Posts Tagged ‘Opinion’

Center Jason Kelce, already a two-time Pro Bowler, rose to even greater fame during the Philadelphia Eagles‘ run to Super Bowl LII last season as a leader of the wholly-embraced ‘underdog’ team.

An eighth-year veteran, Kelce cites the Eagles’ loss of several experienced players in the offseason as reason for a 4-5 record through the first 10 weeks.

“Last year, it just seemed like everybody was clicking. We had guys like Brent Celek who had been here a long time who was very accountable, Torrey Smithwho had been in the league for a long time, very accountable. Mack Hollins was a guy that gave great effort. LeGarrette Blount and all of these running backs that, they had their limited amount of stuff that they had to know, but they knew what to do, and they knew how to do those things. That’s what we’re missing. We’re missing that accountability,” Kelce said Wednesday, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.

Celek retired after being released by the team. Blount joined the Detroit Lions in free agency, Smith was traded to the Carolina Panthers, and Hollins is on injured reserve due to a groin injury.

The Eagles opened the 2018 campaign as the NFL’s 11th-youngest team by average age. They ranked 23rd in that department at the beginning of the 2017 season.

Kelce says the Eagles haven’t been able to replace the value brought last season by players who had been around a long time and who knew the “ins and outs of the game.”

“This isn’t just players, this is coaches, this is everybody. Everybody takes accountability in making sure that everybody is ready to go,” Kelce said.

“(Last year) there was a much greater level of accountability from a cohesive standpoint of everybody working together.”

The Eagles are tied for second place in the NFC East heading into a Week 11 matchup against the 8-1 New Orleans Saints.

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones dismissed the notion that he’s interested in replacing head coach Jason Garrett with Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley.

“That’s pulled out of thin air. I think that Coach (Lincoln) Riley is outstanding. It doesn’t surprise me because of proximity and his success but it’s total speculation,” Jones said Tuesday, according to Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 The FAN.

Jones told reporters last week that he doesn’t anticipate making any coaching changes this season, but it hasn’t stopped reports about the Cowboys being interested in Riley. Meanwhile, Riley said he had no interest in leaving for the NFL after the Cleveland Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson in October.

Jones also rejected the notion that he considered firing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the bye week. Linehan’s called the Cowboys’ offensive plays since 2014 and has officially served as the OC since 2015.

“We’ve never even contemplated the idea of Scott not calling plays,” Jones said Tuesday, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

The Minnesota Timberwolves finally pulled the trigger on a trade for Jimmy Butler on Monday, and president/head coach Tom Thibodeau is satisfied with the haul his team was able to procure from the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I said from the beginning: You always have to put the organization first,” Thibodeau said Monday, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “So you set the parameters for what you are looking for, and once we felt we got to that point where the offers met some of the things we were looking for, then we said, ‘OK, now it’s time.'”

In what Thibodeau described as being a “good deal,” the Timberwolves landed Robert CovingtonDario SaricJerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-rounder from Philadelphia in exchange for Butler and 2017 first-round pick Justin Patton.

The process of trying to move the All-Star forward was long and arduous, with Thibodeau having reportedly shunned several packages along the way which included rebuilding pieces and not the proven commodities he desired.

Thibodeau shut down the notion that he was prioritizing acquiring players who could help the Timberwolves win games now instead of looking towards the future.

“Not really. It was what was best for the organization,” he added. “Obviously, getting good players was a priority. The pick part was important. We felt we got a good pick from Philly.

“It was what does it mean for the team? If you get two rotational players, that’s good. If you can get a pick, that allows you to do more things. I think that’s all part of it. You’re always trying to think about what the possibilities could be.”

Butler will be in uniform Wednesday night when the Sixers take on the Orlando Magic.

At this point last season, the Boston Celtics were 11-2 – about two-thirds of the way through a 16-game win streak. Things are a little different this year, with the team wobbling along at 7-6 and struggling to find its identity on offense.

After Sunday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, star point guard Kyrie Irvingwondered whether a well-tenured veteran might help stabilize a team which currently ranks 27th in the league in offensive rating, scoring just 104.2 points per 100 possessions.

“I think it just comes with, just some experience,” Irving said, according to MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “Looking at this locker room, me being in my eighth year and being a ‘veteran’ as well as Al (Horford) and (Aron) Baynes. Right now I think it would be nice if we had someone that was a 15-year vet, a 14-year vet that could kind of help us race along the regular season and understand it’s a long marathon rather than just a full-on sprint, when you want to play, when you want to do what you want to do. It’s all about attitude and effort. That’s all it is.”

It isn’t clear whether Irving was making a direct petition to his team’s front office or simply preaching patience as one of the league’s least-experienced teamsworks through its growing pains. The Celtics’ roster is currently maxed out at 15 players, with a pair of prospects on two-way contracts; testing Irving’s hypothesis would require jettisoning one of his colleagues to make room for a veteran.

Last year’s Celtics managed a 55-27 regular-season record en route to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals – with no player older or more experienced than Horford. Those lofty results came despite Gordon Hayward and Irving both missing time with injury.

The Chris Jericho Cruise wasn’t just about wrestling and musical performances, there was also a story time session involving Jericho and his friends. Jericho was joined by Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll and Adam Page during a cruise recording of his Talk is Jericho podcast in front of a live audience.

At one point the discussion shifted to locker room leaders and Jericho told a story about CM Punk asserting himself as WWE’s locker room leader.

“Cody, do you remember this weird locker room meeting in WWE once where CM Punk said that [he was the locker room leader]? Do you remember that?” asked Jericho.

“I tried not to name names,” responded Cody.

“I’ll say it because it’s my cruise,” replied Jericho. “[Punk] said, ‘As the locker room leader…’

“You don’t lead me!” Jericho responded to a chorus of applause.

Cody noted that while some people looked at Punk as the locker room leader, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T took exception it.

“It worked on a certain demo of the locker room,” said Cody. “But there was one meeting where Booker T was in the room and Punk hit the ‘As the locker room leader, I’m telling all of you guys to pick up your trash’ and Booker literally threw his trash on the floor.

“He’s not telling me to pick up my trash,” Cody said while impersonating Booker T. “They had this whole interaction.”

Cody went on to name Kane as the only “actual” locker room leader.

“Glen (Kane) is the only actual locker room leader,” Cody explained. “Absolutely, he’s the Mayor now!”

“He is somebody that you would listen to because he’s 6’9″ 350 lbs of muscle,” Jericho stated. Jericho added that if Kane told him to pick up the trash he would do it, but wouldn’t if Punk told him to do the same.

The Seattle Mariners are considering a complete teardown this winter, league sources told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Shortly afterward, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that he’s interested in “re-imagining” the team’s roster, but said he would not tear it “down to the studs,” per Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Seattle told other teams virtually no Mariners players would be untouchable in a robust trade market, Passan reported Tuesday. If that market materializes, he added, the team is willing to take a multi-year approach to a rebuild.

“They’re going to blow it up,” a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Complicating matters are the potential returns the Mariners would receive for some of their best players.

Shortstop Jean Segura‘s no-trade clause would need to be reworked for a deal to occur. Seattle would also expect massive returns for outfielder Mitch Hanigerand pitchers James Paxton and Edwin Diaz, Passan notes.

It appears the Mariners intend to keep Haniger, Diaz, and pitcher Marco Gonzales, reports Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, who hears “everyone else is up for grabs.”

Seattle is already in discussions with the Tampa Bay Rays regarding catcher Mike Zunino, sources told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Seattle placed third in the American League West in 2018, despite finishing 16 games over .500. The Mariners haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2001.

The club has close to $132 million committed to payroll (before arbitration) for 2019.

Drew McIntyre has had quite the journey to reach his current position as an ally to Dolph Ziggler. McIntyre got his wrestling start in his native United Kingdom before joining WWE developmental as a 22-year-old. He was thought of by many as a future world champion but fizzled out in WWE after a couple of years and returned to the UK.

He then made his way back to the States and eventually rejoined WWE through NXT. There he competed against many of the Superstars who are still on the brand today. Thus, McIntyre is in the unique position to discuss which NXT Superstars could be the next ones to excel once they reach the main roster just like he did.

When I came to NXT, I knew it was the right move because NXT was in a position like it always is,” McIntyre said to Planeta Wrestling. “It’s up here [raises hand]. Then Raw and SmackDown get some of the talent. Talent move over and then it restarts again, and it was during a restart phase that I came in.

“We started building up the roster. We started building up the towns, the towns were down. We started getting more people in the shows and watched it go up and up and up. Then we got more talent in. People started finding themselves like the Velveteen Dream, and now, from top to bottom the roster is stacked.”

As for the next NXT Superstars to look out for, McIntyre had a tough time picking just one who could be a star on Raw or SmackDown.

“[NXT] is a really good place right now so it’s hard to choose, there’s so many talented people,” stated McIntyre. “Everyone talks about Velveteen Dream, that’s an obvious one. Ricochet is an obvious one. It’s just everybody.”

Velveteen Dream are two of the brightest stars, not only in NXT, but in the world. It seems as it’s just a matter of time until they get the call-up and are competing alongside or against McIntyre.