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#pounditWednesday, October 27, 2021


Report: Longtime NFL coach is candidate for USC job

Jeff Fisher on sidelines

It’s been a while since Jeff Fisher had the chance to coach at either the NFL or college level, but it sounds like USC might be giving him a look.

According to Brett McMurphy of Action Network, Fisher is “in the mix” for the USC job, along with a number of high-profile college head coaches.

Fisher, like fellow former NFL head coach Jack Del Rio, played college ball at USC. One of the two of them always seem to have their name connected to a head coach search at USC.

Fisher has no college experience aside from his current gig advising Eddie George at Tennessee State. That said, he’s been open to college jobs in the past, and it’s hard to see him passing on this one, assuming his candidacy is legitimate.

Fisher became somewhat infamous for his mediocrity toward the end of his NFL tenure. He is 173-165-1 in his NFL coaching career, and has not had a winning season at that level since 2008. One would figure the Trojans would want someone more dynamic and accomplished for the role if they can find that option, but there’s no doubt Fisher has ample experience.

Kyle Shanahan explains why 49ers are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

Despite another mediocre performance by Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback does not appear to be in any danger of losing his starting job.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged Monday that Garoppolo’s poor outing Sunday against Indianapolis was the quarterback’s worst of the season. However, Shanahan thought the weather had a lot to do with that, and affirmed that Garoppolo has a strong enough grip on the starting job that one bad game won’t cost him.

“We didn’t go into that game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that,” Shanahan said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Jimmy didn’t play as good as he could, which he knows that and I know that. I think there were some pretty hard circumstances for him — for both quarterbacks, considering some of the weather. But I definitely thought he could play better.”

Shanahan also cited backup Trey Lance’s health as a reason for Garoppolo being so entrenched. Lance has been out with a knee injury and is not yet up to full speed.

Garoppolo went just 16-for-27 for 181 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Sunday’s loss. He’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in only one game so far this season. He doesn’t seem long for the 49ers considering how adamant Shanahan was about trying to upgrade during the offseason. That said, there appears to be little Garoppolo can do to lose his job right now.

Jets players angered by Patriots running up score on them

Bill Belichick

The New York Jets got lit up like a jack-o’-lantern by the division rival New England Patriots on Sunday, and apparently some Jets players thought that their division rivals were rubbing it in unnecessarily.

Jets offensive tackle Morgan Moses said that he and others were bothered by the Patriots running up the score, per Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

The Patriots defeated the Jets by a comical 54-13 final score. They scored another three touchdowns in the fourth quarter after they were already ahead by 21 points, continuing to take deep shots down the field.

Of course, New England was under no obligation to stop trying to score, and it is on the Jets for not being able to defend them. In fact, the Patriots pulled many of their starters, scoring their final touchdown of the game on a drive led by backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.

But the Jets are probably right that the Patriots took pleasure in rubbing salt in their wounds. New England coach Bill Belichick, who famously hates the Jets, made no secret of the joy that he got from the thrashing.

Photo: Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers fan getting huge haul in exchange for Tom Brady’s milestone football

Tom Brady 600 ball

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan that gave back Tom Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass is getting compensated quite handsomely for it.

Mike Evans, the receiver who caught the touchdown, turned and handed the ball to Buccaneers fan Byron Kennedy. Evans hadn’t realized the touchdown represented Brady’s 600th, which meant a Buccaneers staffer had to go retrieve it.

So what did Kennedy get in return? The Buccaneers compensated him with two years’ worth of season tickets, plus signed items from both Brady and Evans.

Notably absent from the package is one specific request Kennedy made. It looks like he’ll have to keep trying on that one.

Kennedy’s been a good sport about the whole thing. That’s the least Brady — and Evans — could have asked.

The Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski Tampa party continues! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Joe Flacco traded back to Jets amid Zach Wilson injury

Joe Flacco in a hoodie

The New York Jets are bringing in all the stops as they look to continue competing for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2022.

The Jets on Monday night acquired Joe Flacco in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. They need the extra quarterback now that Zach Wilson is out with a knee injury.

The Jets are even giving Philly a conditional pick for Flacco.

There is a belief that Flacco should be able to pick up the Jets’ offense quickly based on his history.

The trade marks a welcome back for Flacco, who started four games at quarterback last season for the Jets, going 0-4.

Flacco passed for 864 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions over five games last season. Though he probably won’t help the Jets win games, Flacco is more competent than Mike White.

The Jets began the season with the worst quarterback depth chart in the league and are paying the price.

Flacco’s departure from Philly moves Gardner Minshew up to second string behind Jalen Hurts.

LeBron James’ ankle is still cause for concern?

LeBron James in his Lakers uniform

LeBron James’ ankle injury derailed his 2020-21 season, and now there are some indications that the Los Angeles Lakers star is still not fully over it.

The Lakers added James to the injury report for Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with soreness in his right ankle. It is the same one where James suffered a high-ankle sprain last March, costing him 20-plus games.

Lakers reporter Mike Trudell notes that James referenced the ankle after Sunday’s win over Memphis. The four-time MVP collided with Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane in the second quarter. He was down for several seconds but was able to finish the game without issue.

At almost 37 years old with over 60,000 career minutes already under his belt, it makes sense that James might not heal as quickly and may be more prone to reaggravation. He did only manage to score a season-low 19 points on 7-for-19 from the field against the Grizzlies despite the Laker victory.

We know that the Lakers entered the season already wanting to limit James’ workload. Any flare-up in his troublesome right ankle will only add to their concerns about The King.

Mel Tucker responds to LSU rumors

Mel Tucker before a game

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker tried to push aside rumors linking him to another job as he prepares for the biggest game of his tenure.

On Monday, Tucker had his first media availability since reports emerged linking him to the LSU job. Unsurprisingly, Tucker was not in the mood to discuss the Tigers, brushing aside the question by saying he was focused on Saturday’s game against Michigan.

“My focus in on the upcoming game versus the school down the road,” Tucker said, via Matt Wenzel of MLive. “That’s where my concentration and all my focus is, and I really appreciate you understanding that.”

It’s not a denial. That said, Tucker isn’t entertaining the speculation right now. With the Spartans in the top ten ahead of a huge game against the Wolverines, there’s no reason to.

Tucker is one of several names linked to the LSU position. Another Big Ten coach may also factor in that search.

Photo: Sep 3, 2021; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker walks on the field during warmups before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Rizzo ‘eager’ to re-sign with Yankees

Anthony Rizzo in a Cubs uniform

Anthony Rizzo spent 49 games with the New York Yankees this season, and apparently he would like to return to them.

The Newark Star-Ledger’s Bob Klapisch reported on Monday that a family member says Rizzo is “quite eager” to stay with the Yankees.

That is a good sign for the team, but that does not mean Rizzo will be back with the Yankees next season.

The Cubs traded Rizzo in part because they were unable to come to an agreement with him on a contract extension. There was said to be a gap between the parties.

If Rizzo is not happy with the contract terms the Yankees offer him, should they even extend him an offer, then he could depart and explore free agency.

Rizzo is 32 and batted .248 with a .783 OPS this season. The Cubs likely saw an age-related decline from Rizzo approaching. The Yankees may see it too, which could impact a contract offer for him.

Trae Young has clever strategy for dealing with NBA’s new rule change

Trae Young in his Hawks uniform

Trae Young is among those with the biggest adjustment to make amid the NBA’s new rules. But fortunately, the Atlanta Hawks guard is prepared.

Young spoke with veteran NBA writer Marc Stein on Monday and revealed his clever strategy for dealing with this season’s rule changes that make it tougher for offensive players to draw fouls — going straight to the source.

“I think it’s a more an adjustment on both sides, but also just me playing my game,” said Young. “I’ve been in a lot of meetings with [NBA head of referee training and development] Monty [McCutchen], trying to make sure what’s a foul and what’s not. Lot of the [contact I draw] is a foul. Me going in front, stopping on a dime, defenders continuing to run into me, that’s still a foul.”

The All-Star guard was quick to point out though that he is probably not the only player who has contacted the league to clarify the new rules.

“The league is good at that — being open to communicating about anything,” Young went on. “Especially if a guy has questions. It’s not just me. I’m sure a lot of other guys have called and just tried to get more clarification on what’s a foul and what’s not.”

Regardless, it is still plenty resourceful from Young, who had become one of the NBA’s more notorious whistle-baiters. True, his numbers are down from 25.3 points on 8.7 free throw attempts per game last season to 21.5 points on 6.0 free throws attempts per game so far this season. But Young is not quite struggling with the new rules as much as some other players are.

The 23-year-old is right that there will definitely be an adjustment period for both players and referees. But Young is doing his part to put himself in the best position to succeed, which is the mark of all the truly great players.

Photo: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Delonte West made wild claims in troubling arrest video

Delonte West

Delonte West was arrested last week outside a police station in Florida, and police have released body camera footage of the incident.

Officers responded after West went to the Boynton Beach Police Department building last Tuesday and began yelling and banging on the glass doors. He was holding an open can of beer and open bottle of vodka. The former NBA star was arrested after he did not cooperate with police.

On Monday, TMZ released footage from the arrest. West was shown handcuffed on the ground spewing incoherent thoughts. He repeatedly said he is the President of the United States and insulted the officers, who told him they wanted to get him help. The 38-year-old claimed he came to the police station because he was being jumped.

At one point, West began talking about his basketball career and said he was better than LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

“N—-, I was better than LeBron James. I’m better than Jordan,” West shouted at police. “I was the best n—- to play every sport. Shut the f— up!”

West was charged with resisting an officer without violence, disorderly intoxication and having an open container. He is set to appear in court next month.

West has a history of mental health and substance abuse issues. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban helped locate him last year after West was spotted panhandling in the Dallas area. Cuban set West up with a rehab treatment program, and West was said to be doing well as of earlier this year.

In 2019, West refused to accept assistance after a video showed him fighting someone in the middle of the freeway. He is clearly in need of help once again.