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Eli Apple starting to show Giants signs of being a top-10 pick

There was a play during Monday’s OTAs when New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple ran stride for stride into the end zone with wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Apple turned his head around in time, located the ball and knocked it to the ground.cheap nike jerseys nfl

After a brief celebration, Apple returned to his position for the next snap. There were more splash plays to come. Apple later knocked down a pass intended for wide receiver Cody Latimer at the goal line. It capped off another strong practice in what has, so far, been a spring of redemption after a disappointing second season.11

“He’s just out here making plays,” safety Landon Collins said. “That’s not the only play. He’s doing his thing. I’m happy for him. He’s growing up, doing his thing and playing great ball.”

It’s quite the turnaround after a disastrous 2017. Apple struggled badly as he dealt with on- and off-field struggles. It led to multiple benchings, a suspension to end the season and an uncertain future.

But the Giants stuck with Apple — in part because of his talent and the cost of their investment — in an offseason in which they reshaped their roster. They’re banking on him to play a significant role.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Apple has worked with the first-team defense this offseason, and he’s expected to start at cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins. The Giants don’t have a lot of proven depth behind them.

The pass breakup on Shepard was the latest validation that the Giants might be OK with Apple playing a prominent role.

“Yeah, that was a good play,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “Then we saw [Jenkins] make a nice interception in the back of the end zone. The ball was thrown well, everyone was in a good position and he made a nice play on it. That’s a good thing.”

Josh Allen in awe after meeting with Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly

Allen, whom the Bills traded up to select seventh overall in last month’s draft, told reporters he was “shaking” as he met Kelly, who was released from the hospital last month after surgery to remove cancer from his jaw.

The two previously exchanged text messages after Allen was drafted.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“He’s the greatest quarterback to play the game, and obviously the greatest quarterback in Buffalo history,” Allen said.

“That’s where I want to be. That’s eventually [the goal of] my career, to be regarded in the city of Buffalo like a Jim Kelly. I think that every quarterback who plays here wants to be in the same sentence as him, just because of what he is and what he holds to the city. For him to come out here is an awesome experience.”

Allen and Kelly later entered the locker room for a private conversation.142

“He said how to embrace the city of Buffalo,” Allen said. “He said a few more things — I’ll keep those behind closed doors — but I’m still shaking from meeting him. He’s a special man.”

The Bills traded the No. 12 overall selection and two second-round picks to draft Allen. He became the highest-selected quarterback in Bills history, a distinction previously held by Kelly, the No. 14 overall pick in 1983.

Kelly declined to speak with reporters as he recovers from reconstructive jaw surgery he had in March. The former Bills quarterback, who led the team to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s, walked Friday with the assistance of a cane because his surgery required bone to be taken from his leg.

“For him to come out and show support and show everybody that he’s doing well, speaks volumes,” Allen said. “That’s a tough guy right there to [go through] what he’s been through and come out and still be himself.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“He’s going to hopefully be a mentor to me, and I’m going to take everything that he says very heavily, just because of what he’s done on the field and what he’s done for the city of Buffalo. For a quarterback in Buffalo, it’s a dream come true to meet a guy like him.”

Simonise thankful to get second chance at pro football career with Bombers

Winnipeg took the six-foot-four, 202-pound receiver in the second round, No. 12 overall,cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale in the CFL draft Thursday. It was the Bombers’ opening selection after dealing its first-round pick to the B.C. Lions on Wednesday.

In 2015, Simonise had 65 catches for 1,013 yards and 11 TDs in eight games with the University of Calgary, earning All-Canadian honours. But he was ruled academically ineligible for 2016.

The 22-year-old Vancouver native earned a 2016 tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals but received a four-game suspension from the NFL following a positive drug test. The CFL responded by deferring Simonise’s draft status from 2017 to this year.

Over the last two seasons, Simonise played with the Okanagan Sun of the Canadian Junior Football League as well as the Chicago Eagles of the Champions Indoor Football League. Simonise was hopeful he’d be drafted Thursday but had prepared himself if there’d been no interest.84

“I really didn’t know so I had to prepare for both sides of the spectrum,” Simonise said during a conference call Friday. “The past two years I’ve had really no kind of direction so I’ve just been going into everything blind.

“I realize this is almost a second chance and this time around I’m going to do it the right way and put all my efforts into it. I’m fortunate and blessed for this opportunity they’ve given to me . . . I’m very very hungry.”

GM Kyle Walters said the Bombers spoke with Simonise at the CFL combine in March but it was head coach Mike O’Shea’s discussion with an Okanagan Sun coach that sold Winnipeg on the lanky receiver.

“He was adamant Rashaun Simonise is a good kid, he just needed some maturity . . . a strong group around him that he can learn from,” Walters said. “After that conversation, I said, ‘Well, that’s what we have here.’

“Darvin Adams, Adarius Bowman, cheap nfl nike jersey Weston Dressler, Andrew Harris, Matt Nichols, we’ve got a group on that offence and in that locker room where I think for a young man that needs some mentoring and maturing, we’ll be able to provide that for him.”

Walters, in his sixth year as Winnipeg’s GM, admitted he might’ve looked differently at Simonise earlier in his tenure.

“In the past we might’ve erred on, ‘Well, we can’t have any sort of character issues, we’ll go with the safer pick,'” Walters said. “If the reports were he’s a bad kid, he’s always in trouble. he shows up late for practice and is a bad teammate then I don’t think we would’ve taken him.

Three top Packers picks get started, ‘hard work’ ahead

For a host of rookies, the road to a spot on the Green Bay Packers’ roster began on Friday. While what they did during the first of two post-draft rookie orientation camp practices won’t decide their fates, coach Mike McCarthy believes a good start is vital for them all.

All eyes were on the team’s top two draft pick, Jaire Alexander, a cornerback from Louisville, nfl nike jersey cheap and Josh Jackson, a cornerback from Iowa. The practices included 11 draft picks, 14 undrafted free-agent signees, a handful of players who spent time on the practice squad last season and about a dozen tryout players.

”This is a great opportunity for these guys – and they realize it. It’s a unique opportunity, if you just look at the statistics in the National Football League,” said McCarthy, whose draft-and-develop team has long relied on rookies. ”This is a very important two days, because you have an opportunity to make your roster better. And the better your 90-man roster is, the more competitive offseason program (is). Going into training camp, that’s the goal.”83

Alexander, Jackson and third-round pick Oren Burks, a linebacker from Vanderbilt, are joining a defense that finished last season ranked 26th in scoring defense (24.0 points allowed per game) and 22nd in yards allowed (348.9). Defensive coordinator Dom Capers was replaced after nine seasons by Mike Pettine.

While overwhelmed at times with the sliver of the playbook they learned earlier in the day, all three were excited.

”It was quite an experience. It was like, ‘Man, I’m finally here. I’m at Green Bay,”’ Alexander said. ”There was a lot of hard work put into it, I can tell you that much.”

Added Jackson: ”This is what you came here to do. This is what you went through the whole process for, to play football. For me, I’m happy for football again.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale  I love the game and I’m just excited to be here.”

After finishing last season 23rd against the pass (236.8), 28th in third-down defense (allowing a 42.8 percent conversion rate) and 31st in red-zone defense (allowing a 65.2 percent touchdown rate), the Packers are counting on Alexander and Jackson to be ready.

The team brought back veteran cornerbacks Tramon Williams, who played for Pettine in Cleveland after spending his first eight NFL seasons in Green Bay, and Davon House, but McCarthy and Pettine want a deep, faster rotation at corner. Alexander and Jackson, along with 2017 second-round pick Kevin King, should provide that.

Ravens’ Joe Flacco intends to hold throwing sessions to build trust

At the start of the Baltimore Ravens’ offseason workout program, quarterback Joe Flacco said he plans to hold extra throwing sessions with new receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown this summer between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp.

This comes after coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome both publicly nfl jersey wholesale talked about the value of additional workouts and how they help a quarterback and his receivers mesh. Ravens fans have also been clamoring for Flacco to throw to his receivers beyond the team’s practices.

“There’s no doubt, that stuff is important and that we’ll do it,” Flacco said Tuesday. “I’ve already talked about it with John and Mike about it. I think sometimes those things are just as much or more about developing a relationship with those guys and developing that trust, and for those guys to see that I really like who they are as football players and for them to see hopefully they like who I am as a football player. I think when you can get that relationship going, that’s going to help your football team out a ton.”192

Flacco has only scheduled these private workouts once in his 10-year NFL career, and that was seven years ago during the NFL lockout.

There has been an increased need for the extra throwing sessions after Baltimore revamped its supporting cast around Flacco. To improve the NFL’s 29th-ranked passing game, Baltimore parted ways with its top two wide receivers (Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin) as well as its leading pass-catcher (tight end Benjamin Watson). There’s only one player currently on the roster who caught more than 30 passes last season, and that’s running back Buck Allen.

Flacco’s top targets this season will likely end up being Crabtree, Brown, another veteran free agent, and highly drafted rookies at wide receiver and tight end.

Some quarterbacks have already worked with their receivers this offseason. nfl jerseys cheap authentic New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning annually meets with teammates at Duke in early April, and new Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II has been throwing to receivers at a high school.

Micah Hyde suggests NFL fine QBs when receivers sustain helmet-to-helmet hits

Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde has a creative solution to curb the number of dangerous hits that receivers take over the middle of the field: Fine the quarterback.

“Those bang-bang plays, it’s tough,” Hyde said Tuesday. “Start fining the quarterbacks. nfl authentic jerseys They’re the ones who are throwing the ball right there. It’s tough for us [defensive players] to be able to adjust last second to get our head to one side, the other side — up, down. We’re trying to make a play like the receiver is. It’s the sport of football.”

Hyde’s suggestion came as part of a discussion about a change to the NFL rulebook enacted at the league meetings last month in which a player — on offense or defense — will be penalized 15 yards and potentially ejected any time he lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.191

“Hopefully they go back and realize it’s not going to be a functional rule that’s going to make sense,” he said Tuesday. “It’s going to be hard on the refs, because they already have enough rules to call. Now, do they call it every single play, which they can do?

“It’s definitely going to be hard [as players], because our heads are at the top of our body. You play with forward lean. Even if I’m coming in with a shoulder, if [the offensive player] drops his head a little bit, it’s slight helmet-to-helmet. It can be called every single play. I just don’t think it was well-thought-out. The intention of the rule is great, but we have to understand at some point, this is a collision, contact sport. And I think that’s some of the allure to it. Everybody is not built to play this game. You can’t legislate out every injury. Then we wouldn’t be playing football. At that point, it changes to something different. If the fans and the owners are OK with that, then we’ll have to live in that new world.”

Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who has played in the NFL since 2006, agreed with Alexander’s opinion of the rule change.

“I understand the old rule of targeting and launching, but this seems to incorporate all contact, nfl jersey wholesale including incidental contact, which I think is a huge problem for players,” he told ESPN. “There is a risk that comes with playing the game, generally speaking. You can legislate out the flagrant attempts to use the helmet as a weapon, but the reason we wear helmets is because of incidental contact and just the nature of the game.”

Mike Pettine’s message: Packers’ defensive players will be held accountable

It sounds so simple, but those are the things that wrecked the Green Bay Packers’ defense far too often last season.

So it’s no wonder the team’s new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, china nfl jersey wholesale has put that message out to his players even before they officially go to work on Monday, when the offseason workout program begins.

“He wasn’t going to let anything fly if you’re a Pro Bowler or a rookie coming in,” Martinez said. “I think that was kind of the cool stance hearing from him and talking to him about that because that was one of my things that I wanted to voice my opinion on, just making sure everyone is on the right page at the right time and nothing is confused going into Sunday or Monday or Thursday games. It’s going to be interesting to see how we implement that kind of going into this OTA process.”

It’s perhaps one reason coach Mike McCarthy reduced the number of former players on his coaching staff. The thinking could have been that former players go softer on current players when it comes to grading their performances.

The goal, of course, is to put an end to the pre-snap confusion that befell the Packers at times last season under former defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

Who could forget the first-quarter play against the Vikings in Week 16 when linebacker Jake Ryan’s back was to the ball at the snap? Ryan appeared to be out of position, and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looked like he tried to direct him. By that time, quarterback Case Keenum already had the ball in his hand, ready to give it to running back Latavius Murray. The play went right toward Ryan’s spot, and by the time he turned around he already was being blocked. The play went for the easiest 11 yards Murray would ever gain before Clinton-Dix ran him out of bounds.

Martinez could play a key role in correcting those issues.

The studious Martinez, a fourth-round pick from Stanford in 2016, might be just the player to take over the communication helmet full-time from departed safety Morgan Burnett, who signed with the Steelers in free agency. nfl gear for women Burnett was often the one who received the defensive call from Capers and then relayed it in the huddle. Only one player is allowed to have the speaker helmet at a time, but Martinez was usually the backup.

Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes loom over Bills’ quarterback chase

The Buffalo Bills have two potentially franchise-altering decisions to make in the coming weeks.

First, general manager Brandon Beane must decide whether the Bills can and should trade up from No. 12 in the first round of the draft. Second, nfl wholesale jerseys depending on what pick Buffalo acquires and who is available, Beane must choose which top quarterback prospect is most likely to bring his team a championship — Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield.

If the Bills trade up for one of those quarterbacks, or if one falls to No. 12, their pick will be judged against the others in the group who might have been available. That choice will eventually become a large part of the evaluation by Beane, who is entering his first draft as Bills general manager after being hired last May.

But for the organization as a whole, there is more to the story.

The Bills’ potential selection at quarterback later this month must also stack up against Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, two of the quarterbacks Buffalo passed on taking when they traded the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 draft to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs took Mahomes, who will get his chance as Kansas City’s starter this season. Watson went No. 12 to the Houston Texans and posted the NFL’s highest Total QBR (81.3) and fifth-highest passer rating (103.0) through Week 8 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in practice.

In that case, Buffalo’s decision to pass on Watson and Mahomes in 2017 — made when Beane was still with the Carolina Panthers — would do little to help the overall cause of Beane and coach Sean McDermott going forward if either Watson or Mahomes proves a superior quarterback to a 2018 selection.

It is also possible that Beane does not land one of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming draft, opting or being forced to stay put at No. 12 and look to another position. That could leave Buffalo with AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman as its top two quarterbacks.

Such an outcome would not only invite questions about whether Beane’s extensive maneuvering to acquire 2018 draft selections was for naught,nfl jerseys from china but it would add to the discussion about McDermott and former general manager Doug Whaley’s decision in 2017 to trade the No. 10 pick instead of selecting Mahomes or Watson.

Sidney Crosby bats own rebound out of air for walk-off winner

It was a fitting move on the opening day of baseball season.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby batted his own rebound out of the air and into the net nfl cheap jerseys19 seconds into overtime on Thursday night to clinch a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Crosby’s initial shot ricocheted off the crossbar, but he pulled his hands in and swatted the puck out of the air for his 28th goal of the season. A walk-off, no less.

It was the second time in a little more than a week that Crosby showed off his batting skills.

On March 21, in a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens, Crosby took a pass from Jake Guentzel that bounced up off the ice. Crosby swatted it backhanded past a stunned Carey Price.

Crosby knows his way around the baseball diamond. Growing up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, he was an all-star third baseman and pitcher on a youth team that won two Atlantic championships.

During a special batting practice for Penguins players at PNC Park in 2010, Crosby — nfl jerseys cheap china batting left-handed — hit one over the right-field wall, a homer estimated at 370 feet.

“I grew up playing [baseball],” he said then. “I stopped when I was like 13. I liked it, though. It was a lot of fun.”

Mike Tomlin’s spring dinner schedule tips off Steelers’ draft strategy

When dining with a draft prospect around a pro day, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike cheap nfl jerseys chinaTomlin often lets the player pick the place. He figures the selection might reveal a little something about the person he’s considering in the draft.

He’s been everywhere from local barbecue spots to Red Lobster, but the food is an afterthought.

“I love getting out and meeting a young player in his environment,” said Tomlin from the NFL owners meetings at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes.

The Steelers are leaving a crumb trail spanning thousands of miles, and it just might affect the Steelers’ first-round pick for the third straight year.

Two years ago, Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert buttoned up with cornerback Artie Burns at Joe’s Stone Crab in South Beach. They drafted him 25th overall.

Last spring, they dug in at The Great Dane Pub and Brewing Co. in Madison, Wisconsin, with linebacker T.J. Watt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst. Watt went 30th overall to Pittsburgh.

Joining them at the table next week is LSU running back Derrius Guice, who will dine with Colbert and Tomlin in Baton Rouge before the Tigers’ pro day.

To be sure, sharing a meal is not a prerequisite to get drafted by the Steelers. But it can definitely help, especially because of Tomlin’s affinity for the process.
Tomlin will eat with any prospect even if they aren’t expected to be on the board when the Steelers draft — like running back Saquon Barkley, a projected top-five pick.authentic nfl jerseys Tomlin proves this by revealing he dined with cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the No. 4 pick in 2016, the week of that year’s draft. The Steelers had no chance of getting Ramsey but that’s not the point for Tomlin, who’s building a file on a player for now and for years down the road.

“It’s team building,” Tomlin said. “If you’re in our business, team building is exciting. The position is exciting. We’re all undefeated and scored upon. There’s optimism associated with that. I love getting out and meeting a young player in his environment.”