Several 2017 playoff teams are underachieving this year

If anyone figured the 2018 NFL season would emulate 2017, they have positive proof through seven weeks that just isn’t so.

Sure, the Patriots are an AFC power, even though they aren’t overpowering anybody, and the Chiefs again won their first five games before losing. The Giants and 49ers are dredging the bottom of the NFC once more.

But take a look at the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. And the Jaguars.

The Titans, the Falcons and the Bills.

Don’t take a long look, though, because it’s pretty ugly.

It’s most unsightly in Jacksonville, where a locker room incident punctuated a third straight loss. The Jaguars, who led the Patriots in the fourth quarter of the AFC title game in January, are 3-4, and in the last three defeats are minus-8 in turnover differential. They’re minus-12 on the season, the offense has disappeared and quarterback Blake Bortles was benched in a 20-7 home loss to division-rival Houston.

Calais Campbell was seen holding back fellow defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, a carry-over from the screaming, shouting and finger pointing after the latest flop.

“We’ve got to do something, but the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over,” exasperated coach Doug Marrone said. “Period. That would be the positive of how we can build.”

A defense that appeared ready to dominate this year has been inconsistent. Injuries have been a factor.

And the psyche seems damaged.

“Frustration’s a part of the game, and we’re emotional people and this is an emotional game,” Campbell said. “At the same time, I think these guys, this group of guys, we have a different kind of heart to us. At the same time, losing sucks, you know, especially losing three in a row. Stacking losses, that’s not who we are, that’s not what we want to be.

“But it is who we are ’cause that’s what’s going on right now. I do believe that we will get it fixed. We have no choice but to get it fixed.”

They’ll set about it in London against the Eagles , who blew a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter at home against Carolina. Another team with plenty of injuries, the Eagles’ resilient nature that carried them to the top is ebbing.

Like the Jags, the Eagles recognize it. They simply can’t get caught up in expectations.

“There’s enough pressure,” coach Doug Pederson said. “Just the game itself brings its own sort of pressure. We don’t have to go force anything. We don’t have to go looking for plays. Let the plays come to you and then make them when they come, and that’s where we’re at.”

Actually, where they are at is 3-4 — they lost only three times last season — trailing 4-2 Washington in a muddled NFC East. And now they head overseas.

“You just isolate this game in this week and move on to the next. You learn from it,” quarterback Carson Wentz said. “I sound like a broken record every time we lose up here, but it’s on to the next. There is no time to feel sorry for yourself, there is no time to be (ticked) about it. You have to learn from it quick and bounce back to next week.”

Tennessee showed some guts in going for a 2-point conversion in the final seconds, trailing 20-19 in London. It failed — twice, the first negated by a Chargers penalty.

The Titans (3-4) have dropped three in a row, too. Their offense has been awful and the rush defense weak.

They are hardly a lost cause, though. The Bills and Falcons probably are.

We would gladly give Atlanta a break because no team has been ravaged by injuries the way the Falcons have. For the first month of the season, they lost a starter or more per game, especially on D. Top runner Devonta Freeman now is on injured reserve.

No one gets a break in the NFL, however, and the fact star receiver Julio Jones has yet to find the end zone is emblematic of underachievement. At 2-4 in the highly competitive NFC South, the Falcons, who wasted away the 2016 championship with a second-half collapse in the Super Bowl, won’t be participating in the big game they will host in February.

Of all the struggling 2017 playoff qualifiers, the demise of the Bills was most predictable. From some strange roster decisions to the inability to replace key lost blockers to not building on potential momentum from their first postseason berth since the turn of the century, the Bills have been a mess. Like all of the teams discussed here, they’ve been struck by the injury bug. Unlike the others, they didn’t have the talent base to compete from the outset.

Turnover in the playoffs lineup happens each year in the NFL, of course. For every one of these disappointments thus far are the risers: the Bears, Ravens and Texans. Houston began the season with three defeats and now leads the AFC South.

“I think we started believing more,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “We started the season 0-3. No one was negative. We all know we were really close to winning the game. We kept working and tuned out a lot of the outside noise.

“Anytime you win four games in a row you set a standard for yourself.”

Too bad some teams aren’t approaching the standards they set by making the playoffs last season.

___

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Frittelli wins John Deere, spot in The Open

Frittelli wins John Deere, spot in The Open

Frittelli wins John Deere, spot in The Open

Dylan Frittelli closed with a 7-under-par 64 on Sunday to claim his first PGA Tour title by winning the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.

Frittelli, a 29-year-old South African who attended the University of Texas, finished at 21-under 263 to beat hard-charging Russell Henley by two shots. Henley climbed 23 spots on Sunday by firing a career-low 10-under 61 to finish solo second.

“Wow, it’s awesome,” Frittelli said. “I watched this tournament as a kid, didn’t know much about it besides that it’s a really low-scoring event. … But now to have won it, I don’t know, still sinking in. Feels awesome.”

Frittelli earned the final spot at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, which begins Thursday. And the victory gets him a two-year extension on his PGA Tour card.

“Yeah, that’s huge. I’d obviously won on The European Tour, but my exemption was running out at the end of this year,” he said. “All this stuff has been going through my mind the last four to eight weeks and … you just have to play golf and try to put it in the background.”

Third-round co-leader Andrew Landry shot a 69 that included a birdie at No. 18 to finish alone in third at 18 under. Collin Morikawa and Chris Stroud were one stroke back, tied for fourth. Morikawa, a 22-year tour rookie, has posted back-to-back top-5 finishes.

Frittelli, in his 33rd start on the tour, began the day tied for fifth, two shots off the pace, but he made an early move with birdies on the first three holes. His bogey-free round included seven birdies, including a chip-in at No. 10 and an 11-foot putt at the par-5 17th.

“I don’t want to say it was easy out there,” Frittelli said. “It just felt a whole lot easier than it has been the last few weeks.”

He tied for 46th in each of the past two weeks and had missed the cut in two of his past five events.

Henley made 10 birdies and closed with a 30 on the back nine en route to the lowest final-round score in John Deere Classic history.

“Everybody’s so good out here, you have to keep making birdies and keep making birdies,” Henley said. “When you make bogeys or doubles like I have this week, you just have to keep fighting. If you get down on yourself like I’ve done a lot in my career, it never ends in a good result.”

Cameron Tringale, the other third-round co-leader, stumbled to a 2-over 73 that included five bogeys. He tied for 16th at 14 under.

Four golfers tied for sixth at 16 under — Charles Howell III, Vaughn Taylor, Nick Watney and Adam Schenk.

The field was limited because most of the top players were in Europe preparing for The Open Championship. The John Deere Classic provided a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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Security guard presses charges against Elliott for Vegas incident

Security guard presses charges against Elliott for Vegas incident

Security guard presses charges against Elliott for Vegas incident

Security guard Kyle Johnson has pressed charges against Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over a May 19 incident in Las Vegas, Fox 5 Las Vegas reported.

The report said Las Vegas police will investigate to determine if official charges against Elliott should be filed. The incident occurred during the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, Elliott’s camp accused Johnson of extortion in a statement released to the NFL Network.

“Over the course of the past several weeks, Mr. Elliott has been the target of extortion,” Elliott lawyers Scott Rosenblum and Jason Lampert said in the statement. “Kyle Johnson’s filing of a criminal complaint against Mr. Elliott in connection with the Las Vegas incident is the latest attempt to do so. Mr. Elliott and his team are in contact with all of the proper authorities and are fully cooperating with them in their investigations.”

TMZ has aired video footage of the incident in which Elliott is seen leaning against a security guard, who fell to the ground when the metal railing behind him toppled over. Elliott was handcuffed and briefly detained by Las Vegas police around 3 a.m. before being released.

The NFL announced on July 3 that Elliott will not be disciplined for the incident. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell determined there wasn’t a violation of the personal conduct policy, the league said.

Johnson was displeased with the NFL’s decision so he filed charges on Friday.

“To just not have anything happen to him, the NFL is basically saying, ‘Hey, it’s OK for you to go to Vegas, get obliterated, then go shove people over fences,'” Johnson told Fox 5.

After Elliott met with Goodell earlier this month, the Dallas star posted a note on his Twitter account afterward, saying he needs to make better decisions. He also said he apologized to Johnson at the time of the incident.

“I’ve worked hard to make better decisions and to live up to the high standards that are expected of me,” Elliott wrote. “I failed to do that here and I made a poor decision.

“I need to work harder to ensure I do not put myself in compromised situations in the future. I am rededicating myself to use all of the resources that the league has made available. But in the end, it is up to me and I am determined not to be in this position again.”

Elliott has had personal conduct issues in the past, most notably receiving a six-game suspension in 2017 due to allegations of abuse made by a former girlfriend.

Elliott, who turns 24 on July 22, rushed for 1,434 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games last season. He also caught three touchdown passes.

–Field Level Media

Read More 397 Words

Tringale, Landry lead pack at John Deere Classic

Tringale, Landry lead pack at John Deere Classic

Tringale, Landry lead pack at John Deere Classic

Cameron Tringale and Andrew Landry shared the third-round lead Saturday at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., eking ahead of a large pack of challengers.

Tringale shot a 6-under-par 65 on Saturday, firing off seven birdies after opening with a bogey to get to 16-under 197 for the tournament. Tringale, 31, is looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour in his 262nd start.

“The bogey at the first was a shot in the leg, just because you know you’ve got to shoot a low round out here to stay in the mix,” he said. “But I was able to get out of there myself and birdie the next two, which gave me some momentum, a little confidence.”

Landry began the tournament with consecutive 65s, then salvaged a 4-under 67 on Saturday by making birdies on three of the final six holes, including Nos. 16 and 17.

“I don’t ever take these moments for granted. It’s very hard to get into this situations,” said Landry, whose only career victory came at the Valero Texas Open in April 2018. “It was definitely a struggle day, but I definitely played very, very well. It was just a struggle from how the last two days were.”

Bill Haas tied for the low round of the day with a bogey-free 64 to join Adam Schenk in a tie for third, one stroke behind the leaders at 15 under.

Nick Watney, Ryan Moore, Vaughn Taylor and South African Dylan Frittelli are tied for fifth at 14 under. Watney shot one of four 64s on the day.

Chris Stroud, Lucas Glover and Canadian Roger Sloan sit at 13 under, tied for ninth.

Two more are at 12 under, including 22-year-old rookie Collin Morikawa, who tied for second last week at the 3M Open in Minnesota.

“I’m still kind of working on some putting things, but I’m hitting some good lines on my putts, and obviously when I get them close, I’m able to drop a few,” he told The Golf Channel after shooting a 65 on Saturday. “So we’ve just got to keep that up for tomorrow and, obviously, (get) a few more drop outside of that.”

With seven golfers at 11 under, there are 18 within five shots of the leaders heading into the final round.

First-round leader Roberto Diaz, who opened with a 62, did not make the 54-hole cut after rounds of 73 and 76.

The field is limited due to top players being in Europe preparing for The Open Championship next week.

The event holds the final available spot into the field for The Open, which would go to the top player not otherwise exempt who finishes inside the top five and ties. The John Deere Classic provides a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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Security guard press charges against Elliott for Vegas incident

Security guard press charges against Elliott for Vegas incident

Security guard press charges against Elliott for Vegas incident

Security guard Kyle Johnson has pressed charges against Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over a May 19 incident in Las Vegas, Fox 5 Las Vegas reported.

The report said Las Vegas police will investigate to determine if official charges against Elliott should be filed. The incident occurred during the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, Elliott’s camp accused Johnson of extortion in a statement released to the NFL Network.

“Over the course of the past several weeks, Mr. Elliott has been the target of extortion,” Elliott lawyers Scott Rosenblum and Jason Lampert said in the statement. “Kyle Johnson’s filing of a criminal complaint against Mr. Elliott in connection with the Las Vegas incident is the latest attempt to do so. Mr. Elliott and his team are in contact with all of the proper authorities and are fully cooperating with them in their investigations.”

TMZ has aired video footage of the incident in which Elliott is seen leaning against a security guard, who fell to the ground when the metal railing behind him toppled over. Elliott was handcuffed and briefly detained by Las Vegas police around 3 a.m. before being released.

The NFL announced on July 3 that Elliott will not be disciplined for the incident. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell determined there wasn’t a violation of the personal conduct policy, the league said.

Johnson was displeased with the NFL’s decision so he filed charges on Friday.

“To just not have anything happen to him, the NFL is basically saying, ‘Hey, it’s OK for you to go to Vegas, get obliterated, then go shove people over fences,'” Johnson told Fox 5.

After Elliott met with Goodell earlier this month, the Dallas star posted a note on his Twitter account afterward, saying he needs to make better decisions. He also said he apologized to Johnson at the time of the incident.

“I’ve worked hard to make better decisions and to live up to the high standards that are expected of me,” Elliott wrote. “I failed to do that here and I made a poor decision.

“I need to work harder to ensure I do not put myself in compromised situations in the future. I am rededicating myself to use all of the resources that the league has made available. But in the end, it is up to me and I am determined not to be in this position again.”

Elliott has had personal conduct issues in the past, most notably receiving a six-game suspension in 2017 due to allegations of abuse made by a former girlfriend.

Elliott, who turns 24 on July 22, rushed for 1,434 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games last season. He also caught three touchdown passes.

–Field Level Media

Read More 397 Words

NFL notebook: Security guard presses charges against Elliott

NFL notebook: Security guard presses charges against Elliott

Security guard

NFL notebook: Security guard presses charges against Elliott

Security guard Kyle Johnson has pressed charges against Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over a May 19 incident in Las Vegas, Fox 5 Las Vegas reported.

The report said Las Vegas police will investigate to determine if official charges against Elliott should be filed. The incident occurred during the Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. On Saturday, Elliott’s camp accused Johnson of extortion in a statement released to the NFL Network.

“Over the course of the past several weeks, Mr. Elliott has been the target of extortion,” Elliott lawyers Scott Rosenblum and Jason Lampert said in the statement. “Kyle Johnson’s filing of a criminal complaint against Mr. Elliott in connection with the Las Vegas incident is the latest attempt to do so. Mr. Elliott and his team are in contact with all of the proper authorities and are fully cooperating with them in their investigations.”

TMZ has aired video footage of the incident in which Elliott is seen leaning against a security guard, who fell to the ground when the metal railing behind him toppled over. Elliott was handcuffed and briefly detained by Las Vegas police around 3 a.m. before being released. The NFL announced on July 3 that Elliott will not be disciplined for the incident.

–Miami Dolphins assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell is taking a leave of absence due to health issues.

“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said in a statement. “I want to thank (owner) Stephen Ross, (general manager) Chris Grier, Coach (Brian) Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”

Caldwell, 64, will serve as a consultant for the team during the 2019 season. The former Colts and Lions head coach joined first-year head coach Flores’ staff in February.

–Running back Melvin Gordon said he doesn’t want to leave the Los Angeles Chargers, but he will “do what I need to do” to get paid.

“I want to end up with the Chargers. That’s my home,” Gordon said at SportsCon 2019 in Dallas, via NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Man, I don’t want to go back to the Chargers, dah, dah, dah.’ Like that’s the team that blessed me with an opportunity. They started my life. … I can’t forget them for that. But it’s an opportunity right now where I know I need to take advantage of it. You know, I want to get paid.”

Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, said earlier this week that his client will not report to training camp without a new contract. Smith also said that a failure to reach an agreement would result in a trade demand. In April, the Chargers exercised their fifth-year option for $5.61 million for 2019. “I’m prepared to do what I need to do,” Gordon said. “That’s just what it’s going to be.”

–An 18-year-old Kansas man has been charged in the April shooting that injured New York Giants rookie Corey Ballentine and killed his friend, Dwane Simmons.

Francisco Alejandro Mendez faces seven felony counts, including murder in the first degree, according to the Shawnee County (Kansas) District Attorney’s office. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Simmons and Ballentine, teammates at Washburn University, were shot while walking home from a party in Topeka on April 28, just hours after the Giants selected Ballentine in the sixth round of the NFL draft. Simmons, 23, did not survive, while Ballentine was shot in the backside and spent several days in the hospital.

–Field Level Media

Read More 542 Words

Dolphins assistant Caldwell takes leave of absence

Dolphins assistant Caldwell takes leave of absence

Miami Dolphins assistant

Dolphins assistant Caldwell takes leave of absence

Miami Dolphins assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell is taking a leave of absence due to health issues..

“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said in a statement Saturday. “I want to thank (owner) Stephen Ross, (general manager) Chris Grier, Coach (Brian) Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”

Caldwell, 64, will serve as a consultant for the team during the 2019 season.

The former Colts and Lions head coach joined first-year head coach Flores’ staff in February.

“Our focus is on Jim’s health and supporting him in every way that we can,” Flores said. “With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to our coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season.”

Caldwell had a 62-50 record as a head coach with Indianapolis (2009-11) and Detroit (2014-17). He took the Colts to the Super Bowl in his first season.

–Field Level Media

Read More 121 Words

Teen arrested in shooting of Giants’ Ballentine

Teen arrested in shooting of Giants' Ballentine

An 18-year-old Kansas man has been charged

Teen arrested in shooting of Giants’ Ballentine

An 18-year-old Kansas man has been charged in the April shooting that injured New York Giants rookie Corey Ballentine and killed his friend, Dwane Simmons.

Francisco Alejandro Mendez faces seven felony counts, including murder in the first degree, according to the Shawnee County (Kansas) District Attorney’s office. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Simmons and Ballentine, teammates at Washburn University, were shot while walking home from a party in Topeka on April 28, just hours after the Giants selected Ballentine in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

Simmons, 23, did not survive. Ballentine was shot in the backside and spent several days in the hospital.

Ballentine, also 23, began practicing with the Giants in late May and is expected to make a full recovery.

Police made the arrest after connecting the shooting to two aggravated robberies that occurred in the area on April 27 and 30, ESPN reported.

–Field Level Media

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RB Gordon: ‘Hopefully I end up a Charger’

RB Gordon: 'Hopefully I end up a Charger'

Running back Melvin

RB Gordon: ‘Hopefully I end up a Charger’

Running back Melvin Gordon said Saturday he doesn’t want to leave the Los Angeles Chargers, but he will “do what I need to do” to get paid.

“I want to end up with the Chargers. That’s my home,” Gordon said at SportsCon 2019 in Dallas, per NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Man, I don’t want to go back to the Chargers, dah, dah, dah.’ Like that’s the team that blessed me with an opportunity. They started my life. They changed my life. Of all 32 teams, that was the team that called me. I can’t forget them for that.

“But it’s an opportunity right now where I know I need to take advantage of it. You know, I want to get paid. That’s just kind of what it is. Hopefully I end up a Charger. That’s the goal. I want to end up with the Chargers.”

Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, said earlier this week that his client will not report to training camp without a new contract. Smith also said that a failure to reach an agreement would result in a trade demand.

“I’m prepared to do what I need to do,” Gordon said. “That’s just what it’s going to be.”

Gordon signed a four-year, $10.67 million deal as a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and in April, the Chargers exercised their fifth-year option for $5.61 million for 2019.

The 26-year-old has scored 38 touchdowns over the past three seasons. In 55 career games, the two-time Pro Bowl selection has gained 5,205 yards from scrimmage.

Gordon did not attend voluntary workouts with the Chargers but did report to minicamp in June. The team is scheduled to open training camp July 25.

Gordon said he was not sure where talks stand.

“My guess is as good as yours right now,” he said. “We’re going to give them some time and see where it heads. We’ve still got some time out before training camp. But hopefully things get figured out.”

–Field Level Media

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Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

While the concept of a future 18-game NFL season is nothing new, with players objecting to the wear and tear of an added two games, the Wall Street Journal reported a potential compromise Friday.

In early negotiations regarding the league’s current collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2020 season, an addition to the schedule reportedly has been discussed with the owners proposing the players remain limited to 16 games in an 18-game schedule.

Teams would have to stagger two games off for each of their players on the roster.

NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith confirmed to ESPN that the possibility has been raised, but added that the players don’t have any incentive to support it.

“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told ESPN. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”

The idea of an 18-game schedule goes back to at least 2011. And even though the added work would add tens of millions to the payroll of each team, the players have held strong that more regular-season games are not their preference.

The longer season would require a shortening of the preseason schedule, which is typically four games for teams. The report cited an NFLPA analysis that an added two regular-season games for each team could increase revenue by $2.5 billion league-wide.

“No players are banging down my door asking me to think about this,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said, according to the WSJ.

“Why is it our job to figure out how to make 18 games work as players? You tell someone you’re going to work longer and you figure out how to make it work? That doesn’t work,” Smith told ESPN. “It’s not our job to put that square peg in the round hole.”

Instead, the players seem keen on non-schedule increasing proposals like a quicker route to free agency, changes in the minimum salary guidelines, increased benefits and bonuses.

–Field Level Media

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Vegas shoots 62, surges to John Deere lead

Vegas shoots 62, surges to John Deere lead

Vegas shoots 62, surges to John Deere lead

Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela delivered scorching round of 9-under-par 62 on Friday to seize a one-stroke lead through two rounds of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.

Vegas’ bogey-free round at TPC Deere Run put him at 13-under 129 through 36 holes, a stroke ahead of Andrew Landry, who shot 65 for the second consecutive day.

Lucas Glover shot 64 — with the help of an albatross — to hold third place alone at 11 under. Five players are tied for fourth another stroke back, with two others at 9 under. A whopping 14 players are tied for 11th at 8 under.

Vegas opened his day at No. 10 with a birdie, then ran off four in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 13 to 17. Three of the four came after his approach settled within six feet of the pin. He tacked on three straight birdies starting at No. 2 and added a 16-foot birdie putt at No. 8 to cap his day.

“Probably the best I’ve felt all year, to be honest,” Vegas told reporters after his round. “I mean, I hit the ball extremely well, kind of what I’ve been struggling with a little bit the past few months. I was able to kind of figure out a little bit something yesterday on the range after I got done playing, and I was able to carry it through today.

“It felt really good, in control the whole time with the ball-striking, which is my type of game. So I’m glad that stuff is back.”

Vegas tied for third at the PLAYERS Championship in March and for eighth at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, but he had missed three cuts in four events entering this week. He’s seeking his fourth career victory and his first since 2017.

Landry also started on the back nine, and he had his round at 8 under through 12 holes after birdieing three straight to start the front. But he managed just five pars and a bogey (at No. 6) the rest of the way.

“Saturday and Sunday will be fun,” Landry said. “It’s going to be a firm and fast golf course come Sunday.”

Glover, the only player in the top 10 who already qualified for next week’s Open Championship, had the highlight of the day, holing out from 255 yards on his second shot at the par-5 10th. The ball bounced 20 yards shy of the green, rolled up and curled perfectly into the cup. He also sprinkled four birdies — three on a 6-under 30 back nine — in a bogey-free round.

First-round leader Roberto Diaz of Mexico struggled, totaling three birdies and three bogeys before finishing with a double bogey to post 73 and slip into a tie for 23rd at 7 under.

Defending champion Michael Kim missed his 18th straight cut after shooting 72, finishing the tournament at 3 over.

The field is limited due to top players being in Europe preparing for The Open Championship next week.

The event holds the final available spot into the field for The Open, which would go to the top player not otherwise exempt who finishes inside the top five and ties. The JDC provides a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: 18-game sked under discussion

NFL notebook: 18-game sked under discussion

While the concept of a future

NFL notebook: 18-game sked under discussion

While the concept of a future 18-game NFL season is nothing new, with players objecting to the wear and tear of an added two games, the Wall Street Journal reported a potential compromise Friday.

In early negotiations regarding the league’s current collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2020 season, an addition to the schedule reportedly has been discussed with the owners proposing the players remain limited to 16 games in an 18-game schedule.

Teams would have to stagger two games off for each of their players on the roster.

NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith confirmed to ESPN that the possibility has been raised, but added that the players don’t have any incentive to support it.

“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told ESPN. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”

The longer season would require a shortening of the preseason schedule, which is typically four games for teams. The report cited an NFLPA analysis that an added two regular-season games for each team could increase revenue by $2.5 billion league-wide.

–New Oakland Raiders guard Richie Incognito will have to wait a few weeks to make his debut with his new team after he was suspended for the first two games of the 2019 season.

The discipline, for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, comes three months after he pleaded guilty in Arizona to three misdemeanors, two of which involved his 90-year-old grandmother.

Incognito, 36, pleaded guilty to a pair of Class 1 misdemeanors after he punched a hole in the wall of his grandmother’s Arizona home in August of last year and damaged the control box of a security system. Incognito was reportedly upset after the death of his father and blamed his grandmother.

Also in Arizona, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, stemming from an arrest in August of 2018, two days after the incident at his grandmother’s home.

Incognito is eligible to return to the Raiders on Sept. 16, the day following a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

–New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse, the NFL announced.

The league stated that Herndon can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Oct. 7, after their Oct. 6 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Herndon pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to a charge of driving while intoxicated, stemming from a multi-car accident in June 2018 in Rockaway Township, N.J.

According to a Rockaway Township court spokesperson, he paid a $639 fine and his license was revoked for 90 days in New Jersey.

Herndon was arrested June 2, 2018, after his SUV allegedly hit another car at 4:45 a.m. on Interstate 80 about 20 minutes from the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J. Herndon’s vehicle flipped and slid about 700 feet, and the vehicle he hit — which was transporting a vintage car — was totaled, according to police.

–New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who says he was harassed by police in the driveway of his Fort Bend County home in Texas during a traffic stop in March, wants a further investigation into the incident.

Jennine Hovell-Cox, Roberts’ attorney, told USA Today Sports that she made a request to the district attorney of Fort Bend County to further investigate the sheriff’s department over the March 10 incident, when the player was pulled over for speeding.

Roberts, who is heading into his fourth season with the Patriots after they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Houston, was stopped in Richmond, a Houston suburb, allegedly for driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone. He also received a citation for not providing proof of insurance.

The dashcam video of the incident obtained by USA Today shows Roberts, 25, getting out of his sports car with his hands in the air after arriving at the driveway of his home.

“Get back in the car,” Fort Bend County Sheriff deputy Adam Watkins tells Roberts.

“This is my house,” says Roberts, who does get back in his car.

Watkins, calling for backup about “the big black man,” also says, “I told him to get back in. He wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”

Watkins also told Roberts’ wife to return to their home after she checked to see what was happening. Charges were not officially filed.

–Field Level Media

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NFL suspends Jets TE Herndon 4 games for substance violation

NFL suspends Jets TE Herndon 4 games for substance violation

NFL suspends Jets TE Herndon 4 games for substance violation

New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse, the NFL announced Friday.

The league stated that Herndon can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Oct. 7, after their Oct. 6 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Herndon pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to a charge of driving while intoxicated, stemming from a multi-car accident in June 2018 in Rockaway Township, N.J.

According to a Rockaway Township court spokesperson, he paid a $639 fine and his license was revoked for 90 days in New Jersey.

Herndon was arrested June 2, 2018, after his SUV allegedly hit another car at 4:45 a.m. on Interstate 80 about 20 minutes from the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J. Herndon’s vehicle flipped and slid about 700 feet, and the vehicle he hit — which was transporting a vintage car — was totaled, according to police.

A witness told police Herndon was driving more than 100 mph, and police records showed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.14 percent.

A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Miami, Herndon finished with 39 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie while playing in all 16 games last season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

Report: Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

Report: Compromise possible in push for 18-game schedule

While the concept of a future 18-game NFL season is nothing new, with players objecting to the wear and tear of an added two games, the Wall Street Journal reported a potential compromise Friday.

In early negotiations regarding the league’s current collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2020 season, an addition to the schedule reportedly has been discussed with the owners proposing the players remain limited to 16 games in an 18-game schedule.

Teams would have to stagger two games off for each of their players on the roster.

The idea of an 18-game schedule goes back to at least 2011. And even though the added work would add tens of millions to the payroll of each team, the players have held strong that more regular-season games are not their preference.

The longer season would require a shortening of the preseason schedule, which is typically four games for teams. The report cited an NFL Players’ Association analysis that an added two regular-season games for each team could increase revenue by $2.5 billion league-wide.

“No players are banging down my door asking me to think about this,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said, according to the WSJ.

Instead, the players seem keen on non-schedule increasing proposals like a quicker route to free agency, changes in the minimum salary guidelines, increased benefits and bonuses.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders G Incognito suspended first two games of 2019

Raiders G Incognito suspended first two games of 2019

New Oakland Raiders guard Richie Incognito will have

Raiders G Incognito suspended first two games of 2019

New Oakland Raiders guard Richie Incognito will have to wait a few weeks to make his debut with his new team after he was suspended for the first two games of the 2019 season.

The discipline, for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, comes three months after he pleaded guilty in Arizona to three misdemeanors, two of which involved his 90-year-old grandmother.

Incognito, 36, pleaded guilty to a pair of Class 1 misdemeanors after he punched a hole in the wall of his grandmother’s Arizona home in August of last year and damaged the control box of a security system. Incognito was reportedly upset after the death of his father and blamed his grandmother.

Also in Arizona, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, stemming from an arrest in August of 2018, two days after the incident at his grandmother’s home.

Incognito is eligible to return to the Raiders on Sept. 16, the day following a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Nebraska product is a four-time Pro Bowler and has played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills in his career. The former third-round draft pick in 2005 has started in all 150 career games he has played.

He has been involved in a number of incidents involving questionable behavior, most notably a bullying scandal involving former Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who

Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who says he was harassed by police in the driveway of his Fort Bend County home in Texas during a traffic stop in March, wants a further investigation into the incident.

Jennine Hovell-Cox, Roberts’ attorney, told USA Today Sports that she made a request to the district attorney of Fort Bend County to further investigate the sheriff’s department over the March 10 incident, when the player was pulled over for speeding.

Roberts, who is heading into his fourth season with the Patriots after they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Houston, was stopped in Richmond, a Houston suburb, allegedly for driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone. He also received a citation for not providing proof of insurance.

The dashcam video of the incident obtained by USA Today shows Roberts, 25, getting out of his sports car with his hands in the air after arriving at the driveway of his home.

“Get back in the car” Fort Bend County Sheriff deputy Adam Watkins tells Roberts.

“This is my house,” says Roberts, who does get back in his car.

Watkins, calling for backup about “the big black man,” also says, “I told him to get back in. He wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”

Watkins also told Roberts’ wife to return to their home after she checked to see what was happening. Charges were not officially filed.

The sheriff’s office made phone calls to Roberts to apologize for the incident and said the ticket was dismissed, according to Hovell-Cox.

“We believe that once the dashcam footage was seen by Deputy Watkins’ supervisors and realizing who Elandon is, a decision was made to halt everything,” Hovell-Cox told USA Today.

Ten days after the stop, Roberts reportedly filed a complaint, writing that he “felt so harassed I couldn’t even remember where my insurance paper was in my car.”

In a statement to USA Today, Roberts said, “Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans. People are becoming desensitized to them. Being harassed in your own yard simply because you are a ‘big black man’ should never become the norm. To the person being harassed, it is frightening, disrespectful and embarrassing.

“I have no interest in any financial gain from releasing this story. My only hope is that these types of bias-based traffic stops can end and that, perhaps, other black drivers might see how to de-escalate a threatening situation.”

In a May document obtained by USA Today, Roberts’ previous complaint was dismissed by the internal affairs division of the sheriff’s office and the matter was closed. The deputy was ordered by a supervisor to “go through refresher training” on traffic stops.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Chargers’ Gordon demands new deal or trade

NFL notebook: Chargers' Gordon demands new deal or trade

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will

NFL notebook: Chargers’ Gordon demands new deal or trade

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will not report to training camp without a new contract, ESPN reported Thursday.

Gordon also reportedly told the Chargers that failure to reach agreement on a contract would result in a trade demand. Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter of the holdout and trade scenarios on Thursday.

The Chargers are scheduled to open training camp July 25.

Gordon signed a four-year, $10.67 million deal as a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and in April, the Chargers exercised their fifth-year option for $5.61 million for 2019. The 26-year-old, who has 38 touchdowns over the past three seasons, did not attend voluntary workouts with the Chargers but did report to minicamp in June.

–Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Kendrick Norton was ticketed in the July 4 crash that led to the amputation of his left arm, ESPN reported.

ESPN, which obtained a copy of the report from the Florida Highway Patrol, said Norton was cited with an improper lane change. He suddenly pulled his F-250 truck in front of a Maserati and clipped it, sending his car into a concrete barrier.

The Maserati driver was not injured. The report said drugs or alcohol were not believed to be involved in the accident.

–New Orleans Saints rookie defensive end Carl Granderson was taken into custody during a court date and ordered to serve six months in jail by the presiding judge, who refused to accept a plea deal entered in his sexual assault case.

Granderson pleaded not guilty in April to one count of third-degree sexual assault and another count of sexual battery. He agreed to a plea deal that would have reduced the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor count of unlawful contact and canceled a jury trial that was scheduled to start Monday.

However, Judge Tori Kricken of the Albany County (Wyo.) District Court called off the deal and remanded him to jail immediately. The judge also assigned a one-year jail sentence on the sexual battery charge, which will be suspended upon completion of the six-month jail term. It will be converted to one year of supervised probation.

–Former New York Jets coach Walt Michaels has died. He was 89.

According to the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Michaels died Wednesday in his hometown of Swoyersville in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Michaels’ daughter, Mary Ann, told the newspaper that Michaels died six years to the day after his wife, Betty, passed away on July 10, 2013.

Michaels had a 39-47-1 record in six seasons as coach of the Jets from 1977-82. His teams reached the playoffs twice — including losing to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game in the strike-shortened 1982 season. He guided New York to a 10-5-1 record in 1981.

–Field Level Media

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Diaz shoots 62 to grab lead at John Deere

Diaz shoots 62 to grab lead at John Deere

Roberto Diaz

Diaz shoots 62 to grab lead at John Deere

Roberto Diaz of Mexico fired a 9-under-par 62 to jump atop the leaderboard after the first day of the John Deere Classic on Thursday in Silvis, Ill.

Diaz tallied seven birdies and carded an eagle on the 10th hole. The 32-year-old is seeking his first win on the PGA Tour in his 50th start.

“I just feel that everything clicked today,” Diaz said. “I’ve been playing pretty solid throughout the year. The driver has been awesome. I’ve been hitting a lot of fairways, and today I hit good numbers all day, and that helps.”

Adam Long and Russell Henley are two strokes back after both shot 64 in the opening round.

Long, who earned his first PGA Tour win at the Dessert Classic earlier this year, was in first heading into the clubhouse at 7 under after carding three birdies over his final five holes at TPC Deere Run. He finished one stroke shy of matching the best round of his career.

Starting on the back nine in the afternoon wave, Henley reached 8 under before his drive on the final hole found the right rough. He was unable to scramble for par and fell back into a tie with Long.

“I’ve been hitting it well lately,” Henley said. “My scores haven’t really shown it. I feel like I hit a lot of approach shots close, made a few putts when I gave myself the opportunity, and really just wasn’t a very stressful round. I didn’t feel like I had to work too hard to make par, so just put the ball into play, and I’m thankful for a nice round.”

Six players are tied for fourth at six under, with a group of 10 sitting another stroke back.

Zach Johnson made his 18th consecutive start in the event, which is not far from his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is on the event’s board of directors and had played 41 consecutive rounds at TPC Deere Run at par or better before bogeying the 18th hole on Thursday to shoot 1 over.

“Coming into the week, I was extremely excited,” Johnson told the Golf Channel. “I’d seen a lot of good work. I’ve seen a lot of improvement and positives. And I’ve had three weeks off … in those three weeks I worked really hard. The work I was doing was very strategic, and I’m still going to trust the fact that work with surface at some point. It just didn’t today, for whatever reason.”

Defending champion Michael Kim entered having missed 17 straight cuts. He shot a 2-over 73 and will need to scramble to make the cut.

Ho Sung Choi, a 45-year-old South Korean whose swing has been nicknamed “The Fisherman Swing,” shot 1 under in his second career PGA Tour start. He missed the cut at this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The field is limited due to top players being in Europe preparing for The Open Championship next week.

NOTES: The event holds the final available spot into the field for next week’s Open Championship, which would go to the top player not otherwise exempt who finishes inside the top five and ties. The JDC provides a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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Report: NFL set to drop full-time status for officials

Report: NFL set to drop full-time status for officials

The

Report: NFL set to drop full-time status for officials

The NFL is set to feature part-time officials next season rather than granting full-time positions, according to a report from ESPN on Thursday night.

The decision comes as the league and officials negotiate on a new contract with the NFL Referees Association. The current deal is set to expire next May.

ESPN reported that the league still has the ability to change its decision and re-introduce full-time officiating positions for next season.

The league employed about 20 percent of its officials on a full-time basis last season, according to ESPN. Those who are categorized as part-time are required to stay away from league business from the end of the season until May. Regardless of designation, all officials effectively work full-time once the season begins.

Officiating has drawn intense scrutiny over the past several seasons, particularly in the wake of a non-call that helped the Los Angeles Rams capture the NFC title over the New Orleans Saints. A soon-to-expire contract, along with pressure for improved officiating from players, coaches and fans, could create a tense negotiation process between the league and the officials’ union.

In 2012, the NFL used replacement officials for several weeks after failing to reach an agreement in time with its officials.

–Field Level Media

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Former Jets coach Michaels dies at 89

Former Jets coach Michaels dies at 89

Former New York Jets

Former Jets coach Michaels dies at 89

Former New York Jets coach Walt Michaels has died. He was 89.

According to the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Michaels died Wednesday in his hometown of Swoyersville in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Michaels’ daughter, Mary Ann, told the newspaper that Michaels died six years to the day after his wife, Betty, passed away on July 10, 2013.

Michaels had a 39-47-1 record in six seasons as coach of the Jets from 1977-82. His teams reached the playoffs twice — including losing to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game in the strike-shortened 1982 season. He guided New York to a 10-5-1 record in 1981.

He resigned after the 1982 season, citing the need for a break from football.

Michaels also was defensive coordinator of the Jets when they stunned the heavily favored Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III.

Michaels played 12 seasons as a linebacker from 1951-63 and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Cleveland Browns. He had 11 career interceptions in 133 games (127 starts) with the Green Bay Packers (1951), Browns (1952-61) and Jets (one game in 1963).

Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson released a statement on Thursday.

“We are very sad to hear about the passing of Walt Michaels,” Johnson said. “Walt was a great leader who inspired players to take their games to another level. A defensive mastermind, he had one of his finest moments when he coordinated our unit in the Super Bowl III victory over the Colts. Later as a head coach, Walt led us to back-to-back playoff berths in 1981-82.

“Walt had a tireless work ethic and took an honest approach with his players. He will have a lasting impact on our organization and our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.”

–Field Level Media

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Na withdraws from Open due to neck injury

Na withdraws from Open due to neck injury

Na withdraws from Open due to neck injury

Kevin Na withdrew from next week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland due to a neck injury, with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini named as Na’s replacement.

Na withdrew from last week’s inaugural 3M Open due to the ongoing issue with his neck. He is currently ranked 34th in the world, having reached No. 31 after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in May. Na missed the cut at the U.S. Open and finished sixth at the Korea Open before the neck injury forced him out last week.

Sabbatini is the second alternate to get into the Open field this week. Kevin Streelman received an invite after John Daly withdrew from the tournament because his request for a medical exemption to use a cart was denied. Sabbatini is currently ranked No. 86.

No. 88 Kevin Harman is now the first alternate, followed by former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer of Germany, who is currently ranked No. 90 after a T9 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open last week. No. 93 Kevin Tway is the third alternate.

–Field Level Media

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