NFL set to remove two games from the preseason schedule (Report)

As the NFL continues to prepare for an uncertain 2020, the already-maligned preseason slate has seen two weeks erased from its ledger.

Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the National Football League is ready to do away with half of its preseason slate as it prepares to potentially navigate a season through the COVID-19 pandemic. The PFT report says that the first and final weeks of summer’s exhibition summer quartet are on the chopping block.

The league is set to make a formal announcement regarding the decision on Thursday, one week after the cancellation of the preseason-opening Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between Dallas and Pittsburgh in Canton, Ohio.

Trimming the preseason has long been discussed and appeared to be a certainty when the new collective bargaining agreement left open the possibility of a 17-game regular-season slate in 2021. The league’s squads have played four preseason games ever since 1978

If Weeks 1 and 4 are eliminated from the preseason picture, the annual meeting between the local New York Jets and New York Giants would be eliminated, having been scheduled for the opening week for the second consecutive season. Starters rarely play past the first quarter in the opener, and often sit out the finale entirely. The Jets and Giants have respectively played interconference rivals from Philadelphia and New England in the final week of summer games since the turn of the century. It’s possible these games could be rescheduled to cut down on travel. If the cancellations are kept, the Jets would have a visit to Detroit and an East Rutherford tilt with Pittsburgh (the former being nationally televised on ESPN). The Giants have a road game against Tennessee and a visit from Green Bay left on their docket.

Many teams are planning to open training camp on July 28 with the first games scheduled for the week of August 20-24.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

Report: New York Jets have had trade discussions about Marcus Maye

New York Jets, Marcus Maye

The New York Jets could in a bit of a bind when it comes to their top free safety, who is set to be a free agent in 2021.

Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the New York Jets have engaged in trade talks centered around starting free safety Marcus Maye.

Maye has been a solid contributor to the Jets since joining the team a second-round draft pick (39th overall) in 2017. The Florida alum has earned 178 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and four interceptions over the last three seasons. He has formed a strong relationship with fellow starting safety and SEC alum Jamal Adams, with the two forming a formidable duo in the secondary.

But with both defenders set to enter the final year of their rookie contracts and a big payday potentially coming Adams’ way, it appears that the Jets will at least try to get something for Maye before he potentially leaves for nothing in free agency. Mehta’s report said that both head coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas engaged in trade talks involving Maye, but no such deals were made. Maye would recover from an injury-riddled 2018 campaign to pick up 65 tackles, seven breakups, and an interception last year.

Adding to the case in trading for Maye is the fact the Jets bolstered their secondary depth this offseason. During the third round of last month’s draft, New York chose versatile safety Ashtyn Davis from Cal-Berkeley (68th overall). Davis earned all-Pac-12 honors over his last two seasons with the Golden Bears and also doubled as the team’s returner. The Jets also added cornerbacks in both the draft (fifth-rounder Bryce Hall) and free agency (Pierre Desir, Brian Poole).

Adams’ fifth-year option would set the Jets back $9.8 million if they choose to pick it up in 2021. Preliminary discussions have been held about a long-term extension or the franchise tag could be used (at the risk of an Adams holdout).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NFL Draft: New York Jets select Virginia CB Bryce Hall

Entering the second half of their Saturday selections, the New York Jets made Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall their fourth pick of the day.

With their fourth of six late selections, the New York Jets added cornerback Bryce Hall out of Virginia with the 158th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Hall missed most of his senior season in Charlottesville after undergoing ankle surgery. He nonetheless was able to make a name for himself during his junior year, tallying 21 pass breakups, good for best in the nation and the 13th-best single-season mark in NCAA history. Overall, Hall tallied 38 pass breakups to accompany 154 tackles and five interceptions during his time as a Cavalier.

The cornerback becomes the Jets’ first Virginia alum taken in the draft since 2013’s fifth-round tackle Oday Aboushi.

Barring any trades, the Jets have two more picks to work with on Saturday. They next pick in the 191st slot before potentially ending the afternoon at No. 211 with a pick acquired from Kansas City.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NFL Draft: New York Jets select Cal S Ashtyn Davis with 68th overall pick

New York Jets, Ashtyn Davis

With their pick obtained from the Leonard Williams trade, the New York Jets selected Cal-Berkeley safety Ashtyn Davis.

With the 68th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Jets took Cal-Berkeley safety Ashtyn Davis. The Jets earned this pick through a trade with their MetLife Stadium co-tenants, the New York Giants.

Davis totaled 166 tackles and seven interceptions during his four years with the Golden Bears. He also worked as the Golden Bears’ kick returner for two seasons, finishing second in the Pac-12 in return yardage in each of those campaigns (2017, 2018). New York finished 22nd in kick return average last season after 2018 Pro Bowler Andre Roberts departed for Buffalo.

The Cal product is the first safety the Jets have taken in the NFL Draft since they went with current starting pair Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye over the first two rounds of 2017. Davis’ predecessor in terms of Golden Bears chosen by the Jets is another 2017 pick, fourth-round receiver Chad Hansen.

The Jets also hold the 79th and 101st selections to cap off their Friday night proceedings, barring any trades.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NFL Draft: New York Jets select Baylor WR Denzel Mims with No. 59 pick

New York Jets, Denzel Mims

With their first Friday night selection, the New York Jets took Baylor receiver Denzel Mimis with a pick obtained from Seattle.

The New York Jets used the 59th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft to take Baylor receiver Denzel Mims.

Mims departs Waco ranked third in touchdown receptions (28), fifth in overall receptions (186), and sixth in yardage (2,925). He set career-bests in his senior season with 66 receptions and 12 touchdowns, while also putting up 1,020 receiving yards. His college career was capped off with seven touchdowns over his final six games, including one last score in Baylor’s Sugar Bowl tilt with Georgia.

The Jets were in desperate need of receiving help after the departure of Robby Anderson to Carolina. Mims has the playmaking ability the Jets could desperately use to make Sam Darnold more comfortable. He appeared in the Big 12’s top ten in average receptions twice, including a career-best 17.8 during his sophomore season (seventh in the conference).

Mims is the first Baylor Bear drafted by the Jets since they took quarterback Bryce Petty in 2015’s fourth round.

The Jets will next choose in the 68th slot, in a pick obtained from the New York Giants in a fall trade.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Brooklyn Nets: Tyronn Lue Expresses Interest in Coaching the Nets

Brooklyn Nets, Sean Marks

It feels like it’s only a matter of time before the Brooklyn Nets bring in Tyronn Lue for an official interview.  Lue, currently an assistant coach for Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers, has been in high demand ever since he won a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016. Lue turned down a 3 year, $18M deal to coach Lebron and the Lakers in May last year. Lue has now expressed interest in coaching the Brooklyn Nets and with the team letting Kenny Atkinson go shortly before the season was suspended, it seems as though Lue will be a top candidate for yet another lucrative coaching opportunity.

Multiple Former Nets Endorse Lue as next Brooklyn Head Coach

Lue has received ringing endorsements from former Nets, Richard Jefferson, and Paul Pierce. Jefferson, a member of the Cavaliers championship team Lue coached in 2016, spoke about why he thinks Lue would be a great fit for Brooklyn: “There are so many great young coaches out there who deserve an opportunity. T-Lue, to me, is the No. 1 young coach. He can coach. He can do all that stuff. He has a proven track record. So do I think T-Lue can coach this team? Do I think he can be successful? Yes.” (quote from New York Daily News article by Stefan Bondy)

Jefferson played 17 seasons in the NBA before retiring, his most efficient years being for the Nets, and has become an excellent analyst for Nets games on the YES network pairing wonderfully with Ian Eagle and Sarah Kustok. Jefferson has mentioned in the past he would not be open to coaching currently.

Paul Pierce, who played for Brooklyn in the 2013-2014 season, also gave Lue a glowing recommendation for the position on ESPN’s “The Jump” Tuesday, saying “I think he would be a great fit. Are they going to be a championship-caliber team if you put Ty Lue in there and add (Kevin Durant) with Kyrie Irving? Yes. Can they do it? We have yet to see. Or it has yet to happen. But a great fit all across the board, I believe.”

It’s interesting to see former players giving Lue the nod to be the next Brooklyn HC. Many fans (myself included) believe Lue’s success in Cleveland was attributed to the stellar play of Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, more so than it was his coaching savvy. One can make the argument when you’re the coach of a Top 3 player of all time, success should come often and easily.

Nevertheless, Lue has had success with Kyrie Irving in the past. He will have to mesh well with Durant as well, which should be an easy task given Durant’s style of play and reputation as a “coach-able” player. If Lue becomes the Nets HC, he will have his work cut out for him in an Eastern Conference that has drastically improved in the last several years.

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Illinois upsets Michigan State: Big Ten week in review (2/4-2/10)

Illinois pulled off a crazy upset over Michigan St. this week, and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a crazy buzzer-beater in a win over Northwestern to lead the story-lines of the week. Let’s get into the games!

Scores & Mini-recaps

Penn State vs. Northwestern: Penn State 59, Northwestern 52

Penn State’s 18 points from Lamar Stevens and 14 points from Rasir Bolton off the bench was enough for Penn State to pick up their first conference win. Penn State shot just 38 percent, but limited Northwestern to just 32 percent. Derek Pardon had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Vic Law had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern.

7 Michigan vs. Rutgers: Michigan 77, Rutgers 65

Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan with 23 points as the Wolverines were able to pick up a road win at Rutgers. Jon Teske and Jordan Poole combined for 22 points but shot a poor 8-for-23 together. Eugene Omoruyi had 21 points and Montez Mathis had 12 points for Rutgers.

9 Michigan St. vs. Illinois: Illinois 79, Michigan St. 74

Illinois pulled the upset of the week with a big home win over Michigan State. Ayo Dosunmu had 24 points, Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 16, and Trent Frazier had 15 for the winners. Cassius Winston had another big night for Michigan St., finishing with 21 points and nine assists.

19 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: Wisconsin 56, Minnesota 51

Ethan Happ had a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double to lead Wisconsin to a road victory over Minnesota. Brad Davidson added 10 points, and Nate Reuvers had nine rebounds and seven blocks for Wisconsin. Jordan Murphy had a huge 16 point, 19 rebound performance for the losers.

24 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Maryland 60, Nebraska 45

Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando both had double-doubles to power Maryland past Nebraska. Maryland shot the ball 38 percent, but held Nebraska to an extremely poor 21 percent, including 0-for-10 shooting from Glynn Watson Jr. for Nebraska. Isaiah Roby 20 points and 1 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers.

20 Iowa vs. Indiana: Iowa 77, Indiana 72

Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook combined for 46 points for Iowa in their win over Indiana. Iowa made 10 threes and 13 free-throws on the night. Romeo Langford had 22 points and five rebounds for Indiana, and Juwan Morgan added 17.

Penn State vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 74, Penn State 70

Ohio State’s 50 percent shooting helped power them to a win over the feisty Penn State Nittany Lions. Luther Muhammad had 20 points, and Andre Wesson had 15 points and 10 boards for the Buckeyes. Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves each had 20 for Penn State,.

19 Wisconsin vs. 7 Michigan: Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52

Charles Matthews had 18 points, and Jon Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wolverines over the Badgers. Michigan shot 45 percent while limiting themselves to just five turnovers.  Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds to pace Wisconsin.

Minnesota vs. 9 Michigan State: Michigan St. 79, Minnesota 55

Michigan State finally broke out of their three game losing streak with a blowout win over the sliding Minnesota Golden Gophers. nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds and Cassius Winston had 11 points and nine assists. Matt McQuaid added 18 points, and eight more assists, as Michigan State thrives off the catch-and-shoot. Gabe Kalscheur had 17 points for Minnesota.

Nebraska vs. 15 Purdue: Purdue 81, Nebraska 62

Carsen Edwards dropped 27 points as Purdue blew out Nebraska at home. Grady Eifert had 16 points, and Nojel Eastern had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas Allen led Nebraska with 18 points off the bench, and Nebraska shot just 38 percent on the night.

Rutgers vs. Illinois: Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 (OT)

Giorgi Bezhanishvilli exploded for 35 points, as Illinois took down Rutgers at home in overtime. Four total players would reach double figures for Illinois, who shot the ball 50 percent. Caleb McConnell had a big night for Rutgers with 25 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Northwestern vs. 20 Iowa: Iowa 80, Northwestern 79

Iowa was down 15 points with 4:30 left, but Iowa fought back and won the game thanks to a Jordan Bohannon buzzer-beater. He had 15 points, but Joe Wieskamp led with 21 points while Tyler cook had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Vic Law led Northwestern with 24 points and 10 boards.

Ohio State vs. Indiana: Ohio State 55, Indiana 52

Indiana couldn’t convert in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, as Ohio State snuck away from Bloomington with a 55-52 win. The Wesson brothers combined for 25 of Ohio State’s 55 points, as the team shot 44 percent. Romeo Langford had 15 points for Indiana, while Juwan Morgan was held in-check with just three points, but still managed to haul-in 14 boards.

Standings & Rankings

6 Michigan, 22-2 (11-2)

12 Purdue, 17-6 (10-2)

11 Michigan St., 19-5 (10-3)

20 Wisconsin, 17-7 (9-4)

24 Maryland, 18-6 (9-4)

21 Iowa, 19-5 (8-5)

Ohio State, 16-7 (6-6)

Minnesota, 16-8 (6-7)

Illinois, 9-15 (5-8)

Indiana, 13-11 (4-9)

Rutgers, 11-12 (4-9)

Northwestern, 12-11 (3-9)

Nebraska, 13-11 (3-10)

Penn State, 8-15 (1-11)

 

Tom Brady’s Opening Quarter of Season Rivals His Best Ever

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Read moreTom Brady’s Opening Quarter of Season Rivals His Best Ever

EJ Manuel Ready For His Close-up as Raiders Starting QB

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Packers-Cowboys Rematch and ‘Watson Watch’ Highlight Week 5

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Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumquer nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere.

Read morePackers-Cowboys Rematch and ‘Watson Watch’ Highlight Week 5