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Sunday, August 28, 2016

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Novak Djokovic says ‘private issues’ cost him chance of grand slam

Novak Djokovic celebration

Novak Djokovic appeared unstoppable at the start of the grass court season, but since then, a significant dip in form has seen his chances at a calendar year grand slam evaporate.

Djokovic said following the U.S. Open draw that mental issues were his downfall at Wimbledon, stemming particularly from some things that were happening in his private life.

“It was nothing physical, it was not an injury,” Djokovic said at the draw, via Leo Schlink of the Herald Sun. “It was some other things that I was going through privately. But it was nothing linked to the wrist injury I got in Rio.

“We all have private issues and things that are more challenges than issues, things we have to encounter and overcome in order to evolve as a human being. That was the period for me. Was resolved and life is going on like everything else.”

He did say that his loss at the Olympics was due in part to a wrist injury that he is still battling.

Djokovic lost shockingly to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, and there was significant speculation about Djokovic’s wife Jelena in the British press at the time. That was likely a factor.

It’s been an odd year for Djokovic. He had to face a bit of controversy over some comments he made earlier in the season, and it’s been a struggle since Wimbledon. He’ll try to turn things around at Flushing Meadows, where he has won twice in his career, including 2015.

Dak Prescott believes he is ‘smartest’ QB from his draft class

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott believes he will prove to people that his outstanding preseason was not a fluke. While no team considered him to be the most talented quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft class, Prescott insists he is the most intelligent.

In an interview with Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today, Prescott said he believes he has more between the ears than any of the seven quarterbacks who were selected ahead of him.

“Knowledge-wise, I think I’m the smartest quarterback that came in this class,” Prescott said. “I would love to go on the board and go head to head with anybody else. That’s how I feel. That’s how confident I am.”

While Prescott was known for making plays with his legs at Mississippi State, his passing stats have been equally impressive in the preseason. He has completed 39-of-50 passes (a whopping 78 percent) and thrown for 454 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

The 23-year-old insists that is no coincidence. While many will argue — and with good reason — that preseason stats mean very little, Prescott feels he is more prepared to play at the NFL level than many other rookie quarterbacks.

“The offense we ran at Mississippi State was nothing short of an NFL offense,” he said. “The only thing that was different is that we didn’t go under center. I swear to you, in (pre-draft) visits, every play they showed me, I could name it. We just called it something different. At another team I visited, they ran the exact same stuff we ran.”

Prescott will need every bit of that confidence going forward, as the injury Tony Romo is dealing with sounds quite serious. If nothing else, a great preseason has seemingly resulted in Prescott’s mind being right where the team wants it to be.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Connor Shaw calls play that injured him ‘cheap BS’ (Video)

Connor-Shaw-injury

Chicago Bears quarterback Connor Shaw likely saw his season come to an end on Saturday when he suffered a gruesome leg injury in a preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. And if you ask him, the injury could have been avoided.

Shaw broke his leg on a play where Chiefs defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches dragged him to the ground just as he was releasing a pass. Shaw felt the play was dirty.

Here’s the video:

The hit wasn’t low, but you could make the case that Nunez-Roches should have let up more rather than dragging Shaw down with all his weight. If you want to see a true cheap shot, this is a great example. The hit from Nunez-Roches didn’t look nearly as bad in real time.

Eddie Lacy considering haircut after being tackled by dreadlocks

Eddie Lacy Hulk

Eddie Lacy has lost weight and is looking to rebound in his contract season, so the last thing he needs is to make it easier for defenders to bring him down. For that reason, the Green Bay Packers running back is considering cutting his hair in the near future.

After Lacy broke a big run against the San Francisco 49ers Friday night, linebacker Gerald Hodges caught up to him and dragged him down by the dreadlocks.

“It definitely hurts,” Lacy told reporters of being tackled by the hair, per Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “The first thought in my mind was a word I can’t really say.”

Lacy, who said he has not cut his hair in a year, admitted that it is currently “longer than I want it.” While he trims his dreadlocks periodically, Lacy is considering a proper haircut when he returns home to Louisiana during Green Bay’s bye week next month.

“I’m debating after that,” Lacy said. “I don’t know how many more of those I’d like to experience. We’re in camp. So I’ve got to wait until I get out of camp, and then I’ll assess it.”

Fans of Lacy’s dreads need not worry, however.

Getting tackled by the hair is no fun, but running backs and wide receivers know the risk they are taking by growing it out. We saw Chris Ivory feel the wrath of a hair tackle (video here) a while back, so he certainly knows where Lacy is coming from. I’m sure the Packers wouldn’t hate it if Lacy shortened up his locks.

Ben Watson tears Achilles, done for season

ben-watson

The Ravens signed Ben Watson during the offseason to help reinforce the tight end position. After their third preseason game, it appears Baltimore once again may need to look for outside help.

On the Ravens first play from scrimmage during Saturday’s game against the Lions, Watson went down and needed to be helped off the field. The team later announced the 35-year-old suffered a torn Achilles, which will end his season.


Watson put together the best season of his career last year with the Saints. He played in all 16 games and set career highs in receptions (74), receiving yards (825), and tied a career best with six touchdowns.

In a bit of good news, Terrell Suggs, who tore his Achilles last September, made his preseason debut for the Ravens in the same game.

Evan Fournier’s NBA2K character mocked on social media

evan-fournier

With the NBA season approaching, NBA2K has been releasing rankings for players in the 2017 version of the popular video game. For Evan Fournier, it wasn’t the rating he had an issue with.

Fournier was assigned a rating of 78, but he was more concerned about the look of his character. The Magic guard posted a screenshot via his Twitter account and inquired who the guy wearing his jersey is.



Not surprisingly, Fournier received numerous responses after making the screenshot available. Some of them were quite hilarious. Here are a few.






A couple of people seem to think the video game version is a fairly accurate portrayal.



For what it’s worth, Fournier had fun with it all and even had a few laughs at some of the responses he received. And, in a bit of good news, it appears Fournier will have a new look very soon.


Hopefully Fournier will be pleased with the update. If not, there may be more of the same.

H/T For The Win

Rex Ryan regrets ‘stupid decision’ to play Tyrod Taylor

Rex Ryan Bills

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan opted to sit most of his first-stringers for Friday night’s preseason loss to the Washington Redskins.

“I’m doing what’s best for our team,” Ryan told the team’s TV broadcast at halftime, per Mike Rodak of ESPN. “We want to show up at the starting game of the regular season.”

Unfortunately however, starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was not afforded the same courtesy.

Taylor played the first two drives of the game and went 2-for-5 with 11 yards passing. But the Pro Bowler took a beating, getting sacked on the first possession and taking another hard hit before being replaced by EJ Manuel about halfway through the first quarter. Afterwards, Ryan openly lamented the decision to even put Taylor out there in the first place.

“Looks like a stupid decision to play [Taylor] because I never expected him to get hit,” Ryan said.

Though Cardale Jones being out with shoulder soreness may have factored into the decision to play Taylor, it’s still not a great look. With all the injuries that have shredded the Bills this offseason, it’s obvious why Ryan wanted to rest the majority of this starters. But at the same time, you would think that logic might extend to a guy they’re paying to be their franchise quarterback.

Taylor just signed a six-year extension with the team earlier this month, so hopefully Ryan and the Bills learned their lesson on Friday night.

H/T theScore

Report: Mo Williams ‘strongly considering’ retirement

mo-williams-cavs

After finally winning his first NBA championship in 13 seasons, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams may be about to sail off into the sunset.

According to a report by Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com on Saturday, Williams is “strongly considering” retirement. The veteran’s “balky knee,” his “desire to coach,” as well as “the obvious chance to go out as a champion” are said to be factors in his leaning towards retiring.

Williams, 33, was used relatively sparingly off the bench by the Cavs last season, averaging 8.2 points per game, 1.8 rebounds per game, and 2.4 assists per game in 18.2 minutes per game across 41 appearances. He is under contract for $2.2 million in 2016-17, but Vardon also notes that Cleveland can opt to waive him via the stretch provision before August 31 and spread out his salary over a number of years, thus potentially lessening their year-to-year luxury tax burden.

The Mississippi native was with the team from 2008 to 2011, then returned in the summer of 2015. An All-Star selection in 2009 with career averages of 13.2 points per game and 4.9 assists per game, Williams has accomplished more than enough at the NBA level, both in terms of production and in terms of beefs with the media. As such, he would be well justified in calling it quits after 13 solid years.

Image Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

H/T Rotoworld

Dak Prescott a fantasy must-add after Tony Romo injury

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott is going to be thrust into a starting role much sooner than anyone expected. With news breaking on Saturday that Tony Romo has a broken bone in his back, the Cowboys are Prescott’s team indefinitely.

From a fantasy football standpoint, Prescott is as intriguing as they come. He has the ability to make plays with his legs and has looked terrific passing the ball in the preseason. Just look at his stats:

We all know preseason stats mean very little, but Prescott is one of those players who can post decent fantasy stats without even having a good “real life” game. In standard scoring leagues, he should be good for at least four or five points per week with scrambling alone. If Prescott adds a rushing score, that means he can grab you about 10 points without attempting a single pass.

Prescott needs to be owned in all formats. Initial reports are that Romo is expected to miss 6-10 weeks. The Cowboys’ schedule over the first 10 weeks is not insanely difficult.

Tony Romo has broken bone in back, expected to miss 6-10 weeks

Tony Romo

The Dallas Cowboys have announced that Tony Romo suffered a broken bone in his back during Thursday’s preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Romo is still expected to play at some point this season, though Pro Football Talk is reporting the 36-year-old could miss up to 10 weeks.

Romo’s inability to stay on the field has been devastating for the Cowboys in recent years. While the latest injury looked pretty nasty (video here), the Cowboys initially said they were not concerned about it. An MRI on Friday revealed that they should have been.

With Romo likely out for at least half the regular season, Dallas will now turn to rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. The former Mississippi State star has been impressive during the preseason, though keeping the Cowboys in contention will be no easy task.

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