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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

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Mike McCarthy addresses report of anonymous Cowboys players blasting coaches

Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy on Tuesday addressed a report from earlier in the day about anonymous Dallas Cowboys players blasting the coaching staff.

The Cowboys got smashed 38-10 at home on “Monday Night Football” to fall to 2-4. A day after the game, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater shared some anonymous criticism of the Cowboys’ coaches that she received from players (read the report here).

McCarthy is in his first year as Cowboys head coach and tried to preach the message to his players about keeping their complaints in-house. That message was violated when a few players shared their criticism with Slater.

McCarthy spoke with the media later in the day Tuesday and gave his response to the report. His message remained the same: he wants the players to handle things within the team.

The anonymous criticism did not specify whether the players were taking issue with McCarthy or other assistant coaches. The team’s defense has been horrendous this season, which has led to some criticism of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Regardless, it’s not a good thing for players to be publicly criticizing the coaches like that. It makes everyone involved look bad and makes it harder to turn around the season and generate positive momentum.

Tua Tagovailoa to be named Dolphins starting QB

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins gave Tua Tagovailoa his first NFL action when they had their game against the New York Jets well in-hand on Sunday, and the rookie quarterback is keeping the job.

Tagovailoa will start for the Dolphins over veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick when the team comes out of its bye in Week 8, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Fitzpatrick has led Miami to a 3-3 record and has them squarely in contention in the AFC East. He did throw two interceptions in Sunday’s 24-0 win over the Jets and has seven on the season, but he has carried his steady play from 2019 into this year. That is why many are surprised the Jets are going with Tagovailoa.

The timing is likely not a coincidence. This may have been the Dolphins’ plan all along, as Tagovailoa will now have the bye week to get up to speed before taking over. Many expected Tagovailoa to take a redshirt year as a rookie to recover from the hip injury he suffered at Alabama, but he has had nothing but positive news about his health since.

Tagovailoa attempted two passes and completed both for nine yards on Sunday. He showed how much the moment meant to him with his actions after the game. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores must be confident with what he has seen from the former Alabama star in practice.

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Video: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman mock military flyover prior to Packers-Bucs game

Joe Buck

FOX announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were caught mocking pregame military flyovers ahead of Sunday’s Green Bay Packers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Buck and Aikman, who comprise FOX’s No. 1 NFL announcing team, were heard on a hot mic making fun of the flyover.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Aikman: That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover.
Buck, in a mocking voice: That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work!
Aikman: That stuff ain’t happening with Kamala-Biden ticket. I’ll tell you that right now, partner.

Flyovers before games are deducted from military pilot training budgets and counted as training hours for pilots. Newsweek reported in 2018 that the Air Force was lifting limits on flyover events in an effort to help generate interest in members of the public becoming pilots.

Buck and Aikman also got another reminder to be careful any time a microphone is around. FOX announcers should know better than anyone about the consequences of a hot mic.

Carlos Correa has classy Instagram post about Randy Arozarena after ALCS defeat

Carlos Correa

The vast majority of baseball fans were overjoyed to see the Houston Astros fall to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS on Saturday, but Carlos Correa wants it to be known that he is not bitter about the way his team’s season ended.

After the Rays defeated the Astros in Game 7, Correa took to Instagram to congratulate his opponent and, in particular, rising superstar Randy Arozarena. Correa shared a personal anecdote about his first impression of the outfielder and praised him for his work ethic.

“Congrats to Randy and the Tampa Bay Rays. Such a great series, so much fun,” Correa wrote. “I met Randy last year in the batting cages at Roundrock during my rehab assignment. I was impressed by his routine, work ethic, and the loud noise off his bat. We only got him out a few times in a four-game series that time. It was no different at the biggest stage in baseball. Success like his doesn’t come by accident. He’s been working on his craft for big moments like this. Keep shining brother.”

Arozarena, who was acquired by the Rays in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in January, belted four home runs in the ALCS and has seven in the playoffs thus far. He became the first rookie position player in history to win ALCS MVP, and he is closing in on another record.

The 25-year-old Cuban outfielder had seven home runs in 23 games during the regular season, and he has matched that mark already in 14 postseason games. If he stays hot at the plate, there’s no reason the Rays can’t knock off the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

Dave Roberts gives Rays bulletin board material with bold declaration

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts put pressure squarely on himself and his team with a bold declaration after his Los Angeles Dodgers won Game 7 of the NLCS on Sunday night. He also gave the Tampa Bay Rays bulletin board material in the process.

Roberts spoke during the on-field ceremony at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas after his Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3. The Dodgers manager boldly declared “this is our year.”

The Dodgers may have come back from down 3-1 in the series and down 2-0 in Game 7, but that doesn’t mean the job is done. They still have to beat a very good Rays team that had the best record in the American League.

Was Roberts speaking prematurely when he declared it to be the Dodgers’ year?

Not only might a declaration like that motivate the Rays, but it also puts greater expectations on Roberts.

Roberts was brought back this year despite mismanaging the team in the playoffs last year. If the team fails to deliver after Roberts says it’s their year, that might be enough reason for Dodgers management to fire him.

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Cody Bellinger suffers shoulder injury celebrating huge home run

Cody Bellinger shoulder

Cody Bellinger smashed an absolutely huge home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the NLCS at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Sunday night, but there may have been a negative consequence.

Bellinger smoked a ball to right field for a solo home run to make it 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh against the Atlanta Braves and give the Dodgers their first lead of the game. Bellinger did a complete pimp job after the home run, and he really dialed up the celebration with some forearm bashes.

But FOX’s cameras observed that Bellinger was wincing and grabbing at his right shoulder as he entered the dugout. He was also pointing at his right shoulder while standing in right field. Bellinger even avoided a forearm bash with Joc Pederson because he was seemingly in pain.

Bellinger hurt his right shoulder on a dive at first base while playing defense last year. FOX analyst John Smoltz speculated that Bellinger reaggravated the injury.

Even when Bellinger’s shoulder popped out last year, he popped it back in and doubled in the same game. Bellinger may be used to his shoulder popping out and it not being a huge issue.

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Video: Aaron Rodgers does ‘Key and Peele’ double pump touchdown celebration

Aaron Rodgers Key and Peele

Aaron Rodgers went viral for his “Key & Peele” tribute with a double pump touchdown celebration on Sunday.

Rodgers rushed into the end zone for what was initially ruled to be a touchdown during the Green Bay Packers’ Week 6 game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After diving into the end zone for the score, he got up, put his hands on his head, and thrusted twice with his pelvis.

The double pump touchdown celebration is a reference to “Key & Peele,” which had a bit during their Comedy Central show about excessive celebrations in the NFL. The joke was about a player named “Hingle McCringleberry” and whether he did two or three pumps. Three pumps is where things crossed the line for a penalty.

That was awesome by Rodgers. Unfortunately for him, the touchdown was taken off the board following a review that said his knee was down before the goal line. But at least his double thrust lives on.

Rodgers is not the first NFL player to do the celebration during a game. The only question is whether Key and Peele will pay for it if Rodgers gets fined like they did last time.

Patriots’ loss breaks this unbelievable 18-year-old streak

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, meaning one of the league’s most impressive streaks has come to an end.

During their broadcast of the game, CBS flashed a remarkable stat: the Patriots have not had a losing record in October or later since 2002. That streak, which began on Nov. 10, 2002, ended on Sunday as the Patriots fell to 2-3.

It’s hard to overstate how remarkable that streak is. It was one month shy of reaching 18 years. Given all the players that have come through the organization, it’s an incredible feat.

Things are different for the Patriots this year. Tom Brady is gone, and the team is adapting and having issues doing so. Their offense in particular looked quite stagnant on Sunday against Denver.

This isn’t the first unusual but remarkable Patriots streak that has come to an end in 2020.

Report: Cowboys prepared to use franchise tag on Dak Prescott again

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys have continued to express confidence in signing Dak Prescott to a long-term deal despite his season-ending ankle injury, but history may repeat itself when 2020 ends.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is prepared to place the franchise tag on Prescott once again in 2021, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The Cowboys have already budgeted for the possibility of having Prescott play under the tag next season, which would pay him nearly $40 million. Prescott’s injury has not resulted in Dallas altering any of those plans.

The goal for the Cowboys will still be to sign Prescott to a long-term deal, though he would not be the first quarterback to play under the franchise tag in consecutive seasons. Kirk Cousins did it with Washington in 2016 and 2017 before leaving to sign a massive, fully guaranteed contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

La Canfora goes as far as to say the Cowboys tagging Prescott again is “viewed as an inevitability,” though at this point it would simply be to buy more time for long-term negotiations.

Prescott is expected to make a full recovery in time for next offseason, despite how gruesome his ankle injury looked. There were indications that he and the Cowboys were not that far off in contract talks a few months ago, which could make negotiations a bit less complicated this time.

Video: Longtime Rays fan Dick Vitale reacts to Tampa Bay winning pennant

Dick Vitale Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros 4-2 in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. to advance to the World Series for just the second time in their franchise’s history. The big win was rewarding for the team’s fans, including longtime fan Dick Vitale.

Vitale, best known for his passionate college basketball analysis, shared a video on Twitter of his reaction to the Rays making the World Series.

Even at 81, Vitale can still bring the energy and passion. You have to love it.

Vitale is no poser either. He’s been sharing his thoughts on the Rays for years, and isn’t afraid to criticize them. Now he gets the chance to enjoy their success.

Vitale is also pleased about how all the sports teams are performing in the Tampa area.

It’s a good time to be a Tampa sports fan.