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this time with head coach Mike McCarthy explicitly calling him out on it.

Lacy played 15 games in 2015 but was bothered by ankle and groin injuries for most of the year. His numbers took a big hit as a result Lacy’s yards per attempt dropped to 4.1 and he scored just five touchdowns all season. He also failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark, eventually settling into a backfield committee with James Starks.

After the season, Lacy’s weight became a talking point once again, this time with head coach Mike McCarthy explicitly calling him out on it. Eddie Lacy has a lot of work to do, McCarthy told Packers.com. I think I’m stating the obvious. His offseason last season was not good enough. He has to get it done. He cannot play at the weight he did this year.

Lacy got the message and set about shedding pounds that offseason, even taking up P90X training. The results were pretty convincing, to say the least. Looking leaner and more spry than ever, Lacy had a hot start to the 2016 season, rushing for 360 yards and averaging 5.1 yards per carry in the first five games. Unfortunately, he picked up another ankle injury that required surgery, shutting down his season early.

Verrett is kind of in the same boat as Watkins: good-to-great player who simply can’t stay healthy for a long stretch. He missed 10 games in 2014 and two in 2015 with injuries, before a torn ACL ended his 2016 season after just four games. When he’s on the field, Verrett is easily the Chargers’ best cornerback, and he should form a strong duo with Casey Hayward if his recovery from knee surgery goes well. He does have a 2015 Pro Bowl appearance to his name.

The best name in the first round is also a pretty good safety. Clinton-Dix has been a fixture in Green Bay’s secondary, never missing a single game in three years and recording a career-high five interceptions last season. He’s the bright spot in a Packers defense that’s otherwise struggled with consistency.

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This time of year for everyone in the league is anxious and exciting

The Jets went from 10-6 in 2015 to half as many wins in 2016. There doesn’t seem to be much optimism about the career prospects of Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty, and 38-year-old veteran Josh McCown is probably going to start ahead of both young quarterbacks anyway.

Unless the additions of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye suddenly revives a Jets defense that went from No. 9 in points allowed in 2015 to No. 28 a year later, it’s hard to believe much in New York’s chances.

This time of year for everyone in the league is anxious and exciting, Payton said. Every year is different, and I think in today’s game you have to set things up differently. Whether you are coming off success or a lack of success, you’ve got to create a completely different slate, a new set of challenges and goals for your team. This league is different from the MLB or the NBA you can make that jump into the playoffs more readily.

This is an important camp for us. We’ve got two recent draft classes that should be ready to come on now. We’ve got some very good, very smart players on the PUP list (among them center Max Unger and left tackle Terron Armstead) who we look forward to getting back. But until then, this allows younger guys to get work at those positions.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley (heart condition) is lost for the season possibly a career-ending situation. But defensive end Alex Okafor is in as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals. And promising cornerback Marshon Lattimore is in as a 2017 first-round draft pick. And future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson is in the fold.

When the Saints take the field for training camp, you know who the big stars are to watch. What about the other guys?

The Saints have long featured the electric combination of Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, a prolific NFL head coach/quarterback duo. But this team’s recent struggles center on its defense.

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the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement saying player safety is our primary concern

Graham spent the entire offseason rehabbing the knee, and it would’ve been safe to assume that he’d open the season on the PUP list, sitting out the first six weeks. For comparison’s sake, Cruz tore his patellar tendon late in the 2014 season, sat out all of 2015, and didn’t return until last year, mostly looking like a shell of his former self.

But Graham managed to defy all expectations and was back on the field for Week 1. Fully integrated into the Seahawks offense, he became one of Wilson’s more reliable weapons, turning 95 targets into 65 catches, 923 yards, and nine touchdowns. He still wasn’t quite the focal point that he was in New Orleans, but Graham firmly re-established himself as one of the league’s better tight ends and was named to the third Pro Bowl of his career.

If 2017’s preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals gets even a coin toss in, it will have exceeded the 2016 Hall of Fame Game. Last year’s scheduled matchup between the Packers and Colts was called off after extreme heat in Canton turned the field’s synthetic turf into a hardened, sticky mess.

At the time, the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement saying player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight.?

The end result was an underwhelming start to the 2016 preseason. Fans who made the trip to Ohio were forced to head home without seeing Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck take the field.

2017 promises to be better, if only because the game will actually take place (we think).

If this were the regular season, the headlining matchup would be a showdown between two of the league’s best tailbacks. Cowboys runner Ezekiel Elliott’s premier season was an unrequited success; he topped the NFL and threatened Eric Dickerson’s rookie record with 1,631 rushing yards. On the other sideline is David Johnson, who led the league with 2,118 yards from scrimmage in his second season as a pro.

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Irving has been heavily linked with a move to either the Knicks or Spurs.

The Cowboys went into the offseason with the salary-cap issues of a veteran team. They also were forced to shuffle their offensive line and needed to further address their defensive line. As Jerry Jones was celebrated as a class of 2017 Hall of Famer, some off-field news brought more bad publicity.

But so far, Ezekiel Elliott will remain starting in the backfield, alongside Nike Elite Cheap Jerseys Dak Prescott. They make the transition from rookies who delivered well beyond expectations to second-year standouts expected to lead as part of the nucleus. With Elliott and Prescott’s combined explosiveness and efficiency setting the tone, Dallas suddenly has a high floor to match a brand new ceiling. The Cowboys, if those two stay healthy, are too steady to succumb to any sophomore slump.

With less than a month to go before the league’s trade deadline, Jackson is trying to see if he can accomplish now what he could not accomplish then: ridding the Knicks of Anthony and starting over with youth.

It is what Jackson would have preferred from the beginning, knowing that the style San Jose Sharks Cheap Jerseys of play he wants to employ with the Knicks is incompatible with Anthony’s ball dominance. But Jackson won’t find a deal for Anthony easy to come by. For one thing, Anthony’s contract (three more years, with an option, at $58 million) is prohibitive. For another, Anthony’s advancing age and diminishing skillset have dented his value.

Irving has been heavily linked with a move to either the Knicks or Spurs. In New York, Irving would be the focal point — as long as Carmelo Anthony goes the other way — which means he could be the man to save the dysfunctional franchise.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone has heard those trade rumors about Wilson Chandler and Emmanuel Mudiay.

Potential suitors know exactly what they would be getting in Granderson, a power-hitting, strikeout machine. He’s hitting just .220/.322/.448 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs this year.

He doesn’t offer much in terms of speed and defense anymore, but remains a smart baserunner and delivers patient at-bats against both righties and lefties. While 10 of his 13 homers have come against righties, he has a higher batting average (.239) against lefties than righties (.214), though neither mark is attractive.

Who could be interested: The market for Granderson has been limited to this point. He’d be better off as a part-time DH on an American League team, but most of the contenders don’t have a need for him. In other words, the Mets will have a hard time dealing Granderson.

Nearly a decade into his NBA career, Love has grown accustomed to being in the middle of possible trades dating back to his time with the Timberwolves. Learning to deal with trade rumors, he says, is simply “part of the growth process.”

Cleveland.com reports Love will be ready to play against the Knicks after missing Cleveland’s past two games with back spasms. His return provides an entertaining backdrop for Saturday night’s game (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

Nuggets coach Mike Malone has heard those trade rumors about Wilson Chandler and Emmanuel Mudiay. USA Today reports Chandler is frustrated with his role and wants out, and ESPN reports the Nuggets are “quietly exploring” what they could get for Mudiay.

After Kenley Jansen gave up a game-tying three-run Toronto Maple Leafs Cheap Jerseys homer to Atlanta’s Matt Adams, the Dodgers won it in the 10th inning as Logan Forsythe’s bases-loaded single gave the Dodgers a 5-4 victory.

The Nationals cruised to a 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks and Washington Youth NFL Cheap Jerseys manager Dusty Baker said Strasburg had some trouble getting loose so the team took him out as a precaution.

did he raise the art of the squeal to a new level that season.

Pachulia: “Because there was a change, it was already a success in my opinion. Was I disappointed that I didn’t make it? No. Honestly, no. That’s not my priority. That’s never been on my mind because I’m realistic. I’m smart. I know what kind of player — I’m a basketball player, not a showman. I love this game. I love playing team basketball and being in a system, being around good guys.

“I smile talking about it. It’s something we’ll remember as fun. It’s a special moment at the same time. I don’t want to disrespect any votes. Of course, I’m so thankful for a million and a half (votes). It’s no joke. It’s not easy. I’m thankful and feel privileged to have gotten a lot of support from the fans. It’s amazing. It’s priceless. We’re thankful, and we move on. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing this year. Play hard, play for the team and I guess it works because people appreciate that.”

But, wow, did he raise the art of the squeal to a new level that season.

For Barkley, the year was lowlighted by an arrest on a battery charge at a Milwaukee bar at 2:30 on a December morning. Team-wise, the year was probably poisoned by the release of Barkley’s book, “Outrageous!” In it, he criticized the trade that brought his friend Manute Bol and his 1.9-point scoring average to the Sixers (“Hell, my grandmother could score two points a game, as long as Pittsburgh Penguins Cheap Jerseys she wasn’t double-teamed”) as well as teammates Armon Gilliam, Hersey Hawkins and Charles Shackleford, who would be tongue-lashed by Barkley relentlessly that season.

Shackleford, Barkley wrote, “was basically thrown away by the Nets — the Nets! — after Reebok Cheap Jerseys just two years. If the Nets couldn’t use him, it’s hard to imagine how he can be our starting center.”

Nets play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle confirmed previous reports about center Brook Lopez, telling NetsDaily.com that Brooklyn is “not giving him away.”

How Bleacher Report wants to ‘redefine’ live NBA, MLB game broadcasts for millennials

Imagine a different kind of NBA game broadcast: a red-carpet entrance, GoPro cameras on the court and “sneaker cams” for players.

The game announcers interact in real time with viewers on Facebook Live. It’s tailored to tech-savvy 14- to 34-year-old millennial men who live their lives on their phones and social media platforms, not older fans who passively let TV wash over them.

The Turner Sports-owned website dipped its toe into the water by broadcasting high school football games on Facebook Live last fall. That’s just for openers.

Bleacher Report’s “long-term dream” is to “redefine” live sports broadcasts by creating its own versions of NBA and Major League Baseball games, said Joe Yanarella, senior vice president of content.

Last month, of course, Gilbert utterly bungled the handling of general manager David Griffin’s contract, refusing to budge on a new deal for the guy who had taken flak all year when things had gone wrong, managed to improve a roster with virtually no assets on hand and had overseen the team’s 2016 championship, the first in franchise history.

Of all the places for Gilbert to look for changes to make to his team, dumping Griffin should not even have been on the list.

Alas, there is ego to consider. Gilbert was not much fond of the accolades Griffin got for the Cavs’ success. He is the owner. He wanted his glory, but that went to NFL Cheap Jerseys Nike Griffin all too often. Gilbert, who signs the luxury-tax checks and does get involved in personnel matters, perhaps deserved more credit than he got for the Cavs’ recent run.

But so what? That’s part of being an owner. You’re better off behind the scenes, and when your name is in the media, it’s probably not for good reasons. I’m reminded of former Jets owner Leon Hess, who was so publicity-shy that one confidante said of him, “Leon Hess pays people to keep his name out of Oakland Raiders Cheap Jerseys the papers.”

Mark Cuban’s assault on Bleacher Report’s Dirk Nowitzki tweet proves his genius yet again

Bleacher Report thrives on giving millennials all the feels with their super-trendy social content that often has no chill.

Well, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has mad beef.

After Bleacher Report’s Instagram and Twitter accounts published a clip of Dirk Nowitzki air-balling a shot with the caption “Dirk Forever,” Cuban took his fierce complaints to the very top until the post got taken down.

The Timberwolves lost to the Spurs 97-90 in overtime, but Ricky Rubio had a triple-double. The point guard scored 11 points with 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the 79th triple-double in the NBA this season, breaking a record of 78 set in 1988-89.

San Antonio also clinched a playoff spot for the 20th consecutive season with the win.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Please, Cleveland, stop resting all your stars on the same night. No one wants to watch a team without its four best players suited up. Kevin Love and J.R. Smith are injured, sure, but benching Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on the same night is getting old fast as they have not yet locked up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. By the way, Cleveland lost 120-92 at Miami and things got heated at the buzzer.

Warriors (50-11) at Knicks (25-37) 3:30 p.m. ET — Golden State heads to the Big Apple to try and add to the Knicks’ misery this season. Stephen Curry and company have not Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping looked very good with Kevin Durant out of the lineup. Look for them to get back on track against Cheap Jerseys Hockey Carmelo Anthony and the hapless Knicks.

AFC South 2017 predictions: Time to take division, and the Titans, seriously

Keep joking about the AFC South at your own risk. According to projected win totals, it’s no longer the NFL’s worst division. And one team, maybe even a couple, could do real damage in the playoffs this season.

The two-time defending division champion Texans have a promising rookie passer and what could become the league’s best defense. The Titans have real pieces around their young Cheap Jerseys NY Giants star quarterback. The Jaguars (on paper, at least) improved significantly on defense. The Colts have Andrew Luck.

Even if the AFC South is not great, it’s competitive. Don’t be surprised if a team not named Indianapolis or Houston wins the division for the first time since 2008.

At one point, Webb’s arm and athletic upside as a Cal transfer from Texas Tech had him in the conversation to be an early second- or even late first-round pick. But there were enough concerns about his mechanics, pocket presence and accuracy that he couldn’t go to a team that needed a starter in 2017 or ’18.

The Giants had the luxury to draft for his potential, and so far, Webb is doing and saying the right things. A big step for him in camp, regardless of Smith’s health, would be improving consistently to pull even with the veteran.

Of the 14.2 points per game he is averaging this season, 12.0 points come from four play types that don’t require him to do much with the ball in his hands. He’s either spotting-up for 3-pointers, cutting to the basket when his defender falls asleep, using his length to score in transition or attacking the Cheap Jordan Jerseys For Sale offensive glass for putbacks.

Kevin Durant thinks resting complaints are ‘only about a couple of players’

Kevin Durant thinks the controversy surrounding resting players has been blown slightly out of proportion.

The star small forward, who is still out of action for the Warriors with an injury, doesn’t think NBA commissioner Adam Silver needs to get team owners involved.

“The truth about it is, it’s only for a couple of players in the league,” Durant told ESPN.com. “They don’t care if the 13th man on the bench rests. It’s only for like LeBron [James], Steph [Curry], [James] Harden, Russell [Westbrook]. It’s only for like five players, so you want a rule just for those five players?”

Durant conveniently failed to mention himself, Kyrie Irving, who along with James helped spark the controversy, the Spurs stars, DeMar DeRozan and Isaiah Thomas — if their teams ever sat them — DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis and a host of other stars for respective teams.

The Pacers, currently sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, reportedly wanted three among a group of four Boston players, including Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2016 draft, as well as the 2017 pick the Celtics got from the Nets. On his trade deadline show, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Nuggets believed they found their franchise player in center Nikola Jokic, and refused to include the 6-10, 250-pounder in any package for George. The 22-year-old Jokic has been good for 20.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game in his last 10 contests.

Indiana and Boston, No. 2 in the East behind the Cavaliers, wound Cheap Green Bay Packers Jerseys up not making any moves. Denver sent a protected pick to Milwaukee in exchange for Cheap Game Jerseys Bucks center Roy Hibbert to add depth to its frontcourt.