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t123 Offline

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03.07.2018 15:54
f luck. Romo will need to come back earlier and play at a high level, or Antworten

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., earned his first career NASCAR national series victory by capturing the Camping World Truck Series race on Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.Considered a possible future leader of NASCAR as the son of current NASCAR vice chairwoman Lesa France Kennedy and nephew of NASCAR chairman Brian France, the 2014 University of Florida graduate has continued to focus on the competition side than any administrative side of NASCAR.The unpretentious and well-respected 24-year-old was the first France family member to win a NASCAR national series race -- it coming in his 63rd career start in the series -- by leading the final 20 laps of the UNOH 200.If anything, at the end of the day, this is a good experience for me no matter what I end up doing, Kennedy said. Hopefully, I have a long career in the racing industry, and if I dont, I at least have cool things to look back on and experiences.This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you couldnt trade for the world.Kennedy has driven for four different teams in the trucks since 2013. He had seven top-five finishes and 21 top-10s, with a previous career best of third. He entered the race ninth in the series standings -- the same spot he finished in his first two years in the series.But he should finish higher in 2016, as the win should qualify him and the GMS Racing team for the eight-driver truck series version of NASCARs Chase.If anything, its a little bit of validity for me and just confidence, not only for me but the entire team, Kennedy said. It makes it valid that were contenders here and should be here.?Kennedy outlasted Brett Moffitt to the finish line after a late caution set up a six-lap dash to the finish on the 0.533-mile high-banked concrete oval. Moffitt, ironically, was driving the Red Horse Racing No. 11 car that Kennedy drove for the first three races this year before moving over to GMS.Moffitt said despite Kennedys lineage (and the fact they are neighbors), he would have moved Kennedy for the win if he could have gotten to his bumper.Im going to race people the way I want to be raced, said Moffitt, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year. It is Bristol, so if you need to move someone, youve got to move him. I just wasnt quite good enough through the center to get to him.He slipped up a few times, and I was able to get to his bumper once, but I didnt get to him hard enough. I was really waiting for him to make a mistake so I could shove my nose in there, but he executed when he needed to. Authentic Browns Jerseys . "I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates," said Hejduk in a statement. Browns Official Jerseys . "I dont know that were close," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "I just think, right now, the acquisition cost just doesnt work for us right now. I dont know if I can quantify how far off or things like that that they might be but I would say we continue to have dialogue. . Ivanovic was leading 7-5, 1-0 when Hantuchova withdrew after falling 0-40 behind in the second game. The match started slowly for Ivanovic, who surrendered her first two serves as Hantuchova took a 5-3 lead. Baker Mayfield Jersey . Irving scored 23 points, Tristan Thompson had 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Cavaliers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-109 on Friday night. Cheap Browns Jerseys . -- Brandon Jennings made the most of his first game with the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Cowboys fans with even the shortest memories probably expected Tony Romo to get injured at some point during this 2016 season. They just werent expecting him to get hurt before September. For the second time in three years, Romo has broken bones in his back, and while he was able to play through the transverse fractures in his back in 2014, he wont be able to play through the compressed vertebrae he suffered against the Seahawks. Early reports suggest Romo will be out for a minimum of six games, leaving the Cowboys in a vulnerable state heading into the regular season.One saving grace in light of what has been an injury-filled August is fourth-round pick Dak Prescott, who has been one of the breakout players of the 2016 preseason. Among quarterbacks with 25 attempts or more this preseason, Prescott leads the league in passer rating (137.8). Hes third in completion percentage (78.0 percent), fifth in yards per attempt (9.1 yards per throw) and has thrown for five touchdowns without an interception. Toss in two rushing touchdowns and Prescott has arguably been the offensive MVP of the preseason.Still, the questions for the Cowboys are everywhere.What have the Cowboys done to put themselves in this situation? Can they work their way out of it? And is their 2016 season doomed before Week 1? I watched Prescotts preseason tape, ran through some numbers, and found some echoes from bad Cowboys decisions of the past still haunting them years later. Lets attempt some answers.Romo is hurt, but Prescott has looked great so far. So should the Cowboys be worried about their offense?Yes, the Cowboys should be worried. Obviously, theres no reason to feel worse about things with Prescott playing well; you would much rather have your rookie quarterback look precocious in the preseason than overwhelmed and underprepared. I just dont know how much Prescotts preseason performance means and how well he fits in the offense the Cowboys have run over the past few years.Theres no real history of preseason performance by rookies (or players in new places) having any meaningful value in projecting their immediate NFL futures. I wrote about this very topic in regards to Blake Bortles in 2014 after the then-rookie got off to a sterling start in August. Bortles was a mess during the same regular season. In 2015, Bortles preseason performance was worse, and yet, he was a much better quarterback during the regular season. During that same 2015 preseason, Sam Bradford was so incredible during a 15-pass preseason that he turned down a four-year, $72-million contract extension.Raw rookies can look great in the preseason for a number of reasons. One, theyre often playing against the opposing teams backups with the second and third strings. Second, the schemes they are running are simplified and nowhere near as complex as the responsibilities theyll be forced to run when the games count. And even more important, the same is true of the defenses theyre up against: Preseason defenses are less likely to blitz and regarded as far more vanilla than the stuff theyll show to the opposition during the regular season.Thanks to Romos injuries even before this past week, Prescott has spent some time during this preseason with the Dallas ones. He has exhibited all the tools you would want from a modern quarterback, showing off arm strength, a quick release and the speed to get out of the pocket when things get hairy. You can see why Dallas drafted him despite less-than-impressive efficiency numbers at Mississippi State.But I would be lying if I didnt say the numbers look better than Prescott on tape. He has made some excellent throws, and Im not a scout, but watching with impartial eyes, Prescott has been inconsistent. He underthrew a fair number of his passes, including the touchdown pass to Dez Bryant against the Dolphins and the score to Jason Witten against the Seahawks, the latter of which was nearly intercepted. Miami also dropped a would-be pick. Prescott has had a clean pocket for many of his throws, and when teams have pressured him, his throws have suffered. Prescott did a good job of eluding one rush against the Dolphins and had a checkdown to Lucky Whitehead?that should have gone for a huge gain, but Prescotts throw was off and Whitehead needed to make a shoestring catch without any hope of picking up yards after catch. He also has stared down his receivers at times. Theres nothing fatal about those mistakes -- theyre the sorts of things rookies do. It doesnt make Prescott a fraud, but his true talent level right now probably isnt as the best quarterback in football, either.Dallas head coach Jason Garrett also has begun to build a scheme around Prescott that doesnt really look much like the scheme Romo typically operates. Prescott has spent much of his brief time in Dallas (especially against the Seahawks and their No. 1 players) operating out of the shotgun, allowing him an easier, broader view of the field while creating quicker passes on checkdowns. Its the right way to use Prescott at this point of his career, given his reported deficiencies with footwork, pocket pressure and scanning the field through his progressions coming out of school.Specifically, the Cowboys have installed run-pass options (RPOs) for Prescott to take advantage of his athleticism and identify simple, safe throws to make. Chris Brown, my former colleague at Grantland, wrote about a third-level RPO with Prescott earlier in the preseason, with Prescott reading a deep safety before throwing a back-shoulder fade to Bryant for a touchdown.RPOs havent been a notable component of the Dallas offense in years past. Theyve barely been there at all, in fact. ESPN Stats & Information has tracked zone-read attempts by offenses since 2010, and while its always going to be difficult to truly track read-option plays without knowing the play call, their estimate is that the Cowboys have run three zone-read plays in six years. Not per game. Not even per season. Three run attempts in 96 games. The Cowboys might top that number on their first drive in Week 1.The Cowboys are also typically a team which operates under center more than most. According to the Football Outsiders Almanac 2016, Dallas took 54 percent of its offensive snaps out of the shotgun last year, which was 25th in terms of frequency around the NFL. Lest you think that was a Matt Cassel-driven problem, the Cowboys were at 48 percent the year before, which was 28th in the NFL. Those numbers surely will rise with Prescott at the helm.Theres nothing wrong with RPOs and operating out of the shotgun in a vacuum, but I would be worried about how they will fundamentally change the Dallas running game, and with the Cowboys built to run the football, thats a problem. Remember the case of DeMarco Murray? When he went to the Eagles last year and struggled mightily, the complaint coming out of the Murray camp was the Eagles were forcing him to run the ball out of the shotgun and in a RPO-laden scheme that didnt play to the strengths he had shown in Dallas. Now, having drafted Ezekiel Elliott to serve in the workhorse role, the Cowboys seem likely to install many of the elements that made a back like Murray look ordinary elsewhere.Perhaps Garrett can find a way to serve all of these masters overnight. Gary Kubiak managed to combine his scheme with some of the shotgun elements Peyton Manning wanted to run in Denver last year by installing the pistol in midseason, and while Manning still struggled, it satiated some of the future Hall of Famers concerns and awkwardness. That was also with one of the most experienced, seasoned quarterbacks in league history, though, and not a rookie. (The Denver offense also wasnt very good.)Garrett has talent to work with, and the Cowboys dominant offensive line will make life easier for Prescott and Elliott regardless of the scheme they run, but this seems like a problem that will be difficult to solve in two weeks. Does Garrett stick with his traditional scheme, build around what is likely to be an incredible running game, and hope that Prescott operates well under center? Or does he build the scheme to make things easier for Prescott, even if it comes at the possible expense of the timing and efficiency of his rushing attack? The answer is somewhere between the two, but Im not sure which way Garrett will -- or should -- lean.Is there a chance Prescott succeeds?Lets just say the odds are against him. Its not just negativity by guesswork, either. The list of rookie fourth-rounders to play regularly in recent years isnt very long or impressive, at least during their debut campaigns. Since 1980, just four fourth-rounders have thrown 200 passes or more during their rookie campaigns. After adjusting for era by using pro-football-reference.coms index statistics, none of the four were above-average even once in passer rating, yards per attempt, completion percentage, net yards per attempt or adjusted net yards per attempt. Its an ugly bunch.The worst-case scenario would be Mike Pagel (1982 Colts) and Chris Weinke (2001 Panthers). Their teams went a combined 1-22-1 across the two rookies starts. Steve Beuerlein completed just 44.1 percent of his passes while chucking the ball downfield for the 1988 Raiders, who went 4-4 during the future Panthers starters eight starts. You can make the case that Beuerlein and Weinke are also dissimilar from Prescott, given that Beuerlein was in his second professional season after missing his entire freshman campaign with an injury, while Weinke entered the NFL at 29 after spending six years playing minor league baseball.The best-case scenario for Cowboys fans is the most recent one, and its a player they already know. Kyle Orton was bad by just about every measure during the 2005 season, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns and completing just 51.6 percent of his passes, but the Bears were blessed by the leagues best defense and its luckiest special teams. Chicago finished with the leagues fifth-worst offense and fifth-worst passing attack and still went 11-5, including 10 wins in Ortons 15 starts.Nobody drafted lower than Prescott has done well as a rookie, either. The only rookies chosen after the fourth round since 1980 to post a NY/A+ better than league average on 200 or more pass attempts are Marc Bulger and Mark Rypien, each of whom had extenuating circumstances. Rypien was a 26-year-old taking over after two years on injured reserve, while Bulger had spent two years bouncing around practice squads and inherited the Greatest Show on Turf from Kurt Warner.Its entirely possible that Prescott is the next Russell Wilson, who excelled as a rookie after being taken in the third round, but Wilson fell in the draft because of now-misguided concerns about his height. There arent the same concerns about Prescott, who was seen as a project coming out of school. Wilson also struggled mightily during the first half of his rookie year before things slowed down for him during the second half, and even that would be too late for the Cowboys. Whiile he might turn into a useful quarterback down the line, it would be a major surprise if Prescott were even a league-average quarterback as a rookie.dddddddddddd.Should the Cowboys trade for or sign a veteran backup to compete with Prescott?We saw what happened with the Cowboys last year, when they sent a fifth-round pick to the Bills in the middle of September to acquire respected backup Cassel, who had been cut by Buffalo earlier in the year before re-signing. Not only did Cassel fail to live up to the lofty heights of Romo, he was even a sight worse than Brandon Weeden, whom the Cowboys deposed after three starts to give Cassel the job. Cassel is probably a better quarterback than Weeden in a vacuum, but the former baseball player had an advantage on Cassel: Weeden knew the playbook. Cassel had to come into Dallas and pick up Garretts scheme on the fly, which went disastrously.Unless the Cowboys bring in a veteran who already knows Garretts scheme -- a list that is limited to my knowledge to Weeden (with the Texans), Cassel (now the backup in Tennessee), Dustin Vaughan (in Steelers camp), and retired former Cowboys like Orton and Stephen McGee -- theyre going to be teaching somebody their offense on the fly, taking away valuable time for their coaching staff that could otherwise go to Prescott.The idea of trading a draft pick for a veteran like Josh McCown now just doesnt make any sense, given the time it will take to integrate him into the offense and the value of picks for a capped-out team like the Cowboys. If the injury had occurred in June, that sort of deal would make much more sense. Theres little harm in waiting for a backup to come free at the end of camp or going after a veteran flier in free agency like Tarvaris Jackson or Josh Freeman, but those moves dont exactly augur much confidence, either.Should the Cowboys play Prescott in their final preseason game against the Texans?This is a fascinating question, and Im not sure I know the answer. Prescott needs all the reps he can get as he learns the Dallas offense and gets used to the speed of the NFL game. The Cowboys also need Prescott to stay healthy; as distressing as the idea of turning things over to a rookie fourth-rounder might be, the idea of Prescott getting injured and the Cowboys being stuck with Kellen Moore and Jameill Showers under center is far, far worse.I can see the argument for both sides, but even if very narrowly, I lean no. The argument about giving Prescott reps is valid, but where Prescott really needs to get comfortable is playing with the first-team offense, and just about everybody in the league sits their starters during the final week of the preseason. Indeed, every one of Dallas 11 offensive starters were inactive during the preseason nightcap last year. If you want to get Prescott reps with your regulars, you have to bring them all back into the lineup, and thats a huge injury risk for a team that is in this predicament because of injury risks to begin with.In fact, I think its more plausible that the Cowboys and teams around the league start leaving their starting quarterbacks on the sidelines for most, if not all, of the preseason. Assuming that hes left inactive this week, the Packers will have left Aaron Rodgers inactive for three of their four preseason games (and would have likely sat him in the Hall of Fame Game if it hadnt been canceled). One of the more valuable non-quarterbacks in the league, oft-injured Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, hasnt played a preseason game since 2012. At some point, the argument suggesting players need to shake loose their rust means less than the risk of irreplaceable stars suffering injuries. I suspect the Cowboys and Romo lean more toward the latter right about now.Is this it for Romo with the Cowboys?You could understand if the Cowboys decided this was the moment they were going to stop treating Romo as if he were likely to be their starting quarterback going forward. Romo played at an MVP level in 2014, but he missed the vast majority of 2015 and is set to miss half of 2016 without any guarantees that hell stay healthy upon his return. The 36-year-old might very well figure that its time to look toward his post-football future given how he has spent the years alternately injured or undergoing constant treatment and injections just to be able to play.Theres only one problem: Even if the Cowboys are through with Romo, Romos contract isnt through with Dallas. This is an issue going back years now, so bear with me for a minute. During Romos second contract with the team -- the six-year, $67.5 million extension he signed in 2007 -- the Cowboys were desperate for cap space and repeatedly restructured Romos contract to create breathing room. Those restructures turned Romos base salaries into signing bonuses, paying Romo upfront while defraying much of the salary-cap burden into the future.By the time the final year of Romos deal rolled around in 2013, the Cowboys were stuck. Romos cap hit was set to double from $8 million to $16.8 million, and because there was a clause in Romos contract preventing the Cowboys from franchising him in 2014, their quarterback held all the leverage. (If this sounds like Drew Breess current situation in New Orleans, thats because it is essentially identical.) Dallas cap situation also was squeezed by the controversial penalties imposed on them and Washington before the 2012 season. As a result, the Cowboys were forced to give Romo a massive, player-friendly extension with $55 million all-but-guaranteed over its first three years.Had the Cowboys been able to stick to those terms, they would have been fine: Romo had no guaranteed money due after 2015, and Dallas could have moved on from Romo after this season without owing him a penny. Romos deal was so onerous -- and Dallass cap situation was still ugly enough -- that the Cowboys restructured it during the 2014 and 2015 offseasons, converting a combined $28.5 million of Romos base salaries into signing bonuses and pushing them into the future.Those moves tie Romo and the Cowboys together for the foreseeable future, regardless of how either Prescott or Romo perform in 2016. In 2017, Romo has a cap hit of $24.7 million. If Dallas decided to trade its quarterback or if Romo decided to retire, $19.6 million in dead money would accelerate onto the cap, which is a non-starter for a team that?already has $185 million in contracts on the books next year. The only way the Cowboys could feasibly move on from Romo would be to designate him as a post-June 1 release, and even that would slap them with $12.7 million in dead money in 2017 before an additional $8.9 million hit them in 2018.This is exactly why Dallas strategy of giving its star players lengthy, massive extensions with the intention of repeatedly converting base salaries to signing bonuses is a bad idea. The attrition rate for players -- even great ones -- is too high. Dallas gave an eight-year, $97 million deal to left tackle Tyron Smith and a seven-year, $22.5 million deal to kicker Dan Bailey, two of the best players in the league at their respective positions, but the deals are likely to create problems if anything goes wrong. (The Cowboys could obviously survive the smaller stakes of the Bailey deal, but its everything wrong with their cap management in one deal: the absurd length and the need to lock up an admittedly talented player at an incredibly fungible and inconsistent position when the team desperately needs cap space.)The Cowboys, then, do not want Romo to retire, given that the only way they can realize any sort of cap savings is by cutting him. The earliest they can feasibly move on from Romo is in 2018. If they released their longtime starter during that offseason, the Cowboys could turn his $25.2 million cap hit into $8.9 million in dead money (or, more plausibly, $5.7 million in dead money with $3.2 million due the following year). To do that, theyll have to resist the urge to convert any of Romos $14 million base salary in 2017 into a signing bonus, and to avoid using that crutch, the Cowboys may very well have to, say, cut Sean Lee and Doug Free. It has been years in the making, but the Cowboys have managed to work their cap -- and perhaps their quarterbacks -- into a situation where every possible move seems to be bad.Do the Cowboys have any hope of winning the NFC East now?Lets finish up with the most pressing short-term question. Before the Romo injury, I felt like the Cowboys were the favorites to win the NFC East, even while assuming that the veteran starter was going to miss a couple of games. Now, though, Romos timeline has him missing up to two months, with the Cowboys targeting their post-bye game against the Eagles in Week 8 as the most likely moment for Romo to return. Their schedule starts off relatively friendly, with two division games before matchups against the Bears and 49ers, but then the Bengals and Packers show up to ruin things before that Week 7 bye.With Romo, the most likely scenario for the Cowboys was that they combined a truly great offense with a very middling defense. That was the case in 2014, with that defense riding the leagues best takeaway rate to finish 22nd in DVOA. Takeaway rate can be very random from year to year, and indeed, with mostly the same personnel, Dallas finished with the leagues worst takeaway rate last season.Now, with Prescott taking over as quarterback for what appears to be a minimum of six games, the Cowboys cant count on having the same sort of offense. This should be a team with a very good running game combined with a mediocre defense and a questionable-at-best passing game. Thats roughly similar to the 2015 Cowboys. Lets say -- just to throw a possibility out there -- that Romo misses seven games with this injury and one more after returning, and suggest that the defense produces a league-average takeaway rate. For eight games, theyre the 2014 Cowboys, and for eight games, theyre the 2015 bunch.The 2014 Cowboys had the point differential of a 10.6-win team per their Pythagorean expectation. The 2015 Cowboys were a 5.2-win team by that same mark. A half-season from each of those teams would produce, with a typical amount of luck, a combined 7.9 wins per 16 games. To call it a back-of-the-envelope calculation would be an insult to envelopes, but it seems fair enough.While the NFC East does not have a great team, 8-8 probably isnt winning it. To get up to nine or 10 wins and regain their crown, the Cowboys will probably now need a little bit of luck. Romo will need to come back earlier and play at a high level, or the defense will need to force takeaways at a top-five rate, or the Cowboys will need to do disproportionately well in their one-score games. Thats my best guess at what the Romo injury means for the Cowboys. Back in May, the Cowboys were the favorites to win the NFC East. Now, theyre back in the pack. 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