Sean Payton: Brandin Cooks with zero targets was ‘unusual’

Coach Sean Payton said he is “not concerned” about receiver Brandin Cooks’ apparent frustration with his role in the New Orleans Saints’ offense.

Cooks wasn’t targeted despite playing 45 snaps in the Saints’ 49-21 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Cooks then made reference on Instagram to needing to become a “businessman,” and sources told ESPN that he has expressed growing frustration throughout this season — mostly over being used as a clear-out receiver instead of a primary option.

“Listen, Cooks is a real good football player, and we work extremely hard on these game plans,” Payton said Wednesday. “I’d say it’s a little unusual that we have a game where all of a sudden he’s not targeted. But the first play of the game is supposed to be his play, and we don’t get the right coverage look. We’ll keep working at finding those opportunities for him to get those touches.
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Lewis is going through struggles of his own this year with the Bengals potentially heading toward one of their worst records in his 14-season tenure (he went 4-11-1 in 2008 and 4-12 in 2010).

“I think coaches work harder, turn over more stones, they become better coaches, better people when … you’re a touch off,” he said.

“When you’re winning, you’re doing the same thing, you’re just not questioned by the masses here. It doesn’t change your outlook on things. I think the players have a hard time wondering why you’re climbing up their butt when you’re winning. Now they won’t have to question that right now. That’s part of it. It’s what we are in professional sports.”

That’s all I can tell you. And then the next year after that, and the next year after that, some of those things that seem so insurmountable that first season, you realize you’re going to get through, things are going to work out and you’re going to find a way and it’s going to work well for you. I think that’s important in a tough season we all go through.”

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NFL fines Aaron Donald $21,000 for Week 1 outburst

It has not been a banner start to the season for the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL is fining defensive tackle Aaron Donald $21,000 for his temper tantrum in the fourth quarter of the Ram’s 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football last week.

According to Manti Te’o Jersey ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Gronkowski will miss Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. The tight end originally suffered the injury in a scrimmage against the Chicago Bears Aug. 15.

Though the Patriots were able to defeat the Cardinals without Gronkowski, his value to the team goes without saying. For the second consecutive contest, Jimmy Garoppolo will be forced to work with an undermanned offense. Tackle Sebastian Vollmer and running back Dion Lewis were placed on the PUP list prior to the start of the season.

The Patriots’ injury Matt Slauson Jersey woes will stretch to the defensive side of the ball this week as well. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who’s developed into one of the leaders on defense, is doubtful with a knee injury.

Throughout the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have largely been able to withstand injuries and win games while stretching the edges of their depth chart. But with Garoppolo under center instead of Tom Brady for the first four weeks of the season, the challenge this season is more daunting.

In addition to the Patriots, a number of other teams are dealing with injuries to star players heading into Sunday’s action. Many are electing to pay through the pain, which is always a risky endeavor –– especially this early in the season.

It’s just a series of increasingly racist comments

Thank God for Stubhub. Fake Fake: I’m from Toronto. Buffalo hates us, and – well, to be honest, we really ‘t care. The truth is, they depend on us to fill their stadiums and arenas to root for their teams and drink their wonderfully affordable American beer. We know it. They know it. Go to any Sabres game when they’re playing the Toronto Maple Leafs and you’ll – it’s always a home game for Toronto. And they Carlos Boozer Jersey get all uptight about this fact. And we laugh, and laugh. And then we drive home to Toronto because why the hell would anyone live Buffalo.Can’t you just post our record for the last 14 years and save your time? : They have the lowest average ticket price the entire league, yet the supposedly rabid fan base can’t be bothered to show up.Buffalo, everything is named after, unremarkable, corrupt president whose only connection to the city is that he was assassinated there.

How fitting. The only president with any true connection to the city is Fillmore, who served three years after died. He was the last Whig and had no vice president. Behind the times and unprepared for disaster. Again, how fitting. We D’Angelo Russell Jersey have not had a good QB since. Our most famous all-time player is a sociopathic murderer. People still talk about winning AFL championships the 1960s, as if that somehow dulls the pain of never winning a Super Bowl. We have two good running backs, of course we are pissing them both off that they leave as soon as they can. We signed to a 4 billion dollar contract, and the most notable thing he did was threaten to kill himself when his gold digging fiancee dumped him, then sue her to get his ring back.You are stepping over rivers of urine as you walk anywhere the building. Andrew: Have you seen lately? It looks like there’s a very tiny black hole just behind his nose that is slowly sucking his face inward. Adam: You know those Conference Champions shirts that teams sell for exactly 10 days after they qualify for the Super Bowl but before they play it? You always wonder, Who the hell would buy that? After all, they’re totally useless after the Super Bowl – you either have nothing to celebrate or a more braggadocious shirt to buy. Bills fans wear those shirts to this day, unironically.The Bills suck because they hired a mildly successful coach from a college known for its basketball team and it’s a HUGE improvement. The Bills fanbase is 95% unbearable. Have you ever visited a Buffalo Bills message board or the team Facebook page?

It’s just a series of increasingly racist comments. Starting with subtle racists longing for the days of some obscure white player from the 60’s, and making its way to overt racists calling a gang member for wearing a baseball hat backwards.Wash the sheets all you want, but if you get out your black light you can still Nix’s DNA all over the organization. Justin: While spending the past nine years central southwest, I had the pleasure of watching EJ bumblefuck his way through several seasons at State and somehow manage to not up badly enough for the Seminoles to lose too often. Everything about the kid screamed fourth-round draft pick until good ol’ boy Nix showed up to the draft.dies fast Buffalo – almost instantly. Terry: The worst part about life is being a Bills fan. Fuck Gailey.The Bills playoff drought has now seen three popes. Adam: Probably nothing sums up the entire Bills experience better than a conversation I had once a San Francisco hotel elevator. A husband and wife walked with me, wearing full 49ers gear. They asked where I was visiting from, and I said Buffalo. The husband immediately looked at me and said, I’m sorry. This was 2009, when the 49ers were still one of the shittiest teams football too.The third preseason game is the most important. to recap ours, we lost 30, our best player’s step-grandfather went on a murder spree, and we’re working out Leinart and Beck. The sad thing is, expression didn’t change when I heard about any of this. You come to expect these things when you’re closing on two decades since your last playoff victory and there’s a decent chance team officials are employing a type scheme concerning the owner.Fuck Nix, Crypt Keeper wannabe, and the whole city of Buffalo. I Time Warner never brings back I ‘t have to watch favorite team get slaughtered by the end of the 1st quarter every week. Kyle: It’s the running our team- : a marketing genius with no football knowledge whatsoever. He previously served as the team’s general manager, which again, is extremely troubling considering he knows absolutely nothing about football. He’s a former college baseball player who initially worked the front office for the Marlins, which kind of makes sense. Now he’s the President and Chief Executive Officer of NFL team. How the did this happen? Seamus: Hating on Buffalo is like on a with terminal bladder cancer who also survived the Rwandan genocide as a kid. There is nothing Buffalo except very cold, obese people scrounging for the meager scraps of a -depleted industrial past. Nolan: The date was October 11th, 2009. completes 2 for 23 yards with a pick.

Every is sweet its own way

Menu The New Knicks look for their fifth consecutive victory over the Magic Wednesday night when the two teams collide at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have won both games this season between the two and both were. New has won two of its last three, including a 106 home victory over the Atlanta Hawks on. exploded for 42 points on 15-for-28 shooting and 9-for-12 from 3-point range. J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire both netted 18 points off the bench. ‘s nine triples tied a franchise record and the Knicks shot 59 percent from Rick Nash Jersey beyond the arc. He matched John Starks, Latrell Sprewell — who did it twice — and. He’s playing unbelievably high right now, Knicks center Tyson Chandler said of. It seemed every time he put it up it was going. He kind of put the team on his back. has scored at least 20 points 29 straight games, which is tied for the longest stretch franchise history. Chandler, who join as an Eastern Conference All Star next month, only had two points and three rebounds against the Hawks, who shot 60 percent from the field on. The Magic have lost six a row and only managed 77 points against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Moe Harkless, recently inserted into the starting lineup, posted a career-high 16 points. scored 15. One night after going off for 31 points thanks to eight made 3-pointers, J.J. Redick only had five points against the Nets on 2-for-13 shooting. Jameer Rod Gilbert Jersey only managed nine points. During the Magic’s six-game slide, has allowed 103 ppg. If you want something to change you’ve got to make a change, said. We can’t wish and pray that a team won’t make shots; we have to make them miss shots. We can’t worry and pray that the ball go ; we have to put the ball the hole. Harkless started place of Arron Afflalo, who missed the Nets’ game with a strained left calf. Afflalo is listed as day-to-day. This is the Knicks second of a five-game homestand, while is on the second of a five-game road swing. The Magic’s last victory against the Knicks came at MSG on Jan. 16 of last year.

PITTSBURGH — As it turned out, the team many doubted would have the right stuff to succeed the new NHL had the perfect blend of Europeans and North Americans, of experience and youth, of skill and grit. It was a winning combination, a championship formula. The Detroit Red, hockey’s most successful franchise for more than a dozen years, are back on top after winning their fourth Cup championship the past 11 seasons with a 3 victory Wednesday over the Pittsburgh Penguins Game 6 of the finals at Mellon Arena. This club completed a successful transition from of Red hockey dominated by Yzerman, Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov to one that now is led by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, two of the best all-around players the league. The main link between those eras, Nicklas Lidstrom, became the first European captain of a Cup winner. Zetterberg won his first Cup and became the second European player to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The Red won championships when they could spend freely, and now they’ve won with payroll limitations.

Every is sweet its own way, this one is sweet because we’re a salary-cap world and people thought three years ago our organization was going to go on a downturn, General Manager Ken Holland said. This validates the program. It is the Red ‘ first title since 2002 and the 11th franchise history. And they did it with more Europeans than any previous Cup-winning club. We don’t look at passports, we like skill, we like them to play hard, Holland said. Babcock makes them organized, he pushes them. It’s a global game, said Babcock, who won his first Cup his fifth as NHL coach. are phenomenal players, they’ve won the Olympics, the World Championships, other things. Why wouldn’t they win this? We have some of the best players the world, some of the most competitive, and it showed tonight.

With the Nuggets up nine, and threatening to pull away the fourth quarter

With the Nuggets up nine, and threatening to pull away the fourth quarter, Will Bynum did everything he could to keep the Detroit Pistons the game. It started with a pass. Bynum got picked up by Harrington Anthony Collins Jersey on a defensive switch, and was easily able to dribble into the lane past the larger, slower defender. As two other Nugget players converged to stop Bynum’s penetration, he dumped the ball off to Daye cutting along the baseline for easy layup. That was about all the passing Bynum could be bothered with as he put on a scoring clinic the rest of the quarter, using his quickness to either get to the hoop or create separation for a step-back, mid-range jumper. It didn’t matter who the Nuggets assigned to contain Bynum, and they tried just about everyone, he simply couldn’t be stopped. The Pistons managed to trim the Nuggets’ lead to one with six minutes remaining, but were never able to take control.

Bynum continued to pour the points, finishing the final quarter with 17 on 8 shooting, but it was the former Pistons Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey point guard Chauncey Billups who slammed the door on Detroit’s rally. Billups, largely defended by Bynum, went on a fourth-quarter scoring binge of his own. the final five minutes of the game, Billups scored 14 points, including four three-pointers, living up the to the Mr. Big Shot nickname he earned hitting dozens of clutch shots on the Palace court. Bynum’s defensive woes were unfortunate, but somewhat expected. To be fair, he’s at a major size disadvantage trying to Billups, and it was clear that carrying the scoring load drained a significant portion of his energy. can’t capitalize on big opportunity When Stuckey went down with a shoulder injury late the first quarter, and Hamilton at home with the flu, found himself line for expanded role.

Yet, when the Pistons needed someone to step up on the offensive end, was only able to provide a brief spark before fizzling out. During a three-possession stretch the third quarter aggressively attacked off the dribble – knocking down a pull-up jumper from the free-throw line and drawing a pair of shooting fouls at the rim. It appeared he was ready to take over the game. Instead, he closed out the quarter missing two wide-open threes and giving up a steal that resulted a fast-break layup on the other end. After drawing a somewhat questionable offensive foul on the first possession of the fourth quarter, gave up a big to J.R. Smith after failing to get around off-the-ball screen. Kuester pulled shortly after, ending his night with more than nine minutes left the game. ‘s final numbers were pretty disappointing. He finished with 15 points on 4 shooting, one assist and three turnovers.

It should be noted, did perform admirably on the defensive end. Despite the aforementioned Smith, played aggressive, harassing defense on Billups and Smith during the second and third quarters, limiting the effectiveness of both players. played tough Coming into Wednesday’s contest with the Pistons, had been playing his best basketball over a month. Over ‘s last four, he had posted 29-point and seven-rebound averages. Against Detroit, he finished with 18 points after being held to 5 from the floor. managed to fill up other areas of the stat sheet, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out seven assists, but he was also coerced into five turnovers. Tayshaun deserves most of the credit for ‘s struggles, doing excellent job preventing him from establishing position on the low block, staying front of him when he faced the basket and forcing him to regularly settle for mid-range jump shots. It certainly didn’t hurt that the two times beat of the dribble the first quarter he blew the layup attempts.

DC Vic Fangio disappointed camp didn’t go better for Leonard Floyd

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Four days before the season opener, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio offered a blunt assessment of first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd.

“Overall his camp was kind of choppy,” Fangio said of the outside linebacker Wednesday. “First, early on, he had an illness that kept him out a couple days. Then he came back. Then he dinged his shoulder a little bit. It kept him out a couple days. Then he tweaked the hamstring, which kept him out.

“So I think the best word has been choppy and inconsistent, more from an availability standpoint to where he could have [had] a large chunk of good, learning practices in a week playing in a preseason game.”

“The only reason you take him in and out [of games], is one, like I said, because of those things I mentioned in training camp. I don’t think he’s in the greatest condition right now,” Fangio said. “And I think for a young guy like himself, playing 60 to 70 plays in an NFL game, he’s going to find it vastly different than the 80 plays he might have played in college. OK? He’s up against men now. And he’s found that out quickly.

“Some ways it’s not a bad way to break in. When we had Aldon Smith [whom Fangio coached in San Francisco] in his rookie year he only played about 50-some percent of the time. He was in and out, too.

“[Floyd] is athletic. He can run. I think he’s got good instincts. He just has to learn what to do and how to do it more consistently.”

Whenever Beckham takes the field, all eyes are on the electric receiver. He’s eccentric, flashy and talented. He makes one-handed grabs, plans elaborate touchdown dances and holds an extended, one-handed catch session during warm-ups.

Does it make him a villain?

“I don’t know. You tell me,” Beckham said. “Could be that way, couldn’t be that way, I don’t know. I’m more focused on this year and accomplishing the goals that we have set out — winning games.”

Opposing players, particularly Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, have cited Beckham’s whining and constant complaining as reasons why there is dislike for him.

Cornerback Chris Culliver, now with the Miami Dolphins, called Beckham “the most complaining person I’ve went against.” Stephon Gilmore of the Buffalo Bills called him a prima donna.

But Beckham thinks differently in regards to why those perceptions exist.

“Because of this,” he said, flashing a grin from ear to ear. “I don’t know. I have fun. I’m myself at all times and I don’t think it’s necessarily liked all the time, unless you’re on my side. I can’t really control that. Like I said, I can’t control who likes, doesn’t like me. It’s football at this point.”

Beckham does have his backers. He’s popular in the locker room and is developing into a respected leader among his Giants teammates. He has also built a stable of NFL friends, including Miami’s Jarvis Landry, Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, Dallas cornerback Morris Claiborne, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater and seemingly anyone else with LSU ties.

Ravens’ John Harbaugh defends Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest anthem

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he respects Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest the national anthem and cited a French Enlightenment philosopher in doing so.

The rules are simple: Stay under the $155,270,000 cap, and no rookies. Otherwise, it’s my job to put together a well-balanced, versatile team, with depth at each position and players who complement each other. All while navigating prohibitive contract extensions to players I’d otherwise like to include — such as Tyrod Taylor, Darius Slay and Tyrann Mathieu, all of whom signed big deals this offseason.

There are, of course, hundreds of great players in the NFL and thousands of ways to craft this team. But I am certain that even the 1972 Miami Dolphins would agree that this year’s team, with everyone from Tom Brady to DeAndre Hopkins to J.J. Watt, would challenge their undefeated season.

Caldwell has repeatedly deflected questions about Ebron’s status.

Ebron, though, has missed a chunk of preseason time. He said that when he suffered the injury during the Lions’ mock game at Ford Field, he thought, “My life sucks,” because he didn’t know what to expect. He said he wasn’t sure of the severity of the injury and admitted he thought his season might have ended before it started.

“Did I have that in mind? I was afraid,” Ebron said. “I was afraid for the worst and just hoped for the best. I mean, easily, by far, that’s what I did. Whatever happened, happened, and I’m just taking it as slowly as I possibly can to make sure that I’m back to what we were seeing that day, because if I don’t get back there, then it’s not going to be a good season for myself.”

When Ebron does return, he will be the team’s top tight end after he caught 47 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns last season. He’s at the top of the depth chart of a thin tight end group. Brandon Pettigrew is still on the physically unable to perform list recovering from an ACL injury. Timothy Wright is on injured reserve with an ACL injury. The Lions cut veteran Matthew Mulligan on Monday, and that leaves Orson Charles, Adam Fuehne, Cole Wick and Andrew Quarless — who will miss the first two games of the season due to suspension — as Detroit’s tight ends.

When Ebron got hurt, he leaned on his mother, Gina Jackson, for guidance. She helped him through it and actually reached out to him before he could get in touch with her. He said his phone wasn’t going crazy initially, but as more people heard what happened, they started to reach out.

Rex upset at Tyrod’s camp flip: ‘Are you kidding me?’

Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 8, 2016
Ryan, of course, is still smarting from the loss of second-round linebacker Reggie Ragland, who the Bills were planning to plug in as a Week 1 starter. The rookie suffered a knee injury last week and continues to go through testing to decipher how long he’ll be lost.

The Bills on Monday also saw left tackle Cordy Glenn exit with an ankle injury, while guard Richie Incognito left early with sore ribs. On the plus side, three key players — wideout Sammy Watkins and defensive linemen Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams — all passed their physicals.

Watching the injury bug descend, Ryan’s frustration is understandable. There’s little reason for Taylor to put his body at risk in practice. Conversely, old-school football-heads can point to yesteryear — when players in practice beat the snot out of each other daily — but that world no longer exists.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an NFL draftnik who doesn’t project Malik McDowell to be a first-round draft pick if he takes the early leap next year, with most slotting the Michigan State defensive tackle inside the Top 15 in their way-too-early mock drafts. That, though, is not good enough for McDowell — at least publicly and in the here and now.

At MSU’s media day Monday, McDowell was asked about his plans post-2016. According to the lineman, it doesn’t involve leaving East Lansing unless he’s expected to be one of the first three players selected.

“Top 10 ain’t good enough for me,” McDowell said. “I ain’t leaving if I’m (only) Top 10. If I’m not top three, I don’t leave. Really. I’m just trying to live day by day. It’s one through three, that’s the only way I’m going. I’m happy, I like it here, I ain’t really in a rush to leave.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens won’t say whether quarterback Joe Flacco will play in the preseason opener, and it would be a surprise if he did. But that’s not a reflection of Flacco’s progress in coming back from season-ending knee surgery. Flacco is having a strong training camp, and he hasn’t missed any reps with the starting offense. Like Flacco said late last month, his goal is to be ready for the start of the regular season, not the preseason. — Jamison Hensley

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Cincinnati Bengals

Health remains a concern for the Bengals, as they continue waiting on tight ends Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft and cornerback Darqueze Dennard to return from respective serious injuries. There is a belief that Kroft (knee) and Dennard (ankle) could be back before the regular season begins. The hope is that Eifert (ankle), too, will return by the season opener at the New York Jets, but it’s possible he misses a game or more. If he does, Kroft’s injury status becomes all the more important. Those injury issues are a concern, but the Bengals are otherwise getting healthier. Five players who missed time before Sunday’s off day practiced Monday. Could more players come off the sidelines Tuesday, when the Bengals hold their final practice before the Vikings join them in Cincinnati for joint practices? Stay tuned. — Coley Harvey