Giants QB Daniel Jones responds to Baker Mayfield

When the New York Giants took former Duke QB Daniel Jones with the number six overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, a lot of people were stunned, shocked, and surprised, including Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield, who was very critical of the pick.

“I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones… Blows my mind,” Mayfield recently told GQ Magazine. 

“Some people overthink it,” he said. “That’s where people go wrong. They forget you’ve gotta win.”

Today, Mayfield clarified his comments via Instagram. He said the following:

 “This is not what I said, just so we’re clear,” Mayfield wrote. “I also said I was surprised I got drafted No. 1. Then was talking about the flaws in evaluating QBs. Where I brought up winning being important. Reporters and media will do anything to come up with a click bait story. Heard nothing but good things and wish nothing but the best for Daniel.”

 Thus far in the preseason, Jones is showing that the Giants may have made the right pick, and today, he responded to Mayfield’s comments.

 Here is what he had to say:

 Q: What’s your reaction to Baker Mayfield’s comments?

 Jones: I try not to listen to much that’s said. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that. I heard that before, I kind of have the same mindset, I certainly have a lot to focus on here, I have a lot to worry about here and I’m focused on that. It’s been good, but just focused on what I’m doing here.

 Q: Is it any different that a player in the league criticized you being picked?

 Jones: I don’t think so. Like I said, my focus is here, in the building, my teammates, coaches, and everyone a part of this organization, has been my focus. When you get outside the building, I don’t think it does a whole lot to focus on that for me. Certainly focused on here.

 Q: Does it motivate you to prove people wrong?

 Jones: I don’t think that’s a main motivator for me. I think there is a lot of things before that that motivate me, to be honest.

 Q: Do you know him at all?

 Jones: I don’t, no.

 Q: Did it seem out of left field to you?

 Jones: Yeah, a little bit. Like I said, I don’t know him, I have never spoken to him. He has an opinion, a lot of people have opinions.

 Q: Coach Shurmur said just because you are calm out there doesn’t mean you aren’t fired up inside, is that the case?

 Jones: Like I said, there are a lot of things that motivate me before something like that would. I think I am a very passionate person. I don’t always show it, but I think I am a very passionate person.

 Q: What would you say if someone looked at your stats and record and said, “well, this guy is a mediocre quarterback, look at his record”?

 Jones: Going back to Duke, I wish we did win more games. I played a big part in that. I take responsibility for that, I wish we did win more games. Our goal was always to win ACC championships and to go to big bowl games and we weren’t able to do that. I don’t look back on that without a large responsibility for that.

 Q: Do you feel you’re a winner?

 Jones: I do. I have always felt like I am. Growing up and competing, I think I am a competitor and I think I’m a winner.

 Q: Can you change someone like Baker’s perception if you’re not playing? Is it annoying that you have to wait to play to prove people like that wrong and shut them up?

 Jones: I don’t think so. Like I said, there is a lot that I need to focus on here. There is a lot that I need to do to improve, and to make sure that I’m moving forward. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not sure that’s the best motivator. If that’s the thing you’re looking forward to doing the most is proving them wrong, I’m not sure that’s the best way to improve every day or the best way to really get where you want to go.

 Q: If you were on the field and a player said that to you, would you trash talk back?

 Jones: Maybe I’d say something, but I don’t know. I’d make sure we win the game.

 Q: Do the people who know you best think it’s really hard to make you angry or that they rarely see you angry?

 Jones: Yeah, for the most part. Maybe my little brother would say something else (laughter). For the most part, I try to do a pretty good job at controlling myself. I feel like I’m thinking best and playing best when I’m in control of myself.

 Q: Do you agree, you have to be kind of wired to be like that?

 Jones: Yeah, I do think that’s part of my personality.

 Q: Do you ever sit there and say, ‘why are you bothering with me when you have your own team to worry about?’

 Jones: I’m not sure I would do it that way, but everyone has a different way of doing things. Like I said, my focus is here. Our focus is here. I think I speak for the team— we’re really focused on what we’re doing here and making sure we’re ready to play going into the season.

 Q: Have you seen Baker play, and what do you think of him as a quarterback?

 Jones: Yeah, I’ve seen him play. I watched him in college and a little bit in the last year. I think he’s a great player. He can throw it, and I enjoy watching him play.

 Q: Why don’t you tell us how much you are going to play?

 Jones: I don’t know, I really don’t know. That’s up to coach and we’ll see how it goes. I look forward to getting back out there.

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Eagles’ Schwartz on Hall: ‘He has good speed, he’s long, he fits our stuff that way, and he’s really been tough’

Philadelphia Eagles DE Daeshon Hall has been a revelation for the team this summer.  In two preseason games, Hall, who was selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers in the 2017 NFL Draft, is the NFL preseason leader in sacks(3.0), and last Thursday against the Jaguars, Hall had two sacks and a forced fumble.

The Eagles are deep at the defensive end position, with guys like Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry, but Hall is doing whatever he can to make a mark on this team.

“I’m just trying to control my controllables and do what I can to make this team or make another team,” Hall said after the Eagles’ win over Jacksonville last Thursday. “I’m working hard; we’ve got a great group of D-ends, everybody works hard, and everybody plays hard. I feel like I’m getting better because I’m getting pushed by this group of D-ends.”

The 24-year-old Hall was an outside linebacker when he was with the Houston Texans last season. When the Eagles signed Hall off the Texans’ practice squad late in the 2018 season, he had to transition back to defensive end, which he played in college at Texas A&M, and at this point, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz sees a player who is comfortable at the defensive end position.

“He got to us midway through last year, and he was in the transition of going from outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end,” Schwartz said on Monday. “He had been asked to lose weight in Houston, but he was gaining weight here, so he was a little bit of a work in progress there. But he’s come back, had a really good spring, and he’s stacked a good training camp on top of that. He has good speed, he’s long, he fits our stuff that way, and he’s really been tough. He plays physical football for us, and that’s what we are looking for.”

Because of the play of defensive ends, fourth-round pick Shareef Miller and second-year player Josh Sweat, it might be tough for Hall to make the team, but if he continues to play well, he should get an opportunity somewhere in the NFL.

Mitrione-Kharitonov headline Bellator card in Connecticut

Bellator will hold the first-ever MMA event at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. on Saturday, August 24 when the always-exciting Matt Mitrione (13-6, 1 NC) once again squares off against Sergei Kharitonov (29-7, 2 NC) in a heavyweight headline

The remainder of the main card features four other must-see bouts, including two additional heavyweight slugfests, as former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov (21-1) faces Javy Ayala (11-7) in the co-main event, while undefeated heavyweight prospects Tyrell Fortune (6-0) and Rudy Schaffroth (6-0, 1 NC), who both originally hail from Portland, Ore., collide in the main card opener.

Rounding out the five-fight card on Paramount Network – the man with the most appearances inside the Bellator Cage in history, David Rickels (21-5, 2 NC), takes on the undefeated Ukrainian Yaroslav Amosov (21-0) in a 175-pound catchweight bout, and former flyweight title contender Alejandra Lara (7-3) meetsTaylor Turner (4-5) at bantamweight, who returns after recently upsetting Heather Hardy at Madison Square Garden earlier this summer.

The main card can be seen live on Paramount Network and DAZN at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com, DAZN and globally on the Bellator Mobile App beginning at 5:45 pm EST/2:45 pm PST.

Earlier in the evening, Connecticut’s own “Notorious” Nick Newell (15-2) will lace up the Bellator gloves for the first time in his career and make the short drive from his home in Milford, Conn. to Webster Bank Arena, when he meets Corey Browning (5-2), a man who has already defeated “Baby Slice” and Aaron Chalmers. Also representing the “The Constitution State,” the surging Mike “The Savage” Kimbel (3-1) will be looking to impress the partisan crowd against Chris Disonell (3-3).

Preliminary action is highlighted by appearances from top Bellator prospects, including Royce Gracie’s eldest son Khonry Gracie (1-1), Israel’s Aviv Gozali (2-0) and the promotional debut of light heavyweight Grant “The Truth” Neal (1-0). Plus, long-time UFC and TUF veteran Sabah Homasi (12-8) returns to the Bellator Cage for the first time since Bellator 124.

Also on the card, unbeaten Austin “The Gentleman” Vanderford (7-0) will make his middleweight debut against Georgia’s Joseph Creer (6-0-1), New Jersey’sRicky Bandejas (11-3) will return to action for the first time since relocating to American Top Team in Florida, when he competes at bantamweight against Virginia’s Ahmet Kayretli (8-3, 1 NC) and the always-exciting Tim Johnson (12-5) will make his sophomore Bellator appearance against recently signed Azunna Anyanwu (15-5) of Philadelphia in a heavyweight matchup.

Complete Bellator 225: Mitrione vs. Kharitonov 2 Fight Card:

Heavyweight Main Event: Matt Mitrione (13-6, 1 NC) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (29-7, 2 NC)

Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Vitaly Minakov (21-1) vs. Javy Ayala (11-7)

Bantamweight Feature Bout: Alejandra Lara (7-3) vs. Taylor Turner (4-5)

175-Pound Catchweight Feature Bout: David Rickels (21-5, 2 NC) vs. Yaroslav Amosov (21-0)

Heavyweight Feature Bout: Tyrell Fortune (6-0) vs. Rudy Schaffroth (6-0, 1 NC)

Preliminary Card:

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Khonry Gracie (1-1) vs. Oscar Vera (0-1)

165-Pound Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Aviv Gozali (2-0) vs. Eduard Muravitskiy (9-8)
Light Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Grant Neal (1-0) vs. Alpha Toure (Pro Debut)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Sabah Homasi (12-8) vs. Micah Terrill (14-7, 1 NC)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Austin Vanderford (7-0) vs. Joseph Creer (6-0-1)

Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Tim Johnson (12-5) vs. Azunna Anyanwu (15-5)

Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Ricky Bandejas (11-3) vs. Ahmet Kayretli (8-3, 1 NC)

140-Pound Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Mike Kimbel (3-1) vs. Chris Disonell (3-3)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Nick Newell (15-2) vs. Corey Browning (5-2)

165-Pound Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Kastriot Xhema (3-3, 1 NC) vs. Connor Dixon (Pro Debut)

175-Pound Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jon Manley (11-6) vs. Thiago Rela (10-7)

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacts to Holton Hill’s hit on Paxton Lynch

Keeping your starting quarterback healthy is essential for all 32 teams in the NFL, and the league goes out of its way to protect them. However, this is football, and sometimes things happen, which was the case last night in Minnesota.

Late in the 4th quarter, Seattle Seahawks QB Paxton Lynch was scrambling, and before he could get down, Lynch was walloped by Vikings CB Holton Hill in a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit. Lynch would leave the game, and Hill would get ejected.

According to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Lynch is in concussion protocol, while Hill, who was already suspended for the first eight games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse, and for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, will probably lose some more money for the illegal hit.

After the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacted to the hit.

“Number one, we don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Zimmer said. “I told Pete (Carroll) that after the game. I was sorry about his quarterback. Number two, he can’t drop his head. But saying that, when a quarterback is running an option, he ought to be fair game other than lowering your head and hitting him in the head. If they’re going to let these quarterbacks be runners, we should be able to hit him. He didn’t hit him legally. We need to (be able to) hit these guys.”

It’s a tough thing to legislate at times, but in the end, you go helmet-to-helmet with a quarterback, you are probably going to pay a hefty fine and possibly get ejected. Hate it or love it; this is just the nature of the game in 2019.

Foles: ‘I did have elbow issues in 2017’

Eagles DE Brandon Graham raised a few eyebrows recently when he said this about his former teammate and current Jaguars QB Nick Foles earlier this week:

 

As we know, Foles went on to have a magical 2017 season as he led the Eagles to a victory in Super Bowl 52 against Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Today, Foles addressed Graham’s comments. Here is what he had to say:

(On Brandon Graham’s comment that 2017 might be Foles’ last season because of elbow issues):

Foles: “Yes, B.G. texted me afterwards saying, ‘I didn’t mean [to start] all that.’ I had some elbow issues that were well-known at that time and documented in Philly, so I missed training camp. The elbow issues, Dr. [Eon K.] Shin is there, a lot of guys go see him. He’s a wonderful guy, so I was able to get everything cleared up. I felt good. It was one of those things where when I was in St. Louis, it was also well-documented that after that, I was going to step away from the game. It was sort of a combination of both of those moments. But, yes, I did have elbow issues in 2017 that were very difficult at the beginning of the season and got better as the season went on.”

(On if he is having any issues with his elbow now):

Foles: “No. My body feels great. Obviously if you play football you’re going to have bumps and bruises and get soreness. But my body feels great. I do everything I can to monitor [my health] – a clean diet and do great recovery.”

Well, based on how things ended in 2017, and based on what we saw out of Foles last season in Philadelphia, it is safe to say that the elbow looks good. in reality, Jacksonville probably does not give him a four-year contract worth $88 million if his elbow was not in good shape.

In the end, this story just makes what happened with Foles and the Eagles in 2017 even more magical.

 

Jaguars sign RB Elijah Hood, release QB Tanner Lee

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed second-year RB Elijah Hood to their 90-man active roster, the club announced today. To make room on the roster, the Jaguars released QB Tanner Lee.

Lee was drafted in the sixth round by the Jaguars in the 2018 NFL Draft and mostly spent time on the team’s practice squad last season.

Hood, 5-11, 230, spent the 2018 season on Carolina’s reserve/injured list. In 2017, he saw action in one game on special teams for Oakland and spent 15 weeks on the Raiders’ practice squad.

Hood attended the University of North Carolina from 2014-16 and played in 34 games, totaling 2,580 rushing yards and 29 TDs. As a sophomore in 2015, he ran for 1,463 yards and 17 TDs, earning second-team All-ACC honors.

Shurmur on Jones: ‘I think he’s making good progress and as he goes along here, he’s checking off all of the boxes’

For New York Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones, preseason game number two came with some adversity. Jones, who was the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, had two turnovers against the Bears in the Giants’ 32-13 victory over Chicago at MetLife Stadium on Friday night.

While Jones did have two turnovers (two fumbles), he did have a relatively strong game, as he completed 11 of 14 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown.

Jones continues to impress, but he knows he has to protect the football a little better moving forward.

“I was very upset. I think those are two mistakes you ‘can’t make,” Jones said about the turnovers. “One time we were driving with the ball in scoring position and I made a costly mistake there, and then kind of holding the ball in the pocket, two bad mistakes, so definitely things to learn from.”

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur continues to be happy with the Jones’ development, and he believes New York made the right choice on draft night.

“Again, I am going to say this—people outside our building seem surprised, but ‘we’re not. ‘That’s why we picked him,” Shurmur said about Jones. “I think ‘he’s making good progress and as he goes along here, ‘he’s checking off all of the boxes. I think when ‘it’s his time to play, he will be ready. I am pleased with the progress ‘he’s making.”

Just like Giants owner John Mara said this week, the hope is that Jones does not see the field this season, and Shurmur agrees.

“John owns the team, right? We’re on the same page,” Shurmur said. “There is really not much more to say. I think I’ve been saying it all along.”

After two preseason games, Jones is happy about the progress he has made thus far but knows he has to continue to get better.

“I think ‘I’ve made progress, and I think in certain areas I feel a lot more confident than I did even when camp started, or even a couple of weeks ago,” Jones said. “I think ‘there’s still so much to learn for me. I think ‘I’m certainly more confident, more comfortable, but I see a lot of things I need to improve on.”

Jones has proven that he has some ability in the first two preseason games, but his two turnovers show why he may not be ready for primetime just yet, which is not a bad thing for New York, especially if the 38-year-old Eli Manning, who was 4-4 for 42 yards and one touchdown on Friday, can have a strong showing in 2019.

 

Vikings’ Cousins: ‘I like our chemistry, our locker room, I think we have a great group of men’

To whom much is given, from him much is expected. Such is the case with Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who joined the team after signing a three-year, $84 million deal last offseason. And while Cousins put up decent numbers(4298 yards, 30 touchdowns) in 2018, the team did not have as much success as expected. Last season, Minnesota fell short of making the playoffs, which made 2018 a massive disappointment for the club.

Now, this is year two for Cousins, and a new opportunity to prove that he is the guy that can lead Minnesota to a Super Bowl this season.

The Vikings closed training camp on Friday, and according to Cousins, he likes where the team stands at this point.

“I think we have a really good defense. I go along the roster, and I just feel like every player is a guy who can play and has been battle-tested in the league as well,” Cousins said on Friday. “I like our chemistry, our locker room, I think we have a great group of men, that’s got to count for something. I love our system; I love what we’re doing offensively, I think even our defense, and our defensive coaches going against us every day, would say that the system is a good system and is putting them in a bind and is challenging them, so that’s a positive.

“I just like the continued rapport that I and we are building with one another with more time together, and you got to go play the games to see where that leads, but those are some positives.”

Minnesota has a talented football team. They have weapons on offense, and they still have an outstanding defense. The key for this football team is the play of Cousins, and fortunately for him, most of the talent on the offensive side of the ball was there in Minnesota last season, so he should have a lot of familiarity with those players, which should help the team in 2019.

In reality, with the money that the Vikings gave Cousins, anything short of a championship would be a huge failure, so the pressure is on Cousins to get this team over the top.

Spurs to retire Tony Parker’s No. 9

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they will retire Tony Parker’s No. 9 jersey on Monday, Nov. 11 when the Silver and Black host the Memphis Grizzlies.

Parker will become the 10th player in Spurs franchise history to have his number raised to the rafters, joining Bruce Bowen (12), Tim Duncan (21), Sean Elliott (32), George Gervin (44), Manu Ginobili (20), Avery Johnson (6), Johnny Moore (00), David Robinson (50) and James Silas (13).

In 17 seasons in San Antonio, Parker helped the Silver and Black capture four NBA championships and was named the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, becoming the first European Finals MVP in history.

The point guard from France was a four-time All-NBA performer (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014) and a six-time NBA All-Star (2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014) with the Spurs. Originally selected by San Antonio with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft, Parker is the Spurs NBA leader in assists (6,829), while ranking second in games played (1,198), fourth in points (18,943) and steals (1,032), fifth in free throws made (3,309) and sixth in rebounds (3,313).

Parker is one of five players in NBA history to post at least 19,000 points and 7,000 assists, along with Oscar Robertson, John Stockton, Gary Payton and LeBron James. He played in a total of 1,254 career games in 18 seasons with the Spurs and Charlotte Hornets, averaging 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 30.5 minutes. Parker finished his career seventh in NBA history with 892 wins.

Appearing in a total of 226 postseason contests with the Spurs, sixth most all-time, Parker averaged 17.9 points, 5.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 34.3 minutes. In NBA Playoffs history, Parker ranks fifth all-time in assists (1,143) and ninth in points (4,045). Parker and fellow Spurs jersey retirees Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili recorded 126 postseason victories together, which are the most wins by any trio in NBA history.

Parker is one of four players in league history to record 4,000 points and 1,000 assists in the NBA Playoffs, along with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Rockets’ P.J. Tucker suffers ankle injury, withdraws from U.S. team

USA Men’s World Cup finalist P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets) has withdrawn from the U.S. team after suffering a minor left ankle sprain during practice Thursday. Tucker will return to Houston to receive treatment and prepare for the 2019-20 NBA season.

The USA World Cup finalists roster currently includes 14 players — Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks);  Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).

The 2018-20 USA Basketball National Team coaching staff includes USA and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and USA assistant coaches and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.

The USA finalists will conclude domestic preparation with an exhibition contest versus FIBA’s No. 2 world ranked team, Spain, at the Honda Center in Anaheim tonight at 7 p.m. PDT.