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Reinstated DE Randy Gregory gets first game action since 2016

For the first time since the 2016 regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, defensive end Randy Gregory played for the Dallas Cowboys.

Suspended all of last season and reinstated only a matter of days before training camp started, Gregory played in 10 first-half snaps in Saturday’s 21-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium.

“I haven’t played an actual game in basically two years,” said Gregory, who did not record a tackle or pressure. “Practice is one thing. Conditioning’s one thing. Personal training’s one thing, but actually going out there and be with my guys and at least attempt to make some plays, it felt real good.”

The Cowboys took Gregory in the second round of the 2015 draft despite the off-the-field concerns that saw his draft stock take a hit. After a strong start in the preseason, an ankle injury kept him out of four games, and he did not record a sack in the 12 games he played. He has one sack in his career.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Gregory has played in only two of the past 32 regular-season games because of multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He opened training camp on the non-football injury list, as the Cowboys wanted him to work on his conditioning after such a long absence.10

He took part in just four full practices during the Cowboys’ time in Oxnard, California, but quickly showed that he was ready for at least some preseason action. In one practice, he recorded two sacks in a three-play span.

“Once we saw him practice, we anticipated him being able to play this game,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Certainly we want him to play the whole time. We want to be deliberate with him, and he went through all the steps we wanted him to go through.”

After the final practice on Thursday in Oxnard, Gregory said he does not feel like he has made the 53-man roster yet. Gregory said he hopes to play more Aug. 26 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Gregory said he was not reflective about his journey back to the Cowboys before kickoff.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“I think if I did that, it would have kind of taken my mindset away from the game,” Gregory said. “I think I did it the right way, just coming in here like a professional and get ready, be out there early, warm up and then carry on as I would any other game.”

 

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.

Best of ‘Hard Knocks’: What Browns said to Antonio Callaway

Callaway keeps quiet until he is called into general manager John Dorsey’s office once the news of the incident breaks. After being asked to explain what happened, Callaway is told by Dorsey that he has to be smarter because everyone is watching.

“This isn’t college football. This is the National Football League, and just to put it out there plainly, you’re under the microscope,” Dorsey says. “They want to see you f— up. You’ve got to prove to them f—ers that you know what, cheap nfl jerseys nike china I’ve learned from my past, I’ve learned from my mistakes and we’re moving forward.”

“All of this can be prevented. … You can’t take a chance. You can’t put yourself in this situation and you can’t put us in this situation,” Jackson says. “Listen, you’ve got talent, but talent ain’t everything I’m looking for. I want you to become a man. Be responsible and accountable to John and me and your teammates or else I wouldn’t keep you on the team. I’m just being very honest with you. If s— comes up, you have my number, you’ve got John’s number, you call us ASAP. That’s what I expect from you from here on in. I believe you, but if I’m wrong on this one, then I’m going to have your ass.”9

Jackson makes a public show of support for Callaway during a team meeting and calls the rookie up to apologize to the team. “I gotta carry myself like a professional. It won’t happen no more,” Callaway says.

The Browns choose to punish Callaway by playing him on every offensive snap during their preseason opener against the New York Giants. He wears down during the game but still manages to shine with a 54-yard touchdown reception and earns respect from teammates, including Baker Mayfield.

Off-field issues knocked receiver Antonio Callaway to the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft when many believed he had first-round talent. The Browns took a chance on Callaway, who was suspended for his final season at Florida in 2017 and then tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine. Their trust in him was soon tested after they found out he had been stopped by police last week and cited for marijuana possession and a suspended license.

Callaway, who looked shaken during the first practice following the incident, was asked by coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley what was wrong.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“You look like a puppy dog,” Haley tells Callaway. “Come on, we need you. This is very important. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. You can’t try to control all that. The guy upstairs is controlling that. You just try to be the best you can possibly be.”

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.

 

Twinsies? Melvin Gordon says fans in L.A. mistake him for Todd Gurley

During a conversation with Adam Schefter on his ESPN podcast last week, Gordon said that he got into an argument with a Rams fans who did not believe he was not Gurley.

“She thought I was Todd,” Gordon said. “I kept telling her no, and she got into an argument with me because she really thought I was Todd. She thought I was lying, and I’m like, ‘This is getting out of control.'”

Asked after practice on Monday if he had ever been mistaken for Gordon, Gurley said with a chuckle, “Nah, never.”

While Gordon does not like to be mistaken for Gurley around town, one area he would like to be similar to the Rams’ running back is contract status. Gurley recently signed a four-year $57.5 million deal that includes $45 million in guaranteed money.

Gordon is scheduled to make $1.9 million in the fourth year of his rookie contract, with the Chargers picking up his fifth-year option for $5.6 million in 2019.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“You could call me Todd all day, for real,” joked Gordon, when asked by Schefter about Gurley’s contract.

Asked about the possibility of new deal, Gordon told Schefter on the podcast that his focus is on football.10

“You can’t really think about it,” Gordon said. “It is what it is, and you kind of just have to let it come. If you think about it too much, it can mess up your game. Right now, I’m just focused on me and the team, really, and doing what we need to do.”

Gordon and Gurley were part of the same 2015 draft class. The Rams selected Gurley at No. 10 overall, while the Chargers gave up their first- and fourth-round selections in the 2015 draft and a fifth-rounder in 2016 in order to move up two spots and take Gordon at No. 15.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Since they entered the league, Gurley is second in the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards, while Gordon is No. 8 with 2,743 rushing yards.

Heading into his fourth NFL season, Gordon said he’s in good shape and ready to improve on his best season as a pro last year, in which he finished with 1,581 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns.

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has mentioned that he would like to find a complementary running back to share the workload with the Wisconsin product — and second-year pro Austin Ekeler — to help keep Gordon fresh for the backstretch of the 2018 season.

 

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.”

With Cooperstown inspiration, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. makes Triple-A debut

Spending the weekend in Cooperstown, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. received a reminder of how much dedication it took his father to earn induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

It was a timely lesson for Guerrero now that minor league baseball’s acclaimed top prospect has entered the next phase of his career.

“I feel really happy that my dad achieved that, that he got there because it showed how much work he did to get there,” Guerrero said through a translator, Toronto Blue Jays mental performance coach Rafael Dubois. “And right now, it’s just keep working, keep working. And I’m happy that I’m here now.”cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Here is Buffalo, where the 19-year-old made his Triple-A debut with the Blue Jays’ top affiliate Tuesday night. And he did so wearing No. 27, the same number his father, Vladimir Guerrero, had during a 16-year major league career capped by his induction on Sunday.12

Hitting third, Guerrero drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left-center with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The ball was headed for the gap before left fielder Adron Chambers made a diving catch.

Guerrero also walked each of his first three times up, grounded out to second and scored twice in Buffalo’s 11-8 loss.

He made two notable defensive plays at third base in the second inning.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Guerrero snagged a hard one-hopper while falling backward, and calmly threw out Joey Meneses. Aaron Altherr, the next batter, hit a high bouncer up the third baseline, which Guerrero backhanded, and he threw a one-hopper to just beat the runner.

Guerrero doesn’t expect his father to see him play in Buffalo because of various commitments with the Los Angeles Angels.

His grandmother, Altagracia Alvino, will continue living with Guerrero as she did in New Hampshire.

He flashed a toothy smile when asked about his grandmother, who cooks for him and does his laundry — “She doesn’t allow me to do it,” he said.

“If I move to China, she comes with me to China,” Guerrero said. “I always get advice from her. She’s there to support me.”

Packers lose Jake Ryan, Kentrell Brice to injuries

What looked like a standout practice for the Green Bay Packers’ burgeoning defense — which picked off Aaron Rodgers three times — turned into an injury-filled disaster.

Two potential starters — linebacker Jake Ryan and safety Kentrell Brice — were carted off the field Monday with injuries. And that was after defensive tackle Mike Daniels dropped out.

While Daniels appears to have avoided anything serious, Ryan and Brice might not have been as fortunate. One source said the Packers fear Ryan sustained a significant and potentially season-ending injury to his right knee. The injury occurred during an 11-on-11 drill late in practice. Ryan pounded his fist on the ground as he received medical attention.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Ryan was slated to start at inside linebacker next to Blake Martinez, who tied for the NFL lead in tackles last season.

“He was just devastated,” Martinez said after practice. “Obviously, he was super-excited about the season. He’s been putting a tremendous amount of work in. He’s been awesome throughout OTAs and these past four practices. It’s been good for him. It’s just really tough.

“I talked to him right after I got off the field. Basically, told him if he needs anything, I’m here for him. I obviously don’t know the extent of it. Obviously, everybody will know when they know. I’m just praying for him and hoping the best for him. I know he’ll come back even stronger.”12

This could accelerate the need for rookie third-round pick Oren Burks to play a bigger role on defense. Also, defensive back Quinten Rollins has worked at inside linebacker in the sub packages, and the Packers are high on undrafted rookie linebacker Greer Martini of Notre Dame.

Meanwhile, Brice also had been working with the No. 1 defense and was perhaps the leading candidate to replace Morgan Burnett, who signed with the Steelers in free agency. Brice missed the final nine games of last season with a right ankle injury. It was unclear if Monday’s injury was related.

“I think he’s definitely having one of the best offseason programs,” McCarthy said during the June minicamp. “The thing that goes unnoticed, and rightfully so from our perspective, is his communication skills. I love the way he plays. I think the ability to get past the injury and be here the whole time, having him full-go in the strength and conditioning program, you can see he’s really comfortable out there with the adjustments and the communication. I would definitely be shocked if we’re not sitting here after the season thinking that he’s definitely taken a big jump, because I’ve seen it throughout the offseason.”cheap nfl jerseys nike china

 

Conflicting information about new helmet rule irks Eagles players

A presentation this week by NFL referees to the Philadelphia Eagles on the new helmet rule caused frustration among the players, according to team members, and created further confusion for some about what is expected of them.

“We were trying to ask questions to get a better understanding, and yet they couldn’t really give us an answer,” linebacker Nigel Bradham said. “They couldn’t give us what we were looking for.”

Under the new rule, cheap official nike nfl jerseys a player will be penalized 15 yards and potentially fined or ejected for lowering his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.

During the presentation, which lasted close to an hour according to Bradham, players were shown clips of what are now considered illegal hits — some of which appeared to them as routine tackles.

Seeking further clarification during the Q&A that followed, the players showed the presenters a video of safety Malcolm Jenkins’ hit on wide receiver Brandin Cooks during Super Bowl LII that knocked Cooks out of the game. The refs were split on whether it would now be considered an illegal hit.10

“I’m going to make that play 10 times out of 10. If it’s a flag, it’s a flag,” Jenkins said after practice Sunday, adding that he doesn’t believe that hit would lead to an ejection under the current policy. “You can’t slow yourself down thinking about rules in a split second. The game happens really, really fast, faster than the rules, I think, take account for, but I won’t let it affect the way I play.”

The rule applies to not only tacklers but linemen and ball carriers as well. The concern for running backs is that they are going to have to retrain themselves after years of attacking a certain way.

“It’s going to take a different approach to learn as individuals how to keep our head up and see what we’re doing,” Matt Jones, a 6-foot-2, 239-pound power back said. “But it’s going to be kind of hard because we’re taught to run through guys and put our helmet where their number is at. It’s like if it’s a third-and-1 and you have to have it, and you meet in the hole,nfl cheap nike jerseys there’s no way possible you’re not going to meet head-on-head and helmet-on-helmet.”

The meeting between the Eagles and refs was described as spirited, with the players expressing consternation over the new rule.

“[The refs] were kind of like, ‘Hey, we didn’t make the rules.’ Because I think guys were kind of frustrated,” running back Wendell Smallwood said. “Most of the defense was like, ‘Man, how are we supposed to tackle?’ They were frustrated.”

Happy, not satisfied: Yankees know they have to improve from big first half

Regardless of whether the New York Yankees would have won Sunday’s first-half finale at Progressive Field, to a man, the postgame clubhouse refrain still would have been the same.

We’re good, but not yet good enough.

This is a team, nearly 30 games above .500 entering the All-Star break, that is mostly pleased with the way it performed throughout the earliest stages of the season. But the self-aware bunch also knows it can — and must — be even better if it wants to close the second half as a division champ and World Series winner.

“We’re not satisfied at all in that room,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The 4½ games his team trails the rival Boston Red Sox in the American League East are part of the reason why.

“I’m pleased with the way we played in the first half,” outfielder Brett Gardner said Sunday following New York’s 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, “but I’m not pleased that we’re not in first place in the division.

“So we’ve got some work to do.”8

That’s the common sentiment among the 62-33 Yankees: that once they return to action at home Friday, hosting another Subway Series against the crosstown rival Mets, there is work to be done.

It’s work that spans the entire team. The Yankees believe no one area is as strong as it can be at this point, nor is one part of the roster infinitely superior to any other.

“We can pitch a little better, we can play a little better defense, and we’re capable of scoring more runs,” Gardner said. “It’s easy to sit here and nitpick and try and see what we could’ve maybe done different or to see how we could be better, but ultimately we have to be better if we want to win the division and get to where we want to be at, which is win a World Series.”

Starting pitching has been among the list of Yankees bugaboos since the season began. With a distinct drop-off in consistency behind the likes of ace Luis Severino and vet CC Sabathia, questions about the Yankees’ rotation have persisted.

The easiest and most discussed solution to address some of New York’s starting woes is to add a veteran pitcher before the trade deadline.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Since near the start of June, the Yankees have been doing their due diligence in making phone calls with other big-league teams to see what it might take to get a trade partner. Although there have been conversations regarding trades for position players such as Baltimore’s Manny Machado, New York’s primary focus from the start has been to get more arms for their shaky staff’s postseason run.

Might we see a deal that shores up the Yankees’ rotation within the next two weeks? Boone couldn’t say with 100 percent certainty as he began his All-Star break on Sunday. Still, he has full faith in the behind-the-scenes work general manager Brian Cashman and others are doing.