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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Featured Stories

Richard Sherman helps youth football team get to title game with big donation

Richard Sherman 49ers

There are many reasons to dislike social media, but San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman reminded us on Monday of the good that can come from being able to spread information more easily.

Sherman learned of a Pop Warner football team in Compton, Calif., that was trying to raise enough money to cover expenses for traveling to Florida for the National Youth Championship. They had raised $700 of the $15,000 they needed as of Sunday, but they quickly met and surpassed their goal after Sherman caught wind of the story.

Sherman shared a link to the story on Twitter and said he was inspired by the coach requiring the kids — who are 6 years old and under — to maintain good enough grades to remain on the team. The All-Pro cornerback then donated $5,000 to the team’s GoFundMe page, which inspired other people to chip in as well.

Oakland Raiders defensive back Keisean Nixon also donated $2,000, and the fundraiser had surpassed $20,000 as of Monday morning.

Sherman rubs a lot of people the wrong way with his outspoken personality, which we saw on display once again following the 49ers’ win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. However, you have to admire that type of charity work. Kudos to him for the kind gesture.

Troy AIkman tells Cowboys to pay Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys are still in the process of trying to work out a long-term extension with Dak Prescott, and one of the greatest players in franchise history had a message for the team after Prescott’s monster performance on Sunday.

Pay the man.

Prescott threw for a whopping 444 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-27 win over the Detroit Lions, and Dan Rogers of SB Nation pointed out that Dak is now averaging more yards per game than Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Tony Romo, or any other QB in Cowboys history ever did in a season. Aikman responded by telling Jerry Jones to “pay the man.”

The NFL has obviously changed dramatically since Aikman and Staubach played, with rules catered more toward passing offenses. It’s hard to compare stats from different eras, but Prescott is once again proving this year that he is capable of winning as an NFL starter. Guys who have accomplished a lot less than him have been paid a lot more, so it’s only a matter of time before he cashes in.

The Cowboys say they are still “working hard” on signing Prescott to an extension, though a recent report indicated the QB could be headed for the franchise tag this offseason. That doesn’t mean a long-term agreement won’t be reached before the start of next season, however.

Prescott has completed 67.7 percent of his passes this season for 3,221 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He supposedly turned down a massive offer from the Cowboys prior to the season, though details about guaranteed money were unclear. There’s almost no chance the Cowboys let him leave, so it is only a matter of time before an extension is in place. Aikman’s endorsement can’t hurt.

Look: Here is the Astros’ alleged cheating setup with trash can, monitor

The Houston Astros have essentially been caught redhanded stealing signs during their World Series season in 2017, and a documentary from their championship year appears to have given us a first-hand look at the setup they allegedly used to steal and communicate signs.

A bombshell report from The Athletic last week detailed how the Astros had a camera in the outfield focused on the opposing team’s catcher at Minute Maid Park. The footage was fed to a monitor in a hallway between the home dugout and clubhouse. A player or staffer would watch the monitor to see which pitch the opposing catcher was calling for and then loudly bang a trash can to let the hitter know if an off-speed pitch was coming. The setup sounds quite sophisticated, but it looks a lot simpler when you see it.

This is believed to be the sign-stealing setup, which was briefly shown in a 2017 World Series documentary on the Astros.

What you can see in that video is a table, chair, large trash can, some sort of cable, and a bunch of sunflower seeds scattered on the floor. The seeds could indicate someone was sitting at the table for a lengthy period of time. But where is the TV monitor? It looks like it was moved after the game, which would make sense.

If you picture that setup when watching some of the compelling videos that have surfaced over the past week, it’s fair to assume that is a glimpse into how the Astros were cheating. There has even been reason to believe the Astros changed the position of their TV cameras in 2017 to get a better view of the catcher’s signs.

The more that comes out, the weaker Houston’s defense is going to be. It is only a matter of time before Major League Baseball takes disciplinary action against the organization.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 11

Week 11 saw the first team of the season mathematically eliminated from playoff contention — sorry, Bengals fans, we know you were holding out hope. While that’s not exactly a surprise, it does illustrate that we’re getting to the part of the season where teams are going to start facing a lot of mathematical must-wins to keep their playoff hopes alive in any realistic sense.

With high stakes come high expectations, and some people can’t reach those. Here are ten big disappointments from Week 11.

Mitch Trubisky, Matt Nagy, Bears

Trubisky had another listless showing for the Bears and was replaced by Chase Daniel with just over three minutes to go in a 17-7 loss. The Bears and Matt Nagy said the QB had a hip injury, though skeptics will question whether that information is a coverup for a benching in the latest lackluster performance by the former No. 2 overall pick. The conversation NBC showed Nagy having with Trubisky will only further the speculation that this was a benching. Whatever the case, Trubisky is just not getting the job done in Chicago, and many will question the timing of the move. Many viewed it as Nagy’s way of trying to pin the blame on his quarterback. Both Trubisky’s play and Nagy’s handling of it were disappointing.

Kyle Allen, QB, Panthers

Maybe the Falcons defense did discover something last week, or maybe Allen was just awful. Maybe it’s both. Whatever the reason, Allen demonstrated that he does not look like the future of the Carolina Panthers or any other team. Allen was sacked five times and picked off four times, frequently missing his targets. This was not a fluke, either; Allen just has not shown any real ability to consistently get the job done.


Report: Jason Garrett took responsibility in positive meeting with players

Jason Garrett

The Dallas Cowboys rebounded from a loss to the Minnesota Vikings at home last week on Sunday Night Football to beat the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 11. They scored 35 points and the offense looked good as Dak Prescott passed for four touchdowns.

Facing an easier defense played a big role in the turnaround. Something else that is getting credit is a reported meeting Jason Garrett had with his players during the week.

NFL Media’s Jane Slater reported on Sunday that Garrett met with his players on Thursday and took accountability for some things. That apparently was well-received by the players and played a role in the team being more motivated.

Some of the team’s playcalling during the loss to Minnesota came into question, as did the handling of a punt return late in the game. Garrett took immediate responsibility for the fair catch on the punt the day after the game. The midweek meeting apparently helped as well.

Stories like this are big for Garrett considering his job status has been in question this season.

DeAndre Hopkins pass interference no-call somehow upheld upon review

NFL officials continue to prove that they are almost completely unwilling to change a pass interference call or no-call that has been made on the field, and we saw another example on Sunday that illustrated how ineffective the review system has been.

Early in the first half of the Texans-Ravens game, DeAndre Hopkins appeared to be blatantly hooked in the end zone by Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey. No flag was thrown, so Bill O’Brien challenged the no-call. Here’s a video of the play:

Humphrey clearly grabbed Hopkins’ jersey first and then appeared to hook him before the ball got there, but apparently that was not enough indisputable evidence for the call on the field to be overturned.

Officials refusing to overturn pass interference calls has been a theme all year, and it is clear the league only made such plays reviewable to avoid a complete disaster like the one we had in the NFC Championship Game last year. At this rate, it would not be a surprise if pass interference was not reviewable next year.

Report: Vic Fangio struggling to connect with Broncos players, coaches

Like many of his peers, Vic Fangio is struggling in his first season as an NFL head coach. However, the Denver Broncos’ 3-6 record may not be as concerning as the way things have been going for the team off the field.

Fangio has struggled to connect with Broncos players and members of his coaching staff in his first season in charge of the team, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. While Denver’s defense has played well under the former defensive coordinator, La Canfora says there has been “plenty of internal strife” with the organization this year, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Fangio has reportedly butted heads with some of his offensive assistants, and those rifts are said to be part of the reason veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders wanted a trade. One source told La Canfora that Fangio has a “negative reaction to almost every offensive play call” during games and makes his opinion clear through his headset. Here’s more:

Other sources noted a disconnect between the offense and defense as well, with Fangio’s “people skills,” in their minds, lacking. There is almost no discussion beyond football, sources said, and that, coupled with some staff and personnel issues as well as lingering angst over an eventual sale of this franchise, has created a difficult climate around the team.

“Pretty much everyone gets treated like (crap),” said one source with knowledge of the situation, “but if anything I think it’s brought the (coaches) on offense closer together.”

None of that is good news for a team that hired Fangio after firing Vance Joseph following just two seasons with the team for the former coach. Broncos president of football operations has struggled to find stability at two of the most important spots on his team in recent years — quarterback and head coach.

The way Joe Flacco ripped Denver’s coaching staff after what turned out to be his final start of the season was quite alarming, and frustration is to be expected during a disappointing year. However, Elway may have yet another difficult decision to make with a head coach if things continue along their current path down the stretch.