Ravens schedule 2018: Baltimore must take advantage of friendly home slate

The Ravens’ 2018 schedule marks the start of John Harbaugh’s 11th season with Baltimore.

Harbaugh led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons, but the Ravens have failed to make the postseason in four of the last five. That includes a three-year drought. The Ravens will look to end that against a schedule that features the NFC South and AFC West. The home schedule is friendly, but the road map is especially brutal in 2018.

Bottom line: The home schedule is manageable, and Baltimore must take care of business in those games. The Ravens were 5-3 at home last year, and that included one-score losses to Cincinnati and Chicago. Those two games against the Bengals are always big at the end of the year, and the Ravens have finished two games ahead the last two seasons, but that loss to Cincinnati proved costly in 2017. Record prediction: 8-8

“I am grateful that no one was injured in the accident,” Williams said in a statement. “The driver in front of me slammed on his brakes and I turned to the left and hopped the curb to avoid hitting him. I got his insurance information and my neighbor picked me up when my car wouldn’t drive. I live right near where the accident occurred, so my neighbor dropped me off and I called a tow truck and took the scooter from my house to go meet the tow truck driver. The police officer, who I have met in the past in the neighborhood, saw me on the scooter and arrested me without performing any sobriety tests. I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how. I apologize if I should have handled it a little bit differently.”

Williams’ lawyer, Chip Lewis, added this: “We appreciate the professionalism of all law enforcement involved in handling this situation. Contrary to media reports, Terrance did not hit a light pole and there was no light pole even near the vehicle. Secondly, his arrest was wholly unrelated to the traffic accident.”ravens_079

Five thoughts about Detroit Lions’ 2018 schedule

Allen Park — The NFL released its 2018 schedule Thursday night. Here are five thoughts about the hand the Detroit Lions were dealt (full schedule below).

Some of the initial reaction to the opening segment is that it’s brutal, but I’m seeing a glass half-full.

First, the Lions travel to Buffalo, arguably the NFL’s leader in annual snowfall. Then it’s a season-closing game against the Packers, where the Lions have had a historical share of issues.

Fortunately, the lengthy losing streak in Wisconsin no longer hangs over the franchise’s head, after they won two out of the past three at Lambeau Field. But the last time they earned a victory over the Packers in below-freezing temperatures was 1991.

The New York Giants front office is reportedly not in agreement over what the franchise should do with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano is hearing some executives within the Giants organization can’t understand how the franchise could consider passing on a quarterback with the No. 2 pick.

“Many people think Darnold is the one guy that has sold Gettleman,” Vacchiano wrote, via SNY. “If the Browns take Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen at 1, Darnold will be in play because there are some in the organization who think passing on a franchise quarterback would be nuts.”

This is not the first we’ve heard of the Giants interested in the USC quarterback. Last week, a report surfaced suggesting the Giants will draft Darnold if he is available to them at No. 2 overall.

Didi Gregorius sparked the scoring. He tanked Garcia’s 90-mph fastball in a 1-1 count to the right-field short porch. It was Gregorius’ sixth homer of the year, tied for a team high. Injury kept Gregorius off the field until April 28 last season, in which he hit a career-best 25 home runs.

John Hynes, the Devils’ coach, had similar concerns after Hall’s first season. That the defensive side of his game wasn’t where it needed to be, for example. That he needed to train harder. And that while he would provide the occasional spark for the team, his performances weren’t yet reaching the “leading by example” that Hynes wanted out of Hall.seahawks_196

Marshall rehabbing at Giants’ facility, but roster status uncertain

New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been working out at the team facility, but head coach Pat Shurmer indicated Tuesday his roster spot is in question. We’ll have to see, Shurmer told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY when asked about Marshall’s place on the team.

We also see this on the bases: Despite frequently reaching base, Babe has never stolen a base. Another small clue: Despite being young, his ratio of triples to doubles is lower than in the league as a whole. We suspect he isn’t very fast and is likely to get slower, hurting his defensive and baserunning value.

There’s one other detail that will come as no surprise to you: Babe is extremely undisciplined, even out of control, in his personal and professional lives. If you had to pick a player whose makeup and work ethic would help him make this challenging transition, you’d pick … not Babe Ruth. He also tends to disappear in the offseason, so he isn’t likely to put a lot of work into getting better at his position. (On the other hand, he’s a natural athlete who seems to do everything he tries well.)

Raiders coach Jon Gruden may know something the rest of us don’t.

Or maybe he was just rambling.

While no one has made a move to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Gruden invoked a number of unemployed quarterbacks when asked about the former 49ers starter.

I think there’s a lot of intrigue there, Gruden said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. His performance on the field wasn’t very good, on tape. I think, Robert Griffin, a rookie of the year, surprised he’s out there. Tim Tebow, takes a team to the playoffs, there’s some surprise that he never came back. You know, Johnny Manziel, he’s out there.

Sam Miller looks back through the lens of history at the stories, teams, players and plays that made the biggest mark on MLB in each season since 1903. patriots_322

How Sean McVay won NFL Coach of the Year in his 1st season with the Rams

One year ago, Sean McVay became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he was hired by the Los Angeles Rams. At only 32 years old, he proved to the NFL that age is just a number, winning the 2017 NFL Coach of the Year Award in just his first season.

He wasn’t expected to bring the young Rams back to relevancy so soon after five straight losing seasons under Jeff Fisher. But McVay led the Rams to an 11-5 record and an NFC West crown, the franchise’s first division championship since the 2003 season.

The worst part about that 3-2 shootout loss to the Czechs was that the game never should have reached a shootout. Vojtech Mozik took an ill-advised slashing penalty with 1:20 left in regulation and the game tied 2-2. The U.S. power play was clicking at over 20 percent for the tournament. The Americans not only finished the third period on the power play — they also started overtime with a 4-on-3 man advantage for 40 seconds.

“They are fearless. They are just kids having fun. A lot of guys are 12-13 years older than them, and when you see the fun and the attitude they play with, it rubs off on a lot of us,” goalie Ryan Zapolski told ESPN.

It was a calculated decision by the late Jim Johannson, GM of Team USA, and his brain trust. They felt a team made up of veteran players — ex-NHLers and AHLers who played overseas and were familiar with the larger ice surface — would be the safest play. They trusted them more. Yet the kids were the only bright spot on this team offensively.

Dolphins waive Rey Maualuga after overnight arrest for battery

Washington’s offense is ranked 11th in points per game while the Giants are 30th.

Thursday night’s Titans-Steelers game, set to kick off at 8:25 p.m. ET and air on NBC and NFL Network, also will be available via live stream through Amazon Prime Video. The uniqueness of the Color Rush uniforms worn by both teams might be trumped by that of the camera angle, as NBC plans to utilize its SkyCam system to present a new primary viewing angle for live game coverage.

The key for Thursday night’s game will be Pittsburgh’s offense against Tennessee’s defense. The Steelers enter Week 11 averaging 20.8 points per game, a disappointing 19th in the NFL. They have a chance to improve that average against a Titans team allowing 23.7 points per game, 22nd in the league. Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell leads the NFL with 840 rushing yards, and wide receiver Antonio Brown has a league-best 882 receiving yards along with 60 receptions, tied for the second-most in the NFL.

Remember, these are not the Browns. These are the Giants, a team that was picked by some experts to reach the Super Bowl this season.

These are the Giants that previously upset the favored Patriots in two Super Bowls; the Big Blue Wrecking Crew of Lawrence Taylor, Bill Parcells and Phil Simms; a team that has prided itself on defense from LT in the 1980s to Sam Huff in the ’50s; a franchise for which former defensive coaches include Bill Belichick and Tom Landry.

“They all proceeded, grim-faced, to the team bus after the latest in a season saturated with embarrassing moments — 49ers 31, Giants 21 on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. When Giants coach Ben McAdoo got to the bus, he was admitted on board without incident. Same for general manager Jerry Reese, who declined to speak to reporters when asked on his way out of the locker room.

I had never seen it before those guys.

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible.”

Founded in 2003 in Atlanta, CompLexity owned and operated by esports veterans Jason Lake and Jason Bass is part of a $700 million industry that Goff, chairman of Goff Capital and Crescent Real Estate, predicts will continue growing more than 40 percent annually for the foreseeable with viewership numbers surpassing many major, traditional sports.

“The growth in professional gaming is incredibly significant,” Jones said in the release. “We are proud to be stepping into this space with John Goff and an industry icon in Jason Lake. The synergies here are endless and I’m confident our resources will continue the growth of Complexity for years to come.”

MLB’s agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball made this a bit tricky, as Japanese free agents can’t simply decide to play in the United States without the cooperation of their teams through the posting system, which compensates the Japanese club financially for losing a topflight player to the majors. Under the terms of an arrangement between the two leagues, the Fighters will be grandfathered in under the old agreement instead of the new one, allowing them to pursue a cap of $20 million rather than the $150,000 they stood to make under the new posting system — thus giving the team incentive to allow its 23-year-old star to move on.

So the largest roadblock to Ohtani coming over to the United States has been neatly obliterated. But just how good will Ohtani be in the big leagues? Translating a pitcher’s performance from Japan to the majors is complicated; we know far better how good a Clayton Kershaw or a Max Scherzer is than a star Japanese pitcher.

The Eagles capitalized on the desperation of the Vikings

While he may lose a few minutes once Cody Zeller returns to the court, Kaminsky should remain a key part of the Hornets’ rotation, given his rare ability to stretch the floor — he’s making 42.1 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaging nearly 17 points over his past four games.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been dealt to 0-8 San Francisco, sending huge reverberations for a number of players and teams across the league.

The Eagles capitalized on the desperation of the Vikings, who had just lost starter Teddy Bridgewater to a catastrophic knee injury, to replenish their own coffers. Four months earlier, they had moved up in the 2016 draft to select quarterback Carson Wentz. (The ensuing Bradford trade technically occurred during the preseason, but the official ruling body of ESPN lists has approved its inclusion here.) The Vikings acquired Bradford knowing they might need him for 2017, as well.

Oakland got a monster game from Cooper in Week 7 after six (mostly) bad games. It was more because of the favorable matchup against the Chiefs’ non-Peters defensive backs than Cooper suddenly emerging as a dominant wideout. After a slow start for the Giants, JPP got his groove back as a freakish edge rusher with his dominant game at Denver in Week 6.

Ultimately, where the Golden Knights fit in the healing process isn’t really up to them. Their games might comfort some, inspire others, or maybe even feel trivial. “It can be two-fold,” says Wild forward Jason Zucker, the NHL’s lone Las Vegas native. “It absolutely can be a fun thing for [survivors] to go, but unfortunately they already were at a fun venue, having a great time before, and it was disastrous.” Regardless, the team is part of Las Vegas now.canadiens_473_6ece48ddc0679b0c-180x180

His hands measure a whopping 10 1/8 inches, and they’re cotton-soft.

“He can go get the high ball, but what’s even more impressive is how he can go get the low ball,” Schleusner said. “Balls behind him, or thrown at his feet, he suctions everything in. You talk about a catch radius, he’s got a huge one.”

Another test Goedert excels in is the 20-yard short shuttle drill, known as the 5-10-5, in which prospects run 5 yards, stop and run 10 in the opposite direction, then reverse again for 5 more yards. It measures change-of-direction, agility, and quickness, and it’s among the drills Goedert will test in at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Goedert gave brief consideration to leaving SDSU last year and entering the draft, and interest from agents came as a shock to the family. The agents ultimately advised Goedert that the strength and depth of the 2017 tight end class — five of the first 45 selections were tight ends, including three of the first 23 picks — made it wise for him to stay in school for a fifth year. He listened. As such, he’s now on track to graduate in December with a degree in operations management.

A couple years ago he returned to Britton-Hecla High and gave a speech at the annual sports banquet. He implored the Braves athletes to put more effort into their training than he did. Two weeks ago, sitting in the SDSU players’ lounge with “The Price Is Right” providing background noise, he stared right through Drew Carey as he acknowledged it again.

“As a kid, you always had an excuse,” he said. “I played around with weights sometimes just to see what I could do, but I never was on a program.”

Goedert decided on football over basketball just before his senior year, but being the best athlete in the area had drawn just one scholarship offer — to Northern State, a Division II school close to home — and Goedert had ambitions to play on a higher level, even if it meant walking on.