Cam Newton’s accuracy high on Norv Turner’s list of fixes for Panthers

When the Panthers hired Norv Turner as their new offensive coordinator, they did so with the idea that he could inject some life into Cam Newton’s career and Carolina’s offense.

While there are plenty of improvements to make to a unit that has lacked consistency over recent seasons, Turner, in an interview for the team’s official website, said there’s a lot that can be built upon.

Turner also mentioned receivers Devin Funchess and Curtis Samuel as players who already have a solid base of talent to improve upon, and they will have opportunities to fill vital roles in the offense. The key for them will be utilizing their speed and getting the ball into their hands.

Although the broad offensive philosophy won’t be drastically changing, the new ideas coming in with Turner could be just what Carolina’s offense needs to push it over the top and provide some much-needed consistency.

Mayfield entered the NFL Draft with an impressive body of work that included winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy and guiding the Sooners into the College Football Playoff. It’s unlikely Mayfield could improve his draft stock by playing in the Senior Bowl, especially when weighed against injury risk.

There are a lot of skeptical people out there who think I have character issues, Mayfield told Brandt and me at the Walter Camp Awards in New Haven, Conn. That’s why I’m doing (the Senior Bowl) to sit down and have a conversation with people, let them know I love the game of football and I’ll do anything to win.

The Broncos, whose coaches are in charge of the Senior Bowl’s North squad and have the No. 5 overall pick in April’s draft, requested to have Mayfield on their player roster. That will give Denver an entire week to work with him during practices and in the classroom before Saturday’s kickoff.

That may have to be enough.

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Greg Jennings encourages Dez Bryant to take a pay cut

Four days after the Cowboys’ season ended, wide receiver Dez Bryant was asked about his contract situation and if he would be willing to take a little less money to play for the Cowboys.

Hell, no, man, Bryant told reporters. I believe in me.

When they start using words like, ‘We’re looking at the full body of work,’ those are tell-tale signs that…you’re going to take the pay cut, Jennings said. We’ve got to look at the full scope of what’s going on around us and so for me, I didn’t take the pay cut initially…I was no longer in that Vikings uniform because they decided to go with Mike Wallace.

Bryant has two years left on his deal worth $25.5 million. The Cowboys could cut him and take less of a cap hit now than they would have after 2016, or even 2017. Cutting him could make sense for the Cowboys if Bryant is not willing to restructure his contract. Jennings urged Bryant not to put himself in that situation.

Dez… Dez… just take the pay cut man.

It wouldn’t be fair to judge Hue based on his record after just two seasons because few NFL teams have put themselves at such a disadvantage in order to save assets and focus on winning three or four years down the road, Thomas wrote for Sports Illustrated.

This season, the Browns became only the second NFL team in history to go winless over a 16-game season. General manager Sashi Brown was fired and John Dorsey took his place. It seemed only a matter of time before Jackson was fired, too, but Thomas said owner Jimmy Haslam had to remember why Jackson was hired in the first place three years ago.

He was the hottest coach on the market for several years, developed QBs like Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton and went as a head coach in his only full season, Thomas said. He’s a great leader, a great manager of coaches and a great X’s and O’s football guy. Firing him based on the record wouldn’t have been the right move.

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Guess how much Super Bowl tickets cost

The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles are set to face off in Super Bowl 52. Plenty of Eagles and Patriots fans will be scouring the Internet for Super Bowl tickets to the see their squad, hopefully, pull out a victory and hoist the Lombardi trophy.

The question is, how much will Super Bowl tickets cost you?

Unfortunately for fans looking to see the Super Bowl in person, there is no perfect time to buy a ticket. Recent years have shown that the fluctuation in ticket pricing leading up to the Super Bowl has no rhyme or reason. For instance, one season a reserved-ticket allotment was made available to the public and subsequently saw pricing drop. Other times, waiting to buy can result in increased prices.

White jerseys have brought good luck not only to New England, but many teams in the Super Bowl.

Twelve of the last 13 Super Bowl winners have worn their white jerseys, a trend that actually began the last time the Patriots faced the Eagles. The one exception came after the 2010 season, when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in their green jerseys broke up what was then a six-game winning streak for white jerseys.

In 2016, Broncos general manager and executive vice president John Elway mentioned the team’s previous success in white jerseys when Denver had the first pick of uniforms as the home team for Super Bowl 50.

Wayne Ellington had 26 points on six 3-pointers and Joe Johnson added 22 points for the Heat.

Nic Batum scored a season-high 26 points and Walker had 22 for Charlotte, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. Howard had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

With Miami trailing 105-100, Johnson got free for a dunk. The Hornets inbounded the ball to Batum, but Josh Richardson stripped the ball and passed it to Johnson, who knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing to tie it.

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Tigers senior Donte Grantham tears ACL, ending Clemson career

Clemson senior forward Donte Grantham will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL during Saturday’s game, the team announced.

Grantham suffered the injury in the second half of a 67-58 win over Notre Dame. His right knee buckled after he was fouled from behind.

I’m disappointed that Donte’s career at Clemson had to end this way, coach Brad Brownell said in a statement. He was putting together a terrific season statistically, but he really helps this team in so many ways.

I wasn’t really hitting shots, Knox said. Nothing from the 3-point line, so it was good to see I made a couple.

A brief moment of silence was held before tipoff to honor the victims and first responders of Tuesday’s fatal shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky. Two students died, 12 were wounded and five others injured in the shooting. Calipari, who has attended the Hoop Fest there, said news of the incident made him literally nauseous and he added, There’s nothing I can say, other than I’ll be praying for them tomorrow at Mass. I’ll take Communion for them, light a candle for them.

Coats Fulks called it unexpected and incredibly difficult news” for Robinson and her family, but added that our team will be fighting with her and supporting her and her family every step of the way.”

Robinson started six of the nine games she played this season, averaging 4.6 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Wildcats.

School officials say players and coaches will wear orange — the color of leukemia awareness — during pregame warm-ups to honor her.

Walton said in his experience, players have breakout offensive games when they’re not thinking about scoring.

To me, guys normally have nights like that when they stop thinking about offense, Walton said. You kind of get lost in doing other things when you’re as gifted as he is offensively. That’s when you have nights like that.

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Mayfield starred at Oklahoma, but will his antics and size get overblown?

Still, the Titans possess some elements that could make this a game. Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Jurrell Casey and Erik Walden are largely unheralded, yet form a quartet of pass rushers that could generate the type of pocket pressure that’s key to beating Brady. RB Derrick Henry and a mauling offensive line could crack a Patriots defense that allowed more yards than all but three teams in 2017. And mobile quarterbacks like Alex Smith and Cam Newton were hugely responsible for two of New England’s three losses this season. Marcus Mariota fits that mold, too, but he and the Titans can’t afford to fall into a deficit that forces them to stray from a balanced approach.

While Hundley struggled, the Packers had only 19 called run plays in what was just a two-score game through three quarters. McCarthy has been spoiled with Rodgers, who has covered up many of McCarthy’s deficiencies as a play caller. Without Rodgers to create plays out of nothing, those shortcomings are painfully obvious as the Packers were shut out for the second time in a season for the first time since 2006 — McCarthy’s first season as the team’s head coach.

It’s simple to see that in terms of winning basketball games, the Thunder are far and away the better choice for Paul. He has guaranteed future there with Westbrook and a solid organization to call home. But he just can’t hide the glimmer in his eye when asked about the Lakers.

We’re not used to a player being this brutally open and honest and his free agency desires. Most players try to hide their feelings a bit more, but George has made it clear he’s weighing every single option and he cannot stop thinking about Los Angeles.

My advice to Thunder and Lakers fans is to buckle up. You’re in for a long six months.

Thomas showed he could make plays with or without James and Kevin Love on the court. That’s something the Cavaliers couldn’t really afford to do last season with Irving, as great as he was for them.

Ever since making the NFC championship in 2015, the (BLANK) have sleepwalked through two mediocre seasons, and it’s clear their starting quarterback’s time is almost up. With all that uncertainty, now is the right time to bring in a quarterback who produced almost 13,000 yards of total offense with 116 total TDs. Jackson can do that.

The Cardinals need to draft the Cardinals’ star quarterback. There is uncertainty around Bruce Arians future, but Palmer turns 38 next week. Even if the QB stays one more year, that would allow Jackson to develop as the quarterback of the future. He’s a playmaker in the mold of Michael Vick, and ignoring all that production would be foolish. It’s hard to pin a perfect landing spot for Jackson, but Arizona looks like the best fit for now.

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How’d that bet turn out? Wall thinks he did just fine.

Jackson should go, too, but is it a must? New Cleveland general manager John Dorsey can try to finesse bringing back Jackson for continuity purposes, but how does one sell bringing back a coach who is 1-29 in two seasons? How is that going to excite the fan base into believing things really are going to change? The Browns have already blown through Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine and Jackson. If Jackson stays, then Cleveland better have a quarterback plan in place.

Maybe? He’s been wearing the J Wall 1 in games since he re-signed with the brand, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for a new shoe in the future. But Wall says there could be one coming, but he’ll have to work for it.

Wall is an All-Star and is one of the more prominent names on Adidas’ roster — it’d be hard to see him going too long without one. But he’ll probably be considered behind Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid, who are also part of Adidas’ roster. But currently, the brand only has two prominent basketball signature-shoe athletes with James Harden and Damian Lillard, plus a third if we include Derrick Rose, but he isn’t the same name he used to be.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien on rumors he could resign: I will never quit as the head football coach of the Houston Texans. Ever… I’ll never resign as the head football coach of the Houston Texans. So, that’s basically where that’s at, and I don’t know where these I didn’t even read the story, I was told about it a little bit. So, I’m not sure where they come from… I don’t know where those things come from.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on Damiere Byrd’s questionable touchdown against the Packers: I guess it pays to have little (butt) cheeks.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter on containing Julio Jones only to have Falcons running back Devonta Freeman go off for a big night: We had 10 guys on (Jones) and it made it tough to tackle Freeman with only one guy left.

Wall wanted more money to re-sign with the brand. In 2015, Adidas signed James Harden to a 13-year, $200 million deal. Wall was offered an eight-year, $66 million extension in 2015 according to ESPN’s Nick DePaula and turned it down with the belief that his value was closer to what Harden’s was.

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Kansas City fails to punch it in after the fourth-down conversion.

Harrison Butker enters and kicks a 31-yard field goal to give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Chiefs go for it on a fourth-and-3 from the Chargers 47. On the play, Alex Smith finds Kareem Hunt, who picks up 21 yards to keep Kansas City’s drive alive. The Chiefs have it at the LA 14.

By averaging 19.7 points and 11.9 rebounds with a 66.7 true shooting percentage, Ayton is putting up big man numbers that essentially haven’t been seen before. As impressive as those statistical benchmarks are, it’s still the sheer physicality that stands out.

To watch Ayton is to see a lot of that: a combination of athletic grace and power which simply does not come along often. He looks like David Robinson or Patrick Ewing, star NBA centers from a time gone by who once felt like the ultimate matchup nightmare. That’s what Ayton is developing into.

There’s subtlety to his explosiveness. Watch how he’s able to jump two or three times before opposing defenders can get off the ground once. That’s either going to lead to a dunk or, at worst, free throws.

Ayton is a 260-pound jumping jack who could have a long pro career based on that alone. But that’s just part of his game.

Why doesn’t the Wrigley game rank higher? Frankly, because it wasn’t Wrigley enough. The temperature wasn’t much colder than it is for a Cubs game in April. Despite Pierre McGuire’s comments about wind-assisted goals, it wasn’t all that much of a factor in the Windy City.

But most of all: This was the defending Stanley Cup champions against the new puppy nipping at their heels in the Western Conference. You almost felt cheated not seeing these two battle it out in a vacuum instead of a baseball stadium.

For example, playing point guard with James can probably be frustrating considering he is the team’s primary facilitator and decision maker at the forward spot. Case-in-point: during a mid-season practice in the 2016-17 season, Irving and head coach Tyronn Lue were at odds over pushing the pace on offense.

Irving was reluctant to do so because he can get his shot at any time within the confines of a half-court set. Lue said it wasn’t about his shot, it was about his teammates’.

Irving’s response, according to MacMullan: Well, that’s No. 23’s job.

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Dallas takes a knee and runs out the clock to secure a three-point win.

While you were watching the College Football Playoff on Monday, DeMar DeRozan became the first player in NBA history to score 50 points on New Year’s Day, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He set a franchise record with 52 points and the most-improved part of his game shined through: his passing. DeRozan dished out eight assists to bring his points scored and assisted total to 71 points, more than half the Raptors’ total points (131) in the overtime win. — Vincent Johnson

Jimmy Butler is back to playing at an All-NBA level. He averaged 26.5 points per game in December despite struggling from the outside. Butler shot 57 percent on 2s and a scorching 93 percent from the free throw line. According to Second Spectrum, Butler was the most effective player in the NBA while driving to the rim, as he averaged 1.21 points per chance, best among the 60 players with at least 100 drives. — Micah Adams

The second-year running back out of Alabama bounced back with a career-high 156 yards, just shy of Eddie George’s franchise-record 162 in a postseason game.

Henry also had 85 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 35-yard touchdown , for the NFL’s third-best rushing performance in the fourth quarter of a playoff game since the 1991 season. Only LeGarrette Blount (114 yards for the Patriots vs. the Colts on Jan. 11, 2014) and Derek Loville (97 yards for the Broncos against the Jaguars on Dec. 27, 1997) have been better in that span.

Clowney announced Clowney’s arrival. (I got down on my knees and thanked the football gods for sending that kid to South Pointe High School, says Bobby Carroll, his high school coach. Because he was … there was no doubt when you looked at him. You said, ‘Oh, my god.’) He was the nation’s top-ranked recruit in 2011. He was ESPN The Magazine’s cover boy before he turned 18.

Mike Tirico, former ESPN broadcaster, called the game: The hit should have never happened. The prior play was, without question, the worst measurement for a first down I have ever seen in college or pro football. Michigan, leading by one, faked a punt from just inside their own 40-yard line. The measurement, right in front of the South Carolina bench, was ruled a Michigan first down. Forget an index card. An entire deck of cards could have fit between the nose of the football and the pole.

In a healthy Rockets rotation, Green is an eighth or ninth man at best. Everyone knows Mike D’Antoni prefers tight rotations when games get tough, and Green probably won’t make that cut every game.

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The Panthers in Week 16 clinched a playoff berth as a wild card at worst.

In Week 17, Carolina will find out its seed and matchup for the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs … that is, if the Panthers don’t move all the way up to the No. 2 seed and clinch a first-round bye.

There are two seeds we know Carolina will not get: No. 1, which belongs to Philadelphia, and No. 6, which will belong to either Atlanta or Seattle. The Panthers are the only team that has a chance to steal the No. 2 seed away from the Vikings. The No. 3 seed will belong to the Rams, Saints, Panthers or Vikings. The No. 4 seed will be the Rams, Saints or Panthers. The No. 5 seed will be either the Saints or the Panthers.

Here’s the problem for the Panthers in this scenario even if they take care of their own business against the Falcons: Of the other three results they need, the odds say only the Rams will oblige.

As of Thursday, the Saints, who will not rest starters in Week 17 since they have not clinched the NFC South, were seven-point road favorites over the Buccaneers. The Vikings, who are not expected to rest their starters since they have not clinched a first-round bye, were 11-point favorites over the Bears. The Rams’ decision to rest some of their key starters in Week 17 despite not being locked into a seed is the only reason they are three-point home underdogs against the 49ers.

Isaiah Thomas on checking in to a loud ovation as the Cleveland crowd cheered his long-awaited debut for the Cavaliers: It was a special moment. Jason Miller/Getty Images
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he was hoping Thomas would experience a hard fall like that.

Once he hits the floor, gets banged and sees he has no damage or he’s not hurting, I think that will help him get past the mental block of coming back, being out for seven months, Lue said before the game

Thomas missed his next shot, a corner 3, but got his third shot to go — a pull-up 14-foot jumper with 1:11 left in the first quarter.

He didn’t stop there, scoring an and-1 layup on the next possession as he exploded past Portland guard Shabazz Napier. Thomas closed the first quarter by air-balling a 3; however, he made his first shot of the second quarter on a pull-up 3.

When Thomas checked back in later in the second quarter, he immediately found LeBron James, who was posting up, for a feed down low, resulting in a bucket and showing a glimpse of what James could accomplish working more off the ball because of Thomas.

James offered a glowing report about his new teammate.

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Gorodetsky in May shared a photo on Instagram of himself and Odell Beckham Jr

Gorodetsky recalls lending Beckham $10,000 to play blackjack, and he also showed USA Today a text message purportedly of Beckham expressing interest in making a $20,000 bet on a baseball game.

According to sports betting sources, NFL players are allowed to wager on sports through legal operators, but Gorodetsky says the baseball bet was never made, anyway.

Meanwhile, through his agent, Zeke Sandhu, Beckham denies even knowing Gorodetsky.

At the beginning of the season when it was clear I didn’t have a role anymore, I asked to be released. Throughout the season, I was told week in & out that I’d be used. I wasn’t. I started getting frustrated about the whole thing. I asked to not be dressed or take unnecessary practice reps if I wasn’t going to play. That happened for a cpl weeks, then we had a a game week that I got solid reps in practice and everyone assumed I would play. I got to the stadium four hours early as usual, and my locker was empty. Nobody said anything to me about being inactive, just an empty locker. I asked to be released again. I was told no.

A couple weeks later, they dress me for the game so I assume I’m going to play, and I get zero reps. Stood on the sideline the whole game. I asked to be released again. I was told no. Then a few days later, they released me. I was never told I would be brought back, it was: If I bring u back, be in shape. I cleared waivers, and they didn’t call. New England called. Also, to be clear, ask Ryan if I came to see him in the hospital. I didn’t help Bud or T.J.? Ask T.J. if I helped him.

Trufant, 27, was not flagged for the altercation. Instead, Thomas received a 15-yard penalty during the game, but upon further review, Trufant was handed a fine.

Despite last week’s loss, the Falcons can still make the playoffs with a win this week against the Panthers or a Seahawks loss.

That’s a big part of why I’m standing here today, Quinn said. I think there’s games we could’ve, would’ve and should’ve won, and we didn’t.

This is a results business. This is wins and losses. You talk about all the individual plays, all the individual players, the staff, all that stuff. It comes down to winning football games and winning championships.

Quinn took some of the onus of the Lions’ identical 9-7 records over the past two years, but also said he felt the teams of the past two seasons were capable of better records than what they finished with.

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