Mumford scores 34 points, Shayok adds 26 in Blue Coats’ victory

The Delaware Blue Coats (16-11), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Erie BayHawks (9-19), 134-103, in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday night at 76ers Fieldhouse. In the second game of a home back-to-back for the Blue Coats, the team posted season-high totals for 3-point field goals (22) and rebounds (63). Delaware totaled 134 points for the second-consecutive contest and outscored its opponents by a combined 70 points in the pair of victories this weekend.

Xavier Munford led all scorers with 34 points (13-19 fg, 8-10 3fg), while tallying seven rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes for the Blue Coats. Eight 3-point field goals tied a G League career-high total for Munford.

76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok posted 26 points (12-24 fg, 2-7 3fg), seven rebounds, five assists and season-high four steals in 33 minutes for the home team. Haywood Highsmith (15 points, 11 rebounds, three steals) and Christ Koumadje (12 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks) each added a double-double for the Blue Coats in the win.

The Blue Coats held a six point edge entering the fourth quarter, but they bested the BayHawks 40-15 in the final frame. Delaware held a 63-40 rebounding advantage, in addition to outscoring the visitors 58-38 in the paint. 63 rebounds is one shy of the Delaware franchise record, and the team improves to 7-0 this season when corralling 55 rebounds or more.

New Orleans Pelicans two-way contract player Josh Gray paced Erie’s attack with 24 points (9-18 fg, 2-4 3fg, 2-3 ft), seven rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes of work. Jalen Adams came off the Erie bench to score 18 points (6-8 fg, 4-6 3fg, 1-1 ft) in addition to seven rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. Scottie Lindsey added 15 points (6-13 fg, 2-7 3fg, 1-1 ft), six rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes for the BayHawks.

The Blue Coats hit the road to take on the Canton Charge on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET. The team then travels to Erie for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Feb. 1 before returning home to 76ers Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. against the Windy City Bulls.

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Hurd: ‘I look back at my fights, and it kind of scares me all the hits I was taking’

Former unified 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd(23-1, 16 KOs) is back, and he comes with a new trainer. Hurd fired his trainer Ernesto Rodriguez after his loss to Julian Williams last May and hired trainer Kay Koroma.

Now, Hurd is focused and ready to battle Francisco Santana(25-7-1, 12 KOs) on January 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

“I’m so focused on taking care of Francisco Santana; I can’t look past him,” Hurd said at a media workout on Wednesday. “He’s a guy who comes forward. This is a fight where I want to see how things work out with my new trainer Kay Koroma, but Santana comes to fight just like Jeison Rosario did. I have to be on my toes.

“People say this is the new Jarrett, but I feel like it’s the old me, and I’m just getting back to it. I used my defense and my height against Frank Galarza and other earlier fights. But when I was training for Erislandy Lara, I was developing this pressure style, and we didn’t have enough of the fundamentals set behind it.

Hurd has had some tough fights in his career, including battles with Williams and Erislandy Lara. In those fights, Hurd took a lot of punishment, something he believes needs to change.

“I look back at my fights, and it kind of scares me all the hits I was taking,” Hurd said. “I had back to back Fight of the Year battles. Those were back and forth fights. I don’t want those each and every year. I want to win in one-sided fashion.

 The Accokeek, Maryland native wants to get back to the top, and he hopes to become the undisputed champion at 154. 

“I was close to becoming undisputed champion at 154-pounds, and that’s still a goal of mine,” he said. “I want to accomplish that feat in this division before we move up. I know I had a bad night against Julian Williams, but it was just a small hiccup. I’m coming back for my number one spot.”

 Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Marial Shayok scores 29 points in Blue Coats’ 119-109 victory over Lakers

The Delaware Blue Coats (14-10), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the South Bay Lakers (10-17), 119-109, on Monday afternoon at 76ers Fieldhouse. Seven Blue Coats players scored at least 10 points for the third time this season, improving to 2-1 in such games.

76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok tallied a game-high 29 points (12-21 fg, 5-9 3fg) with six rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes for the Blue Coats. Xavier Munford scored 17 of his 21 points (6-13 fg, 3-7 3fg, 4-4 ft) in the first half for Delaware, while Doral Moore registered 17 points (7-12 fg, 2-2 ft), seven rebounds and three blocked shots in 29 minutes off the bench.

Zhaire Smith, on assignment from the 76ers, finished the game with 14 points (5-12 fg, 4-8 3fg), three rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes of action for the home team. Smith matched his career-high mark with four 3-point field goals made. Julian Washburn notched his first double-double of the season for the Blue Coats with 10 points (3-4 fg, 2-3 3fg, 2-2 ft) and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes, while Christ Koumadje neared a double-double with 10 points (4-7 fg, 1-2 ft), nine rebounds and five blocked shots in just 16 minutes of work.

The Blue Coats led 75-54 at halftime and by as many as 34 points in the third quarter. Delaware outrebounded the visitors 54-50, marking the team’s sixteenth game with at least 50 total rebounds.

Zach Norvell Jr. paced South Bay with 22 points (6-10 fg, 3-6 3fg, 4-5 ft), six rebounds and a pair of assists in 35 minutes as a starter. Los Angeles Lakers two-way contract player Kostas Antetokounmpo secured his third-straight double-double with 21 points (9-18 fg, 1-4 3fg, 1-2 ft) and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes for South Bay. Marcus Allen and Javan Felix each finished with 18 points in reserve roles for the visitors, with the duo combining for 16 points in the third quarter.

The Blue Coats will hit the road to take on the Memphis Hustle on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

Sims-Angulo set for January 30

Anthony Sims Jr will fight for his first pro title as he meets Roamer Alexis Angulo for the WBO Latino Super-Middleweight title on Thursday January 30 at the Meridian in Island Gardens in Miami, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Sims Jr (20-0 18 KOs) secured three wins in 2019 to further underline his credentials for landing major clashes in 2020, finishing the year with a stoppage win in Chicago in October after going the ten-round distance for the first time in April in California.

WBO #9 Angulo (25-1 22 KOs) represents a stiff test for Sims Jr’s aspirations with the Miami-based Colombian KO artist only having one blemish on his record, coming against Gilberto Ramirez when he challenged the Mexican for his WBO World title in June 2018.

“I’m delighted to be fighting for my first belt in Miami – I plan to make it the first of many,” said Sims Jr. “I’ve been ready for this step up for some time and I will prove that I am ready to mix it with the best with a devastating performance on January 30 – it’s time to bring the funk!”

“I am always well prepared when I step in the ring,” said Angulo. “On January 30, my opponent will be facing the most difficult test of his young career. I will do everything I can so that he fails. I hope many of my fans and fellow Colombians living in Miami will come out to see me give my all.”

Sims Jr and Angulo clash on an action-packed night of World championship boxing in Miami, topped by WBO World Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0 17 KOs) defending his crown against Irish challenger Luke Keeler (17-2-1 5 KOs).

Tevin Farmer (30-4-1, 6 KOs) defends his IBF World Super Featherweight title against JoJo Diaz (30-1, 15 KOs), unified World Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs) defending his titles against Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6 KOs) and YouTube stars Jake Paul and AnEsonGib clashing on their pro debuts.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Kawhi Leonard named Western Conference Player of the Week

The NBA today announced that L.A. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 13 (games played Monday, January 13 through Sunday, January 19). This is Leonard’s seventh career Player of the Week Award – first since Week 13 in 2019 (January 7-13, 2019).

Leonard, who is on a five-game streak of 30+ points, helped lead the Clippers to a 3-0 week averaging 38.0 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds, in addition to shooting splits of 58.6% from the field and 52.4% from three-point range. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 14, Leonard became the third player in the shot-clock era to score 43+ points in under 29 minutes played.

On January 16 against the Orlando Magic, Leonard became the fourth player in franchise history to have 35+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ steals and joined World B. Free and Bob McAdoo as the only players in franchise history to score 30+ points in five or more consecutive games.

In his ninth NBA season, Leonard is averaging career-highs in points (26.9) and assists (5.1). The Clippers currently rank second in the Western Conference with a 30-13 record and have won seven of their last nine games.

Joe Judge on Garrett: ‘He does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments’

Giants coach Joe Judge today announced the three most significant members of his coaching staff: coordinators Jason Garrett (offense), Patrick Graham (defense) and Thomas McGaughey (special teams). Graham will also serve as assistant head coach.

“We’re setting out to develop a smart, tough and really sound football team and that’s going to start with the coordinators setting the tone in each room,” Judge said. “Each one has experience, each one has the ability to run multiples (schemes), put the pressure on the opponent, and each one is an excellent teacher.

“All these guys were priorities to add to our staff. You have a short list when you come into this and you make sure you go ahead and take your time and get those guys in with whatever it takes. The priority is to put the best teachers and the best people around your players so you can form a strong locker room and make them fundamentally sound and situational. And I think all three of these guys bring that to the team.”

Garrett is a former Giants backup quarterback who recently completed a 10-year stint as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach. He was Dallas’ offensive coordinator from 2007 until his appointment as head coach midway through the 2010 season.

The Cowboys consistently had one of the NFL’s most productive offenses under Garrett. In 2019, Dallas had league-high averages of 431.5 yards a game and 6.5 yards per play. The Cowboys were second in the NFL in passing yardage (296.9 a game), fifth in rushing (134.6), tied for second in third-down conversion percentage (47.1 with 96 success in 204 opportunities) and sixth with an average of 27.1 points a game.

That continued a trend of offensive excellence by Dallas during Garrett’s tenure. The top-rated offense in the recently-concluded season marked the eighth time the Cowboys finished in the top 10 with Garrett as either coordinator or head coach. They were second in 2007 and 2009, 10th in 2010 and 2013, sixth in 2012, seventh in 2014 and fifth in 2016.

“I’ve known about Jason for a long time, not only through the general public as well-known as he is as head coach of the Cowboys,” Judge said. “There were guys I worked with that I came across in my career at both Alabama and at the New England Patriots that worked with Jason through their time in Miami with him. They consistently all reflected on how smart he is, how great a teacher he is and how his perspective of the game was through a different lens than most coaches. And when he sees it, he’s able to communicate it and paint that mental image to the players. And he does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments.”

Garrett visited the Quest Diagnostics Training Center this week and spent much of the day meeting with Judge.

“We had some great conversations when we were able to bring him in here,” Judge said. “It was a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better than we had before. It was a great opportunity to sit there and talk ball and share philosophies and views on the game. It’s a great system he brings with great teaching that will allow our players to go out there and play aggressively.”

Under Garrett’s tutelage, quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, running backs DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott, wide receivers Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Amari Cooper, tight end Jason Witten and numerous offensive linemen became Pro Bowl players.

Garrett’s teams were 85-67 in the regular season and won NFC East titles in 2014, 2016 and 2018. He was selected the NFL Coach of the Year in 2016.

The new coordinator will take over an offense that includes two players chosen in the top six in the last two NFL drafts, running back Saquon Barkley (the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year who was taken second overall, and quarterback Daniel Jones, the No. 6 selection in 2019, who threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns in 13 games (12 starts) as a rookie. The Giants finished 23rd in the NFL in total yardage (338.5 per game) and were tied for 18th in points (21.3 a game).

Garrett began his coaching career as the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach from 2004-06. He was named the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2007. Three years later, he was elevated to head coach after Dallas started 1-7. His first game was a 33-20 victory against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. Garrett guided the Cowboys to a 5-3 record in the second half of that season. His 2015 team was the only one that finished with a losing record.

As a quarterback, Garrett played in 41 games with nine starts in a career that spanned from 1993-2004. He made all of his starts with the Cowboys from 1993-99. His career totals included 165 completions in 295 attempts for 2,042 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Garrett played on two Super Bowl-winning teams in Dallas.

In 2000, Garrett joined the Giants and spent four seasons as a backup, primarily to Kerry Collins. He spent the 2004 season with Tampa Bay and Miami without appearing in a game. Garrett began coaching with the Dolphins the following year.

As a senior at Princeton University in 1988, Garrett was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American. He earned his degree in history in 1989 and moved on to the NFL as an un drafted rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints’ developmental squad. After being released prior to the 1990 season, he spent the fall of 1990 as an assistant coach at Princeton. In 1991, Garrett played in the World League and the Canadian Football League before joining the Cowboys’ practice squad in 1992.

Garrett’s father, Jim, spent more than 30 years in the NFL as a coach and scout. His brother, John, is the head coach at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

Graham, who turns 41 on Jan. 24, joins the Giants with 11 years of NFL coaching experience with four teams. He has coached in the playoffs in eight of those seasons and has been part of teams that have won seven division titles, two conference championships and one Super Bowl (XLIX).

A former Giants assistant coach, Graham was the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2019. He led a unit that had a constantly-changing cast of available players because of roster transactions and injuries. The change was particularly pronounced in the secondary, where only one of the training camp starters – safety Eric Rowe – played in all 16 games. The unit’s best player, former first-round draft choice Minkah Fitzpatrick, was traded to Pittsburgh on Sept. 17. Cornerback Xavien Howard played in five games before going on injured reserve with a knee injury. Safeties Reshad Jones, a two-time Pro Bowler, and Bobby McCain appeared in four and nine games, respectively, before they were placed on I.R. on the same day.

Two linemen released by the Giants on Aug. 31 – Avery Moss and John Jenkins – started a total of eight games.

Despite the changes, the defense helped Miami win five of its last nine games after an 0-7 start (one of the losses was to the Giants). In the season finale on Dec. 29, the Dolphins earned a 27-24 victory at New England that cost the Patriots – who won the first meeting 43-0 – a first-round bye. Graham’s defense limited the Pats to 352 yards, 18 first downs and three third-down conversions.

Numerous young defenders in Miami improved significantly under Graham’s tutelage. They included linebackers Jerome Baker, who led the team with 124 tackles (74 solo), Raekwon McMillan and Vince Biegel (who was acquired in a trade for Kiko Alonso), and tackle Christian Wilkins, Miami’s first-round draft choice last year.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions, both before he came here as well as since he’s been here, in terms of what he would want to do with the scheme,” Judge said. “We share the same vision to be able to run multiples and use the players on our roster to the best of their ability to match up against the opponent.”

Prior to joining the Dolphins, Graham spent the 2018 season as the Green Bay Packers’ inside linebackers coach and defensive run game coordinator. He helped linebacker Blake Martinez have the best year of his career to date, totaling 144 tackles (91 solo) and a career-high 5.0 sacks.

Graham spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the Giants’ defensive line coach. In 2017, he helped Jason Pierre-Paul lead the team with 8.5 sacks and Damon Harrison post 76 tackles (51 solo), which was second on the team and led all NFL defensive tackles.

The previous year, Graham helped the Giants’ defense become the most improved in the NFL. The team allowed 158 fewer points and 1,290 fewer yards than it did in 2015. Their 17.8 points per game allowed was second in the NFL and the team’s best since 2002.

Graham began his NFL coaching career in New England, where he spent seven seasons (2009-15). He began as a coaching assistant in 2009 before being promoted to defensive assistant in 2010 and linebackers coach in 2011. He moved to defensive line from 2012-13 before going back to linebackers in 2014-15.

During his tenure with New England, the Patriots won the division all seven seasons, the AFC twice and Super Bowl XLIX. In his five seasons as a position coach (2011-15), New England led the NFL in takeaways (150) and was tied for fourth in sacks (214).

Graham came to New England following two seasons (2007-08) as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame, where he worked with the defense. He spent three seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach at Richmond, mentoring tight ends from 2005-06 and the defensive line in 2004.

Graham began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wagner (2002-03), while he pursued an MBA with a concentration in finance. He coached the junior-varsity team to an undefeated season and also served as strength and conditioning coach and academic coordinator.

Graham played collegiately at Yale, where he was a defensive lineman for the 1999 team that shared an Ivy League title with Brown. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in economics and African-American studies.

McGaughey recently completed his second season as the Giants’ special teams coordinator. He was previously a coordinator for three other teams and was the Giants’ assistant special teams coach from 2007-10.

“I’ve known T-Mac from going against him as well as being in the business and I have a good relationship with him professionally and personally,” Judge said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person. He gets the most out of his players. I’ve competed against him and I knew it was always going to be tough sledding in the game there. From the perspective of having to go against him, you understand you don’t want to get him out of the building; you want to hold onto guys like that. They’re definitely key assets. He and (assistant former coordinator) Tom Quinn do an outstanding job of working together, coaching the players in techniques and coming up with schemes for game plans that allow them to apply pressure on the opponents.”

The special teams have consistently been among the NFL’s best under McGaughey.

In 2019, the Giants’ kickoff coverage team led the league by allowing an average return of 18.1 yards. The punt coverage team was tied for fifth as opponents averaged just 5.7 yards a return. Conversely, the Giants were fourth and 10th, respectively, in the NFL in punt (9.8 yards) and kickoff (23.5 yards) return average. Punter Riley Dixon was ninth in the league with a franchise-record 42.3-yard net average. He set the previous mark of 41.8 yards, set in 2018.

The special teams performed impressively in McGaughey’s first season as coordinator in 2018. Aldrick Rosas had one of the finest seasons by a kicker in Giants history as he was selected to his first Pro Bowl and named second-team All-Pro after making 32 of 33 field goal attempts and 31 of 32 extra point tries. The 32 field goals were the fifth-highest total in Giants history.

Rosas’ .970 field goal percentage was a Giants record and was just 1/100th of a percentage point behind NFL leader Robbie Gould. Rosas’ 127 points tied Ali Haji-Sheikh (1983) for the fifth-highest total in Giants history. He hit his final 19 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57-yarder against Chicago in MetLife Stadium.

Michael Thomas led the Giants with nine special teams tackles (six solo) and was the NFC special teams player in the Pro Bowl.

The Giants finished second in the NFL in kickoff coverage, limiting opponents to an average return of 20.4 yards, and seventh in punt coverage with a 6.6-yard average. The team’s kickoff return rose from 19.6 to 24.4 yards, and their average punt return improved from 5.5 to 6.2 yards.

McGaughey was the special teams coordinator at LSU from 2011-13 and for the Jets (2014), San Francisco 49ers (2015) and Carolina Panthers (2016-17) before returning to the Giants.

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Listen to Go4it! Guest: Hall of Famer Willie Roaf

We will be talking sports and having fun doing it. We will be joined Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, who will discuss Championship Weekend in the NFL. Will Mahomes and the Chiefs get to the Super Bowl, or will Henry and the Titans keep surprising the top teams in the AFC.

In the NFC, will Rodgers and the Packers be able to go into San Francisco and defeat the 49ers?

We will talk about it all.

Listen below:

Zion’s expected debut has been moved to ESPN

Earlier this week, Pelicans GM David Griffin announced that the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, Zion Williamson, will make his debut on January 22 against the Spurs.

On Friday, it was announced that the Spurs-Pelicans’ game at the Smoothie King Center would be televised nationally by ESPN.

The 19-year-old Williamson played very well in the preseason but has been sidelined with a torn right lateral meniscus.

Williamson, during his one year at Duke, was the 2019 Naismith Award and John R. Wooden Award. Williamson is just the third freshman to win AP Player of the Year honors, joining Kevin Durant (Texas – 2007) and Anthony Davis (Kentucky – 2012).

 Additionally, the Spartanburg, South Carolina native was the recipient of the 2019 Karl Malone Award as the nation’s top power forward, was named the National Freshman of the Year by the NABC and USBWA, the ACC Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American. 

Williamson appeared in 33 games for the Blue Devils, averaging 22.6 points (16th in the nation; 2nd in ACC) on .680 shooting from the floor (ranked 2nd in the country), 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks. 

Williamson helped Duke capture the 2019 ACC Championship, earning ACC Tournament MVP honors, and an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 26.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in postseason play.

Wilder on Fury: ‘If he beat me, then why all the new trainers?’

In their first fight, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury went all 12 rounds in a fight that ended in a draw. Even though Wilder knocked Fury down two times in the fight, many believe Fury did enough to get the victory. 

The two will settle the score in the rematch on February 22 in Las Vegas.

After the fight with Wilder, Fury went on to win two fights in a row, but in his last fight against Otto Wallin, Fury was severely cut, and while he got the victory, he was not at his best. Following his win over Wallin, Fury decided to change trainers. Fury parted ways with Ben Davison and brought in Sugarhill Steward, who is the nephew of legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward, and one thing we know about the Stewards, is they love knockouts.

“I’m looking for a knockout,” Fury said on Monday. “That’s why I hired Sugarhill. He gets you to sit down on that big right hand. That’s what I’m looking for. There’s the game plan. If I wasn’t looking for a knockout, I would have sharpened up what I did in the last fight. I’m not coming for that. I’m looking for my 21st knockout.

“When I get him in there again, I’m going to make him feel the Fury. I’ve never been as sure of anything in my whole life. As sure as I was this morning putting this suit on. One hundred percent he can’t win. He’s got a puncher’s chance like anyone else. I’m much sharper and more fit now. I’m ready to rumble right now. I hope he trains hard and goes to bed, sleeping, thinking about me.”

Wilder does not understand why Fury would change trainers, especially if Fury felt he won the first fight.

“If he beat me, then why all the new trainers? Every day, it changes,” Wilder said. “Firing and hiring. He wants to talk about being out of shape the first time, but he was in great shape. He spent 100,000 pounds on all those camps. I still, to this day, have the same people with me, and I don’t need to change it.”

It should be interesting to see how different Fury looks against Wilder in the rematch with Steward in his corner. Fury is a boxer, and his best chance to beat Wilder is probably by boxing, so changing his style in the rematch may not be very beneficial for Fury.

Is this knockout talk all talk for Fury, or will he actually try to go for the knockout? We’ll see on February 22.

Photo; Scott Kirkland/FOX Sports

Zimmer on Cousins: ‘I think this may have been his best year that he’s played in the NFL’

The season is over for the Minnesota Vikings after they lost to the 49ers 27-10 on Saturday in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

On Monday, it was time for the players to clean up and head home, and it was time for Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer to reflect on the season that was, which meant talking about his quarterback Kirk Cousins.

In 2019, Cousins played very well for the Vikings. After a slow start, Cousins threw for 3603 yards with 26 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. The interception total was a career-low for Cousins as a starter. After missing the playoffs in 2018, Cousins was able to guide his team to the playoffs, including going into New Orleans to defeat the Saints in the Wild-Card game. 

According to Zimmer, Cousins played the best football of his career in 2019.

“I think Kirk (Cousins) played a lot better this year than he did the year before,’ Zimmer said. “I think obviously the scheme helped him quite a bit, and so I think yeah, I think this may have been his best year that he’s played in the NFL.”

When asked if the Vikings should lock up Cousins long-term, Zimmer had this to say.

“To answer the question, the best way to answer it is part of the reason why I didn’t want to do player evaluations today or this week was because I want to get away from everything for a little bit of time, evaluate the players,” Zimmer said. “You know, if you win, everything is great, if you lose, everything is the worst in the world, so I think it’s important that we take our time, get away from it for a few days, then we evaluate, and we’ll go from there. Not just on Kirk, on everybody.”

The 31-year-old Cousins will be entering the final year of his three-year, $84 million contract in 2020, so the Vikings will have a decision to make. The question for the Vikings is, can they win a Super Bowl with Cousins as their quarterback, and as Zimmer evaluates Cousins, I think he will probably have more questions than answers.

Cousins was not very good against the 49ers, and while he completed 21 of his 29 passes, he only threw for 172 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Vikings have so many weapons on offense, including Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen. Therefore, he really does not have any excuses.

In the end, when you guarantee a player $84 million, you expect results, and those results need to be a Super Bowl victory.