Detroit Lions: Defensive Versatility

While he was defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, Matt Patricia was known for using a number of defensive looks to confuse opponents.

The more things change, chinese nfl jerseys nike the more they stay the same. As Dave Birkett reported for the Detroit Free Press, the Lions featured a lot of both odd- and even-man fronts on the practice field in OTAs.

Edge-rusher Ziggy Ansah, who is easily the Lions’ most effective sack artist, watched most of OTAs from the sidelines. But Patricia singled out the 29-year-old as a player who is buying whole-heartedly into the new scheme.

“Ziggy’s actually probably one of the first guys I met when I got here,” Patricia said. “So he’s been great, really hard working, kind of just dialed in, focused. He can be quiet at times, which is fine, but to be honest with you, he’s really into everything right now. He’s really trying to learn at a high pace. Very professional, very much so trying to perfect his craft and what he does and learn to do some of the things that we’re doing that may be a little bit different. But he’s been great.”

That’s most assuredly a good thing, as Patricia will be counting on Ansah to collapse the pocket from both a defensive end and outside linebacker spot at times in 2018.

The Green Bay Packers aren’t a team with a ton of battles for starting spots this summer. Running back is an exception, with Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones all fighting to earn the biggest slice of the backfield pie.chinese nfl nike jerseys

As Brian Jones reported for 247 Sports, Packers running backs coach Ben Sirmans indicated he’s been very impressed with what he’s seen from Jones so far in OTAs.nfl clothing

“He came back a little bit bigger and he’s still moving around pretty good with the added size,” Sirmans said. “I think as he continues to get as I call it his ‘grown-man weight,’ that we’ll see some of that progress happen with him getting stronger. I think he saw also for himself what he could benefit from, particularly with his lower body. He could benefit from playing stronger and not just from an injury standpoint avoiding those things, but also it will help him break more tackles and do those things.”cheap chinese authentic nfl jerseys

On a per-carry basis, Jones was the most effective back of the trio in 2017. Before injuring his knee last November, Jones topped 100 rushing yards in each of his first two NFL starts. His 5.5 yards per carry in 2017 was third in the NFL among tailbacks with 80 or more carries.chinese made nfl jerseys

If Jones can add weight and strength without sacrificing speed, he could be in for an even more productive second season.

John Ross Is Feeling Good

While Hooker’s first NFL season ended in a disappointing fashion, wide receiver John Ross’ was much more consistent.

Consistently bad. Awful, even.cheap nfl nike jersey

Ross, who was selected ninth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, played in just three games. The Bengals placed him on second-ending reserve in December with a shoulder injury. And head coach Marvin Lewis called him out for his play in November, telling reporters Ross “let his teammates down” after he came up short on a route.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Ross touched the ball once as a rookie—a 12-yard carry. He had no catches. Not one.

Per Geoff Hobson of the team’s official website, Ross acknowledged that his rookie season was a mess:

“Last year I let everything get to me. I let my injury get to me. I was trying to do more than I could. I was out of shape. I’m not trying to make excuses, but it’s real-life things. You can’t just come in the NFL and be that guy. You have to come in and prepare. I’ve learned that. It’s growth and progression from here on.”

Ross also said he’s 100 percent healthy and looking to bounce back.

“I couldn’t ask to feel any better than I do now,” Ross said. “It’s the best I’ve felt since I went into my last year of college.”

Quarterback Andy Dalton told Hobson he’s seen a difference: “He looks good. Completely different than he did last year. You can tell he worked hard. It looks like he’s getting back to where he was. He looks smooth. Everyone knew he was fast, but he’s not just a straight-line guy. He can stop and go. He’s got some shiftiness to him.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Hopefully, that improvement will carry through to training camp and the preseason—cheap nfl jerseys china nike possibly enough so that Lewis says something nice about the 23-year-old speedster who set the combine 40 record at 4.22 a year ago.

Malik Hooker Is Back on the Practice Field

In April, Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker told reporters he was doing everything in his power to accelerate his rehab from a torn ACL suffered last October.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Right now, it’s just crucial for me to get in there and just try to work as hard as I can to get healthy for the team,” Hooker said. “So, I just pretty much just do whatever’s asked of me and try to do a little extra so that if I can, try to move the process up.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The 22-year-old safety has continued to progress.

As Andrew Walker of the team’s official website noted, Hooker posted a video Tuesday of himself working out and cutting on the turf at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. It’s the first time we’ve seen the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft in cleats since that fateful Week 7 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.nfl nike jersey cheap

At the time of his injury, Hooker had been playing as advertised. The ball-hawking safety had snagged three interceptions in his first seven games and was an early front-runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

There is not a definitive timetable for Hooker’s return to game action, and one video snippet of the youngster doesn’t change that.

Seeing Hooker backpedaling and making cuts on the field with ease, however, is good news for a defense that badly needs its best playmaker in the secondary if Indy is going to improve on its 30th-ranked defense from last season. cheap nike nfl jersey

Fantasy Football 2018: NFL Veterans Whose Stocks Are Soaring This Offseason

It’s May, the transition period where we go from spending four months talking about the NFL draft to spending four months talking about fantasy football drafts. Nothing is more “May” than looking at the influence that last month’s draft will have on your fantasy picks in August.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Between free agency, the draft and a rejuvenated trade market, players moved around the league fast and furious this offseason. Not to mention, projected roles for certain players have changed several times since March. With that in mind, we’ll take you through who some of the biggest veteran “winners” of the draft were.

Some of these players have made little impact so far in their careers but are primed for a major role in their current offenses. Others were 2017 breakouts who will be afforded playing time after their teams targeted other positions in the draft. No matter the case, we’ll go through the top eight veterans who have the most to gain from their teams’ actions in late April.

After parting ways with the 34-year-old Frank Gore, cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping who posted 261 carries last season, one of the biggest question marks for the Indianapolis Colts on draft weekend was their running back situation. The only back on their roster with more than 25 carries last season is 2017 fourth-round pick Marlon Mack, who has just 358 rushing yards under his belt.

The Colts showed confidence in Mack via their actions during the draft, though. The team made five picks in the first two rounds, a stretch when seven running backs were drafted, and they still refused to pick one until Day 3. They had ample opportunity to vote Mack onto the bench, but they never swung.

Mack’s top competition right now is fourth-round nfl cheap jerseys nike  pick Nyheim Hines, a former receiver who had more receptions than carries until the 2017 season, and fifth-rounder Jordan Wilkins, who was taken with the 169th pick.

Over the last four seasons, only one running back, Alfred Blue, has recorded at least 500 rushing yards after being drafted as late or later than Wilkins. Until we’re told otherwise, it’s safe to assume Mack is going to be the RB1 in Indianapolis while Hines contributes as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

In search of the real Mike Tomlin

He has one of the most famous faces in football, despite the care he takes to keep it shadowed. It’s a fearsome face, both fatherly and somewhat fanatical, the face of a tender executioner. It shows everything and nothing, and hides everything and nothing. It is stoical, its primary expression a manifestation of will and its secondary expression an acceptance of fate. It distrusts elation as much as it distrusts despair and is particularly good at exhibiting, and then instantly recovering from, disappointment. Its primary features are those of a man going incognito—a beard, the hat pulled permanently down low over his eyes, which tell all his secrets. His eyes never stop moving until they settle, like cheap nike nfl jersey spotlights, on the object of their outrage or affection. It is not the face of a relaxed man but of one who can’t wait and can’t bear to see what comes next. Sometimes he darts his tongue, or punctuates his sentences by tightening his lips, yet his face is as unlined as a baby’s, as though the act of self-preservation required of every professional football coach—even one who has become a fixture of American Sundays—extends, in his case, all the way to the skin.

Mike Tomlin’s face is the face of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and therefore of tradition; his face is also the face of African-American coaches in the NFL, and therefore of the most provisional and hard-won progress. He is an emblematic figure whose image is minted on both sides of a cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale coin that never stops flipping, at least in part because he has never had to call heads or tails. Winning has not only been a Lombardi-esque everything during Tomlin’s 11 years as the Steelers’ head coach. It has also been enough to make questions of personal and racial identity seem at once beside the point and self-evident, which is how he likes them. He has had the luxury of being always himself and never himself; the caretaker of tradition is also the agent of change. But what happens when he loses games he should have won and people start looking for someone—a face—to blame?

Look at him now, in the dead of winter, enduring a practice on a mild, blue-sky day. He is instantly recognizable as soon as he steps onto the field, but the fans mark his arrival with a deep murmur rather than a greeting, and he acknowledges them with a gesture—a hurriedly raised hand—but not a glance. No one in the stands calls him by his first name or begs for his autograph, but his presence is still oddly electric. He is wearing a red hat instead of his customary black one,cheap nfl nike jersey  and he has exchanged his standard-issue “Property of the Steelers” sweatshirt for a plain white jersey and loose-fitting black pants that billow in the stiff breeze. But the hat is still pulled low. cheap nfl jerseys china nike With his hands in his pockets, he goes from player to player and coach to coach, a famously taciturn man chatting them up as if they were guests at a party, changing directions with a little hop step that seems the vestige of an old-school dance move, until at last he settles himself against a goalpost, his right knee cocked at 45 degrees and the sole of his foot pressed against the pad.

It is a pose familiar to anyone who has seen the Steelers take pregame warm-ups. But here’s the rub: Tomlin is not in Pittsburgh. He is not coaching the Steelers. A week before the Super Bowl, he is not preparing his team for the championship game but rather leading a hodgepodge nike nfl jerseys cheap china of players at the peak of their powers into a game that underlines the depths of their disappointment: the Pro Bowl. Tomlin, in his every public utterance, spurns all consolations, but here he is, the head coach of the AFC in what is, by definition, a consolation prize.

There are nine Steelers wearing red AFC jerseys, and the size of their contingent offers, like so much else that happened in Pittsburgh over the past year, an example of the abiding success and failure of the man they call Coach T—success because china nike nfl jerseys cheap  their attendance in Florida is a sign of the deep respect they have for their coach, and failure because it is still hard to conceive how a team with 10 Pro Bowlers as well as a quarterback headed to the Hall of Fame could have lost at home in its first game of the playoffs, again, to the Jaguars.

Priority No. 2: The Rondo Riddle

Rondo’s value was virtually non-existent last summer. He’d flamed out in Dallas, flown under-the-radar in Sacramento and had a rocky one-year stint in Chicago.

It only took a one-year, $3.3 million commitment to lure him to Louisiana. He outperformed the pact—8.2 assists against 2.3 turnovers in the regular season, double-digit point and assist averages in the playoffs—but his market remains murky.cheap nike nfl jersey

He turned 32 in February. He never developed a consistent outside shot. His numbers wavered over the course of the campaign, before #PlayoffRondo again dazzled under the bright lights, particularly during the first-round sweep.

But he also taught a young team how to win.

“Everything that he does is a winning mentality, a championship mentality and a lot of people haven’t seen that,” Jrue Holiday said, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

And Gentry afforded Rondo the freedom he needs to thrive.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“If you’re gonna have him on your team, you’ve got to believe in him enough to understand he’s gonna put guys in the right situation,” Gentry said, per The Ringer’s Danny Chau.

How do the Pelicans properly price all of that? And is there a reasonable figure that keeps Rondo around but leaves enough flexibility to address the void of two-way wings?

There’s probably a number that works for New Orleans, but the franchise must decide on it and be willing to walk away if it can’t be met.cheap nfl nike jersey

Priority No. 1: Delicate Dance with Boogie

As foreign as New Orleans’ twin towers model felt in this age of pace and space, both bigs had enough perimeter skills to make it work. The Pelicans could still spread the floor, only they could do it without sacrificing size.

The results weren’t dominant, but they were encouraging—a plus-4.2 net rating, which would have ranked sixth overall. When New Orleans put proper shooting around them, it made you wonder if this was the bulldozing duo capable of overwhelming trendy small-ball units.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

That said, the Pelicans going to that same small-ball look with Mirotic as a stretch 4 provided even better production. The pace picked up, three-pointers splashed and Davis either overpowered or outran his counterparts at center. The Davis-Mirotic combo yielded a plus-10.7 mark, which no one matched this season.

“The team just looks like it fits,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr remarked, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “The puzzle fits together beautifully, and I think it suits Alvin [Gentry’s] eyes. This is his kind of team, and they’re playing extremely well.”

If that’s enough to make you think New Orleans would be better off without Boogie, you’re not alone.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Maxing out a big man who clogs the floor for Davis—one coming off an Achilles tear who also has a history of locker-room negativity and unreliable effort/conditioning—would be a disaster,” Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes wrote. “There’s really no scenario in which keeping Cousins makes sense.”

But it’s not that simple.

Shedding Cousins wouldn’t open up enough wiggle room to find a high-level replacement. Keeping him, though, would open the possibilities of staggering his minutes with those going to Davis and Mirotic, potentially giving the Pelicans a shapeshifting frontcourt for any situation.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The bigger argument for re-signing Cousins, though, might trump the rest—Davis is for it.

“I’m going to keep selling the dream here,” Davis said, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. “I’ll be very involved—I want him here.”

If there’s a risk that cutting Cousins could alienate Davis—who can enter free agency in 2020—nfl nike jersey cheap that sounds more catastrophic than possibly overpaying Cousins. New Orleans shouldn’t hand him a blank check, but the NBA’s ninth-best scorer and third-best rebounder remains worthy of a significant investment.

DE Dante Fowler to Indianapolis Colts

The Jacksonville Jaguars are unlikely to trade the third overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft in a year where the team has Super Bowl aspirations. They’re even less likely to deal defensive end Dante Fowler to their AFC South rivals.

They should, though.nfl nike jerseys cheap

Fowler is coming off a career-high eight sacks in 2017, but whether due to numerous dust-ups off the field or the fact he’s been passed on the depth chart by Yannick Ngakoue, the Jags declined Fowler’s 2019 option. Executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin said Fowler remains in Jacksonville’s long-term plans.

“We do like Dante and we feel that he’s on the verge of having a great season, but we did not pick up the fifth-year option at this time,” Coughlin said in a statement. “He is making good progress and we like how he practices and how he plays, as he did in the AFC Championship Game, and we want him to have a great season and earn a new long-term contract with us this year.”nike nfl jersey cheap

If the Jaguars weren’t ready to pay Fowler now, it’s not likely they will be in a year. Barring an injury to Ngakoue or Calais Campbell, Fowler will see about the same playing time as in 2017.

Making this deal work would require a team that needs pass-rushing help and has the salary-cap space to keep Fowler around after this year.

No team fits that bill better than the Indianapolis Colts, who have over $60 million in wiggle room, per Over the Cap, as they transition to a four-man front.cheap nfl jerseys nike

They also may be willing to part with a Day 2 pick if it means getting a relatively proven pass-rusher with more than a little upside—a high enough pick for the Jaguars to seriously consider moving on.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

Strengths: Blitzing, big-play capability, awareness, leadership.

Weaknesses: Outside man coverage.

Most modern NFL offensive tactics are designed to isolate and attack the nickelback.

Teams place speedsters like Tyreek Hill and big,nike nfl jerseys cheap china  athletic Rob Gronkowski types in the slot specifically so they can create mismatches against the nickelback. They build formations and personnel groupings to purposely place the nickelback in a bind.

The RPO is the NFL’s darling strategy right now—your know-it-all friends like to explain the play’s design; your know-even-more friends like to say that it’s all just play action with a fancy name—because the Eagles used run-pass options to win the Super Bowl. In its most basic form, the RPO attacks the nickelback by forcing him to guess run or pass and then does the opposite.

Nickelback has been a starting position in the NFL for years and is one of the most critical positions on the field. But because teams use the same depth charts that they have mimeographed since the 1970s, nickelbacks are still thought of as role players or niche fillers. That outdated thinking even extends to the draft, where great nickel defenders like china nike nfl jerseys cheap Minkah Fitzpatrick are still met with, Gosh, I’m just not sure if he is a safety or a cornerback.

Fitzpatrick is the best nickelback prospect in NFL history. (Tyrann Mathieu had character concerns and was also used on offense, confusing his draft profile.) He’s exactly the defender teams need to counter the RPO and mix-and-match tactics in the slot, because his ability to attack the backfield will make offenses account for him, cheap nfl nike jerseys from china rather than vice-versa. He also has excellent play-recognition skills and the quickness to regroup after play-fakes. While no one human can cover both Tyreek and Gronk in the slot, Fitzpatrick has the size and speed to move outside or to deep safety so a quicker defender can slide to the nickel. Fitzpatrick never has to leave the field on defense.

Fitzpatrick is a cross between the Honey Badger and Malcolm Jenkins. He’s the vanguard of a new type of defender that the NFL needs more of. He should have been drafted higher. The Dolphins, despite ostensibly being strong at “safety,”  will be happy he fell to them.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

That’s right: The Dolphins did something right. We’re as shocked as you are.

Grade: A

What Impact Could a Healthy Markelle Fultz Have in Wide-Open East?

Though the Toronto Raptors have jumped out to a sizable advantage in the race for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, the NBA’s weaker half feels nike nfl cheap jerseys more wide-open than it’s been in years.

Perhaps that’s because LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have given few indications they’re capable of flipping the switch and have played like a mediocre squad for much of 2017-18.nike cheap nfl jerseys hi-res-bb27dbd8b53044fa225335fce40f105b_crop_north

Maybe it’s the injury-riddled nature of the Boston Celtics, who are dealing with maladies affecting—deep breath—Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis and nfl nike jerseys cheap china more.

The Indiana Pacers are too new on the scene to promote fervent belief. Even the Raptors, dominant as they’ve been, fail to inspire confidence because of their shoddy postseason resume in recent years.

“Everybody’s path is different. Everything happens for a reason. What he’s going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person…” Victor Oladipo recently told Philly.com’s Keith Pompey about the young guard who graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School six years after him. “His time is coming. I know he’ll be ready for it, because I know he puts the work in.”

All season long, the basketball world has searched for signs of progress, breathlessly nike jerseys nfl cheap analyzing pregame videos of his shooting form and speculating at every turn. At one point, the coverage grew so intense that teammate JJ Redick—one of the league’s more media-friendly players, to the point that he hosts his own podcast—couldn’t take it any longer.