The Steelers had almost a fifth of their active roster off the field for Wednesday’s practice.
A longer Wednesday injury report than usual isn’t a great shock given the fact that the Steelers played the Giants on Monday night and not every player on the list was sitting out because of an injury. Center Maurkice Pouncey and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were both given rest days.
Some of the ones who were out for injuries were expected. Right tackle Zach Banner is out for the year with a torn ACL, right guard David DeCastro didn’t play against the Giants due to a knee injury, running back James Conner was forced out of that game by an ankle injury and guard Stefan Wisniewski had to leave with a pectoral injury.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Diontae Johnson (toe) played the whole way on Monday before sitting out on Wednesday. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (illness) and defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt (Achilles) rounded out the group of non-participants.
Thursday and Friday’s injury reports may prove to be more telling about who will actually be facing the Broncos on Sunday.
Ten Steelers don’t practice Wednesday originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
Serena Williams battles, then rolls into French Open second round
Serena Williams overcame early struggles, sweeping past countrywoman Kristie Ahn 7-6 (2), 6-0 to reach the French Open second round.
Williams, again eyeing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, started out like somebody who went 16 months between clay-court matches. She needed 74 minutes to take the first set from the 102nd-ranked Ahn, recovering twice after having her serve broken.
She dominated the second set in 27 minutes, advancing to play Bulgarian and fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova, a rematch of their three-set U.S. Open quarterfinal three weeks ago.
Williams, in long sleeves and tights, had 15 winners to 28 unforced errors in the first set in cloudy, sub-60-degree weather on Monday.
“I hate the cold. I’m from L.A. and I live in Florida,” Williams said before the tournament, which was postponed from its usual May/June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic. “For half my life I’ve never seen snow. Cold weather and me do not mix.”
FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule
Williams also noted before the tournament that she was “not at 100 percent physically” and spent most of her time in France “rehabbing” without giving specifics. She took a medical timeout with a left Achilles injury in her last match, a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka,
“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could perform,” Williams said Saturday. “I don’t know any athlete that ever plays physically when they’re feeling perfect. That’s just something I think as athletes we have to play with.”
Earlier Monday, newly crowned U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem rolled 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up, next gets American Jack Sock, a former top-10 player now ranked No. 310. Sock took out countryman Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 for his first main draw win at the French Open in four years.
Rafael Nadal begins his quest for a record-extending 13th French Open title and male record-tying 20th Grand Slam singles title later Monday.
The French Open first round concludes Tuesday with top-ranked Novak Djokovic in action.
MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship
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Serena Williams battles, then rolls into French Open second round originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Bengals need to make changes to coaching staff, starting lineups or both
It might be time for those in charge of the Cincinnati Bengals organization to step in and do something about what’s happening on the field.
At some point, excuses have to fly out the window. Last year was a 2-14 season for Zac Taylor and his handpicked staff and the excuses flowed. They assembled late and were unable to change up the roster they inherited. The injury bug. Etc.
This year the Bengals are 0-2-1 and the excuses could flow again. There wasn’t a preseason. The team overhauled the roster. Etc. Yet the same problems as the year prior remain and Taylor is now 0-10-1 in one-score games.
And the most important factor of all: This mess could ruin Joe Burrow.
That’s what it’s all about now. Cincinnati was lucky enough to back into a franchise quarterback who at times already looks like a top-10 player. If the players in front of him and around him can’t help him, if the coaching staff can’t do right by him, the overarching organization needs to step in and make changes.
Doing so could be the difference between Burrow sticking around and pushing for contention or yet another franchise passer wanting to get out of town.
Taylor’s playcalling has mostly been miserable, especially in Week 3. His Lou Anarumo-directed defense still doesn’t want to tackle. His offensive line is still headed up by Jim Turner, he of an iffy pro resume to begin with but oddly defended by Taylor from Day 1, and they’re still trotting out Bobby Hart at right tackle and praying a mediocre-to-terrible cast of guards can somehow come together and make it work inside. Burrow has already been sacked 14 times with 11 hurries and 30 pressures on a pressure rate of 18.4 percent. He’s taking hits that go instantly viral and it’s clear to anyone who has watched football in the past that he might not make it through all 16 games.
It kills part of me they’ll bench John Ross after actively seeking out more guys to replace him but ignore clear problem areas on the offensive line in front of a No. 1 pick. I don’t know.
— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) September 27, 2020
One could dismiss this in part as a rookie holding onto the ball too long. But flick on a random play and you’ll probably see some combination of Hart getting pushed back so hard it looks like he’s a bodyguard escorting the defender to the quarterback, Jonah Williams randomly losing all sense of how to function and some tandem of Michael Jordan, Fred Johnson and Billy Price getting plopped on their rear ends like they’re getting bullied at a middle schoool’s playground.
It’s bad and something has to change.
Burrow shouldn’t be putting up a 105.5 rating in a tie game. The head coach shouldn’t be openly admitting after the game they still don’t know how to fix the offensive line and spots like right guard. That same head coach shouldn’t be 0-10-1 in one-score games, almost regardless of context. That staff shouldn’t get the ball back confronted with a tie game near the end of overtime, tuck tail and run a draw to accept that tie.
Joe Mixon, on a fresh big-money extension, shouldn’t be getting just 17 carries, averaging 2.9 yards and getting just three targets through the air. The staff shouldn’t end up making a former top-10 wideout inactive because they rostered seven and just can’t figure out how to make it work.
One can pin this on execution by players too, of course. Why are defensive backs getting flagged twice on a potential game-ending drive before the Eagles force overtime? Why don’t defenders want to tackle, multiple times missing at or behind the line of scrimmage, only for the opponent to go pick up a first down? Why is there a miscommunication that lets up a touchdown before the half? Why doesn’t the offensive line…play even passable football by putting hands on someone?
The honeymoon is over. Now the Bengals are on the ruining Burrow clock. Spending big in free agency was good. Targeting guys from winning programs, pro or collegiate, was smart. But just getting those guys in the door doesn’t mean the winning starts. The Bengals shouldn’t be having tackling issues and one of the worst offensive lines ever assembled in modern times. Other teams faced a variety of challenges, including the odd summer, and aren’t playing like this. And the line problems, in particular, are extensions of self-inflicted wounds because if we’re being honest, a smart organization would still have Andrew Whitworth playing left tackle and Kevin Zeitler at right guard.
That organization can’t give another coaching staff a decade-long leash here. More like eight weeks. What’s the answer? Free agents, trades? Moving on from positional coaches? Darrin Simmons, head coach? Trying Fred Johnson at right tackle and giving Hakeem Adeniji at guard? Anything?
Point is, it never should’ve reached this point. A team backed into a generational talent at quarterback and fixed up plenty of areas on the roster…except the league-worst offensive line? And entrusted Jim Turner to magically squeak out better performances from guys who haven’t shown anything yet?
This isn’t how you win back fans and it’s not how you function around a special quarterback. There shouldn’t be whispers around the fanbase of “maybe Marvin Lewis was right.” It’s only three games into a season, but the stakes are higher now. If the last year has been a turning point for the organization, that needs to include better response times to obvious issues, especially when it’s a talent like Burrow at stake.
Anything less than immediate changes won’t sit well with fans — and rightfully so.
Schedule, results all the way to World Series
Wild Card Series
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (8) Toronto Blue Jays
Game 1: Toronto at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m. Tuesday, TBS
Game 2: Toronto at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m. Wednesday, TBS
x-Game 3: Thursday, Oct. 1: Toronto at Tampa Bay, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(2) Oakland Athletics vs. (7) Chicago White Sox
Game 1: Chicago at Oakland, 3 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN
Game 2: Chicago at Oakland, 3 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN
x-Game 3: Chicago at Oakland, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(3) Minnesota Twins vs. (6) Houston Astros
Game 1: Houston at Minnesota, 2 p.m. Tuesday, ABC
Game 2: Houston at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN2
x-Game 3: Houston at Minnesota, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(4) Cleveland Indians vs. (5) New York Yankees
Game 1: New York at Cleveland, 7 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN
Game 2: New York at Cleveland, 7 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN
x-Game 3: New York at Cleveland, Thursday, time, TV TBA
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (8) Milwaukee Brewers
Game 1: Milwaukee at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN
Game 2: Milwaukee at Los Angeles, Thursday, time, TV TBA
x-Game 3: Milwaukee at Los Angeles, Friday, time, TV TBA
(2) Atlanta Braves vs. (7) Cincinnati Reds
Game 1: Cincinnati at Atlanta, noon Wednesday, ESPN
Game 2: Cincinnati at Atlanta, Thursday, time, TV TBA
x-Game 3: Cincinnati at Atlanta, Friday, time, TV TBA
(3) Chicago Cubs vs. (6) Miami Marlins
Game 1: Miami at Chicago, 2 p.m. Wednesday, ABC
Game 2: Miami at Chicago, Thursday, time, TV TBA
x-Game 3: Miami at Chicago, Friday, time, TV TBA
(4) San Diego Padres vs. (5) St. Louis Cardinals
Game 1: St. Louis at San Diego, 5 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN2
Game 2: St. Louis at San Diego, Thursday
x-Friday, Oct. 2: St. Louis at San Diego
Tampa Bay-Toronto winner vs. Cleveland-New York winner
At San Diego
Game 1: Cleveland-New York winner vs. Tampa Bay-Toronto winner, Oct. 5, TBS
Game 2: Cleveland-New York winner vs. Tampa Bay-Toronto winner, Oct. 6, TBS
Game 3: Tampa Bay-Toronto winner vs. Cleveland-New York winner, Oct. 7, TBS
x-Game 4: Tampa Bay-Toronto winner vs. Cleveland-New York winner, Oct. 8, TBS
x-Game 5: Cleveland-New York winner vs. Tampa Bay-Toronto winner, Oct. 9, TBS
Oakland-Chicago White Sox winner vs. Minnesota-Houston winner
At Los Angeles
Game 1: Minnesota-Houston winner vs. Oakland-Chicago winner, Oct. 5, TBS
Game 2: Minnesota-Houston winner vs. Oakland-Chicago winner, Oct. 6, TBS
Game 3: Oakland-Chicago winner vs. Minnesota-Houston winner, Oct. 7, TBS
x-Game 4: Oakland-Chicago winner vs. Minnesota-Houston winner, Oct. 8. TBS
x-Game 5: Minnesota-Houston winner vs. Oakland-Chicago winner, Oct. 9, TBS
San Diego-St. Louis winner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner
At Arlington, Texas
Game 1: San Diego-St. Louis winner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner, Oct. 6, FS1 or MLB
Game 2: San Diego-St. Louis winner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner, Oct. 7, FS1 or MLB
Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner vs. San Diego-St. Louis winner, Oct. 8, FS1 or MLB
x-Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner vs. San Diego-St. Louis winner, Oct. 9, FS1
x-Game 5: San Diego-St. Louis vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-Milwaukee winner, Oct. 10, FS1
Chicago Cubs-Miami winner vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati winner
Game 1: Chicago Cubs-Miami winner vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati winner, Oct. 6, FS1 or MLB
Game 2: Chicago Cubs-Miami vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati, Oct. 7, FS1 or MLB
Game 3: Atlanta-Cincinnati vs. Chicago Cubs-Miami winner, Oct. 8, FS1 or MLB
x-Game 4: Atlanta-Cincinnati vs. Chicago Cubs-Miami winner, Oct. 9, FS1
x-Game 5: Chicago Cubs-Miami vs. Atlanta-Cincinnati, Oct. 10, FS1
League Championship Series
At San Diego
Game 1: Oct. 11, TBS
Game 2: Oct. 12, TBS
Game 3: Oct. 13, TBS
Game 4: Oct. 14, TBS
x-Game 5: Oct. 15, TBS
x-Game 6: Oct. 16, TBS
x-Game 7: Oct. 17, TBS
At Arlington, Texas
Game 1: Oct. 12, Fox or FS1
Game 2: Oct. 13, Fox or FS1
Game 3: Oct. 14, Fox or FS1
Game 4: Oct. 15, Fox or FS1
x-Game 5: Oct. 16, Fox or FS1
x-Game 6: Oct. 17, Fox or FS1
x-Game 7: Oct. 18, Fox or FS1
At Arlington, Texas
Game 1: Oct. 20, Fox
Game 2: Oct. 21, Fox
Game 3: Oct. 23, Fox
Game 4: Oct. 24, Fox
x-Game 5: Oct. 25, Fox
x-Game 6: Oct. 27, Fox
x-Game 7: Oct. 28, Fox
Contact Kirkland Crawford: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs: Schedule, results to World Series
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