Brandin Cooks says Texans stacked

The Houston Texans made one of the most criticized moves of the offseason when they decided to send four-time Pro Bowl wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. While it never helps to part ways with one of the best wide receivers in the league, adding to the criticism was the fact that the Texans only received a running back, and second-round pick and what was essentially a swap of fourth-round picks in return. However, the Texans did trade for former Los Angeles Rams wideout Brandin Cooks, acquire Randall Cobb through free agency and draft Isaiah Coulter during the 2020 NFL Draft, but is that exactly enough to replace the kind of production Hopkins brought to this team? 

That is the burning question the Texans are facing entering this season, as Hopkins has recorded five 1,000-yard seasons over the last six years and caught 54 touchdown passes since the Texans selected him with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Cooks believes that the Texans’ wide receiving corps is underrated, and that there are several special players who will be able to thrive with quarterback Deshaun Watson. 

“You know I look at it from the standpoint of first and foremost you talk about a guy in Hopkins who is just a special player,” Cooks told James Palmer of the NFL Network. “So you look at it and there’s no question on why you want to continue to get the ball to him because he makes things happen. But now I think what we have is we have so many special guys in this room who can do it all. One of the biggest things I’ve always thought as a receiver is when you’re stacked on a team with multiple receivers, you have a better chance of winning consistently and going far, because you can never just key on one guy. I think that unselfishness in the room I feel for the guys already is going to do us justice in the long run for sure.”

TAG: , , ,

Many are expecting the Jets to lose their first handful of games

If you’re now feeling optimistic about the Jets’ roster heading into the 2020 season, you’ll quickly lose that feeling when you see their regular-season schedule. Earlier this offseason, CBS Sports NFL writer John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. Despite finishing third place in the AFC East, the Jets will face the second-hardest strength of schedule in 2020. For a complete look at every team’s strength of schedule, check out Breech’s breakdown here.

Even when you base the strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team’s opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill Sportsbook, the Jets’ path doesn’t change much. New York will go from facing the second-toughest schedule in the league to facing the third-toughest. For a complete look at every team’s strength of schedule using this methodology, check out CBS Sports NFL writer Jared Dubin’s full breakdown here.

While Tom Brady is no longer with the New England Patriots, that doesn’t mean that the Jets will now be able to sweep the season series against Bill Belichick. Additionally, the Buffalo Bills appear set to record another double-digit win campaign and the Miami Dolphins had a monster offseason which included acquiring a new quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. It is of course too early to try to predict how every single divisional game will go, but what if I proposed to you a guaranteed 3-3 record in divisional play. Would you take it? For the record, New York went 2-4 against AFC East opponents in 2019. 

TAG: , , ,

You have to respect Becton for saying that reaching

When you look at the roster, it actually looks solid — at least on paper. Darnold still appears to be the quarterback of the future, Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore and Perine make up an interesting backfield and the Jets also have a couple of intriguing wideouts in Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Mims. The offensive line has been upgraded as well, and the Jets also picked up some interesting pieces on defense in free agency. Pierre Desir and Patrick Onwuasor are a couple of underrated additions and New York is still reportedly in the running for former Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan. 

If you’re now feeling optimistic about the Jets’ roster heading into the 2020 season, you’ll quickly lose that feeling when you see their regular-season schedule. Earlier this offseason, CBS Sports NFL writer John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. Despite finishing third place in the AFC East, the Jets will face the second-hardest strength of schedule in 2020. For a complete look at every team’s strength of schedule, check out Breech’s breakdown here.

Even when you base the strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team’s opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill Sportsbook, the Jets’ path doesn’t change much. New York will go from facing the second-toughest schedule in the league to facing the third-toughest. For a complete look at every team’s strength of schedule using this methodology, check out CBS Sports NFL writer Jared Dubin’s full breakdown here.

TAG: , , ,

What Sir Alex Ferguson told Andy Cole before he came

The forward had bagged 23 goals in all competitions so far that term and United needed to match Arsenal’s result at home to Aston Villa to win their fifth Premier League title. Cole and Dwight Yorke were first choice throughout the season but United had Newcastle United and Bayern Munich to come in the FA Cup Final and European Cup final respectively as Ferguson’s men looked to complete an unprecedented Treble. Ferguson called Cole into his office on the morning of the game to explain to him that he had been dropped and that his reward was that he would start both cup finals.

Though that was some consolation, Cole was still furious and argued that the Tottenham game was the biggest match of the three. However, being the master of the mind game that he was, Ferguson introduced Cole at half-time against Spurs with the scores level at 1-1 at Old Trafford and he told Cole in the dressing room that he would win United the league title. Speaking to Sky Sports about being dropped, Cole said: ‘You know the gaffer always said ‘there’s bigger games’ but I said ‘there can’t be a bigger game than the last game of the season that you have to win’. ‘But he was always thinking about the next game so that was one of the reasons that he left me out. ‘[Before I came on] The gaffer just said to me ‘Coley you’ll win us the game, get on, you’ll win us the game’.

Cole, of course, scored the all-important third goal of the game just minutes after coming on when he collected Gary Neville’s pass to lob an exquisite effort over Ian Walker. The victory handed United the first trophy in their pursuit of the Treble and they registered two wins in the next eight days to become the first English side in history to accomplish the feat.

TAG: , , ,

Scottish Premiership cancelled due to coronavirus

The final SPL standings were determined by points per game, with Hearts relegated from the top flight.

A decision was made at a board meeting on Monday after the 12 clubs agreed completing the season was unfeasible.

The points per game system saw just one change to the league table, with St Johnstone rising above Hibernian into sixth place.

Celtic were 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers, having played a game more, before the season was suspended.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: ‘The focus will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible.

‘Nobody should be under any illusion as to how complicated and difficult a challenge it will be to return Scottish football to normality.’

Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live

Hearts were four points adrift of Hamilton Academical at the bottom of the table.

The Tynecastle club could potentially be handed a reprieve after chair Ann Budge was given approval to work on a proposal for temporary league reconstruction – a move that would see the top flight expanded.

Scottish football chiefs received a letter of assurance from Uefa that an early finish to the season would not see them forfeit European places.

TAG: , , ,

Alex Song has admitted he left Arsenal for Barcelona

The 32-year-old spent seven seasons with the Gunners, making over 200 appearances for the north London club. Song made the switch to Barca for £15 million in the summer of 2012, but only played 65 times for the Spanish club in four years. The Cameroon international confessed that he was careless with his spending during his time at Arsenal, and when Barcelona offered him a mega-money contract, he didn’t hesitate for a second.

‘Most footballers live beyond their means. I was at Arsenal for eight years but only began to earn a good living in the last four,’ Song said in an Instagram live video with Pascal Siakam. ‘That was because my salary went up a lot – but also because I came to realise what a waster I was. ‘When I first joined them I was getting £15,000 a week. I was a young lad, and I was ecstatic. ‘I wanted to rub shoulders with the big boys. I could shop wherever I wanted and have crazy nights out.

‘I would go to training and see Thierry Henry – the King – turn up in an absolute gem of a car. I told myself I wanted the same car at all costs. ‘I went to the dealership, signed the papers and arranged to pay for it by standing order – and just like that I had the same car as The King. ‘But I swear that I had to hand the car back inside two months. All my money was going on filling it with petrol. ‘I told them, ‘Give me a Toyota – this car’s too much for me’. ‘When I next went to training Thierry asked me, ‘Where’s your car, son?’ I told him it’s on a higher level than me. ‘During my entire time at Arsenal I couldn’t even save £100,000, while people thought I must be a millionaire.

TAG: , , ,

Badgers back in the mix as a Big Ten title contender

Not even the loss of superstar running back Jonathan Taylor can quell the title talk around Madison, as replacing a legend will fall on the responsibility of many. Nakia Watson and Garrett Groshek will share some of the carries early, but what’s expected to be a committee approach has opened the door for a number of young players to take a stab at contributing to the Badgers’ ground efforts. 

Perhaps the confidence comes from the presence of Jack Coan and Graham Mertz, the former coming off a strong season of starting experience at quarterback in 2019 and the latter looking to push for playing time after losing out on the job to the vet a year ago. But more than likely, it’s a result of the defense, which should rank among the best in the country in 2020 even after losing star linebackers Zach Baun and Chris Orr. 

With the defense taking over as the face of the program, Wisconsin can again fill the role of that one team in the country no one wants to play. I can see it now: the physicality and consistency of effort that we’ve come to expect from Jim Leonhard’s groups becomes a trademark for the entire team, and suddenly everyone’s losing 24-14 games in Madison. It’s not all turn-key on defense — or offense, for that matter, — but there’s enough in place to expect more of the same from one of the top programs in the sport.  

TAG: , , ,

New medical protocol could be breakthrough

Oct 12, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (97) celebrates after tackling Michigan State Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke (14) during the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The new protocol was drawn up today and has been passed by the Lega Serie A to the FIGC, who in turn gave it to Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora, who has already handed it over to the CTS (scientific technical committee) for evaluation.A verdict should be received over the next few days, at which point Serie A teams can finally begin to train in groups with full contact rather than by keeping social distancing.

The 14-page document included several changes, such as allowing players to return home if they use their own mode of transport, wearing masks and gloves.If there is a positive case, that individual will be isolated immediately, then all the others in the group will isolate within a fiduciary building, for example the training ground or a hotel that is used only by them.

This is a sort of middle ground, meaning the squad is isolated, but not automatically for two weeks.More importantly, it means they will be able to continue training with each other, but are isolated from their families and other teams.

During this period, they will be swabbed every 48 hours for two weeks, as well as blood tests once every 10 days, until they are declared free from COVID-19.However, all this is just for the period of group training and other rules entirely will need to be agreed for when the Serie A matches can resume, which in theory is from June 13.

Sky Sport Italia are confident this will be the breakthrough needed, so that teams can begin contact training without fear the season will be cut short again immediately.

TAG: , , ,

The thing I miss the most is the spontaneity to move around

I am trying to keep myself updated, too. In Germany, the situation is completely different, and their decisions are not the same. It’s interesting. I think it’s necessary to be informed about what is happening.

It’s getting better in Spain. The mortality rate has peaked, and now it’s going down. I hope that trend continues. I hope people respect the restrictions of each of the four phases that have been established in the country so we can return to normality soon.

We have definitely learned a lot about ourselves. There are many negatives, but this situation has also taught us things that maybe we will now reflect on. People realise how well-connected the world is, and that maybe it’s not normal to fly from one point to another all the time. It’s a luxury. Maybe we didn’t appreciate that as we should.

I am curious to see how people behave with each other when the restrictions are lifted, too. Will they shake hands? Will they try to avoid direct contact? Maybe they will at the beginning, but in the long-term? I am not a fan of shaking hands. I can also be respectful and nice to people by saying hello and looking at them. In Spain, for example, it’s very normal to kiss each other on each cheek as a greeting. People are very close to each other when they communicate. Maybe this will change. I don’t know. Nobody knows how life will be post-coronavirus, but I am curious to find out.

TAG: , , , ,

We have fresh fruit and vegetables delivered every Thursday

Spain has been hit particularly hard. We weren’t allowed to leave the house for almost eight weeks, with restrictions now finally beginning to be lifted, but you can’t look at things from a negative point of view. These circumstances make us value the things that are really important.

As well as reading books and rewatching La Casa de Papel (“Money Heist,” on Netflix) for a second time (my wife hadn’t seen it!), cooking is taking up a lot of my time. My wife and I are making fresh food and looking for new recipes every day. We have made some really nice meals, like a lentil dal we cooked the other day. Whoa! That was amazing. Maybe a bit heavy, but it was really good.

Ben is super easy. It’s great. He’s growing so fast, and it’s so nice to be with him. You are able see so many things when you are with him every day. He’s very active with his hands, feet and eyes, following and reacting to everything. It’s funny because just as we’re keeping an eye on him, it’s like he’s keeping an eye on us. When he is sleeping during the day, it becomes a game of quickly checking the emails and messages you need to reply to. I must admit, I can be disorganised when it comes to sending replies. And if Ben’s asking for attention, I try to be with him as much as possible.

For me, that’s meant being able to throw myself into fatherhood. My son Ben is 4 months old. My wife, Dani, would wake up with him in the night most of the time when I had training or a game the next day. She was definitely lacking more sleep than me! But in lockdown, it’s been different. We can alternate.

TAG: , , , ,