NFL reveals recommendations for simpler protocol for catch rule

The NFL Competition Committee has come out with an easier set of rules to determine if a catch is actually a catch.

According to NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron, the following language will be used to make sure all catches are deemed fair.

Riveron revealed Monday, he and other members of the league looked into controversial catches from the past couple years (think Dez Bryant and Jesse James) and did say those controversial calls should have been catches.

Cardinals: RHP Luke Gregerson (left hamstring strain) was to make his third rehab appearance Monday, general manager Mike Girsch said before the game. “We’re getting close. We’re probably trying to get him back-to-back and see how that goes, but maybe a week or 10 days, something like that in that range,” Girsch said. … 3B Jedd Gyorko (right hamstring strain) did some work on the field. “He’s probably a few days from ramping up his baseball activities,” said Girsch, who expects Gyorko to be back in about 10 days. … RHP Brett Cecil (left shoulder strain) also is dealing with tendinitis in his foot, Girsch said. He is not expected back until close to the end of the month if not later.

Brewers: LHP Brent Suter (1-1, 6.30), who pinch ran for Cain, will be making his third start of the season. Suter is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six career games and two starts against the Cardinals.

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (1-1, 2.84) has a 1.98 ERA against Milwaukee. That’s the second-lowest mark among active pitchers. He pitched 8 1/3 innings on April 4 at Milwaukee in a 6-0 victory.

Stanton will join Cleveland after spending the past five years with the Cardinals. Stanton becomes the second quarterback the Browns added to their roster this offseason, joining Tyrod Taylor, who was acquired in a trade with the Bills.

There’s also speculation that the Browns will draft a quarterback in next month’s NFL Draft as Cleveland has the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks.

The Browns have struggled in the past to find a consistent quarterback finishing last season 0-16 with rookie DeShone Kizer. Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler have also played, but haven’t seen success over the past two years.

While head coach Hue Jackson has already said “(Taylor) is going to be the starting quarterback. There is no competition,” Stanton will bring depth to the position.

Stanton, 33, started 13 games in five seasons in Arizona. Four of those starts came last season while filling in for an injured Carson Palmer. He went 3-1 in 2017 and 9-4 overall with Arizona.buccaneers_003



Coates made only six catches for 70 yards in 12 games with the Browns.

I wanted to play football where somebody wanted me, Cravens told Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. I can tell that Denver actually wanted me on this team. It wasn’t just,’This is smart for our team.’ It just seemed like they really felt like they could use me and felt like they could put me in the best position to be successful.

In Denver, he’ll get that chance. Cravens could see plenty of playing time in the Broncos’ post-No Fly Zone secondary, and he’ll be able to combat the idea he quit on the Redskins last year.

A lot of people have the perception that I quit, Cravens said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, per The Washington Post. I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as I took care of what I needed to do. My health is most important. Once I handled that, then I could come back. I didn’t really have the option to return, even when I did get cleared. I’m just ready to get back out on the field and play.

Time will tell if Denver will indeed offer A Whole New World for Cravens.

Cleveland is loaded at the position after acquiring Jarvis Landry in a trade with the Dolphins, leading the Browns to waive Coates on Thursday.

Even a year earlier, it was obvious that was something special about the son of famed musician Vincent. I think that Buffalo doesn’t take a quarterback for sure at 8 if Geno Smith is off the board. derided President Trump, calling him President Agent Orange.Obviously not clearly out of danger.Really’t want to make outs with him and his historic pace.When I take a closer look I notice it’s wallet!

14 NFC: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons, 3 p.m.It might take a little more to pry one of these guys from the Lightning, but Lightning Steve Yzerman should be looking to shake things up as his disappointing team continues to underachieve.He’s a game changer on the defense.Known for his smooth moves and elegant footwork on the court, Drexler was widely called The Glide Drexler.jets_060



Report: Rams to keep Tavon Austin on restructured deal

The Los Angeles Rams are keeping receiver Tavon Austin on a restructured contract after reportedly deciding to move on from him in February, reports Vincent Bonsignore of Los Angeles Daily News.

The future is uncertain. The tumors could be gone again soon and may never return. Or they could return. As he gets older, the risk goes down.

I cry so much more now, Solder told the Globe. Solder comes to the Giants knowing he’s come to the right city for his son, he has a quarterback who will show him more compassion than he knew was possible and he’s getting paid an awful lot of money. One day, he’s going to win the Man of the Year Award, too. The Giants hope he helps them win another Super Bowl. If Solder gets beat for a sack, well, that happens and he can handle it. The bigger battle is his little boy trying to beat cancer.

And what I mean by patience, that does not mean we will not be competitive. We will be competitive. Every single person that takes the field for this organization is going to be playing like they’re playing to keep their job. That’s the attitude I had when I played and that’s the attitude everyone will have to have in the organization.”

Jeter knows he has to give fans a reason to come to the stadium and hopes young players like Lewis Brinson, a Florida native acquired from Milwaukee in the Yelich trade, can do that. While Jeter promised the Marlins could be competitive this season, he also recognizes the uphill climb facing the team in 2018. He said Miami’s new expansion MLS team is in a better position to win sooner than the Marlins.

“We are starting from a deeper hole than he is,” Jeter said. “He is starting from scratch. We had some things that we need to fix.”

Wilson has also dropped 4.6 percent of the passes thrown in his direction, worse than the league average of 3.6 percent over that timeframe.

The rosiest scenario for Wilson was that some team would see him as this year’s Robert Woods, a wideout with solid blocking skills whose talents would play up in a better offense.

Come on down, Miami Dolphins ! Miami was already $3 million over the salary cap after trading Landry, but as part of the Dolphins’ move to fix the team culture, they’re going to cut Ndamukong Suh and use some of the savings to lock up Wilson on a three-year, $24 million deal that truly seems beyond any possible expectations of what Wilson might have been offered elsewhere. canucks_036



MLB Network’s Braves documentary hits right notes, but skips one big question

In the 1991 World Series, the Braves had a 3-2 lead in the series, only to fall to the Twins in seven games. (Not to mention Lonnie Smith’s famous base running gaffe in Game 7 and that the team still failed to score off Jack Morris despite having runners on second and third with nobody out in the eighth.)

In the 1992 World Series, the Braves were two outs away from taking a 2-0 series lead against the Blue Jays, only to have Ed Sprague ruin everything with a two-run homer.

If the Rams finish 20th in the draft order next year and we don’t depreciate the pick’s value for time (both of which are perhaps conservative estimates), the Chase Stuart suggests the Chiefs picked up the 33rd selection in a typical draft for a 25-year-old former All-Pro cornerback on a below-market deal for the next two seasons.

While Kansas City clearly wanted to trade Peters, this is a price point at which the Chiefs probably needed to trust their ability to rehabilitate Peters and bring him back into the fold.

The Rams, meanwhile, get a B+ for their end of the bargain.

They probably need to start holding onto their draft picks after sending high selections out in the trades for Peters, Jared Goff, and Sammy Watkins, but they’re not incurring an enormous amount of risk in trading for Peters.

They can go year-to-year and pay the Washington product just $27.5 million over the next three seasons, which is less than inferior cornerbacks like Dre Kirkpatrick and Logan Ryan got in their free-agent deals last offseason.

Is it a feature or a bug? The jury is still out. Still, as a context-neutral stat, WAR is one of the best available to be used in evaluating players and player performance. Given its current trajectory, it might not long before WAR completely dominates MVP and Hall of Fame discussions.

But in the words of Bertrand Russell, “WAR does not determine who is right…” so don’t think that WAR is the be all end all to every statistical discussion.

(OK, Russell was talking about the shooty-shooty war, the point still stands.)

L.A. will have $6.5 million in dead money on its cap for Ogletree this year, but with $47.3 million in space, the Rams can use the savings to bring back receiver Sammy Watkins, who would otherwise be an unrestricted free agent.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has helped develop unheralded inside linebackers such as Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall in years past, so the Rams might be able to get by without big-money players on the interior.packers_004



Yankees open to playing Russell Wilson in Grapefruit League game

Russell Wilson could soon be getting in on the spring training action.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Tuesday said he’s open to the Seahawks quarterback getting the opportunity to play and take a couple swings in a Grapefruit League game.

Basically, owners decided they were determined to stop soaring free-agent costs, which meant that free agents received either zero interest from other teams or were only offered contracts at or below their previous salaries. Under the rules at the time, if a free agent didn’t re-sign with his previous team by Jan. 8, he couldn’t negotiate with that team again until April ended.

With no options, free agents reacted in a wide variety of ways. Bob Horner, at 29 years old and coming off back-to-back 27-homer seasons, went to play in Japan. Andre Dawson famously gave the Cubs a blank check and let them write in his 1987 salary (the Cubs gave him less than half of his 1986 salary). Lance Parrish took $400,000 less than the Tigers were offering in arbitration to sign with the Phillies. Jack Morris was considered maybe baseball’s best pitcher, but he received zero offers outside of returning to Detroit and re-upped with the Tigers a couple days before Christmas 1986.

In his second MLB season, Gurriel, 33, slashed .299/.332/.486 with 18 home runs and 75 RBIs. Gurriel broke into the majors in 2016 after defecting from Cuba that year, but played in just 36 games. Last season, however, he appeared in 139 games while becoming an integral part of the Astros lineup.

Manager A.J. Hinch told reporters Wednesday that he wasn’t sure how long Gurriel would need to recover.

“I’m not sure, we don’t really know until he gets through the surgery and we get to meet with the doctors to find out what’s next for him, so I don’t have a timeline,” Hinch said (via MLB.com).

In Gurriel’s absence this spring, Tyler White, A.J. Reed and J.D. Davis will get time at first base, Hinch said. Utility player Marwin Gonzalez played 31 games at first last season.seahawks_107_7ca2290b1fa37517-180x180



Why Sherman would make sense: Ed Werder linked Marshawn Lynch to Sherman last year when the Seahawks were considering trading Sherman.

Richard Sherman ’s career in Seattle looks like it’s over . Unless he decides to return to the Seahawks with a new, cheaper contract , he’ll likely be playing for a new team next season. But which team would be the best fit for the veteran cornerback?

Lynch is under contract with the Raiders through the 2018 season, so there’s still a chance he reunites with Sherman in Oakland. Sherman could fill a legitimate need in Oakland.

Welcome to the first edition of Ask Jason, what may or may not be a recurring column in which I answer questions from readers about baseball or whatever other topics they choose.

I put the word out on Twitter and received what’s best described as a smattering of interest. But, hey, it’s a start. So let’s see how this goes. On to the questions …

I don’t think the Phillies are getting off easy. They’re in the middle of a rebuild, and though the end is in sight, there’s no need for them to spend big right now. They have some exciting young players to build around, most notably Rhys Hoskins and Maikel Franco, and most observers agree that things will be rockin’ in Philly by 2019 or 2020 (or maybe even sooner, according to SN contributor Jared Wyllys) with some strategic additions. Plus, there’s still talk that they’re after Jake Arrieta to help shore up their rotation, and they did sign Carlos Santana. So I don’t think they’ve done anything to warrant harsh criticism over spending.

Talib, however, is 32 years old. Parting ways with him saves the Broncos $11 million this year and $20 million in future salaries. It likely wasn’t a surprise for Talib, who tweeted “who’s coming to get me??” after an NFL.com report said the Broncos were looking to move him.

What does this mean for the Rams? It means that every quarterback who has to face Los Angeles this year ought to be worried. Talib paired with Marcus Peters and Lamarcus Joyner, who was just tagged by the Rams, makes that backfield awfully fierce.

The Rams defense was solid last year under Phillips. But this offseason has already seen several big moves from the Rams — trading with the Chiefs to acquire Peters , slapping the tag on Joyner , sending Robert Quinn to the Dolphins , bringing in Talib, signing Sam Shields , and shipping Alec Ogletree off to the Giants .seahawks_107_7ca2290b1fa37517-180x180



Kyrie Irving explains ‘bond that can’t be broken’ with LeBron James, Kevin Love

An intriguing storyline coming out of the NBA All-Star Game draft is the reunion of former teammates Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love.

It was an intentional move from James, who drafted his own team in the new All-Star format. He selected Irving as a starter and Love as a reserve, which marks the first time the three players will be together since Irving requested a trade away from the Cavaliers over the summer.

The trio played together for three seasons (2014-2017) in Cleveland, and made it to the NBA Finals each of those years. However, many wondered whether James would select Irving for his All-Star team.
I get asked a lot about how the game has changed for me under Brad Stevens compared to my time at Brose Bamberg. Both Stevens and my former coach Andrea Trinchieri are real perfectionists in terms of basketball. Both live the game to the fullest and think of seemingly nothing else, 24/7. Both have a very similar approach to the game, mainly considering ball movement.

Defensively, both are open to trying new things and cross-matches, like putting Al Horford on Ben Simmons and the like. Andrea tried similar things to cause problems for the opposing offense. Therefore, there hasn’t been that much change for myself. My role is very similar: play defense, provide energy, rebound, run the court, pick and roll, catch and shoot. I think I have done quite well in the NBA so far, and my goal is obviously to continue to get better in every single facet of the game!

Ball will be joined on the U.S. roster by teammates Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma along with 2017 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, Celtics forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Bulls guard Kris Dunn, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Hawks center John Collins.

Joining Simmons (Australia) and Embiid (Cameroon) on the World roster are fellow Sixer Dario Saric (Croatia), Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (Finland), Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania), Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (Canada), Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (France), Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (Canada) and Kings guards Buddy Hield (Bahamas) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia).

On the other side of the ice, Anaheim has almost everyone back after skating through the season’s first half with a mixture of role players and guys who figured to be spending the winter playing for its AHL team in San Diego.lions_032



How should you approach power in your fantasy baseball draft?

We’re seeing historic power numbers in Major League Baseball these days, and as fantasy managers, that impacts our strategy. How does the recent power surge in baseball change your approach to drafts?

So how am I drafting with this knowledge? I want power where others lack it: Middle infield. There were only seven middle infielders (eight if you want to count Manny Machado) to record 25 round-trippers, so my thought process is that I can overextend a bit in an effort to get two of those guys and thus get significant value later in the draft when an Adam Eaton-type falls because the other managers need to bolster their power numbers.

If you’re looking for one general piece of advice, it’d be to not treat speed and power the same. A specialist like Billy Hamilton or a pair of 25-30-steal types can really carry you on the steals front, but you need to have pop up and down your lineup, even if you kick off your draft with someone like Giancarlo Stanton.

Future talent: 45 percent. For this category, we used a combination of the ZiPS projections for the minor league systems and Keith Law’s 2018 farm system rankings, in order to get the best of both man and machine. Farm systems are as important for contenders as rebuilders, given that nobody has enough money to obtain all of their needs by spending alone.

Financial support: 20 percent. Poorer teams and/or teams in smaller markets do have the ability to compete in baseball, but we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t say that financial support of a team was just “nice to have.” Teams are ranked by their historical payrolls relative to revenue and market size.

Front office/ownership: 10 percent. Given its share, this category mostly functions as a tiebreaker for teams that are otherwise close. That’s not to say these things aren’t important, but a lot of front-office performance is already contained within the first three categories.

Jordan doesn’t fit that bill as he’s set for free agency after this season. However, the report suggests this pick would be in play if Cleveland is offered a younger player with multiple years of team control.

NBA franchises and internet draftniks alike are often consumed with the search for basketball’s next unicorn. The league’s newest future 3-point shooting rim protector has the potential to be a game changer in the small-ball era, allowing yet another roster to play big defensively while maintaining the offensive advantages of going small.lions_088



The biggest freak athletes at the 2018 NFL combine

As 2018 NFL draft prospects engage in drills and tests at the scouting combine in Indianapolis this week, let’s take a look at five players with the extreme skills and athleticism to turn heads:

Jackson reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3s in the spring of 2017 and low 4.4s in the spring of 2016. Michael Vick ran a 4.33 at his pro day, and like Vick, Jackson has excellent arm strength. All of this, of course, assumes the Vikings don’t sign Cousins. If they break the bank for a quarterback, I’d change my answer to Cousins.

Schatz: Keenum. My guess is that other teams will look at Keenum and say, Yes, he had one fantastic year, but what is his regression going to look like in our system? The Vikings are the one team that can look at Keenum and know they have seen evidence he can play well for them. In the same system with the same teammates, there’s a better chance he can continue to play at 2017’s high level.

The Ohio State product had to come off the field in the opening quarter to have a member of the team’s medical staff put the finger back into place.

He played the rest of the season with the injury, taping two fingers together. It had no impact on his performance, as Bosa finished with 10.5 sacks in 12 games, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Bosa decided against having surgery to repair the injury during the offseason last year because by the time he got his finger examined after the season was over, the recovery period from surgery would have taken too much time away from his training.

Bosa’s recovery will take about six weeks, so it could affect how much he can do once the Chargers’ offseason program begins in April.

Bosa made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his second NFL season last year, leading the Chargers with 12.5 sacks. Bosa also recorded 70 tackles and four forced fumbles.patriots_029



Simmons’ late FTs gives 76ers 116-115 win over Bulls

Ben Simmons couldn’t recall winning a game from the free throw line at any level before Thursday night.

Still, the rookie stepped to the line with the confidence of a veteran.

“First of all, we needed a steal,” Simmons said. “I saw Joel get it and he kind of lobbed it to me.”

Portis had a chance for a game winner, but his short attempt — with Embiid closing from the weak side — just missed.

In May, Cuban said the Mavericks looked to lose as much as they could at the end of last season once the team was out of postseason contention. Dallas finished with the ninth-worst record in the NBA and didn’t improve its draft position through the lottery.

The Mavericks (18-40) have the third-worst record in the NBA but are among a logjam of seven teams with fewer than 20 wins. The team with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of making the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

Starting with the 2019 draft, the three teams with the worst records will share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, lessening the incentive to lose at the end of the season.

Hornacek choosing to start the 21-year-old Mudiay rather than Ntilikina is perhaps an indication that the coaching staff doesn’t believe Ntilikina is ready to handle a starter’s role.

Hornacek said Wednesday that Ntilikina, 19, had felt knee pain in recent weeks as his body grew accustomed to the NBA schedule. The coach also said Ntilikina felt significant fatigue at times recently, which is common for a rookie.

They also believe Burke, 25, can play both guard spots alongside Ntilikina, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, and Mudiay. Hornacek said Tuesday that he may change his lineups occasionally to see which groupings thrive together.

In addition to the young guards, wings Damyean Dotson and Troy Williams and big men Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks will likely play more often in coming games.jays_560_b73b09857ae124df-180x180