Best of ‘Hard Knocks’: The human element of the Browns’ final cuts

The bulk of the show dealt with four players fighting for a job: Defensive linemen Nate Orchard and Carl Nassib, tight end Devon Cajuste and quarterback Brogan Roback. The stories humanized all the players, showing Orchard with his two young children, Roback with his girlfriend and Cajuste with his father.

Orchard actually got some instruction at one point from second-year end Myles Garrett, who marveled upon discovering that Orchard had different stances for run plays and pass plays.

“You ever try just having the same stance for both?” Garrett said.

“I haven’t,” Orchard said. “I should try it though.”8

When Orchard admitted it might take him a little longer if he had a run stance for a pass play, Garrett opined he only had 2½ seconds to get to the quarterback.stitched nfl jerseys cheap

Cajuste’s heartwarming story of the close bond with his father was central to the story. Gregory Cajuste could not make the trip to Detroit for the team’s final preseason game because of his heart issues. But he watched intently on TV.

Cajuste got off to a good start against the Lions, but late in the first half he rolled both of his ankles. It had to affect him, as he did not finish as strong as he started.

The impact of making the team or getting cut was evident, as Gregory Cajuste lived and died with each play. Likewise, Roback’s girlfriend, Ally Goff, wept at the sight of his touchdown pass.

Orchard did not make the team despite returning an interception for a touchdown in the preseason finale. Roback had an impressive scoring strike, but he also was released in the first wave of cuts. Nassib forced a fumble and made the initial cut, but when the Browns picked up another player at his position on waivers, he was released. Cajuste was released in the final cuts.

Players handled their release with class. All said they would stick with it and continue to pursue their dream of playing in the NFL.

When Mayfield told Cajuste on their way to the field in Detroit with Haley to “treat the ball like one of your rocks,” Haley chimed in with: “Block like you’re blocking for one of your rocks.”

During the game, Haley paced the sidelines and said: “Pray to the rock gods.”cheap authentic stitched nfl jerseys

It was good, but not as good as Haley earlier in the series telling Zane Gonzalez after a field goal: “Nice job, you f—ing kicker.”

Jurgen Klopp is under no pressure to rush Fabinho into his Liverpool team

With two-thirds of Liverpool’s midfield failing to shine in Saturday’s battling 2-1 win at Leicester City, it was almost inevitable that there would be a clamour from some supporters for summer recruit Fabinho to be brought into the side sooner rather than later.

Jurgen Klopp, however, is seemingly in no hurry to throw his £43.7 million signing from Monaco in at the deep end, and he’s absolutely right not to do so. The Brazilian can’t even make the substitutes bench at present, let alone the starting lineup. Eyebrows have been raised at that, but it makes perfect sense.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Klopp can only name 18 players, and he has six midfield players competing for three spots — seven if you count the versatile Swiss army knife Xherdan Shaqiri, who might prove to be a useful midfield option based on his showings in preseason. They can’t all be involved, so someone has to miss out, and it’s hardly surprising that it’s the man least familiar with the system.

Why should Fabinho just walk straight into a side that reached the Champions League final last season? What has he done to deserve a spot ahead of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum or the skipper Jordan Henderson? The answer is nothing. That’s why he’s also behind Adam Lallana and Naby Keita. For the moment, at least.

Just because Fabinho cost a lot of money doesn’t mean he has to play immediately, and just because he isn’t playing immediately shouldn’t make anybody question the wisdom of the signing. There are some managers out there who would not be brave enough to sit such an expensive signing, but price tags are irrelevant to Klopp.10

There is plenty of time for Fabinho to make his mark, and being held back until he is ready will do him no harm. In fact, it should help him. It certainly helped others, including Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Reds are in a strong position currently, which means that Klopp has the luxury of being patient with Fabinho. That patience paid off last year with both Robertson and Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of whom needed time to learn the intricacies and nuances of Klopp’s system before they were unleashed on unsuspecting opponents.

Robertson may have been ready long before his opportunity eventually came along, but the newly announced Scotland captain had to wait until Alberto Moreno suffered an ankle injury in December before getting a run in the team. He’s been an automatic selection ever since.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s situation was a little different. He was eased into it gradually with some appearances off the bench and the occasional start in cup competitions. Initially he was mostly deployed in the somewhat less complex wide position, but when he was fully versed in Liverpool’s high press, he was given the opportunity to play in the midfield role he had always wanted. He was positively thriving until suffering an injury in March.

Perhaps like Robertson, Fabinho will also have to bide his time and wait for someone to get injured. That’s a throwback to how it used to be when the Reds were at their most successful back in the ’70s and ’80s. New signings would often not be seen for months, sometimes even years.

Mexico interim boss Ricardo Ferretti won’t betray Tigres for national team job

Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti began his second stint as interim coach of the Mexican national team on Monday, but stressed his contract with Tigres impedes him from taking over on a permanent basis.

The Brazilian has previously stated he doesn’t want to be put forward as a candidate for the national team, even with the 64-year-old enjoying widespread support for the position.

“The reason [for not wanting to be Mexico coach] is that last month I started a new three-year contract [with Tigres],” said Ferretti in a news conference on Monday. “Continuity in a Mexican team is almost impossible and Tigres have given it to me and with with these three years I’ll complete 11 years in the same institution.

“Do you remember if that has ever happened in Mexican football? That loyalty between us is very important,” he continued. “Every coach would like to be here in my place, managing the national team, but they’d also want what I have in Tigres.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It’d be betraying [Tigres], stabbing them [in the back] after the institution supported me in the bad and the good times.”9

“I don’t have any doubt that this team will do well, I like coming up against tough opponents and for the players to start getting experience,” he said, adding that the young group should be given time to develop and not be too focused on results in friendlies.

“What I hope for is that over these six games the youngsters are able to convince whoever comes in that they deserve to be here.”

Established Europe-based players like Andres Guardado, Javier Hernandez and Hector Herrera were left out of this current squad, with Ferretti suggesting that he already knows what they are capable of.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“Naturally they are great players who will always be welcome, depending on the need to call them up or not,” said the former Pumas manager. “We already know them and using them again would be more of the same, I don’t have any doubts they’d do well.”

Indians’ Terry Francona: Positive report on Josh Donaldson’s health

Josh Donaldson experienced flight issues from Florida on his first official day as a member of the Indians.

His on-field arrival may be delayed as well.

The 2015 AL MVP did not get to Progressive Field until just before the start of the game Saturday night, a day after Cleveland acquired the free-swinging third baseman in a trade with Toronto — a deal the AL Central leaders hope propels them to the World Series.

“He can hit the ball really hard,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “When he’s in that batter’s box, he’s one of the guys who, you think, `Uh oh.’ Now we can be cheering for him. That’s what I told him.”new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Donaldson, whose sometimes turbulent tenure during four seasons with the Blue Jays ended late Friday night, put on his new No. 27 uniform — he can’t wear No. 20 because Frank Robinson’s jersey is retired in Cleveland — and joined his teammates in the dugout as they played the Tampa Bay Rays.10

A new home, a fresh start.

Donaldson has been limited to just 36 games this season because of an assortment of injuries, most recently a calf strain that has lingered, sidelining him for three months. But the 32-year-old, when healthy, is one of the league’s most dangerous hitters and the Indians are eager to add him to their lineup.

“He’s an MVP-type player,” Francona said, “a middle-of-the-order bat that, a guy that when he was on the other team, I used to joke with (third-base coach Brad Mills) Millsy, `I hope he swings so hard he hurts his back.’ He kinda puts a little fear into you when he gets in the batter’s box.

“He plays with an edge. He plays hard. Again, there’s no crystal ball, and we know that. We know there’s some risk there, but it’s got a chance to make us better.”cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

Francona met with the team’s medical staff Saturday and received a positive report on Donaldson. He’s confident there’s time left in the season for him to get ready.

Francona did not want to discuss any of the team’s plans over the next few weeks with Donaldson before talking to him personally.

In the deal, the Indians also received $2.7 million to cover most of the $3.7 million remaining on Donaldson’s $23 million salary. Because he was traded, he will be a free agent after the season and the Blue Jays will not receive any other compensation.

Brewers bring aboard Gio Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson on busy day

The Milwaukee Brewers were active Friday, hoping a flurry of trades would bolster their lineup over the season’s final month and then potentially into the playoffs.

The Brew Crew made three deals, including one for veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals, and another for veteran slugger Curtis Granderson of the Toronto Blue Jays.

A player must be on a club by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason. Milwaukee is four games behind Chicago in the NL Central after Friday night’s 4-1 win against the Nationals and currently holds the second NL wild-card spot.

Gonzalez is 7-11 with a 4.57 ERA in 27 starts this year. He has a 6.53 ERA since the start of June, which ranks 73rd out of 74 qualified starters during that span, ahead of only the Texas Rangers’ Bartolo Colon (7.01).cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Gonzalez has a 6.75 ERA in five career starts at Miller Park, including a 9.82 ERA in three starts there over the past three seasons.8

“I think everyone needs a fresh start now and then,” Gonzalez said Friday night in Washington, where he watched the Nationals lose to the Brewers 4-1. “It’s unfortunate I put myself in this situation, and now it’s time I get myself out of it. Milwaukee took a shot with me, and I’m going to do my best to make it happen.”

Gonzalez, who will be a free agent after the season, spent his past seven seasons in Washington and ranks first in franchise history in wins (86), WAR (21.4) and strikeouts (1,215). A two-time All-Star, he is 124-97 with a 3.71 ERA in 11 major league seasons overall.
In exchange for Gonzalez, Washington gets back minor league catcher/first baseman KJ Harrison and infielder Gilbert Lara from the Brewers. Harrison, a third-round pick in 2017 out of Oregon State, was hitting .228 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs for Class A Wisconsin. Lara, of the Dominican Republic, was hitting .249 with 45 runs scored at Wisconsin.

Milwaukee also received $250,000 in international slot money as part of the deal.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Granderson, meanwhile, is batting .243 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in 103 games for Toronto this year. A three-time All-Star, he signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the team in the offseason.

Granderson has 330 homers in 15 major league seasons and has played in 57 postseason games, batting .227 with nine homers.

No time to gamble: Ravens play it safe by keeping Robert Griffin III

It’s now well known that keeping Robert Griffin III means the Baltimore Ravens are carrying three quarterbacks for the first time since 2009.

Perhaps the more relevant streak is this: The Ravens avoided relying on a rookie quarterback as Joe Flacco’s primary backup, which hasn’t happened since Tyrod Taylor in 2011.nike jerseys nfl cheap

At that time, Flacco was one of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history. Baltimore was going to the playoffs every season.

The Ravens just couldn’t take that same risk this season, even though some believe Lamar Jackson can handle the No. 2 quarterback duties.10

Flacco is no longer threatening Brett Favre’s consecutive-games streak, battling injuries in each of his past three seasons. The Ravens aren’t a perennial postseason team anymore — they haven’t made the playoffs since 2014.

Given the circumstances, the safe bet was keeping Griffin. He has more experience than Jackson, and he has been more consistent than Jackson throughout training camp and preseason games.

It was surely tempting to continue Baltimore’s trend of keeping two quarterbacks after Jackson completed 64 percent of his passes and posted a 103.2 passer rating in his past two preseason games. But, if Flacco was injured again, does anyone know which Jackson the Ravens would get? Would it be the one who put up dazzling numbers at the end of the preseason, or would it be the quarterback who couldn’t complete more than half of his passes in each of the first three games?cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

With so much riding on this season, Baltimore simply can’t gamble on the most important position in the game.

Griffin was poised and efficient every time he stepped on the field. He continually moved the offense, not looking like a quarterback who was out of the league last season. He didn’t get many reps throughout the entire week of practice.

“There’s no doubt that you want Robert Griffin on your team,” coach John Harbaugh said after Thursday’s preseason finale. “He makes our quarterback room better and stronger. He looks like a starter to me. He has been a starter. Certainly a backup in this league, without question. I mean, that’s not even close. I would like to have him on the team.”

Redskins still contemplating who will back up Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson will be on the Washington Redskins’ 53-man roster. Beyond that, anything remains possible with the Redskins’ running backs.

Thursday’s preseason finale highlighted the issue. Rob Kelley, on the bubble, ran well and displayed quickness. Kapri Bibbs caught the ball and blocked well. Samaje Perine ran well at times — but also fumbled.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The fumble might not be a crushing problem if not for the fact that only a quick whistle saved him from another in the opener. That’s two miscues in only 15 carries. He had two fumbles in 175 carries last season, though there were also mishandled exchanges that get credited to the quarterback. But Perine, a former fourth-round pick, has looked quicker and would be attractive to other teams. After the Redskins drafted now-injured Derrius Guice in the second round, they received calls about possible trades, according to a league source.9

“He didn’t get many carries this preseason,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Perine. “He put the ball on the ground twice. That is an issue for me. This definitely has to be cleaned up.”

“It’s very tight, and it’s going to depend on how many we keep and which type we’re going to keep,” Gruden said. “It’s going to come down to first-, second-down backs versus third-down backs. We will have major discussion about that.”

Multiple people in the organization have said they’ll keep only four running backs. Anything can change, but that’s been the consistent number mentioned during the last couple of weeks. Typically, only three are active on game day. There was a definite split in the organization last week over which players to keep, as you’d expect given the fact that all of the running backs showed reasons why they should be kept — or could be cut.nike jerseys nfl cheap

Both were available last year as well, with Marshall on Philadelphia’s practice squad and Bibbs at home. Keep that in mind: The Redskins can like a guy but also feel confident they can get someone comparable if needed. That’s how they ended up with both players in the first place. The same could be said of Kelley and Perine, too. While all have shown reasons why they warrant a roster spot, none have shown that they’re irreplaceable. The key for most running backs: the offensive line. The Redskins need their line to remain healthy to have a better run game than they did in 2017.

Inter Milan have a point to prove in Serie A and UCL after Luka Modric disappointment

Inter Milan are back in the Champions League after six long years in the wilderness, but Thursday’s draw only confirmed that this season is off to a difficult start already.

According to the front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday, Juventus and Roma are “in heaven,” while Inter are “in hell” after AC Milan legend Riccardo Kaka and former Inter flop Diego Forlan placed them in a group with Barcelona, Tottenham and a PSV side that has won every game in the Eredivisie this season.

“We have to think positive,” Inter’s vice-president Javier Zanetti said, while also defending his club from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s latest attack for daring to try and sign Luka Modric.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Watching Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the UEFA Player of the Year award must have led many Interisti to ponder what might have been: principally because the need for an imaginative playmaker to make their team’s play less predictable is so great.9

Inter may have a few regrets, but the big picture is, as the club’s chief executive Alessandro Antonelli wished to make clear, that “we are back where we belong.” Memories of Jose Mourinho running under the sprinklers, arm out-stretched, his finger pointing to the jubilant away fans at Camp Nou is enough to crack a smile on every Inter supporter’s face.

Their return to the Champions League eclipses, in emotional terms, the trepidation caused by the daunting prospect of facing Lionel Messi and Harry Kane. It is a source of considerable pride for the club and fanbase. While much of the international focus was of course centred on Juventus and their chances of winning the Champions League this year, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo’s reunion with Manchester United, Antonelli couldn’t resist reminding everyone: “We are the last Italian side to win it…”

Zanetti struck a slightly different tone. Rather than hark back to the past, he stayed firmly rooted in the present, acknowledging that “we have been drawn in a very difficult group.” The Argentine just hopes the level of competition will provide the necessary inspiration for Inter to raise their game and smash through another ceiling in the team’s development. “When you face sides like Barça and Spurs you have the chance to improve,” he added. “And that could be important for us.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

If there’s one major takeaway from the opening fortnight in Serie A it’s that Inter need to be better. A lot was expected of Inter after a summer transfer campaign rated 9/10 by Gazzetta and encouraging preseason in which they went to places like Atleti and Lyon and won against full strength sides.

Rafa Benitez being left behind as Newcastle sleepwalk to relegation dogfight

Where does Rafa Benitez go from here? The Newcastle United manager has always divided opinion, but his team’s poor start to the campaign has provoked a storm of criticism. Newcastle have taken a single point in the first three games and on Wednesday were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Nottingham Forest.

Their negative tactics in a 2-1 defeat at home to Chelsea generated widespread scorn. A season of struggle lies ahead on Tyneside and there is little chance of Saturday’s visit to Manchester City offering any respite.

The 58-year-old believes it will take a “miracle” to keep the Magpies in the Premier League. Benitez is no stranger to unlikely events — Liverpool’s Champions League victory in Istanbul after being 3-0 down to AC Milan in 2005 is part of football lore — but top-flight survival with this squad may be beyond even the Spaniard’s powers.

Benitez is not cut out to be a relegation firefighter. He wants to win trophies. The man who won La Liga with Valencia and brought the Champion League to Anfield does not relish scrapping for points at the foot of the table.

The trip to the Etihad highlights a number of Benitez’s problems. He does not have the players to compete with City’s star cast. There is another issue, too. Pep Guardiola has changed perceptions of how the game should be played in the Premier League. The Catalan’s team pour forward and go for the opposition’s throat. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool take the same approach. Guardiola delights in causing chaos — for opponents. City’s shape and positional sense often defy traditional logic, but Guardiola has the players and belief to make things work.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

The Newcastle manager has neither. When Benitez works with a squad he does not trust, he moves to his default mechanism: keep things tight, aim for a clean sheet and hopefully pinch a goal. It is pragmatic in the extreme, and it leaves him vulnerable to criticism when things go wrong.7

A simplistic analysis is that the game has moved on and left Benitez behind. It is easy to look at the struggles of his bitter rival Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and group the pair together. Each arrived in English football in 2004 and had a similar impact (if in a very dissimilar style) to Guardiola and Klopp. There is a big difference between the Spaniard and the Portuguese, however: Mourinho is labouring at Old Trafford despite spending almost £350 million and works with a squad full of high-class performers. Benitez is toiling with a largely Championship-level set of players.

One of the many claims made in the wake of the defeat to Chelsea is that fans at St James’ Park would rather see their team lose 5-4 and play in a flamboyant manner than perform like they did against Maurizio Sarri’s side. Views like this ignore the fact that Newcastle do not have the capacity to get into shootouts against opposition of any quality.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Another component of Benitez’s character that irks his enemies is his reputation for being “political” or “difficult.” He has expressed his unhappiness with the transfer policies of Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner. At Liverpool a decade ago he became embroiled in an internal civil war at Anfield, and short, unhappy spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid did little to change perceptions. He is a man of strong convictions and reacts accordingly when he believes promises made at boardroom level have been broken. During his brief time at Chelsea, the club’s hierarchy gave Benitez a clear set of parameters for him to work within. Both sides kept their part of the bargain, and club and manager separated on good terms.