Fresh faces, same expectations for Steelers

first_imgPITTSBURGH (AP) – Mike Tomlin knows he can talk all he wants about progress and the overhauled roster and how much he likes what he’s seen during the offseason.Yet the Pittsburgh Steelers coach understands it means little if it doesn’t translate onto the field.“The reality is these types of processes are measured based on results,” Tomlin said at the end of minicamp in June.And the results were typically un-Steelerlike last fall for one of the NFL’s most consistent franchises. A late-season swoon dropped Pittsburgh to 8-8 and a spot outside the playoffs looking in. It marked a decidedly ungraceful exit for some of the stars that led the team to three Super Bowl appearances in six years.James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Mike Wallace, Max Starks, Rashard Mendenhall, Willie Colon and Keenan Lewis were either cut, not brought back or lured elsewhere in free agency. In their place are a bevy of rookies or reserves expected to take on larger roles.How quickly youngsters like rookies Jarvis Jones and Le’Veon Bell assimilate will determine if the “processes” the Steelers have undergone the last few months will pay off with a return to the postseason.Five things to look for at Steelers training camp:1. THE BELL TOLLS: The Steelers didn’t exactly shed any tears when enigmatic RB Mendenhall bolted for Arizona in free agency. Five seasons and just as many off-the-field issues had Pittsburgh all but pushing him out the door. Enter second-round pick Bell. Though the 21-year-old comes to camp in a three-way battle with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer for the starting job, there’s little doubt Bell will be given every opportunity to win it. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Bell offers size and versatility the other two lack. The Steelers haven’t had a true every down back since Willie Parker left the team after the 2009 season. Running back by committee failed last season – the Steelers were 26th in yards rushing. Bell gives them their best chance at taking some of heat off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.2. SPEED TO BURN: Mike Wallace and his speed ran off to Miami in the offseason. The Steelers hope they brought in a cheaper – but eventually no less effective – replacement in third-round pick Markus Wheaton. The rookie missed minicamp and organized team activities due to NCAA rules that prevented him from leaving school before graduation. Wheaton will have time to get his feet set behind veterans Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Plaxico Burress. But with Sanders in the final year of his deal and Burress looking for one last hurrah, Wheaton will be expected to contribute this season.3. YOUNG GUNS: So long Starks. See you later Colon. The youth movement along the offensive line is complete after those two were allowed to leave through free agency. In their place are 20-somethings – Marcus Gilbert (25), Maurkice Pouncey (24), David DeCastro (23) and Mike Adams (23) – with 27-year-old Ramon Foster the “old” guy. Despite their youth, none of the starters made it through 2012 unscathed. Their health and the quickness with which they gel will be vital for a unit required to protect the health of Roethlisberger and open holes for Bell. Pouncey, a three-time Pro Bowler, is the unquestioned leader, but his image took a hit when he was pictured wearing a hat defending former college teammate Aaron Hernandez. Pouncey apologized but as one of the faces of the franchise, he’ll need to let his play make the biggest impression this fall.4. CAN JONES KEEP UP? The Steelers felt they got lucky when Jones bombed on his 40-yard dash during Pro Day. The shoddy 4.8-second time scared off some teams, but not Pittsburgh, which scooped him up with the 17th pick with the expectations he’ll be the eventual successor to James Harrison at outside linebacker. Jones led the NCAA in sacks last fall (14½) at Georgia and the Steelers believe he will give a jolt to a pass rush that got to the quarterback just 37 times in 2012, tied for 15th in the league.5. HAPPILY EVER AFTER? Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have enjoyed a year to work out the rough spots in their relationship. The quarterback even praised Haley for openness in accepting input from players during the offseason. The two will need to find a way to peacefully coexist if the Steelers want to minimize the off-the-field distractions. Without Wallace around to take the top off opposing defenses, the Steelers will need to find interesting ways to get players open. Haley likely can’t do that without Roethlisberger’s support, and vice versa.___Online: AP NFL website: Bengals fine-tuning team that’s been playoff flopCINCINNATI (AP) – Marvin Lewis sees it as a whole new series rather than a summer repeat.The Cincinnati Bengals agreed to be the focus of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” training camp series for the second time this summer. They also were in the cable spotlight in 2009 with an entirely different cast that reached the playoffs and flopped.“It is a lot different football team,” the Bengals coach said. “There are very few players on this squad that were here in ’09, so there’s a lot of interesting positions, some battles that we’re going to have. There’s been quite a bit of change.”One thing hasn’t changed: the knack for falling flat in the postseason. The Bengals have been to the playoffs each of the last two seasons and lost to Houston both times. Those poor performances extended the seventh-longest stretch of playoff futility in NFL history – no postseason win since the 1990 season.Andy Dalton is entering his third season as the starting quarterback, and young players like receiver A.J. Green and defensive tackle Geno Atkins have emerged as stars. While HBO’s audience watches, the Bengals will try to fine-tune a roster that returns nearly intact from last season and knows the stakes.Five things to know as the Bengals prepare to open training camp with cameras rolling at their first practice at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday.1. IT’S DALTON’S TIME: He needs to take a big step in his third season. Dalton is the first Bengals quarterback to reach the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. He has 47 touchdown passes, trailing only Dan Marino and Peyton Manning for most in the first two seasons. But he’s had two awful playoff games – no touchdowns, four interceptions and a 48.6 passer rating. He overthrew an open Green in the end zone late in the playoff loss at Houston last season. Dalton has been working on his long throws and needs to find receivers other than Green with more consistency. Tight end Tyler Eifert, taken in the first round, should give him another option.2. DALTON’S BACKUP: One of Cincinnati’s biggest losses in free agency was backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who gave the Bengals some security in case Dalton got hurt. They signed Josh Johnson, who started five games for Tampa Bay from 2008-11, and claimed John Skelton off waivers for Arizona, which couldn’t settle on a starter last season. Johnson knows offensive coordinator Jay Gruden from their days in Tampa Bay. Skelton has never run a West Coast-style offense. Although Dalton has been very durable, missing only half of a game because of injury, a team with playoff aspirations needs some security at the backup spot.3. WHAT’S UP WITH ANDRE? The Bengals reached a three-year deal with right tackle Andre Smith as the draft started in April, meaning their entire offensive line would return intact. But Smith missed all of the team’s offseason workouts and its mandatory minicamp because of personal matters, the only player who wasn’t available. His conditioning will be a focus in camp early. They’ll also be looking at how center Kyle Cook has recovered from an ankle injury that required surgery and forced him to miss the first 12 games last season.4. TURNING HARRISON LOOSE: The Bengals’ biggest offseason acquisition was linebacker James Harrison, who left Pittsburgh after they couldn’t agree on a restructured contract. Coordinator Mike Zimmer will be looking for ways to turn the outside linebacker loose in a defense than finished sixth in the NFL in yards allowed last season. Harrison says he’s healthy and ready to make an impression with his new team, especially when it faces his old team.5. PAGING DRE KIRKPATRICK: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft, but missed all of training camp and the first seven games of the season after injuring his left knee during workouts. He played in five games, then suffered a concussion and was bothered again by the knee problem, ending his season. Kirkpatrick has been limited because of the knee in the offseason. His status will be another focus in camp. MIKE TOMLIN (AP Photo/File)last_img read more

Manly predicted Round 1 line-up: Soward on who plays pivot

first_imgBack-rower Joel Thompson has joined the club from the St George Illawarra Dragons but the team otherwise looks largely similar to the 2017 expert Jamie Soward says:”For Trent Barrett, he’s seen the blueprint that works for Manly which is having Cherry-Evans play that six role where he can run around and play on the ball and get the ball when he wants it and having the guy alongside him who can control and kick. Croker is going to be important towards that.”He’ll be the starting six. Jackson Hastings I don’t think has quite worked out where his best position is, whether it’s fullback, halves or hooker but he’ll definitely keep the pressure on.”They got the best out of Sironen and Winterstein last year, it will come down to whether they can get the best out of them again.”’s predicted Round 1 team:1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Aku Uate, 6 Lachie Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Marty Taupau, 9 Api Koroisau, 10 Darcy Lussick, 11 Curtis Sironen, 12 Joel Thompson, 13 Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Lloyd Perrett, 16 Addin Fonua-Blake, 17 Frank Winterstein. Reserves: 18 Jackson Hastings, 19 Shaun Lane, 20 Matthew Wright, 21 Jack Gosiewski.last_img read more

Ronaldo insists sex was “completely consensual”

first_img“Once again, for the avoidance of doubt, Cristiano Ronaldo’s position has always been, and continues to be, that what happened in 2009 in Las Vegas was completely consensual.”Police in Las Vegas announced last week that they were reopening an investigation into allegations made by a former model, Kathryn Mayorga, relating to an incident in 2009.Ronaldo has vehemently denied the rape accusations.“I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” the 33-year-old said in a statement.“Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.”Mayorga claims she was pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement in 2010 to keep the alleged rape secret and is seeking at least $200,000 in penalties and damages.“Cristiano Ronaldo does not deny that he agreed to conclude an agreement,” added Christiansen.“This agreement is by no means a confession of guilt. What happened was simply that Cristiano Ronaldo merely followed the advice of his advisers in order to put an end to the insulting accusations made against him in order to avoid attempts, such as those now witnessed, to destroy a reputation built thanks to intense work, great athleticism and ethically impeccable behaviour.”Christiansen added “documents that allegedly contain statements by Cristiano Ronaldo and were reproduced in the media are pure invention”.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A Rome bus drives past an advertising poster for an underwear brand, showing a picture of Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo © AFP/File / Alberto PIZZOLILISBON, Portugal, Oct 10 – Cristiano Ronaldo insisted again Wednesday that he did not rape a woman he met in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 and that their sexual encounter was “completely consensual”, said his lawyer.“Ronaldo is forced to break his silence,” said the Juventus and Portuguese star’s lawyer Peter Christiansen in a statement released through Gestifute, the company which manages the player’s affairs.last_img read more

Hull Tigers dream still alive for Assem Allam after FA ruling

first_img1 Hull City owner Assem Allam has been told he can resubmit his controversial application to change the club’s name to Hull Tigers for next season.Allam is determined to rebrand the Premier League club, despite fierce opposition from supporters, and has refused to give up despite the FA Council rejecting his proposal last year.Now an arbitration tribunal has decided the Council’s decision should be set aside, clearing the way for Allam to go through the application process again.The panel said their decision was based on the “biased” involvement of Football Supporters’ Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke on the membership committee which recommended the name change be rejected.The findings of the arbitration tribunal stated: “We have concluded that the decision of the council cannot stand. We set it aside.“At this stage of the season it would be impractical and wholly inappropriate to direct the association to make a fresh decision to take effect during the current season.“The club is free to make a new application.”The tribunal’s issue over Clarke was that he based his decision only on what members of the City Till We Die supporters group wanted – the club’s now 111-year-old name to remain unchanged.The findings state: “Rather than take account of all the matters that were relevant to the decision, he decided in advance to base his decision on one, namely the support of the club’s supporters.“Bias is another description: his view was that the decision should be made in accordance with the views of the supporters instead of on a consideration of all the applicable and relevant factors.“His speech and internet posting indicated that he had already decided to reject the club’s application.”Allam said last year he would “give away” the club if he lost arbitration and could not find a buyer.last_img read more

Everton transfer blow! Serie A side win race for former Man City man

first_img1 Ahmad Benali [left] Everton target Ahmad Benali is expected to join Palermo this week on a free transfer.The former Manchester City midfielder has been linked with a return to England but, according to Sky Italia, the 23-year-old will complete a medical in Sicily this week.The Libyan international, who was born in Manchester, came through the City youth academy but failed to make a first-team appearance and was released to join Brescia in 2012.Benali hit nine goals in 36 Serie B games for the Biancoazzurri last term.last_img read more

New Year’s schedules

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonBANKS: Banks and financial markets will be closed Tuesday. TRASH: Trash pickup will be delayed a day in Los Angeles and Glendale after Tuesday. Pickup will be on a regular schedule in Burbank. STORES: Some supermarkets may be open for limited hours today and Tuesday. Malls will be open. GOVERNMENT: Federal, state, county and city offices, courts, libraries and animal shelters will be closed Tuesday. Some city offices may close early today. MAIL: The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail Tuesday. SCHOOLS: Schools will be closed. TRANSIT: Buses and subway services in Los Angeles will run on a Sunday schedule on Tuesday, as will Santa Clarita Transit buses. Antelope Valley and Ventura County Dial-a-Route buses will not run on Tuesday. Metrolink trains will not run, except for a special schedule of the Antelope Valley Line, on Tuesday. last_img read more

Jakks sees mixed results

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Full-year net income totaled $63.5 million, or $2.07 per share, up from $43.6 million, or $1.49 per share for all of 2004. Excluding the tax impact, full-year net income would have been $71.2 million, or $2.30 a share. Sales for 2005 total $661.5 million, up 15.2 percent, from $574.3 a year earlier. Jack Friedman, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, during a conference call from the New York Toy Fair credited the record year to brand management skills, acquisitions and diverse product line. “The company enters 2006 with the most diversified product line in our history and we expect to again achieve record revenue and earnings in 2006,” he said. MALIBU – Jakks Pacific Inc. on Tuesday reported weaker fourth quarter results versus a year ago but the toy designer and consumer products maker still posted record sales and earnings for 2005. During the final three months of 2005 the Malibu-based company said it earned $9 million, equal to 30 cents a share, down from $10.5 million, 35 cents, in the comparable period of 2004. Current fourth-quarter results include a one-time impact of a higher tax rate associated with dividends paid by Hong Kong subsidiaries to the U.S.-based company. Absent this, earnings would have totaled $16.7 million, or 53 cents a share. Fourth-quarter sales were $166.3 million, down 10 percent from $184.8 million a year ago. The company has licensing rights for the entire Walt Disney Co. portfolio and has had sales success with its TV games consoles, adapting popular children’s characters into video games that plug directly into televisions. It also adapted that technology to make interactive books that appear on TV screens. Jakks also recently completed the acquisition of Creative Designs International, which makes a line of play toys like vacuums, dress-up outfits, glamour cases, tea and cookware sets, housekeeping sets, jewelry sets and other lifestyle toys for girls. “We will immediately focus on expanding their distribution both in North America and internationally. CDI’s license relationships include Disney and many other household names,” said Stephen Berman, Jakks president and chief operating officer. Friedman said that this year the company expects to increase sales to approximately $825 million and boost net income to $82 million, or $2.63 a share. But the fourth-quarter softness will carry over into this year’s first quarter with earning per share of 13 cents to 18 cents, under last’s year’s level. “We anticipate more than making it up in the balance of the year with the initiatives we have in place and based on the response from the trade on our lines,” Friedman said. Wall Street gave the company’s report a tepid response. Shares closed Monday at $22.63, down $1.47 or 6.10 percent. Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Bale ‘agrees’ Man United switch, Liverpool close in on £25m defender – GOSSIP

first_imgtalkSPORT bring you a handy round-up all the top headlines and transfer-related stories in Tuesday’s newspapers…Gareth Bale has agreed to join Manchester United this summer if they qualify for the Champions League, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez reportedly frustrated with the 27-year-old’s fitness. (Diario Gol)Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is NOT interested in a cross-city switch to Manchester United this summer. (Daily Mail)Yaya Toure, 33, could sign a contract extension at the club this summer, but he may listen to offers if he is not considered a regular first-team choice. (The Sun)Liverpool are closing in on the £25million signing of Burnley defender Michael Keane. (Daily Mirror)Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is still hopeful of signing Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk, even though Saints boss Claude Puel says the 25-year-old will not be leaving. (Daily Star)Tottenham are considering a move to re-sign defender Adam Smith from Bournemouth this summer if right-back Kyle Walker does not commit his future to the club. (Daily Mirror)?Everton will make a £10million offer for Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford this summer. (The Sun)However, it is claimed the Black Cats are seeking £30million as they bid to rebuild and return to the Premier League at the first attempt. (Daily Express)Malaga forward Sandro Ramirez, 21, could move to Everton for as little as £5m this summer – despite scoring 14 LaLiga goals this season. (Liverpool Echo)?Borussia Dortmund director of football Michael Zorc has been approached about taking in a job in the Premier League, with Arsenal believed to be interested in the German. (TeleFootball)Here are the latest headlines:Harry Redknapp tells talkSPORT there is ‘every chance’ he will stay at Birmingham City after steering them to Championship safetyRene Meulensteen insists Romelu Lukaku is NOT the complete striker and is not good enough to lead Manchester United’s attackLISTEN: Stephane Henchoz says John Stones ‘can’t defend’ and doubts whether England man will play for Manchester City next seasonExclusive – Alan Mullery says Brighton have been ‘absolutely magnificent’ this season and insists missing out on title does not matterInter Milan ready to offer Antonio Conte a huge contract as they refuse to give up on Chelsea boss – reportsChelsea transfer ALERT! Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata tells agent to secure him summer move to Stamford BridgeSouthampton FC news: Claude Puel insists Virgil van Dijk WILL be at St Mary’s next seasonArsenal FC transfer news: Wojciech Szczesny plans to return to the Premier League next seasonReal Madrid have reportedly won the £38million race for Brazilian starlet Vinicius JuniorRomelu Lukaku latest: Everton star favours Manchester United move over return to Chelsea – reportslast_img read more

Women’s Golf Travels To Oklahoma For Bob Hurley ORU Shootout

first_img Live Scoring DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University women’s golf team travels to Tulsa, Okla. on Monday to play in the Bob Hurley ORU Shootout at Meadowbrook Country Club. The 54-hole event hosted by Oral Roberts features 18 teams including; Arkansas State, Drake, Grand Canyon, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Lamar, McLennan CC, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma Christian, Oklahoma City, Oral Roberts, Sam Houston State, Stephan F. Austin, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, UTEP, Utah Valley and Wichita State. Story Links  Print Friendly Version The teams will play 36 holes on Monday, beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday’s shotgun start is set for 8 a.m. In the Bulldogs last outing, they finished in 13th-place at the Cardinal Classic earlier this week. Sophomore Grace Dunn fired a 76 for the lowest round of the final day for the Bulldogs and finished tied for 19th-place with a total score of 226 (76-74-76). Junior Madison Glennie and freshmen Aimee Gerschke andSigurlaug Jonsdottir each shot a 78 on the last day. Glennied finished the 54-hole event with a total score of 233 (76-79-76) while Gerschke recorded a 236 (78-80-78). After having a scoring issue on the first day, Jonsdottir tallied a 36-hole total of 159 (81-78), followed by junior Brooke Miller with a score of 164 (80-84).last_img read more

Cubs softball claims second straight NCS D-VI title

first_imgThe South Fork softball team brought home its second North Coast Section Division-VI championship in as many years, beating visiting Laytonville 18-0 in five innings Saturday afternoon at South Fork High.“I’m so proud of this team,” South Fork’s head coach Lisa Todd said. “The girls have worked so hard all season and I feel like we finally put it all together today. Everything we did was on point from our fielding to our pitching, hitting and base-running.”No. 1 seeded South Fork carried a …last_img read more