DOT to begin taking bids for emergency flood reconstruction work

first_imgAMES — The Iowa Department of Transportation is soon going to being taking bids on some of the flood repair projects.DOT Engineer Mark Dunn talked with the Transportation Commission about the issue during a work session prior to their meeting Tuesday in Ames. “As you look at all of the repairs, the total package is around, we think 70 to 90 million dollars,” Dunn says.He says they hope to start taking bids on Wednesday and he says they will be doing emergency lettings weekly, and may not always have projects ready weekly, but will be ready to do them when necessary. Dunn say the goal is to do as much work as they can in the next 180 days to take advantage of the federal emergency funding guidelines.“In the first 180 days where it is related to restoring essential traffic — that’s reimbursable at a rate of 100 percent,” Dunn says. “When we move beyond that, that’s reimbursable at 80 or 90 percent, depending on the type of roadway,” Dunn says.He told the Transportation Commission the work should not impact their regular construction budget.last_img read more

Roethlisberger eager to knock that rust off vs. Titans

first_imgPittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright) PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger believes his right arm feels as good as it has in years.The same goes for the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s body, save for the occasional unwanted collision with a teammate.If the scariest moment Roethlisberger endures all season is the accidental blindside hit from right tackle Marcus Gilbert — who inadvertently knocked the wind out of Roethlisberger during practice last week, sending a brief scare through the organization and sending Roethlisberger into the concussion protocol as a precaution — the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every significant passing category will take it.“Hopefully, the hardest hit I take all year is from Gilbert and we can laugh at it at the end of the year,” Roethlisberger said with a laugh on Tuesday.Maybe, but nobody was laughing when Roethlisberger’s familiar No. 7 was kneeling on the turf at Saint Vincent College. He took a pair of concussion tests and passed them both, clearing him to make his lone preseason appearance on Sunday when the Steelers host Tennessee.It’s been more than eight months since Roethlisberger last faced guys in different-colored uniforms, when he threw for a franchise playoff-record 469 yards and five touchdowns in a playoff loss to Jacksonville.Until the 2017 offseason — when he waited weeks before announcing his return — Roethlisberger said right away he would be back in 2018, an endorsement of both the coaching staff and the talent surrounding him in the huddle.Saturday will be the first time Roethlisberger will be hearing Randy Fichtner’s voice in his headset during a game. The Steelers promoted the longtime quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in January.Though the low-key Fichtner carries himself differently than his predecessor — the fiery Todd Haley — Roethlisberger expects the offense to “pretty much stay the same.”That’s hardly a bad thing for a group that finished third in total yards while going 13-3 in 2017. The key to earning a fifth straight playoff berth will be turning all those yards into a few more points.Pittsburgh was eighth in the league in average points per game (25.4) due in part to some red zone issues. The Steelers finished a middling 18th in turning red-zone possessions into touchdowns (53 percent).Pittsburgh drafted former Oklahoma State star wide receiver James Washington in the second round, and Washington had a pair of touchdowns last week against Green Bay by outjumping the defender on a 50/50 ball.It’s something they’d like to see more of this fall in general, including from second-year wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster. He wowed at times during his rookie season. Now comes the hard part as the firmly established No. 2 alongside All-Pro Antonio Brown: doing it again.“The key for him is how can he bounce back and not just put together a good year like last year but be better,” Roethlisberger said. “It starts with work and he put in a lot work, effort and time. I am looking forward to what he can do this year.”Roethlisberger isn’t quite sure how long he’ll get a chance to be on the field with Smith-Schuster and the rest of the starting offense this weekend. A couple of scoring drives early would likely make Roethlisberger’s appearance a mere cameo.A slow start might result in a bit of a longer stay. Regardless of how he feels, he still expects there to be some issues adjusting to game speed even entering his 15th season.“It’s live action,” Roethlisberger said. “We have been at practice and everything gets a little faster, a little quicker. I hope I don’t get hit, but it’s always good to knock that rust off, too, at some point.”NOTES: WR Eli Rogers was suspended for one week by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Rogers is on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from a torn ACL. Rogers is not expected to be ready by the opening week of the season.___More AP NFL: and read more

Will the Pirates ever erect a permanent statue of Josh Gibson?

first_img“They (Nats ownership) came to me to ask whether we’d be interested in erecting a statue in my great-grandfather’s likeness on Nats’ property.” Sean Gibson said it was a no-brainer, considering Josh played several seasons in D.C., and considered the nation’s capital his “second home,” where he and the Grays played their home games in Northwest D.C. at Griffith Stadium from 1940-1948. Annual football clashes between Howard University and Lincoln University also occurred at the stadium, which was located in a Black section of D.C., near the Howard University campus. The stadium was demolished in 1965. Today, Howard University Hospital sits on the former site, while a moniker denotes the once-thriving stadium’s former existence. The stadium was also home to the NFL’s Washington Redskins and the Washington Senators baseball team.“I was fully aware of and involved in the entire process of having the statue in D.C.,” Sean Gibson told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview.Meanwhile, it should be known that Josh Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Ga., and moved to Pittsburgh’s North Side at age 11. As a ball player, he lived in the Hill District’s “Sugartop” section, said Sean Gibson.Notably, in 2005, the Pirates constructed what was then called Legacy Park in honor of Pittsburgh’s two successful Negro League franchises, the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and their legendary owners and players. Statues and monikers of players such as Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and James “Cool Papa” Bell were erected. But in 2015, Legacy Park was dismantled by Bucco ownership—providing Sean Gibson’s foundation with a chance to purchase the statues and ultimately auction them off for profit.Retired Courier sportswriter Eddie Jefferies said he’s still disappointed with the Pirates’ decision to remove the statues.“Upon learning that the Pirates had dismantled PNC Legacy Park I immediately harkened back to episodes in ‘Baseball’s Great Experiment’ (1983), where author Jules Tygiel alleges that the Pirates offered Negro League players tryouts at Forbes Field, opportunities that were subsequently and mysteriously cancelled,” said Jefferies.Meanwhile, Rob Ruck, a University of Pittsburgh history professor and author of publications related to Negro League Baseball history, said he harbors mixed emotions concerning the removal of Legacy Park.“Really, I was stunned when I heard the statues were gone,” he said, noting that the significant historical benefits that Legacy Park provided mainstream baseball fans, especially the youth, would be lost.He continued by crediting Pirates ownership for their groundbreaking management decisions related to acknowledging the Negro League ball play.“In the fall of 1988, the Pirates were the first Major League franchise to celebrate the Negro Leagues, with the 40th anniversary of the Homestead Grays Negro League Championship,” said Ruck. “The Pirates brought all the former ball players back to Three Rivers Stadium, and then-owner of the Pirates (Carl Barger) apologized for MLB’s overt racism in keeping Black ball players from joining the league. That was a groundbreaking move,” said Ruck, who’s authored “Sandlot Seasons,” an account of Pittsburgh’s rich sports history and the city’s impact on the development of the Negro Leagues.He’s also the author of “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game.” In July he published “Tropic of Football,” a book paying homage to American Samoan athletes who find success in the NFL. Retired Steelers star Troy Polamalu, the late Junior Seau and quarterback Marcus Mariota are three such Samoan success stories.In supporting the Pirates, Ruck states, “We shouldn’t be too hard on Bucco ownership. They put up banners at Three Rivers Stadium in honor of the Grays and the Crawfords. And they developed Legacy Park in honor of the Black players. They erected the statues and played videos to commemorate the great players. Yes, they really did a lot,” he said. “We have to give them credit for what they did.”Ruck noted that the Heinz History Center provides a significant display paying homage to Pittsburgh’s professional Black baseball teams, in addition to the former Homestead High-Level Bridge. “The bridge has since been renamed the Homestead Grays Bridge, and there are historical markers on the bridge depicting several of the legendary players,” he said.Ruck, 68, is a longtime Pittsburgh resident born in Iowa, but reared in Mount Lebanon. He also lived in Bloomfield, he said.  As a University of Pitt student, he had a friend who lived in Homestead. Both were intrigued by steel mill activity occurring across the Monongahela River at Homestead’s U.S. Steel Works, which was easily observed from their Oakland dormitories.“My buddy knew a little about the rich history of Homestead’s Black baseball legacy, but we couldn’t find much information when we started to research those facts. That intrigued me to learn more about those topics,” said Ruck.People like Gus Greenlee (owner of the Crawfords) and Cumberland Posey (owner of the Grays) were names that began to surface, as Ruck’s research actions began to spread. He also speaks about the Black Fives pro basketball team and Black social club-sponsored baseball teams like the Monteciellos and the Loendis who were synonymous with Black Pittsburgh sporting success.On July 12, a week before this year’s MLB All-Star Game, Sean Gibson was invited to Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant in Northwest D.C. where a famous mural now includes his great-grandfather’s artistic image. The mural also includes President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Muhammad Ali, Dick Gregory, Prince and Go-Go musician and D.C. native, Chuck Brown. Bill Cosby was once featured on the eatery’s mural, but his image was removed in June 2017 amid his controversial legal issues.Sean Gibson said he was more than ecstatic that MLB supported honoring the Grays and Josh Gibson’s legacy in the nation’s capital.Ben’s Chili Bowl is a D.C. landmark known for its famous chili and beef/sausage hot dogs known as “half-smokes.” The restaurant is located on U Street and was founded in 1958 by Trinidadian native Ben Ali and his wife, Virginia. The business remains family-owned, although Mr. Ali died in June 2009. AT THIS YEAR’S MLB ALL-STAR GAME, thousands of fans, many of whom were visitors to the D.C. area, saw the Josh Gibson statue as they walked into Nationals Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates removed a number of statues honoring Negro League legends in 2015. THE JOSH GIBSON STATUE stands permanently near Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. (Photos by Timothy Cox)WASHINGTON, D.C.—When nearly 45,000 baseball fans embarked on Nationals Stadium for the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game here in July, they likely noticed three statues dotting the entrance.In addition to statues paying homage to Washington baseball legends Frank Howard and Walter “Big Train” Johnson, a bronze memento of Josh Gibson also lines the entry way.The question that immediately arises is why Gibson, the legendary Negro League catcher from Pittsburgh’s Homestead Grays, is being lauded by a D.C. franchise, but the Pittsburgh Pirates currently do not have a statue in front of PNC Park paying homage to Gibson, a hometown hero?“Josh Gibson actually played for the Washington Grays when the franchise moved from Homestead to D.C.,” explained Sean Gibson, Josh Gibson’s great-grandson, a Pittsburgh native and CEO of the Josh Gibson Foundation.center_img Like us at @NewPghCourier on Twitter read more

Yuvi takes exception as Ravi Shastri remembers WC 2011 win – but fails to…

first_imgImage Courtesy: GettyAdvertisement appkNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs6jwWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E9nc7u( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 1wwiqWould you ever consider trying this?😱7gcsCan your students do this? 🌚7j5Roller skating! Powered by Firework Yesterday marked the Indian cricket team’s 9 year anniversay of their second ICC Cricket World Cup win, happened all the way back on 2nd April 2011. Taking on Sri Lanka in the final at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India clinched a staggering chase victory, marking their second title after their maiden 1983 world cup trophy. Such a prestigious moment was remembered by Team India head coach Ravi Shastri, as he took it to social media to make a tributary post. However, the post got a backlash from none other than the country’s cricketing icon Yuvraj Singh, as Shastri failed to mention two match winning players from the final- himself and the captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni!Advertisement Image Courtesy: GettyThe Final saw India chasing down a target of 275, as Dhoni and Yuvraj remained on the 22 yards till the end. With a dominating six wicket victory, it marked India’s second title win of the glorious cricketing tournament.Ravi Shastri’s post- a clip of the final six struck by MS Dhoni, with Yuvi on the non striking end- is what shook the whole Indian population on that day. The coach tweeted the clip with the message: “Many Congratulations Guys! Something you will cherish all your life. Just like we from the 1983 group #WorldCup2011″Advertisement However, he only tagged Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli in the post, leaving out Dhoni and Yuvraj, who’s partnership towards the end of the chase was crucial behind the Men in Blue’s victory in the final in Mumbai.It was surprising to see Shastri not mentioning Yuvi, the Player of the Tournament, or Dhoni’s who’s match winning six brought India the glorious moment, in his post. However, it was just the opportunity Yuvraj needed to pull a witty jab towards his mentor.Although thanking the coach for the congratulatory tweet, the 38 year old all rounder had a subtle touch of humour in his reply: “Thanks senior ! U can tag me and mahi also we were also part of it 😂“ With an astounding average score of 90.50, Yuvraj finished the world cup with 362 runs out of 9 matches, along with an equally impressive spell with the ball- picking up a total of 15 wickets.Dhoni, who won the Player of the Match award in the final, landed a swashbuckling 91 runs from 79 balls, including 8 fours and 2 sixes.Also read-Dissecting the mind of a GOAT: Best excerpts from KP’s lockdown chat with KohliPM Modi called Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli for a meeting – here’s what happened! Advertisementlast_img read more

Robin Uthappa reveals who the next MS Dhoni is

first_imgImage Courtesy: Reuters/BCCIAdvertisement 5zsvgmcNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsvdxhWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E509( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) xfkWould you ever consider trying this?😱o8od84dCan your students do this? 🌚14dl3hRoller skating! Powered by Firework The Indian cricket team has seen some of the most iconic and unique cricketers who graced the Sky Blue jersey, and from young to old, fans of all ages agree to the fact that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been one of the greatest cricketers from the country. Now in the twilight of his career and an uncertain future with the Indian team, the veteran wicket keeper batsman’s place in the squad won’t be easy to fill in, or would it? Veteran batsman Robin Uthappa names the next Dhoni of the team: the young and energetic Riyan Parag!Advertisement Image Courtesy: Reuters/BCCIThe son of former domestic cricketer Parag Das, who played for the Assam cricket team, Riyan Parag had the chance of meeting Dhoni when he was only a kid. Now, an 18 year old batsman for Assam and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, the teenager has been hailed by Robin Uthappa to walk in the shoes of India’s former captain.Uthappa recently joined in an online session with Cricfit, where the 34 year old batsman put forward Parag’s name as a future star for India.Advertisement Riyan Parag playing for Rajasthan Royals. (Image Courtesy: PTI)“Currently, the young player which excites me out of my socks in Riyan Parag. I am extremely excited and he is the one to watch out for,”the 34 year old said.Bought by RR for IPL 2020, Uthappa sparks hope for his young teammate, who has played 7 matches for the franchise, scoring 160 runs. He also became the youngest cricketer to score a half century in IPL 2019, at an age of age of 17 years and 175 days, beaking the joint record of Sanju Samson and Prithvi Shaw.Advertisement Uthappa continued, “I think he is someone who is looked after well and dealt well and nurtured well and will represent India for a very long time.”“He could be India’s answer to the next MS Dhoni,” the veteran batsman added.Hailing from Guwahati, Parag has made 13 first class appearances, and was a member of the Indian Team at the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.If you like reading about MMA, make sure you check out Also follow India’s biggest arm wrestling tournament at ProPanja.comAlso read-Sakshi posts then deletes tweet clarifying MS Dhoni retirementSports India Exclusive with Anthony Amalraj: Use hypnotherapy to train my mind to react in pressure situations! Advertisementlast_img read more

e2e Puts Its Biomaterials Products to the Test

first_imgA startup specializing in high-strength, lightweight biodegradable composites is using the technology to produce a wide range of products, including durable building materialsWhen it celebrates its grand opening in September, the headquarters of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, in Syracuse, New York, will showcase its role, in a very tangible way, as “a test bed for environmental and energy technologies and building innovations.”What’s more, the center also will play host, along with Syracuse University, to the Ninth International Healthy Buildings Conference and Exhibition, scheduled for September 13-17.Needless to say, September will be a huge month for Syracuse CoE. But it also will be big for companies such as “biocomposite” specialist e2e Materials, whose building products are among those used in the headquarters building (which is, appropriately, a LEED Platinum structure).Based in Ithaca, New York, e2e is gradually putting into production high-strength lightweight composites that are made from biodegradable, annually renewable sources including soy proteins and natural fibers such as jute, flax, and kenaf.Patrick Govang, e2e’s CEO, points out that the composites, which were developed over a 15-year period by Cornell Professor Anil Netravali, have a wide range of applications. As mentioned in a recent Greentech Media blog, Comet Skateboards uses e2e’s natural composites, rather than fiberglass or carbon fiber, in its skateboard decks.The challenge to particleboardIn the homebuilding realm, the composites are being used to make components for furniture and cabinets, and for shelving, doors, and building materials, such as sheathing and subflooring, that have been traditionally made with particleboard or MDF.In addition to their biodegradability and their relative strength, light weight, and durability, Govang cited several other advantages to the use of e2e materials, the most prominent being that they contain no formaldehyde or petrochemicals.Then there’s e2e’s smaller carbon footprint in manufacturing. Govang says the production of e2e building components requires two-thirds less energy and less raw material than is required for particleboard. “We operate at about half the temperature required to produce typical resin-based panels,” he says. “We also require none of the OSHA equipment to mitigate fumes. So we use less energy, less material.”The end product, because it is a protein-based material, also serves as a flame retardant. “It’s like trying to burn a piece of dog food,” Govang says.Although the e2e manufacturing process requires the same size workforce used for particleboard (no jobs are lost, for example, if a particleboard facility is converted to e2e manufacturing), the cost of the product still is competitive, Govang says, noting that even though e2e’s raw-material costs are higher than those for particleboard, the end cost is reduced because less material is used and the manufacturing process is more efficient than turning wood into chips.The company, which is run by a core team of seven people and assisted by four other organizations contracted to help it get going, recently completed a production run of 2.5×4 panels for use by furniture makers and cabinetmakers, says Govang.He adds that about 40% of the company’s products, including 4×8 panels that will go into production, will go into residential and commercial construction projects.At this point, the company’s basic product is called e2e Biocomposite. “We have not yet come up with a formal marketing name,” Govang says.last_img read more

Aaron Rodgers Cant Be Stopped By A Pass Rush Anymore

2013Russell Wilson36.739. 42016Aaron Rodgers28.871.8 RANKSEASONPLAYERPRESSURE %QBR 2011Tim Tebow37.1% 2011Joe Flacco22.817. 12016Jameis Winston34.9%80.7 2011Mike Vick29. 62009Peyton Manning15.761.2 2011Ben Roethlisberger25.439. 82015Tyrod Taylor31.757.9 SECONDS 2013Aaron Rodgers25. 52015Ryan Fitzpatrick22.571.5 Rodgers’s performance through the regular season and two postseason games this year has been exceptional. His 71.8 QBR when pressured this season is the fourth-highest since 2009, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. On Sunday, Rodgers was pressured on 18 of 51 dropbacks, and while he was sacked three times and gave up an interception, he went 7 for 14 for 149 yards, including the 36 that brought the Packers into field goal position. His unadjusted QBR actually went up on these plays, from 79.4 on plays where he wasn’t pressured to 89.7 on plays where he was.We only have QB pressure data going back to 2009, so that table isn’t exactly a complete survey of the situation. But six of the best eight individual seasons of QBs performing under pressure have come in the last two years.A few possible explanations for that: First, random noise is always a possibility. Second, something in the collection or interpretation of the pressure numbers may have changed over the years. (I asked around at Stats & Info about this, and the folks there said nothing changed under the hood, but they did note that the stat doesn’t differentiate between duress that comes at the beginning of a play, before a QB escapes to relative safety, and duress that comes just as a QB throws.)One more caveat: Different shops have different ways of defining “pressure,” so numbers can shift slightly from site to site, but the unifying thread among all the methods is that the QB has to be affected by the rush. So some plays that simply require the QB to step up in the pocket to avoid the rush may be left out of the overall tally. That would seemingly underrepresent mainstays of passing-leader charts such as Drew Brees or Tom Brady, who excel at beating the blitz by throwing the ball before pressure can arrive.So if the Geriatric All-Pro wing isn’t cracking the pass rush, it should be obvious who is — the guys who can move. Here’s a table showing QBs since 2011 who created the most time outside the pocket. I took the average time to throw and subtracted time in the pocket, leaving us with those magical few seconds when a player such as Rodgers or Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick is rolling around the edge looking for a target: 2011Aaron Rodgers22. 2012Colin Kaepernick25. 32013Josh McCown27.673.8 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 2012Russell Wilson31.932. 2012Aaron Rodgers23.415. 102013Ryan Fitzpatrick23.952.5 22015Jay Cutler30.975.0 Source: ESPN Stats & Info Group QBs under pressure, regular season and playoffs 2011-16 92014Carson Palmer27.452.8 2011Kevin Kolb33. 2012Ben Roethlisberger24.744. 2015Aaron Rodgers32.434. SEASONPLAYERPRESSURE %QBRIN POCKETBEFORE PASSSCRAMBLING 2015Russell Wilson36. 2012Robert Griffin III25.511. 2012Nick Foles26. 2013Colin Kaepernick27. 72016Dak Prescott29.958.4 2016Aaron Rodgers29.471. A certain number of things that happen during a football game come down to skill, and a certain number to luck, and it’s important to be able to tell one from the other. Aaron Rodgers dropping deep in the pocket on a free play and rifling a 34-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Richard Rodgers, under-throwing him but threading it precisely between linebacker Sean Lee’s outstretched arm and his earhole against the Cowboys last weekend? That takes some baseline NFL skills, but mostly it’s a bad pass getting a lucky break. But Aaron Rodgers slipping the pocket, rolling left, pausing, waiting for his receivers to come back across the field, and hitting Jared Cook for a 36-yard catch that was inbounds by a toenail and set up the game-winning field goal? Now that’s a little bit of luck and a whole lot of skill.Aaron Rodgers is unusually good when pressure comes his way. One of the bedrock principles of defense in the NFL is that pressuring the quarterback works. It worked on Tom Brady and the 18-0 Patriots in 2008, and God knows it worked on Cam Newton and the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Get to the quarterback, the thinking goes, and you’re in good shape, failing a stroke of luck or the spectacular. But these days there’s a group of quarterbacks, Rodgers included, who are defying that conventional wisdom.Since 2009, the league average QBR1I’m using the “raw” version of QBR for this post, since Total QBR isn’t calculated at the split-level. The raw version is just the Total QBR number before it’s adjusted for strength of opponent. on plays with QB pressure is just 18.5, according to ESPN Stats & Information — just barely better than the worst quarterbacking season of the century, Jimmy Clausen’s catastrophe in 2010, which came in at 14.5 QBR. This season, QB performance has seen a modest bump to 29.3 — better, but still not very good. The notable difference, however, is now there are a few quarterbacks who are finding ways to thrive.Here’s a chart showing the quarterbacks since 2009 who performed best on plays flagged as QB pressures: 2014Colin Kaepernick31.524. 2014Russell Wilson39. 2016Tyrod Taylor35.551. 2013Terrelle Pryor37. There are two types of quarterbacks who consistently create significant amounts of time between when they break the pocket and when they throw the ball: the bootleg and read-option acolytes and the guys who are (and must be) good at running for their lives. Along with a slightly younger version of Ben Roethlisberger and an always-battered Russell Wilson, Rodgers is one of the few QBs on that list who combine out-of-pocket moves with excellence at the more traditional in-pocket throws.But Rodgers has always been able to buy time once the pocket breaks down, and it’s only recently that he’s turned those moments of brilliance into sustained performance.Since the start of the 2014 season, Rodgers has thrown for 28 touchdowns and just five interceptions while under pressure. The league average over that span is 3.2 touchdowns per season to 3.2 interceptions. For the season, Rodgers’s QBR when he was pressured was 71.8, which would have put him ninth in the league on all plays, not just pressured ones.So the big question then: What did Rodgers change?Rodgers’s pressure numbers look very similar to his old ones on depth of pass, time to pass, and many other stats. The only difference by the numbers is that he appears to be completing more of the same passes he’s been throwing for years.A critical part of this improvement seems to be that Rodgers is even more comfortable getting out on the edge early in his progressions. Here’s a play against the Vikings in Week 7 of 2011, Rodgers’s first MVP season:He looks a like a traditional quarterback, going through his progressions until the pocket finally folds, and he busts out and finds an open man.And now here he is this season:In part out of necessity, Rodgers no longer bounces around the pocket, or slides around blockers while keeping his feet set. These days, he often makes one or two reads and books it to the outside, where he essentially sets up a secondary pocket. It’s almost a bizarro version of the simplified offense many young mobile QBs run, in which they make one read and then bolt if their man isn’t open.Who knows if Rodgers will keep this up. Maybe this is unsustainable. Maybe the magic outside the pocket really is just fortuitous but still random chance converging in one season. But Rodgers has had enough success this season that if he keeps on doing what he’s doing, it’ll be hard to argue it’s just luck, no matter how unlikely it might seem.Check out our latest NFL playoff predictions. read more

Curtis Samuel proves his ability as a playmaker for Ohio States offense

OSU junior H-back Curtis Samuel (4) attempts to break a tackle during the first half of the Buckeyes’ season opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 77-10. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe Ohio State Buckeyes opened up their 2016 season with an explosion of offense, routing the visiting Bowling Green Falcons 77-10. Junior H-back and running back Curtis Samuel did more than his part.Dubbed the team’s No. 1 playmaker by Meyer in August, Samuel touched the ball 22 times on 13 carries and nine catches. Either out of the slot, out wide or next to redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett in the backfield, Samuel was undoubtedly the go-to player for coach Urban Meyer’s offense.Samuel’s first score came at the end of the first quarter when he caught a pass over the middle from Barrett, then dashed another 60-some yards to the end zone, putting OSU ahead 21-7.Samuel said he saw a one-on-one opportunity with the safety and knew that he can win that battle.“You see that matchup, the way we train in this program, we feel like we can win that matchup 100 percent of the time,” he said.OSU opened the second half with the ball featuring a strong dose of the Brooklyn, New York, native. Samuel caught a 37-yard pass from Barrett, then two plays later Barrett found Samuel for a 21-yard score, and the rout was on.Samuel carried the ball three times on the next drive for OSU, ending in a 12-yard scamper off of redshirt freshman right tackle Isaiah Prince to pad the score to 49-10. Samuel had seven touches for 100 yards in the third quarter, five touches for 106 yards in the first quarter and 10 touches for 56 yards in the second quarter.Meyer said he didn’t envision 22 touches for Samuel before the game, but was more than pleased with the workload he handled.“I had 15 (touches) in mind,” Meyer said. “He’s a tremendous talent and it was great to see him have success. He’s the first true hybrid I’ve had in awhile.”Samuel carried the ball 13 times for 84 yards and a score, while he caught nine passes for 177 yards and two scores.Last season, it was no secret OSU would rely on Ezekiel Elliott to take up a considerable amount — if not all — of the workload. Samuel was Elliott’s backup, but even he hardly touched the ball. Defenses could gameplan against OSU’s run game, but this season, opposing defenses have to account for more than one, or two, or three guys to get the ball out of the backfield.Redshirt freshman Mike Weber held his own rushing for 136 yards on 19 carries, but simply having Samuel — or even senior H-back Dontre Wilson — in the backfield taking snaps next to Barrett or straight from the center provides new challenges for defenses that Meyer and Co. didn’t present last year.Weber even made the comparison of him and Samuel together in the backfield to a fairly successful duo from USC.“Lendale White and Reggie Bush,” Weber said. “If we can get there, I think we could even be better. We could be a really good one-two punch.”While the confidence is sky high, the likelihood of Samuel and Weber reaching that level is unlikely. But the speed and athleticism might be comparable, especially with Wilson taking reps with Barrett in the backfield and in the wildcat formation.For now, Samuel is content with his performance but quickly pointed out he should have hit a few holes better than he did today. But to the naked eye, Samuel was the most dominant performer on an offense which fed off of his explosiveness.“The great thing about Curtis (Samuel) and Dontre (Wilson) is that they’re able to do so much. They’re able to find mismatches on the opponent’s defense and try to exploit those things,” Barrett said. “We always try to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands.”After Samuel’s performance on Saturday, it appears he will have a massive role at nearly every skill position on offense. Samuel believes he has had that capability since his arrival in Columbus in 2014.“I feel like I always had the skill set and mentality to go out there and be a great player,” Samuel said. “It was just up to my coaches to feel whenever I was ready. This year they give me the ball a little more and I’m excited about it.” read more

Ohio State blown away by Hurricanes

MIAMI — The Miami Hurricanes won the battle of embattled football programs Saturday.  Previously suspended Hurricanes’ senior quarterback Jacory Harris threw two touchdowns to sophomore wide-receiver Allen Hurns and junior running back Mike James added a touchdown late in regulation. The Miami (1-1) defense held the No. 17-ranked Ohio State’s offense down throughout the game. OSU went on to drop its first contest of the season to Miami, 24-6. After forcing a punt on OSU’s first drive of the game, senior running back Lamar Miller broke a 54-yard run and was finally brought down inside the Buckeyes’ 10-yard line. Miller finished the first half with 128 yards on 15 carries. Harris took center stage on Miami’s first drive, completing a three-yard touchdown pass to Hurns to put the Hurricanes up, 7-0. Harris, along with senior linebacker Sean Spence, junior defensive tackle Marcus Forston, junior defensive end Adewale Ojomo and senior receiver Travis Benjamin returned to the Hurricanes’ lineup Saturday after serving a one-game suspension.  Eight Miami players were suspended for at least one game for receiving impermissible benefits from former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme. Harris went back to work on Miami’s next drive, and found Hurns for a second 3-yard touchdown pass to Hurns that put the Hurricanes up, 14-0.  Freshman Braxton Miller saw his first game action in two weeks when he went under center on the Buckeyes’ third drive of the game. Miller’s first pass of the game was deflected and intercepted. Luckily for the Buckeyes, the first pass Harris threw on Miami’s next drive was intercepted by redshirt sophomore safety C.J. Barnett. Junior running back Jordan Hall, one of three OSU players making their 2011 debut after serving a two-game suspension, featured on the Buckeyes’ first scoring drive of the game.  Hall carried seven times on a 16-play drive, which sophomore kicker Drew Basil capped with a 22-yard field goal that cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 14-3.  Hall, along with sophomore defensive back Corey Brown and junior defensive back Travis Howard, were each suspended for the Buckeyes’ first two games for receiving white envelopes containing $200 from a university booster at a Feb. 19 charity event in Cleveland. Redshirt freshman Bradley Roby intercepted a pass by Harris on Miami’s next drive and returned it to within 23 yards of the end zone..  Bauserman went without a completion on the drive that followed, however. The quarterbacking duo of Bauserman and Miller finished the half 1-of-11 passing with one interception, and OSU was forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Basil to bring it within eight points at 14-6.  Miami responded with a 25-yard field goal by junior Jake Wieclaw as time expired in the first half and took a 17-6 lead into the locker room.  Both teams were slow to produce offensively after the intermission. OSU stopped Miami on a fourth-and-2 play near midfield with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter, but Bauserman’s struggles continued on the Buckeyes’ ensuing drive. Miami fans, called to cheer by the sound of a mock hurricane siren, cheered louder still when Bauserman overthrew freshman wide receiver Devin Smith on third down. With more than three quarters played, OSU quarterbacks had accumulated only 13 yards on 2-of-16 passing. Miller didn’t fare much better, and fumbled on an improvised run with 9:21 left in the game. Despite missing safety Ray-Ray Armstrong, defensive end Olivier Vernon and tight end Dyron Dye, who remained suspended for Miami for also receiving impermissible benefits from Shapiro, the Hurricanes wouldn’t be denied. James put the finishing touches on Miami’s 24-6 win with a 1-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds remaining in regulation. The Hurricanes went on to win by the same score. The Buckeyes (2-1) finish the non-conference portion of their schedule on Saturday against Colorado at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by ABC. read more

Everton emerge as a possible destination for Marcos Rojo

first_imgEverton are reportedly preparing to make a move for Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo, claims the Daily MailUnited boss Jose Mourinho is willing to sacrifice the Argentina international this summer in order to fund a move for a new centre-back and is reportedly holding out for about £30m.The Portuguese coach is currently considering whether to sign Harry Maguire or Toby Alderweireld and he has been told by the United board that he must first sell before he can bring any new defender to Old Trafford.And new Everton manager Marco Silva has now been alerted to this and is believed to be strongly interested in the prospect of working with Rojo once more.harry maguire, manchester UnitedMaguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…The duo only had a brief spell together at Sporting Lisbon in Portugal after Rojo left the club in the summer of 2014, when Silva was appointed the new head coach.But Silva has no hard feelings towards Rojo and he views the 28-year-old as an ideal signing for Everton.While Rojo remains injured from the World Cup this summer, Silva is still interested in bringing him to Goodison Park.last_img read more