re’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator Georg

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re’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator Georg

Postby elaine95 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:56 am

The scene was all too familiar for the San Jose Sharks: a postgame handshake line on their home ice with the other team celebrating a series win while the Sharks wonder what might have been.

A team that seemed to have the ingredients necessary for a long playoff run went out instead in the second round with a 3-0 loss Sunday in Game 6 against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

”For periods of this series I thought we were a better team Kyle Long Jersey , I thought we played the game that we know we’re capable of, we showed we could beat them,” forward Logan Couture said. ”We just didn’t do it long enough.”

That’s what perhaps makes this the most bitter playoff loss in coach Peter DeBoer’s three seasons in San Jose, all of which ended with home playoff losses.

In 2016, the Sharks got over a major hump and made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history before losing in six games to a more talented Pittsburgh team.

Last year, San Jose sputtered toward the finish of the season and lost in six games to Edmonton in the first round in large part due to injuries that hampered top two centers Couture and Joe Thornton.

But the Sharks were healthier this year despite Thornton’s absence because of a knee injury. Midseason acquisitions Evander Kane and Eric Fehr had San Jose surging following a first-round sweep against Anaheim.

They came out flat in the opener against Vegas and lost 7-0 and then dropped a key overtime contest at home in Game 3, playing much of the series from behind. The biggest difference was the performance of the top lines with Vegas’ trio of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith combining for eight goals and 17 assists, while Kane, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi had just three goals and two assists for the Sharks.

”We definitely would’ve liked to have been a little bit more productive,” Pavelski said. ”It’s hard to say. We’ll have to take a look at it, figure it out. We had some looks, we had some chances, we didn’t capitalize when we did. I wish I had an answer. We sure should’ve been a little better.”

Here are some other takeaways from the season and things to watch this summer:

JUMBO JOE

Thornton injured his right knee on Jan. 23 and never was able to make it back into the lineup. He practiced all postseason and even took part in all the pregame skates but never felt quite healthy enough to get back into the lineup. The 38-year-old Thornton is now eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, leaving his future in San Jose in doubt. He still can be productive as evidenced by his 13 goals and 23 assists in 47 games. But after significant knee injuries the past two seasons Denzel Ward Jersey Elite , there are questions about whether he will be able to keep up in the faster paced game.

KANE’S CALL

The move to acquire Kane from Buffalo at the trade deadline provided a major spark. He had nine goals and five assists in 17 games, providing needed speed and physicality on San Jose’s top line. That carried over to the first round when he had three goals and an assists in a sweep against Anaheim but Kane wasn’t nearly as effective against Vegas as he played through injuries. Now the Sharks have a decision to make whether to keep Kane or let him leave as a free agent. If he signs, they owe Buffalo a first-round pick in 2019. If he leaves, that pick becomes a second-rounder.

”Obviously I enjoy winning and coming here was a great opportunity for me to do that,” Kane said. ”I really, really, really enjoyed my time with this group of guys, and loved going to battle with these guys.”

STEPPING UP

The best development for the Sharks this season was the development of some younger players. Tomas Hertl looks like he could be a dominant power forward, Chris Tierney and Kevin Labanc are able playmakers, Timo Meier scored 21 goals at age 21, and Joakim Ryan is an ideal defensive partner for Brent Burns. Those players will be counted on to do even more in the future as the Sharks transition from players like Thornton, Pavelski and the departed Patrick Marleau to a new generation.

CAP ROOM

The Sharks head into the offseason with projected salary cap room of more than $15 million. While some of that could be used up by keeping Thornton or Kane, GM Doug Wilson also could use that money to target a top free agent like John Tavares of the New York Islanders. Wilson has been planning for that flexibility for years and now the question becomes how he will use it.




The general belief is there are four contenders for the Super Bowl in the NFC, two in the AFC.

Let’s see if Tennessee or Jacksonville can prove that theory wrong this weekend.

Both AFC South representatives are significant underdogs, the Titans at New England on Saturday night Frank Ragnow Lions Jersey , the Jaguars at Pittsburgh on Sunday. For weeks, it’s been presumed Steelers vs. Patriots will decide who goes to the Super Bowl from the conference.

The Titans and Jaguars want to have their say.

”They’re the champs and these are the types of teams you’ve got to beat if you want to be the champs,” says Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey, who is 0-5 against the Patriots. ”You’ve got to beat these teams at their place.”

Jacksonville already has done that, routing the Steelers at Heinz Field 30-9 in Week 5.

”We did beat them the first time, so to have all the confidence coming out of there is interesting,” Jaguars DT Malik Jackson says. ”They got a bye week, so they’re probably feeling really confident. We’ll see Sunday.”

Tennessee (10-7) at New England (13-3), Saturday

All the numbers favor the Patriots extending their record of consecutive title games reached to seven. They are, by far, the more experienced side: 14 Patriots players have played at least 10 playoff games. That’s more such players than the 11 other 2017 playoff teams combined (13). Tom Brady has a 6-1 career record against the Titans, throwing for 13 TDs and one interception. He’s 11-2 in 13 divisional-round games since 2002 and has completed 316 of 509 passes for 3,700 yards and 28 TDs in those games.

And amid reported turmoil involving Brady, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, the quarterback isn’t likely to lose focus.

”We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do Jordan Howard Bears Jersey ,” the All-Pro quarterback says. ”We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”

Tennessee has lost six in a row to New England, but comes off a stirring second-half rally at Kansas City from 18 points down, the largest postseason comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era.

Jacksonville (11-6) at Pittsburgh (13-3), Sunday

Ben Roethlisberger had the worst game of his career in that October loss to the Jags. Pittsburgh lost only once after that, at home to the Patriots in a game that decided the AFC’s top seed.

While Roethlisberger probably will play far better than that, the biggest challenge for Jacksonville could be stopping Le’Veon Bell in the running game. The Jaguars ranked first stopping the pass, but 21st against the run.

”I feel great, especially not playing these last two weeks, not going to (training) camp earlier in the year,” Bell says. ”I can’t complain. I like where I am. This is the freshest I’ve ever been going into the playoffs so we’ll see how it goes.”

Pittsburgh also gets back receiver Antonio Brown, like Bell an All-Pro this season.

Jacksonville needs far better passing from Blake Bortles. He gained more yards running than throwing vs. Buffalo in the wild-card round.

Atlanta (11-6) at Philadelphia (13-3), Saturday

Although Philly is the No. 1 NFC seed, the Falcons are favored. Part of that owes to Atlanta’s impressive work in winning at the Los Angeles Rams last week. Part has to do with the Falcons nearly winning the Super Bowl last February.

And part has to do with Nick Foles being the Eagles’ quarterback instead of the injured Carson Wentz.

Foles, though, has had some success in Philadelphia.

”It’s just going out there and playing and staying in the zone and trusting my instincts Baker Mayfield Jersey Youth ,” Foles says. ”I’ve played this game a long time. There’s a reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve been able to do. When I play my best and I’m most comfortable, I just go out there and play.”

By contrast, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has a passer rating of at least 100 in five straight postseason games, tied for the second-longest streak in league history. Only Joe Montana had a longer string with eight.

New Orleans (12-5) at Minnesota (13-3), Sunday

Minnesota easily handled New Orleans in the season opener, eons ago in NFL terms. The Vikings had a different quarterback then in Sam Bradford. Case Keenum has put together a superb stretch of games since replacing the injured Bradford.

The Saints’ RB tandem of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara wasn’t quite in place yet, either. And the New Orleans defense didn’t come to fruition until Week 3.

Minnesota’s D is balanced from front to back, so how Drew Brees deals with it could be the decider here.

”There’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards says, ”you have a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback that does an excellent job of going out and executing their game from week to week. Our work will be cut out for us keeping them contained and hopefully giving them some things that can cause them some problems.”



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Re: re’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator G

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