We were within minutes of having that perfect season and it slipped away

As much of a Twitter punching bag Tony Romo was over the course of his NFL career, the general consensus on his broadcasting debut was great.

Romo talked about safety blitzes before the snap, circling it for viewers to see with ease. He explained why certain plays were run and showed proper enthusiasm when the moment was right.

He was even calling plays before they happened:

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus was happy with the results. “I was pleasantly surprised, because social media by and large is very negative, for everybody, for all announcers and all networks,” he said. “The fact that it was positive is satisfying for me, but I also take it with a grain of salt.”

Romo’s career obviously didn’t end the way he would have liked, but this is a nice fit for him and a way to stay near football.

The Patriots don’t have that luxury, either. The first half of the schedule is highlighted by two opponents New England struggled with during matchups in the 2016-17 postseason — Houston and Atlanta. Weeks 10-15 feature back-to-back tilts in the high altitudes of Denver and Mexico City (vs. Oakland) along with a three-game road stretch ending on a short prep week in Pittsburgh.

Even if the Patriots survive the regular season unscathed, a perfect regular season will only be a footnote in NFL history if New England loses in Super Bowl 52. Take it from somebody who experienced such heartbreak 10 years ago.

“It haunts all of us a little bit to this day,” Hochstein said. “We were within minutes Cheap Long Sleeve Soccer Jerseys of having that perfect season and it slipped away.

“As much as people are saying, ‘Go for the perfect season!,’ honestly, even if Cheap Kids NFL Jerseys you lose one week, it’s not going to change what you want. That’s first and foremost winning a Super Bowl.”

The baseline of the team’s running game and defense are good signs for a big rebound season.

Terrell Suggs still has plenty of T-Sizzle in him, and it carried over to every level of the defense in the old-school shutout of the Bengals. And, oh yeah, Joe Flacco is back.

Cam Newton was healthy and productive in his debut, but he can be a lot better.

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Dak Prescott’s four interceptions are fewest in a quarterback’s first 17 starts since the AFL-NFL merger. Possible overreaction: Prescott’s ball control is crucial to the Cowboys’ success, and unless he starts throwing picks, they could be destined for a deep postseason run in 2017

Running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for 76 yards in his return to the NFL as the Raiders beat the Titans 26-16. Possible overreaction: Lynch showed his power, gaining 41 of his 76 yards after first contact. His power running will only improve an offense that ranked seventh in scoring last season.

The Falcons are 1-0 after holding onto a fourth-quarter lead against the Bears. Possible overreaction: The Bears were just 5 yards away from winning Sunday, and that was with Mike Glennon under center. The Falcons should still be a contender, but no lead is safe until proved otherwise.

Field goal. Dan Bailey nailed his fourth field goal of the game just after the two-minute warning, this time a 36-yarder. The Cowboys were able to bleed 5:53 off the clock after Eli Manning’s interception. 19-3, Cowboys.

Turnover. The first takeaway of the game didn’t come until midway through the fourth quarter, when an Eli Manning pass was intercepted by Cowboys corner Anthony Brown. Dallas took over on its own 48-yard line.

Field goal. There’s life for the Giants’ offense. By far the best New York drive Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Online of the game to that point (16 plays, 68 yards), the Giants’ first possession of the second half resulted in a Cheap Jordan Jerseys China 25-yard field goal by new kicker Aldrick Rosas. 16-3, Cowboys.

There’s no guarantee Payton will handle things differently when a similar situation arises during the season.

Peterson didn’t even get that opportunity against Minnesota despite his hard-charging style being well-suited for short-yardage situations. Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara were the only ones who carried on two drives inside the Vikings’ 4-yard line. New Orleans was forced to settle for field goals on both possessions, as neither back Cheap Jerseys USA could make headway, further adding to Peterson’s consternation.

Peterson, too, showed little to indicate he deserved expanded snaps over Ingram and Kamara. After a 9-yard carry to open the game, Peterson gained 9 yards on his other five attempts.

It would behoove Payton and Peterson to meet and discuss whether the latter’s limited role will continue and, if so, whether he can deal with it. Being a distraction does no good for either party or the team.

O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers: Howard is the best tight end of a deep class that included Cleveland’s David Njoku, the Giants’ Evan Engram and Gerald Everett of the Rams. Howard and four-year veteran Cameron Brate give the Bucs a solid tandem at the position. Quarterback Jameis Winston will benefit and the Bucs should contend for the NFC South title.

Zay Jones, WR, Bills: With the best hands in the 2017 draft class, the second-round pick from East Carolina should help Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor increase his completion percentage. After injuries to first-round picks Mike Williams and Corey Davis, Jones could emerge as the best rookie receiver and contend for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

DeShone Kizer, QB, Browns: Kizer beat out veteran Brock Osweiler to be be the Browns Cheap Jerseys Wholesale China starting quarterback in Week 1. The Browns will be patient with Kizer, but the hope is that he progresses and can end the team’s well-documented turnstile at quarterback. How confident is Cleveland in Kizer? It released Osweiler.

Bennett has been one of the most vocal athletes in terms of speaking out about injustice in America.

In fact, just this week ESPN’s The Undefeated published a profile on the Seahawks star with the headline “Michael Bennett is an activist disguised as a football player.” He has taken part in national Cheap Islanders Jerseys anthem protests, which were started by Colin Kaepernick, and has become a leader in off-field issues.

Even after the franchise traded up in the first round of the draft to select Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson 12th overall, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien stood firm on his commitment to fourth-year veteran Tom Savage as his starting signal-caller, citing both experience and familiarity with the offense as primary reasons behind that decision.

Thirty minutes into the first game of the season, O’Brien flip-flopped, benching Savage at the intermission of the Texans’ embarrassing 29-7 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and tossing his rookie feet first into the fire, a blaze raging behind an offensive line functioning more like a sieve. With Savage sacked six times in the first half, O’Brien deduced that the mobile Watson could effectively elude pressure and provide the Texans a sorely needed offensive spark.

The Jaguars dumped Watson four times in the second half. An offensive line missing Cheap Jerseys Authentic right tackle Derek Newton, sidelined following surgery to repair both patellar tendons, and left tackle Duane Brown, holding out over a contract dispute, wasn’t any more effective at protecting Watson than it was Savage. Guards Jeff Allen and Xavier Su’a-Filo and replacement tackles Kendall Lamm and Breno Giacomini underperformed badly, surrendering pressure repeatedly.

Would Dallas have been able to push the Giants around so much if Beckham didn’t have a sprained ankle?

Buffalo’s defense had three interceptions, including linebacker Ramon Humber picking off Josh McCown’s pass to thwart a 2-point conversion in the third quarter. Safety Micah Hyde sealed the victory by intercepting McCown at Buffalo’s 41 to end the Jets’ final series.

“I believe in the first year, when you look at it, you’re always going in and looking to make sure that you get the right people on board, on the bus, and get the people that are already on board in the right seats,” McDermott said. “That’s a natural occurrence, if you will, (in) the first year at times. Some of those are tough, difficult decisions and unpopular in some ways. I recognize that. Brandon and I both recognize that. But it takes some of those decisions for us to get to where we’re trying to go.

“It’s very easy, I think it happens a lot quite a bit out there, when you come Cheap Heat Jerseys in Cheap Giants Jerseys and you say, ‘Let’s err on the side of not rocking the boat.’ Well, short-term gain sometimes doesn’t equal long-term success. We want to make sure we’re doing both. We always do that with the team-first mentality. That comes with the territory. Our teams, we’ve been there. You guys have seen what we’ve gone through in preseason and training camp and this team is ready to adapt. That’s an important characteristic of good football teams.”

Honestly, one of the better defensive performances of the weekend was probably the Browns holding the Steelers’ high-octane offense to 290 yards and 14 points (one of Pittsburgh’s three touchdowns came on a blocked punt) without Myles Garrett. That’s building-block stuff for a young group.

Hue Jackson calls out Kenny Britt for key drop in loss to Steelers

The Cleveland Browns cannot afford to have Kenny Britt drop perfectly thrown passes in the open field.

That’s the message from coach Hue Jackson, who was blunt in his assessment of Britt’s painful drop in the fourth quarter of the season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, calling it Cheap Dodgers Jerseys “inexcusable.”

While still deployed primarily at outside linebacker, Matthews did so well in a ubiquitous role that Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers continues to move him all around looking for a mismatch. A proprietary statistical breakdown obtained by Sporting News showed that Matthews received snaps last season in 25 different spots ranging Cheap Denver Broncos Jerseys from a one-technique mug over the A-gap to nine-technique pass rusher aligned outside the tight end to slot coverage responsibilities.

Such diversity should remain on display this season, starting with Sunday’s opener against visiting Seattle as Green Bay shoots for its ninth straight playoff appearance and first Top 10 defensive ranking since 2010.

As often as the Packers’ defense has failed to dominate since that Super Bowl run, the unit is markedly worse without Matthews. He finished with career lows in tackles (24) and sacks (five) while playing with shoulder, hamstring and ankle injuries that forced him to miss four games and lingered through much of the 2016 season when he did play.

With Matthews hurting and injuries afflicting the secondary, Green Bay finished 22nd in yards allowed and 21st in scoring defense.

The Jets are relatively healthy, perhaps the only thing they have going for them.

Backup quarterback Bryce Petty has rebounded quickly from a minor knee sprain, creating a question about the No. 2 quarterback job. Will it be Petty or Christian Hackenberg? Coach Todd Bowles isn’t saying. Petty outplayed Hackenberg in the preseason, so he should get the nod — in theory. This is an important call because starter Josh McCown has had durability issues in recent years.

Ever look at the alignment of a defense and think, “no one is there to cover that gap”? Well, something is happening to get that area covered. The defense will stunt, twist, blitz, and rotate over to cover an open area on the field. No gap goes unaccounted for and if one does, the offense will likely find a way to exploit it.

Rob Kelley, RB, Redskins: A disappointing preseason by backup Samaje Perine locked Kelley into the Redskins’ starting running back role, but Kelley can’t afford to put up weeks of just 3 PPR/non-PPR fantasy points if he wants to hold off the rookie. That was his worst score in any of the 10 games in which he played double-digit snaps, and it makes it potentially wise to spend one of your Week 2 waiver claims to pick up Perine, available in 31.5 percent of leagues, as insurance.

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs: Another standout from the Cheap Football Jerseys From China Thursday NFL Kickoff, Smith managed 31.0 fantasy points as a visiting player against the New England Patriots, and that was nearly a new personal best for him. In fact, if not for Smith’s three kneels at game’s end — these totaled Cheap Authentic Soccer Jerseys minus-6 rushing yards — he’d have exceeded the 31.2 fantasy points he scored in 2013 Week 15 at Oakland.

Boston has liked Love for a while and could be interested in trading for the big man.

In all likelihood, the Knicks won’t trade straight up with either Houston or Cleveland. Neither team has tradeable young prospects that could entice New York, and they would have to take on either Kevin Love (better than Melo) or Ryan Anderson (worse than Melo and with a worse contract). Here’s the scenario for the Rockets, which includes two marginal young prospects, plus Anderson, plus a hypothetical 2020 first round pick.

More likely, any trade would have to involve a third team. Anthony makes $26.2 million next season while Love is at $22.6 million, and Cleveland is already in luxury tax hell, so Love would have to go. To escape that, they would need to get rid of a sizable salary like Love, not to mention the two play the same position.

Meanwhile, Boston has liked Love for a while and could be interested in trading for the big man. However, there’s one enormous condition for this: it can only happen if Gordon Hayward chooses someone else.

You sense Rose believes he’s more than Livingston, that he can be better Cheap Jerseys AUStralia than an important cog on a champion. What Rose has to do to look within and determine what’s Cheap Jerseys Bike truly better than that while being within the realm of possibility.

Is becoming an All-Star again within the realm of possibility? It could be, in the right situation. History shows us that if you score a lot of points, you have an inside track on winning an All-Star spot. But no team (with one exception) has been willing to give Rose an opportunity to be its offensive focal point this summer. Without opportunity there is no achievement.

Is becoming an important cog on a champion possible? That is absolutely what Cheap Jerseys And Sunglasses Rose could become for Cleveland, even though the Cavaliers remain massive underdogs against the Warriors.

NBA free agency might as well be over, but trade season isn’t

As evidenced by Kristian Winfield’s latest roundup of the top players left on the board, NBA free agency is just about over. There are a few impact players — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, for one — and some interesting cases like Nerlens Noel, who mystifyingly doesn’t have a Mavericks contract yet. It’s weird that he and JaMychal Green are lingering, for sure. But there aren’t really any huge names out there beyond all that.

But that doesn’t mean trade season is over. There are murmurs — none reported through the major news-breaking outlets — that the Knicks are in serious talks with the Rockets on a Carmelo Anthony deal. Who knows if the murmurs are true? But keep in mind that trades tend to happen in the middle of July as GMs are gathered in Las Vegas to watch the Alex Carusos of the world build a portfolio. This could be the week a big trade or two goes down.

There’s a lot of unfinished business on NBA rosters. Too many teams are in line to pay the tax, and too many decent teams still have holes. After this week, things should really quiet down — especially without an intercontinental tournament to keep guys in Vegas for Team USA training. It’s going to be a long summer whenever summer starts.

In a chat with Lee Jenkins, Paul George seems downright excited to give it a run with Russell Westbrook in OKC. Both Kevin Durant and Reggie Jackson — guys who left OKC on bad terms — told PG he’d love it there. There are also some interesting comments about the Lakers.

Lonzo Ball withdrew from his big Summer League rivalry game against De’Aaron Fox, drawing Cheap Ireland Jerseys an emoji reaction from the latter. Fox wasn’t particularly great in the game, and the Lakers Cheap Ireland Football Jerseys won anyway.

Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry and the best players left on the market after the midnight rush

We thought Hayward to the Celtics was a foregone conclusion. The Paul George trade flipped that idea on its head. Now, the All-Star wing has three viable options: head to Boston, go to Miami or stay in Utah. This one could go either way.

Lowry can get a max contract from the Raptors. After both George and Jimmy Butler were traded to the Western Conference, sticking it out in Toronto doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

No flash in Hill’s game, but he’s a solid two-way point guard with leadership expertise and a winning acumen. As the big names fall off the board, Hill will continue to garner interest from teams with a need at point guard.

Noel could make a huge payday work out, too: He is a skilled and swift defender and could be as flexible on defense as he is inflexible on offense. Versatility matters on both ends, and so much of our discourse on positions and positionlessness revolves around offense. This is foolish. Ignoring the defensive ramifications of the game’s evolution ignores half the game. The ability to switch is more important every year, and if Noel can consistently switch action and chase shooters yet still recover to rebound, he will have been worth every penny.

Teams just need to understand what they’re paying for. Increasingly, it’s not just centers for the sake of having centers.

It’s a cheat to use the Warriors as proof of Cheap Hockey Jerseys anything, but this point Cheap Hockey Practice Jerseys is illustrative of the broader story. Golden State has a $136 million payroll before luxury tax next season. Only $4.8 million Cheap High Quality NFL Jerseys of that — or 3.5 percent of the payroll — is being paid to centers.