Angel92's Blog

McClellan: Jones not as beloved as most Hall of Famers

The number of Dallas Cowboys <a href=""></a> enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame will grow to 15 Saturday when owner Jerry Jones will be inducted along with the other members of the Class of 2017.

Jones will join Tom Landry and Tex Schramm in the group of non-playing Cowboys in Canton.

The dozen Cowboy players in the Hall are Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Rayfield Wright, Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Larry Allen.

Of the 15 Cowboy Hall of Famers, I believe all but one are beloved by all true Dallas fans, and that one is the newest one – Jones.

True Cowboys fans either like or dislike Jones. There is no middle ground. And, if a poll was taken I’m pretty sure "dislike" would have the majority of the votes.

I, for one, would be in the "like" camp. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve disagreed with some things Jones has done or said many times since he bought the team in 1989, but I still believe he has been good for the Cowboys and the NFL.

In fact, his selection into the HOF has a lot to do with everything he has done for the NFL as a whole.

The dislike of Jones goes all the way back to 1989 and the firing of Landry. I agree it could have been handled better. However, most of those fans so up in arms about the firing were the same ones who, months earlier, were saying the game had past Landry by and it was time for him to go after the Cowboys went 7-9 in 1986, 7-8 in 1987 and 3-13 in 1988.

Landry wasn’t going to retire or step <a href=""></a> down on his own. He wanted to prove he could turn the team around again. As much as I loved and admired Landry and hated how the firing went down, I don’t believe Landry could have turned the team around. A new coach with a new vision was needed, as was a quick, yet painful, end to the Landry era.

Without Jones as the owner, I don’t believe the Cowboys would have won Super Bowls following the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons. That goes back to my belief that Bum Bright, the owner of the team prior to Jones, would have never fired Landry, and I’m not sure any other new owner would have either.

But, at the same time, I think Jones’ ego and mouth cost the Cowboys at least one or two more Super Bowl victories. If Jimmy Johnson had stayed as the head coach, I truly believe the Cowboys would have won four or more consecutive Super Bowl titles. However, I don’t think the breakup between the two college pals was entirely Jones’ fault. Johnson had a pretty big ego as well.

Jones has made his fair share of mistakes <a href="">Kenny Clark Authentic Jersey</a> and a big one was taking over the general manager/player personnel duties after Johnson’s departure. For about a 10-year period Jones ran the whole show, and over the last seven years of that period Dallas had a winning percentage of around .410, made two playoff appearances and didn’t win a playoff game.

Does Zack Martin feel he’s next up for contract extension?


The Dallas Cowboys locked up one of their <a href=""></a> offensive linemen on Tuesday, extending right tackle La’el Collins through the 2019 season.

Is right guard Zack Martin next?

Martin is in line for a much more significant contract than Collins, but it’s something that Cowboys brass has expressed an interest in doing at some point in camp.

The highest paid guard in the NFL is Cleveland’s Kevin Zeitler, who signed a five-year, $60 million deal in the offseason.

Martin is expected to top that after making first-team All-Pro in two of his first three seasons (2014 and 2016), and a second-team All-Pro honor in the other year (2015).

So does Martin feel guards are underpaid in today’s game?

“You’ve seen the deals,” Martin said, smiling. “I think they’re doing just fine.”

Martin, 26, didn’t expound much more than that on a possible extension with the team, although he did appreciate comments made by executive vice president Stephen Jones on Sunday.

Jones said the Cowboys prioritize locking up Martin in training camp because “he represents everything we want our players to be about. He’s not only a great player on the field, he’s a great person off the field.”

Said Martin: “I’ve tried to come in here <a href=""></a> from Day 1 and be the same guy every day. Be a consistent player. I think that’s the most important thing is being as consistent as possible. The transition was pretty easy with the group we have, but in my eyes the most important thing is to be as consistent as possible.”

Martin has certainly been that in his tenure, helping the Cowboys become one of the best offenses in the league. The Cowboys have had a 1,000-yard running back in each of Martin’s three seasons.

Martin has allowed two sacks in each of his seasons, and has been flagged a total of nine times in his career. Martin had two penalties called against him last season – one for holding, one for a false start.

“I’ve got a long way to go and I want to continue to get better,” Martin said. “I say this a lot, but the best thing about playing offensive line is you can learn something new every time you turn on the tape. We have a lot of things to improve on and this is the time to do it. It’s going to be a big camp for all of us.”

Especially if Martin and the Cowboys reach a deal. The organization has done this sort of thing in previous training camps by locking up left tackle Tyron Smith in 2014 and center Travis Frederick last year.

The Cowboys exercised their fifth-year option on Martin <a href="">Darius Butler Kids Jersey</a> earlier this offseason, which keeps him under team control in 2018 for $9.3 million if the sides don’t reach an agreement before then.

“Like I’ve said before, I’m going to keep doing me and that’s all I can do,” Martin said. “Obviously extremely happy for [Collins], love having him around. We’re going to have a lot of fun playing with each other this year.”

The Killers announce new album, Feb. 6 tour stop at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City

Somebody told me … The Killers are coming back to Salt Lake City.

The Las Vegas-based alt-rock band <a href=""></a> announced late Thursday night that their fifth studio album — and first in 5 years — "Wonderful Wonderful" is scheduled for a Sept. 22 release, and that there would be a new run of early 2018 North American tour dates as a result, including a Feb. 6 stop at Salt Lake City's Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Tickets will go on sale to the public Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. via Smith's Tix.

The band released its first single from the album, "The Man," in June and followed with another new track, "Run For Cover," on Thursday night.

The Killers are scheduled to perform on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" from Caesar's Palace on the Las Vegas strip this coming Monday night.

The band first burst onto the music scene in 2004 with the release of their debut album, "Hot Fuss," which went on to multi-platinum success <a href=""></a> on the strength of Grammy-nominated hits "Somebody Told Me," "Mr. Brightside" and "All These Things I've Done."

The Killers have gone on to sell an estimated 22 million records worldwide, making them one of the most commercially successful pop music acts of the 21st century.

Alejandro Villanueva just wanted a 'fair' deal from the Steelers

Alejandro Villanueva is glad it’s over, this <a href=""></a> whole contract thing. Thursday, the offensive left tackle signed his new deal, worth $24 million over four years. While the money is good, Villanueva, 28, didn’t enjoy all that came with it.

“It’s not a fun process,” Villanueva said Friday after the Steelers’ first morning walk-through of training camp. “Going through a contract is — for some reason, you feel really embarrassed afterwards and all the media attention you get out of it is not fun.”

Presumably, Villanueva is referring to the public spectacle contract negotiations become, with outsiders sometimes wondering how many millions a player really needs. It’s what makes Villanueva’s case so interesting. His contract is below the average salary for starting left tackles.

Villanueva’s career arc also put him in a unique position in negotiations. This former Army Ranger didn’t sign with an NFL team until 2014. He will turn 29 in September, and this might have been his one shot at a large contract. The long-term deal allowed him to avoid playing the upcoming season on the one-year, $615,000 exclusive rights free-agent tender the Steelers offered in the offseason.

“In my football career, I’ve been more focused <a href=""></a> on trying to make the team. I’ve been more focused on becoming a starter. I’ve been more focused on trying to not embarrass myself on national television,” Villanueva said. “My agent kind of focused on the question of what is fair. So, it was a very tough assignment for him.”

Villanueva, who has started the past 31 games at left tackle after joining the team’s practice squad in 2014, said he wasn’t seriously considering holding out. He said he was only seeking a “fair” contract, and he used the word 10 times in his 13-minute media session.

In the offseason, Villanueva made the decision to attend organized team activities (OTAs) and work out at the team facility while negotiations were ongoing. As the process continued, he admitted he didn’t know whether a deal was going to get done — “It was sort of a last-minute thing,” he said — but he planned to attend camp.

Part of the reason, he said, was because there are still a “few things here and there” he can learn about the position. After all, when he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, he had been playing defensive line. Mostly, though, he said being at camp is important in establishing a routine and continuing to build sound communication among the offensive line unit.

“I would say I was not set to hold out, but I was <a href=""> Tim Brown Authentic Jersey</a> not set to wait at my house, either,” he said. “I’m hoping to play football.”

Villanueva was asked whether he compared his new deal to what other starting left tackles make, and, in an impassioned response, he explained why he did not.

“I played in a park in Belgium. That’s where I played football in high school for a year. I really didn’t have a lot of experience. I was a walk-on at West Point. I was last string D-end when I was at Army. Then I played wide receiver and offensive line. Not really had a career that you could say was groomed to be a first-round pick and get a big contract,” he said.

Countdown To Steelers Camp: 50 In 25 Series – B.J. Finney 2017 Preview

The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in <a href=""></a> Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.

Up twenty-ninth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of center/guard B.J. Finney.

Intro: Finney, the Steelers interior backup swingman, nearly played 300 regular season snaps last season due to injuries and that included him making three starts at left guard. The former undrafted free agent out of Kansas State <a href=""></a> showed during the regular season that he could be a reliable backup and especially during those starts.

Current Strengths: Finney’s play at left guard last season was impressive and he showed that he could move and function effectively out in space and especially when asked to pull to the right side. He uses his hands well at guard and much, much better than he does at center. Balance is another strength of his.

Current Weaknesses: As a pass protector, Finney needs some improvement and especially at the center position. His angles against A-gap pressure and twist recognition also needs improvement. While not asked to play center much in 2016, he struggled at that position when asked to play there. His snap timing and head bobs were off more than a few times. Needs to become a better anchorer and drive better off the snap against larger defensive tackles. Shorter arms hinders him at times.

2017 Outlook: Finney should once again be the Steelers primary interior swingman in 2017 and thus his playing time will depend entirely on the <a href="">Delvin Breaux Womens Jersey</a> health ahead of him. He’s a lot better NFL guard right now than he is a center, the position he mainly played in college.

Hugh Freeze is gone, Ole Miss is damaged, and the Rebels have themselves to blame

Let's start with this being the single most embarrassing moment in the history of Ole Miss athletics.

Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty, Hugh Freeze just dragged a venerable Southern institution down into some Kardashian-level slime.

Somewhere, the first gentleman of Ole Miss <a href=""></a> must be quietly weeping. That would be Archie Manning -- if only because his alma mater became a national punchline Thursday.

Manning is admired way beyond being a one-time great quarterback. He is a consummate Southern gentleman, a symbol of the Deep South from another era. His pride is their pride -- in Ole Miss, its people, the SEC, the region.

He also knows now that his coach called an escort service. At least once.

And that seems to be only the tip of the kudzu plant. By the time the Ole Miss administration got done wiping its hands of Freeze at a hastily called press conference Thursday, what was left of his character lie splattered all over Twitter.

"A pattern of personal misconduct," they called it. More than just an Ole Miss-dial that CBS Sports, among others, had reported minutes earlier. More than a one-minute call to a Tampa-based escort service that Freeze contended was a mistake.

Then Ole Miss admitted to doing something they should have done months ago, perhaps at the beginning of the ongoing NCAA investigation.

They checked Freeze's phone records. What they found was "a pattern of conduct not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program."

That's code for something way worse than a butt dial. Specifics were at a premium, probably because everyone from Oxford, Mississippi, to Indianapolis is lawyered up. Athletic director Ross Bjork wouldn't say if that pattern of behavior was calls -- plural -- to escort services.

Ole Miss leaders did stress that, when Freeze resigned, the school didn't owe him a dime. In fact, if he hadn't resigned, the "moral terpitude" contract clause would have been activated.

Translation: If Freeze didn't step down, he would have been fired for cause.

Yeah, I feel for Archie.

I also feel for John Grisham, who was probably just scooped by Ole Miss for his latest book pitch. Scandal! Ole Miss! Football! Lawyers! One of <a href=""></a> the great storytellers of our time got beaten out by reality.

In a matter of moments, that supposed butt dial turned into a Bible Belt bombshell.

It's a scandal on two levels. Ole Miss now suddenly finds itself vehemently defending their suddenly disgraced former coach, who is accused of eight NCAA major violations.

The same coach they just ran out of town.

If Ole Miss doesn't have faith in the investigation's central figure, why should the NCAA? Is there such a thing as institutional (out-of) control?

"A lot people call [Freeze] a fraud," one reporter asked Bjork. "What do you think about that?"

"None of us are perfect," the AD replied.

On that note, scores of coaches across the country smiled. They were sick of Freeze's self-righteous Bible-thumping. They were also sick of his recruiting methods.

Freeze, the celebu-coach, had made his bones early transforming Michael Oher into an NFL offensive lineman. He also was able to inject himself into the movie about Oher's life.

Should we have been so blindsided on Thursday?

"You will soon learn this matter is totally unrelated to the NCAA case," Bjork said.

Oh yeah? I believe NCAA enforcement director Jon Duncan will have the last word on that one. If Houston Nutt's lawyer can get those phone records, why wouldn't the NCAA be interested? And what else might they reveal?

If you don't believe a third notice of allegations is possible for Ole Miss, please consider the NCAA's second notice of allegations to Ole Miss.

Maybe the best thing that happened to Rebels football is that the NCAA is running out of folks to penalize. The school banned itself from a bowl, took away some scholarships.

It basically fired its coach.

Ole Miss will recover. Freeze will <a href="">Jason Verrett Womens Jersey</a> work again. They always do. Jim Tressel is the president of a university. Dave Bliss got a couple of jobs after he disparaged a murdered former player.

I'm not ready to say Art Briles will never coach again.

But for now, I feel most for Archie. At one proud Southern institution he is one proud Southern institution. This was the worst day in his alma mater's athletic history.

And the slime may be just beginning to ooze

AP source: Jags’ Linder now among NFL’s highest-paid centers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have made Brandon Linder one of the NFL’s highest-paid centers.

Linder signed a five-year contract <a href=""></a> extension worth a little more than $50 million Tuesday, according to a person familiar with negotiations. The deal came on the eve of the Jaguars reporting for training camp.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Jaguars do not disclose contract details.

“Brandon has proven on the field that he is capable of highly productive performances, and this is a high-performance business,” said Tom Coughlin, the team’s executive vice president of football operations.

“We look for his continued leadership development as an anchor of our offensive line. Brandon has earned this new contract and the high expectations that go with it.”

Linder’s $10 million average salary is the most of any center in the league, and the deal includes more than $20 million guaranteed. NFL Network reported the guaranteed money at $24 million. Atlanta’s Alex Mack and Dallas’ Travis Frederick are the only NFL centers with more guaranteed money.

Linder, a third-round draft pick from Miami in 2014, has started 31 games in three seasons. He missed two games because of knee and ankle injuries last season. He also sat out one game as a rookie and missed 13 in 2015 because of a <a href=""></a> shoulder injury. He made the switch from guard to center in 2016, and the Jaguars clearly believe he’s capable of playing at an All-Pro level.

“It means the world to me,” Linder said. “I’d love to play here my whole career. I fell in love with this city, and we have big things coming — changing the culture. … I couldn’t think of a better place to play my career.”

Linder is the first draft pick to re-sign with Jacksonville during general manager Dave Caldwell’s four-year tenure. Receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Telvin Smith are expected to be next in line for extensions.

Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson mean Chiefs-Texans rivalry will continue

I’m excited to play the Houston Texans <a href=""></a> this year. They moved up in the draft to draft Deshaun Watson after the Chiefs moved up to get Patrick Mahomes. Because they were picked so close together (No. 10 and 12) those two will be linked for their careers.

Mahomes may not be playing but the Chiefs will Watson and the Texans this year when they visit Houston for Sunday Night Football in Week 5.

More previews: Patriots | Eagles | Chargers | Redskins | Full schedule

This is a little bit of a rivalry because of this:

And because the Chiefs beat them in the playoffs a couple years back. I would put my money on the Chiefs and their defense if they were facing Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson this early in the season but Houston isn’t a bad team by any means. JJ Watt will disrupt the game. DeAndre Hopkins is a beast. Even average quarterback play would make this team better. It’s going to be a good one.

We have a Texans season preview courtesy of our Texans blog Battle Red Blog below.

Notable free agent additions: None

Notable free agent departures: A.J. Bouye, Vince Wilfork (retirement)

Trades: Brock Osweiler to Cleveland, trade up in the first round for Deshaun Watson with Cleveland, trade into fourth round for Carlos Watkins with Cleveland

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

Deshaun Watson, Zach Cunningham, D’Onta Foreman, and Carlos Watkins will all likely see the field throughout their rookie year. Watson of course is the quarterback of the future, but look for Cunningham and Foreman to carve out big roles <a href=""></a> this season as a nickel linebacker and short yardage back, respectively. Watkins will likely see plenty of snaps as a rotational interior pass rusher behind J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

Biggest offseason addition:

Deshaun Watson, hands down. Anytime your team adds a potential franchise quarterback, it’s automatically the biggest move of the offseason. Whether it was through free agency last year with Osweiler or through the draft this year for Watson, the Texans have been ultra-aggressive in their approach to finding a capable signal caller in the post-Matt Schaub era. Hopefully Watson will finally be the guy to end their arduous search.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp:

Who will start at quarterback on opening day? Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson will both compete for the job, though Savage has the early leg up in the competition due to his experience. If Watson shows up to camp and flashes something special early, however, we may see him start sooner than anyone previously anticipated.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:

When will DeAndre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney be signed to contract extensions? The Texans have quite a bit of free cap space at the moment with A.J. Bouye taking his talents to Jacksonville instead of staying in Houston, so presumably all of that money - $29.8 million to be exact - will be set aside to keep Hopkins and Clowney on the team long term. Both players seem optimistic about deals getting done, with Hopkins the more likely candidate to be extended this offseason, but until the ink has dried on both contracts there will still be some apprehensiveness among Texans fans about the situation.

Notable injuries heading into training camp:

No star players have sustained any major injuries this offseason so far, though J.J. Watt’s recovery from last offseason’s back ailments still loom large over the organization. As long as Watt is healthy and ready to hit the ground running in August, expect the Texans to be an elite defense yet again in 2017. If he still needs <a href="">Joey Votto Womens Jersey</a> more time to “get right”, however, it may be another slow start for him this September as the training staff eases him back into a full time workload.

Bastardo designated for assignment after half season of poor production, injury

CHICAGO — After half a season of bad <a href=""></a> pitching interrupted by an injury, the Pirates designated Antonio Bastardo for assignment Saturday.

The move removes the 31-year-old left-hander, who is making $6.5 million this season, from the Pirates’ 40-man roster.

Bastardo made nine appearances for the Pirates this season and kept the opponent off the board in only one of them. He allowed 15 runs, 16 hits (five of them home runs) and nine walks in nine innings, good or a 15.00 ERA and a 2.78 WHIP.

He missed more than two months because of a strained left quadriceps, after which the Pirates stashed him on a rehab assignment for as long as they possibly could. He returned and made three appearances, his Pirates tenure ending Friday after he allowed a two-run homer from Kris Bryant.

“He went down and put so much work in — and specific work — and then we couldn’t find a spike in velocity, any more crispness to the pitches, really, than when he had exited,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We just felt for both parties it was time to move on.”

The move also closes the book on the Neil Walker trade. The Pirates sent Walker to the Mets in December 2015 for Jon Niese, whom they traded back to the Mets for Bastardo, whom they had acquired in December 2014 from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Infielder Phil Gosselin took Bastardo’s roster spot.

No contract talks for Hurdle

More than halfway through the season, the <a href=""></a> Pirates have not exercised their club option for 2018 on Hurdle’s contract. This season is his final guaranteed year.

“I haven’t had any conversations about that to this point and I'm not going to have any now,” Hurdle said. “I have a contract.”

General manager Neal Huntington is also in the final guaranteed year of his contract and the Pirates have not exercised his 2018 option either. Asked during spring training, owner Bob Nutting said his manager and GM’s contract status “is not something that’s top-of-mind for me. It’s not an issue at this point.”

Asked how much longer he wants to manage, Hurdle said, “I don’t know. I just love where I'm at right now. I’m in the best physical condition I've been in in a long time. I love the energy that this team has and this organization has and the time spent, the players, people I’m working with in Neal and [assistant GM] Kyle [Stark].”

Rotation after the break

Gerrit Cole, Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams will start the first three games of the second half at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova will follow against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“We were looking to give everybody two to three days of rest,” Hurdle said. “With Nova, it’s just about more rest. This is the most he’s pitched. You’d have go way back.

“Based on [Friday] night’s <a href="">Wayne Gallman Authentic Jersey</a> performance, Williams and Kuhl, we just kind of flipped them. We didn’t know which way we'd go. Trevor had to throw a lot of pitches in a short period of time so we’ll give him the extra day.”

Dear Drew: Extended written edition

Brian M. Tergerson: Dear Drew, Greg Mancz did great last year. Nick Martin should take his position. Could you see Greg moving into the <a href=""></a> guard position easily, or vice versa?

DD: I agree with your first two opinions. Mancz was rock-solid in 2016 and missed just one snap the entire year. But Martin showed a lot of promise last May, June and August before a leg injury ended what would have been his rookie season.

As far as Mancz competing for a guard spot, it could happen. But Xavier Su'a-Filo and Jeff Allen will have a lot to say about that, as they were the starters last year. At a minimum, if Martin, Su'a-Filo and Allen are good enough to keep Mancz from starting at any of those interior spots, the depth and quality of offensive line will be better in 2017.

Mike Ledesma: Dear Drew, Can you please get some Texans gear down here central Texas!

DD: Sorry to hear it. If you're having trouble finding Texans gear at Academy Sports Outdoors, check out

Samantha Hallas: Dear Drew, I am so impatient and can't wait to see some Texans football again!! Anyway my question is: Do you think rookie RB D'Onta Foreman see a lot of playing time this season?

DD: Yes. Lamar Miller is the starter, but I think Foreman will definitely get some carries in 2017. He was outstanding at the University of <a href=""></a> Texas, and is a powerful running back.

Alejandro Mazal: Dear Drew, How much action will Watson see in the preseason games against Dallas and NE? I'm trying to decide if I should go or not.

DD: Alejandro, you should definitely go. You can learn a lot about some of the guys not named Watt, Hopkins or Clowney during the August games.

I'd expect Watson to play in both contests, but have no clue how Bill O'Brien will divide the reps between the trio of quarterbacks.

Matt Brawley: Dear Drew, On a Rick Flair scale of 1-10, how many "wooooos" would you give the Texans chances of a Super Bowl this year?

DD: Watkins, like the rest of the players in the front seven, will likely move around a bit on the line. Yes, you'll probably see him as a defensive end, and yet you'll also very likely see him playing on the inside in certain situations. That's one of <a href="">Chris Carter Authentic Jersey</a> the beauties of the personnel and scheme of this defense.

Michael Ruiz: Dear Drew, What can we expect out of Tom Savage this season?

DD: Command of the offense, good decision-making, toughness and leadership. I believe Savage will do some really good things this year. 

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