It became obvious from the moment Saints running back Alvin Kamara fell onto the leg of Saints receiver Michael Thomas that Thomas had an ankle injury. It’s a high-ankle sprain, and Thomas reportedly will miss time.
So what happens to the Saints Offense without Thomas?
The unofficial (and thus worthless) depth chart doesn’t shed much light on how things will look. Undrafted rookie Marquez Callaway is listed as the understudy to Thomas. But Callaway did much more as a return specialist than as a receiver at Tennessee, catching 92 passes in 42 games.
The more likely reality is that players like tight end Jared Cook, running back Alvin Kamara, and running back (and former receiver) Ty Montgomery will be used more in the passing game, especially as it relates to the fact that Thomas has been lining up roughly 25 percent of the time in the slot.
The Saints also have Taysom Hill, who can line up anywhere and everywhere. Given the money they’re paying him, they need to use him.
However it plays out, coach Sean Payton remains one of the greatest offensive masterminds in NFL history. He’ll find a way to move the chains and score points, even without one of the best receivers in the game on the field.
What will Saints do offensively without Michael Thomas? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
Shaw sees ‘fringe’ players leading Man Utd trophy charge as attention shifts to Carabao Cup
Luke Shaw expects Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to use “fringe” players in Manchester United’s Carabao Cup campaign, but says the Red Devils will be taking every shot at major silverware seriously.
Fresh from playing out a thrilling 3-2 victory over Brighton in the Premier League, another trip to the Amex Stadium is set to be taken in on Wednesday.
A place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup will be up for grabs in that contest, with United eager to keep as many avenues as possible open to tangible success.
No trophies will be written off by the Red Devils, having gone three years without collecting one, and there is a determination on their part to see off the Seagulls.
The games are coming thick and fast, though, in 2020-21 and Shaw believes Solskjaer will rotate in knockout competition.
The United left-back told MUTV: “Of course it’s a competition we want to win, but I think it gives the manager that opportunity to give chances to other players that are on the bench and on the fringe, who are training very hard to get chances.
“I think games like this are perfect for them. It’s good that we’ve got a very strong squad with players who are ready to play and are ready to take their chance. I’m sure the players are looking forward to that on Wednesday.
“Matches are coming thick and fast and, like I say, they’re competitions that we want to be strong in, we want to be winning and be challenging in. But it’s also a chance for players to get game time and sharpness.”
United have already shown that they have a formula for downing Brighton, but will be aware of the need to raise their game for a second meeting with the Seagulls in quick succession.
A thrilling Premier League encounter saw Solskjaer’s side survive a major scare on the south coast, as the hosts hit the woodwork on five occasions before Bruno Fernandes converted a 100th-minute penalty that was awarded after the final whistle had already been blown.
Shaw said when reflecting on that encounter: “Ups and downs really.
“It was a game that was very important points-wise, although obviously we as players and the manager know we can perform much better. The most important thing was the three points and we got that in the end.
“It felt great to win the game right at the end, we haven’t done that in a while. It’s a good three points for us, but we need to be performing better.”
Playoffs begin, Bieber vs Cole in prime matchup
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Shane Bieber dominated this year for Cleveland, leading the American League in wins (8), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122). He didn’t allow a run in six of his 12 starts.
Gerrit Cole delivered for the Yankees in his first season since signing a $324 million, nine-year contract, going 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA.
Now they meet in the playoff opener at Progressive Field, a classic pitching duel in the making on the first day of the postseason.
”We’re fired up,” Bieber said. ”We think this is a good matchup.”
For all Bieber and Cole have accomplished in the shortened regular season, it will mean little if they don’t perform well to start the best-of-three series.
Barry Larkin is gladly giving Major League Baseball a helping hand in these playoffs. Two of them, actually.
Look closely at the bats being swung and you might notice something on the knobs: a label with a graphic design of Black and white hands clasped over the words ”Heal” and ”Unite.”
They’re the product of Larkin’s Project Unity, an initiative headed by the Hall of Famer to draw people together on the diamond and beyond. Endorsed by MLB, they were sent in team colors to every clubhouse in advance of the playoffs.
”My hope is that they’re embraced by many players,” the longtime Cincinnati Reds shortstop said.
WE’RE PLAYING WHO?
In a year where so much about baseball has looked different, this 16-team postseason has at least one throwback element.
”It’s like the old days, man, when you played a team you’ve never played before. It’s exactly what it is,” said Sandy Alomar Jr., the acting manager for the Indians. ”It’s very strange.”
Seven of this week’s eight wild-card series are pitting clubs that haven’t seen each other all year, an unusual quirk after the regular season schedule was staged regionally amid the pandemic.
That means a lot of video and scouting work, especially for players that haven’t been around the block. For instance, Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka has only played 72 regular season games, including just two against wild-card foe Cleveland. The 30-year-old said New York provided him with a trove of data to peruse Monday, and he was cross-checking all of that with video work.
”Want to have that extra edge to hopefully give you the advantage in the game,” he said.
Higashioka will start the opener instead of Gary Sanchez. The two-time All-Star hit .147 this year, which would have been lowest in the majors by far if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Sanchez also has been plagued by passed balls throughout his career.
The Twins are hoping to have third baseman Josh Donaldson (calf) and center fielder Byron Buxton (concussion) back in the lineup for the opener of their series against Houston. Both were injured Friday, sat out the final two regular season games as a precaution, then participated in a workout at Target Field on Monday.
”We just want to learn as much as we can before we move forward and put anything in stone, but it was a relatively good day for both guys,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Minnesota has rarely had its full lineup this season, but if Donaldson and Buxton are a go, the entire Bomba Squad will be available.
The White Sox backed into the postseason with losses in seven of their final eight games, including a pair of walk-off defeats. They open a wild-card series in Oakland hoping ace Lucas Giolito can play stopper.
”It’s a fresh start,” shortstop Tim Anderson said.
The A’s are throwing 22-year-old left-hander Jesus Luzardo despite Chicago’s proclivity to tee off on southpaws. The White Sox batted .285 with an .887 OPS against left-handers this season — both second best in the majors.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Another Eagles Super Bowl standout is dumped by his team
Another Eagles Super Bowl standout is dumped by his team originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The topsy-turvy career of Timmy Jernigan took another strange turn Monday, when the Jaguars released him after just three games.
Jernigan, who not that long ago was considered one of the top young interior defensive linemen in the league, played just 54 of a possible 196 snaps so far for the Jaguars and was credited with one tackle.
In the Jaguars’ 31-13 loss to the Dolphins Thursday night at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, he played 20 snaps and had no stat line.
The Jaguars promoted undrafted defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale to the practice squad to replace Jernigan.
Jernigan, a stalwart on the Eagles’ 2017 defense, has played in just 16 games since the Super Bowl.
He’s now one of 26 players who was on the Eagles’ roster at some point during 2017 who is not currently on an NFL roster.
Jernigan, 28, was very good in 2017 and a terrific complimentary defensive tackle alongside Fletcher Cox. He was terrific during the 2017 postseason, when the Eagles roared past the Falcons and Vikings and beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Late in the season, the Eagles gave Jernigan a massive four-year contract extension that included $26 million in guaranteed components.
But he only played 19 more games in an Eagles uniform.
During the offseason after the Super Bowl, Jernigan suffered some sort of mystery back and neck injury during the offseason – he still hasn’t revealed how it happened.
He’s really never been the same since.
Here’s a look at Jernigan’s strange career trajectory:
April 4, 2017: Eagles acquire Jernigan from the Ravens
Nov. 9, 2017: Eagles sign Jernigan to a 4-year, $48 million extension
Sept. 1, 2018: Eagles place Jernigan on Non-Football Injury Reserve list
Nov. 20, 2018: Eagles activate Jernigan
March 4, 2019: Eagles decline Jernigan’s contract option, making him a free agent
April 25, 2019: Eagles sign Jernigan to 1-year, $1.8125 million contract
March 18, 2020: Jernigan becomes an unrestricted free agent
April 2, 2020: Texans agree with Jernigan on contract worth $3.75 million for one year
June 3, 2020: It’s revealed that Texans no longer plan to sign Jernigan
Aug. 17, 2020: Jaguars sign Jernigan to 1-year, $1.0475 million contract
Sept. 28, 2020: Jaguars release Jernigan
Jernigan was originally the Ravens’ 2nd-round pick in 2014. He spent his first three years in Baltimore and had 13 sacks before the Eagles acquired him. He had 4 1/2 sacks as an Eagle.
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