Jon Gruden: Raiders need Amari Cooper to be the player he was his first two years

Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper topped 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. But in his third season last year, Cooper slipped to 680 yards. New Raiders coach Jon Gruden noticed.

“It’s like this, this is the first time I’ve been traded,” Quinn told reporters on Wednesday, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. “You commit yourself to someone and you have your family turn their back on you.”

Quinn added that he was shocked by the news of the deal, even though he seems to welcome the move to Miami.

Per Salguero, Quinn called the move “a breath of fresh air,” adding that he was “suffocating” with the Rams.

“I’m not a West Coast guy, put it that way,” Quinn said.

Maccagnan selected Bryce Petty in the fourth round of that year’s draft and took Christian Hackenberg in the second round the next year. Petty has made seven unremarkable starts over the last two years and Hackenberg hasn’t played a single snap, which leaves the Jets still in search of a quarterback and leaves Maccagnan unfazed about the prospect of picking one again.

“I’m very confident from that standpoint,” Maccagnan said at last week’s league meetings, via “That doesn’t faze me. It’s the college draft. Guys you’ll hit on. Guys that don’t pan out, that’s part of the process. But we feel pretty good about this year’s group and where we’re situated.”

Maccagnan added that one has to “look at where the picks were made” when considering Petty and Hackenberg’s failure to pan out. Those represent smaller misses than taking a quarterback at the top of a draft while also illustrating how much is riding on this year’s pick for both the Jets and Maccagnan since another miss could leave the next swing to someone else.bills_067

Does Cooks deal slam door on Beckham trade?

Unless the Rams are hoping for the offensive equivalent of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, the trade for receiver Brandin Cooks likely means that they won’t be trading for Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The question now becomes whether anyone else will.

Reports and speculation have surfaced that other teams could be or should be interested. The 49ers and Chargers make plenty of sense; the other L.A. team has even more incentive now to bridge the sizzle gap between franchise competing for the same hearts, minds, and wallet in the nation’s No. 2 market.

Hey, look, late-season player development that isn’t resting your best players with fake injuries, benching them in crunch time, and playing young guys grotesquely out of position!

Smith has recorded 14 post touches this season, and half of them have come over the past 10 days, per Second Spectrum. This is absolutely worth trying. Smith is 6-3, physical, explosive, and a little nasty. The point guard post-up is an underrated weapon. Post-ups are best used now to draw help and unlock kickout passes. It makes sense to try them with your best passers.

And now the Patriots, who have added the 23rd overall pick to go with the 31st pick and two second-rounders, can try to make a move up the board to get one of the best quarterbacks in the incoming class.

It’s no secret that the Patriots are once again looking for a potential successor to Tom Brady, given the trade that sent Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers in exchanges for a second-rounder. And if coach Bill Belichick is truly considering a trade that would send tight end Rob Gronkowski to a new team (a proposition that becomes less plausible with receiver Brandin Cooks gone), Gronk could yield another high pick to be added to the pile — or he could be the player who, coupled with the two first-round picks, gets the deal done.

However it plays out, Belichick may have one or more tricks up his cut-off sleeves. Watching it play out over the next three weeks will be one of the most compelling aspects of the offseason.bills_055

Giants pleased with ‘show of commitment’ from Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr. says he is planning to show up to the start of the Giants’ voluntary offseason program on Monday, and the team reportedly views that as a positive sign going forward.

According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, the Giants and their new coaching staff and front office view Beckham’s decision to join his teammates as “important.”

Bird was in such a good mood Sunday that he told a funny story about his only surgery prior to the shoulder procedure in’16.

“My wisdom teeth,” he said. “In high school. Three in one day. Losing your wisdom teeth is great. You eat popsicles and mashed potatoes…. That day or the day after, I got up to go to the bathroom and walked past the mirror and I kind of glanced and was like,’Wait a second.’ I looked back and I had brown mashed potatoes on my chin and my throat.”

Bird laughed again, then illustrated more confidence that better days are ahead.

“The more I’m out, the more I feel comfortable with where I’m at and what I can do to be plain and simple,” he said. “It’s weird. That’s how I feel about it.”

The Giants drafted Apple with the 10th overall pick in 2016 for a reason. He has not lived up to his draft status in two seasons, but the new staff seems to believe they can get the most out of him.

“He’s a big guy; he can run; he’ll tackle and that’s the thing it takes to be a good corner, if you can get close in coverage,” assistant defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend said. “Everybody, every day, the one thing you can always control is your technique. We’ll work that daily. Tackling, you’ll work that. But he has God-given ability that most people don’t have. He’s 6-1, runs a 4.4, and he’ll hit you. So, that’s something good to work with.”

The Giants are leaving all the things that happened in the past in the past, with Apple getting a chance to move forward.

Trubisky’s development through his second NFL season will be key for Chicago, especially now that the QB is equipped with improved surrounding talent and an offensive-minded head coach. The fact that the Bears expect Trubisky to become the franchise passer they’ve so desperately needed is why they’re here, because Daniel, who has worked with Matt Nagy in the past, is on the roster only to help the starter develop in the offense.bills_043

The shining sun was a big tease on a cold 41-degree Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

Message Bird has for doubters that he’ll get healthy and become star

They were up five runs in the first inning and blew the game, as the Baltimore Orioles rallied to win 8-7 in 12 innings and take three of four in the series.

Trust me on this: The league watches these sort of trends closely.

Maybe Davis is telling the truth. Maybe it was all an accident. Maybe it isn’t his fault. Maybe the NFL was wrong, or the supplement manufacturer added something. Maybe the players who spoke with B/R are wrong. Maybe whatever.

But it’s hard to give a player the benefit of the doubt in this ongoing PED war when we’ve heard these types of excuses so many times before.

The North team sacked Manziel with 58 seconds remaining in the game to force a turnover on downs, which allowed the North to run out the rest of the clock and seal the victory.

The South team got the ball back with two minutes left and needed to go 80 yards for the go-ahead score. Manziel kept the drive alive with an 11-yard scramble on 4th-and-10.

The South offense stalled after that first down, though, and the North defense suffocated Manziel on a designed run on fourth down to end the South’s comeback attempt.

Manziel finished 8-of-16 for 79 yards and one touchdown through the air. His lone touchdown pass came on the first play of the second quarter. He rolled to his right and found former Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley in the back of the end zone:

Former Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans delivered what proved to be the decisive score of the game when he connected with former North Carolina tight end Jack Tabb on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 10:36 left in the fourth quarter.bills_007

Jordan Matthews’ Patriots Contract Is Big-Time Bargain For New England

Jordan Matthews’ forgettable one-year stint in Buffalo allowed the New England Patriots to sign the wide receiver to a seriously team-friendly deal.

Matthews’ contract with the Patriots is a one-year, $1 million pact that includes just $170,000 in guaranteed money, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB. Matthews can earn an additional $700,000 in unspecified incentives.

The power play always drives a lot of the Penguins’ success, so there’s bonus points available in the form of Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Hornqvist. Interestingly, Justin Schultz has been leading the Penguins’ defensemen in power-play ice time for a couple of weeks now, despite Kris Letang being healthy. Whether that continues into the playoffs is unclear, but it muddies the potential of Letang and makes Schultz a potential sleeper.

Matt Murray heads into his first postseason as the unquestioned starter, but it hasn’t been a pretty entry. In eight starts since February, Murray has allowed three or more goals seven times. Still, when you play behind the Pittsburgh offense, you can allow three or four goals and still win. That said, this is just his third NHL season, and he already owns a 22-9 record in the playoffs with a 1.95 goals-against average (second-best to Chris Osgood for the past 10 years among goalies with at least 30 playoff games).

Gurley was fired up about the rumored and at-this-point hypothetical possibility of the Rams trading for the Giants star, though he made it clear he thought he and coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff could make it work within the framework of an already good offense.

“Oh yeah, that’s my guy,” Gurley said of Beckham, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “There’s always enough snaps. There’s always enough snaps.

“If we had him, man, it would be awesome. I’d be happy, Goff will be happy, coach McVay will be happy, [owner Stan] Kroenke, the whole team would be.”

Gurley was less forthcoming with confirmation that he had talked to Beckham about the possibility. There was a report that Beckham had told a couple of Rams players he was hoping to go there, but Gurley wasn’t going to admit to being one of them.

“Hmm, I don’t want to say all that,” Gurley said. “That’s my boy.”rams_062

I haven’t talked to him in the last 24 hours.

I talked to Phil who talked to him last night. He seems to be doing OK. I think he’s just sitting there anxiously waiting on some good answers.

“We’ll see,” Shurmur told reporters during the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando last month. “We’re having those discussions. We’re in discussions with teams [about practices], but you can suggest to the league a team you want to play against and then the league eventually will just tell you who you’re playing.”

Shurmur and the Giants likely will work towards organization joint practices this summer, but announce them as well as the opponents at a later date. Previously, Shurmur took part in joint practices with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens when he was the offensive coordinator on Chip Kelly’s staff with the Eagles from 2013-2015.

The preseason is a prime opportunity for coaches to see bottom of the roster players in action to help determine who makes the team and who gets cut. Rarely a harbinger of how the regular season will play out, the Giants finished the 2017 exhibition slate with a 2-2 record.

The NFL is expected to release the 2018 regular season schedule later this month.

Even if Johnson returns to dominant 2016 form, that’s a fantastical forecast considering the dubious state of the offensive line and receiving corps.

The past two years’ worth of Vikings tape, however, bolster Johnson’s claim about Bradford’s potential in Arizona.

The scarlet letter attached to Bradford this offseason is similar to the one Carson Palmer sported when the Cardinals stole the former Raiders quarterback for the bargain price of a sixth-round draft pick in 2013: Can his body withstand the weekly poundings long enough to showcase his special arm talent?

Within two years of his arrival in the desert, Palmer was being hailed as a ” godsend ,” leaving a trail of skeptics in his wake.

That’s not to suggest Bradford is bound to follow in Palmer’s footsteps as an MVP runner-up in Arizona, but Johnson’s inferences are far from unfounded.rams_007

Miguel Cabrera back in lineup after leaving previous game

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is back in the lineup after leaving the previous game because of left hip flexor tightness.

Sanchez should’ve automatically been called out for having essentially passed Stanton on the bases. Once the tag was applied to Stanton, he would’ve been declared out, too. That all means the play should have ended in a double play. It didn’t happen that way.

After a lengthy discussion among the umpires that included a vociferous argument from Orioles manager Buck Showalter, the ruling of one lone out — Stanton — stood.

The MLB rulebook actually cites a similar example of a trail runner (Sanchez) reaching a base while the lead runner (Stanton) is in a rundown. The rule says, “the trailing runner is out and third base is unoccupied. The lead runner is entitled to third base if he returns to touch it before he is out … unless he is declared out for abandoning the bases.”

Andrew Benintendi hit a tiebreaking RBI double in Boston’s wild six-run eighth inning, and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7 on Sunday for their eighth straight win.

Miller is hitting .222 with a home run and five RBIs this season.

The Rays are replacing Miller by adding right-handed pitcher Ryan Weber from Triple-A Durham.

He will become the third player born in St. Petersburg, Florida, in Rays history.

It was important for the Giants to see Beckham at the facility this spring. They want to see him work out in order to make sure he’s running well and pain-free before they’re willing to invest long term in his services. They also want to make sure he’s willing to buy into the new program being installed by Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman.buccaneers_078

NFL free agent rumors: Jaguars to release WR Allen Hurns

The Jaguars have revamped their offense this season, and wide receiver Allen Hurns is set to become the latest roster casualty.

According to Pro Football Talk, Hurns will be released by the team, making him an immediate free agent.

“The last two outings have been a nightmare for me,” Kintzler said. “And hopefully in September, I’ll laugh about it.”

New York’s Steven Matz allowed one unearned run in five innings. Washington’s Gio Gonzalez went 5 1/3 innings, with one earned run, six strikeouts — and one face-saving catch of a comeback liner that was headed directly for his head in the third.

Nationals: LF Adam Eaton was out of the lineup, as expected, after tweaking his left ankle during an awkward slide home Thursday. But Eaton said he wasn’t in any pain and he pinch hit in the seventh Saturday.

The Tennessee Titans agreed to a contract with veteran defensive tackle Bennie Logan, the team announced Sunday.

Logan led the Chiefs’ defensive linemen last season in total tackles (54). He was second on the team in tackles for loss (10) and tied for sixth in sacks (1.5).

The Giants activated RHP Tyler Beede, and the 24-year-old right-hander will start Tuesday’s game for his major league debut. Beede, a 2014 first-round pick, will pitch in place of RHP Johnny Cueto, whose start was pushed back to Wednesday. In a corresponding move, the Giants optioned RHP Roberto Gomez to Triple-A Sacramento.

Diamondbacks: OF Steven Souza Jr., on the DL with a right pectoral strain, complained of discomfort Sunday after playing in a simulated game in which he homered twice in seven at-bats and threw from over 100 feet. An MRI showed fluid in the area of the injury. “This is part of the process,” Lovullo said. “I do not consider this a setback whatsoever.” … 3B Jake Lamb (left shoulder AC joint sprain) took dry swings and did some running and throwing Monday. He’ll ramp up baseball activities Tuesday.buccaneers_020

NFL free agent rumors: Dolphins sign RB Frank Gore to 1-year deal

Frank Gore is going home.

The 13-year veteran running back on Thursday agreed to a one-year contract with the Dolphins, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

A Miami native and University of Miami standout, Gore visited the Lions last week but left Detroit without a deal.

Gore, who turns 35 in May, was selected by the 49ers with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft and remained in San Francisco until he joined the Colts in 2015. He has eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing nine times throughout his career and last rushed for 1,000 yards in 2016 with the Colts.

It showed.

“I think there was some external pressure that creeped in the room,” veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “I think maybe as a veteran group, we probably don’t want to admit that it affected us. I think at times it definitely did.”

Suh, 31, began his career with the Lions, racking up 36 sacks in five seasons, but failed to live up to expectations after arriving in Miami in 2015 on a six-year, $114 million contract. He had 15 1/2 sacks in three seasons with the Dolphins.

Barrie gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the second on a goal from the blue line that led to a challenge by St. Louis, which felt the puck left the zone. The officials took a long look before ruling it a good goal and determined “there were no definitive replays which showed that the puck left the attacking zone,” according to NHL situation room.

“I’m not going to blame the season on a bad call,” Yeo said.

Girard scored his first goal since Feb. 22 on a slap shot through traffic with 46 seconds left in the first period to give the Avs a 1-0 advantage. He was acquired by Colorado from Nashville in the three-team deal that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa in November.

The last time two teams met in their final game of the season while contending for the last available playoff spot in the conference was 2010. In that contest, Philadelphia beat the New York Rangers in a shootout.buccaneers_007

Lamar Jackson Rumors: Teams Struggling to Book 2018 NFL Draft Meetings with QB

NFL teams are reportedly struggling to set up individual meetings with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson ahead of next month’s draft, according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.

I’ve had several teams tell me they’re having trouble just getting to set up appointments to meet with him, Mayock said on NFL Network on Thursday. Not just work out, but appointments to meet with him, to put him up on the board, to work him out, to have dinner with him. And remember, and again I’m not taking a shot here at anybody, his mom is representing him, his mom has obviously his best interest at heart, but you’re doing the kid a disservice if NFL coaches and general managers are calling and you can’t even get an appointment set up.

Jackson was on hand for Louisville’s pro day Thursday but once again declined to go through any athletic testing. He threw at the NFL combine but declined to do testing there as well, saying he wants to be judged as a quarterback.

The Wyoming product never completed better than 56.3 percent of his passes during his collegiate career. However, some scouts have been fawning over him due to his traditional makeup. Jackson vs. Allen has become something of a battleground on social media and talking head shows, with some wondering if Jackson is being discounted because he is black.

That said, given his tenuous draft status, it’s not a great look that some teams have been unable to schedule meetings.

The 35-year-old Gonzalez also was on base four times with two hits and two walks in his New York debut. The five-time All-Star first baseman was signed for the major league minimum during the offseason after struggling with a bad back last year with the Dodgers.

New York catcher Kevin Plawecki also had two walks and two hits, including a late RBI single.

Chris Ash is not going to say there’s a No. 1 guy at all yet in regards to Rutgers’ unproven wide receivers group, but Bo Melton is certainly making his case.

The sophomore wideout continued to impress Thursday during the Scarlet Knights’ seventh spring practice, making several impressive catches during the period the session was open to reporters while flashing the home run hitter potential the Scarlet Knights’ offense desperately needs.nike_broncos_063-500x500