Citing parental drama and lack of support, Lea Rains has stepped down as North Scott’s softball coach after three seasons.
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Tom Cruise may have suffered an injury while performing a stunt on the London set of "Mission: Impossible 6."
The big news on Sunday was the announcement that Jay Cutler had been swayed into signing with the Miami Dolphins with the status of would-be starting QB Ryan Tannehill very much up in the air.
His knee injury, however, doesn’t just cloud his immediate future. It has serious ramifications for his future with the franchise.
Tannehill signed a four-year, $77 million extension prior to the 2015 season that appeared to lock up his future with the franchise, especially following a strong start with new head coach Adam Gase in his first season with the quarterback in 2016.
But following Tannehill’s second ACL injury in a span of nine months, that future in Miami has to be considered far less certain now. The fine print of his contract reveals a key reason why: Tannehill is due a fully guaranteed portion of his salary ($5.525 million, protected for injury) on the fifth day of the league year in 2018 and carries a mere $4.6 million in dead money going forward.
Those are minuscule numbers in starting quarterback terms, as are his base salaries of roughly $17.5 million, $18.7 million and $19.5 million through the 2020 season. But it also shows that the Dolphins easily could cut bait if they feel Tannehill isn’t the future. He turns 30 at the start of next year’s training camp, so he’s also relatively young — but are the Dolphins, who last won a playoff game in the year 2000, willing to be so patient?
As we see it, their options going forward at quarterback are:
• Stick with Tannehill. It’s not crazy to think they could go this route. Gase has been one of Tannehill’s biggest defenders since taking over the job, so it would be hard to imagine he’s just done with him so quickly. But what if Gase is starting to wonder about his long-term health and durability? We’ve seen quarterbacks suffer multiple ACL tears, such as Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford, come back, start and play at a high, if not acceptable, level. But not all — take Robert Griffin III, for instance — were able to regain their pre-injury form.
• Dip into intriguing pool of free agents. The 2018 offseason could be unlike one we’ve ever seen at the position. High-profile, established starters such as Matthew Stafford likely will never hit the market. But Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Teddy Bridgewater (speaking of knee injuries) and Bradford all could be hitting the market. Take Brees, for instance. What a wild, full-circle story it would be if he finally landed in South Beach after the Dolphins opted to sign Daunte Culpepper over him back in 2006. The Dolphins are projected to have less than $3 million in cap space for next season, factoring in Tannehill, right now. So any move for one of these vets likely would only happen if the team moved on from him. The one exception could be Bridgewater, who has south Florida roots (and is buddies with Dolphins WR DeVante Parker, for what that’s worth); right now, Bridgewater’s value is low until he shows his health is good enough to play in a game.
• Another strong draft class? Perhaps. Right now, there’s a good amount of buzz surrounding next year’s class — as there often is this time of year — with top prospects such as USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. Others such as Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Washington State’s Luke Falk, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield carry intrigue. Much will change over the coming eight months. But there appears to be some real depth here. It’s possible the Dolphins, who haven’t drafted a QB higher than a seventh-rounder since Tannehill arrived in 2012, could dip into the college ranks with a high pick — even if Tannehill stays on the roster next season.
• Keep Cutler. Hub Arkush wrote about this possibility Sunday, and it’s not as wild as you think. Cutler is only 34, and other quarterbacks older than he — Palmer and Brett Favre come to mind — have left and come back successfully. What if Cutler plays well? His one-year, $10 million deal pays him very well for this season, and clearly there would have to be an adjustment for 2018. Bringing him back alongside Tannehill would be tricky, unless Cutler is amenable to that situation at far less money. But you certainly can’t rule out the possibility until we see how he fares in this suddenly fascinating arrangement.
What looms over this situation now is what Tannehill plans to do now with his knee. He could opt for surgery, which ends his season definitively, or choose to rest his knee and hope it heals — perhaps even in time for a late-season return, however remote that possibility might be. Tannehill clearly knows this is a flashpoint in his career, and he certainly wants to prove his worth to the franchise. He is said to like the team and wants to stay, so you could understand why the competitor in him might want to show his employer how much he can and wants to contribute.
If Tannehill was to somehow come back at the end of the year and get hurt again after that point, the team would be on the hook for the $5.5 million injury guarantee and might be more compelled to keep him, financially speaking, as long as the injury doesn’t further obscure his future playing ability.
But then you’re talking about a player with potentially three serious injuries in the past year or so making a lot of money (with a cap figure nearing $20 million) who in essence would be having to reclaim his starting position. Yes, there’s a tough call on whether Tannehill should have the surgery, but the team also might have a tough choice to make at some point, too.
BOURBONNAIS — On one of the coldest days in the history of Bears camp at Olivet Nazarene University, with blustering winds and no sign of sun, the offense provided most of the warmth.
Mitch Trubisky fit a short laser through a tight window to Tanner Gentry for a touchdown and effortlessly flung a second would-be touchdown at least 40 yards in the air into a bucket and through the outstretched arms of Deonte Thompson.
Adam Shaheen made the play of the day, a manhandling of veteran S Quintin Demps preceding a nifty one-handed touchdown on a Mike Glennon fade throw.
The defense's main heat source? That'd be Leonard Floyd, who burned the edge for a "sack" early in a team red zone drill.
"It just shows up that he’s able to build upon each day’s work. He’s had a good progression here up to date," Vic Fangio said. "I think he’s getting better and better at the little things, the things he thought were kind of hard last year, may come easy for him."
Floyd made it look easy on this specific rush, a burst into the backfield before the play materialized. But speed was his calling card when the Bears traded up to select Floyd ninth overall last year. His biggest strides in Year Two will come from improving on the little things, only possible when he's on the field.
"His angles. Where his eyes are looking. Being aware of any adjustments he may have to make," continued Fangio.
It's not by accident that Floyd arrived at camp weighing 251 pounds, up 15 from his rookie season, yet maintained his trademark explosiveness and flexibility. He said Thursday he's put in a lot more work than during his rookie year, which lacked consistency namely because he wasn't a consistent practice participant.
Floyd was carted off the Bourbonnais practice field on Day 1 with an illness. He was then quickly sidelined by a calf injury. And he suffered two concussions, the second of which took more than two months for him to fully recover.
Still, in just 12 starts, Floyd's seven sacks was No. 2 on the defense. And "stacking practices" — a term used frequently by the recently injury-ravaged Bears this offseason — appears to be paying dividends.
"It helps a lot, just coming out grinding every day and trying to improve on my mistakes from yesterday’s practice," said Floyd. "Just going out, looking at the film, looking at what I did wrong, going out the next day and just doing it better."
The Bears desperately need a healthy Floyd to continue rising. With Pernell McPhee on the PUP list with his balky knees continuing to raise doubt he'll ever regain his early 2015 dominance, and Lamarr Houston and Willie Young on the wrong side of 30, Floyd is being counted on as the Alpha Dog of the EDGE group — historically the driving force behind Fangio's and John Fox's best defenses.
And with none of the Bears' other recent first-rounders shoo-ins to be difference-makers—Kyle Long is recovering from a brutal ankle injury, Kyle Fuller is a roster longshot, Kevin White is essentially starting from scratch after two leg surgeries in two seasons and Mitch Trubisky is currently set for a redshirt year—the spotlight naturally falls on Floyd.
"He’s got really good potential. I think he’ll be a very good player for us and looked upon as a very good player in the league," Fangio said.
Always candid, Fangio was pressed for an even hotter Floyd take on a chilly Bourbonnais day. Is it too soon to call him a future Pro Bowler?
"Sure it is. He’s got to put it on the field. He’s got to put it on the field.”
It's only the practice field, but so far so good.
There was speculation that Washington drafting fourth-round running back Samaje Perine in April could lead to an unseating at the position, or at least a shift in power. But based on what a team source told Pro Football Weekly, Rob Kelley appears to be fairly locked in as the team’s starting running back.
Kelley opened some eyes in an unexpectedly good rookie season in which he carried the ball 168 times — more than in his final two seasons combined at Tulane — for 704 yards and six touchdowns. The majority of those yards (601) came in a nine-game stretch that started with the tie against the Bengals in London when the Washington coaching staff started to show more confidence in Kelley.
Now Kelley is rewarding them with his own improved confidence. Prior to coach Jay Gruden citing Kelley’s noticeably better self-confidence during Thursday’s session with the media, the team source had noted to us that Kelley no longer was “not trying to make mistakes … now he’s just playing and running more freely and decisively. He’s more confident in what he’s doing. He's in better shape and he’s looking good so far.”
Kelley’s rookie season ended with a meniscus injury that cost him a little explosiveness the final few games; his longest run in the final six contests was 22 yards. But after having it cleaned up surgically this offseason, Kelley’s knee is in good shape and he even has trimmed off a few unnecessary pounds that has helped his quickness a bit.
The nickname “Fat Rob” was fun for fans, but Kelley — listed on the roster at 6-0, 233 pounds — has looked leaner. He might be down into the low 220s by the time the season starts.
There has been nothing wrong with Perine’s start to training camp, mind you. He has looked the part of an NFL running back and should be firmly in the team’s plans. It’s just that Kelley appears to be the first choice out of the chute, and Gruden likely will give Perine a chance to establish himself down the road, keeping him in a limited role for now.
Expect Kelley to start for now, backed by Perine, with Chris Thompson reprising the third-down role he has carved out. That’s a solid top three at a position that appeared a bit in flux before camp started.