28 August 2011

A motivational video for 'Madden' starring Ray Lewis

The new "Madden" game came out on Tuesday, which partially explains why I wasn't blogging very often Tuesday and Wednesday. Are any of you "Madden" junkies out there having trouble beating your buddies at the game? If so, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is here to motivate you with this video:

Click here to order Ray Lewis’ proCane Rookie Card.

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Recap of proCane Performances From Thursday Night's Preseason Games

Colin McCarthy was a tackling machine for the Tennessee Titans with 7 tackles (6 solo), 1 tackle for loss, a pass deflection and a forced fumble.

For the Philadelphia Eagles Graig Cooper had 11 carries for 24 yards & 1TD & Sinorice Moss had 3 receptions for 49 yards & 3 punt returns for 38 yards.

Baltimore Raven Damien Berry had 8 carries for 31 yards and 1 TD, along with 2 receptions for 18 yards.

Giants DL Dwayne Hendricks had 5 tackles (4 solo) 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB hit. Great game as he is fighting for a roster spot.

Carolina Panther Jeremy Shockey had 2 catches for 19 yards & a TD vs the Pittsburgh Steelers where Baraka Atkins had 1 tackle.

Calais Campbell had 1 tackle for loss in limited action for the Arizona Cardinals.

Redskin Leonard Hankerson has 4 catches for 36 yards.

KC Chief Allen Bailey so far tonight has 1 tackle, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit. His sack was actually a safety for the Chiefs.

Minnesota Viking Ryan Hill led the Minnesota Vikings with 7 solo tackles.

Damione Lewis of the Houston Texans had 6 tackles (3 solo) and 1 tackle for loss while Brandon Harris had 2 tackles and Darryl Sharpton also added a tackle for the Texans.

49er Corey Nelms had a pass deflection.

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DeMarcus Van Dyke Ready For More

Tonight, the Raiders pop the DVD back in. Action movie? Horror flick? We'll see.

Rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is back in the starting lineup against the Seahawks, a week after giving up four passes for 73 yards in the first four minutes of a loss to quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints.

His confidence is not shaken.

"No, once you have the mind-set that you're a great player, you never lose confidence," the third-round pick out of Miami said. "You just have to stay confident, because in the NFL, guys are going to beat you some days. And you're going to beat them some days. Stay positive and you'll be OK."

Van Dyke, in the lineup for the injured Chris Johnson, said he learned something last week.

"I just have to make plays," he said. "I was in position to make a play the first play (a 37-yard pass), but I just gotta turn my head around. That's about it. Just make plays. Coach (Rod) Woodson told me to make plays on the ball and all that will stop."

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Jason Fox is healing, hoping to gain playing time

Jason Fox is out of his walking boot, but after almost a month on the sidelines, the second-year offensive tackle is realistic about what his role with the Lions will be when he returns.

"I'm here just to do whatever they want me to do," Fox said Tuesday. "Obviously, I'm a competitive guy. I want to play as much as possible. I want to help this team win, but with me missing the better part of camp, it's going to be tough coming back to earn a job right away."

With starter Jeff Backus out with a chest injury, Fox filled in as the Lions' first-team left tackle for the first week of training camp. A fourth-round pick out of Miami last year, Fox showed signs of progress after barely playing as a rookie, but he lost his grip on the top backup job when he limped off the practice field with a foot injury Aug. 6.

Corey Hilliard, who filled in at right tackle early in camp, started the Lions' first two exhibition games at left tackle and has been working at right guard since Backus' return before the third exhibition game.

Fox said he doesn't consider his injury a setback -- "It's a part of the game, and I just got to make the most of it when I come back," he said -- and neither he nor Lions coach Jim Schwartz has put a definitive timetable on his return.

"I don't know if it's a big step (that he's out of the boot)," Schwartz said. "It's part of his progression."

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Matured and Resiliant, Willis McGahee Embracing Role on Young Denver Broncos Squad

Willis McGahee rushed for over 2,800 yards and 31 touchdowns on 671 carries during his four-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens. Solid numbers, but figures that declined substantially after McGahee’s 100 carry, 380 yards and 5 TD campaign in 2010. Yes the 5 scores represent a healthy total for a complimentary back, but by just about every metric out there, McGahee’s ’10 season was the worst of his four in Baltimore — both in terms of how frequently he was utilized, and how effective he was when his number was called. He needed to find a new home and seems to have done just that in Denver. With Ray Rice set to assume an ever greater role in the Ravens offense in future years, McGahee decided for understandable reasons that it was the right time to find a new home

Playing for first-year head coach John Fox in Denver, who’s notoriously committed to establishing the run, McGahee has been only marginally effective this preseason, amassing just 49 yards so far on 17 carries.  Similar to how he was utilized in Baltimore however, McGahee has shined in his short-yardage and goal-line duties, scoring a pair of touchdowns already. There’s no doubt that Knowshown Moreno will get the lion’s share of the carries, but Fox loves to run the football, so McGahee is wisely preparing this offseason as if he’ll be the starting running back for the Broncos in 2011.

Willis McGahee joined 104.3 The Fan in Denver with The Drive to discuss what goes through his mind when he trots on to the field in short-yardage situations, how he clearly understands and embraces his roles on Denver’s offense in 2011, whether he really believes that he’s in an open competition for Knowshown Moreno for significant snaps in Denver’s regular offense, how this Broncos team compares to any number of successful squads he played on while in Baltimore,  and how successfully bouncing back and rehabbing from a gruesome hip injury late in his college career has driven him to prove his doubters wrong and carve out a career for himself in the NFL.

What are you thinking when you get in the game in short-yardage situations?:
“I’m thinking get it by any means necessary. They brought me here for a reason and my job is to get the first down and make plays. That’s my goal.”

OK, what was that reason? What is your role?:
“My role is to come in and make plays regardless of the situation or who’s going to start. If I’m going to start, I’m going to start. If I’m not, I’m still going to go in there and approach it the same way.”

Have they told you it’s an open competition?:
“Nowadays, it’s a two-back team now. There’s no way one person carries the load. So I really think everybody’s going to get their share.”

Where is this Denver Broncos team compared to your time with the Ravens?:
“I really think we’re on schedule. We don’t have the team that Baltimore had because Baltimore had a lot of vets on the team which were some key leaders as far as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. But we do have the Brian Dawkins and those guys are going to make sure that we’re going down the right path. The good thing about our team is we’re young and we’re going to be together a long time.”

Why are you so special around the goal line?:
“I’m not special without the guys in front, blocking for me. But I’ve got this itch to get in that end zone because that’s where I feel like I belong.”

Take us through the mentality and attitude you’ve had to come back from the gruesome injury in college:
“I look at it as, when I got hurt, it is what it is. It’s something that you can’t control. You can’t do anything about it, just move on and keep fighting. Through that whole process, you had the writers and the fans saying, ‘He’ll never play football. He’ll never do this, never do that.’ That’s what I feed off of, people telling me I can’t do something. They told me I wouldn’t be a starter in the NFL. I did that. They told me I wouldn’t be in the NFL long, I’m going on my ninth year. … They told me that I wouldn’t be Willis McGahee. Who is somebody to tell me I’m not going to be Willis McGahee?”

What’s the difference between NFL franchises that win and those that lose?:
“In an organization that’s winning … there’s just a feeling in the locker room. The locker room is feeling like everyone has one common goal and that’s to win. … When I was in Buffalo, it was like everybody wasn’t on the same page. They didn’t have that one common goal. … It was just a handful of guys, it wasn’t everybody.”

Click here to order Willis McGahee’ proCane Rookie Card.

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DJ Williams DUI trial set for January

DENVER (AP) — Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams will go on trial in January for a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence and not having headlights on his car.

Williams, the teams' leading tackler, was scheduled to appear in Denver County Court Thursday for a motions hearing. Defense attorney Harvey A. Steinberg says Williams couldn't make it because he's undergoing medical treatment. A judge rescheduled the motion hearing for Nov. 17 and scheduled Williams' trial for Jan. 17.

Williams suffered a dislocated right elbow in the Broncos' 23-20 win over Seattle.

Williams was arrested in Denver in November on suspicion of driving under the influence. It was hours before he was supposed to report to training camp.

NFL officials recently said they would not comment on possible discipline.


Contract Talks Start With Roscoe Parrish

The Bills have approached receiver Roscoe Parrish about a contract extension, a league source tells The News.

Parrish is in the last year of a deal that averaged $3.3 million a year. Parrish just turned 29 and revived his receiving career under coach Chan Gailey last season with 33 catches in eight games. Parrish, in his seventh season out of Miami, likes playing for Gailey.

Click here to order Roscoe Parrish’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Brewers poke fun at Ryan Braun’s spectacular falls with ‘chalk’ outline on basepath

Ryan Braun's teammates were not going to allow him to get away with his pratfall on the bases Wednesday night without having some fun.

Pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum and bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel went to considerable expense to put outlines of Brauns' tumble on the field today, using athletic tape for the police-like "chalk" outlines of victims.

They had two outlines on the field, representing the initial landing and then the second fall upon trying to get up. Particularly ingenius was the use of a protective screen used during BP to put an outline in "the air," representing Braun going airborne after rounding third on what could have been an inside-the-park homer against St. Louis.

That's a bat taped to the ground, by the way, to represent the "speed bump" that Braun tripped over.

Batting practice was optional today and Braun did not go out to hit, so he presumably didn't see his teammates' elaborate prank. But he did hear about it.

"That's OK if he doesn't see it," said third baseman Casey McGehee. "We can still laugh at it."

Braun did say he had received considerable trash talk via text messages, phone messges and e-mails from various folks about his spectacular pratfall. He lost balance rounding third and went down hard, getting tagged out for what became an RBI triple instead of an inside-the-park homer.

"The further I get away from it, the funnier it becomes," he said. "There's nothing you can do about it. There's no reason not to laugh about it. You can't go back and change anything.

"I think if I had been able to get up after the first time I fell, I still would have made it. I had it easy.

"I think I tried to increase my stride. I saw (third base coach) Eddie (Sedar) sending me and I got excited and tried to run faster than I needed to and lost my form. My stride got too long. I felt it coming. Not much you can do at that point."

Braun admitted he didn't break hard out of the box, which wouldn't have stopped a inside-the-parker had he not fallen.

"I was watching the ball to see if (CF Allen Craig) was going to catch it or not," said Braun. "I still had plenty of time to score. I don't think it would have affected me in any way.

"I'm fortunate I didn't get hurt. I've got a lot of trash talk. Every one of my friends who play another sport, all my basketball and football friends, are texting me, talking about lack of athleticism. I take a lot of pride in my athleticism so I've been getting a lot of trash talked to me."

That included former NBA star Reggie Miller, a friend and California neighbor who was at the game and was shown laughing heartily after Braun's stumble. The two had dinner after the game.

"He was laughing about it," said Braun.

As for the outlines created on the field by his teammates, Braun said, "I'm not even going out. I won't go out until right before the game so I'll probably miss it. I'll check it out at some point.

"Baseball's always weird that way. It's a crazy game, an unexplainable game. You  just move on to the next one."

Braun, who had a hamstring injury earlier in the year, said he escaped unharmed physically. Just a bruised ego. And those "chalk" outlines.

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Jemile Weeks Extends His Hitting Streak

2B Jemile Weeks extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games with a two-out single in the fifth inning at Cleveland on Thursday. Weeks is 15-for-39 with seven stolen bases during the streak. He scored three runs on Thursday.

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Perez Making His Mark As One Of The Great Indians Closers

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The past few seasons as the Cleveland Indians have been looking to rebuild for the future, the closer spot has been nothing more than an afterthought.

There was the ill faded experiment to sign and bring in Kerry Wood, which turned out to be nothing more than an awful waste of a two-year deal that cost the team $20.5 million. In return, Wood was an unhappy, mostly injured pitcher who put up 28 saves before he was finally shipped off in a deal to the New York Yankees.

What that move did was open the door for the pitcher that Indians fans now cheer for entering the game in the ninth inning. Chris Perez.

Perez is the best closer the Indians have had since Joe Borowski, who in the magical season of 2007 put up 45 saves in a year that saw the Indians come just short of reaching the World Series.

Monday night at Progressive Field, Perez notched his 30th save of the year. He’s 30-for-34 in save situations, to go along with a mark of 3-6 with an ERA of 2.79.

While Perez has gotten the job done a lot in 2011, it usually doesn’t happen until a few beads of sweat fall from the brows of fans during his save situations.

That was not the case Monday, as Perez struck out Brandon Allen and Conor Jackson before getting Kurt Suzuki to hit a harmless pop up to Asdrubal Cabrera at short to end the game and save the 2-1 win over the Oakland A’s.

“I felt good in the bullpen,” Perez said. “Just one of those nights where everything was going where I wanted it. Kept the slider down and fastball was going away where I wanted it.”

Moving forward, the Indians are happy with the direction that Perez has taken, and entering 2012 and beyond, there’s no doubt the team has their closer.

“I wanted the highest save percentage I could get,” Perez said. “My main thing is to stay healthy and help this team 60 to 65 times a year, that’s my job. If I’m healthy and my arm is good and I execute my pitches I’m gonna have a pretty good year.”

Following in the footsteps in some of the great Indians closers of the past like Ernie Camacho, Doug Jones, Bob Wickman and Jose Mesa, Perez already is on his way to being one of the great Indians closers in the team history.

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