Broncos HC Vance Joseph welcomes RB competition

New Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph will let summer competition determine the team’s pecking order at running back.

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“Absolutely. I mean, every position on our football team is going to be competitive and that’s the way you want it every year,” Joseph told Troy Renck of KMGH-TV in Denver. “You want guys to come in and compete for jobs every year. Obviously the guys who win the jobs win but the guys who don’t can be capable backups. Every spot on the football team is going to be up for competition.

“The running back position — you need two or three guys who are going to carry the load. There’s no longer a one-guy position. So I’m excited to have Jamaal, Book, C.J. and even DeAngelo in the mix there. It’s a good group, it’s going to be competitive and that’s the way it should be.”

Joseph was referring to former Chiefs star Jamaal Charles, C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and 2017 sixth-round pick De’Angelo Henderson. Booker led the team last year with 612 yards — less than 200 yards more than Anderson, who played in just seven games (knee).

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And in each instance, they have placed more faith and trust in Derek Wolfe, a player wonderfully described by Broncos longtime beat man Mike Klis as both “brutish” and “unvarnished.”

That is not to say Wolfe, now 27 and in the middle of a four-year, $36.7 million deal, hasn’t learned a thing or two about himself over the years. Maybe leadership suits him better now than ever.

“When I see guys not doing the right thing, I’m going to tell them,” Wolfe told 9News in Denver. “I’m not going to sit back and let that (stuff) slide. Me, it’s either confrontation fist-fight or say nothing. I’m learning how to not fight people if that makes sense.”

While the Broncos can expect a yearly, out-of-this-world performance from Von Miller, Wolfe is in the mix to ensure they get the same from Shane Ray, 2017 second-round pick DeMarcus Walker and 2016 second-round pick Adam Gotsis. General manager John Elway is toeing the line between rebuilding project and last-chance playoff contender, with a roster that could easily slide in either direction this year. The continued success of their defensive line under imaginative head coach Vance Joseph could tip the team in either direction.

Where does that leave the Broncos, less than 16 months removed from their Super Bowl title, but without a known franchise quarterback or consistent offensive line play? Could Denver, by virtue of elimination, be locked into fourth place in the AFC West? (The Around the NFL podcast crew sure thinks so.)

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New coach Vance Joseph has a more optimistic outlook.

“I’ve said, coming in, really looking at this team, looking at every game — which I did several times — it isn’t broken,” Joseph told reporters Friday. “Yes, there are things we could, and must, do better, places where we need to improve. But this team won nine games last season. But I also understand the expectations here. It’s why it’s a great job; it’s why I can’t wait.”

Let’s take a look through Joseph’s rose-colored visor. Though it struggled in the ground game down the stretch, Denver’s defense remains a top-five unit in the league, thanks to a lock-down secondary and an improving defensive line that boasts Derek Wolfe and Adam Gotsis. The Broncos’ linebacking corps, led by Von Miller and Shane Ray on the outside, is a game-changing force. The addition of a healthy Jamaal Charles to the running back room is a potentially disruptive complement to C.J. Anderson.

There’s plenty to like about the Broncos’ roster in a vacuum. It’s only when you compare them to their improving division rivals that it’s fair to wonder whether Denver is destined for the cellar.

The team may not be broken, as Joseph insists, but it won’t be able to dominate the division the same way it did two or three seasons prior.

Jets’ Buster Skrine: ‘You can’t rebuild in New York’

Plenty of folks don’t have very high expectations for the New York Jets.

With a quarterback room filled with Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, it’s hard to blame them. But don’t count Buster Skrine as one of their cheap mets jerseys.

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“You can’t rebuild in New York,” Skrine told ESPN. “Because y’all will eat us up. Ain’t no rebuilding here. It’s getting right to the point. This is a competing team. We still have the players to compete.”

Brought in as a free-agent addition before the 2015 season, Skrine was an acquisition for a team that was ready to contend. That Jets squad finished just outside the playoffs with a 10-6 record, and things seemed to be trending toward a postseason appearance in 2016. Then the wheels fell off.

Skrine has a point: The Jets do still have a handful of players that make them somewhat competitive. But New York has also bid adieu to Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis, among others. It’s been a signal that the team is deconstructing to start over with new pieces. The Jets are going young, and with youth and roster anonymity usually comes more losses than wins. But Skrine is under contract for three more seasons, so he has to trumpet his franchise’s chances.

Having played for the Browns from 2011-2014, he’s also been part of cheap replica jerseys and a few internal detonations.

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“I’m going into my seventh year and I played for Cleveland, so I’ve seen it happen,” he said. “Sometimes you have to figure out the right formula for the team, and I trust Coach (Todd) Bowles. Every morning, he’s up at 4:30. I trust (Jets GM Mike) Maccagnan. I trust everybody. I know they’ve got something up their sleeve. They’re going to make it work.

Cleveland holds the No. 1 pick, and the club is considering not only the consensus favorite for the choice, Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett, but a quarterback as well, according to an ESPN report. The Jets select at No. 6. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky figure to be the most tantalizing options at the position.

“I don’t think they should take a QB at No. 6. I think that would be a big mistake,” Jeremiah said of the Jets. “You’d basically be admitting you made a big mistake in taking a quarterback (Christian Hackenberg) in the second round last year. You identify a wasted second-round pick last year, you’d cost yourself the opportunity to get a great player at another position at No. 6 this year, and you probably take yourself out of the quarterback market next year. Without getting ahead of ourselves, when you look at what could be available, I think it’s going to be a much better group next year than we have this year.”

Brooks suggested a quarterback could potentially be the right move for the Jets at No. 6, but agreed with Jeremiah that it’s not the right play for la kings jersey cheap Cleveland at No. 1.

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Nike Jets #5 Christian Hackenberg White Men's Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey“I don’t believe there is a quarterback worthy of being the No. 1 pick,” Brooks said. “… With Myles Garrett jersey, you’re getting a guy that is solid. He plays a premier position and should be able to play that position for the next 8-10 years at a very high level, in a division where you need to be able to get after the passer.”

The pick gives New York one of the draft’s most talented defenders, a hard-hitting, downhill tackler who exits college renowned by his former teammates and coaches as one of the best leaders in LSU lore.

“I think this is the second-best football player in the draft,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said after Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the selection.

The 6-foot, 214-pound Adams joins a wanting Jets secondary that includes Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor at the safety spots. The rookie will be given a chance to step in and shake up the pecking order right away for third-year coach Todd Bowles.

“He can play all over the field and he could have an immediate impact on defense just like Landon Collins jersey did coming out (for the Giants),” one scout told cheapjersey. “I love him. I think he’s a winner.”

The Jets have now used nine straight first-round picks on defensive players since taking quarterback Mark Sanchez in 2009. And why not, considering Gang Green has ranked in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense in five of the past six seasons.

The Jets have a long way to go to challenge for the AFC East, but Thursday’s decision gives this team one of the draft’s most treasured assets. It’s a start.

Derek Carr’s MVP buzz growing as Raiders continue to impress

Michael Crabtree stood on the sideline, looked up at the scoreboard above the north end zone and took a deep breath. The eighth-year receiver crunched the numbers: His Raiders trailed the Buffalo Bills, 24-9, with 9:01 left in the third quarter, having been manhandled by the visitors on both sides of the ball. While 54,759 fans at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum fretted over the prospect of an unexpected stumble to a fired-up underdog, Crabtree smiled and thought to himself, We’ve only just begun to fight.

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Crabtree wasn’t lying. And as the rest of the football world is starting to figure out, when you’ve got the hottest right hand in the land at your disposal, you’ve always got a puncher’s chance.

After a 15-minute, 27-second flurry in which Raiders quarterback Derek Carr buoyed his burgeoning MVP candidacy — and, more important, fueled a jaw-dropping 29-0 run that propelled Oakland to a 38-24 victory — Crabtree stood at his locker and explained the mindset of a 10-2 team that currently leads in the race for homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

“Bruh, you’ve been seeing this the whole season — we’ve been doing the same thing as we did today,” Crabtree told me, punching the air for emphasis. “When we hit a rough patch, we respond, plain and simple. When you’ve got a team like this, bruh, when you’ve got this many weapons, the sky’s the limit.”

Then Crabtree made reference to another high-profile Oakland athlete: Boxer Andre Ward, who two weeks ago fought back from a hellacious second-round knockdown to dethrone light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

“I was watching the Andre Ward fight (recently) — he was here today, too,” Crabtree said. “He got knocked down in the first part of the fight, but he just kept standing in there and came back and won. That inspired me. We’ve got the same type of drive on this team. That’s what I was thinking about when we got down today. And trust me, bruh, we didn’t flinch one time.”

At this point, the Raiders’ resilience shouldn’t be overly surprising to anyone. This was Oakland’s sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the 2016 season, a campaign which began with a dramatic road victory over the New Orleans Saints, capped by coach Jack Del Rio (aka Jack Del Huevos) making a tone-setting decision to win the game on a two-point conversion attempt.

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Now the AFC West-leading Raiders remain a game ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs — a team that handed them one of their two defeats — in advance of Thursday night’s rematch at Arrowhead Stadium. And though the 10-2 New England Patriots and defending champion Denver Broncos (8-4) will likely have plenty of influence on the race for the conference title, there are currently 53 dudes in silver and black who feel pretty good about their prospects.

After all, these aren’t your big brother’s Raiders. Last Sunday, after Carr dramatically returned from a pinkie dislocation on his throwing hand to lead Oakland to a victory over the Carolina Panthers, they clinched their first winning season since 2002, which ended with a jarring Super Bowl XXXVII defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Before the Raiders roared to life, Rex Ryan spent much of Sunday flipping the bird to his fleet of doubters. Laughed about in September as a candidate to lose his job, the Bills coach unleashed his top-ranked ground game against a Raiders defense allowing an NFL-worst 6.2 yards per play. Buffalo peaked just after the break when LeSean McCoy ripped off a 54-yard burst to set up a Tyrod Taylor scoring scramble that put Buffalo up 17-9. With 212 yards on the day at a strong 7.1 yards per pop, Buffalo used the combination of McCoy (17/130) and Mike Gillislee (8/49/2) to initially confound the Raiders, who couldn’t counter Shady’s patience and zigzagging magic or Gillislee’s straight-ahead hammer drops. Oakland tightened up down the stretch, though, to force three straight punts before Defensive Player of the Year candidate Khalil Mack nipped Taylor’s arm on a fourth-quarter lob that landed in the arms of safety Nate Allen. The Raiders scored four plays later to put this tilt on ice.

Michael Crabtree has been a revelation for the Raiders, but the wideout hurt the team in the second quarter by dropping a would-be touchdown pass two plays before he was flagged for taunting, a gaffe that forced Oakland to settle for a field goal. Still, Crabtree (7/74/1) made up for it with a pretty third-quarter grab in the back of the end zone to galvanize Buffalo’s demise.

Oakland’s ground game is led by Latavius Murray (20/82/2), but sign us up for more action from Jalen Richard, the undrafted rookie who gave the Raiders life with a handful of key bursts down the stretch. Murray spun his own gold, scoring twice to become the first Raiders back with 10-plus rushing touchdowns in a season since Marcus Allen in 1990.

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Nike Raiders #81 Tim Brown Black Men's Stitched NFL Elite Pro Line Gold Collection JerseyIt’s tough to call Carr the league MVP when Alex Smith has outplayed him in two head-to-head meetings. While Smith turned the ball over after halftime, it was his big plays early that put the Chiefs in front. Kansas City won for the first time in 44 years with a negative-three turnover differential because their playmakers — from Tyreek Hill to Travis Kelce to cornerback Marcus Peters and pass rusher Justin Houston — all came up big. Unheralded cornerbacks like Terrance Mitchell and Steven Nelson played huge roles.

Oakland’s young leaders, on the other hand, came up short. Amari Cooper failed to track a long pass from Carr that could have resulted in a touchdown. Cooper told reporters that the ball moved on him at the last second. That wasn’t the only odd look from Cooper on a night when he was targeted 10 times and only wound up with five catches for 29 yards. In a season that has included so much good fortune, it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Raiders.

“Everything about tonight was unusual, to be honest,” Carr said. “To have our defense step up for us and make plays like that and for us to go out and not execute. You know, do things that we don’t do.”

This result is hardly a death sentence for Oakland’s Super Bowl chances, but the 10-3 team relinquished control of the AFC West to the Chiefs, who hold the tiebreaker over Oakland after the season sweep. The Raiders and Chiefs both have three tricky games left, so this race has a long way to go. The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos are only one loss back and they face both teams in the coming weeks.

While the Broncos and Chiefs have plenty of playoff race experience, these are entirely new circumstances for this young Raiders squad. Carr admitted that the Raiders were “punched in the mouth” Thursday and now they have to respond.

For an organization that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since 2002, no one said that just winning, baby was going to be easy.

Patriots’ Chris Long was pursued heavily by Lions

Patriots defensive end Chris Long almost became a Detroit Lion this past offseason.

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“Coach (Jim) Caldwell was awesome throughout that whole free agency process,” Long said, via The Detroit Free Press. “They showed me a lot of respect that I didn’t necessarily deserve, in my eyes, because the last few years were so tough for my Patriots jersey. But coach Caldwell thought I could get back to who I was, and I’ll always respect him for that.”

Long said New England entered the bidding a little later in the game. If not, his four sacks and 32 tackles would have been bolstering a surprisingly strong Lions defense in 2016.

While neither destination would have been an awful choice for a championship-seeking late-career veteran whose prime years were gobbled up by Jeff Fisher in St. Louis, New England was always the obvious choice here.

Long was the perfect Patriots defensive player — versatile and heady, with the ability to rush the passer and do all the little things well. His approximate value this season, according to Pro Football Reference, was higher than it’s been since an 8.5 sack season back in 2011 with the Rams.

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“This opportunity here that I’ve been lucky to be a part of is what I had in mind,” Long said. “My first experience in free agency was all about that.”

“I felt like I wasn’t playing that bad (at the time of the trade),” Van Noy told the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett at Super Bowl LI Opening Night on Monday. “I felt like I was improving each week, and that’s what it was all about. But they wanted to move on from me, so it is what it is. I’m in a better spot now. I’m in the Super Bowl.”

The former second-round pick missed most of his rookie season and spent 2015 as a backup. He combined for just 16 tackles and a sack in his first two seasons. In 2016, he earned the starting gig in Detroit and played in most nickel situations, compiling 23 tackles in seven games. Still, his stint with the Lions was highlighted by missed tackles and too many blown coverages.

He’s thrived since moving to New England. In seven regular-season games with the Patriots, the 26-year-old compiled 29 tackles and a sack. In the AFC Championship game against Pittsburgh, Van Noy flashed, earning four tackles and a key forced fumble.

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Nike Patriots #12 Tom Brady Gray Men's Stitched NFL Limited Gridiron Gray II Jersey“I had a hard 2.5 years,” Van Noy said. “I took a lot of heat from (Detroit media) and I took a lot of heat, in general, and I think finally playing well is kind of showing people like, ‘Oh, man, we kind of should have waited just a little bit longer, maybe.'”

“If I’m invited back to Foxborough, I’ll come,” he said.

Goodell later added: “I have no doubt if I wanted to come out to a Patriots game with China jerseys, and I asked Mr. (Robert) Kraft, he would welcome me back. That’s up to him though.”

Consider an offer extended.

The Patriots owner later said in a statement that if his team wins Super Bowl LI on Sunday, next season’s kickoff game would be the perfect time for Goodell to return to New England.

“I’ve talked to a lot of fans who would love to welcome Roger back to Gillette Stadium,” Kraft said in a statement to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “If we are fortunate enough to win on Sunday, the kickoff of the (2017) NFL season would present the perfect opportunity.”

If it comes to pass, that would be the cherry on top of another Super Bowl season for cheap jerseys of Patriots fans.

Steelers’ offense primed for playoff run pending Big Ben’s health

Ben Roethlisberger hobbled up to the dais Sunday afternoon, a bulky walking boot changing the tenor of a day that had seemed to encapsulate the vision the Pittsburgh Steelers have for their offense and their playoff potential.

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Roethlisberger said he was hurt on the Steelers’ final offensive play of their 30-12 wild-card victory over the Miami Dolphins before the kneeldown that ended the game, when Cameron Wake fell on his right ankle on a third-down pass attempt. That Roethlisberger was still in the game at that point — with 4:34 remaining in a game that the Steelers were leading by 18 points — will be fodder for questioning Mike Tomlin if Roethlisberger’s play is compromised next Sunday in Kansas City for the Divisional Round. That Roethlisberger had a reputation early in his career of injury-related drama will probably encourage a week of wondering if this is anything more than a routine sputter for an otherwise high-performance offense. Still, on a day when everything was working the way offensive coordinator Todd Haley has long imagined it, an injury to Roethlisberger, however minor it might turn out to be, provided sobering ballast to the soaring expectations that the Steelers could be primed for a run through the AFC field.

“We don’t know anything yet, but we’ll find out soon enough,” Roethlisberger said. “You’re always worried about being hurt, but I’ll be out there next week.”

For good measure, Roethlisberger said his right shoulder was fine, too, after he was spotted flexing his arm late in the game. Although head coach Mike Tomlin, without getting into specifics, described the team’s injuries as “nothing of extreme significance.” It was a long way from a summer morning at the Steelers’ training camp at St. Vincent College a few years ago, when Haley sat on a bench with NFL jerseys from China and said he thought his offense could score 30 points per game. That kind of offense hasn’t been spotted in the playoffs in Pittsburgh, mostly because the roster was never intact, addled by injuries to so many of the critical principles.

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This was the first time running back Le’Veon Bell jersey and wide receiver Antonio Brown jersey were healthy and available for the playoffs together. In fact, the Steelers had been able to rest them and Roethlisberger in last week’s regular-season finale — and the impact was immediate against the overmatched Dolphins. The Steelers opened with a passing attack that took advantage of the Dolphins’ injury-decimated secondary, as Brown took short passes for long runs and touchdowns on the two opening drives. That forced the defense back, and the Steelers followed with a 1970s flashback drive of 10 plays, 10 runs and a touchdown. It was a brutal show of force, with the Steelers’ offensive line shoving the Dolphins’ defensive line, including defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, backward as if they were riding skateboards, to give Bell the time to read his blocks and wholesale NFL jerseys — so patient that his coaches were telling him to hurry up — and burst through the massive holes.

In a somewhat-ugly 18-16 divisional-round win over the Chiefs, Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell owned the scoreboard with six successful kicks off as many attempts.

Boswell’s heroics vaulted the Steelers into next week’s AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, while also tugging Pittsburgh into the history books.

As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo noted Sunday, the Steelers became just the sixth team in league history to win a playoff game without scoring a touchdown. The last occurrence came a decade ago when the 2006 Colts knocked off the Ravens 15-6 in a divisional-round “thriller” before eventually winning Super Bowl XLI.

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Roethlisberger began the second half with an interception and tossed another wayward ball that was picked before the third quarter ended.

Nike Steelers #7 Ben Roethlisberger White Men's Stitched NFL Limited Salute to Service JerseyWith the Steelers trailing by 10 points to open the fourth quarter, Big Ben went to work. He found Antonio Brown over the middle, Eli Rogers and Jesse James down the seam, Le’Veon Bell in the flat.

“We just went into attack mode,” Roethlisberger said. “We went all no-huddle and we were throwing it and just making things happen. You know, guys made plays, and I just threw it to the right guys.”

After getting down 20-10, the Steelers scored on back-to-back drives of 75 yards and 60 yards, respectively, to take the lead. After Pittsburgh’s defense had surrendered a long Ravens march to retake the lead, Roethlisberger was masterful. The Steelers’ signal-caller led a flawless 10-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with Antonio Brown jersey reaching the ball over the goal line for the win with 0:09 remaining on the clock.

“It’s pretty special the way we won it,” Roethlisberger said. “Especially after feeling the way I felt at a certain point in that game and feeling like you let guys down and you blew it. So to come back and win it is pretty special.”

It was Roethlisberger’s 39th career game-winning drive (including playoffs), the most of any QB since 2004.

Did Chargers coach Mike McCoy save job with win?

San Diego Chargers fans have been shoved through the ringer over the first five weeks of the season.

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In blowing double-digit leads to the Chiefs and Saints — and crumbling last Sunday against the upstart Raiders — the Bolts find themselves glued to an ugly statistical footnote: San Diego is 1-2 in games this season where they held a 13-plus point lead, while the rest of the NFL is 36-0 in such tilts.

You can point to the litany of injuries or blame giggling kicker Josh Lambo if you must, but that won’t change the task ahead: knocking off pass-rushing whirlwind Von Miller and the world-champion Broncos on a short week.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy is under pressure to deliver a victory and halt an ugly 10-game skid to AFC West opponents, the NFL’s longest divisional losing streak.

Prior to taking over the OC role after the season began, Lynn was a running backs coach every year since getting that position with the Jacksonville Jaguars jerseys in 2003. The 48-year-old coach has been part of some dynamic ground games in the past. Lynn has overseen nine 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 14 years coaching the position (since 2003) — Fred Taylor (twice), Julius Jones, Jamal Lewis (twice), Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene (twice) and LeSean McCoy.

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“This (hire) really means a lot,” Gordon said. “He obviously knows the game, so if he sees some wrinkles, I’ve got another set of eyes. Everyone’s got some holes in their game, and he’ll bring some wisdom to help get my game right when I need it. I’ve got someone who has been around the game for so long and coached some of the league’s best players. He’ll know how to help me. He’s perfect for me, so I’m excited to get this thing rolling under him.”

Gordon finished three yards shy of 1,000 yards thanks to injuries that wiped away the final three games of his season. The second-year pro earned 10 TDs in just 13 games. Gordon had a meager 3.9 yards per carry but displayed a burst and power to break first contact behind an offensive line that opened few holes. The cratering of the Chargers’ run game after Gordon got hurt only highlighted his phenomenal second season.

“There are people in the building who thought a firing of McCoy and potentially some coaches could come before the Raiders game, so all eyes will be on this performance tonight,” Rapoport reported, via sources informed of the situation.

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Nike Texans #15 Will Fuller V Navy Blue Team Color Men's Stitched NFL Elite JerseyMcCoy’s camp would point to the string of injuries to key players such as Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, Danny Woodhead, Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers.

To be fair, though, the roster has been strong enough to generate leads of a touchdown or more NFL jerseys china in every game this season.

The breakdown has come in close-and-situations, an area of game management McCoy has struggled to master since taking control in 2013.

“The way they are losing games, I think that’s a reflection on their head coach,” NFL Network analyst Reggie Wayne said on Wednesday’s edition of NFL Total Access. “They need to find a way to finish games … That’s on the head coach. That’s his responsibility of teaching his guys, of preaching to his guys on how to finish, what we need to do to become a finishing team. And they just can’t get cheap jerseys from china¬†done right now.”

The Chargers have blown leads in the final two minutes of three of their four losses. Luckily for the Chargers and McCoy, another late-game meltdown failed to surface again on national television Thursday night. With the Chargers’ losing streak over, the organization’s braintrust could choose to wait NFL jerseys before making any decisions about its head coach.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Brissett throw at Patriots practice

New England’s pair of on-the-mend quarterbacks are making progress.

Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett jersey were seen by reporters throwing short passes during Wednesday’s portion of practice open to the media. The two Patriots signal-callers were also on the field for Tuesday’s session.

The duo “worked on pocket mobility and lighter throws” during a pair of positional periods on Wednesday, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, who noted that Garoppolo “didn’t favor his throwing shoulder at any point during stretching or the throwing drills.”

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Howe also noted that Brissett, who saw an equal rash of snaps, “had tape on his thumb and didn’t appear to be bothered” by the sprained thumb he suffered in last Thursday’s romp over the Texans. Both quarterbacks were listed as limited participants on the Patriots’ official practice report.

Garoppolo, who suffered a sprained AC joint in a Week 2 win over the Dolphins, talked Wednesday about his range of motion as “coming along,” while remaining cryptic about cheap jerseys and his chance to start Sunday against the Bills.

“You know, you always want to be out there,” Garoppolo said. “It’s part of football, part of being a competitor. You want to be the guy out there and be the one running the show.”

Brissett was equally hazy about Sunday’s status, saying only: “That’s coach (Bill Belichick’s) decision. I can’t make that decision.”

Asked if the thumb is toying with his grip on the football jerseys, Brissett responded in appropriately robotic Patriots jargon, saying: “Just something I deal with. Whatever happens just happens and whatever coach wants me to do with wholesale MLB jerseys, I’ll do.”

Although the muscle is torn, the tendon is not. That means Ninkovich will rehab the injury rather than undergo surgery, per Rapoport. The hope is that the 11th-year veteran can return at some point in October.

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Cincinnati Bengals Youth 2015 AFC West Division Champions Next Level T-ShirtA versatile defensive leader, Ninkovich led the Patriots’ front seven in snaps last season, recording 6.5 sacks and a career-high seven pass deflections. He has not only started all 80 regular-season games for New England over the past five seasons, but also boasts the third-longest streak of consecutive games played (102) among NFL defensive ends.

Along with Pro Bowlers J.J. Watt jersey and Calais Campbell, Ninkovich is one of just three players with at least 40 sacks and 350 tackles since 2010, per NFL research.

The Pats were counting on Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard to hold down starting duties after trading Pro Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones to the Cardinals in March. Now they will need reclamation project Chris Long and 2015 draft picks Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers to shoulder a heavier load early in the season.

Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, told NFL Network on Monday that Brady’s chances of being granted another appeal — and winning it — are low.

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“I think Tom Brady’s first step might be to try to get a stay to try to get the suspension put on pause essentially while this continues to wind its way through the courts,” Feldman said. “But Tom Brady’s next step is to make an en banc appeal to ask the entire second circuit to hear that — those are very rarely granted. And even more rare is the Supreme Court to hear this case. So Tom Brady is almost out of chances. I think any chance he has left is very slim.”

Brady was originally suspended for violating the NFL policy on the integrity of the game after independent investigator Ted Wells found that it was “more probable than not” that the quarterback was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” regarding the deflation of Patriots footballs used in the January 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Colts.

The Patriots were also fined $1 million NFL jerseys and forfeit a 2016 first-round draft pick and 2017 fourth-round selection for the offense.

New England will open the season with 2014 second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo under center versus the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills.