In 2014, the Browns were beating the Pittsburgh Steelers

“It’s a blue-collar city, and for a blue-collar guy like myself, it’s easy to fall in love with the people and kind of the chip on the shoulder that a lot of people have because they feel like they’ve been slighted for so long. It’s so important for me to be here for the turnaround. I don’t want to just get a Super Bowl ring [by] being traded to a dream team. It would feel unsatisfying. Unfulfilling.”

It’s human nature for a player to check out, at least mentally, when his team is out of the playoff picture by Halloween. Thomas has practically had to beg to stay in on a couple of occasions.
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In 2014, the Browns were beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, manhandling them, actually, when then-coach Mike Pettine told backup Vinston Painter to go in and replace Thomas; the coach didn’t want his best player getting hurt in mop-up duty. Pettine was in his first year, and didn’t know any better. Thomas did a double take when he saw Painter.

THE BEST SEASON, no doubt, was 2007, his rookie year. The Browns went 10-6, came oh-so-close to making the playoffs, and Thomas must have figured it would always be like that, because he’d always played on winning teams. He went to the state tournament a combined five times alone in basketball and football at Brookfield Central High in Wisconsin, roughly 15 minutes from J.J. Watt’s hometown of Pewaukee.

Thomas would be missed if he can’t play or is limited this weekend at Tampa Bay. He is leading the team in every receiving category, with 69 catches, 831 yards and seven touchdowns. But the Saints have a deep receiving corps that includes Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman. Middle linebacker Craig Robertson also missed practice with a shoulder injury. He’d be hard to replace as an every-down player and the team’s leading tackler.
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Coach Mike Zimmer wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Smith returning from an ankle injury that had him on crutches and in a walking boot last Thursday, pointing out how often Smith plays through injuries. But given that Smith hasn’t practiced during the Vikings’ first two sessions of the week, his ability to play Sunday appears to be in doubt.

The 10-2 Raiders are 7-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer this year

Three-quarters of the NFL season is over. If you’re waiting for your favorite team to break out, well, it’s probably not going to happen. For several organizations, the season is all but over. That said, just about everyone else has something to play for, whether that’s trying to win a division, claiming a top seed, or simply trying to advance into the postseason by any means necessary.
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While many of the remaining contests will matter for one team or the other, with one-quarter of the season left to go, we can pinpoint games that will be most important for clarifying the playoff picture. I’ve gone through and highlighted the three games from each week with the most meaning over the four remaining weekends of the 2016 campaign — you can even consider this a viewer’s guide for the 12 most essential games of the 64 left on the calendar.

To work with dynamically generated playoff odds, I used the web simulator created by The Upshot, which generates playoff odds after identifying winners and losers for specified games by simulating the season thousands of times. When I mention games after Week 14 and how they impact playoff odds, keep in mind that unless stated otherwise, I’m only identifying a winner for that particular game and then using The Upshot to simulate the remaining games, which includes games that might have occurred before the one in question. If that seems confusing, or you enjoy nerd fun — well, then play around with the simulator yourself.

Authentic Youth Khalil Mack Jersey The only starter whose status is in question for Sunday is outside linebacker Mike Morgan, who did not participate in Wednesday’s practice because of a hip injury. Morgan came off of injured reserve last week after missing time with a sports hernia and played well. He starts in the Seahawks’ base defense, but comes off the field when they go to nickel. Other than safety Earl Thomas, who is out for the year with a fractured tibia, the Seahawks go into this week’s game with a healthy squad. — Sheil Kapadia

Then the J.J. Watt wildcat debacle ensued on first-and-goal

That’s pretty damn good for a nose tackle, by the way.
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Poe’s biggest play of the game came as a pass rusher, but if you didn’t see the game you might not realize that. I’m sure you probably remember the play itself.

In the case below, as Fitzgerald motions over, the Cincinnati Bengals show what looks like a zone defense. That’s a signal to Palmer that the safety to Fitzgerald’s size may be responsible for help in the mid-range. This is key, as he slips a pass over that safety’s head on the long-developing crosser.

He’s well-known enough in the NFL watching world, and even more in the home city of the New England Patriots. The introduction would seem superfluous, especially for a hulking mass of a man, who couldn’t be anything else but an NFL star.

Jones, at one time in his life, was a black boy growing up in the United States. His exercise in surrendering himself in an interaction with the police is a well-drilled lesson in self-preservation that is as traditional as any family heirloom.

Game Kids William Gay Jersey He must never forget to drop to his knees, put his hands behind his head, avoid eye contact and to speak in a calm, measured tone. To disengage the situation before it even starts. In a bid to plead for help from this outside source that tasked with helping citizens, he must never forget the primary relationship between his black person and the police, and the threat that he, regardless of his massive figure, poses. It had to be done under no provocation or warning, and he has been taught and conditioned to know so.

Innocent of all things except for what he classifies as “a stupid mistake” and in a time of desperation, he ran to the closest source of help. But in the midst of all of this, in the cloud of his confusion, anxiety and need, he could never forget that he is a black man, and that his interlocutors are police officers.

Take this concept. It’s essentially a deep crossing route that looks like a shallow post at first and then just becomes a really, really long run to the other side of the field.

fearless players in the NFL before he was brave enough to talk in front of a group

For most of his life, Chancellor Whitney Mercilus Jersey avoided these pregame speeches. Even as team captain in high school, in college and during his first years in the NFL, he never once spoke in front of an entire team. There was an entire locker room ready to follow him before he was ever ready to lead. He was considered one of the most intense, fearless players in the NFL before he was brave enough to talk in front of a group.

But now, in the moments before a Monday night game against Buffalo, he approaches the team huddle in the center of the locker room. He walks past Carroll and the other coaches who always stand on the outer ring, and then past Wilson and Sherman until he reaches the middle of the circle. One player speaks before each Seahawks game, a rotating core of four or five superstars, but Matt Paradis Authentic Jersey teammates say that Chancellor’s speeches feel most akin to a religious chant. He closes his eyes. His muscles tense up. He opens his eyes and looks possessed, demanding eye contact with every player on the team.

“I make those plays, but I love it when other guys step up and make those plays and we’re spreading the ball around. That’s when we’re jelling together, when we have confidence in everybody to step up and make that play in that situation.”

Jones’ selfless attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.

“It’s huge when your leaders and your best players are guys that are unselfish and want to win,” quarterback Matt Ryan said of Jones on 680 The Fan. “That trickles down to the rest of the team. And there’s no better example of that for us than Julio. He is about winning games and doing everything that he can to help us win games.”

Chancellor became closer to God, and more players started praying in the locker room. He began warming up with bands around his ankles to loosen up before games, and soon half the defense was wearing those same bands. He started drinking Reliant Recovery Water, and Wilson began drinking it too.

Adrian Peterson not asked to take pay cut, DeAngelo Hall restructures and other NFL news

Adrian Peterson is due $12.75 million in 2015, but hasn’t been asked to take a pay cut to stay with the Minnesota Vikings nor has the running back asked for a trade, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Peterson, 29, played in just one Benny Cunningham Youth Jersey game in 2014 before an indictment for child abuse sidelined him and eventually resulted in a suspension that ended the rest of his season. The tumultuous year created talk of Peterson and the Vikings parting ways, but according to Tomasson, those talks have never been formalized.

The running back told ESPN last week that he’s “still uneasy” about a return to the team and there’s plenty of reason to believe that the Vikings would want to avoid keeping Peterson on the roster and take a $15.4 million hit against the salary cap.

Those interceptions were plenty damaging, and the Bears only won five games this past season. And that’s why his contract is so bad. The Bears signed him to a huge seven-year deal last season, and he’ll carry a cap hit of $16.5 million in 2015. He then has cap hits of $17 million, $16 million, $17 million, $20 million and $21.7 million, respectively, through the 2020 season.

SB Nation presents: Might the Bears find their next quarterback at the NFL Combine?

New Bears general manager Ryan Pace also addressed the quarterback situation on Wednesday, echoing Fox’s comments that the team is still evaluating Cutler, both as a player and as a person. Pace didn’t offer specifics, but added that their goal was “to maximize Brian Quick Youth Jersey our time and make thorough decisions.”

The Bears met with free agent quarterback Josh McCown Wednesday, who started five games for the team in 2013 before signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2014 offseason.

Outside linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith also showed up

Per Pro Football Focus, Mack had an overall grade of 83.7 against the Texans, with a sack, a QB hit and five hurries plus two run stops. Mack, who has a team-leading eight sacks on the season, has a season grade of 90.8, second in the NFL among edge-rushers, and his 54 total pressures is third overall.

But he was not the only Jim Brown Womens Jersey player on the Raiders’ defense to step out. Outside linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith also showed up.

Irvin said it might have been his best game as a pro, and PFF gave him an overall grade of 79.2 after he had a sack and three hurries with four stops in the run game and 10 total tackles.

“Just a complete game for him, just being a total package football player,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said of Irvin. “Coming into the league, he may have been detailed as a finesse-type player. He’s really rugged now. He’s really strong, really smart, really confident. He can play sideline to sideline. He can rush the passer. He can drop into coverage. He can knock tight ends off the line. He can cover tight ends. He can do all this stuff.

In his past four games, Bryant has 22 catches for 400 yards and four touchdowns. Bryant feels like it could have been more. He turned around Norman on a deep route in the first half, but Prescott did not see the play develop.

“Man, he got lucky, put it that way,” Bryant said.

In the past, Bryant would have been thrown off his game by Joe Haden Womens Jersey Norman. He would have made it about him. Maybe he would have exhausted himself so much he would have needed intravenous fluids. Maybe he would have been drawn into a penalty or two.

“You are going to play against certain guys that are going to try to get you off your game and distract you,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I keep using the word focus, but I thought he was focused throughout this ballgame. He was locked in on what he needed to do to have success. When the opportunities were there, he cashed in on them and made a lot of big plays.”

Darrelle Revis made the right decision

I spent about five hours yesterday trying to wrap my head around the Sam Bradford-Nick Foles trade (two hours just trying to figure out the conditional pick). It was kind of a relief when the Darrelle Revis news broke. An old fashioned, straight-forward big money free agent signing.

The Jets, John Idzik Art Shell Authentic Jersey specifically, got crucified for not doing enough, not spending enough. Trading Revis to the Buccaneers and then watching him go to the Patriots, the eventual Super Bowl champs, became the impresa for a team trudging toward irrelevancy.

“Really I was in awe,” Jones said after the game. “I was very disappointed, but I was in awe of RG3. The plays that he was making — they made some great catches, they made some great plays. It was unbelievable the plays they were making.”

The 28-year-old has consistently Austin Howard Authentic Jersey moved up the all-time passing list over the past two seasons, having passed Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler and Joe Namath earlier this season.

He also moved up the all-time passing touchdowns leaderboard in the first half against Minnesota. With a 2-yard pass to Anquan Boldin, he threw his 182nd touchdown, placing him in a tie with Steve Grogan for No. 52 all time. The play was also the 80th touchdown catch of Boldin’s career.

It was also Stafford’s 15th touchdown pass on Thanksgiving, setting a franchise record.

Four years is a lifetime in the NFL. Sustained success is the mark of excellence.

“They’re such a key part of our success in what they do. I really don’t think anybody looks at them as rookies,” Jason Witten said. “Not just by their play, but just how they go about it. They love ball. You’re now 10 weeks into it. I mean, that’s a long time. And they have the ball in their hands at key times in games. I don’t think anybody looks at them as rookies, playing really well for us.”

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has advocated that the NFL install

The RFID chip could tell us where the ball is at any given point in time, but we wouldn’t necessarily know where it was when the player was down. To do that, as one source described to me, the NFL would have to put chips in each player’s knee and elbow pads — at least — to be able to coordinate locations.

Since the start of Week 6, Kaepernick has rushed for 52 yards per game, 28.1 percent of the 49ers’ rushing total, both best among quarterbacks during this stretch. With 34.4 percent of his fantasy production coming from the ground and a respectable Luke Bowanko Authentic Jersey clip of 228.8 passing yards per game since assuming starting duties in Week 6, Kaepernick is 10th among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game as San Francisco’s starter.

In August, Arians was rushed to a San Diego hospital before a Cardinals preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, thinking he had a kidney stone. The Cardinals said Arians was suffering from complications from diverticulitis, an inflammation in the colon.

He spent the night in the hospital and was released the next morning.

Arians’ health has been an issue throughout his career.

He gained 33 pounds during his first season in Arizona but lost about 15 in the first two Luke Joeckel Authentic Jersey months after the season. He began walking before practices during the 2013 season but hasn’t been seen doing that in a couple of seasons.

Before his time with the Cardinals, Arians was hospitalized before an Indianapolis Colts wild-card game against the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 because of an ear infection.

He also underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2007 while with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When he was the head coach at Temple, Arians said he was hospitalized for migraines, sometimes up to twice a week. He said the migraines stopped as soon as he was fired from Temple in 1988.

Ex-Lions QB on going 0-16: ‘I don’t wish that on anybody’

BEREA, Ohio — Quarterback Drew Stanton knows what it means to go through a winless season.

“I don’t wish that on anybody,” said Stanton, a member Adam Henrique Authentic Jersey of the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only 0-16 team in NFL history.

In 2009, the St. Louis Rams went 1-15. The team the Rams beat? Detroit. After the game, Stanton crossed paths with a former teammate from Michigan State, Cliff Ryan.

“I told him, ‘I’m so happy for you guys,'” Stanton said. “‘Usually I can never accept losing, but the fact that you guys don’t have to worry about going 0-16 makes it that much better for you guys.'”

Stanton now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, who Andy Greene Authentic Jersey went to the NFC Championship Game last season. Cliff Avril, another former Lion, now plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Both are well aware of the Browns’ 0-10 record.

Theismann later told the New York Times in a 2005 interview: “The pain was unbelievable, it snapped like a breadstick. It sounded like two muzzled gunshots off my left shoulder. Pow, pow! It was at that point, I also found out what a magnificent machine the human body is. Almost immediately, from the knee down, all the feeling was gone in my right leg. The endorphins had kicked in, and I was not in pain.”

“I’m not happy at where they are,” former Colts center and current ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday said. “You can’t lay it all on Andrew Luck. They have to do things around him. He’s so valuable that he’s counted on to do everything right. It’s not that he hasn’t made mistakes, because he has. But you’re putting it on him every week to make something happen, and it’s one of those deals where other areas of the football team are going to have to step up and meet that same level of performance and play if they want to be consistently in the playoff hunt and the championship hunt.”

The expectations for the Colts likely wouldn’t be what they are had they not been successful from the start. They set the bar by winning 33 regular-season games, reaching the playoffs three straight seasons and going undefeated in the AFC South in back-to-back seasons during their first three years with Luck.

Angels’ Mike Trout named AL MVP for second time in his career

Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels has been named the American League MVP.

The only players to post a higher WAR at age 23 than the Red Sox right fielder? Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins and Cal Ripken Jr.

Trout received 19 first-place votes and 356 points, while the runner-up Betts received 311 points. Retiring Red Sox slugger David Ortiz got one first-place vote to finish sixth in his final year in the majors.

Retained from Chip Hale’s staff are hitting coach Dave Magadan, pitching coach Mike Butcher, first-base coach Dave McKay and Ariel Prieto as coach/interpreter.

This time, Trout beat out Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros to become the first player to finish in the top two in MVP voting in five consecutive seasons.

Still, recent precedent suggested Betts would win the award after his Red Sox finished 93-69 and won the AL East. Of the 20 MVP winners from 2006 to 2015, 17 played on playoff teams. Was Trout the right choice? There is no right choice. This Chris Doleman Authentic Womens Jersey debate is as much about philosophy as it is numbers. All three finalists are great players, and we wouldn’t care much about who wins if it just went to the player with the highest WAR. Which, of course, was Trout:

There are Betts supporters who will argue that WAR doesn’t tell the whole story, that, for example, because the Red Sox won more games, Betts must have contributed more in those wins.

There is a statistic called win probability added that we can bring in here. Some analysts like it, some think it’s mostly a junk stat. I think Chuck Foreman Authentic Womens Jersey it just adds another piece to the puzzle. WPA looks at each plate appearance and credits or debits the player for how much his team’s win expectancy in the game changes based on the outcome of that plate appearance. A home run in the eighth inning with the score tied changes the odds of winning much more than a home run in the eighth inning of a 9-1 game.