MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Milwaukee 6 Minnesota 5
San Diego 7 Tampa Bay 2
Oakland 9 San Francisco 5
LA Angels 7 Pittsburgh 4
St. Louis 6 Kansas City 0
Texas 7 Toronto 3
NY Yankees 6 Baltimore 5
Boston 5 Cleveland 1
Chicago White Sox 13 Houston 9
Detroit 3 Seattle 2
Colorado 7 Arizona 6
Washington 17 Cincinnati 7
Philadelphia 11 Chicago Cubs 1
LA Dodgers 9 Miami 1
Atlanta 6 NY Mets 4
WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: https://www.mlb.com/scores
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Indianapolis 5 Rochester 3
South Bend 6 Lake County 1
Lansing 5 Fort Wayne 3
Dayton 4 Bowling Green 1 (12)
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Orlando City SC 1 Sporting KC 0
Minnesota 1 Colorado 0
Real Salt Lake 3 Seattle 0
Los Angeles 2 FC Dallas 0
Portland 3 Chicago 2
WEDNESDAYS BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/mls/scoreboard_daily.asp
Washington 88 Seattle 59
Dallas 84 Los Angeles 78
Connecticut 78 Phoenix 71
WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/wnba/scoreboard.asp?day=20190814
HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS GOLF
Centerville dropped its first match of the season on Wednesday night at Highland Lake Golf Course against Rushville by a score of 238-247. Erin Baker was medalist for the match and led Centerville with a 55. Others scoring for the Bulldogs, all with personal bests, were Hailie Ridge 61, Emilee Engle with 62, and Karis Koyles with a 69. Centerville plays again at Highland Lake on Thursday against Monroe Central.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
LINCOLN COACH PHIL RENFORTH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgmby8heeZQ
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
HAGERSTOWN HEAD COACH JAY HALE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Qf_Nlql8RU
Nationals put up 10 runs in 5th, 6 in 6th, beat Reds 17-7
It all started with Stephen Strasburg flicking his bat to reach for an outside cutter and loop a flare into right field for a tiebreaking RBI single.
With that, the Washington Nationals were on their way Wednesday – to a 10-run fifth inning that also featured homers by Anthony Rendon, Kurt Suzuki and Adam Eaton, followed by a six-run sixth.
Added up to a 17-7 victory for Washington over the Cincinnati Reds that completed a three-game sweep and put the Nationals 10 games over .500 for the first time since June 2018.
“It all happened,” Reds manager David Bell said, “pretty fast.”
The Nationals, who lead the NL wild-card standings, got to Trevor Bauer for their biggest inning of the season, and the first time since they moved from Montreal in 2005 that every member of the lineup scored in a single frame. The initial run was plated thanks to Strasburg, who has six hits and seven RBIs in his past six outings.
“I don’t think we expect anything less, anymore. Every time he comes up, we expect a hit with a ribbie. It’s definitely nice when you can get that extra bat in the lineup,” Suzuki said. “Everybody’s thinking, `Oh, it’s the pitcher; it’s an out.’ But not here.”
The sixth Wednesday wasn’t too shabby, either, as Washington batted around again, much to the delight of a crowd of 23,596 that showed up for the unusual 4:05 p.m. weekday start.
Hittin’ season: Harper, Phils pound Cubs in Manuel’s return
Hittin’ season has arrived for the Philadelphia Phillies.
J.T. Realmuto hit a grand slam, Bryce Harper went deep twice and the Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 11-1 in Charlie Manuel’s first game as hitting coach, ruining Cole Hamels’ return Wednesday night.
Manuel was back in red pinstripes in his old dugout exactly six years to the day the franchise icon managed his last game for the Phillies. The man who coined the phrase “hittin’ season” heard “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!” chants after Realmuto connected to make it 10-0 in the third.
“There was an incredible energy in the ballpark and rightfully so. Charlie has earned that adulation,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s a great influence on our group.”
Hamels, the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP with Manuel’s Phillies, was roughed up in his first game in Philadelphia since he was traded to Texas in July 2015. Hamels (6-4) gave up eight runs and nine hits in two-plus innings.
“I have tremendously good memories here,” Hamels said. “You take games like this and I know what I need to do to get better. Tough love from Philly really taught me how to do it.”
Aaron Nola (11-3) benefited from the offense’s rare outburst. He allowed three hits, including Kris Bryant’s homer, and struck out seven in seven innings.
Sanchez, Yankees beat Orioles for 16th straight time, 6-5
The New York Yankees’ season-long dominance of the Baltimore Orioles ended with Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres being linked to Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
And while Sanchez was modest in his thoughts about the achievement, other Yankees did not hesitate to express their amazement.
Sanchez’s three-run homer gave him 10 against Baltimore and New York beat the Orioles for the 16th straight time this season, winning 6-5 Wednesday in their final meeting this year.
“The funny thing about that is that we’re not thinking about records or anything like that,” Sanchez said through a translator. “We’re trying to go out there to have good at-bats.”
The Yankees hit 61 homers off Orioles pitching this season and outscored them 151-83. Sanchez and Torres (13 homers) joined Gehrig and Ruth as the second set of Yankees to hit double-digit homers against an opponent in the same season – Gehrig and Ruth each hit 11 against the Boston Red Sox in 1927 when teams played each other 22 times apiece.
“A couple of great young players that not only have done a lot in this game but the future’s very bright and they’re going to a lot of special things like that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It just so happens they’ve had really good results against the Orioles this year.”
The Yankees went 17-2 against the O’s, their most wins versus any opponent in a season since going 17-5 over the Kansas City Athletics in 1959. New York’s winning streak is its longest against anyone in a season since a 21-game string over the St. Louis Browns in 1927.
Pujols sets career hit mark for foreign-born players in win
Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols doesn’t want to talk about his growing list of accomplishments until his career comes to an end.
That leaves the task to the rest of baseball, and they are running out of ways to describe Pujols’ illustrious time in the game.
Pujols had two hits and three RBIs Wednesday and set the major league record for career hits by a foreign-born player, leading the Angels to a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I mean, what more can we say? He’s one of the greatest players to ever play the game, one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “And he’s going to pass some other names I’m sure that are very well known and have plaques hanging in Cooperstown.
Pujols had an RBI single in the 4th inning. His 3,167th hit moved him past fellow Dominican Republic native Adrian Beltre (3,166) and into sole possession of 15th place for career hits.
“He just keeps doing what he does,” said Dillon Peters (3-1), who allowed two runs in six innings while striking out six after an erratic start. “Everybody here looks up to him, and it’s just awesome to watch him chase his dream and chase all the milestones he’s already overcome. And there’s going to be more to come.”
Luis Rengifo also drove in two runs for the Angels, who snapped a three-game home losing streak.
Melky Cabrera and Elias Diaz each had an RBI for the Pirates, who failed to complete a three-game sweep of the Angels. Pittsburgh has not won three in a row since July 1-3, against the Chicago Cubs.
Devers extends hit streak to 8, Red Sox beat Indians 5-1
The Red Sox have survived their most demanding stretch of the season with their modest playoff hopes intact.
Rafael Devers homered and singled, extending his robust hit streak to eight straight at-bats, and Xander Bogaerts went deep twice to lead Boston to a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
The Red Sox, playing their 34th game in a 34-day span, started the day 8 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the second AL wild-card spot. The defending World Series champions went 15-18 with a suspended game against Kansas City to be completed on August 22.
“We’ve been saying all along we’re in this position because we haven’t played well, but we’ll see what we’ve got in the next month and a half,” Boston manager Alex Cora said, smiling. “Just find a way. I don’t know, man, it doesn’t look fun to manage this game, but it’s fun.”
Devers went 6 for 6 with four doubles Tuesday in the Red Sox’s 7-6, 10-inning win. Less than 15 hours later, he singled in the first inning and hit a solo homer in the third before being retired on a comebacker in the fifth by right-hander Shane Bieber (12-5).
The MLB record for consecutive hits is 12, last accomplished by Detroit’s Walt Dropo in 1952. Pinky Higgins had 12 straight for the Red Sox in 1938.
Braves jump on Seth Lugo for 5 runs in 7th, beat Mets 6-4
The Atlanta Braves survived another near-meltdown by the back end of their bullpen in the ninth after the New York Mets’ best reliever gave up five runs in the seventh.
Tyler Flowers drove in a tiebreaking run with an infield hit, and Atlanta scored five runs off Seth Lugo in the seventh and survived a ninth-inning scare in a 6-4 win over New York on Wednesday night.
The first-place Braves (72-50) are 22 games over .500 for the first time since 2013. That made manager Brian Snitker happy with the win “no matter how you get it.”
Snitker could overlook the ninth-inning struggles by Mark Melancon, the team’s latest closer.
The Mets have lost three straight, including the first two of the three-game series with Atlanta, after winning 15 of 16 to move up in the NL wild-card chase. The loss left the Mets three games behind Chicago in the race for the second wild card.
“We’re still in a good spot,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
New York scored two runs in the ninth off Melancon. Amed Rosario had four hits, including a run-scoring single off Melancon. Pinch-hitter Luis Guillorme added another run-scoring single before loading the bases.
Kershaw strikes out 10, shuts down Marlins in 9-1 win
An additional day of rest helped Clayton Kershaw to one of his most dominant outings of the season.
Kershaw struck out the first seven batters he faced and matched a season high with 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Miami Marlins 9-1 on Wednesday night.
“Sometimes you get in that groove early,” Kershaw said. “I really don’t care how we get the outs as long as I’m efficient with it. Tonight I was able to get ahead and did a decent job with fastball command.”
Originally scheduled to start the series opener Tuesday, Kershaw (12-2) allowed two hits and retired the first 14 Miami batters before Harold Ramirez’s two-out single to right in the fifth. The three-time Cy Young Award winner left after 90 pitches.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts again dealt with the familiar dilemma of removing Kershaw from a game when he is still shutting down the opposition.
“Obviously Clayton doesn’t want to come out of any game, especially when you feel as good as he did tonight,” Roberts said. “He wasn’t stressed at all. Tonight was as good as I’ve seen with all his pitches, mainly his fastball.”
Kershaw earned his 165th win, tying Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.
“Any time you’re mentioned with Sandy it’s special,” Kershaw said.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer declares himself ready to return
Max Scherzer says he’s all set to pitch. Not in the minors. In the majors. For the Washington Nationals. As soon as possible.
On the injured list for all but one game over the past five weeks because of trouble with a back muscle, the three-time Cy Young Award winner played catch at Nationals Park on Wednesday, a day after pitching the equivalent of about two innings in a simulated game, and declared himself rarin’ to go.
“I want to get in a game now. I’m ready to get in a game,” Scherzer said in the home dugout, soaked with sweat after his throwing session. “I think I’m ready to pitch in the big leagues.”
Asked if he has a particular day in mind, the right-hander replied: “I’m itching to get out there. So whenever they’ll let me.”
Manager Dave Martinez said later he still needed to speak to Scherzer and the team’s head trainer to “map out his next steps” before making a decision on his ace’s status. But Martinez did not rule out the possibility that Scherzer could pitch this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Nationals have not announced who will start Saturday or Sunday.
Scherzer is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 2019 for the Nationals, who began Tuesday atop the league’s wild-card standings and six games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Jake Arrieta unlikely to pitch again this season for Phils
Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta likely will have season-ending surgery soon because of a bone spur in his pitching elbow.
Arrieta, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, has been pitching through pain for several starts but his inability to go more than five innings led him to shut it down. He was scheduled for an MRI on Thursday and will determine his course of action afterward.
“I wanted to try and make it work for as long as possible,” Arrieta said. “I realized that I’m not able to give the team what it needs. The pain is something I can deal with, but it’s the loss of feel and the ineffectiveness as the outings wear on. I think that the time is right to make it happen now and get a guy in the rotation that has pitched really well for us and give him an opportunity to get back to the form where he was at earlier in the season for us. I think we’ll be in good hands.”
Zach Eflin will rejoin the starting rotation and take Arrieta’s spot on Saturday. First baseman Logan Morrison was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Arrieta’s roster spot.
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Cubs. He has been mediocre since he joined the Phils on a three-year, $75 million contract in March 2018. The deal includes team options for $22.5 million in 2021 and ’22. Arrieta also can opt out after this season, but it’s unlikely he’ll give up the $20 million he’s due next year.
He is 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA this season and was 10-11 with a 3.96 ERA in 2018.
Is Bryce Harper the Villain MLB Needs?
On Friday night, a San Francisco Giants fan began chanting “overrated” while Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies was at the plate in the fifth inning. In true Harper fashion, he took a pitch and homered to the deepest part of Orcale Park. In the seventh inning, just for good measure, Harper doubled down by hitting another home run, splashing it down in McCovey Cove and fully embracing his status as the villain Major League Baseball needs him to be.
While there are not too many stories about Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels saving kittens stuck in trees on his way to the ballpark, it is clear that MLB wants to market him as the face of the game. He is clean cut, well-mannered, and plays the game of baseball hard and clean while making a highlight reel worthy play almost every night. Bryce Harper does play the game hard and often makes ESPN’s SportsCenter; however, his personality is slightly different than Trout.
Baseball fans know which players can hear the boos and the heckles, and also knows which ones can tune them out; for Bryce Harper, those sounds are fuel that feeds his desire to be the best person and player he can be. And as a baseball fan myself, I don’t mind if I am giving an opposing player and hard time and he comes back to find me after hitting two home runs like Harper did Friday night. I believe that Harper is calling out that fan not only to let that person know he was heard, but to say thank you, because, as Reggie Jackson once said, “Fans don’t boo nobodies,” and Bryce Harper has known since he was 16 and called “The Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated that he is somebody. He is the person counter balance to Mike Trout, both looking for greatness but going about it in opposite ways.
While Trout gets more publicity from Major League Baseball, Bryce Harper draws a reaction if he strikes out or hits a home run, because some people root for the villains in life, while other root against them. Either way, however, everyone has an opinion about the villain, something that is not always true about the hero.
Is Antonio Brown really focused on Football?
With his appeal denied, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown turned to Twitter to find a newer model of the helmet he wants to wear once the season starts. The Pro Bowl pass catcher is hoping to find a version of his helmet that is game safe and is offering a prize for anyone who can help him achieve his goal.
Antonio Brown left Raiders practice last week after being reminded that the only helmet he has ever worn during his NFL career is no longer approved for game use. Both the NFL and the Players’ Association announced last year that Brown’s Schutt Air Advantage would be phased out of use after the 2018 season. When the 31-year-old arrived at camp this summer, and they tried to take away his helmet, Brown filed a grievance with his union, which was denied by an arbitrator Monday.
On Tuesday morning, Antonio Brown took to Twitter and posted this: “I’m looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet.” Brown’s request is someone mute since the Schutt Air Advantage that he is looking is a model helmet that has not been manufactured since 2011. If, however, according to Mike Oliver, an attorney who worked for the company that certifies helmets for the NFL and the union, “…if there are Air Advantage models still available with a manufacturing date of 2010 or later, those would be eligible for recertification, assuming they aren’t otherwise disqualified, e.g., have cracked shells or have had permanent alterations made to the shell or have been painted with improper paint, etc.”
Brown had a mega-diva moment last week when he talked about retiring rather than playing without his old helmet. After Monday’s ruling, he went to social media and talked about how excited he was to return to practice with his Raiders teammates. Perhaps then, the tweet is Brown’s way of poking fun at himself and making light of what unfolded over the weekend; or perhaps that was the first in what will be many blow ups for the mega-diva and mega-ego that is Antonio Brown.
It does appear however, that instead of potentially being on the Mount Rushmore of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, the league should look to find a volcano to carve Brown’s image on, since at any moment, either might explode.
Baker Mayfield: People want to see Browns lose because the hype is real
No NFL team has had more buzz surrounding it this offseason than the Cleveland Browns, and there will undoubtedly be people lining up to laugh at them if they fall short of their lofty expectations. To this point, Baker Mayfield feels the team has been doing a good job of handling all that.
In an interview with Zach Frydenlund of Complex this week, Mayfield was asked what it is like to go from an underdog that took everyone by surprise to a team with a target on its back. Mayfield said some people want to see the Browns fail because “the hype is too real.”
“You’ve got to believe in it and take it one week at a time. Because I wouldn’t say that everybody wants to beat us. I think in the media and everything that comes with the hype around our team right now, people want to see us lose, just because the hype is so real,” he said. “But we’ve got to go out there and take it one week at a time. We’re trying to win every week.”
Mayfield acknowledged that jumping from a team that celebrated winning a single game to one with playoff expectations can present challenges, but he’s confident the Browns are taking the right approach.
“It went from having excitement over Bud Light coolers being opened to now people waiting to see us lose so they can say, ‘Oh, they got too hyped up,’” Mayfield added. “That’s why you’ve got to have an even-keel mindset when it comes to that stuff.”
The Browns aren’t going to catch many teams by surprise this season. Mayfield proved last year that he is a viable NFL starter, and he now has one of the best wide receiver duos in football in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Opponents are going to take them seriously, which can often lead to more challenges. If Mayfield tackles those challenges with the same enthusiasm he showed during a preseason coach’s challenge, the Browns will be in good hands.
2019 NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview: Players to watch in all 16 games
The first full week of the 2019 NFL preseason is in the books. Some youngsters had great starts (Daniel Jones, David Montgomery, Preston Williams) while others stumbled out of the gate (Drew Sample, Sean-Murphy Bunting).
To preview the second full week of preseason games, we have highlighted players to watch for all 32 teams in all 16 games.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15
Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 7pm ET
Rookie offensive tackle Andre Dillard earned an impressive 73.5 overall grade and an even better 84.7 pass-blocking grade in his NFL debut last week. The former Washington State standout was one of eight offensive tackles with 20 pass-blocking snaps played and zero pressures allowed last week. On the opposite side of the ball, Eagles edge defender Daeshon Hall leads all NFL edge defenders with 25 defensive snaps played in overall grade (90.9). He recorded five pressures across 16 pass-rush snaps en route to a 93.5 pass-rush grade last week.
First-round rookie edge defender Josh Allen didn’t wow anyone in his NFL debut. The former Kentucky pass-rusher recorded just a 50.2 overall grade across 20 defensive snaps last week. Similarly, second-year defensive interior Taven Bryan earned just a 57.1 overall grade and a 56.2 pass-rush grade across 35 defensive snaps last week. Both Allen and Bryan need to bounce back this Thursday.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Redskins – 7:30PM ET
Second-year defensive back Darius Phillips earned an 87.6 coverage grade across 32 coverage snaps against San Francisco a week ago, allowing just one reception for eight yards from four targets in the process. New Bengals guard John Jerry allowed zero pressures across his 18 pass-blocking snaps and earned an impressive 85.0 pass-blocking grade last week, a positive sign for a Cincinnati offensive line that desperately needs some positives.
Though Jimmy Moreland did allow six receptions for 70 yards and four first downs in his preseason debut, the rookie also forced two incompletions and two fumbles last week. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a dismal start to his NFL career, as he earned the lowest passing grade (33.7) of any quarterback with 10 or more dropbacks in Week 1. The former Ohio State signal-caller will have an opportunity to improve on his performance this week.
New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 7:30PM ET
Parry Nickerson, a second-year Tulane product and PFF favorite from the 2018 draft class, struggled significantly in his 2019 preseason debut. He allowed five receptions from five targets for 109 yards, two first downs and a touchdown against the Giants last week. He’s in desperate need of a bounce-back performance. Rookie defenders Blake Cashman and Jachai Polite also underwhelmed this past week, earning 42.8 and 48.0 single-game grades, respectively. They join Nickerson in needing a strong outing on Thursday.
A former undrafted free agent out of Wesley College, Matt Gono currently owns the highest pass-blocking grade (88.7) of any offensive tackle with 20-plus pass-blocking snaps played in the preseason, having allowed just one hurry across his 62 pass-blocking snaps so far. Falcons off-ball linebacker Jermaine Grace currently ranks third among qualifying off-ball linebackers in coverage grade (84.0). He has allowed just one reception for six yards from five targets and logged an interception across his 46 coverage snaps.
Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens – 7:30PM ET
Rookie interior offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins was an absolute stud in pass protection in the Packers’ preseason opener. He earned an 87.5 pass-blocking grade across 26 pass-blocking snaps last week, allowing zero pressures in the process. Second-year wide receiver J’Mon Moore is in need of a bounce-back week. Though he did haul in a touchdown in last week’s game, he also dropped two of his five targets and earned a dismal 42.5 receiving grade.
Catching 5-of-10 targets for 56 yards and two first downs with zero drops, rookie wideout Miles Boykin earned the seventh-best receiving grade (81.7) among qualifiers at his position this past week. He also caught 3-of-5 contested targets in the contest. Fellow rookie Patrick Mekari, an undrafted free agent out of Cal, allowed zero pressures across 27 pass-blocking snaps and earned an 86.7 pass-blocking grade for his efforts. Former Notre Dame defensive back Bennett Jackson, a 2014 sixth-rounder, earned himself a spot on PFF’s Preseason Week 1 Team of the Week with his 94.0 overall grade against Jacksonville last week.
Oakland Raiders @ Arizona Cardinals – 8PM ET
Rookie cornerback Trayvon Mullen earned an impressive 79.0 coverage grade against the Rams on Saturday, allowing zero receptions from his two targets and logging a forced incompletion in the process. Second-year LSU product Arden Key had one of the best single-game pass-rushing performances of his NFL career last week, as he recorded four total pressures in his 22 pass-rush snaps. Raiders first-round rookie running back Josh Jacobs didn’t take the field against Los Angeles but should have ago against Arizona on Thursday. The former ‘Bama standout entered the 2019 NFL Draft as one of college football’s best pass-catching backs and PFF’s No. 1 running back in the class.
We at PFF just want to see more of Kyler Murray. He impressed slightly in his debut, but he wasn’t asked to do much and played only a handful of snaps. The former Oklahoma signal-caller was PFF’s top-ranked player in the 2019 NFL Draft. Similarly, rookie wideout Andy Isabella is a PFF favorite considering that he finished the 2018 season as the highest-graded wide receiver in college football. The shifty speedster didn’t suit up this past week but could make his much-anticipated NFL preseason debut against Oakland.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16
Buffalo Bills @ Carolina Panthers – 7PM ET
Wyatt Teller was a road grader in his 2019 NFL preseason debut. The former Virginia Tech guard and 2018 fifth-rounder recorded multiple highly graded blocks on his way to a 71.9 overall grade last week. Bills rookie running back Devin Singletary had a handful of highlight-reel runs and showed off his forced missed tackle ability in limited action. He has an opportunity to carve out a significant role for himself if he keeps it up throughout the preseason. Rookie Cody Ford is in need of a bounce-back week after earning a 54.2 overall grade and 52.4 pass-blocking grade across 32 offensive snaps.
High expectations have been set for Panthers rookie edge defenders Brian Burns and Christian Miller. Burns started on the right foot with his two pressures on five pass-rush snaps in his first preseason action, earning an 88.7 pass-rush grade in the process. Miller didn’t have the same level of success across his 21 pass-rush snaps, as he earned just a 58.1 pass-rush grade and recorded zero pressures in his preseason debut. Rookie quarterback Will Grier followed suit with Miller, as he too got off to a rocky start in the NFL. The former West Virginia signal-caller earned a 36.4 overall grade and 35.8 passing grade against the Bears last week.
Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 7:30PM ET
The Preston Williams coming-out party was a sight to see. The undrafted Colorado State product put on a show in his NFL preseason debut, catching 4-of-5 targets for 97 yards en route to a 93.0 receiving grade. Another undrafted rookie off to a good start in Miami, Dewayne Hendrix recorded four pressures and a 91.2 pass-rush grade across 21 pass-rush snaps last week. All eyes will be on second-year signal-caller Josh Rosen with the hope that he takes a step forward after the team traded a second-rounder to acquire him this offseason. Rosen had an up-and-down debut with the Dolphins, earning himself a 72.7 overall grade across 26 dropbacks.
Buccaneers pass-catchers Spencer Schnell and Tanner Hudson both impressed against Pittsburgh last week. Undrafted rookie receiver Schnell earned a 90.8 overall grade across 29 offensive snaps and caught seven of his nine targets for 119 yards in the contest. Hudson, a 2018 UDFA, caught 7-of-9 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown, including an impressive one-hander.
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants – 7:30PM ET
David Montgomery nearly broke PFF’s elusive rating metric at the collegiate level. He forced missed tackles and gained yards after contact at absurd rates with Iowa State, and he landed at No. 78 on PFF’s final big board ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. He showed flashes of such brilliance in his first preseason contest and should have all eyes on him against New York. Fellow rookie Riley Ridley didn’t suit up in the Bears’ first preseason contest but will be a player to watch if he does take the field on Friday. The former Georgia standout finished the pre-draft process at No. 71 on PFF’s final big board.
Some Giants fans purchased Super Bowl tickets after Daniel Jones’ five dropbacks last week. The 2019 first-rounder completed 5-of-5 attempts for 67 yards and a touchdown, picking up one big-time throw and a 90.3 passing grade in the process. Can he do it again? Giants rookie defensive backs DeAndre Baker and Julian Love also made a handful of eye-catching plays against the Jets last week. Both Baker and Love were both considered top-50 players by PFF entering the 2019 NFL Draft.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts – 4pm ET
Mack Wilson put on a show in his NFL preseason debut, snagging two interceptions and earning a 97.7 overall grade that leads all qualifying defenders in the preseason. The rookie ‘Bama product enters this week’s bout with the Colts with high expectations, and so does veteran receiver Rashard Higgins. Not only did he have a strong outing in Cleveland’s first preseason contest, but Higgins is expected to take on the No. 3 receiver role in the team’s offense with Antonio Callaway suspended. Hollywood caught 5-of-6 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown last week.
Former USC safety Marvell Tell turned in quite the performance at cornerback in his NFL preseason debut, earning a 90.2 coverage grade and forcing two incompletions from three total targets. Fellow rookie defensive back Rock Ya-Sin allowed two receptions for 18 yards and a first down and missed a tackle in his preseason debut. He will look to put the clamps on Higgins & Co. after a middling start to his NFL career.
New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans – 7PM ET
New England featured two high-performing rookies in the team’s first preseason game of the 2019 season: Jakobi Meyers and Hjalte Froholdt. Meyers, an undrafted NC State product that has reportedly impressed in camp, caught two touchdown passes on his way to an impressive 77.7 receiving grade in his NFL debut. And Froholdt didn’t allow a single pressure across his 41 pass-blocking snaps, picking up where he left off at Arkansas.
Titans third-year receiver Taywan Taylor didn’t have the start he wanted last week. The former third-rounder caught just 2-of-5 targets for 16 yards and dropped two passes thrown his way. He earned a lowly 41.7 receiving grade for his efforts. Rookie safety Amani Hooker earned a 73.6 overall grade across 36 defensive snaps in his 2019 NFL preseason debut, picking up two defensive stops along the way.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 7:30PM ET
Former first-round off-ball linebacker Darron Lee turned in an outstanding 88.3 run-defense grade in his debut with the Chiefs, but his 51.3 coverage grade dragged his overall performance down. If Lee is going to have a positive impact on Kansas City’s defense this year, he needs to improve in coverage. Rookie running back Darwin Thompson had several highlight-reel plays in his first taste of the NFL preseason, including an epic hurdle over defenders in the red zone that was called back due to an offensive penalty. Thompson scored soon after, taking a Texas route to the house on a quality catch-and-run.
Second-year wide receiver James Washington turned heads with a handful of impact plays in the Steelers’ preseason opener against Tampa Bay. He needs all the momentum he can garner ahead of the 2019 NFL season after finishing his rookie campaign as one of the lowest-graded players in the NFL. Several members of the Steelers’ front seven landed on PFF’s NFL Preseason Week 1 Team of the Week, including off-ball linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III and defensive interior Henry Mondeaux. Both defenders earned 90.0-plus overall grades last week.
Detroit Lions @ Houston Texans – 8PM ET
Miles Killebrew, a 2016 fourth-rounder out of Southern Utah, failed to impress in coverage but starred as a run defender against New England last week. The 6-foot-2, 222-pounder earned a 79.5 run-defense grade and logged four defensive stops in the contest. Rookie Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye allowed four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown from six targets in his NFL preseason debut. He’ll look to improve on his 50.5 overall grade against Houston.
New Texans cornerback Bradley Roby turned in a solid performance in his debut with the team, earning a 71.3 overall grade and a 70.3 coverage grade across 16 defensive snaps. He took 15 of his 16 snaps at outside cornerback, as well. Rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr., on the other hand, got off to a much rougher start with the Texans. The former Kentucky standout allowed a 27-yard touchdown against Green Bay, driving his grade down significantly considering the small sample size.
Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams – 10PM ET
Rookie sixth-rounder Donovan Wilson recorded an interception and allowed just five yards in coverage on his way to a spot on PFF’s NFL Preseason Week 1 Team of the Week. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Texas A&M product faces an uphill battle in terms of carving out a significant role in Dallas’ defense in Year 1, but he’s well on his way to securing a depth spot. Rookie defensive interior Trysten Hill didn’t have the debut he likely wanted with the Cowboys. He recorded zero pressures and zero defensive stops in 33 defensive snaps, earning a 38.4 overall grade in the process.
Rookie running back Darrell Henderson looked uncomfortable against Oakland last week, rushing for just 13 yards across six carries in the contest. With the potential that Todd Gurley received a lighter load in 2019, Henderson should look to bounce back against Dallas on Saturday. Fellow rookie Taylor Rapp had a much better start to the preseason, as he earned an 83.4 overall grade and 87.4 coverage grade across 22 defensive snaps last week.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 18
New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Chargers – 4PM ET
New Orleans is in no need for a new quarterback with Drew Brees still playing at a high level, but Teddy Bridgewater’s performance last week is encouraging for the future. He earned a 78.1 overall grade and 76.6 passing grade against Minnesota last week. He also completed 12-of-14 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown from a clean pocket and earned an 83.2 passing grade on such dropbacks. Rookie safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson failed to impress last week, earning just a 49.5 overall grade and allowing a 20-yard reception on his only target in coverage.
Former Notre Dame captain Drue Tranquill impressed in his bout with the Cardinals’ offense a week ago, earning an 87.4 overall grade, 77.6 run-defense grade and an 83.7 coverage grade across 25 defensive snaps. Third-year offensive lineman Dan Feeney, though abysmal in pass protection, turned in a strong 70.9 run-blocking grade against Arizona. The former third-rounder needs a big years after earning a 45.4 overall grade across 1,133 snaps in 2018.
Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings – 8PM ET
Former Temple product Jacob Martin had an outstanding start to his second season in the NFL, recording six pressures across 27 pass-rush snaps on his way to a 90.2 pass-rush grade. He finished his bout with the Broncos’ offense with an 81.0 overall grade. Third-year off-ball linebacker Austin Calitro, an undrafted free agent from the 2017 NFL Draft, earned an impressive 84.5 overall grade across 68 defensive snaps last week. He picked up three defensive stops and allowed just 27 yards in coverage, as well.
Former Ohio State defensive linemen Jalyn Holmes recorded five pressures and three defensive stops against New Orleans, earning an impressive 81.2 overall grade and 77.4 pass-rush grade in the process. Rookie Oregon product Dillon Mitchell ran just three routes and saw zero targets in Minnesota’s preseason opener. Mitchell is a freaky athlete with wow potential if he can get more work against Seattle.
MONDAY, AUGUST 19
San Francisco 49ers @ Denver Broncos – 8PM ET
Former San Diego State offensive tackle Daniel Brunskill earned an impressive 82.7 run-blocking grade against Dallas last week. He also earned an 81.4 run-blocking grade across 37 snaps last preseason with the Atlanta Falcons. Rookie cornerback Tim Harris allowed five receptions for 68 yards from nine targets in his NFL preseason debut, earning a 32.8 coverage grade in the process. The sixth-round Virginia product is in need of a bounce-back week against Denver.
Dre’Mont Jones has had a stellar start to his NFL career. The former Ohio State defensive interior has earned an 84.5 pass-rush grade across 38 pass-rush snaps through two preseason games, picking up five total pressures along the way. And DeMarcus Walker, a 2017 second-rounder out of Florida State, has had a similar start. Walker has earned an 83.8 overall grade and an 81.7 pass-rush grade across 61 defensive snaps through two preseason games.
OHIO STATE FOOTBALL:
Ohio State’s Fall Prep Nearing Midway Point
Team completes practice No. 11; Day, Mattison meet the media afterward
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State’s preparations for the 2019 season have neared the midway point as the team practiced Wednesday for the 11th time during fall camp. The practice ran nearly two hours on a very pleasant morning at the Harmon Family Football Park.
The players were in just helmets for the second consecutive practice and the plan is to have them practice in pads on Thursday and Saturday. Practice ended Wednesday on a bit of a light note as a magician involved Jeff Okudah in a card trick that left everyone in disbelief.
Head coach Ryan Day and co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison met with the media following practice. Much of the conversation centered on the quarterbacks, wide receivers and linebackers as well as the depth chart. Neither coach was ready to name starters at this point but both mentioned that they were close as the end of camp draws near and game prep is right around the corner.
The Buckeyes will practice four more times before breaking camp and starting prep for the season opener against FAU on August 31.
Ryan Day on the overall play at the quarterback position
“I think the guys are getting more and more reps under their belt. I do think Justin has taken a stride in the last couple days and the last week. He’s moving the team nicely. Taking care of the ball better the last couple days. Throwing the ball on time. Improvement’s there and leadership is improving. So you know, we’ve got a padded practice tomorrow, a padded practice on Saturday, and then we’ll regroup and then go ahead on Monday.”
Day on running back depth behind J.K. Dobbins
“You’ve got Demario [McCall] and you’ve got the two young guys but the biggest thing is going to be ball security in the end; who do we trust? We give the ball to him. Right now, there is no backup running back. I think all three guys, four guys, with Master [Teague] when he gets healthy wants that spot, but they have got to learn to take care of the ball and we have to learn to be able to trust them.”
Day on setting a depth chart heading into the third week of camp
“We’ll talk about. It there are still some battles that will go into the third week so probably won’t have a whole team depth chart but after this week we’ll probably have a good idea where guys are. Hopefully we’ll have captains by then and that will be throughout the weekend. Should have a good update on Monday.”
Greg Mattison on the play of LB Tuf Borland
“I like everything about Tuf Borland’s game. Tuf Borland is another one that comes out to practice every day, extremely intelligent. Takes great pride in getting the front lined up. A linebacker can be an unbelievable player, and before I finish on that, our backers have all bought into the one thing I think is really, really important and that’s communicating.”
Mattison on the play of the team’s linebackers during fall camp
“Al [Washington] has done a super job with them. They understand their importance in this defense with the aggressiveness, with the taking charge, with the tempo that we’re seeing at times, you know and we’re going to see a lot during this year. So they have done a very good job of that.”
Mattison on how he’s working with co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Jeff Hafley
“Jeff and I work really, really well together and the big thing is there’s no egos. You know, our deal is to try to make this defense the best we can. That’s it. That’s it. That’s our whole goal. His expertise in the back end, he’s as good a secondary coach as I’ve ever seen, and I know the players would say that. And then for us to be able to work with the front end, it’s worked out perfect. I just — he’s a great one now. He’s done a really good job and we get along tremendous.”
2019 Heisman Trophy favorites and odds
The Associated Press’ prestigious NFL MVP honor has been awarded to a quarterback 11 of the past 12 seasons. This positional trend come award season has trickled down to the collegiate level too. Alabama running back Derrick Henry is the only non-quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy (2015) this decade and based on the 2019 preseason Heisman favorites, we should expect the pattern to continue this December.
2 of 16 Joe Burrow
Position: QB – senior
2018 stats: 2.894 pass yards, 16 TDs and five INTs | 399 rush yards and seven TDs
Burrow missed LSU’s first inner-squad scrimmage due to a minor injury but isn’t expected to be out long ahead of the Tigers’ season opener on Aug. 31. Although he missed the scrimmage, all eyes remain on the new-look Tigers offense, as head coach Ed Orgeron flipped the script and hired former New Orleans Saints offensive assistant Joe Brady to come in and create a run-pass option (RPO) system for Burrows and Co. With Burrows’ mobility and the fact his top four receivers return this season, the Tigers bread-and-butter run-first offense appears determined to (finally) add some flash downfield.
3 of 16 Jerry Jeudy
Position: WR – junior
2018 stats: 68 receptions, 1,315 receiving yards and 14 TDs
In one of its recent 2020 mock NFL Drafts, Pro Football Focus deemed Jeudy a top-five pick. While three of Alabama’s top receivers return, Jeudy led the team with 68 receptions last season, while the next closest returning target finished with 46. There’s little doubt Jeudy’s skills will translate at the next level, but unless he touches the ball 80-plus times this season, it’s hard to imagine him winning the Heisman.
4 of 16 AJ Dillon
Position: RB – junior
2018 stats: 1,108 rush yards and 10 TDs (in 10 games)
As a freshman, Dillon rushed 300 times for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns with one lost fumble. As a sophomore, Dillon rushed 227 times for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns with no lost fumbles despite missing two games. With that type of consistency, one should expect more of the same this season, right? Well, aside from concerns about Dillon’s heavy workload through the first two seasons, Boston College’s offensive coordinator, Scot Loeffler, left the Eagles to take Bowling Green’s head coaching gig. Former Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian assumes the OC role this season. So in addition to a new quarterback-friendly OC, Dillon’s offensive line returns only one starter from last year. If he stays healthy, this Hesiman Trophy campaign will be an uphill slog.
5 of 16 Travis Etienne
Position: RB – junior
2018 stats: 1,658 rush yards and 24 TDs
Etienne’s 8.13 yards per rush ranked seventh nationally last season but was trumped slightly by teammate Lyn-J Dixon’s 8.82 YPR. Granted Dixon finished with only 62 rush attempts compared to Etienne’s 204, but both should eat well this season as Clemson’s offensive line boasts four returning starters. So Entienne’s Heisman chances just come down to staying healthy, fending off Dixon for touches and, oh yeah, Trevor Lawrence turning into a pumpkin. He’s 30-to-1 for a reason.
6 of 16 Jonathan Taylor
Position: RB – junior
2018 stats: 2,194 rush yards, 16 TDs and eight INTs
Wisconsin’s running back led the nation in rushing as a sophomore last season when he averaged 169 rush yards per game. If there’s a knock on his Heisman chances heading into the 2019 season, it’s ball security. He lost four fumbles last season and six as a true freshman. When you consider the current stranglehold quarterbacks possess on the Heisman Trophy, Taylor must limit these types of statistical blemishes. He’ll have to accomplish all of this behind an inexperienced line that returns only one starter from last season.
7 of 16 Shea Patterson
Position: QB – senior
2018 stats: 2,600 pass yards, 22 TDs and seven INTs
Patterson’s second season with the maize and blue will look much different than his first. Michigan hired former Alabama co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis to run the Wolverines offense. His spread schemes conjure up memories of Rich Rodriguez, but a system Patterson seems to prefer. Michigan’s senior trigger will be protected by a veteran offensive line that returns all but one starter from last year’s squad. While Patterson did lose comfort of his top two running backs, his top two receivers, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, return for their junior seasons. As is often the case, Patterson’s shot at a Heisman Trophy are directly linked to a trip to the College Football Playoff, and that trip is typically linked to a win over rival Ohio State come late November.
8 of 16 D’Andre Swift
Position: RB – junior
2018 stats: 1,049 rush yards and 10 TDs | 297 rec. yards and three TDs
The Bulldogs backfield timeshare looked like this at the end of the season:
D’Andre Swift: 163 rush attempts and 6.4 YPR
Elijah Holyfield: 159 rush attempts and 6.4 YPR
With Holyfield now a member of the Carolina Panthers, Swift’s role will no doubt expand in the run and pass game, as he finished with the third-most receptions on the team last season. In fact, of Georgia’s top four leading receivers of a season ago, Swift is Jake Fromm’s only returning target.
9 of 16 Justin Herbert
Position: QB – senior
2018 stats: 3,151 pass yards, 29 TDs and eight INTs
On paper and up until recently, Herbert’s offense boasted 11 other returning starters. However, senior receiver and special teams star Brenden Schooler is out until at least early October with a foot injury. The good news is three of his four leading receivers remain healthy ahead of the season opener against Auburn. Many scouts believe Herbert would have trumped Kyler Murray as the overall No. 1 draft pick had he not returned for his senior season. It’s evident that despite his receivers dropping a reported 52 passes in 13 games last season, Herbert’s NFL Draft and Heisman stock remain high.
10 of 16 Sam Ehlinger
Position: QB – junior
2018 stats: 3,292 pass yards, 25 TDs and five INTs | 482 rush yards and 16 TDs
Texas scored 435 points last year. Via the pass and the run, Ehlinger accounted for 246 of those points,or 56.5 percent. Now if you think his Heisman Trophy chances improve because his run-pass cumulative eye-candy stats will rise as a junior, think again. The Longhorns starting quarterback missed two games last season due to injuries sustained running the rock. If his team has any aspirations of reaching the College Football Playoff, it needs Ehlinger upright for the entire regular season and, thus, may reduce his workload on the ground. This isn’t to say Ehlinger doesn’t deserve to be a Heisman favorite. It’s to say he may not produce Lamar Jackson stats this season.
11 of 16 Jake Fromm
Position: QB – junior
2018 stats: 2,761 pass yards, 30 TDs and six INTs
Justin Fields knew who was head and shoulders above the quarterback depth chart. Fromm’s 2018 production and grasp of the offense was enough to force Georgia’s second-string quarterback to transfer to Ohio State. Heisman Trophies are great, but when one’s play on the field forces a fellow competitor to adjust his career arc, it shouldn’t be dismissed. As for 2019, Fromm has some work to do, as he lost three of his top four receivers of a year ago, and lead running back D’Andre Swift is going to want to eat more in this his junior season. In recent interviews, Fromm claims this incoming receiving corps is ready to compete on Saturdays, but it’ll likely take a trip to the College Football Playoff for this quarterback to become one of three Heisman Trophy finalists.
12 of 16 Adrian Martinez
Position: QB – sophomore
2018 Stats: 2,617 pass yards, 17 pass TDs, eight INTs and 629 rush yards with eight rush TDs
What does Martinez have in common with seven of the past nine Heisman Trophy winners? They were known for their ability to make plays with their arm and with their legs . The Cornhuskers experienced some growing pains in Year 1 under first-year head coach Scott Frost, but if Martinez flips the script during his sophomore season and Nebraska goes from 4-8 to 8-4 or better, this quarterback will be headed to New York. While he did lose top receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. (1,004 rec. yards and seven TDs), two of his top three receivers return. Whether he remains in the Heisman conversation will come down to wins and losses AND if he continues to dazzle us with his mobility out of the pocket. At 12-to-1, I’d jump on these odds.
13 of 16 Jalen Hurts
Position: QB – senior
2017 stats: 2,081 pass yards, 17 TDs and one INT (last full season)
Oklahoma’s string of luck at quarterback is uncanny. First, Baker Mayfield transfers, earns the starting gig and wins a Heisman Trophy. Next, Kyler Murray transfers, earns the starting gig and wins the Heisman Trophy. This year, head coach Lincoln Riley struck gold again when former Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Hurts decided to leave the Tide for greener pastures. He was 26-2 as Alabama’s starter but joins an Oklahoma offense that returns only four starters. The good news is one of those starters is the team’s second-leading receiver, CeeDee Lamb (1,158 and 11 TDs), and another is running back Trey Sermon, who led the team with 164 carries and 13 rushing touchdowns last season. Plus — and you can’t discredit this come Heisman Trophy time — it’ll be a miracle if the Sooners fix their 130 th-ranked pass and 114th total defense in one season. So the pressure will be on Hurts to deliver all four quarters, which will only boost his Heisman stock if and when he leads the Sooners to the win.
14 of 16 Justin Fields
Position: QB – sophomore
2018 stats: 328 pass yards and four TDs on 39 attempts and 266 rush yards and four TDs on 42 attempts
Two years ago Fields was a top-five national football recruit headed to Georgia. Jake Fromm has the Bulldogs starting quarterback gig on lock, which ultimately led to Fields’ transfer to Ohio State. In limited action as a true freshman, Fields lived up to the 5-star recruit hype. He now joins a new-look Buckeyes offense that returns only one starting offensive lineman. So Fields’ mobility may be tested throughout the season. That mobility may unintentionally ding running back J.K. Dobbins’ Heisman hopes as the junior tailback racked up 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns last season while Dwayne Haskins was slinging the pigskin all over the field. In other words, Dobbins benefited from a pocket passer, where Fields is likely going to be the team’s second-leading rusher.
15 of 16 Trevor Lawrence
Position: QB – sophomore
2018 Stats: 3,280 pass yards, 30 pass TDs and four INTs
This picture from Clemson’s spring game says it all: Hands off the future NFL quarterback . Dabo Swinney may have lost some talent on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively all of Lawrence’s top options return. In addition to four starting senior linemen protecting his butt, the true sophomore quarterback gets three of his top four receivers back, led by fellow sophomore Justyn Ross who racked up 1,000 receiving yards and nine scores last year. Fellow Heisman hopeful, junior running back Travis Etienne, leads a stacked backfield that should open up the passing game. Pending any injuries, Lawrence is all but a lock for a trip to the PlayStation Theater this December.
16 of 16 Tua Tagovailoa
Position: QB – junior
2018 stats: 3,996 pass yards, 43 pass TDs (five rush TDs) and six INTs
Alabama’s starting quarterback was one of three 2018 Heisman finalists but finished second to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Although it’s no consolation to losing the hardware and national championship game, with 299 first-place and 431 second-place votes, Tagovailoa became the Heisman runner-up with the most points ever. The 2019 offensive line has some holes to fill, but Tua should pick up right where he left off as his top receiver — and fellow Heisman favorite — Jerry Jeudy (1,315 and 14 TDs) returns along with the second and third leading receiver from a year ago. Behind him, junior running back Najee Harris (783 and four TDs) looks to keep defensive front sevens honest.
Each top 25 team’s most indispensable player
Every team has that guy — that guy whom much of the team’s success hinges on. It’s that guy whom everyone else looks to when times are tough — and that one guy who has to play his best if the program wants to reach its goals.
Every top 25 team has its guy.
So as we head into the 2019 college football season, let’s take a look at the one player for each top 25 team who is the ultimate key to a great season. He’s the one guy who not only won’t let his team down — but he can’t let it down. Here is the most indispensable player on each top 25 team.
1 of 25 Clemson: Trevor Lawrence
Did you see the College Football Playoff championship game? Lawrence completed 20 of 32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns against a Nick Saban Alabama defense. In his true freshman season, he threw 30 TDs and only 4 interceptions and exuded a poise and calmness about him that was infectious. With the Tigers defense losing much of their experience and an offense that loses some key guys Lawrence will be asked to shoulder a bit more of the load. Defensive coordinators will key on stopping him so his ability to handle the pressure will be key to a Clemson repeat.
2 of 25 Alabama: Tua Tagovailoa
Tagovailoa essentially had two seasons last year. He was a clear Heisman Trophy frontrunner for the first half of the season, piling up ridiculous stats despite barely playing in the fourth quarter. However, his season ended with a dud of a performance against Georgia in the SEC Championship game and being completely outplayed by freshman Trevor Lawrence in the national championship game. There was an outstanding performance against Oklahoma in between those games and he was obviously banged up as the season wore on. Bama is stacked once again but with Jalen Hurts now in Oklahoma this is all about where Tua can take the Tide. Look for a huge chip on his shoulder in 2019.
3 of 25 Georgia: Andrew Thomas
Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift get a bulk of the headlines … and deservedly so … but Thomas is the most important player for the Bulldogs. Thomas is an intelligent leader who understands what it takes to win and what his responsibility is to make that happen for the Dawgs. He blocks Fromm’s blindside and his ability to dominate as a run blocker frees up space for Swift. In a conference with some outstanding defensive linemen, Thomas will be the engine that keeps Georgia rolling.
4 of 25 Oklahoma: CeeDee Lamb
Lamb has caught passes from two different Heisman Trophy winners in his two seasons at Oklahoma. Now he’ll get to catch passes from Jalen Hurts, who went 26-2 and won a national championship as a starter for Alabama. Lamb has adjusted to whomever is throwing him the ball and continues to be a feared receiver for an offense that is always evolving.
5 of 25 Ohio State: J.K. Dobbins
A new quarterback and new receivers playing for a new head coach means that the offense is in a bit of transition at Ohio State. That means that J.K. Dobbins will be attempt to be the steadying force for a Buckeyes team that is trying to get back to the College Football Playoff. Dobbins did take a slight step back in rushing yards last season but made a much bigger impact as a receiver in an abnormally pass-happy offense in 2018. Dobbins should expect more rushing attempts as the offense calms down and becomes more balanced.
6 of 25 LSU: Grant Delpit
LSU is known for having elite defensive backs, and Delpit looks to have his name mentioned among those greats. Last season he picked off five passes, recorded five sacks and forced a fumble. Not only does he possess top-level range and coverage skills, but LSU also likes to use him to pressure the quarterback. Having a talented safety like Delpit allows for the Tigers to take more risks with blitzes and coverage schemes.
7 of 25 Michigan: Shea Patterson
Could things be breaking right for Michigan? Patterson will benefit from new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, who likes to let his playmakers make plays and should allow Patterson to play with more freedom. The offensive line is solid and there are experienced receivers so Patterson has all the tools to have a huge season. In Jim Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor, a reliable offense has kept the Wolverines from taking that next step. They have the quarterback now.
8 of 25-Florida: CJ Henderson
Florida wins with their defense and Henderson is a major cog in that. He is a shutdown corner who also can help stuff the run and impacts all facets of defense. He had 38 tackles, two interceptions, three sacks, five tackles for loss and forced two fumbles in 2018.
9 of 25 Notre Dame: Ian Book
Book took over the starting quarterback job from Brandon Wimbush early in the season and the Irish just felt different. The offense was much more efficient and potent once Book took over and he arguably has the best arm of anyone during Brian Kelly’s decade-long tenure. Not only is he capable of slinging the ball around the field but he’s a decent scrambler who can break off a big run.
10 of 25 Texas: Sam Ehlinger
Ehlinger burst on the scene with his outstanding performance against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry (314 pass yards, two pass TDs, 72 rush yards, three rush TDs). Much of the rest of the season was pretty darn good too, including the Longhorns’ rematch with the Sooners in the Big 12 title game (349 pass yards, four total TDs). Ehlinger would have some poor showings mixed in, but the potential is there to have a huge season.
11 of 25 Texas A&M: Kellen Mond
Mond doesn’t wow you with his stats…though they are impressive. He is a dual-threat quarterback who is entering his second year with Jimbo Fisher (the guy who had a similar talent in Jameis Winston win a Heisman for him). He showed his ability to dominate with solid games against Alabama and Clemson (both losses) and he may be more crucial to his team’s success than anyone in the top 15. The Aggies are ready to make that jump into elite status, and Mond’s performance this season will go a long way to achieving that.
12 of 25 Washington: Myles Bryant
Bryant has made the all-Pac 12 team the last two years and is the unquestioned leader of the Huskies’ secondary. Bryant is small (just 5’9) but he has no problem mixing it up as a tackler and helping with stopping the run. He’s quick, fast and as a senior experienced enough to read plays before and as they develop. In a conference with some unique and electric offenses, Bryant will be one of the most valuable players in the Pac-12.
13 of 25 Oregon: Justin Herbert
Herbert quite possibly would have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft had he declared. Instead, he stuck around for his senior season and will attempt to lead Oregon back to elite status and keep the Ducks in the hunt for a Pac 12 and a national championship. His stats don’t wow you, but Oregon struggled when he missed several games in 2017 and leaned on him heavily last season. For the first time in his college career, he’ll have the same head coach for a second season, which should help create continuity for him and the entire team.
14 of 25 Penn State: Yetur Gross-Matos
Gross-Matos is a menace. He is great at overpowering blockers and lives in offensive backfields. He had 20 tackles for loss in 2018 and could be a high first round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Penn State is stacked defensively and this unit (Gross-Matos alongside Mitch Parsons and Shaka Toney) could be the best in the nation. In a Big Ten East division with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, YGM is a difference maker.
15 of 25 Utah: Bradlee Anae
Look, the Utes are built on their defense and Anae is the best of the bunch. He takes advantage of the great line he lines up with and attacks his blocker aggressively … putting pressure on the offensive line’s blocking schemes. Anae has to be accounted for on every play.
16 of 25-Auburn: Derrick Brown
Auburn’s front seven should be problems for opposing offenses, and Brown is the leader of the group. He is huge (6-foot-5 and nearly 320 pounds) and athletic and has the ability to both eat up blockers and still make plays. The Tigers go up against some high-octane offenses this year (Oregon, Georgia and Alabama are some prime examples) and Brown’s ability to put pressure in the face of quarterbacks will be a huge key to Auburn’s success.
17 of 25 UCF: Greg McCrae
There are a lot of changes happening at UCF so finding some familiarity makes fans feel a bit better. McCrae led the Knights in rushing last year with 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns and the feeling is that he may be leaned on a bit more with the uncertainty at quarterback. McKenzie Milton is still recovering from his horrible knee injury and his replacement Darriel Mack suffered a broken ankle over the summer. That leaves grad transfer Brandon Wimbush as the starter. McCrae was outstanding over the final seven games of 2018, including 181 yards rushing and three touchdowns against rival USF and 208 rushing yards against Memphis in the AAC title game.
18 of 25 Wisconsin: Jonathan Taylor
Taylor followed up one of the greatest freshman seasons for a running back with an even better year. He rushed for 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns and won the Doak Walker Award despite the Badgers having an uncharacteristically off year. Everyone knows he is the focal point of Wisconsin’s offense, yet he is so tough to stop. If he ever becomes part of the pass offense (just eight receptions in each of his first two seasons) then he would be lethal.
19 of 25-Iowa: A.J. Epenesa
The Big Ten West is such a volatile division that nearly anyone can win it (see: Northwestern in 2018). Iowa is a contender because of defensive end A.J. Epenesa. Quite simply, this guy gets to the quarterback. He is tall (6-foot-6) and fast and had 10.5 sacks last year for the Hawkeyes in a somewhat limited role. He should be an even bigger factor in 2019 with his ability to disrupt passing plays and his effectiveness against the run.
20 of 25 Michigan State: Kenny Willekes
Willekes is a fifth-year senior that was originally a walk-on for the Spartans. Now he’s one of the best pass rushers in college football. He may get off to a slow start as he is coming back from a broken leg he suffered during the Redbox Bowl last December. When he does get back to playing, no one will work harder to give his team a shot at winning.
21 of 25 Washington State: Abraham Lucas
The Cougars lost their all-everything quarterback and running back so there is some transition going on in the backfield. Lucas (#78, pictured) is an outstanding right tackle who is a phenomenal pass blocker and has a future in the NFL. Washington State’s head coach Mike Leach plays a fast break kind of offense so he asks a lot of his offensive linemen. Lucas has worked to bulk up (he’s up to 320 pounds) yet remain agile enough to take on edge rushers.
22 of 25 Syracuse: Andre Cisco
Who was the only ACC school, besides Clemson, to finish with at least 10 wins in 2018? It was the Syracuse Orange. Cisco, then a freshman, tied for the national lead in interceptions with seven last year and is back to try to scare quarterbacks in 2019. He was everywhere toward the end of the season with nine tackles and a pick against Notre Dame and nine tackles in the Orange’s bowl game against West Virginia.
23 of 25 -Stanford: K.J. Costello
Costello quietly put up big numbers last year (3,540 yards, 29 TDs) for the Cardinal — his first as a starter. He’s got a great arm for Stanford’s pro-style offense, completed 65% of his passes and limits turnovers. The Cardinal offense lost the oft-injured running back Bryce Love as well as receivers JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Kaden Smith so it is up to Costello to shoulder a bigger load as the leader of the offense.
24 of 25-Iowa State: Brock Purdy
Going into 2018, no one though Purdy would see the field at Iowa State, let alone become the Cyclones’ star player. But when injuries hit the quarterback position, he came in, took over and led Iowa State to the Alamo Bowl. He threw for 2,250 yards and 16 TDs. In his first action, he came in on the road against ranked Oklahoma State and led a comeback win … then the next week threw three touchdowns against No. 6 West Virginia in a win. The Cyclones went 7-2 in games Purdy played in, including a close loss to Washington State in their bowl game. Expectations are sky high in Ames.
25 of 25 -Northwestern: Paddy Fisher
How can you not like Paddy Fisher? He is a linebacker that is just everywhere. If there is a tackle, he seems to be in on it. He loves to stick his nose in the action and was an important reason that the Wildcats played in the Big Ten championship game. Tough, tough player.
Ohio State football 2019 season preview: Best and worst-case scenario
The 2018 Ohio State Buckeyes were one of the most frustrating 13-1 teams you’ll ever watch. Whether it was poor play and coaching on the defensive side of the ball or lack of a consistent run game on offense, things just never seemed to click for most of the season. Add on another embarrassing road loss this time by Purdue, and you get a one-loss Big Ten conference champion left out of the playoffs.
It sounds crazy to think a team that went 13-1 could somehow be slightly disappointing, but that is the bar that’s been set in Columbus.
However, on the positive side, they handed their rival Michigan one of its worse losses in series history with a 62-39 beat down. At the center of that was the most prolific passing season in Big Ten history courtesy of Heisman finalist Dwayne Haskins. He finished with the most yards, completions, and touchdowns in a single season within the conference and often carried the Buckeyes to victory. Haskins along with receivers Paris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and Johnnie Dixon were a deadly passing game, but with all four gone, there are big shoes to fill in 2019.
There are also huge shoes to fill in the sideline as Ryan Day takes over head coaching duties from Urban Meyer. Fortunately for a team like Ohio State, you’re never rebuilding, but merely reloading.
The Buckeyes only return four starters from last year’s team, but they have talent that seems ready to step up. And it starts with new Georgia transfer Justin Fields who will likely be starting this season under center. Next to Fields will be third-year starter J.K. Dobbins who is now the lone feature back with Mike Weber gone. Look for him to have his third-straight 1,000-yard rushing season.
At receiver, they have senior K.J. Hill is who the lone returning starter on the outside and is as reliable as it gets. If healthy all season, expect Hill to break David Boston’s school record for receptions. Alongside Hill will be Austin Mack, Binjinmen Victor and Chris Olave who have all flashed but need to prove they can be consistent. The offensive line does have to replace four starters, but it is time for some of these big-time recruits to start emerging.
On defense, they return nine players, but this unit wasn’t precisely lockdown in 2018. Coach Day made his concerns extremely clear by cleaning house with the defensive staff outside of d-line coach Larry Johnson. Now it is up to Co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley to take what is still a very talented defensive group and get them back on track. Chase Young is the main player to look out for as he could hear his name called very early in the 2020 NFL draft. Also, expect big things from cornerback Jeffery Okudah and linebacker Malik Harrison who could also be early-round draft picks.
The Buckeyes 2019 schedule has some ebbs and flows with the middle and end being pretty tricky. Though unlike the past few seasons, there will be no ominous non-conference matchup early for Ohio State so they may be able to find their footing early on. And by rivalry week, they could find themselves facing hated rival Michigan once again for the Big Ten West crown.
Ohio State football best-case scenario
Aug. 31 vs. Florida Atlantic: W
Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati: W
Sept. 14 at Indiana: W
Sept. 21 vs. Miami (OH): W
Sept. 28 at Nebraska: W
Oct. 5 vs. Michigan St: W
Oct. 18 at Northwestern: W
Oct. 26 vs. Wisconsin: W
Nov. 9 vs. Maryland: W
Nov. 16 at Rutgers: W
Nov. 23 vs. Penn State: W
Nov. 30 at Michigan: W
Record: 12-0, (8-0 Big Ten)
When you are as talented as the Buckeyes usually are, going undefeated is the default best-case scenario. The stretch from Sept. 28-Oct. 26 will be crucial as it’ll test this team’s mental and physical ability to avoid another Purdue or Iowa disaster.
The Buckeyes have proven over the years they are going to be fully prepared to battle the top teams in the Big Ten like Penn State and Michigan, so that’s not a concern. Michigan, in particular, needs to prove they have the athletes to keep up with the Buckeyes after last year’s 62-39 blowout. Ohio State has won 14 of the previous 15 meetings between the two.
Ohio State football worst-case scenario
Aug. 31 vs. Florida Atlantic: W
Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati: L
Sept. 14 at Indiana: W
Sept. 21 vs. Miami (OH): W
Sept. 28 at Nebraska: L
Oct. 5 vs. Michigan St: W
Oct. 18 at Northwestern: W
Oct. 26 vs. Wisconsin: W
Nov. 9 vs. Maryland: W
Nov. 16 @ Rutgers: W
Nov. 23 vs. Penn State: W
Nov. 30 at Michigan: L
Record: 9-3 (7-2)
Before every Ohio State fan completely loses their minds, remember this is the worst-case scenario. The Buckeyes don’t have their usually high level out of conference game, but Sept. 7 against Cincinnati could be a dangerous trap. They are going to be one of the better Group of 5 teams, and the Buckeyes still might be trying to find themselves on both sides of the ball.
The hype around Nebraska seems to be a little extreme, but they gave Ohio State a serious fight last year. And over the previous two seasons, the Buckeyes have been good for one inexplicably runaway loss. So a road game in Lincoln right in the middle of the season could be the 2019 version. Then when it comes to “The Game,” this could finally be the year Jim Harbaugh and Michigan ultimately live up to the hype.
Luck Fickell not worrying about Jim Harbaugh anymore
Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell seems to be backing down after working all offseason to make Michigan look like a villain over the NCAA not granting immediate eligibility to transfer James Hudson.
Hudson was a redshirt freshman at Michigan last year and appeared in three games as a right tackle. His mother asked for a meeting with Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh that took place on Oct. 22, 2018, two days after the Wolverines’ win over Michigan State.
The meeting was said to be abrupt. Later that day, Hudson decided to enter his name into the transfer portal.
Harbaugh contends that the meeting was about playing time and that Hudson was upset he had been surpassed on the depth chart for the Michigan State game. The coach said Hudson was surpassed because of an injury.
Hudson decided to transfer to Cincinnati and sought a waiver to be granted immediate eligibility to play. The waiver request was denied, as was Hudson’s appeal.
Hudson, his mother, and Fickell then embarked on a smear campaign aimed at Michigan, blaming them and Harbaugh for not helping out the player, who says he was dealing with depression at Michigan.
The NCAA denied Hudson’s requests because the transfer to Cincinnati fell outside of the 100-mile radius from Hudson’s hometown of Toledo, and because there was no documentation of his depression during his time at Michigan. Hudson contends he did not report anything to avoid looking weak.
Harbaugh, Michigan, and the NCAA took heat over the matter. The Michigan coach spoke on the subject at Big Ten Media Days and said he foresaw concerns with players being granted immediate eligibility for citing mental health reasons. He said that once players see a pattern in the NCAA granting waivers, others will follow just to get what they want, even if it means lying about mental health issues.
“Down the road, I don’t see that helping them if that’s not a legitimate thing,” Harbaugh told ESPNU’s Big Ten Radio in July. “But nobody would know. But what are you going to say? Ten years down the road, ‘I just had to say what I had to say’? You’re putting them in a position that’s unfair, not right. You’re saying it just to say it. … That’s not something we should be promoting at the college level. Telling the truth matters, especially at a college.”
Harbaugh is exactly right about that concern. He offered a solution, saying the NCAA should grant a one-time transfer for college football players with no reason required. A second transfer would necessitate a year sitting out.
“I care very deeply about mental health. I’m not saying everybody’s lying about that,” Harbaugh said. “… Just saying, ‘OK, this is America. You started at this school, you didn’t like it, and for whatever the reason is, you’re freely allowed to transfer to any other school like any other human being would have a right to do.’ That’s really the bottom line.”
In an article published by The Athletic’s Justin Williams on Tuesday, Fickell called out Harbaugh and Michigan for not doing more to help out Hudson’s case.
“Here’s what I believe in the whole waiver process: the number one, most important thing, and all the power, comes from the school that a kid is leaving. No matter what,” Fickell told The Athletic. “(Michigan) didn’t back the waiver. They can say what they want to say, but the only thing they said that was positive was that if the NCAA chooses to make (Hudson) eligible, then they would accept it — that they didn’t have an angle. They are just trying to cover their a–. And I’m really, completely disappointed in it.
“They can say they didn’t undermine it, but they didn’t work to help the kid out.”
Michigan says they handled Hudson’s transfer the exact same way they did four others this offseason — impartially. One case was approved, two were not, and another is still being processed.
Harbaugh responded on Tuesday to Fickell saying Michigan could have done more to help Hudson. He says that Fickell essentially wanted Harbaugh to lie on Hudson’s behalf to help the player gain eligibility.
“I read Luke Fickell’s comments and unless I’m reading them wrong or mistaking them, I believe he’s under the impression these waivers are decided coach-to-coach in some kind of deal fashion,” Harbaugh said.
“That is not the understanding that I’m under. I’m under the understanding that the NCAA decides these waivers. Unless he has something he can bring forth and share and enlighten us and the entire football world, I would really like to know what that is because he called me in March and asked me about, specifically, he wanted to know about the position switch that James was switched from defensive line to offensive line. I told him, ‘Yeah, after two weeks of practice watching James at defensive line, I personally, not other coaches, I went up to him and said, James, I think you’ve got the body type to be a really good offensive tackle. We don’t mandate what positions players play at the University of Michigan. You can compete at whatever position you want, do you want to try it out?’ He did.
“Turned out that he was really good at that offensive line position. That’s what I told Coach Fickell, exactly the way it happened when I talked to James on the field that day. And then Coach Fickell tried to coach me on how to say it different. I told him, ‘Coach, I believe in telling the truth. Forthright. Honest. What I told James, what I tell you, what I tell compliance is going to be the truth.’ He asked the question in the article, ‘What’s most important? Your personal beliefs, or what’s in the best interest of the kid?’ I can answer that. What’s most important is the truth. If he’s questioning what my personal beliefs are, then that’s what I believe in. I believe in being forthright, honest and telling the truth. I’m astounded he’s gotten to where he’s at by not knowing the answer to that question.”
After Harbaugh called out Fickell for essentially asking him to lie to the NCAA, the Cincinnati coach seemed to back down Wednesday, saying he wasn’t worrying about what Harbaugh had to say.
Ranking every backup NFL quarterback
The focus is on the starting quarterbacks as we enter the 2019 NFL season, but the backups can also play a huge role, as Nick Foles showed with the Eagles in 2017 winning the Super Bowl. Entering the preseason, here’s a ranking of every second-string quarterback from 1-32.
1 of 32 Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Tannehill’s seven-year tenure as a starter in Miami didn’t work out how he wanted, but he still showed flashes. Over his last three seasons on the field, Tannehill had 60/33 TD/INT and averaged 7.4 yards per attempt. He’s talented enough to start somewhere despite his recent injuries, and Marcus Mariota’s recent shaky play could give Tannehill an opportunity soon.
2 of 32 Jacoby Brissett, Colts
While he went just 4-11 as a starter when Andrew Luck was injured in 2017, Brissett turned some heads on a team lacking much talent. Brissett shows plus mobility and decent accuracy, and would likely be able to keep the Colts competitive if he gets another opportunity given their upgraded talent and coaching.
3 of 32 Brian Hoyer, Patriots
Hoyer started his NFL career in New England and returned after six years away with far more experience. Playing for six different teams from 2012-2017, Hoyer’s performance was rarely smooth, but he had a winning record as a starter with both Cleveland and Houston. The Patriots seem comfortable with Hoyer as Tom Brady’s backup, though going on age 34 he’s not their long-term answer should Brady retire soon.
4 of 32 Teddy Bridgewater, Saints
Bridgewater’s career was sidetracked by a catastrophic knee injury in 2016, but he led the Vikings to an 11-5 regular season record in 2015. His playing time has been sporadic over the last year, though it is worth noting that Bridgewater struggled with backups as the Week 17 starter. With Drew Brees getting close to retirement, Bridgewater is a possibility to start in New Orleans down the line.
5 of 32 Case Keenum, Redskins
Keenum has seen significant playing time for much of his career as a West Coast system quarterback, and he was a revelation replacing Sam Bradford with the Vikings in 2017. He led the team to an 11-3 regular season record and went all the way to the NFC championship game, but last year’s poor results in Denver showed the supporting cast had a lot to do with his success. For the most part, Keenum has struggled to protect the ball during his career and averaged only 6.6 yards per attempt with the Broncos last year. Still, he might give Washington the best chance to win at the start of the season as it grooms rookie Dwayne Haskins.
6 of 32 Chad Henne, Chiefs
Henne has his fair share of NFL experience, starting 53 games for his career between Miami and Jacksonville. He averaged fewer than 7 yards per attempt in all but one of his six seasons starting games, though the talent around Henne was never great. It would be interesting to see how Henne would fare with KC’s immense offensive talent, but Chiefs fans would prefer not to find out with Patrick Mahomes running the show.
7 of 32 Tyrod Taylor, Chargers
Taylor was never a great quarterback when he started for three seasons in Buffalo, but he consistently protected the ball. His elite 1.3 interception percentage in Buffalo helped him post a winning record over three seasons, but Taylor was downright terrible for Cleveland in four games last year. Taylor’s mobility and ability to manage the game does add security, but Philip Rivers has never missed a start since 2006.
8 of 32 Blake Bortles, Rams
Bortles looked like a bust during his first three seasons in Jacksonville before going 10-6 in 2017 and leading Jacksonville to the AFC championship game. He operated well as a game manager during that season with a great running game and elite defense, but the walls came crashing down last year when those two areas regressed. With 75 interceptions in 75 career games, Bortles proved he couldn’t take care of the ball well enough to lead a team, but he picked an intriguing spot with head coach Sean McVay.
9 of 32 Chase Daniel, Bears
Daniel has made quite a living as an NFL backup and finally found the field for two starts last season when Mitchell Trubisky was hurt. The results were mixed, but Daniel did complete nearly 70 percent of his passes. He’s limited by a lack of arm strength but has proved capable of managing a team in a pinch.
10 of 32 Nick Mullens, 49ers
Does Mullens have a starting job in his future? The former undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss came out of nowhere to start eight games for San Francisco while Jimmy Garoppolo was injured, effectively moving the ball with nearly 285 yards per game and 8.3 yards per attempt last season. His 10 picks were a major blemish, but Mullens really showed potential.
11 of 32 Josh Rosen, Dolphins
Rosen looked lost on a terrible Cardinals team in his rookie season. He gets to start over after getting traded to Miami, but he’s behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick early in camp. Rosen has plenty of arm talent and showed ability to throw accurately and read defenses at UCLA, but he also has an injury history and terrible early NFL results. He should find the field at some point this year, and his results could determine his career trajectory.
12 of 32 Robert Griffin III, Ravens
Griffin’s early career flashes and flameout are well-documented, but he would seem to be a perfect fit for the type of offense Baltimore runs with Lamar Jackson. Still mobile at age 29, Griffin hasn’t seen significant snaps since 2016 and is extremely injury prone. However, in terms of a quarterback fitting a system, he’s certainly in the right place with Baltimore.
13 of 32 Trevor Siemian, Jets
Siemian came almost out of nowhere to be Peyton Manning’s immediate replacement for the Broncos in 2016. He went 8-6 during the regular season with a great supporting cast but failed to complete 60 percent of his passes. His play continued to slip the following year, and Siemian was benched, throwing 14 picks in 11 games. The Northwestern alum has reunited with former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase in New York and hopes to show better accuracy if he finds the field again.
14 of 32 Matt Schaub, Falcons
Schaub made two Pro Bowls as Houston’s starter, but his tenure ended suddenly when he threw 13 picks over eight starts for the Texans. The high interception rate continued when Schaub got a chance with Baltimore in 2015. He’s rarely found the field since taking over as Matt Ryan’s backup in 2016, and at this point his best asset is probably experience.
15 of 32 Matt Barkley, Bills
Barkley saw significant playing time with six starts for the Bears in 2016. While he moved the ball (7.5 yards per attempt), Barkley’s 14 interceptions in only 216 attempts were unacceptable. A seasoned quarterback from USC, Barkley needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball.
16 of 32 AJ McCarron, Texans
It’s been an interesting few seasons for McCarron. The former Bengals backup was nearly traded to Cleveland in 2017 in a deal that was botched due to paperwork, and then he signed with Buffalo to be the supposed starter last season. He lost out on the starting job to Nathan Peterman and was traded to Oakland and now finds himself with Houston. However, McCarron suffered a thumb injury early in training camp that could keep him out for the entire preseason. Given the recent chain of events, the Texans have reason to be anxious if something happens to Deshaun Watson.
17 of 32 Cooper Rush, Cowboys
Rush has thrown only three regular-season passes since he arrived in the league two years ago, and his preseason results have been mixed over the last two years. He’s certainly shown some flashes in the preseason and was a productive quarterback at Central Michigan, but we won’t know Rush’s true ability until he’s thrown to the wolves.
18 of 32 Mike Glennon, Raiders
It was just two years ago that Glennon was signed to be the Bears starter, but he went 1-3 with five interceptions in four starts before getting benched for rookie Mitchell Trubisky. He’s now just 6-16 for his career as a starter and enters camp fighting for the No. 2 job with the venerable Nathan Peterman.
19 of 32 Nate Sudfeld, Eagles
Philadelphia might not be sure what it has in Sudfeld (Injured), but the early returns have been impressive. He’s 20-of-25 for 156 yards and one score in the three regular-season games in which he’s appeared, and he threw five touchdowns in the preseason last year. Sudfeld is a leg up on Cody Kessler for the all-important No. 2 job going into the preseason behind oft-injured Carson Wentz.
20 of 32 Blaine Gabbert, Buccaneers
Gabbert has the arm strength to make all the throws, but the former first-round pick is a proven bust with 48 career starts under his belt. He’s completed only 56.2 percent of his passes with only one more touchdown than interception thrown for his career. While Gabbert led the Titans to a 2-1 record during 2018 while Marcus Mariota was injured, the team prioritized improving the No. 2 spot with Ryan Tannehill after Gabbert threw four picks and averaged 6.2 yards per pass attempt.
21 of 32 Mason Rudolph, Steelers
Pittsburgh’s third-round pick last year, Rudolph has a great chance to unseat Josh Dobbs for the No. 2 job behind Ben Roethlisberger. It remains to be seen if Rudolph should be considered the team’s quarterback of the future, but he fared well last year in the preseason (315 yards and 3/1 TD/INT) and had a good college track record at Oklahoma State.
22 of 32 Drew Stanton, Browns
Stanton last appeared in a regular-season game in 2017 with Arizona. A former second-round pick with a strong arm, Stanton is 11-6 over his career as a starter despite a terrible 52.4 percent completion rate and 6.2 yards per attempt. He also has more interceptions than touchdown passes for his career.
23 of 32 DeShone Kizer, Packers
Kizer was traded by the Browns after going 0-15 with a league-high 22 interceptions in his rookie season. He was called into action three times by Green Bay last year, including some true lowlights in Week 1 vs. the Bears. The arm strength that made Kizer a second-round pick just two years ago is still intact, but his accuracy and decision making have left much to be desired.
24 of 32 Tom Savage, Lions
Savage was exposed when he started seven games for the Texans in 2017, going 1-6 and completing only 56.1 percent of his passes with 6.3 yards per attempt. His lack of mobility in the pocket is a huge issue, and the former fourth-round pick doesn’t have any plus NFL traits. Detroit starter Matthew Stafford has started all 16 games in eight straight seasons, so the concern here is low for the team.
25 of 32 Taylor Heinicke, Panthers
Heinicke is in an interesting battle for the No. 2 job in Carolina with Kyle Allen and rookie third-rounder Will Grier. He didn’t play well in his first career start last year, throwing three picks in a 24-10 loss to Atlanta but has the mobility to be a fit behind Cam Newton.
26 of 32 Jeff Driskel, Bengals
Driskel is hoping to hold off fourth-round pick Ryan Finley for the No. 2 job behind Andy Dalton. Despite an up-and-down college career, Driskel saw five starts in Dalton’s stead in his third NFL season. Not surprisingly, he had a rough time moving the offense with only 153 yards per start and 5.5 yards per pass attempt. Given his performance in that 1-4 run, it wasn’t a shock that the Bengals used a draft pick on a quarterback.
27 of 32 Daniel Jones, Giants
The sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, Jones was a head-scratching selection considering his lack of college production at Duke. He completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes and near reached 3,000 yards in any of his three seasons as Duke’s starter. Eli Manning enters the year as the Giants starter, but Jones could find the field if the team’s season goes south. His first preseason game did show some promise, albeit against backups and basic defenses.
28 of 32 Paxton Lynch, Seahawks
The 26th-overall pick by Denver in the 2016 draft, Lynch was in over his head in four starts over two seasons before the Broncos cut him in only his third preseason. Lynch was effectively out of the league last year but is getting a chance to prove himself behind Russell Wilson this preseason. There’s plenty of arm strength and mobility, so perhaps a change of scenery will be worthwhile.
29 of 32 Brett Hundley, Cardinals
Green Bay prioritized improving its backup quarterback position last year after what the team saw from Hundley as a starter in 2017 replacing the injured Aaron Rodgers. During that run, Hundley threw 12 interceptions in 11 games and averaged a terrible 5.8 yards per attempt. The fact that he couldn’t beat out DeShone Kizer for the No. 2 job last year says a lot.
30 of 32 Drew Lock, Broncos
Lock surprisingly fell to the second round of this year’s draft, and the rookie looked in over his head in his first preseason game. His weaknesses in college were short throws and reading defenses, and those issues will take time and coaching to fix. He does throw a beautiful deep ball, but he needs more in his toolbox to succeed at this level. Denver is hoping it won’t need to call on Lock for a while.
31 of 32 Sean Mannion, Vikings
Mannion finds himself in Minnesota after four years as the Rams backup. His preseason track record has been less than stellar, including a 52.2 percent completion rate last year. Appearing in 10 regular-season games, including one start, Mannion has a pitiful 4.9 yards per pass attempt.
32 of 32 Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
Jacksonville is putting all of its eggs in Nick Foles’ basket given that its likely No. 2 quarterback is a rookie sixth-round pick. Minshew was impressive in Mike Leach’s quarterback-friendly offense at Washington State last season, completing more than 70 percent of his passes with 38 touchdowns, but his accuracy wasn’t nearly as stellar earlier in his career at East Carolina.
Dak Prescott and Tate Martell can’t handle the truth
My internet buddy Shea Serrano always tells people to bet on themselves. It’s great advice because if you don’t bet on yourself, why should anyone else?
It’s a great line to apply to professional sports and athletes when they play out an existing deal in the hopes of cashing in down the road via free agency. In the case of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, he’s betting on himself. But he’s betting on himself as if he were the second coming of Tom Brady.
Prescott reportedly turned down $30 million per year by the Cowboys who also have to figure out how they’re going to pay Amari Cooper and get Ezekiel Elliott out of Cabo in time before he balloons up north of 250 pounds. Prescott is reportedly seeking a record-breaking $40 million annual salary, which would be $5 million more than the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.
As good of a player as he is, no one is mistaking him for Wilson or The GOAT.
I have to admire him for betting on himself with such confidence, but I also have to wonder if Antonio Brown is giving him this advice. This is some of the most ridiculous demands I’ve seen, and this is the NFL where that’s the norm. I love Dak, been a huge fan since 2013 when I’d tell anyone who’d listen that he was special.
In his defense, he’s not wrong to ask for back pay. He’s been one of the biggest bargains in the NFL the last three years. Prescott will earn a $2.025 million base salary this year which ranks 26th among quarterbacks, according to spotrac. His career earnings of $2.7 million through three seasons is half of what career journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick will get to maybe start for the Miami Dolphins. Bryan Hoyer, Nate Sudfeld and Chase Daniel will all make more than that as backups this season alone.
He’s worth three times that, but four times worth would destroy the salary cap and could mean Elliott and/or Cooper are no longer fits in the budget. Consider his 32 wins since 2016 (second-most in the NFL) are a team stat, his No. 1 argument is hollow.
He’s clutch and has led 14 game-winning drives during his NFL career, but he’s also never thrown more than 23 touchdowns or for more than 4,000 yards. Further, his QBR has declined the last two seasons. He’s great for the Cowboys because of Elliott, Cooper and arguably the NFL’s best offensive line in front of him and complimented by an ascending young defense.
That doesn’t scream $40 million.
I get rising tides lift all ships and he will benefit from the market that was set by his peers. But he’s not in their class. Not even close. If Prescott is worth $40 per year, then Patrick Mahomes is worth $100 million.
I don’t fault him for trying to get his paper. I would be trying to do the same thing. You would too. Ask for a lot and have them go back to the negotiating table. I’d just recommend having a dose of reality otherwise he’s not going to get paid by the Cowboys and he’s not going to get as a free agent.
Tate Martell faces another hardship: He’s just not that good
It’s hard to admit when you’re not as good as you think you are.
Tate Martell bolted from Ohio State after Justin Fields transferred in and knew he wouldn’t be able to beat him out for the starting quarterback job. He transferred to Miami with the assumption he’d win the starting job over uneven N’Kosi Perry and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams. Funny thing happened along the way though: Williams won the job over Perry and Martell. In fact, if he doesn’t leave, Martell might be holding a clipboard all season as the third-team quarterback.
That deserves a big yike.
Martell reportedly wasn’t at practice on Monday after learning Manny Diaz just isn’t that into him. I fully expect his next move to be hopping back in the transfer portal and claiming another hardship due to a lack of talent.
Martell was a high school superstar at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas where they were basically the Clemson or Alabama of the prep ranks. He wasn’t used to hardship. He was the Gatorade National Player of the Year and went 45-0 his last three years. He was the big man on campus. A reality star who appeared in season one of the Netflix series QB1: Beyond the Lights.
He was used to everything going his way. So when things don’t go his way, he runs, and he’s probably going to do what he’s done in the past and run again. He’s already decommitted from Washington, Texas A&M and transferred from Ohio State. Martell’s highlight tape is full of him making people miss and running away from defenses. Now he’s running away from competition.
Martell needs to take a long look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact he’s just not as good as he thinks he is. Only then can he begin to male something of his stalled college career.
Much like with Prescott, Martell can’t handle the truth.
Giants WR Tate: Doctor told him fertility drug not banned
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate III never hesitated to take a prescribed fertility drug because the doctor who wrote the prescription told him he had given it to other NFL players and it was not banned.
Speaking to reporters a day after an independent arbiter upheld his suspension for the first four games of the regular season, Tate said Wednesday he was considering legal action against the doctor to recover the $1.2 million in salary he will lose during his suspension. He did not identify the doctor.
In the candid interview after practice, Tate said he was frustrated, accepted both the blame and the punishment, and added he was having a tough time for letting down his teammates and the organization for the start of the season.
“I have been thinking about this since April and May,” Tate said. “This has been on my mind. I have lost a lot of sleep. It’s kind of hurt me to my core having to explain to the organization what is going on. I’m just ready to move forward. I just want to play football. You look at me. I am not trying to cheat.”
Tate signed a $37.5 million contract as a free agent with the Giants in March. He said he started taking a fertility drug in April and a couple of days later said he was randomly tested for drugs by the league. He learned shortly after that the drug, which he said was clomifene, was a banned substance.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, players can use fertility drugs, but they must get prior approve before taking them. Tate did not.
“Initially the doctor said it was not a banned substance and he had given it to other NFL players, that’s why I trusted it and kept living my life,” Tate said.
Michael Avenatti alleges Nike approved payments for Zion Williamson
Attorney Michael Avenatti is once again accusing Nike executives of improper conduct, including approving illegal payments to Zion Williamson and other players.
Avenatti was arrested on March 25 and charged by federal prosecutors for attempting to extort Nike. Avenatti allegedly was threatening to hold a press conference in which he would unveil improper activities between Nike and high school/college programs unless they paid him $25 million.
Avenatti hired legal representation for the extortion case and is seeking to have the charges dismissed on grounds of vindictive and selective prosecution. His attorneys filed a motion in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday that included numerous allegations, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
According to the motion, Avenatti has evidence Nike executives approved cash payments to be made to handlers and family members of amateur players. The payments are often made in an effort to steer an amateur player to a college program sponsored by the shoe company. Adidas was at the center of a college basketball scandal over the past two years for this issue. Avenatti says Nike has engaged in similar practices.
Avenatti claims to have evidence showing a Nike employee was willing to make a $35,000 payment to Zion Williamson, $20,000 for Romeo Langford, and $15,000 for another player. Williamson played his freshman season at Duke, which is a Nike-sponsored school, while Langford went to Indiana, an Adidas school.
Avenatti claims to have gained the evidence and information through former amateur coach Gary Franklin. Franklin coached the California Supreme, a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) team. Franklin alleges Nike tried to funnel payments through him intended for the handlers and/or family of several players on his teams, such as Deandre Ayton. Franklin retained Avenatti’s services after claiming to have been forced out by Nike once he no longer felt comfortable going along with their scheme.
In April, Avenatti also accused Nike of making payments to the mother of Williamson, who ended up going No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.
Woods needs good week, good health to make it to East Lake
The course is familiar to Tiger Woods. The circumstances are not.
Medinah is where Woods buried that 8-foot par putt on the 17th hole in 1999 to win the PGA Championship for the first time by holding off teenage Sergio Garcia. He returned to Medinah in 2006 and won the PGA Championship again, this time making history as the only player to win multiple majors in consecutive years.
“I’ve had some good memories,” Woods said.
What he needs now is good health and a good week at the BMW Championship. Otherwise, one of his best memories from last year will remain just that.
Woods withdrew last week after one round of the FedEx Cup playoffs opener, citing a mild strain of the oblique. That dropped him from No. 28 to No. 38 in the FedEx Cup because points are quadruple during the postseason.
The PGA Tour projects that he needs to finish at least 11th – he has only one top 10 since winning the Masters – to have any chance of being among the top 30 players who advance to the Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup finale and a shot at the $15 million bonus.
Woods is the defending champion at East Lake, capping off his comeback from four back surgeries with a vintage performance at the Tour Championship.
“I’m trying to win this tournament just like anybody else in this field, and trying to get to East Lake and trying to get to a place where a lot of things changed for me last year,” Woods said after his pro-am. “And hopefully, I can make that happen.”
That it even might happen is a mild surprise.
Woods says he didn’t feel right last week at Liberty National, and it showed in a pro-am round when he didn’t hit full shots on the back nine, only chipping and putting. When he withdrew after a 75 in the first round with the oblique injury, it seemed as though that might be the end of his season.
IndyCar: Pocono begins crucial three-week pre-championship stretch
he ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway is set to kick off a crucial three-week stretch of races, the final stretch of any kind before the 2019 IndyCar season finale.
Just four races remain on the 17-race 2019 IndyCar schedule before the champion will be crowned at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca next month. Three of these races are scheduled to take place over the course of 15 days spanning the next three weekends before a three-week break leads into the season finale.
For the championship contenders, every point is crucial over the course of this final three-week pre-championship stretch.
Here is the schedule over the course of the next three weeks.
Date – Track
Sunday, August 18 – Pocono Raceway
Saturday, August 24 – World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
Sunday, September 1 – Portland International Raceway
There are still four serious championship contenders with a maximum of 54 points on the table in each race for each driver and the season finale being a double points-paying race in which a maximum of 104 points will be on the table for each driver (bonus points aren’t doubled).
Here is how these four drivers stack up against one another in the championship standings through the season’s first 13 races.
Rank – Driver, Car, Team, Engine: Points (Behind)
1st – Josef Newgarden, #2, Team Penske, Chevrolet: 504 (0)
2nd – Alexander Rossi, #27, Andretti Autosport, Honda: 488 (-16)
3rd – Simon Pagenaud, #22, Team Penske, Chevrolet: 457 (-47)
4th – Scott Dixon, #9, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda: 442 (-62)
The next closest driver to any of these four drivers in the championship standings is Team Penske’s Will Power, and he has scored just 356 points so far this season. As a result, he trails Newgarden by a whopping 148 points, and he trails Dixon alone by 86 points.
Dixon himself was just able to stay in serious championship contention with his victory in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and he was helped by the fact that Newgarden spun out of fourth place on the race’s final lap in an attempt to pass Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay for third.
Instead of leaving the race 78 points behind the 28-year-old Hendersonville, Tennessee native, Dixon left it just 62 points behind after Newgarden fell from fourth to 14th place with what seemed like just one small mistake.
Rossi and Pagenaud actually gained more than Dixon did because of Newgarden’s spin. Dixon was already ahead of Newgarden, but Rossi and Pagenaud were not. As a result, they each gained one position and thus two additional points when Newgarden spun out, so they each gained 18 points relative to Newgarden as opposed to 16 like Dixon did.
Beyond these next three races, there is nothing left before the double points-paying season finale, which will effectively halve each driver’s deficit to whoever enters it as the points leader, so this is a crucial stretch in which none of these four drivers can afford to make even the smallest of errors. While they may seem minuscule, each one has the potential to have a huge impact on the championship.
This three-week stretch of races is also crucial for the engine manufacturers. Seven races have been won by Chevrolet so far this season while six have been won by Honda. If Chevrolet can win at least two of these three races, they will secure more victories than Honda for the seventh time in eight seasons since reentering IndyCar after Honda won that battle one season ago.
But if Honda can win all three of them, they will win this battle for two consecutive seasons. Last season, Honda won two of these three races. If they do that again, the battle will come down to the season finale.
Which of the four 2019 IndyCar championship contenders will enter the three-week break before the season finale with the most momentum from this upcoming three-week stretch of races, and who will ultimately be crowned champion when the season finale rolls around on Sunday, September 22?
Tune in to NBC Sports Network this Sunday, August 18 for the live broadcast of the first race of this three-week stretch, the ABC Supply 500. This race is set to be broadcast live from Pocono Raceway beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET, and it is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter at 2:45 p.m. ET.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS-1993
TOLEDO, Ohio-Perhaps it is simply not meant to be for Greg Norman at the Inverness Club. Or perhaps it was just Paul Azinger’s time. Either way, nothing but fate can describe the dramatic end of the 75th PGA Championship today. After the two players tied over 72 holes, Norman watched two putts in sudden death roll hard against the left edge of the hole only to spin out to the left. The first miss, from 20 feet, cost him an outright victory and his second consecutive major championship. The second, from 5 feet, which came after Azinger lipped out a 6- footer of his own, gave the 33-year-old Floridian his first major championship.
Azinger fired a closing three-under-par 68 over a drier, stingier Inverness Club that included birdies on four of the final seven holes, the last one coming from 6 feet on the 71st hole. Like Norman, he narrowly missed a birdie putt on the first extra hole. Norman, who began the day with a one-stroke edge over a tightly bunched leaderboard, closed with a battling 69, tying Azinger at 12-under-par 272. With his lip-outs, he lost a chance both to make history and, in a sense, rewrite it.
Had he won, it would have been the first time a player had won the British Open and the PGA Championship since Walter Hagen did it in 1924. As it was, Norman became, with his performance in the British Open and here, the first player ever to play eight consecutive rounds in the 60ís in major championships. Perhaps more significantly, a victory would have expiated the pain of his defeat in the same championship on the same course in 1986, when Bob Tway holed a sand shot for a birdie on the 72d hole to defeat him. Instead, he has now lost a playoff in each of the four major championships.
In the sudden-death playoff, which began on the 18th hole, Norman hit a wedge approach to almost exactly the same spot as he had in regulation. This time, he hit his putt a shade more to the right. A foot from the cup, it looked to be in, but instead it dipped along the left edge of the hole and spun out at a 90-degree angle. After Azinger followed with a narrow miss for a winning birdie from 18 feet, the players went to the second playoff hole, the 361- yard 10th. There, Norman hit a pitching wedge from light rough some 25 feet past the hole. Azinger followed from the fairway with a wedge to 6 feet pin-high to the right. Putting first, Norman misjudged the speed of his birdie putt and left it 41/2 feet short of the hole, in almost the identical place from where he had missed a birdie putt in regulation.
Azinger hit his putt to win a shade too hard and watched it lip out of the right edge of the cup. After Azinger tapped in for par, Norman tried to finesse his sharp breaking right to left downhiller, but watched it break too much and spin out of the left side of the hole. “I think I feel more down because of the first putt I had in the playoff,” said Norman. “I hit as perfect a putt as I could have hit to win. But I can handle adversity pretty well. I lost to a great player. I’m happy for him, but I wish it was me.”
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STANDINGS
|NY Yankees||81||41||.664||–||47 – 18||34 – 23||48 – 16||14 – 12||9 – 6||8 – 2||W 5|
|Tampa Bay||71||51||.582||10||31 – 28||40 – 23||30 – 26||15 – 12||13 – 8||7 – 3||L 1|
|Boston||64||59||.520||17.5||30 – 32||34 – 27||28 – 31||19 – 9||14 – 14||5 – 5||W 2|
|Toronto||51||73||.411||31||24 – 37||27 – 36||21 – 33||17 – 18||11 – 11||6 – 4||L 1|
|Baltimore||39||82||.322||41.5||18 – 43||21 – 39||18 – 39||7 – 15||9 – 18||1 – 9||L 4|
|Minnesota||72||48||.600||–||36 – 26||36 – 22||18 – 11||28 – 16||19 – 11||4 – 6||L 1|
|Cleveland||72||49||.595||0.5||39 – 26||33 – 23||16 – 11||34 – 20||16 – 13||6 – 4||L 2|
|Chi White Sox||54||65||.454||17.5||30 – 31||24 – 34||15 – 18||26 – 24||7 – 12||6 – 4||W 2|
|Kansas City||43||78||.355||29.5||23 – 37||20 – 41||7 – 19||24 – 36||7 – 16||3 – 7||L 2|
|Detroit||36||81||.308||34.5||17 – 42||19 – 39||10 – 13||17 – 33||4 – 20||4 – 6||W 1|
|Houston||78||43||.645||–||43 – 15||35 – 28||15 – 11||15 – 12||38 – 12||7 – 3||L 2|
|Oakland||68||52||.567||9.5||37 – 23||31 – 29||13 – 14||17 – 5||27 – 26||6 – 4||W 1|
|Texas||60||60||.500||17.5||35 – 22||25 – 38||8 – 8||17 – 9||26 – 32||4 – 6||W 1|
|LA Angels||59||63||.484||19.5||30 – 30||29 – 33||14 – 12||8 – 13||25 – 30||3 – 7||W 1|
|Seattle||49||72||.405||29||27 – 36||22 – 36||7 – 11||15 – 14||23 – 39||2 – 8||L 1|
|Atlanta||72||50||.590||–||34 – 25||38 – 25||32 – 20||20 – 13||14 – 12||6 – 4||W 3|
|Washington||65||55||.542||6||34 – 25||31 – 30||31 – 24||8 – 11||18 – 16||7 – 3||W 4|
|Philadelphia||62||58||.517||9||36 – 26||26 – 32||26 – 26||15 – 10||13 – 17||4 – 6||W 2|
|NY Mets||61||59||.508||10||34 – 21||27 – 38||29 – 27||12 – 15||10 – 13||7 – 3||L 3|
|Miami||44||75||.370||26.5||24 – 39||20 – 36||18 – 39||7 – 16||11 – 11||2 – 8||L 3|
|St. Louis||63||55||.534||–||34 – 23||29 – 32||16 – 14||29 – 20||9 – 10||5 – 5||W 5|
|Chi Cubs||64||56||.533||–||41 – 19||23 – 37||14 – 13||27 – 23||13 – 12||5 – 5||L 2|
|Milwaukee||63||58||.521||1.5||36 – 26||27 – 32||16 – 9||30 – 24||10 – 14||6 – 4||W 1|
|Cincinnati||56||63||.471||7.5||33 – 28||23 – 35||11 – 12||26 – 30||11 – 12||5 – 5||L 4|
|Pittsburgh||50||70||.417||14||24 – 32||26 – 38||8 – 14||20 – 35||10 – 16||2 – 8||L 1|
|LA Dodgers||81||41||.664||–||48 – 16||33 – 25||20 – 6||22 – 11||36 – 18||9 – 1||W 4|
|Arizona||61||60||.504||19.5||27 – 28||34 – 32||15 – 12||10 – 10||22 – 32||6 – 4||L 1|
|San Francisco||60||61||.496||20.5||29 – 33||31 – 28||11 – 16||12 – 10||30 – 27||4 – 6||L 1|
|San Diego||56||64||.467||24||29 – 33||27 – 31||12 – 17||10 – 13||24 – 27||5 – 5||W 1|
|Colorado||54||67||.446||26.5||30 – 29||24 – 38||11 – 15||10 – 9||25 – 33||3 – 7||W 1|
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER STANDINGS
|New York City FC||23||10||8||5||41||31||10||6-4-1||4-4-4||38|
|Orlando City SC||26||9||6||11||34||34||0||6-1-6||3-5-5||33|
|Los Angeles FC||24||17||4||3||65||25||40||10-1-0||7-3-3||55|
|Real Salt Lake||25||12||4||9||38||32||6||9-1-2||3-3-7||40|
|Washington Mystics||18||7||.720||—||9-3||9-4||9-2||8-2||3 W|
|Connecticut Sun||17||8||.680||1.0||11-1||6-7||10-3||8-2||1 W|
|Chicago Sky||14||10||.583||3.5||9-3||5-7||8-4||7-3||1 L|
|Indiana Fever||9||16||.360||9.0||5-8||4-8||5-7||3-7||1 W|
|New York Liberty||8||16||.333||9.5||4-8||4-8||1-8||1-9||6 L|
|Atlanta Dream||5||20||.200||13.0||4-9||1-11||2-11||0-10||10 L|
|Las Vegas Aces||17||9||.654||—||11-4||6-5||8-4||7-3||2 W|
|Los Angeles Sparks||15||9||.625||1.0||9-2||6-7||7-5||8-2||1 L|
|Seattle Storm||14||12||.538||3.0||9-4||5-8||7-5||6-4||1 L|
|Minnesota Lynx||13||12||.520||3.5||7-5||6-7||4-6||4-6||1 W|
|Phoenix Mercury||11||13||.458||5.0||7-4||4-9||5-7||4-6||3 L|
|Dallas Wings||8||17||.320||8.5||7-6||1-11||5-9||3-7||2 W|