feeling the entire burden, and that’s not entirely true. The Warriors do need to justify their 73 wins this season, and true, they coughed up a 3-1 series lead. But they have a ring. Worst case scenario, they lose Sunday (8 PM EST, ABC) and bleed a little, then start next season with a strong and relatively young core good enough to reach the Finals again and be the favorites.

LeBron returned to Cleveland two summers ago to create a new image for a sobbing city with a sports inferiority complex, and that can only be secured with a championship. That’s heavy. That’s a burden. How many more times will he get this close game jerseys wholesale?

And he’s one win away.

“I don’t think people imagined it this way, the route we’ve taken,” he said.

He was the teenaged basketball messiah from Akron drafted No. 1 by the sad-sack Cavs and therefore planted a seed of hope. That initial tour of duty in Cleveland resulted in one championship appearance, where the Cavs were rudely swept by the Spurs, to be followed shortly afterward by a nasty defection to Miami. After living out his mid-life crisis with the Heat, winning two rings, LeBron returned two summers ago to a hero’s welcome only because Cleveland was just as miserable as when he left, maybe more wholesale basketball jerseys.

The Cavs last season were simply unlucky, harpooned by injuries and therefore ran out of gas last summer against the Warriors. LeBron was the most important player on the floor, then and now, especially the last two games, both 41-point masterpieces, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7.

His averages in this series: 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2.7 steals, 2.5 blocks in 41.2 minutes of heavy labor. He’s away from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his All-Star teammates in Miami who relieved him of all the leadership responsibilities and pressure, and blessed only with Kyrie Irving, which magnifies what he has already accomplished. Win or lose in Game 7, LeBron should be a strong favorite if not a lock for MVP — Jerry West is the only MVP winner on a losing Finals team — and jerseys wholesale usa he managed a wisecrack about that.

“The last time I answered a question about MVP, it didn’t go so well for me,” he said, “so I’m not going to do it.”

Why should he? His play speaks loudly and boastfully. If you combine this series with last summer’s, nobody has more points, rebounds, assists or blocks than LeBron. He shot only 40 percent last summer, mostly because he wore down from the load without Irving and Kevin Love, but is far more efficient now. Besides, his defense and especially shot-blocking has been brilliant if barely noticed from the outside; when the subject came up Sunday, he took the opportunity to mention his pet peeve: “I’ve been highly upset that I haven’t won Defensive Player of the Year.”

So yes, he cares about individual honors, another reason why he’s taking delight in outplaying Steph Curry, the only player to win MVP other than Kevin Durant and LeBron in the last six years.

LeBron is gunning for three trophies, then: Finals MVP, championship hardware, and a statue that will surely be built in Cleveland should he do the unimaginable. And yet, regarding that last piece of metal, he’s being cool about it, because he doesn’t want his teammates to deal with that gorilla. Deep down, maybe he doesn’t want the Win For Cleveland campaign to consume or suffocate him, either.

But it’s impossible to ignore what’s at stake.

“I came back for a reason, and that’s to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland,” he said. “That’s been one of my goals. But I don’t add too much pressure on it. You go out there and see what happens. I mean, if we win and we take care of business, that’s something that our city hasn’t had in a very long time.

“The word everyone likes to use in sports is ‘pressure.’ I don’t get involved with it. But I guess in layman’s terms, ‘pressure’ is an opportunity to do something special, and I’m fortunate that I can be in position where I can do something special.”

If you ask him, he’ll spend the hours leading up to tipoff in his very own chill chamber, barely noticing the fuss around him, unable to see Cleveland mobilizing itself 2,000 miles away, just in case. LeBron mentioned that he’s been inspired by watching “The Godfather” almost non-stop, and judging by the level of his performances of late, it wasn’t “Godfather III.”

One championship in Cleveland is worth, what: Five in Miami? A place on the basketball Mount Rushmore? Dinner for life in any Ohio restaurant? At the very least, every man and woman in Cleveland will suddenly develop amnesia regarding The Decision, if they haven’t already.

A group of fans burned his Cavs jersey when he announced he was headed to Miami, and the emotion that LeBron will generate, should he win Sunday, would be the complete opposite.

Lake Erie, the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, and LeBron. Those would be the everlasting Cleveland landmarks, and not necessary in that order.

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Amari Cooper more confident heading into Year 2

Amari Cooper more confident heading into Year 2

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Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper made a splash in his rookie season, finishing with 1,070 yards — the first rookie to do so in club history — and earned a Pro Bowl bid wholesale jerseys.

Cooper’s hot season was slowed down after sustaining a foot injury last December — an injury that the Raiders considered shutting the rookie down for the remainder of the season.

The former first-round pick is channeling last year’s frustrating end into his performance at the team’s offseason workouts. Cooper’s earnestness and newfound wholesale sports jerseys confidence has not gone unnoticed by his veteran teammates.

“I always joked around last year that three years ago, he was in seventh period chemistry,” quarterback Derek Carr said per CSN Bay Area. “He’s a young guy, and he was just learning his way around but going to the Pro Bowl while doing it.

“He has (always been) very special, but now he’s more open. He’s more talkative. But everyone is like that their rookie year, no matter who it is. There is so much going on mentally in this game that a lot of guys are more reserved and quiet, not to us, but in general. Now, you see he and ‘Crab’ (Michael Crabtree) joking more because he is more comfortable.”

Veteran wideout Michael Crabtree has noticed Cooper’s wholesale jerseys us personality emerge as well. Crabtree says he’s eager to see what the receiving duo can produce this season.

“It’s one year and every year adds experience,” Crabtree said. “It’s one of those things when you have talent like that you just build off of it, really with the knowledge of the game. You’re getting smarter and different situations on the field, and I feel like he is doing that. I can’t wait to get out there with wholesale jersey outlet him in games and do our thing.”

Jake Arrieta lost Sunday, but his streak was really impressive

Jake Arrieta lost Sunday, but his streak was really impressive

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In the days between Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta’s past two regular-season losses, 481 pitchers lost a regular-season game wholesale jerseys.

Arrieta’s win streak ended at 20 straight decisions. Elias Sports Bureau research shows that only two pitchers have had longer win streaks: New York Giants Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell (24 from 1936 to 1937) and Pirates reliever Roy Face (22 from 1958 to 1959).

Arrieta’s 9-0 start to the season is an undefeated mark topped only once in Cubs history, by Jim McCormick in 1886.

Since July 26, Arrieta is 20-1 with a 1.14 ERA. He has allowed 97 hits in 174 1/3 innings. His .160 opponents’ batting average and .431 opponents’ OPS are both the lowest in baseball in that span authentic jerseys wholesale.

Arrieta’s 1.14 ERA is the best in the majors in that time. Clayton Kershaw ranks second (1.51). But it’s worth pointing out how much better Arrieta’s mark is than those of some pitchers who rank among the best in baseball. His ERA is more than a run better than Madison Bumgarner’s (2.26) and Stephen Strasburg’s (2.42), two runs better than Zack Greinke’s (3.14) and more than two runs better than Chris Sale’s (3.41).

How he didn’t win chinese wholesale jerseys

You might have read in John Jackson’s game story that Arrieta allowed nine hits on the 10 balls put in play against him. That was pretty unlikely.

Entering the day, the Cubs’ defense had converted 77 percent of the balls put in play against Arrieta into outs, a rate that ranked second-best among pitchers, behind Marco Estrada’s. Estrada carried a no-hit bid through seven innings against the Red Sox, and his team’s season rate now stands at 79.4. The Cubs’ out rate for Arrieta (73.6 percent) now ranks 17th.

One thing to keep an eye on sport jerseys wholesale

Recently, Arrieta’s slider has not been the super-invincible pitch it usually is, even though he has thrown it harder. He got two strikeouts with it Sunday but also allowed two hits.

Arrieta gave up one hit and got 35 outs on the 144 sliders (average speed: 88.6 mph) he threw in his first six starts of the season. Since then, he has allowed 12 hits and gotten 19 outs on the 111 he has thrown in his past six starts (average speed: 89.7 mph).

Take Two: Rosen sounds off, Texas counting on newcomers on offense

Take Two: Rosen sounds off, Texas counting on newcomers on offense

Take Two is back this week tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape.

National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from wholesale jerseys National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.

SHOULD ROSEN KEEP QUIET?

Storyline: UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is uber-talented and is lining up to be a surefire first-round draft pick after two more seasons. The kid can play.

He can also ruffle feathers. Like when he wore a F&!K Trump hat to Donald Trump’s golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., last month. Or when he went to social media to rip college amateurism rules after UCLA signed a $280 million deal this week with Under Armour, the biggest in NCAA history. Of that, Rosen and his fellow student-athletes at UCLA won’t see a penny.

Last year as a freshman, Rosen was pictured with a girl in a hot tub – in his dorm room. UCLA notified the media the hot tub has since been removed.

The former five-star quarterback from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco is young, having fun and speaks his mind. But is it in his best interest for the long term? Should Rosen say what he wants or should the UCLA quarterback consider toning it down so he doesn’t turn off NFL scouts and executives who are watching every move?

On the Rich Eisen Show recently, UCLA coach Jim Mora heaped tremendous praise on Rosen but also said he has asked Rosen if he wants to be more like Johnny Manziel or Tom Brady is wholesale jerseys legit. The implication is clear. Maybe Rosen should tone it down.

First take: “Josh Rosen is probably the most intelligent recruit/freshman I’ve been around in my time covering UCLA. He was the first person to ever graduate early from St. John Bosco, and I’d bet his IQ puts him in a pretty good national percentile. So with that being said, I think he’s earned the right to speak out on controversial subjects. He’s educated and informed, and if he has an opinion that he believes is worth sharing, then he should go ahead and do it. As long as it’s not affecting his play or his teammates, I don’t see why anybody should have wholesale jerseys us an issue with statements he makes on his personal Instagram page.”

Second take: “I know everything gets scrutinized at the NFL level and I’m always one to say, ‘Don’t be stupid.’ When I see the Laremy Tunsil situation come out, Byron Cowart get busted at Auburn and Cameron Robinson recently hit with felony charges, that’s stuff the NFL really gets scared about. An outspoken, brash, cocky quarterback? I don’t think they worry about that as long as he has the talent to back it up. The big fear is that Josh Rosen is Jeff George — an ultra-talented kid with every skill you’d ever want but is just a jerk. I don’t get that impression. Through the recruiting process that turned off Stanford and they didn’t offer him, I just think he has that ‘it’ factor about him where NFL GMs are going to gravitate toward.”

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COULD TEXAS SURPRISE?

Storyline: Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele has been described as the “main man” at Texas and the “solution” to the Longhorns’ quarterback issues according to various media reports.

Third-year coach Charlie Strong better hope so.

Strong is on the hot seat in Austin. He’s hired a new offensive coordinator, Sterlin Gilbert from Tulsa, to figure out how to produce more than just 1,751 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns like last season.

For a coach looking for more time, a freshman quarterback coupled with a new offensive coordinator doesn’t seem like the best –- or quickest usa jerseys wholesale— fix. But it could also be like hitting gold, a fresh start on both fronts that could reap great rewards.

Some prognosticators have Texas as one of the surprise teams in college football this season. Strong needs that to happen. Winning will help recruiting and then the Longhorns could be off to the races.

It has to happen now, though, or Texas could be looking for someone else to kick-start this thing. Someone else might be the “solution.”

First take: “We really won’t know for sure until the team hits the cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys field in the fall, but it does have a feel that Charlie Strong and Texas may have finally found an effective combination in first-year offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele. For the first time in a while, Texas will run an innovative, up-tempo offense. And in Buechele, the Longhorns finally may have solved their quarterback problems that have plagued the program for years. If things go well this year and Texas can stockpile some wins, I can certainly see a scenario where Texas begins to haul in top national recruiting classes on a regular basis. Then again, if the offense struggles – and that’s always a possibility with a new OC and true freshman QB – it could punch Strong’s ticket out of Austin.”

Second take: “It’s a new offensive coordinator and a freshman quarterback and Strong is hitching his wagon to that. That’s really scary. In this day and age, you can have a freshman quarterback have success and build on that success. But can you do it on the hot seat? Can it happen? Yes. But are the percentages there that it’s likely to happen? I don’t know of too many examples.”

The Giant Killer: Draymond Green dares you to define him

The Giant Killer: Draymond Green dares you to define him

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Even after 73 wins and 82 million dollars, after the championship and the All-Star Game, after Steph Curry called him the voice and Steve Kerr called him the heart and nobody dared call him a tweener again, Draymond Green still sometimes sprints down the court on defense and hears a giant holler to the sideline: “Coach, post up!” The giant points down at Green, a head shorter, and raises a mitt on the left block. And just like that, everything Green has done throughout the day to quiet his soul—watching the WNBA on TV in his home atop the Berkeley Hills, playing dominos with his friends, eschewing coffee for sports jersey wholesale water and hype music for J. Cole and Boyz II Men—flies out the window of Oracle Arena. The giant might as well have doused Green’s gold jersey in jet fuel and struck a match. “Are you f—— kidding me!” Green bellows, re-creating not one specific scene but hundreds of them. “You have to be joking right now! You cannot really be talking about me! You cannot! You think you’re stronger than me? You’re not. You think you’re going to bully me? You’re not. You think you’re going to score on me? You’re not.”

Green is suddenly transported to the Civitan Rec Center in Saginaw, Mich., jersey wholesale usa once again the pudgy kid with the Ben Wallace Afro ignored by the older boys every time he chirped “Next!” He’d sit down in the middle of the court and scream, “Who do you think you are? I’m not leaving this floor for you!” Regulars alternated between sticking him in trash cans, rolling him in rugs, setting him on the rim and banishing him to the pool table. He hurled billiard balls at his tormentors. “There were grown men trying to fight me,” Green says, “and I fought them all.” He fought anybody who messed with him and anybody who messed with his more reserved older brother, Torrian. Every other day, it seemed, a manager named Tyrone Davis had to kick him out of Civitan. Draymond would occasionally leave with a busted nose, as well as a game ball, which he would boot over the nearest fence. “Those big boys eventually learned,” says his mother, Mary Babers-Green, “that my baby better get his next.” wholesale jerseys

After Draymond cooled off he retreated across the street to his house, where Mary braided women’s hair, one of her three jobs. “He was like my assistant,” says Mary, who raised Draymond with his stepfather and her ex-husband, Raymond Green. “He always wanted to walk the ladies to their cars. He’d push his brother back and tell him, ‘Let me do it!’” Day Day, as friends and family called him, yearned to be a man. When he fought his way into the pickup games at Civitan, gang members sat in the bleachers and bet hundreds on him, awed by his toughness.
Green is 26 now—a 6′ 7″, 230-pound basketball revolutionary, arguably the best defender in the NBA and the best playmaker of his size—but everywhere he looks he still sees giants trying to toss him in trash cans. “This guy really thinks he has a mismatch!” Green tells himself, isolated on the block against the springy 7-footer. “He really thinks he’s going to destroy me!” Often he spews his stream-of-consciousness out loud. “Sometimes I say it to get myself going,” Green says. “I don’t do it to bother anybody. But if it bothers them, that’s cool, too. us wholesale jerseys I don’t really care.”

Unless you’re trying to back him down, he comes across as far more endearing than angry, the Warrior you’d most want to drink the proverbial beer with. His bravado is part of his brilliance, like the boxers he idolizes, from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson. basketball jersey wholesale They could talk themselves into anything. Such was the power of their voices. When the post-up ends the way it so often does, the giant clumsily fumbling a drive or clanking a hook, Green flexes and stares. “I see his head drop,” Green says, “and I hear him talk to himself, ‘Come on, let’s go, what are you doing? This guy is so small! ” Green beams as he turns and stomps downcourt. Look who’s in the trash can now. Look who got next. “I feel in that moment like I took his spirit,” Green says. “And that’s an amazing feeling for me.”

Western Conference finals preview: St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks

Western Conference finals preview: St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks

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We bring you the Redemption Bowl, featuring two clubs that have discarded serious playoff baggage to reach the Western Conference finals. For the St. Louis Blues, it’s their first final-four appearance in 15 years and a chance to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1970. For the San Jose Sharks, it’s actually their fourth trip to the conference finals since 2004 but their first in half a decade — they missed the playoffs last year and two years ago suffered their infamous soul-crushing, first-round loss to the rival Los Angeles Kings after leading the series 3-0. That led to some retooling, but San Jose is still led by veteran stars Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

These two teams overcame a lot of the same challenges to get here, beginning with the first round: the Sharks beating their personal bogeymen in the Kings, the Blues finally beating wholesale jerseys their nightmare-inducing rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. Then, with the realization that they’ve got to wake up and play some hockey while surviving seven-game scares in the second round, the Blues disposed of the high-flying Dallas Stars and the Sharks went the distance to finally shake hands with the pesky Nashville Predators.

And so here they are, the Blues and the Sharks, picked so many times by so many people over the past several years to win the Stanley Cup only to disappoint. Not anymore. Whatever happens, a Cup finals berth at long last awaits for one of these deserving, well-built hockey clubs wholesale sport jerseys.

How they win

San Jose: The Stars’ team speed gave the Blues headaches and, like Dallas, San Jose can wheel. Another big reason the Sharks could prevail is if their lethal power play makes a difference yet again, as it has in two straight series. The opening goal in Game 7 against the Predators was like watching a rerun: Thornton to Marleau to Pavelski in the slot. You know it’s coming but nobody seems to be able to stop it. It just so happens that the aggressive, physical Blues have averaged more than 11 minutes in penalties a game in these playoffs while the Sharks have averaged the fewest penalty minutes of any of the 16 playoff teams. If the Sharks get on the power play more often than the Blues, that could be a major difference-maker.

St. Louis: The Blues’ physical and structured athletic jerseys wholesale game wears down teams over seven games. The Stars looked out of breath by Game 7. All those hits by the Blues are an investment right from Game 1 of a series. And the tactic works. Mind you, it’s what the heavy, physical Kings hoped to do in the first round, and what they found out is that you can’t hit what you can’t catch, the Sharks a step ahead all series long. With veteran head coach Ken Hitchcock leading the way, the Blues’ overall game is also extremely detailed. This is a team that doesn’t make as many mistakes as most teams. That can frustrate the opposition. Their fundamentals are unreal.

How they lose

San Jose: I’ve written about the Sharks’ inexperience in net two rounds in a row, but Martin Jones continues to prove himself. In his first season as a No. 1, Jones went toe-to-toe with the Kings’ Jonathan Quick in the opening round and the Predators’ Pekka Rinne in the second round and fared just fine, thank you. But if the Sharks lose, one reason might be cracks in Jones’ game.

St. Louis: Fatigue. The buy jerseys wholesale Blues have had the max seven games in two straight series, not the optimum recipe for a potential Stanley Cup champion. History suggests that a short series is needed somewhere along the way before getting to a Cup finals. Now, you can point to the 2014 Kings, who played 21 games in the opening three rounds, and rebuff that wisdom. But are those energy levels going to be OK starting Sunday with Game 1 in St. Louis?

Fancy stats
5-1

The Sharks had the worst home record of any of the 16 teams that made the playoffs at 18-20-3 and it was a pretty big story before facing the Kings in the first round — to the point where head coach Peter DeBoer got tired of talking about it. After dropping its opening home game of the playoffs to the Kings in Game 3, San Jose has since gone 5-0 at SAP Center, winning a huge one in Game 4 against the Kings to take a commanding 3-1 series lead and then winning all four in the homer series versus Nashville, including an emphatic Game 7 decision. So, no, the Sharks no longer have an issue at home.

Series MVP

San Jose: The Blues did a good job getting to Stars top blue-liner John Klingberg in the last round, but I’m not sure exactly how you neutralize a beast such as Brent Burns. If the Sharks advance to the Stanley Cup finals, the man who can rack up 20 shot attempts on some nights will be one of the major reasons.

St. Louis: Alexander Steen needs to win a Selke Trophy as top defensive forward one day. Look at his defensive work in the opening round against Chicago’s big boys and then soccer jerseys wholesale usa again in the second round versus the stars of the Stars. Steen is a two-way monster who deserves more praise for his immense impact on the Blues’ success. If St. Louis gets to the Cup finals, you better believe Steen will be at the heart of it.

Bottom line

This is a contrast in styles, with the Sharks being a free-flowing team that can motor while the Blues play a structured, disciplined and physical game. Both have depth everywhere. To me, this series gets decided by a hair. Blues in seven.

Playoff MVP candidate Victor Hedman keeps Tampa Bay Lightning rolling

Playoff MVP candidate Victor Hedman keeps Tampa Bay Lightning rolling

TAMPA, Fla. — Now, the Conn Smythe discussion can begin for Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.

If the Lightning hadn’t lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Stanley Cup finals, it’s likely Hedman would have been named postseason MVP last spring. But that didn’t happen. That honor went to the Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith.

But with the way Hedman is playing in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, his performance is worthy of the discussion again.

His two goals helped the Lightning clinch a second consecutive trip to the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders in Game 5 of their second-round series on Sunday at Amalie Arena. In 10 playoff games, Hedman, 25, has four goals and five assists for nine points and is a plus-4. In 26 playoff games last postseason, he had one goal and 13 assists for 14 points and was a plus-11.

“Hedman was a monster in pretty much all of them, which helped us get there,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of last season’s games in Tampa Bay’s Cup run. “You could say that about a bunch of our players. You don’t move on without having your best players be your best players.”

“I thought tonight was pretty indicative of what Victor Hedman has done for us,” Cooper added. “When the big boy’s rolling, we feed off that, and he was a major factor in us winning tonight.”

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, who posted his fifth career postseason cheap china wholesale jerseys shutout, expects nothing but great things from Hedman.

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“I’m getting used to it, I guess,” Bishop said with a bright smile. “He’s a great player. He seems to elevate his game at this time of the year — last year and now this year. It’s nice to have him on your side.”

When asked what is the most impressive quality about Hedman, Bishop quickly joked, “His looks.”

Then Bishop added, “He’s just a workhorse. He has the size — and the way he can move and how big he is. He’s really swift. He’s tough to get around. He can skate with anybody, and he’s got some pretty good offensive talent too. And, he is still learning. He’s still really young, and that’s the scary thing. He’s going to get even better the next however many years he plays. wholesale jerseys It’s fun to watch him.”

This will be the third consecutive trip to the conference finals for Lightning forward Brian Boyle, who also played for the New York Rangers on their trip to the finals in 2014. He knows exactly what it takes to win at this level. He shook his head and smiled when he talked about the Hedman’s contributions.

“He is young, but he’s been in this league for a number of years and he puts a lot of responsibility on himself as a leader on the team — and as a person around Tampa. He’s such a mature kid. The way he plays the game,” Boyle said, “is what everyone is talking about now. “We’ve seen it before, and he covers so much ice. He can start a forecheck, starts the rush and he can come back and finish [opponents’] rushes and close them out, then get up ice and do it again.

“You’ve heard [assistant coach Rick Bowness] and Coop talk about how well he can skate, and obviously that’s a huge asset for a big man. The way the kid competes — he does everything for us from the back end and how many minutes he eats up, and if he’s not playing 30, he’s pretty pissed off. It’s a great attitude to have.”

The least amount of time Hedman played in the series against the Islanders was 26:32 in Game 1, the only tilt the Lightning lost. After that, wholesale jerseys cheap he logged 27:35, 30:15, 27:46 and 27:43 in Games 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

“For me, it’s all about playing good defensively and offensively,” Hedman said. “If you score a goal, or how many points you have, it doesn’t really matter as long as you win the game.”

One of many of Hedman’s responsibilities was to limit the offensive production of Islanders’ John Tavares. After the New York captain scored a goal and added an assist in the Islanders’ Game 1 victory, Hedman and Tampa Bay’s defense completely shut down Tavares and held him without a point for the remainder of the series.

Last season, the Blackhawks’ Keith became the first defenseman to win the Conn Smythe since Scott Niedermayer won it with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07. Other defensive greats to have won the Conn Smythe include Nicklas Lidstrom (with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002), Scott Stevens (New Jersey Devils in 2000) and Brian Leetch (Rangers in 1994). But this season could be the first time a defenseman has claimed the trophy in consecutive seasons since Serge Savard of the Montreal Canadiens and Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins won it in 1969 and 1970, respectively.

Sure, there’s plenty of hockey remaining in the final two rounds before a team hoists the Stanley Cup, but if his production in the first 10 postseason games is any indication of what’s to come, Hedman has the ability to lead this team to where it wants to go wholesale sport jerseys.

“He’s done it all for us,” Boyle said.