49ers GM John Lynch: If Allegations Against Reuben Foster Are True, He’ll Be Cut

On Monday, 49ers GM John Lynch made it clear that they will release LB Reuben Foster if the allegations against turn out to be true.
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It was a fun way to demonstrate parental pride, but the color scheme was rather subdued. If one of my kids were playing in a bowl game, I’d paint him riding a unicorn and slaying frost giants with a vorpal sword while racing down the freeway. It would look like six different Rush album covers threw up on the side of that bus. Because I am that proud a parent.

(Actually, my sons prefer it when I don’t attend their athletic events and didn’t even want to be mentioned in this write-up. Joke’s on them.)

For the love of everything right in the world, please don’t do this.

We don’t pay first-round prices for long-range projects at any position but quarterback. If he needs two years to develop, let some other team develop him. Then we’ll sign him in free agency.

So Edmunds could be a cross between Bobby Wagner and Justin Houston by 2020. Or he Anders Lee Jersey could hit the free-agent market before his 23rd birthday because the Bills didn’t deal well with his growing pains or he was lost in the shuffle.

Sean McDermott loves him some linebackers, so Edmunds is in a good spot. But the Bills have so many needs on offense that selecting Edmunds鈥攋ust minutes after investing the future in Josh Allen鈥攊s downright reckless.
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The Chargers allowed 18 runs of 20-plus yards and six runs of 40-plus yards last season, both the highest totals in the NFL (the Jets also allowed six 40-plus-yard runs). Safety was a pressing need entering the draft, and Derwin James is an excellent value here.

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Stanley Cup playoffs Power Rankings: Vegas at No. 1 heading into Round 2? You bet!

The first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs is in the rearview mirror, and although only one series went the distance (thank you, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs), the first two weeks brought us ample entertainment. As we saddle up for Round 2, the Power Rankings feature a new clubhouse leader — a leader, we might add, that opened the season at 200-1 odds, according to the Westgate Sportsbook. For this week’s rankings — voted on, as always, by ESPN’s panel of experts — we offered the lowdown on where every team stands entering the second round.
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Kids Clayton Fejedelem Jersey How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn’t guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn’t guarantee Womens Patrick Ewing Jersey a fall.

Authentic Erik Karlsson Jersey Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational in Round 1 (with a .977 save percentage and a 0.65 goals-against average). The 33-year-old looked rested after a season in which he started just 46 games. Now the rest of his team is rested too. After sweeping the first round, the Golden Knights have gone nine days in between games.

Any potential goaltending controversy is firmly behind the Caps, as Braden Holtby emphatically reclaimed his throne (he has stopped 137 of 147 shots since coming on in relief during Game 2). Now, all the focus is on shaking Washington’s playoff demons — specifically the rival Penguins.

Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan break down the second-round playoff matchups that have been set, and give their top candidates for the Conn Smythe. Plus, Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon and longtime Penguins beat writer Rob Rossi.

After surviving a wild series against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins advance. Since the 2004-05 lockout, only two teams have won their first-round series in seven games and then went on to win the Stanley Cup. One of them was the 2011 Bruins. We’re not totally down on Tuukka Rask just yet, but he’ll need to play a lot better than he did in Game 7, when he looked a bit leaky.

Packers (from Seahawks) 鈥斅燡aire Alexander, CB, Louisville:聽It was obvious the Pack wanted corner help when they made an offer for Chicago’s Kyle Fuller earlier this offseason, which the Bears matched. Alexander should form a nice young duo with Kevin King, last year’s Round 2 pick, though he struggled as a rookie. Injuries limited Alexander in 2017, but he picked off five passes two years ago. His return skills are a bonus.

Cowboys 鈥斅燣eighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State:聽Huge for an LB at 6-4, 256 pounds, he has tremendous range honed while playing聽eight-man football in high school in tiny Riggins, Idaho. The selection of Vander Esch is a multi-pronged hedge for Dallas, which lost聽Anthony Hitchens in free agency, has yet to see Jaylon Smith regain his form after his horrific knee injury at Notre Dame and constantly must compensate for the injuries that dog Sean Lee, who has聽never played a 16-game schedule.

Towns’ new max deal, plus more offseason moves for the Wolves

The Timberwolves took a step in 2017-18 with their first postseason appearance since 2003-04.
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The accelerated rebuild that started in June with the trade for Jimmy Butler now enters an offseason of continued expectations — not just to appear in the playoffs, but advance past the last week of April.

Barkley, of course, will not have an elite offensive line.

Their play-action I think will go to an entirely different level, Martin said.

Defensive coordinators will have sleepless nights plotting against both Barkley and Beckham.
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I always measure a person’s desire to compete, and you could tell his competitive level is just so high, Martin said. He’s one of those guys who hates to lose.

More so than anyone in the draft that I see, if I had to bet on someone in a gold jacket, I would bet on Saquon Barkley.

Our NBA Insiders give four deals that work, either heading into the draft or in free agency.

Kevin Pelton: From the Lakers’ perspective, I wouldn’t be willing to offer any more than Ingram, given the possibility of signing Leonard via free agency next summer. But there is value to getting Leonard a year early, when Marcell Dareus Jersey he still counts just $20.1 million against L.A.’s cap.

As a result, by stretching Luol Deng’s contract, the Lakers would have enough flexibility to acquire Leonard, sign a max free agent (say, LeBron James), retain matching rights on restricted free agent Julius Randle and still have an amount similar to the non-taxpayer midlevel exception available to sign another free agent. Perhaps that would be enough to bring back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on another one-year deal before re-signing him to a long-term contract in the summer of 2019.

Given all that, I think the Lakers could part with Ingram, despite the promise he has shown at age 20.

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Last year was a bit of a departure, with some teams accelerating the process by making their moves Sunday night.

Some of this season’s replay rulings have been criticized by Blandino and Mike Pereira, Blandino’s predecessor with the NFL who also is a Fox rules analyst. Some within the league believe that Riveron has, at times, attempted to re-officiate plays from New York rather than adhering to the intended role of replay and merely correcting obvious mistakes while otherwise allowing the calls made on the field to stand.

The competitive advantage is slight; it provides a head start of a half day or so in making plans and lining up candidates. But there’s probably no going back now, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some coaching moves made official Sunday night.

The improbable score set off pandemonium at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where purple-clad fans had appeared set for yet another of the franchise’s brutal postseason defeats. Instead, it was Drew Brees and his shocked teammates, particularly Williams, who will have the offseason and beyond to bemoan a near-certain victory that got away in the final moments.

Adding to the Saints’ misery was the fact that they had staged a terrific comeback just to position themselves for a gut punch. The Vikings had controlled the first half, taking a 17-0 lead, but Brees threw three second-half touchdown passes, two to wide receiver Michael Thomas to take a one-point lead with just over three minutes left in the game.

“I feel like, you know, that’s something that runs through our minds, my mind, especially when you feel like you lost something you should have had,” linebacker Vic Beasley said last week. “You get a chance to play these guys again; you want to give it your best shot.”

Giants receiver Odell Beckham is not expected to see the field on Saturday after suffering an ankle sprain Monday that could reportedly keep him out of action in Week 1 of the regular season. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is also slated to miss Saturday’s game while recovering from a concussion. It’s unclear if the Texans plan to play DeAndre Hopkins after the receiver missed practice this week.

In between several moments of brilliance in the second overtime, Cousins’ body language suggested he could barely stand.

Without Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants struggled to push the ball downfield. Eli Manning managed a mere 198 net passing yards with no touchdowns and an interception and if not for a field goal in the third quarter, Big Blue would have had a big fat zero on the scoreboard.

It’s unknown whether Beckham will be ready to go Monday night, but the Lions finished Week 1 as the seventh-best pass-coverage unit in the league per Pro Football Focus. Plus, during last year’s Week 15 matchup, Lions cornerback Darius Slay and safety Glover Quinn limited Beckham to three catches for 31 yards and no touchdowns.

Strength (and Weakness?): This year’s Saints are a new creation. After eons of relying almost exclusively on Drew Brees and the air game, New Orleans shredded teams on the ground in 2017 with the spicy combination of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. By the numbers, they’re the first pair of teammate backs to each record 1,500-plus scrimmage yards. To the eyes, they’re a brilliant meshing of rare individual gifts.

That included a whopping six takedowns each against the Bucs and Vikings. The Panthers have a shot if they can rattle the likes of Brees, Keenum and Goff when it matters most. I’d also point to a ground game that, when it’s on, can pound away with Jonathan Stewart, a surging Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton doing Cam Newton-like things.

His feet hardly left the floor on a 3-pointer that rolled around the rim and in. He also managed to hit a turnaround jumper and calmly made two free throws to ice the game with 8 seconds left.

Davis, who fouled out in the first overtime, called Cousins’ performance “legendary,” adding that his fellow big man — more than anyone — earned the day off from practice the Pelicans were given on Tuesday.

Marquee teams have not played up to expectations. The New England Patriots, coming off their fifth Super Bowl title with Bill Belichick as their coach and Tom Brady as their quarterback, opened the season with a stunning loss to the Chiefs and have a record of 3-2. The Cowboys, who led a post-election partial recovery in TV viewership last season, are 2-3 following the last-second defeat Sunday to the Packers. The Chiefs remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team.

This year’s prospect rankings package begins with the first half of my ranking of the top 100 prospects in the minors.

Editor’s note: Age is the player’s age as of July 1, 2018. Players with experience in foreign major leagues like Japan’s NPB or Korea’s KBO, such as Shohei Ohtani, are ineligible for these rankings.

Washington doesn’t run the ball effectively and its Week 11 opponent, the Saints, have been stingy in recent weeks against other talented backs. Despite moving into a larger role, Perine is owned in just over 23 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s certainly worth stashing on one’s roster, but unless you’re in a bad place with RB depth, he’s not an appealing play this weekend.

By August 2016, after the Republican convention, a Post-ABC poll found that 60 percent of Americans thought Trump was biased against women and minorities — including 20 percent of people who planned to vote for him. In August of this year, Fox News asked a similar question, with more than half of the country and 15 percent of Republicans saying he doesn’t respect racial minorities.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem,” Goodell wrote to NFL club presidents and chief executives. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”

He will play on as long as he is able, and the Patriots will have him as long as they can. But so much of the structure around him is about to change, and it is impossible to know how those adjustments will impact him. For a rare moment Sunday, Brady departed from the Patriots’ ruthless focus on what is in front of them and looked back to marvel at the chance to duplicate that first early brick of a dynasty with a second one as he nears the end of the rainbow.

The AFC Championship matchup is now set following Sunday’s showdown between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jaguars’ 45-42 win sends them to New England, where they will face the Patriots next week with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

It looked like the Jaguars were going to run away with this one early on. They struck early, going up 14-0 with two Leonard Fournette touchdowns in the first quarter. The Steelers trailed 28-14 going into halftime, but they had plenty of ground to make up, and questionable play calling wasn’t helping them get it done.

Be sure to give Ramsey a mic if there’s a next time, please.

Nine of the defense’s 11 starters were homegrown, and six of those nine have come aboard since Dan Quinn came on in 2015. He and Dimitroff began to push Plan D to the point where it’s become a big part of everything the Falcons do. And those numbers are counting the contributions of 2017 rookies Takk McKinley and Duke Riley, who played key roles as reserves.

Chicago’s biggest need is finding a head coach who can help mold Trubisky. The Rams and Eagles have served as excellent examples of what an offensively-minded coach (Sean McVay and Doug Pederson, respectively) can do for a blossoming second-year quarterback. The Bears need to find someone who can nurture Trubisky’s development while surrounding him with the talent he needs to succeed.

There will be several hot names on the coaching market associated with the Bears’ vacancy. Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur may not have been successful in his one stint as an NFL head coach — albeit with the black hole of failure known as the Browns — but he’s done wonders developing schemes in which both Sam Bradford and Case Keenum could have the best seasons of their careers. Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ stint as the Broncos head coach was most notable for his feud with a young quarterback Bears fans are plenty familiar with: Jay Cutler. While he didn’t win much in the Rocky Mountains, he’s built his profile back up under Bill Belichick and will be a commodity this offseason.

Bengals fans are livid after learning about Marvin Lewis’ extension

New year, new Bengals — just kidding.

The Bengals’ last game in the 2017 season was a win against the Ravens, and it propelled the Bills into the playoffs. Not only that, but the victory was tentatively a warm conclusion to the Marvin Lewis era. There were rumors that it would be his last game as Bengals head coach.

1. Colorado: How about the BuffaloesAfter being swept on a two-game trip to Oregon the week before, Colorado defended its home court by sweeping Arizona State and Arizona, the two Pac-12 frontrunners. Junior wing Namon Wright (16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds last week) should stick back in the starting lineup.

2. Ohio State: What a debut season for Chris Holtmann so far. Sunday’s decisive win over Michigan State moved the Buckeyes to 4-0 in the Big Ten a year after they finished 7-11 in the league. With zero bad losses so far, this is looking every bit like a tournament team.

3. Texas Tech: In keeping with Beard’s point about how easily things can turn in the Big 12, the Red Raiders have to travel to Oklahoma and then host West Virginia this week. Even splitting those dates with top-10 teams would be impressive. If they go 2-0 again, the rest of the league will be put on notice.

So as y’all know, this video mostly centers on NFL players. It does include skill-position players. The goal of the weekly video is showing the disrespect and savageness of blocks. I love seeing the finishes and, more importantly, the effort to finish and be nasty. I’m not sure any block better showed the ethos of this weekly video more than a college block.

Notre Dame might have the two best linemen in the country. They for sure have the best lineman to enter the draft in left guard Quenton Nelson. He has a legit chance to be a NFL All-Pro for years. So I started the video this week with his block. It’s just savage. He choke slams this defender and then … well, watch the video.

Next, it’s the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons beat the Panthers on Sunday to get themselves into the playoffs. If the Falcons can play to their ability, they can be unstoppable. Here is Ty Sambrailo entering the game as the sixth offensive lineman, and he just crushes this defender. He times up the hips and hands and blasts this guy. Then he comes back for more and finishes the block.