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Will Broncos’ Royce Freeman be an every-down back and fantasy threat?

The Broncos, in fact, haven’t had a running back top 250 carries or an average of a rather pedestrian 15.63 per game since Reuben Droughns had 275 in 2004. As a result, the football world, real or fantasy, might cast a skeptical eye on rookie starter Royce Freeman in the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

“He can carry the load from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “ … That’s what he showed at Oregon. He was their main guy. He had a lot of work, and he stayed healthy through the work. That’s an issue for most young backs. Can they carry the load for 16 weeks? I think with his background, his body type, he should be able to carry the load for 16 weeks.”cheap authentic stitched nfl jerseys

When the Broncos trimmed their roster to 53 players this weekend, they kept three running backs in addition to fullback Andy Janovich, and two of them — Freeman and Phillip Lindsay. — were rookies. That was one fewer than a year ago, and it speaks to what Freeman presents.9

Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway hinted as much during the draft in April, when he said “it’s been a while” since the team had a back like the 6-foot, 229-pound Freeman, who ran 4.5 in the 40-yard dash in his pre-draft workouts. While some in the league took a pause at Freeman’s college workload before the draft — 947 carries in four seasons at Oregon to go with 79 career receptions — the Broncos saw it as a career compliment.

“I think they thought I had to be on the field, in the lineup, every week to have those carries,” Freeman said. “… That when my number was called, I was there.”are the nike nfl jerseys stitched

Freeman led the team with three rushing touchdowns in the preseason — he didn’t play in the preseason finale — and flashed both elusiveness and grind-it-out efficiency. It was clear two weeks into training camp, as the Broncos consistently rotated him with the starters, that he was on track to be the starter.

Now, it remains to be seen what that means in a Broncos offense, with Bill Musgrave calling plays. Musgrave called plays for the final six games last season after Mike McCoy was fired, but the Broncos came down the stretch in a hodge-podge of what they had been doing with McCoy and things Musgrave wanted to do.

This year’s playbook is Musgrave’s, and while Joseph has made it no secret he wants a team that can pound the ball, the Broncos’ biggest offseason investment came at quarterback, with the signing of Case Keenum.

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.

Luciano Acosta, Zoltan Stieber keep D.C. United’s hot streak alive with win over New England Revolution

D.C. United continued their impressive form at Audi Field, earning their third home victory in eight days after a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution on Sunday night.

Luciano Acosta opened the scoring in the 13th minute, collecting a pass across the box from Paul Arriola and firing it in for his fifth goal of the regular season. Acosta has been a major factor in D.C. United’s hot streak, as four of his goals have come in his club’s last three games.authentic nfl jerseys cheap wholesale

D.C. United dominated much of the first half, though New England’s shift to a 4-1-4-1 alignment at halftime helped them create more possession in the midfield. Still, aside from a Diego Fagundez shot off the post in the 55th minute, the Revolution failed to generate much attack, as they managed just two shots on goal and were shut out for the sixth time this season.

The Revolution’s chances at a comeback were hampered in the 73rd minute when midfielder Scott Caldwell picked up his second yellow card of the match, dropping New England to a 10-man lineup. Caldwell will be suspended for his team’s next game Aug. 25 against the Philadelphia Union.10

Substitute Zoltan Stieber iced the game for D.C. United in the 89th minute, scoring on a break after collecting a long pass from Junior Moreno from beyond midfield.

D.C. improved to 5-1 on their new home pitch. With nine of their last 12 games at Audi Field, D.C. United has great opportunity for a late-season push, though they still sit six points outside of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.nfl jersey cheap wholesale china

The seventh-place Revolution are still ahead of D.C. in the table, but New England is now winless (0-5-2) over its last seven matches.

Michael Mancienne made his MLS debut, starting at center back for New England and playing all 90 minutes. The Revolution added Mancienne during the August transfer window, and the English defender began training this week after his paperwork became official.

How bricks are helping Cowboys receivers improve hand strength

The Dallas Cowboys receivers head to the corner of a practice field as a long day at training camp comes to an end.

But before it’s over, the receivers have to hit the bricks.

Twenty-five-pound bricks are lined up for each of the receivers to pick up and carry from one side of the end zone to the other. After one trip, players flex their forearms and wiggle their fingers. They look at the bricks with the same disdain they have for cornerbacks.7

“It’s at the end of practice, and that’s what really makes it hard,” rookie receiver Michael Gallup said. “If you come out here right when practice starts, it probably wouldn’t be too slippery or nothing like that, but it’s a good little technique he has.”

New wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is the architect of this training method. He did not have the receivers do it during the offseason program at The Star.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“When we get grabbed, we want to be able to rip [the defender’s] arm off and pull through,” Lal said. “Hand strength is huge.”

The receivers are told to walk with them as far as they can. Gallup said Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson are the best. They can go a little farther than up and back. But the idea is wherever you stop, beat that point the next time.

“Shoot, we’re catching whatever we can out there, trying to catch everything,” Gallup said. “But I’m pretty sure Sanjay’s not going to tell us to do anything that ain’t good for us.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

In years past, most of the exotic drills belonged to tight ends coach Mike Pope. He would throw buckets of ice at his players as a pass was in the air. He had them wear goggles that limited their field of vision. Coach Jason Garrett remembers seeing now-retired tight end Jason Witten diving for passes in a pool at training camp.

Michael Porter Jr. says he’s pain-free after second back surgery

Porter told ESPN on Sunday at the NBA’s annual rookie photo shoot that, “I finally feel, like, good,” and he is hoping to be ready for game action around the time the season tips in mid-October.

“I don’t have a date but I’m hoping to be back for the beginning of the year. Gotta heal up, but I feel great,” Porter said. “I’m able to get on the court a little bit right now, do some different things. But my rehab has definitely been very conservative. They’re really taking it easy with me, being patient with me.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Porter underwent a microdiscectomy in November 2017 that repaired one of two bulging disks in his back. He underwent a second spinal surgery in July, and the Nuggets did not announce a timetable for his return to basketball activities.

The 6-foot-10 Porter had been projected as a high lottery pick but slipped in the draft in part because of the injuries that limited him to just three appearances during his lone season at Missouri.

Porter elected to have the second surgery last month with hopes of alleviating all issues with his back before the start of his rookie season.10

“[Doctors originally] only thought one of [the bulging disks] was symptomatic,” said Porter. “They went in and fixed that one. Turns out that both were symptomatic. So my first surgery helped a lot but didn’t fix the entire problem. Now that they did this one, I’ve got no pain or anything. I’m excited.”

Porter raised some eyebrows earlier this week when it was noted that he liked an Instagram comment that had called Dallas rookie Luka Doncic “overrated.”

Porter told ESPN he immediately reached out to Doncic to explain it was an accident and retold the story while standing next to Doncic at Sunday’s event.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“So what’s crazy is that blew up,” Porter said. “Believe it or not, I’m scrolling through [a post about] the Rookie of the Year odds and I accidentally like a comment. This is the EuroLeague MVP and I got nothing but respect for him. I was like, ‘Man, I didn’t want to come off like that.’

“I reached out to [Doncic], told him it was 100 percent accident and I told him, ‘I can’t wait to see what you do in the league.’ I wasn’t worried about what fans thought, but I wanted to let him know instantly. It was 100 percent accident.”

Premier League helped by early deadline but were teams ready to play?

The English top-flight always commences in mid-August but, after a significant change to the structure of the transfer window, the new campaign will not feature the disastrous three-week period, in which clubs and media were focused more upon moves than matches. Now deadline day has already passed, the games themselves dominate.

In years gone by, the first month has been compromised by numerous teams not appearing to be properly equipped. Last season, for example, the Premier League began on Aug. 11 but clubs had another 20 days of transfer activity. At that point, with squads eventually finalised, we were forced to endure an international break, so the season only began properly on Sep. 9, nearly a month after the first game.cheap authentic nfl jerseys

It is worth remembering precisely why the Premier League found itself in this situation. Until 2002-03 there was no transfer window, as such, in England, aside from a deadline day on March 31 that was essentially to stop teams artificially boosting their squads with late-season additions. Otherwise, they were free to trade as they liked.

The introduction of a transfer window was effectively forced by the European Commission and the summer deadline day was generally in line with those of Serie A and La Liga, i.e. the end of August. However, there was a problem: While the leagues were in harmony as regards the end of the window, they were not when it came to the date on which the season began.10

Opening day in 2002-03 was Aug. 17 in England, Sep. 1 in Spain and Sep. 15 in Italy. Therefore, the latter two leagues effectively operated within the system the Premier League has now unilaterally enacted: Transfer window and league campaign did not overlap.

The pattern broadly continued for the next few years. La Liga’s season crept forward into the last week of August, meaning one week of overlap, while Serie A’s alternated between that date and an early-September start.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

But the Premier League has remained relatively consistent in its mid-August commencement, usually resulting in three rounds of matches with the window still open; it is a reason why the deadline-day silliness that is somewhat unique to the Premier League has meant matches have been played under a cloud.

 

Colorado Rapids rally for 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy

For a second consecutive game, the LA Galaxy twice gave back a one-goal lead in the second half and was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at home, this time against the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Edgar Castillo scored and then assisted on Niki Jackson’s goal for Colorado. With a tie following two victories, the Rapids have strung together a three-match unbeaten run for just the second time this season.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Sebastian Lletget scored in his second consecutive game and Ashley Cole also scored for the Galaxy. LA still moved up one spot to fourth in the Western Conference standings on a night when everyone else was idle.

The Galaxy also saw two players depart injured by halftime for a second consecutive match. This time, midfielder Jonathan dos Santos left in the 34th minute with groin soreness before defender Michael Ciani followed at halftime with an undisclosed ailment.

Winger Romain Alessandrini and attacker Giovani dos Santos both departed the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw against Minnesota United last weekend and were unavailable Tuesday.9

Colorado endured its own unforeseen loss five minutes after the break, when Kellyn Acosta left due to illness shortly after vomiting on the field.

Cole had not scored since July 4, 2017, but the defender opened the scoring with the style of a forward in the 59th minute. Cole took Chris Pontius’ pass and sliced to the other side of one defender with his first touch, split two defenders with his second and chipped on-rushing goalkeeper Tim Howard with his third.

Castillo tied it in the 74th minute when he reached a clearing header from a Galaxy defender outside the penalty area, took a couple touches into the area and then unfurled a quick strike that beat diving goalkeeper David Bingham to his left.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Lletget put the Galaxy in front again four minutes later. After Colorado failed to clear a long cross toward the penalty area, Ola Kamara played a square ball toward Lletget that may have also grazed Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lletget fired a first-time shot with his left foot, curling it beyond Howard and into the side netting.

However, Jackson had the final word, taking a pass from Castillo and firing a shot from the left corner of the penalty area that caromed off the leg of an LA defender and badly fooled Bingham as it knuckled into the net.

Bill Belichick on McCourty twins: ‘It’s hard to tell them apart’

Bill Belichick, who has been adept at creating effective disguises on defense over his 43-year coaching career, chuckled when he was asked about the possibilities with identical twin brothers Devin and Jason McCourty.

“It’s hard to tell them apart,” he said, smiling. “Got to take a second look to make sure I’m talking to the right one if they’re not in uniform.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The McCourtys are one of the NFL’s most notable sets of twins, and what has made 2018 particularly exciting for them is that they have a chance to play together with the New England Patriots. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the last time twins have played together in the regular season on the same professional team was 1926, when Gene and Tom Golsen suited up for the Louisville Colonels.

For the McCourtys, it is the first time they’ve been teammates since their time together at Rutgers from 2006-08.

Jason, who entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2009, has been a steady cornerback with Tennessee (2009-16) and Cleveland (2017).3

Meanwhile, Devin was a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2010 and has been with the franchise since, moving from cornerback to safety in his third season and elevating to captain in his second year.

The brothers talk all the time, but now that conversation can extend to the football field. Devin also notes that Jason’s experience playing for the winless Browns last season — and having never appeared in a playoff game — nike nfl jerseys cheap china brings an important perspective to the locker room.

“It’s something we always dreamed about, kind of thought would happen, but, you know, you kind of second-guess that and think maybe not,” Devin said. “I know he’s been a good player throughout his career, aside from us being twins or any of that. I thought he had a good year in Cleveland that helped him, and I thought a change of scenery might help him here. I think he has an opportunity to help us, as a veteran, a guy that’s played a lot of football, been in different circumstances.”

Has Matt Harvey made himself into a quality trade target?

“It’s a good sign that I can go out and not feel great and kind of be out of whack and still limit damage,” Harvey said. “But today was definitely a struggle and I’m happy to get through it.”

It’s no small point. By the end of Harveys’ tenure with the New York Mets, those small struggles tended to turn into raging dumpster fires. When you look at where Harvey was by the time the Mets designated him for assignment back in May, cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping routine outings such as the one Saturday have to be looked at as positive data points.

For one thing, it was the fourth straight outing in which Harvey pitched into at least the sixth inning and he hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his past five outings. Over his 11 starts for the Reds, Harvey is 4-3 with a 3.79 ERA. He has struck out 6.7 batters per nine innings and has whiffed over three batters for every one he has walked. From a results standpoint, Saturday’s performance was an ebb in his momentum. But only an ebb.

“He was laboring a little bit,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “But he made the necessary pitches to minimize the damage. Kept that one inning to two runs. He put us right where we wanted to be.”

Under the hood, things look even more promising for Harvey’s revival than his overall Cincinnati stat line. First, there’s those past five outings: He’s 3-1 and would be 4-1 if not for the Reds’ bullpen meltdown Saturday. His ERA is 2.48. The strikeout rate is still more of that of a finesse pitcher (6.2), but his strikeouts-to-walks ratio is up to four and he hasn’t given up a home run in a month. The trend is good.59

“I do think that his slider has been better as the season has gone along, from the time that he joined us,” Riggleman said. “And as good as he’s throwing the ball, he’s more pitching now and really using the slider to get the strikeout. He wasn’t striking people out that first month.”

The results are solid, to be sure. No, they aren’t Harvey circa 2013, when he struck out more than a batter per inning and had the lowest home run rate in the National League. That guy had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and a procedure for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016. This guy, though, is at least revving up his stuff to the point where we can believe he used to be the other guy, the one with the catchy superhero nickname.

“I am healthy,” Harvey said. “Definitely. Feeling healthy. I’m two years out from surgery now, so it’s been a lot of work to get to where I am now, but everything feels good.”

Much of Harvey’s velocity is back and, seemingly, it’s not going anywhere. His fastball has been sitting at 93-94 mph for each of these past five starts, and in each of them he has topped out at over 96. The bite on his slider is better — his six highest scores for average break length have come over his past six starts. As a result, Harvey’s chase rates are up, he’s getting more swinging strikes overall, he has stayed in the zone more consistently and stayed far more efficient with his pitch counts.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

“I’ve been doing that for five or six starts,” Harvey said when asked about his improved stuff. “That’s what happens when you feel good and everything is coming out fine.”

England’s Jamie Vardy ‘looking doubtful’ to face Sweden – Southgate

England forward Jamie Vardy is “looking doubtful” to be able to face Sweden in the World Cup quarterfinal on Saturday, said coach Gareth Southgate, who also expressed concerned over “two or three” other players.

Vardy, who entered as a substitute against Colombia in the round of 16, picked up a groin strain and needed an injection, leaving him uncertain for the next game.

Southgate compared the trainer’s room to a “scene from M*A*S*H*”, though he also believes that the other seven teams left in the competition have similar concerns.nike jerseys nfl cheap

“Vardy didn’t train today, so is looking doubtful for this game,” Southgate said on Thursday. “But we’ll know a bit more tomorrow, really. The others were all on the pitch. We didn’t do a lot.

“I think at this stage, minimal time on the pitch, a lot of our information is going to have to be in meetings. Because it really is as much about recovery, physical and psychological, as everything else.

“The downside of that is we can’t push the players enough today to see whether they’re OK. So we’ll know more tomorrow. We’ll have to make late decisions. I think every team will be in the same boat on that.”36

Southgate was more confident on the fitness of Dele Alli, Ashley Young and Kyle Walker, however.

“Dele was absolutely fine after the game, didn’t feel anything. I think the extra couple of days were really helpful for him,” Southgate said. “Had he gone into the last one a bit earlier he might have come out of the game feeling something. He was fine.

“Young and Walker, we’ve no reason to believe they’re serious issues. They were back on their feet today. But equally there might be a couple of others, who until they’re extending themselves a bit more.

“I think when you’ve had a long game like that, you don’t know until you’ve really started to extend in training again exactly what you might be carrying.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“But our feeling is, certainly nothing serious, but two or three in particular that we’ve probably got to assess quite closely tomorrow and see exactly what level they’re at. Again, because we’ve got good players to come in.

“So if we’ve got players that are 75 percent, then the guys who haven’t been in the team deserve to come in and be at 100 percent.”