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Former Houston and New Orleans head coach Bum Phillips died on Friday at the age of 90.

Phillips, the father of current Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, spent 11 seasons as a head coach in the NFL. Known for his trademark cowboy hat, Phillips was considered to be one of the best defensive coaches of his time. The Oilers Cheap Jerseys With Numbers won at least 10 games in four of his six seasons as the head coach in Houston, including two trips to the AFC Championship game. After leaving Houston, Phillips spent five seasons in New Orleans where he coached the Saints to their second non-losing season in franchise history in 1983.

Phillips also made several stops in the college ranks, coaching under Bear Bryant at Texas A&M for one season in 1958. He also coached at the University of Houston, Southern Methodist and Oklahoma State. He spent one season as a college head coach at Texas Western (Now Texas at El Paso) in 1962.

With starting quarterback E.J. Manuel out until sometime around Thanksgiving, the Bills have turned to Thad Lewis, who was taking snaps on the practice squad a few weeks ago. Lewis was admirable last week in the loss to the Bengals, putting up 216 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. If he is to continue that success, he’ll need support from a running game — led by the two-headed attack of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson — that ranks third in the league and will play an important role in keeping defenses honest.

The Bills defensive front has been as good as the Dolphins were supposed to be. Led by the duo of Mario Williams (eight sacks) and Marcell Dareus (four sacks), Buffalo ranks third in the NFL in getting to the quarterback. That pressure has led to the league’s highest interception total (10), though teams are still putting up a solid 271 yards per game through the air. The unit’s biggest improvement needs to come in run defense — their 124 rushing yards allowed per game ranks 28th in Cheap Jerseys World the league.

We’ll keep this list updated with players who get cut as well as for who’s signing where and for how much.

This is exactly what happened the week of Feb. 27. Teams started applying the tag, so names like Le’Veon Bell who made this look like a pretty sweet list are no longer available.

A few notes about our top 100 list.

This list, as with any kind of rankings, is subjective. The SB Nation NFL staff worked together to create it. We put a great deal of thought into it, but you will inevitably disagree with it. That’s fine. Save your tweets. We know. This is merely a guide to help the world keep track of which free agents are signing where.

The final salary cap for 2017 has now been set at $167 million. That’s a jump of nearly $12 million over last year’s $155.7 million cap. That’s consistent with the annual bumps we’ve seen since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement went into effect.

*Yes, Tony Romo is not technically a free agent, but he kinda is in that he’s available and the entire offseason sort of hinges on what he does next.

We’ll keep this list updated with players who get cut as well as for who’s signing where and for how much. So keep checking back.

Digging deeper, the Blue Devils’ Top 25 (9-4) and Top 50 (12-6) records are superior to the Tar Heels’ (6-4 against the Top 50, with all the wins coming at home, and 11-5 against the Top 50). Plus, Duke won two head-to-head matchups, including one on a neutral floor in Brooklyn.

North Carolina went above .500, 6-5, in true road games, while Duke went just 3-6. But the Heels’ overall road/neutral record of 10-7 isn’t quite as good as the Blue Devils’ 12-7.

That discrepancy also helped close a gap in schedule strength. Duke ranked just 88th in non-conference strength of schedule, with North Carolina 49th. But after the ACC slate is factored in, the Blue Devils grabbed the advantage, ranking third while the Heels are 11th. Super-sized conferences and the imbalanced league slates that result just make regular-season conference championships, even unofficial ones, not mean as much as they did 15 or 20 years ago.12

the Redbirds got passed after Wichita State pounded them in their rubber match in the Arch Madness final.

The victory marked Enfield’s first win against a nationally ranked UCLA team, a moment he’s been building towards ever since infamously telling his players back in 2013, “If you want to play slow, go to UCLA.”

That comment was made just months after Enfield rose to fame at Florida Gulf Coast and Dunk City, leading the Eagles to a Sweet 16 trip before being hired away by the Trojans.

He took some criticism for the quote (that first USC team finished 11-21, while the Bruins went to the Sweet 16), but the reasoning behind it was sound. Enfield wanted the rivalry to be as competitive as it used to be, and after four years, it finally is.

The fourth-year coach has been a force on the recruiting trail, bringing in four-star prospects like Boatwright, Jordan McLaughlin, Elijah Stewart, and Chimezie Metu. He has also made the school an attractive place for high-profile transfers, welcoming in former Duke point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. and Louisville small forward Shaqquan Aaron.

As I expected, the Redbirds got passed after Wichita State pounded them in their rubber match in the Arch Madness final. Dan Muller’s squad still has just one Top-50 win in three tries and a 2-4 record against the Top 100. That simply might not be enough in a season where quality wins seem to be the Selection Committee’s currency. On the flip side, a 12-6 record away from Normal is a factor that will work in Illinois State’s favor.

But the Rams haven’t had one quarterback start an entire season since Sam Bradford was healthy enough to do so in 2012. Since then, the Rams have featured dynamos such as Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis and Shaun Hill behind center.12

Doug Martin has put just two full seasons together since entering the NFL

I told Nick Saban one time, I said, ‘Nick, you don’t have to stay there until midnight and your teams would be just as good and win just as many.’ He said, ‘If I could do it the way you do it, I would, but I don’t feel comfortable unless I try to cover every base, every angle, be totally prepared.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s probably why you do it.’ When I come out there, I feel comfortable we are ready to play. We have our game plan in, going to call this, call that and so forth. Everybody is different as far as when they feel they are totally prepared.

Hatin’-Ass Spurrier continued:

If he worked longer hours “would we be 12-1 instead of 11-2? Oh, you’re kidding,” Spurrier said. “I haven’t heard anybody say that really, but if you wanted to, you can find faults with anybody if they don’t win them all. How many SECs has (Saban) won there in eight years? He’s won two. He’s won three nationals, but he’s only won two SECs in eight years. Now, if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.”
And in 2012, Spurrier, when asked about Saban’s accomplishments in Tuscaloosa, essentially said it’s not a very hard task to win at Alabama.

This one doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface. The Cowboys have the NFL’s leading rusher from 2016 in rookie Ezekiel Elliott and one of the best offensive lines in football, so they’re set. But having Peterson share carries would ideally extend Elliott’s career length, and make an already scary offense even more fearsome. Of course, there’s also the whole thing about Peterson being from Texas.

Doug Martin has put just two full seasons together since entering the NFL, and the Bucs could use some more stability at the position. Martin was suspended for violating the NFL’s PED policy, and just hasn’t been able to stay on the field. A bruising back like Peterson could help Jameis Winston and company in Tampa.

The Texans would seem like a good fit. Peterson is from Texas, and the team seems like a quarterback away from being a true contender. The only problem here is, Lamar Miller is under contract through 2019, and still relatively young as he turns 26 next season. Still, Peterson coupled with Miller wouldn’t be a terrible looking backfield by any means.12

NFL combine 2017 results: Full numbers for kickers and punters

The NFL combine is an event where college players try to elevate their draft stock by performing well in position drills. Even special teams players like kickers and punters partake in drills.

However, specialists do not participate in every drill like players in other position groups do. For example, none of the kickers or punters this year attempted the bench press. So far, a few of them have run the 40-yard dash, however.

It’s the fourth year in a row the cap has gone up by at least $10 million, rising from $155 million last season. This means teams will have even more money to spend in free agency and throughout the off-season.

Since 2012, the cap has increased by $47 million, which is staggering to think about. What’s even more incredible is that the salary cap in 1994 — the first year it was instituted — was $34.6 million.

This just goes to show how much money the league has made over the years while showing no signs of slowing down.

The Hard Count team dive into exactly what happened in the Atlanta Falcons’ historic collapse against New England in Super Bowl LI, Lady Gaga’s halftime show and Eugenie Bouchard’s unfortunate bet!

Damian Lillard had 33 points, including a key 3-pointer with just under three minutes to go, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied for a 114-109 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

Russell Westbrook scored 45 points on 12-of-36 shooting for the Thunder, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Oklahoma City newcomer Taj Gibson added 15 points, including a high-arching buzzer-beater from 61 feet away to put the Thunder up 60-57 at halftime.

Alex Abrines’ 3-pointer put the Thunder in front 97-89 with 7:48 left for their biggest lead of the game. But Al-Farouq Aminu made a layup that tied it at 101 with 3:43 left. He missed the free throw, but Jusuf Nurkic got the tip-in to give Portland the lead.12

Leonard Fournette ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine

Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette ran a speedy 4.51, 40-yard dash at the NFL draft combine on Friday. He ran a 4.52 on his second attempt.

The 240-pound projected first-round pick was about as quick as we thought he’d be despite weighing in a bit heavier than anticipated.

Here it is again, from another angle.

THAT ARC IS ABSURD.

The best part is Pat Connaughton standing there under the net, watching helplessly as the ball makes its way through the hoop to the floor, following it with his head.

It’s been a big week for full-court plays. Northwestern’s full court pass and buzzer beater is something we’ll remember for a long time.

Jared Sullinger: Phoenix waived Sullinger after getting him back as part of the P.J. Tucker deal. Obviously, the five-year veteran was just a fill-in for that deal, and there’s a good chance he’ll end up somewhere else. Sullinger proved he could score the basketball in Boston, but his career 27 percent three-point shooting might limit his usefulness for contending teams.

Mike Scott: Another player who briefly ended up with the Suns before being waived, Scott may be out of the league this year. However, if anyone wants to take a chance on the 28-year-old power forward who shot 29 percent from the field this season, he’s available.

As the Premier League became the hashtag Eee Pee Ell, Shearer became Shearer: surprise title-winner; serial snubber of Manchester United; and ultimately record-setter. The Sky Sportsification of English footballing history is annoying and at times vaguely sinister. But Shearer, despite his pleasantly old-fashioned playing style, is iconic not just of Blackburn and Newcastle but of the Premier League Years, and it’s futile to pretend otherwise.12

Vincent Jackson plans to play through fractured wrist, fantasy value holds steady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson has a small fracture in his wrist, according to FOX Sports. He plans on playing through it and is not expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rex Ryan some how alternates being skinny and fat each quater.

In the latest 80s SNL State-Farm commercal, Bill Parcells makes his acting debut as the body double for “It’s Pat.”

Saints verse Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Between Sean Payton and Rob Ryan youve got coaches who were to competent for Jerry Jones to trust running his franchise making their triumphant return to Dallas. You have to imagine that Rob is literaly going to urinate on the midfield star during warmups and then Drew Brees will throw for 700 yds and 6 TDs to 5 diffrent receivers.

By the way what is Jerry Jones waiting for to activate Michael Sam? Theres no chance that his defense would be any worse then it is currently its just not mathmaticaly possible. In a week that is despereate for good storylines to be spoonfed to the liberal PC media this would be a welcome distracton, not that I care one way or the other about Michael Sam. Because I dont care and I wish that people would stop writing about him except for me when I’m telling everyone how little I care.

However- Woodheads lucky to have a guardian angel looking over him: Little did Danny know that the entire reason his teammate Phillip Rivers was squirting out all those kids was because he was growing a literal farm of tiny replacement bodyparts for Woodhead in the event of injury. Its too bad for Rivers son that hes going to lose a limb but he knew that was part of the deal all along.11

NFL picks against the spread, Week 4: Off to a questionable start

Week 4 of the 2014 NFL season got underway on Thursday with the New York Giants thrashing Washington, 45-14. This was the third straight blowout on Thursday Night Football, although it was also the first road team to get the victory. The Giants were a 3.5-point underdog, so the year of the underdog potentially continues.

The start of the new football week means we’re back for another five picks in the LVH SuperContest. The contest includes more than 1,400 participants picking games each week to see who can come out on top by the end of the season. I was sitting at 7-8 after Week 3, having put together another 2-3 performance in Week 3. I hit on the Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks, but slipped on the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars. Just looking at those names makes me shake my head.

As always, our partners at OddsShark have staked me and a handful of other participants in the SuperContest. You can track all of us here, and you can follow the standings here. Here are my picks for Week 4, with home team in caps.

WASHINGTON vs. New York Giants (+3.5): Whoops. I picked Washington because of the TNF home performances thus far. I also figured Washington showed some good things against Philadelphia. The Giants managed a home win against a previously unbeaten Houston Texans squad, but I just did not see them building on it. So much for that.

Eli Manning is getting the hang of this new offense.

There were question marks coming into the season about Manning’s ability to adapt to Ben McAdoo’s West Coast scheme. In fact, McAdoo’s scheme is so incongruous with Manning’s methodical, downfield style that some Giants players believed it was designed for the eventual takeover of Ryan Nassib — and they loomed even larger after the offense plodded through a rough couple of games. But after the last two outings, Manning looks as though he’s been running it his entire life.2

The Barclays Center ice has gone through some rough patches this season.

Ben Lovejoy, D, New Jersey Devils: “I think that NHL ice, you expect [it] to not be perfect. A lot of things go on in these buildings. We are professional athletes that are the best at our game. We’re not expecting perfect ice sheets every night. We have to go out and execute on them.”

Ryan Suter, D, Minnesota Wild: “I feel like the puck is bouncing a lot. I don’t know if that’s the ice, if that’s the puck or what it is. Some nights it’s good, some nights it’s bad. Who knows what it is?”

Ian Cole, D, Pittsburgh Penguins: “I think it’s getting harder for them to keep good ice. I think they have less concerts, less stuff like that in places like Edmonton and Calgary. You come to a place like Boston or New York or L.A. or Chicago, and they have a lot of other things going on in the arena, which makes it hard to keep good ice. There’s more people, more events. Singers complaining it’s too cold in the arenas, so they want the heat turned up. I mean, if the singers want it at 60 degrees, it’s tough to keep ice. Everyone is very knowledgeable about it. I think the right people are very aware of the situation, and they’re trying their best to keep good ice. I don’t think they’re purposely trying to make bad ice.

The Celtics, however, are widely known to be eager to trade for either George or the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. So the possibility remains that a strong offer from Boston on deadline day spurs the Pacers into trading George sooner than they ever imagined.

But the Indiana star gave little indication, after the Pacers’ first practice coming out of the All-Star break, that he expects a deal this week.

“I have no concerns,” George told local reporters. “I’m here. I practiced today. My head is not wrapped around that. I’ve got a team to turn around in the second half, and that’s what I’m committed to.”

 

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NFL Combine results 2015: Full measurements for running backs

On Thursday, quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs all got measured at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. This year’s running back class is as deep as it’s ever been, but with the value of running backs in today’s NFL all over the place, nobody is quite sure how many of these guys, if any, will get selected in the first round.

With one of the strongest free agent classes this season as well, this should be an interesting draft as far as the running back position is concerned. There are few surprises when it comes to the way the running backs measure out. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley are widely considered the top two backs in the draft, but there is no consensus on the top player between the two.

Gurley comes with injury concerns as he’s rehabbing a torn ACL, while Gordon is a product of a system that routinely delivers top draft prospects from the position — but those prospects often struggle in the NFL. The measurements on Thursday revealed that things are close between the two there, as well. Gordon and Gurley both came in at 6’0, weighed within 7 pounds of each other, and had virtually identical hand size and arm length.

Running back is notable as the one position where height isn’t a huge deal and the smaller guys can compete. You’ll find smaller receivers and smaller cornerbacks, but life in the NFL is easier for a small running back. The height disparity between the shortest (Trey Williams, Dee Hart and B.J. Catalon at 5’7) and the tallest (Dominique Brown and Matt Jones at 6’2) is significant. For the most part, though, the running backs were within the same size range.