Sneaky strength of every NFL defense

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Every cloud has a silver lining, and every NFL team does something well. Even the worst team has certain plays and tendencies in which the players are productive.

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Today, we’ve gone through Football Outsiders’ extensive stat databases to point out one specific strength of each defense in 2015. (We examined each team’s offense on Monday.) Some of these splits are significant for illuminating the strengths and weaknesses of each team’s personnel. Other splits tend to oscillate wildly from year to year, and a great performance in 2015 may not indicate that a team will be equally strong in the same ways in 2016. Either way, the numbers provide an interesting window into what each team’s defense did right last season.

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Editor’s PicksUnder-the-radar strength of every NFL offense

Patriots Jerseys RB Dion Lewis dominated opponents after the catch, while Washington QB Kirk Cousins Jerseys thrived on play-action. Aaron Schatz delves into the hidden strength of each offense.

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Football Outsiders’ advanced metrics are explained here. The most important is DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), which measures success on each play compared to the league average adjusted for situation and opponent. Because it is measured on a per-play basis, it can easily be separated to measure specific splits; you’ll see a lot of those ratings below.


Charting stats such as frequency of blitzes, pass pressure and play-action come from research by ESPN Stats & Information. Other charting metrics, including cornerback coverage stats and broken tackles, come from Sports Information Solutions. You’ll be able to find many more of these stats in our book “Football Outsiders Almanac 2016,” which will be released online on Aug. 1.

AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West

NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

AFC EASTBuffalo Bills Jerseys Jerseys

Although the Bills Jerseys’ defense struggled overall (24th in DVOA), they improved to sixth in the league in the fourth quarter or overtime. This wasn’t just a case of opponents running out the clock in wins: The Bills Jerseys had a better-than-average defense in the fourth quarter whether they were winning or losing the game.

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You may remember from Monday’s article on under-the-radar offensive strengths that Miami’s offense was much better on second down than on first or third. Oddly, this also was true for the Miami defense, which ranked seventh in DVOA on second down, including fifth against the run. That’s much better than the Dolphins Jerseys’ overall ranking of 25th in defensive DVOA and 20th in DVOA against the run.

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Warriors one step from history, but miles from goal

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For their next trick, the Golden State Warriors Jerseys will play two teams at once. They’ll use 10 or 12 players (and time travel) to take on the 2015-16 Memphis Grizzlies Jerseys (and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys) on Wednesday night in Oakland (10:30 ET, ESPN) in what, for once, will literally be a showdown for the ages.

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This is for all time. Beat modern-day Memphis while the roof is undoubtedly being blown off Oracle Arena by crowd noise and the Warriors also break their tie with old-school Chicago with a regular-season record 73rd win. Lose to the slumping Grizz and Golden State and the Bulls remain connected, possibly forever, at 72-10.


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This is for the moment, too. While Warriors players have openly aimed for the record for the months, wanting to build credentials for any discussion of the best teams ever, they know any such talk vanishes without a second consecutive title — and that a second consecutive title requires being emotionally and physically ready for the playoffs as the biggest push of all. And now, on the last night of the regular season, when most teams days away from a Game 1 mummify their rosters in bubble wrap, Golden State wants to hold nothing back.

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They love expectations, want to step into pressure moments and embrace challenges before them. Even the ones when the standings are set and what really matters is being able to win the last game in June, not the last one of the regular season. Messing with the energy at this point of the calendar is a risk, but it is welcome to the Warriors, as they see an opportunity and goal that may never come again — even if it isn’t the ultimate goal.

“Obviously, we’re in the moment, enjoying the ride and the goal is to win a championship,” Stephen Curry said after Sunday’s win in San Antonio. “That’s what we’re playing for. But we put ourselves in a great position to end the season with a win and do something that no team has done in history, so that’s an amazing accomplishment.

“It’s kind of hard to step outside the locker room and understand the spotlight that comes with it or just the hoopla because we come out every night trying to win. But when you think about it, I guess, perspective, only two teams have done what we’ve done so far and hopefully Wednesday we can finish that off. It’s unbelievable.”

The cheap sports hats grind is a big deal. The Warriors have been dragging for weeks, conceding that playing with a target on their backs as defending champs — as well as the 24-0 start to the season, a 54-game home win streak (that ended April 1) and the pursuit of 73 — had taken a toll. Their focus was not as sharp as it should have been with the playoffs so close. Their energy on the court was dropping, not spiking for the possibility of four best-of-seven series.

We put ourselves in a great position to end the season with a win and do something that no team has done in history, so that’s an amazing accomplishment.

– Golden State Warriors Jerseys guard Stephen Curry

But rest when they had the chance, with the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs essentially locked up for several games, which became official after winning Sunday in San Antonio? Good one.

Stephen Curry is averaging 34.2 minutes a game for the season … and 36.6 in April.

Klay Thompson is averaging 33.4 for the season and 36.3 in April.

Harrison Barnes: 30.9 and 33.2, respectively.

Draymond Green: 34.7 and 35.5.

Andrew Bogut: 20.8 and 23.6.

The entire starting lineup has played increased minutes.

The grind is not a big deal because the Warriors know exactly what it takes to win in the playoffs. They have a champion’s maturity, the focus to close a series on the road, and the understanding that 73 victories in the regular season will mean nothing without 16 in the postseason. It would not be a surprise if the trudging through the sand of recent weeks snaps right into making quick work of the first-round opponent, the Utah Jazz Jerseys or Houston Rockets Jerseys.

And now the calendar has turned in the Warriors’ favor. They were off Monday and Tuesday, play Wednesday and will be off at least Thursday and Friday and, as the glamour team of the league, may not play until the marquee slot Sunday afternoon. The most crowded potential schedule won’t happen — starting Saturday and playing every other day the first four games — but even if it did, it would mean Golden State is in a stretch of five games in 12 days, against Memphis and Houston/Utah, opponents about 30 games back in the standings.

Then there are the Bulls from 20 years ago, of course. That’s the other opponent in Wednesday night’s time-machine special. They’re the ones even with the Warriors in the standings.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Urban Meyer: Tim Tebow might consider playing in CFL

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If Tim Tebow still has the desire to play professional football, his former college coach said his best chance to play is probably north of the border.
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Talking to Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock during NFL Network’s NFL Scouting Combine coverage in Indianapolis on Saturday, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he spoke to Tebow about the possibility of playing in the Canadian Football League.

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“I was actually in a conversation with him about going to Canada … I think if there’s a right (opportunity) I think he’d probably do it,” Meyer said.

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Tebow was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys cheap running tights ladies just before the start of the 2015 season. He finished Philly’s preseason slate with a completion percentage near 60 along with a pair of passing touchdowns and an interception. He rushed for 82 yards and another TD. He also showcased a new throwing motion and improved mechanics, but still struggled with reading defenses.


“He does have somewhat of an awkward throwing motion at times,” Meyer said. “I really thought the Chip Kelly experience (in Philadelphia) would be his opportunity. I really hope he gets his foot in the door.”

Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, helped Florida win two national titles under Meyer before being selected 25th overall by the Denver Broncos Jerseys in the 2010 NFL Draft. He hasn’t played in a NFL regular-season game since his final contest with the New York Jets Jerseys in December 2012.

For years, the CFL has been a rumored destination for Tebow. Is the time right for a little northern exposure?

Depleted Canadiens set for showdown with Capitals

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BROSSARD, Quebec — It could have been the ultimate Eastern Conference showdown.

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The Montreal Canadiens are hoping it still will sports authority jerseys be.


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When the Canadiens host the Washington Capitals at Bell Centre on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, RDS, CITYM), it will be the first game between the two Eastern powers and a potential preview of the Eastern Conference Final.

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“That’s probably going to be our toughest challenge of the season, in my opinion anyway,” Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban Jerseys said.

Except these Canadiens are already in the midst of their toughest challenge not only of the season, but perhaps of the past three seasons.

With goaltender Carey Price Jerseys out a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury and forward Brendan Gallagher Jerseys gone for a minimum of five more with two fractured fingers on his left hand, the Canadiens are missing two of their best players heading into a showdown with one of the hottest teams in the NHL.

The core group on the Canadiens has never had to deal with two significant, long-term injuries like this, and the Capitals might be the best opportunity for them to prove they will be able to overcome it.

“There’s no sympathy from any teams when you’re going through injuries; everybody goes through it, and the difference is how you handle it,” Subban said. “The teams that handle going through adversity during the season well are usually the teams at the end of the season that are at the top of the standings or eventually go on to win championships or go on deep playoff runs.

“So for us, we’re looking at it as an opportunity for us to continue to get better.”

The idea that the Canadiens would be lost without Price is one his teammates have expressed frustration with this season, and one they have done a good job of proving to be false so far.

“I think guys in the room are annoyed that they keep saying it’s all Carey, Carey. Obviously, he’s the best goalie in the world, and I don’t think we have to apologize for him being on our team,” forward Devante Smith-Pelly Jerseys said. “But at the same time, we believe in the players on the ice as well and we believe that we’re one of the better teams.”

The Canadiens are 7-2-3 in the 12 games Price was not available because of his lower-body injury.

Montreal is second in the League in goals scored per game (3.42), fourth in power-play efficiency (23.9 percent), tied for fifth in shots on goal per game (30.9), tied for eighth in shots against per game (28.7) and sixth in 5-on-5 shot attempts percentage (52.22 percent), all categories that have nothing to do with who is playing in goal.

The man who will be, 25-year-old rookie Mike Condon, is trying to handle his sudden importance with a level head. But this will be his first regular-season game against the Capitals after facing them once in the preseason, and Condon admits he is eager to see Washington captain Alex Ovechkin Jerseys coming at him.

“Preseason games are different than regular-season games; it’s going to be fun to see an Alex Ovechkin Jerseys one-timer in a real game,” Condon said. “So I’m looking forward to it.”

The showdown in goal is probably what would have made this matchup so compelling if Price weren’t injured, but Condon is just as excited to face Braden Holtby as he sports authority jerseys is to see Ovechkin for the first time.

“You give the Capitals a couple of goals and they’re going to be hard to beat,” Condon said. “They have a lot of offensive firepower. We saw it in the preseason, so I got a little taste there, and Braden Holtby’s a top-10 goalie in this league. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s going to be fun. You want to play against the best.”

In fact, all of Condon’s teammates also want to play against the best. They want to prove that losing Price and Gallagher will not derail what has been a tremendous start to the season, and that they can hold the fort long enough for them to come back without losing much ground in the Eastern Conference standings.

Since the extent of Price’s injury was announced Monday, this game will be the best opportunity for the Canadiens to do that.

“This is a great team that is playing very well,” coach Michel Therrien said. “The adversity we’re facing as a team and the character of our players shows that we want to be considered winners.

“So [Thursday] is a big opportunity for everyone.”

Outspoken cornerback Josh Norman will be NFL analyst for Fox this season

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Josh Norman Jerseys takes on all comers. And he’s not just taking the field for the Washington Redskins Jerseys Jerseys, this new team, this season. He’s adding television to his curriculum vitae.

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Per The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan, Norman will be a regular contributor on Fox’s NFL coverage. His one-year contract states he’ll have a minimum of 10 appearances this season. Most of the sessions will be done from his home in Virginia, although Norman will travel to the Fox studios during the Redskins Jerseys’ Week 9 bye in the first week of November.

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Josh Norman Jerseys (left), who has sparred with Odell Beckham Jerseys (right), will be an NFL analyst on Fox this season (AP) More

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Norman watched Marshall earn two sports Emmy nominations with Showtime as an analyst on “Inside the NFL,” and the ever-competitive Redskins Jerseys cornerback told friends he wanted to double Marshall’s nominations with four.


Oh, and Norman — one of the more outspoken and bold players in the NFL — agreed to do it without his coaches knowing about it … although they likely are aware of it by now.

“I haven’t told Coach [Jay] Gruden or [defensive coordinator Joe] Barry yet, but I’ll give them a nice shout out on TV,” Norman says. “It’s not at all going to be a distraction. If you keep your focus on you and not anybody else, you’re going to be fine. I’m going to be me on Sunday.”

The Redskins Jerseys pounced on Norman, 28, who was named the Carolina Panthers Jerseys Jerseys’ franchise player this offseason — and then summarily made a free agent when the Panthers Jerseys rescinded Norman’s tag, getting nothing in return for him.

This offseason has been a whirlwind for Norman, who refused to get into a war of words with rival Odell Beckham Jerseys of the New York Giants Jerseys Jerseys, the receiver with whom Norman sparred on the field late in the 2015 season in an ugly display. Norman won’t have to wait long to see his nemesis on the field — the Redskins Jerseys and Giants Jerseys first play in Week 3 in New York, the site of last season’s melee, and then again in Week 17 in what could be a crucial division matchup for NFC East supremacy.

Norman’s role might be a trend of more players seeking active media duty during the season. It’s a potentially slippery slope, with Fox giving a player a forum in their NFL coverage — but what happens if Norman does something this season that opens him up to criticism? Will the network treat him as any other player?

If, say, Beckham keeps up with his taunting of Norman, Fox would be wrong not to ask him about it — and could Norman resist firing back at that point?

Also, there’s the concern about whether Norman struggles to play up to his massive contract (five-year deal worth $75 million, with $50 million guaranteed) or the team gets off to a poor start. Norman would be expected to stick with his media obligations, and it would be a bad look if he asked to back out at any point before the 10th appearance.

It’s a fascinating development, and it could make for some great TV, but one that comes with some concerns.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Ride with Mike Tomlin through Virginia streets that shaped him

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HAMPTON, Va. — The full scope of Mike Tomlin’s personality won’t be found at Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys Jerseys news conferences or on sidelines. On the job, Tomlin is unmoved by perception or circumstance, or at least that’s what the stone-cold facial expressions indicate.

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But this is Hampton, Virginia, in the summertime, and Hampton’s prodigal coaching son eats noodles out of a brown paper bag and gives everyone he sees on the streets bear hugs.

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“They think they know the coach of the Steelers Jerseys. That’s just what I do. You know?” said Mike Tomlin. “When I’m home, I’m home.”

Tomlin hops in the driver’s seat of a Ford Edge rental car with the bulky brown bag, the contents of which can be found only at home — “yock-a-mein,” a concoction of noodles, beef and various hot sauces.

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At first, Tomlin calls it “urban Chinese delicacy.” Then he corrects himself.

“But what it is, is project food,” he said. “You’d get a box of it when I was a kid, $2, and that’s two meals. You eat half the box, put it in the fridge, and eat the other half.”

Every July, Tomlin leaves the intensity in Pittsburgh for an absurdly hot Virginia weekend in support of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation football camp. For an hour last week, Tomlin guided ESPN on a tour through the streets that shaped him.

As Tomlin whips through a slice of eastern Virginia, he’s addressing cameras and also his teenage son, who’s quietly along for the ride. Before crafting this distinctive career — including two Super Bowls and 92 wins in nine seasons — he lived the way most other kids he knew: raised by a single mother, minimal contact with his father, sharing one bathroom with several family members, clinging to the belief he would be “special.”

Virginia is where the “loud and brash” Tomlin comes out, brother Ed Tomlin says, because of all those years with a sharp mouth as the smaller kid at the park. Here, he’s an extension of a community before being a coach.

“They think they know the coach of the Steelers Jerseys. That’s just what I do. You know?” said Tomlin, 44, sporting black from hat to sneakers. “When I’m home, I’m home.”

‘We can ride around a little bit. I can show you guys a few things’

Tomlin openly acknowledges he doesn’t do stuff like this. But once he commits, he drives as if he’s controlling a practice, with thoughts and movements working together in scattered form. Tomlin will drive around until he sees something he likes, which usually cues an impromptu hop-out.

Each curb reveals a piece of Tomlin’s history. Over there, that stretch of blue behind the trees, that was the segregated pool.

Well, the Mallory Pool wasn’t technically segregated when Tomlin lived at his nearby grandmother’s house in the late ’70s. But in his mind it was. It was understood black kids weren’t exactly welcome. Plus, the membership prices were outrageous.

“Every day we’d walk past it and we’d see other kids swimming and playing in that pool, but it wasn’t us,” Tomlin said. “It’s funny for me to see black kids leaving this pool, it really is. … I learned how to swim in college. That’s just how it was.”

Steelers Jerseys coach Mike Tomlin lived in this home with his mother, siblings and grandmother as a child. Jeremy Fowler/

To break up the summer months, Tomlin’s mother, Julia, forced him to read all the classics: Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, “Gulliver’s Travels.” His friends thought that was weird and so did Tomlin, one of the only kids he knew with an encyclopedia set.

“If you wanted to hustle my mom, hustle her on some education,” Tomlin said. “One [encyclopedia] came every month or so. Like, next month ‘S’ is coming — that’s going to be big!”

The books worked. Tomlin eventually became an honor-roll student, even if he wasn’t crazy about his mom putting the bumper sticker acknowledgment on the car — for street-cred reasons.

‘C’mon, let’s go. I have more to show you’

Tomlin’s hunger for strategy was evident at an early age. When playing spades with Ed, who’s almost four years older, Tomlin got his mom to help on the sly because she was good with numbers. Every day in the summer, the Tomlin boys got dropped off at the Peninsula Boys Club, where kids could earn “bargain bucks” for winning at foosball or basketball. Bucks equaled prizes, such as tennis balls or hot dogs. Reading books earned bucks, too. That’s how Tomlin found his loophole.

“While we were outside competing, he’d be in the air-conditioned library collecting bargain bucks,” Ed Tomlin said. “It was a win-win proposition for him.”

Playing with older kids taught Mike Tomlin how to get creative, which he’s reminded of as he pulls up to the rows of red-bricked buildings, his mom’s first apartment complex. Tomlin’s mother left her husband when Tomlin was a baby, and the family lived with grandma until they saved up enough to move out.

Tomlin wasn’t allowed to venture past the muddy playground with a rusted slide and a greenish puddle underneath the uneven swings. Mom watched intently from the window while folding laundry. Tomlin learned to launch himself over the puddle for fun, and sometimes he got clearance to play in the neighborhood game of “kill-a-man” football, using shifty moves to avoid getting clobbered.

Through a pair of aviators, Tomlin surveys the land and savors the brick that hasn’t aged, the rust that survived decades of summers without him.

“And, man, we were proud of this place. Man, it probably don’t look like much now, but at the time, it was something,” Tomlin said. “You always knew when people were short on food because they’d show up to your place at dinner time and wouldn’t leave.” He laughs. “You know what I mean? So it was a cooperative thing of families taking care of one another, a bunch of single mothers and things like that.”

‘Man, I’ve been waiting to meet you, bro’

Tomlin reminds his son he’s recognized in Hampton because he has come here all his life, not for the Steelers Jerseys cache. He received the same love while he was the defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati. And it’s not as if Tomlin’s the only famous football persona from the area. Hampton Roads, comprised of seven cities, including Virginia Beach, has produced serious talent, from Bruce Smith to Allen Iverson to Michael Vick Jerseys.

Still, locals recognize Tomlin’s gravitational pull. He rallies people. He’s a pillar from a football leadership standpoint.

“When he walked in a room, even as a youngster, he had a way of making you feel special,” said James “Poo” Johnson, who spent more than five decades helping run the Boys & Girls Clubs in the area. “He just has this energy to him. Now, he wants to make youngsters aware this is a community and you can uplift it.”

Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Mike Tomlin loved visiting Philly Joe’s hoagie shop. Jeremy Fowler/

That energy was on display for a stop at Philly Joe’s, which apparently serves the “Best Cheese Steaks in VA.” Philly Joe was like family. Most days, Joe would give a young Tomlin a bag of food with orders to take it back to Mom.

Tomlin never met today’s Joe’s employee, who goes by Johnny Trouble. But after two minutes, Tomlin has Trouble rapping for him. Asking him if he wanted to perform for the cameras did the trick.

“Let’s hear it — you better spit,” said Tomlin, whose autographed picture rests in the corner, next to a picture of chicken wings.

Trouble grabs his microphone set in the corner and freestyles something varied but energetic. Tomlin keeps a slow head bob and an ear-to-ear smile rolling. Trouble gives him a business card.

“My dude! Much love! Y’all be easy!” Tomlin said.

‘Hey, welcome to my life’

Over at Harland Court, where red-and-white shingles and a brown towel hang from his grandma’s old house, Tomlin takes to the street as if he never left. He hugs a cousin, then debates with a neighbor about where home plate used to be in cul-de-sac baseball games.


Tomlin spends a private moment with Grandma at the front door. She calls him “My Michael.”

“She always told me I was [special],” Tomlin later said. “She convinced me of it.” These were the influences. Often, the closest his dad got was a city center. He died of heart failure about four years ago.

Tomlin turns and faces the cameras with his grandma, then blurts out: “They wonder why I’m so secretive, ’cause they just don’t need to know me. They’ll never get to know me unless they meet you guys! You know what I’m saying?”

Once back in the car, Tomlin separates Virginia Mike and Coach Mike.

“That’s work. And I treat it as such — that’s more of my mentality than anything,” Tomlin said about his job. “I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me and I take it very seriously. That’s work. And I love it. I appreciate it and obviously I’d do it for a lot less. I just want to bring the same approach to it that I watched my parents and my grandparents bring to their work. My family members, they worked in the shipyard, that was work — steel-toe boots on a daily basis.”

Tomlin pulls up to the Hampton Convention Center, where a camp rep awaits. Trip is up. Tomlin is the key figure at the Youth Foundation’s meet-and-greet event to celebrate the year’s fundraising. The DJ plays Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” as Tomlin takes the mic.

“You know what it is,” said Tomlin, pumping his fist to Khalifa’s chorus.

The music stops, and Tomlin starts a short but timely message.

“It’s a beautiful thing to come home and fellowship, to acknowledge the blessings bestowed upon us,” Tomlin said. “We have a lot to talk about, don’t we? In light of the recent events in our nation, we have a lot to talk about, don’t we?”

Many “yes” approvals are audible after that last line.

Halfway through the event, the autograph line gets thick.

Time to be Coach again.

And to think he left the yock in the car.

Ben McAdoo will continue to welcome Coughlin in Giants facility

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Former Giants coach Tom Coughlin is still a recurring guest at the team’s facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey and new head coach Ben McAdoo says he’s fine with it.


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“As long as Tom is around, he’s a resource and we’re going to welcome him,” McAdoo said at the NFC Coaches Breakfast Wednesday in Boca Raton. According to ESPN, McAdoo later added that he did not think Coughlin’s presence at the facility would be awkward once players started coming regularly.

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Since McAdoo would never say it and probably can’t, we’ll say it for him: It will be awkward. It will absolutely — 100 percent — be awkward. Coughlin was a player favorite whose ouster sparked more emotion from quarterback Eli Manning Jerseys than two thrilling Super Bowl victories. He commanded that building from the signs on the walls to the time on the clock, which he insisted be five minutes early.

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Coughlin helped build the house the Giants currently stay in, and he isn’t ready to retire yet.

Earlier this month, Daily News columnist Gary Myers noted that Coughlin is using the team’s facility to work out at least once or twice a week. While at the scouting combine this year, Coughlin told Bob Glauber of Newsday that he also gets an awkward feel authentic sports jerseys when he returns to the building. He has not accepted an offer from the Giants to return as a consultant as of Wednesday and is mulling several options in football.

“It’s not as comfortable, honestly, but I don’t interrupt anybody or disturb anything or disrupt anything,” he said, via Newsday, back in February. “Usually I see Ben when I’m in there, and I get a workout in and visit others in the building.”

There are myriad issues with replacing a legend and McAdoo was fully prepared for the constant comparisons to Coughlin when he took over. But its safe to say he wasn’t quite prepared for this. In the meantime, he seems to be handling a difficult situation well.

Steelers GM: Big Ben has ‘3 to 4’ prime years in tank

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The Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys have enjoyed a decade of elite play from Ben Roethlisberger Jerseys. The team isn’t expecting the train to come to a halt any time soon.
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“Ben’s a franchise quarterback,” said general manager Kevin Colbert of his 34-year-old passer, according to “There are a few that have two (or more Super Bowls since 2004), but he’s one of those few. We’re very fortunate.

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“We still have, you know, we think three to four more good years in his prime. We’re excited to see what he can do in that time period and what we can do to help him be successful.”

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Roethlisberger isn’t one of those guys who can complain his team hasn’t made a push to take advantage of his prime. Even with Martavis Bryant Jerseys on the shelf with another suspension, Colbert and the Steelers have surrounded their quarterback with enough talent to make Pittsburgh one of the league’s very best offenses.


Of course, a lot of that potential points directly back to Roethlisberger, who has never been better. Over the last two seasons, Roethlisberger has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 8,890 yards, 8.3 yards per attempt and 53 touchdowns against just 25 interceptions.

Some concern should be paid to the beating Roethlisberger has taken over the years. He missed four games last season and it’s fair to wonder if his body will hold up deep into his thirties. The Steelers will have no problem rolling the dice to find out.

Twins’ Byung Ho Park ready to begin transition

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Byung Ho Park isn’t aiming low when it comes to which Major League pitchers he’d like to face.

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“I won’t have the chance this year, but I want to face [Clayton] Kershaw,” the recently-signed Twins slugger told reporters in his native South Korea during his farewell news conference Wednesday before he heads to the United States.


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The Twins and Dodgers aren’t scheduled to meet this season. If Park arrives in the Majors with a bang, perhaps he and Kershaw could meet in the All-Star Game in July. Twins fans, of course, would be more than happy to see them meet in the World Series.

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• Twins hope Park follows in Kang’s footsteps

At this point, however, Park is keeping his goals guarded.

“It’s a fact that MLB has the highest level of baseball players, and I do have big dreams,” Park said in Korean, his comments translated into English through Jae Woong Han. “My goal is to enjoy and have a satisfying season with the Minnesota Twins Jerseys.” Twins welcome Byung Ho Park Twins welcome Byung Ho Park to MinnesotaGo behind the scenes with Byung Ho Park at Target Field

Park, who signed a four-year, $12 million contract with the Twins a month ago, has been working to make the transition a little easier. He said he has been working on his English and can already understand a bit of the language on his own, with the hope of someday being able to speak without a translator. At the plate, he said he has changed his mechanics to be better prepared for hard-throwing pitchers, having leaned back in his stance in the past. He heard from Twins All-Star Joe Mauer Jerseys, who offered support to help him adjust.

The next step might be the chilly conditions of early spring in the upper Midwest.

“When I went there, people asked me how I feel about Minnesota weather,” Park told the Korean media, “and it was similar to Korean weather right at that time. They said it hasn’t even started. [Manager] Paul Molitor said the Twins have played well no matter how bad the weather was. I know it will be cold, but I will adjust and will prepare.”

It’ll be among the many differences Park will notice when he steps out onto Target Field for the first time in April. At least from a hitting standpoint, he sports jerseys cheap said the ballpark dimensions felt familiar.

“No other word can describe it: Beautiful,” he said. “Left and center had similar distance with Jamsil Stadium, except that the fence was a straight line rather than curved shape, which made me think that it could be slightly shorter than Jamsil. That was simply my impression. I will get to know it better once I start to hit and practice. I am excited to hit some balls at the field and show the Twins I can do what is expected of me.”

The expectations aren’t light. Park homered 105 times and drove in 270 runs over the last two years with the Nexen Heroes in the Korean Baseball Organization. He averaged 42 homers a year over his four full seasons as an everyday player.

The homer totals might not translate, but he’s hoping to hit enough to keep Korean fans tuned in to games that will be broadcast early in the morning. It also would help for his Korean nickname to carry over.

“Few people from the Twins know about my Korean nickname: Park Bang,” he said. “I don’t think that nickname is bad at all.”

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck’s Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments

Familia escapes jam in 9th, Mets beat Cubs 2-1

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CHICAGO (AP) — Jeurys Familia Jerseys Jerseys lost control, but not the lead, and kept the Mets Jerseys ahead and his consecutive save streak intact.

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New York’s closer escaped a bases-loaDe Jerseysd jam with a game-ending double pLa Jerseysy after Rene Rivera Jerseys drove in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the top of the ninth, lifting New York over the Chicago Cubs Jerseys Jerseys 2-1 on Tuesday night.

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Familia Jerseys walked Addison Russell Jerseys Jerseys and Miguel Montero Jerseys Jerseys to start the ninth, then Javier Baez Jerseys Jerseys reached on a bunt single when third baseman Jose Reyes Jerseys Jerseys threw wiDe Jerseys to first. Pinch-hitter Matt Szczur Jerseys Jerseys hit a grounDe Jerseysr to first baseman James Loney Jerseys, and Loney Jerseys threw out Russell Jerseys at the pLa Jerseyste.

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Kris BRyan Jerseyst Jerseys then hit into a 5-4-3 double pLa Jerseysy to give Familia Jerseys his 33rd save in 33 chances this season and 49th straight dating to Aug. 1, 2015.

”I just always try in a situation like that, to throw my sinker down and let them make contact with a groundball and believe in myself,” Familia Jerseys said. ”I just try to believe and think I can do it.”

Familia Jerseys’s teammates kept their cool, too

”I know Familia Jerseys is going to do it,” catcher Rivera Jerseys said. ”I know he has been there before. After the first couple of batters, I went out there and gave him support.”

Rivera Jerseys had the third single in the ninth – following hits by Loney Jerseys and Asdrubal Cabrera Jerseys Jerseys – off Hector Rondon Jerseys Jerseys (1-2) as the Mets Jerseys beat the Cubs Jerseys for the fifth time in six games after sweeping them in La Jerseysst year’s NL Championship Series.

Hansel Robles Jerseys (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the win.

All-Star right-Hand Jerseyse Jerseysrs Jake Arrieta Jerseys Jerseys of the Cubs Jerseys and Noah SynDe Jerseysrgaard Jerseys of the Mets Jerseys returned to dominant form in no De Jerseyscisions.

Arrieta Jerseys retired 14 of the first 15 Mets Jerseys hitters, including 12 straight following Yoenis CespeDe Jerseyss Jerseys’ single in the first. He alLowe Jerseysd one run and struck out eight in seven innings, his longest outing since June 11. La Jerseysst year’s NL Cy Young Jerseys Award winner got back on track after allowing four or more earned runs in three consecutive starts for the first time since 2012.

”That was a little more like it,” Arrieta Jerseys said. ”I was really aggressive in the strike zone and I was using my off-speed pretty much throughout the whole game.”

SynDe Jerseysrgaard gave up one unearned run on seven hits through 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight before being repLa Jerseysced by Jerry Blevins Jerseys Jerseys after throwing 105 pitches.

SynDe Jerseysrgaard had his velocity early, reaching 100 mph in the first inning, and was able to escape jams in the first and second. He left in the fifth inning of his previous start, on July 8, with arm fatigue after allowing three runs in a loss to Washington.

”It was great to come in here and squeeze out a win against their ace,” SynDe Jerseysrgaard said. ”My arm felt really loose and fluid even La Jerseyster in the game.”

New York’s Michael Conforto Jerseys maDe Jerseys his first start, in right field, since being recalled from Triple-A La Jerseyss Vegas on Sunday and went 0 for 3. He had pinch-hit on Monday and singled.

Arrieta Jerseys doubled with two out in the fourth, then was thrown out at the pLa Jerseyste when he tried to score on Tommy La Jerseys StelLa Jerseys Jerseys’s single. At first, Arrieta Jerseys was ruled safe by umpire Eric Cooper, but he was called out following a viDe Jerseyso review.


Mets Jerseys manager Terry Collins Jerseys is concerned about overloading Conforto too soon after his recall, so he started the 23-year-old in right field and Curtis GranDe Jerseysrson Jerseys in center on Tuesday with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field. Conforto May Jerseys see time in center in the future, though.

Conforto got off to a nice start with the Mets Jerseys but was sent down on June 25 after a prolonged slump.

”This kid got sent out because he wasn’t hitting,” Collins Jerseys said before the game. ”He gets his swing back and comes up and the first thing that hits him in the face is to pLa Jerseysy center field. So we’re going to ease him into it.”



Both Collins Jerseys and Chicago manager Joe Maddon loaDe Jerseysd their starting lineups with lefties against two of the major’s premier right-Hand Jerseyse Jerseysd starters.

Maddon called out the split against SynDe Jerseysrgaard as ”enormously different.” Righties entered hitting .210 against him, lefties were batting .282. Against Arrieta Jerseys, righties were hitting .182, lefties were at .215.


Mets Jerseys: The team said RHP Matt Harvey Jerseys was resting comfortably after having season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet surgery in St. Louis on Monday.

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Cubs Jerseys: All-Star 2B Ben Zobrist Jerseys Jerseys batted fourth after getting two days off. … OFs De Jerseysxter Fowler Jerseys Jerseys (right hamstring strain) and Jorge Soler Jerseys Jerseys (left hamstring strain) had the start of their rehab stints at Triple-A pushed back a day when the Iowa Cubs Jerseys were rained out. Maddon said both were close to returning, but he ”didn’t know exactly.”


RHP Bartolo Colon Jerseys Jerseys (8-4, 3.11) squares off against Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks Jerseys Jerseys (8-6, 2.41) in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Hendricks Jerseys alLowe Jerseysd just three hits in six shutout innings in his La Jerseysst start against Texas on Friday and has a 1.70 ERA in his La Jerseysst 11 outings.