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#pounditTuesday, October 26, 2021


Cardinals reportedly hire new manager

Oliver Marmol in uniform

The St. Louis Cardinals are staying in-house with their new manager.

The Cardinals on Monday will announce the hiring of Oliver Marmol as the team’s new manager, as first reported by Katie Woo and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Marmol has been a coach with the Cardinals since 2017 and has been the team’s bench coach since 2019.

The choice of manager certainly reinforces the fact that this isn’t meant to be a major overhaul. Former manager Mike Shildt was dismissed over what GM John Mozeliak called a “philosophical difference” rather than team performance. The Cardinals only considered internal candidates and apparently did not speak to anyone outside of the organization.

Marmol was originally drafted by the Cardinals in 2007 and began coaching in their minor league system in 2011. He previously managed the team’s Rookie League and Single-A affiliates in Johnson City and Palm Beach. The 35-year-old will immediately become the youngest active manager in the league.

Photo: Jul 3, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals bench coach Oliver Marmol against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Saleh responds to those saying he should yell at his players

Robert Saleh on the sidelines

Robert Saleh responded on Sunday to critics who think he needs to handle some of his players differently.

Saleh is in his first season as the head coach of the New York Jets. His team got smashed 54-13 by the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Some questioned whether Saleh, who isn’t a yeller, might have to start yelling at some of his young players more to get on their cases. The first-year coach said no way.

“If you need someone to yell at you, playing child’s game for a king’s ransom, then you don’t deserve to wear the logo, period,” Saleh said, via Ralph Vacchiano.

That’s a solid response.

Each coach has their own style. Some are vocal and animated. Some remain reserved. Not everyone has to have the same style, and Saleh doesn’t need to yell if he doesn’t think it will benefit the team.

But Saleh does need to figure out how to avoid such embarrassing results on the field. Maybe it was personal for Bill Belichick, who seemed to enjoy the blowout win. The Jets certainly did not enjoy being on the losing end.

Video: Tom Brady shared incredible moment with young fan who beat brain cancer

Tom Brady makes a young fan cry

Tom Brady had a big day Sunday, but it may end up being even more memorable for one young Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.

The Buccaneers scored an easy 38-3 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, with Brady throwing four touchdown passes in the win. After the game, he spotted a young fan in the front row and let the fan keep his game-used hat.

That fan wasn’t chosen at random. During the game, he had been holding up a sign indicating that Brady helped him beat brain cancer. The interaction was enough to drive the young fan to tears.

Brady was asked about the moment after the game, praising the “tough kid” and adding that seeing it puts his football career in perspective.

It’s an awesome gesture from Brady and a moment that kid will never forget. It’s possible the quarterback might have given him more, but some of Brady’s equipment may be spoken for already thanks to another fan interaction.

Nets coach thinks new foul rules are unfair to James Harden

James Harden on the court

The curtains have abruptly come down on James Harden’s Magnificent Foul-Baiting Circus this season. Now his head coach is complaining about the new rules that have adversely affected Harden.

After the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, Nets coach Steve Nash spoke out against the rule change that now disfavors awarding fouls to offensive players who create contact using non-basketball plays. He said that Harden has unfairly become the poster child of the rule change, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Nash added that Harden is still getting fouled but that referees are hyper-aware of the new rules when Harden has the ball.

The former NBA MVP Harden had arguably been the biggest beneficiary of the increasingly loose whistle with offensive players in previous years. It got to the point that Harden would just be flailing around theatrically without even remotely attempting to score yet would still be getting rewarded with free throws. We even got some truly ridiculous lowlights from him like this.

At his peak with the Houston Rockets in 2019-20, Harden was averaging 34.3 points on an absurd 11.8 free throw attempts a game. But now Harden is averaging just 18.3 points on 3.0 free throw attempts per game amid the crackdown on foul-baiting. Nash clearly believes Harden is being treated unfairly. But many others will see Harden’s struggles as pure karmic justice.

Photo: Feb 16, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bears coaches made Justin Fields look bad with big mistake

Justin Fields

Justin Fields has struggled since taking over as starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Much of that is due to him not adapting well to the NFL. But at least one of his errors Sunday doesn’t sound like it was his fault.

Fields threw an interception off a quick snap in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It looked like Fields was trying to take advantage of the Tampa Bay defense not being set, but the ploy didn’t work when the protection broke down.

The throw looks desperate and forced, and there’s a reason for that. Fields was inaccurately told that the Buccaneers had 12 players on the field, and was taking advantage of what he thought was a free play.

That mistake is on the coaches for giving Fields inaccurate information. The fact that this isn’t the first time does not speak well of Matt Nagy’s staff.

The Bears offense has been so bad this year it’s been criticized by some opponents. No wonder Nagy’s seat seems to be getting hotter with each passing week.

Twitter reacts to LaMelo Ball talking with Jay-Z

LaMelo Ball and Jay-Z talking

Jay-Z was dropping platinum bars well before LaMelo Ball was even born, but that did not stop the two of them from linking up on Sunday.

The rap mogul and Brooklyn Nets fan Jay-Z caught up with the Charlotte Hornets star Ball during halftime of the two teams’ contest. Take a look.

Fans were quick to react with funny tweets about what the two might have been talking about. Here were some of the best ones.

Though he used to be a minority owner of the Nets, Jay-Z has since sold his stake in the team. For the record, Ball is also already a client of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports. That means that the two had the all clear from a tampering standpoint, making this conversation no different than one between, say, Drake and Kevin Durant.

The most likely scenario is that Jay-Z was talking to Ball about linking up on a new clothing line after seeing Ball’s elite postgame fit from the other day.

Sean McVay, Jared Goff share hug after Lions-Rams game

Sean McVay gives Jared Goff a hug

Sean McVay and Jared Goff showed no hard feelings between them on Sunday, at least publicly.

McVay’s Los Angeles Rams defeated Goff’s Detroit Lions 28-19 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. on Sunday. The game matched up Goff’s former team against his new team.

Though Detroit kept the game close, the Rams ultimately prevailed.

After the game, McVay located Goff and gave his former quarterback a hug.

That was a nice moment between the men, who both appear to have moved on. McVay certainly has. He now has Matthew Stafford at quarterback and is 6-1. Goff’s Lions remain winless and are now 0-7.

Goff was the No. 1 overall pick by the Rams in 2016. He took them to a Super Bowl but did not quite reach the level at quarterback that McVay was hoping to see. Goff was benched late in his Rams tenure, and he may have felt his coach was bad-mouthing him. Goff was also confused by the Rams trading him to Detroit for Stafford.

There were some bitter feelings after the trade, so it’s nice to see the men put that aside several months later.

Sam Darnold sacked by teammate in funny blooper

Sam Darnold tackled by a teammate

Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers have come crashing down to earth after a 3-0 start to the season. One play against the New York Giants on Sunday showed just how badly things were going for the Panthers.

Carolina was trailing the Giants 5-3 in the third quarter and had a 3rd-and-2. Darnold tried to avoid some pressure from Leonard Williams. Azeez Ojulari came in to help bring Darnold down for a sack. What was funny was seeing Brady Christensen tackling his own quarterback.

Williams and Ojulari shared the sack. But Christensen should have gotten credit with half a sack as well.

Darnold finished 16/25 for 111 yards and an interception in the 25-3 loss. He was benched late for PJ Walker.

Video: Bilal Nichols ejected for throwing punch at Ryan Jensen

Bilal Nichols punches Ryan Jensen

Chicago Bears defensive lineman Bilal Nichols lost his cool as his team was getting blown out Sunday, and did something stupid as a result.

Nichols was ejected for throwing a punch at Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen during the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Nichols connected with Jensen’s facemask, which only made the infraction more obvious.

It wasn’t really clear if anything instigated Nichols’ reaction. There did seem to be some minor pushing and shoving. It doesn’t help that the Bears were down 35-3 when Nichols was ejected, though that doesn’t excuse him losing his cool. He will be in line for a fine at the very least.

Bears players losing their composure like this has been an issue before, too. It doesn’t reflect all that well on coach Matt Nagy, but neither does the score.

Nichols, a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft, had five sacks last season and one so far in 2021.

Vita Vea’s high school running back highlight video is a must-watch

Vita Vea runs in high school

Vita Vea is among the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL. But did you know that he was a stud as a running back in high school too?

During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, CBS showed video of Vea’s high school running back highlights.

They are impressive to say the least. Take a look and enjoy:

Vea was not only the biggest guy on the field, but he sure looked like the fastest too. He was outrunning dudes and even chased one down on defense too. How is that possible? Although, I guess that’s the case with this guy in the NFL today.

Vea played at Milpitas High School in Northern California and served as a running back and defensive lineman. As a senior, he rushed 47 times for 578 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 19 sacks according to his MaxPreps page. It makes you wonder why they didn’t feed him the ball more based on how unstoppable he was!

Vea played defensive line at Washington in college and with the Bucs. The 2018 No. 12 overall pick is listed at 6-foot-4 and 347 pounds. He must have put on a ton of weight upon arriving at Washington.

Some people have the misconception that football players — especially the linemen — are just big, fat dudes. This video should help dispel that notion. These guys are elite athletes who aren’t just bigger and stronger than nearly anyone else; many of them are also faster and more agile too.