Deshaun Watson era begins in Houston as starting QB Tom Savage is benched

That didn’t take long.

Texans fans got the quarterback many had wanted all along when rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson replaced starter Tom Savage to begin the second half against the Jaguars Sunday at NRG Stadium.

“The thing we’re always about is meritocracy and opportunity,” Goodell said. “I want to see everyone get an opportunity, including Colin, but those are decisions made by football people.”

O’Brien said after Sunday’s game he made the decision with the hopes his team would “play faster,” but he and his staff have “to figure it out” with a short week.

Savage went 7 of 13 for 62 yards but was sacked six times and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Watson entered in the second half and led a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on his first series, but finished just 12 of 23 for 101 yards with a touchdown pass and interception.

“The No. 2 quarterback always has to be ready to play and as head coach, you always have to be ready to play the No. 2 quarterback,” O’Brien said. “It’s a decision on what’s best for the team now, and what’s best this year.”

Familiarity has played a huge role in recent GM hires, as well.

Howie Roseman, who lost juice in Philadelphia after the hiring of Chip Kelly, is running the show again for the Eagles. The relationship new Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane built in Carolina led to the latter being lured away from the Panthers.

Andrew Luck ruled out Week 2; Chuck Pagano undecided on Colts’ starting QB

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, coach Chuck Pagano said Authentic Rickey Jackson Jersey Monday.

“[It’s] something that we’ll discuss later [Monday] and into [Tuesday] as we game plan,” Pagano said.”…We have to do what’s Thomas Greiss Youth Jersey best for the football team and what gives us the best chance to move the ball and put points on the board.”

The issue with Brissett starting is that he’s had limited practice because he’s only been with the Colts since Sept. 2 after being traded from New England.

“There’s nobody that can come in and learn a playbook in that period of time, so there’s challenges that would be with any quarterback in any system and in any NFL building,” Pagano said.

The win was also the first for new head coach Sean McVay, who was hired this offseason to fill the vacancy left when Jeff Fisher was fired.

The second-year signal caller completed 21 of 29 passes for 306 yards and one touchdown.

Goff established himself as an elite NFL prospect with an impressive three-year career at the University of California. He was named the team’s starting quarterback as a true freshman and helped the Golden Bears improve from a 1-11 record in 2013 to an 8-5 mark and a win in the Armed Forces Bowl in his final year on campus. He threw 78 touchdown passes in just 25 games in his final two years with the program.

The Rams start the season 1-0, a step toward putting the 7-and-9 bullsh** that ended up sending Fisher to the unemployment line behind them.

Panic index: The end could be near for Hurns in Jacksonville.

Game Aaron Sanchez Jersey
Game Dion Dawkins Jersey The fourth-year receiver will count $7 million against the salary cap in 2017 and would’ve counted for $7 million even if he were cut. The Jaguars can’t save any money right now by cutting him loose.

But next year, the team could avoid another $7 million hit as well as $8 million and $9.65 million hits in 2019 and 2020, respectively, by releasing him and it would come with zero dead money. That means if he can’t bounce back and play like he did in 2015, this is probably it for Hurns in Jacksonville.

In addition, the Rams will wear their popular throwbacks for two games against division rivals: Oct. 8 against the Seahawks and Dec. 31 against the 49ers. Both games were selected via fan voting (additional info here).

One final Rams note: Newly acquired wideout Sammy Watkins has been wearing No. 2 during preseason games. That’s kosher in August, when the NFL relaxes its numbering requirements due to the large roster sizes, but Watkins will have to switch to something in the standard wide receiver numeral ranges — 10 through 19 and 80 through 89 — once the regular season starts.

Jamaal Charles: The Broncos (that still feels weird to say) running back was taken to a medical tent to be evaluated for a concussion, but he was cleared to return.

Paxton Lynch: The Broncos quarterback went to the locker room with a shoulder injury and is questionable to return to the game.

Though he didn’t play in CLE as long as others Dennis Eckersley.

Only because when I was a kid and they had those get a photo with a player before the game days at the old Municipal Stadium I had gotten one with Eckersley.

For most part don’t care they are the ‘jersey’ they wear. Never understood the over attachment. Probably an interesting twist to the list would be players who ‘left’ on their own volition (Free Agent, et al) versus those who were traded, a la, Rocky Colavito.

But looking back on it those teams were garbage. Behind the scenes was it an elaborate plan for LeBron to leave, the Cavs to tank, and rebuild then get position to trade for key players? Who knows? But LeBron did bring us a championship, and you were at that parade even if you won’t admit it. The moment he chased down Igoudala from 30 feet back and blocked him at the rim, and then Irving hit that three, things changed in this town. We weren’t going to collapse and have another “The” moment.

Here’s some of what is on tap at Carver Arena:

Opening Weekend: Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk appears, tickets are 2 for $20 and 1,500 magnetic schedules will be distributed as the team honors the memory of late owner Bruce Saurs.

Special jerseys: The Rivermen will wear a jersey to honor the military on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — and all retired or active duty service members with ID will get a free ticket.

Bruce Arians and Arizona know how good Kaepernick can be in his scary groove

Jack Eichel Game Jersey
Carson Wentz now has legit wideouts in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, and the power running game gets an upgrade, too, with LeGarrette Blount. The defense has more of the established stars. Doug Pederson’s team is still probably a year away from putting it together to push the Cowboys and Giants.

New coach Sean McDermott comes with a superior defensive scheme and attitude than that of Rex Ryan. He also has a much better understanding of complementary offense and QB play. Tyrod Taylor will play as well as he can, but the Bills being at the crossroads of age, youth and durability will keep them down in the East.

Bruce Arians and Arizona know how good Kaepernick can be in his scary groove and even were impressed with the QB when he was off during his final season in San Francisco. It’s also clear, whether it’s Clemson’s Deshaun Watson early in the draft or someone else, that the Cards want to deal in a more athletic, strong-armed passer to succeed pure-pocket Carson Palmer soon.

This is only one of two options that could work out for Kaepernick to stay in the NFC West.

It’s not worth the electricity needed to type it, or to trot out the stats that say Kaepernick was not terrible in his 11 games last season. It’s not worth repeating that he had not played in a year because of multiple surgeries and is healthier now than he has been in two seasons. Not worth the reminder that the 49ers’ new management is rebuilding the entire roster from scratch, which tells you Kaepernick wasn’t exactly working with the same weapons Matt Ryan was.

Authentic Andy Greene Jersey Of course this isn’t about football. It’s about maintaining the status quo, or what NFL teams believe that to be. It’s about not ruffling feathers, or at least the feathers NFL teams care about ruffling.

Butler and the Cavaliers were never serious rumors

Chris Jones Elite Jersey George to the Cavaliers seemed like an inevitable move, but Cleveland quickly learned that there was no good way to make it work. As it turned out, Kevin Love’s trade value was basically nil, especially for a rebuilding team like Indiana. Instead, George ended up in a deal to Oklahoma City, departing the Eastern Conference to team up with Russell Westbrook.

Winston, who’s been the union president since early 2014, wanted to remind fans how the NFL owners locked out players during the most recent labor dispute.

Authentic Womens Rodney Hudson Jersey They took the decision to make sure that people didn’t have a place to work, he said. They cut off the insurance to our families… What are you supposed to do? Fight back, right?

So Winston said he really isn’t concerned about the possibility owners and the league might suffer in the long term.

I’m certainly not worried about (the NFL’s long-term health), he said. I’m not going to be around that long. I don’t care if even if there are rookies in here — they’re not going to be playing that long.

The Chiefs are still Alex Smith’s team, and the veteran quarterback played well Saturday in a 30-12 win over the Bengals.

Also playing well in Kansas City’s second preseason game was rookie Patrick Mahomes.

Smith was 8 of 9 for 83 yards and a touchdown to tight end Demetrius Harris while leading a pair of scoring drives before giving way to the first-round pick in the second quarter. Mahomes, whom the Chiefs selected 10th overall in April’s NFL Draft, went 10 of 14 for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The former Texas Tech quarterback also ran for 29 yards on three carries while playing into the third quarter.

Jets RB Matt Forte practicing again, could play Saturday

Running back Matt Forte has returned to practice and could be ready for the Jets’ preseason game Saturday against the Giants Saturday.

Forte had been sidelined for three weeks with a strained hamstring. While the team is hesitant to put his name on the roster for Saturday’s game, Forte expects to play.

“That’s my goal,” Forte told reporters, via ESPN. “I don’t know what the coaches’ plan is, but that’s my plan.”

Forte said there is “no doubt” he will be ready for the Jets’ season opener against the Bills, which is one of the few positive things to come out of the Jets’ camp this summer.

New York jettisoned many of its starters during the offseason with trades and releases, leaving a very young and inexperienced offense as the regular season gears up. With not a lot of depth or veteran leadership, they need Forte on the field and in the locker room.

The report comes almost a year to the day, Aug. 14, 2016, that Kaepernick first sat during a pre-game national anthem to protest what many perceive as racial inequality and injustice in the U.S. And it comes during a month in which other NFL players and athletes have voiced their support for Kaepernick and adopted his cause as their own.

Kaepernick is currently a free agent after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at last season’s end. His political activism is cited as a reason the 29-year-old quarterback hasn’t found another job in the league.seahawks_026

Kelly Olynyk plays better with a man bun, according to the cold, hard sports stats

Kids Sean Smith Jersey Basketball is all about the numbers: points per game, scoring percentage, assists — the list goes on and on. But now, for newly signed Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, we may have the most important statistical breakdown of all — which hairstyle does he play best with?

Kids George Fant Jersey That’s right — during the 2016-2017 season, Olynyk outscored, rebounded, and assisted his headband-rocking self while playing with a man bun. This isn’t a style opinion — no, these are cold, hard sports statistics. You can’t argue with the numbers.

So when Olynyk starts playing in Miami, let’s hope he stays cool in the heat (ha) and decides to wear the man bun all the time — because not only will he be cooler and look cooler, but he’ll play better too.

We’re presenting our NBA free agent rankings somewhat differently this year. We pulled together a list of the top 50 free agents overall, then sorted them by position. (We listed them in the position they played the most last season, according to Basketball-Reference’s play-by-play data.) As such, we don’t have an overall top 50 ranking, or even a top 10 for each position.

Needless to say, with such shaky options outside of the marquee stars, this is all rather subjective. Some players not listed in these rankings could easily be better fits for specific teams’ situations than the players listed. We’ll leave those decisions up to the general managers.

The first night of NBA free agency didn’t disappoint. Besides the usual allotment of big-money contracts to stars and role players alike, the Paul George sweepstakes came to a swift end when the Pacers traded him to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. That left other teams (*cough Celtics cough*) out in the cold wondering why the Pacers settled for an inferior offer to theirs.

They may be able to negotiate Wiggins to a bargain with his stock being low.

Limited Womens Alex Goligoski Jersey The Wolves are young and they’re only becoming more relevant in the NBA landscape. Locking Wiggins into a signature shoe deal now puts Adidas on a pedestal moving forward. If they’re playing the Warriors in the Conference Finals or the Cavaliers in the NBA finals, Wiggins and Adidas will be there.

They may be able to negotiate Wiggins to a bargain with his stock being low. Plus, he’s only the third-best player on his team. But still, he’s a 22-year-old with lots of potential. Negotiations can swing both ways.

But it’s still a dangerous proposition for Adidas
Wiggins can dunk and score, but Adidas needs its next signature shoe athlete to set titself apart from the rest of the pack and sell a product of its own stature.

Wiggins has proved he can be a solid player, but what quality does he have that makes him different from, say, DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is one of the league’s best scorers and a good tough-shot maker. But DeRozan doesn’t have a signature shoe, despite all of his solid qualities.

Bledsoe didn’t get the maximum contract he wanted out of the Suns, but in declining the team’s initial four-year, $48 million contract offer and waiting the market out, the Suns guard was able to pocket an additional $22 million in salary.
Rex Burkhead Authentic Jersey
Bledsoe didn’t sign until late September, nearly missing the deadline to accept the qualifying offer that would have made him an unrestricted free agent in 2015. But because he did things the Rich Paul way, he ended up with a five-year, $70 million deal.

That’s a good chunk of change for a player who had just torn his right meniscus.

Breaking down the worst first pitches of all time

If you were not connected to social media on Wednesday night, you might have missed it. The thought of this being the first time you’re seeing this brings tears to my eyes. There was a first pitch at Fenway Park, and it was Godfather II. It was the Sistine Chapel. It was the moon landing. It was the first amino acids combining to form life.

It was thrown hard enough to surprise. Errant enough to affect the people who had no earthly indication that a baseball might be coming. And, if you’ll look closely, it hit the photographer right in the beans. Jordan Leandre is a hero, and the best part is that he knows how to have fun with his 15 decades of fame.

Ruth entered a league that didn’t care about home runs and left it homer-wild. He invented the very idea of a home run chase. Maris had to deal with unrelenting hometown pressure that’s still hard to fathom today. McGwire and Bonds both had to face pitchers who also shopped at back alley GNCs and weren’t dragging into the dog days of summer like their predecessors were.

Houston has had slightly better results of late with a 5-3 record over its last eight games, and a strong series against one of the league’s best teams this week could help the team to get some of its swagger back.

Tuesday night’s total is set at nine runs. The UNDER is 8-0-2 over Washington’s last 10 games and 9-2-1 over Houston’s last 12 games.

This three-game series will be the first between these two teams since 2014. Edwin Jackson will face off against Mike Fiers on Wednesday, and the series finale will feature a pitching duel between Stephen Strasburg and Dallas Keuchel.