Kerr says Cousins could be active for Game 1


Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins is questionable for Game 1 of the NBA Finals as he continues to rehab from a torn left quad, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr left open the possibility that Cousins could be active in time for tipoff of Thursday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.

“DeMarcus has done an amazing job,” Kerr said Wednesday. “Coming back from the injury which we felt at the time was season ending. He’s done an incredible job of rebounding, rehabbing. Now, here he is. He’s scrimmaged a couple times this week. He’s pain free. It is more a matter of rhythm, timing and condition. All those things. I think I mentioned if this was this the regular season, I’d throw him out there, whatever minutes he could tolerate. We’d build him up from there. It’s not the regular season. It’s the Finals. We have to figure out what is the best way to utilize him. How many minutes he can play. What the game feels like. Some of that will be determined by what is happening in the game. Some of the other stuff is just internal with our staff.”

Kerr said “It hasn’t been decided yet,” if Cousins will be active, but Cousins participated in practice and was in a good mood as the Warriors got their first official workout going inside ScotiaBank nfl nike jerseys from china

“I feel good,” Cousins said. “My quad is coming along. It’s healed for the most part. Still whipping things into the shape. Building the muscle endurance needed to play at a high level. Everything is coming along well.”8

Cousins, who tore the quad on April 15 in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Clippers, was asked if he would play if the decision were up to him.

“That’s the thing,” Cousins said. “It never really is up to me. We’ll put our heads together and figure out our best plan moving forward.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Cousins has repeatedly praised the Warriors medical staff for the time and effort they have put in to try and get him back on the floor. He returned from a torn Achilles on Jan. 15 after missing close to a year rehabbing that injury. If he is cleared to play, his teammates know it will be ‘a huge challenge’ for him to produce at this level after missing so much time.

“When you talk about DeMarcus, he’s someone who has been great in this league for years now,” Draymond Green said. “He probably [hasn’t] played basketball 16 of the 19 months. that right there alone is a challenge in itself. Then you talk playoff experience, where you and I both know the intensity level is completely different than a regular season game. He doesn’t have much playoff experience. then you get dropped in the NBA finals. Kinda some like guy who grew up in the suburbs going to private school, then one day got dropped in the ‘hood and was told to survive. Gotta figure that out.”

Whether Cousins is cleared for Game 1 or not, he is confident that he will contribute at some point in The Finals.

“I believe this is the stage every basketball player as a kid dreams of,” Cousins said. “To be here is a huge honor. Incredible feeling, I’m extremely excited about it. Makes me that much more antsy to get on the floor and help my teammates. If that opportunity is presented to me, I plan on taking advantage.”

How the NFL’s Australian punter revolution made its way to San Francisco


In the run up to the 2019 NFL draft, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan spent an inordinate amount of time doing something they’d never done before.

“Kyle and I studied punters more this year than I think we ever will,” Lynch said.

A big part of that study time was the Niners’ glaring need for help after Bradley Pinion departed in free agency. But it wasn’t just nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Quietly, a punting revolution has come to the NFL and it’s happening in plain sight. It’s coming by way of the land down under and a place called Prokick Australia based in Melbourne.
For most of the past decade, Prokick has become sort of a punter factory for the college game, as former Aussie rules football players learn how to kick an American football under the tutelage of Prokick founder Nathan Chapman and his staff. In 2018, about 65 Division I schools had punters who came by way of Prokick.

Now, those punters are starting to make their way to the NFL, as Seattle’s Michael Dickson, Philadelphia’s Cameron Johnston, Pittsburgh’s Jordan Berry and the Jets’ Lac Edwards have all gone through the Prokick experience.

After plenty of film study, the Niners joined the fray by spending a fourth-round draft pick on Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky, the punter who quickly became the object of their affection at the Senior Bowl in January.

A league that has long leaned heavily on convention is starting to take the time to understand how the arsenal of punts deployed by former Aussie rules football players can impact a nike nfl jerseys paypal

“Here’s the way I see it right now: If you are a punter coming through college and you want to make it, you better have all of these shots in your bag because that’s where it’s going,” Chapman said. “Right now, the NFC West has two of them and they’re both very good at it and every other team is going to play them twice. So there’s four games a year where you might play against a real pain-in-the-ass punter. And everyone else is thinking, ‘We better get one — if we don’t get one of these, we are going to be behind the eight ball.'”

Wobbly start: Lamar Jackson critical of his early offseason practices


At the end of Thursday’s practice, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted to finish with a pressure scenario, telling his players that there were seven seconds remaining and the offense was down by six points.

Lamar Jackson threw a 3-yard touchdown pass through heavy traffic to running back Gus Edwards, winning the drill but apparently not winning over the second-year quarterback. Jackson gave a blunt assessment of how he performed in his first week of offseason practices.

“I’d say, my first day, I sucked. Second day, I did better. Today, it was all right but it could’ve been better,” Jackson said. “I’m always trying to be perfect in practice.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The development of Jackson as a passer has been the big question mark surrounding the Ravens all offseason and will continue to be the hot-topic issue. If Baltimore wants to return to the playoffs, Jackson has to improve upon his 58.2 percent completion rate and his 159.1 yards passing per game as a starter.9

On Thursday, Jackson showed more velocity on his passes than last season. He stepped into his throws and drove them downfield, especially on the deep passes along the sidelines.

There were other times when Jackson struggled connecting with his receivers, specifically in the red zone.

Harbaugh explained that Baltimore has rebuilt its offense under new coordinator Greg Roman, from the cadence to the terminology. As Harbaugh pointed out, the Ravens didn’t have the luxury of an extra two weeks to practice like teams that hire a new head coach do.

“It’s a process,” Harbaugh said. “So, we’re not exactly clicking on all cylinders yet. But I’m really happy with the progress and where we’re going.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

At the top of Jackson’s checklist this offseason is changing the look of his passes. He wants his spirals to be tighter, which were a problem last season and during the first week of spring workouts. Several of Jackson’s passes wobbled through the air.

“It’s been crazy. It’s been everywhere,” Jackson said of his throws. “I feel like my hand is a little too high on the football and that makes the ball go out of whack a lot.”

Jackson has impressed coaches and players with how hard he has worked this offseason. A mainstay in the Ravens’ conditioning program, Jackson has been seen doing chin-ups in the weight room and running around cones in the indoor field house.

Alex Verdugo’s ‘youthful enthusiasm’ keeps Dodgers charged up


Dodger Stadium played “Last Time That I Checc’d,” the hit song by Nipsey Hussle, and Alex Verdugo, who used the track as his walk-up music last season, got excited. He lifted himself onto the top bench of the home dugout and started to sway.

Then there was that time when Clayton Kershaw performed what looked like a sort of Irish dance to “Old Town Road” and Verdugo joined him. And the time when Verdugo got so frustrated at Russell Martin for not nailing their elaborate handshake that he mockingly yelled for a new partner.

He’s a 23-year-old rookie, a bench player until only recently, but Verdugo has been a ray of light on this year’s Los Angeles Dodgers, who could use some untapped energy sources for the long climb to another World Series.

“He’s very endearing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, cracking a smile. “The more you’re around him, the more you understand him.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Verdugo had proved himself as a major-league-caliber player by the end of the 2017 season, after sporting an .825 OPS through 495 plate appearances at the highest minor league level. But the Dodgers’ abundance of outfield depth kept him mired in Triple-A through the following season. Over time, Roberts noticed that Verdugo got “a little bit bored.” The game had become too easy.

“They put me in all kind of situations down there and I felt like I answered the bell and showed them what I could do,” Verdugo said. “I wanted that next step. ‘Hey, let me do it up here. Whether you guys don’t think I can, or you guys think I’ll fail or not, let me show you.’ I’m not scared of failure. I’m not. I thrive off that. I thrive to be in the moment.”10

The Dodgers still didn’t know what to do with Verdugo when 2019 began. They brought up his name in trade talks over the offseason, couldn’t find a scenario that made it worthwhile, then put him on the Opening Day roster so as to not waste an asset.

Verdugo didn’t have a discernible role when the season began, but he batted .333/.353/.636 as a part-time player. He became the primary center fielder after A.J. Pollock injured his elbow on April 28, and has hit .302/.375/.397 ever since. On the whole, his 1.5 FanGraphs wins above replacement — boosted by a strong throwing arm and deceiving speed — trail only Cody Bellinger and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the lead on a Dodgers team that boasts the National League’s best record.

Verdugo felt lost when he first joined the Dodgers as a September call-up in 2017 and often found himself straying from his mechanics during two short stints in 2018. He vowed to stay short with his swing in 2019, a trait intended to counter long stretches of inactivity. He also pledged to be himself. The Dodgers expressed concern about Verdugo’s maturity level in prior seasons, and Verdugo was made aware. His true personality didn’t come nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I kind of tried to act a certain way that I thought they would like,” Verdugo said. “Now, this year, it’s ‘be myself.’ I feel like everybody has opened to it and I think they can kind of see that it’s genuine.”

In the midst of boyish exuberance, Verdugo is in many ways a throwback player. He is a left-handed hitter in an organization that has relied heavily on platoons, but he has recorded a hit in one-third of his at-bats against left-handed pitchers. He plays in an era dominated by launch angle and strikeouts but has never tried to lift pitches and has always prioritized putting the ball in play.

Built on huge homers, Cubs’ big innings a formula for success


He’s been in right field this week, but for the Philadelphia Phillies, not the Chicago Cubs. Bryce Harper might have been at the top of the offseason wish list for more than a few fans last winter, but not many are clamoring for him in Chicago right now. That’s because the Cubs’ offense — once thought broken — continues to put up big numbers in a resurgent season at the plate. At least so far.

Wednesday was one of the few good hitting nights at Wrigley Field this season, as the ballpark has played favorably for pitchers. But the temperature — and the winds — made a dramatic change overnight, and the Cubs took advantage. Three long home runs, including Albert Almora Jr.’s first career grand slam, helped the home team coast to a big victory after trading a pair of one-run wins in the first two games of four between these division-leading teams.
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Almora’s first-pitch slam in the fifth inning broke a 3-3 tie and the Cubs never looked back, eventually beating the Phillies 8-4. While collecting eight hits and four walks, the Cubs maintained a hefty lead in the National League in an all-important offensive category: on-base percentage. They lead the Dodgers and Cardinals by six points after Wednesday. No other major statistic correlates to runs scoring better than getting on base. For whatever reason, the Cubs forgot how to do that in the second half of last season, but they got it back.6

Their thump is back, too. The Cubs finished 11th in the National League in home runs in 2018 but rank third so far this year while playing fewer games than the two teams ahead of them as well as almost every team behind them. And they’re doing it in a more pitcher-friendly Wrigley Field. Perhaps the return of their power coincides with a change in hitting coach they made after last season, but it’s more likely tied to the maturation of a lineup built around their young veteran hitters.

Almora is a key example. He hit his fifth home run Wednesday after hitting five all of last year. And there’s a reason Chicago manager Joe Maddon is batting him lower in the lineup, behind OBP stalwarts such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras: Almora doesn’t strike out much.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“By putting him down there I have a strong belief the ball is going to be moved with people on base,” Maddon said.

There’s that on-base thing again. The Cubs love to clog up the basepaths and, yes, sometimes they strand too many, but over time, those clogged bases will turn into big run totals.

Irvin got to Almora twice Wednesday, but the third time was the charm for the Cubs outfielder. His grand slam was preceded by a game-tying, third-inning blast from Rizzo, a bomb that hit the Budweiser sign beyond the right-field fence.

49ers’ Garoppolo progressing; Sherman pain-free


As San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took another step toward returning from the torn left ACL that wiped out most of his 2018 season, cornerback Richard Sherman is feeling as good as he has in a long time now that he is another year removed from his own injury nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Come the start of training camp in July, the 49ers expect to have their offensive and defensive leaders back at full speed and ready for the start of the 2019 campaign. They hope that the dozen or so other players dealing with injuries also will be healthy and prepared when that time comes.

It’s a group that includes linebacker Fred Warner (knee), running back Matt Breida (pectoral), tight end Garrett Celek (concussion and back), running back Jerick McKinnon (ACL), linebacker Kwon Alexander (ACL) and cornerback Jason Verrett (Achilles), all of whom did not participate in Tuesday’s organized team activity and likely won’t be able to do anything until training camp.9

Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa joined the injured list on Tuesday when he tweaked his hamstring during team drills. He watched the rest of the practice from the sideline.

Much like his teammates, for Garoppolo to be ready for the start of the season, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.

On Tuesday, Garoppolo participated in individual and 7-on-7 drills. He did not, however, take part in team drills.

According to coach Kyle Shanahan, Garoppolo will not be cleared for full team work until training camp in part because the team doesn’t want to risk having defenders around Garoppolo’s legs during offseason work.
Wearing a titanium knee brace that he described as “really lightweight,” Garoppolo already has impressed teammates and the coaching staff with how well he has moved during the first two nfl jerseys china nike

After suffering the knee injury in a Sept. 23 loss at the Kansas City Chiefs, Garoppolo missed San Francisco’s final 13 games.

Since then, Garoppolo has slowly checked all the boxes necessary for a return. Garoppolo said Tuesday he hasn’t dealt with swelling in the knee in “a long time,” and his post-practice routine no longer requires him to do as much work to keep the swelling to a minimum.

Giants’ retooled offensive line looks like their best in years


Dave Gettleman’s introductory news conference as New York Giants general manager ended with a definitive statement about a hazardous offensive line.

“We’re going to get it fixed,” he said just days before the 2017 season finale.

Gettleman tweaked and dumped massive loads of cash into the line last season. The results were mixed, at best. The Giants’ offensive line was a mess the first half of the season when quarterback Eli Manning was sacked 31 times. It stabilized in the second half and became a serviceable unit. As did the Giants’ offense, centered around running back Saquon Barkley.

The left side of the line was fixed with big-money free-agent left tackle Nate Solder and second-round pick Will Hernandez at guard. The right side remained a work in nfl jerseys china nike

So Gettleman went back to work this offseason. He added what the Giants hope will be a new right side of the line with veteran guard Kevin Zeitler being acquired in a trade and tackle Mike Remmers as a free agent.8

The bar is low, but this could be the Giants’ best offensive line since 2010 or 2012, when they still had core players such has Chris Snee and David Diehl in the lineup. It’s not the Super Bowl-winning line of Kareem McKenzie, Snee, Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert and Diehl, but this year’s hog mollies should be a significant improvement from recent seasons.

“It’s the best they’ve had in years,” said one pro personnel scout with an NFC nike nfl jerseys wholesale

There will be no more excuses for Manning, who hasn’t been protected well in years but also hasn’t finished with a top 10 QBR since 2012. No more excuses for coach Pat Shurmur, who had a hand in shipping Odell Beckham Jr. out of town. No more excuses for the offense as a whole, which hasn’t been good in several seasons.

This year the Giants have $37 million of the $188.2 million salary cap currently committed to their offensive line and 61 percent committed to the offense overall, compared to 38 percent to the defense. It will be on the offense (and the offensive line in particular) to carry the team this season. They’re building a team that will be reliant on the run with Barkley as the centerpiece.

“[The improved line] can do big things for that guy we have in our backfield,” tight end Evan Engram said last week at CC Sabathia’s Celebrity Softball Game benefiting his PitCCh In Foundation. “He’s a special talent and those guys, the offensive linemen, they’re in the building each and every day and they literally walk around the whole building together. You can see the talent growing. You can see the chemistry growing. And they’re hungry as well. I can’t wait to see those guys start putting their hands on people.”

Paderborn seal fairytale promotion to Bundesliga


SC Paderborn completed a remarkable return to the Bundesliga next season despite a 3-1 defeat to Dynamo Dresden on nfl nike jerseys from china

Paderborn, who reached the Bundesliga for the first time in 2014-15, were relegated that season and again the following season to fall to the third tier. In 2016-17, they narrowly avoided a third relegation in three seasons (to the Regionalliga) despite finishing 18th, as 1860 Munich’s administration error and failure to secure a licence to play saw them stay up.

Yet, incredibly, they finished second the next year to climb back up to 2.Bundesliga.10

Knowing all they needed to do was beat or equal Union Berlin’s result against Bochum to claim the second automatic place behind already-promoted FC Cologne, Paderborn went ahead in the 10th minute.

Germany under-20 midfielder Philipp Klement netted his 16th goal of the season, before Dynamo hit back quickly through Baris nike jerseys for cheap

Atik then scored again either side of half-time to complete his hat trick and seal the win, but Paderborn were promoted as Union drew 2-2 with 10-man Bochum.

Down 2-0, Union scored twice in the final 10 minutes but couldn’t get a winner as they finished third in the league on goal difference (five behind Paderborn) and a point ahead of Hamburg in fourth. They will contest the relegation playoff against VfB Stuttgart.

Sources: Barca could lose De Ligt to Juve, PSG


Barcelona believe they have lost ground to Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in the race to sign Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, sources have told ESPN cheap jerseys nike

Sources close to the negotiations said that the “optimism” which Barca maintained a few weeks ago has decreased due to the renewed interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs and the excessive demands from De Ligt and his agent, Mino Raiola.

Barcelona have been leading the chase for the in-demand centre-back for weeks. They already have an agreement in principle with Ajax to sign him for a similar figure to what they will pay for Frenkie de Jong — €75 million plus add-ons.

But they have still not managed to strike a deal with De Ligt and Raiola, which has allowed Juve, PSG and Bayern to re-open negotiations and attempt to better the offer made by Barca, who are beginning to tire of the player’s elevated financial demands.8

The main problem facing Barca is Raiola’s attempt to take advantage of the interest from elsewhere and De Ligt’s excellent end to the season to push for a salary which the Catalan club are not prepared to pay.

De Ligt helped Ajax win a domestic double and reach the Champions League semifinal — and that is being used as a reason to backtrack on an agreement struck with Barcelona in March and ask for more money, as revealed by ESPN FC earlier this nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Barca are unable to meet those new demands and sources have said the club will not budge another inch from the last offer they made. They hope other factors will play in their favour, such as the player’s will to move to Camp Nou, the signing of De Jong and the chance to play with Lionel Messi.

Juve’s sporting director Fabio Paratici said two weeks ago that De Ligt “will sign for Barcelona” following a conversation with his Ajax counterpart, Marc Overmars. But talks between Barca and De Ligt have hit a snag and sources have suggested Juve and PSG may now be better placed to land the defender.

Barca have worked on the deal for months. After announcing the signing of De Jong in January, president Josep Maria Bartomeu made the decision to push hard for De Ligt, even though he wasn’t a priority for the club at the time. Given the good relationship with Ajax, they were able to loosely agree the framework of a fee with the belief they would be able to convince the player to join.

Struggling Tebow hits first Triple-A home run


What started off as a tough spring for Tim Tebow with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, New York, took a turn for the better Sunday when he hit his first International League home run.

It came in his 105th at-bat of the season, and the former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t exactly receive a hero’s welcome when he returned to the dugout.

At least not at first.

Tebow’s teammates largely gave him the silent treatment before the celebration at NBT Bank Stadium began in earnest.

Tebow went 1-for-4 in an 8-2 home loss to Columbus, lifting his batting average to .157. He has 11 RBIs on the season. He has a hit in seven of his past nine games.

On Thursday, he told The Associated Press that he was unfazed by his slow nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think I’m improving. I’m working, developing,” Tebow said. “I think I’m getting better, adapting to some really good players, and I think that’s important.”10

Tebow’s average was at .130 after the team’s first 23 games before his productivity increased of late, a stretch that he said has helped with his confidence as he’s found more of a rhythm at the plate.

“I think sometimes if you’re not in rhythm, you can press a little bit, swing at pitches you don’t want to swing at,” Tebow said. “But when you’re in a rhythm, it just flows a little bit better. I think that’s important.”

Syracuse Mets manager Tony DeFrancesco told The Associated Press that the move from Double-A to the top rung of the minor leagues has proved nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Double-A pitching is a lot of younger guys that have good velocity on the fastball but no secondary pitches,” DeFrancesco said. “Here, Tim is seeing everything coming at him but the kitchen sink. They’re throwing fastballs hard in on him, they’re breaking balls, they’re elevating. He just hasn’t seen enough of that right now — and they’re throwing strikes.”

DeFrancesco said Tebow’s recent surge has been encouraging and he was hoping that the power production would arrive after Tebow had six homers and 36 RBIs in 271 at-bats in Double-A before an injury ended his season after 84 games.

“He’s playing a corner position in baseball, which is offensive production, so he’s going to definitely need to drive some home runs soon,” his manager said. “Getting into June, you’ve got to be able to put up the numbers.”