Jags’ Lawrence: ‘Everyone is frustrated; everybody is disappointed’

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence has not lost a lot of football games in the last few years, but after playing his first two games in the NFL, Lawrence and the Jaguars are 0-2 as they fell to the Broncos(2-0) 23-13 in their home-opener at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

It started out well for Lawrence as he connected with Marvin Jones on a 25-yard touchdown pass as the team drove 83 yards on their opening drive to take an early 7-0 lead. However, Jacksonville’s offense would not score again and would accumulate only 106 yards the rest of the way following that opening drive.

“Yeah, I think it’s a combination of a few things, just some ill-timed errors on everyone really,” Lawrence(14-33, 118 yards, touchdown, two interceptions) said after the game. “It was different people each time; we had a turnover and another one at the end, so that’s on me, and some penalties, whatever it may be—just bad timing for those things to happen. And then Denver played off that momentum and put a few scoring drives together. I think we were in the game the whole game. Really first half should have had the lead. Then after that, I didn’t think we kept playing like we did in that first quarter.”

Jones, who had six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown, added on the offensive struggles after the first drive: “We just had a lull. We just had lulls. I think it was a common theme after that drive in the second and third quarters. It’s just something that we need to figure out, and we have to find that energy and that spark and keep it. So yeah, I think that’s what it was.”

Even with the losing, Lawrence feels Jacksonville is improving.

“Yeah, I hate losing, like I said last week, so it’s not fun, obviously,” Lawrence said. “But at the same time, you’ve got to — you’ve just got to realize we’re getting better, and each week we’ve got to keep getting better, and it’s a long season. We’ve still got 15 more games, kind of like I said last week. That’s the mindset in the locker room, too. Everyone is frustrated; everybody is disappointed. Obviously, we worked our tails off to win this game, and we felt like we were prepared. Just got to keep getting better, though.”

At 0-2, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer will do everything he can to keep things positive in Jacksonville and keep the “nonsense” out of the locker room.

“I’ve seen nonsense seep into organizations when you’re 2-0, and I’ve seen it when you’re 0-2,” Meyer said. “Well, I guess I haven’t seen it when you’re 0-2, but I’ve seen it when you lose a game. We can’t allow that. The good thing is I don’t see that happening. If I do, I told the players and staff that’s the one thing that will not be tolerated with the Jags is nonsense.”

Jacksonville did play better in Week 2, but again, they fell short. As they go forward, they have to limit the turnovers(two) and take advantage of scoring opportunities(two missed field goals). Growing pains are not easy, but it may be what the Jaguars have to go through in 2021.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘We had a lot of opportunities out there that we didn’t capitalize on’

For most of the first half on Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-1), in their home-opener, were outplaying the San Francisco 49ers(2-0), and after a 91-yard reception by Quez Watkins gave the team first and goal from the six-yard line and Philly leading 3-0, it appeared that the Eagles were about to take complete control of the game.

However, after a pass interference penalty gave the Eagles the ball at the one, Philadelphia was not able to score and was stopped on 4th and goal from the three after trying to pull off the “Philly Special,” but Greg Ward’s pass sailed through the end zone and the 49ers would hold. Ultimately, San Francisco would drive the ball 97 yards, which would end with a Jimmy Garoppolo 11-yard touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings to give the 49ers a 7-3 lead at halftime. In the end, San Francisco would defeat the Eagles 17=11 at Lincoln Financial Field.

That 14-point swing before the half turned the game around, and the 49ers goal-line stand was the key. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who calls the plays for Philadelphia, felt he let the team down with his play-calling during that red zone sequence.

“I don’t think I called good plays in that area,” Sirianni said. “There are going to be times where you’re going to look at it and be like, ‘I want those calls back.’ When they work, it was a good play. They didn’t.

“So, it was my fault. I didn’t call good enough plays right there. I didn’t put the players in good enough positions, but we’re all in this together, coaches and players.”

Philadelphia had several missed opportunities on Sunday, including a blocked field goal. In addition, they out-gained San Francisco(328-306). Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 12/23 for 190 yards with 82 yards rushing, touchdown, felt the team had too many self-inflicted wounds against the 49ers.

“We had a lot of opportunities out there that we didn’t capitalize on,” Hurts said. “I think that’s plain and simple right there. We have to be consistent in our execution. I have to be consistent in my execution and operation as a field general. It’s something to learn from today – a lot to learn from. They were things we could control, so that’s what hurts the most. We give credit to a good team and a good defense out there. Those wounds out there were self-inflicted.”

The Eagles may have also lost one of its leaders on Sunday. Pro Bowl DE Brandon Graham limped off the field in the second quarter, and according to reports, he may have a ruptured Achilles tendon. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox discussed Graham’s injury after the game.

“I mean, it’s always tough, and it was a pretty emotional moment for me to see BG limp off the field because I think me and BG – I know me and Brandon have played so much ball together and to see him walk off the field was pretty rough for me,” Cox said. “But we know Brandon, he’s in a good spot right now, and we’ll talk once he figures out what’s going on. At the same time, we got his back, and we’ll go from there and get ready for the next game.”

Philadelphia got another solid performance from their defense, and without a first down in the first quarter, but a lot of credit goes to the 49ers’ defense, who did a good job of limiting Hurts and the Eagles. 

This is a game the Eagles should have gotten, and they will be kicking themselves after this one.

Valenzuela defeats Berrio by unanimous decision

Unbeaten rising lightweight prospect Jose Valenzuela (10–0, 6 KOs) defeated Deiner Berrio (22–4–1, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 98-92) in the 10-round main event of FS1 PBC Fight Night action, and on FOX Deportes, Saturday from Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfiel, California.

Valenzuela totally dominated the first three stanzas, landing nearly four times the punches that Berrio landed.

In the fourth and fifth rounds, Berrio found a bit of a rhythm with his unorthodox style and landed a few clean shots on Valenzuela.

However, Valenzuela made some adjustments, continued to severely outwork Berrio and dominated much of the second half of the bout.

Even when Berrio landed a right hand to Valenzuela’s jaw in the eighth round and followed it up with a left hand that briefly stunned Valenzuela and pushed him back, Berrio took his foot off the gas, allowing Valenzuela to regain himself and win the eighth round on two of the judges’ scorecards.

The tenth and final round was an all-out slugfest with both fighters landing their share of blows, but Valenzuela survived the best of what Berrio had to offer and cruised to a wide decision victory.

The co-main event on FS1 featured Rajon Chance (5–0–1, 5 KOs) battling Elon De Jesus (3–0–1, 2 KOs) to a majority draw (57-55 for Chance, 56-56, 56-56) in a six-round super bantamweight attraction.

De Jesus seemingly jumped out to an early lead, landing several powerful overhand rights in the third round that resulted in a cut opening up on Chance’s forehead.

In the fourth round, Chance and De Jesus got twisted up with Chance bending down to stabilize himself. As Chance leaned forward, De Jesus landed a blow to the back of Chance’s head. Referee Jerry Cantu immediately deducted a point from De Jesus for the infraction.

Midway through the fifth stanza, De Jesus scored a sensational knockdown with a massive right uppercut to Chance’s jaw. Chance picked himself up off the canvas and complained to Cantu that he couldn’t see anything. Cantu called for a timeout to have the ringside physician examine De Jesus’ eyes and the physician approved the fight to continue.

Although De Jesus dominated the action throughout and scored the only knockdown in the contest, the point deduction resulted in a majority draw with both Chance and De Jesus maintaining their undefeated records.

The FS1 opener showcased Amed Medina (4–0, 3 KOs) defeating Abdur Abdullah (4–5, 0 KOs) by unanimous decision (40-35, 40-35, 40-35) in a four-round super featherweight showdown.

Medina, who had never fought beyond the first round in his young career, knocked down Abdullah with a short, right uppercut in the opening frame.

Over the following three rounds, Medina controlled the action, landing nearly three times the punches that Abdullah landed, en route to a lopsided decision.

Photo: Sean Michael Ham / Premier Boxing Champions

Tom Brady tells young quarterbacks what they need to do to succeed

With seven Super Bowl titles, when Tom Brady talks, all young quarterbacks should listen. At age 44, Brady is still going and playing at a high level.

Last week, with his start against Dallas, Brady, who won FedEx Air Player of the Week, became the first player in NFL history to make 300 career starts while also tying Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (302) for the ninth-most games played in NFL history.

In addition, Brady threw three-or-more touchdowns in a game for the 94th time in his career, surpassing Peyton Manning (93) for the second-most such games in NFL history.

Earlier this week, the 22-year veteran gave advice to young quarterbacks.

“Good luck,” he said. “It’s tough, but it’s up to them. Yeah, if you do the right stuff, you have a shot. But I see a lot of people not do the right stuff. I try to influence the people I can. First of all, you have to love it. If you want to do it for a long period of time, you have to really excel at it, and that really comes from loving it. It’s a lot of different motivations over long periods of time. Lots of little things at different moments – some is more motivation, some is more inspiration, but there are a lot of different things that play into it.”

Football is a physical game that takes a toll on your body, but Brady’s love for football and his competitive spirit pulls him through.

“Well, I always love it. There are probably days I love more than others, but I definitely love it,” Brady said of football. “I love working out. I think the point is you push your body physically, your mind, and your spirit mentally and emotionally, and all of those things have to kind of stay in the right place over a long period of time. There are a lot of things that can take away from it. It’s a hard thing to do. There haven’t been many people who’ve done it, but I think I, in my part, have been very fortunate to have the right people in my life that have really allowed me to be successful – physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

To do what Brady has done in football, you have to love the sport, and Brady loves it, which is why he might be the G.O.A.T.

Cavs sign EuroLeague vet Kevin Pangos

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Kevin Pangos, the team announced on Friday.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, it’s a two-year deal worth $3.5 million with the first-year salary of $1.67 million fully guaranteed.

Coming out of Gonzaga, where he won WCC Player of the Year, Pangos went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. He spent the last six years playing professionally in Europe, most recently for Zenit Saint Petersburg of the VTB United League and the EuroLeague.

Last season in EuroLeague play, the 6-2 guard earned All-EuroLeague First Team honors after averaging a career-high 13.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 6.7 assists.

The 28-year-old shot .390 from beyond the arc and made the most three-pointers (89) in EuroLeague play while ranking third in assists per game and 18th in points per game.

With Cleveland, Pangos will probably be the third point guard behind Ricky Rubio and Darius Garland.

Giants’ Lawrence on going offsides: ‘I can’t make that mistake’

For the fifth straight season, the New York Giants are 0-2 after falling to the Washington Football Team 30-29 on Thursday night at FedExField.

This was a game the Giants should have won.

New York was on the verge of winning after Washington’s Dustin Hopkins missed a 48-yard field goal with no time left on the clock. However, Giants DT Dexter Lawrence went offsides, and Hopkins got another chance and connected from 43 yards.

On Friday, Lawrence discussed what went wrong.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’ve got to be more disciplined in that time at the end of the game like that in a critical situation. That’s why I’m on the field. It was unfortunate to have it happen then, and he missed it, but I’ve just got to do better….

“I hold myself to a high standard. I don’t play for myself; I play for my brothers on the field with me. For things like that, it is part of the game, but at the same time, for me, I can’t make that mistake. I don’t want to let my brothers down. I don’t want to let my family down. It’s just an unfortunate turn of events. The frustration is there on myself, not because of the call or anything like that.”

Lawrence was not the only one that let the Giants down on Thursday night. With the Giants up 23-20 in the fourth, wide receiver Darius Slayton dropped a wide-open pass in the end zone. If Slayton makes that catch, the Giants probably win.

Slayton described what happened on the play.

“Tried to run it down, probably should have dove,” Slayton, who had three catches for 54 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown reception, said on Friday. “Didn’t quite make the play…

“It’s a play that I 100 percent expect to make. Like I said, (I) tried to run it down; I should have ran it down. I’ve ran down a lot of balls in my life. At the end of the day, it’s a four-quarter game, and the game was far from over at that point. Had to move on quick and today is a new day; next week is a new week. Move on quick and make it back in the future.”

New York wasted a very good performance from quarterback Daniel Jones, who threw for 249 yards and one touchdown. Jones also ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Most importantly, Jones had no turnovers. In addition, wide receiver Sterling Shepard had nine grabs for 94 yards, and Graham Gano made five field goals(35 straight made field goals).

The Giants host the Falcons next Sunday.

Mavericks sign free agent G Frank Ntilikina

The Dallas Mavericks have officially signed free agent guard Frank Ntilikina, the team announced on Thursday.

Ntilikina, 23, was originally the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks and was selected one pick before the Mavs selected Dennis Smith with the ninth pick.

Last season in New York, Ntilikina averaged 2.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.6 assist per contest.

After four seasons with the Knicks, he holds career averages of 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 19.5 minutes in 211 games (55 starts).

Before being drafted by New York, the French native began his professional career in 2015 with SIG Strasbourg of the French Pro A League. Ntilikina was named the league’s Best Young Player in both seasons he competed for Strasbourg.

Ntilikina recently competed with the French national team at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, bringing home a silver medal.

With the addition of Ntilikina, the Mavericks training camp roster to 20 players.

 

Figueroa-Fulton set for 11/27 in Las Vegas

Undefeated 122-pound world champions are set for a unification clash as WBC champion Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa and WBO champion Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton Jr. will battle in the SHOWTIME main event Saturday, November 27 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas.

Figueroa and Fulton were originally scheduled to face each other on Saturday, September 18, before the fight was pushed back due to a positive COVID-19 test for Figueroa.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and also features undefeated super bantamweight contender Ra’eese Aleem battling Mexico’s Eduardo Baez in the 10-round co-main event. Opening the telecast, unbeaten rising bantamweight contender Gary Antonio Russell takes on Mexico’s Alejandro Barrios in a 10-round showdown. The event is promoted by TGB Promotions.

Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

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Blair Cobbs: ‘I want to challenge either Adrien Broner or Conor Benn for my next fight’

Undefeated welterweight, Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (14-0-1, 9 KOs), wants to give the fans a big fight and is targeting Adrien Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) and Conor Benn (19-0, 12 KO) as fighters he wishes to face next. 

“It is time that I give the fans what they want, a great show, and I want to challenge either Adrien Broner or Conor Benn for my next fight,” said Cobbs, who is ready to face all of the biggest stars in the division. “I know I will stop Broner and I will beat Benn easily, the big question is will either of them fight me.”

“Blair is a fan-favorite and we would love to make a fight with another fighter that gets his fans excited and Broner, as well as Benn, fit that bill,” said Cobbs’ manager, Greg Hannley, CEO of Prince Ranch Boxing. “He is ready for any level of competition, and we are willing to put Blair in with anyone at any time.”

Cobbs last fought decorated amateur Brad Solomon, whom he stopped in the fifth round in a performance that had fight fans in El Paso, Texas on their feet. Cobbs now wants to take the division by storm.

“I want to show the fans my true skills, and to do that I need an opponent to bring it out of me,” said Cobbs. “I think both of these fights make sense and are realistic, and I have no issue signing a contract to fight, in fact, it is very easy. I beat Ferdinand Kerobyan in his backyard, I can do that again to another fighter as well, or we can fight in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or honestly anywhere – I just like to fight.”

Photo: Rodney Pinz / Prince Ranch Boxing

Jags’ Meyer: ‘I’m here and committed to try to build an organization’

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has no interest in the USC coaching job, at least that’s what he said on Wednesday.

“There’s no chance that—I’m here and committed to try to build an organization,” Meyer said.

On Monday, USC fired head coach Clay Helton, and from there, the speculation was that Meyer had an interest in that job, but he made it clear that he wants to stay in Jacksonville.

The 57-year-old Meyer, who won three National Championships in college with Florida and Ohio State, has gotten off to a rough start in Jacksonville. The Jaguars did not look very good in their season-opening loss to the Texans, and there have been rumors that players have been unhappy with some of his coaching methods. 

In addition, many have criticized his handling of the quarterback competition between the number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew.

However, according to Meyer, everybody is committed to getting things right in Jacksonville.

“I think every team—I don’t ever want to fall into that trap of saying this is a 4-year plan, a 3-year plan,” he said. “That’s not fair to players. This is a one-game plan, and then we’ll worry about the next game. So, that’s not fair to the [players]. There are some guys that have played a lot of football in that locker room, and they deserve our very best, and that’s what it is. Other than a bruised soul that we all have right now, we’re still swinging away.”

It’s only one game, and no expected Jacksonville to be world-beaters overnight. Meyer may have to adjust some things, but that all comes with experience on the NFL level.