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The Chicago

Postautor: hongwei28 » 13 sie 2018, 02:40

Managing expectations isn’t usually one of the top tasks for NFL teams coming off six-win seasons.

Then again Hayden Hurst Youth Jersey , no team has ever gotten to that underwhelming total with a season-ending, five-game winning streak fueled by the midseason acquisition of a quarterback who has shown signs of becoming one of the league’s most promising passers.

That’s exactly the situation the San Francisco 49ers find themselves in as they held their first training camp practice Thursday led by Jimmy Garoppolo and his $137.5 million contract.

”If our guys make a living just reading and listening to talk radio and stuff, that stuff could mess you up,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. ”I am aware that people have talked highly about us and that’s what comes with the territory when you win your last five games after starting so bad. I mean, we all know that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t.”

The 49ers were far from promising at the start of Shanahan’s first season as coach, losing their first nine games for the worst start in franchise history. That vibe began to change after San Francisco dealt a second-round pick to New England for Garoppolo after the eighth loss and things really began to change once Garoppolo was able to get on the field.

He threw a late garbage-time touchdown in a loss to Seattle that dropped the Niners to 1-10 and then took over as starter from rookie C.J. Beathard the following week. San Francisco didn’t lose again last season, posting the best record ever for an NFL team that lost its first nine games.

But there is little carry-over effect in the NFL with nearly half – 19 of 40 – of the teams that finished the season on a five-game winning streak the past 23 seasons missing the playoffs the following year.

”The way we finished last year was all positive and everything but this is a completely new season with new challenges,” left tackle Joe Staley said. ”Everybody has been very focused and understands that. It’s exciting to be able to build on something positive from last year and carry it into the offseason. But there’s no one in the locker room who thinks we arrived. We have a ton of work to do. We were a 6-10 football team. We were happy with the way we finished last year but that’s in the past.”

The presence of Garoppolo is the biggest reason for optimism for San Francisco even if he didn’t look particularly sharp in the first practice of the summer.

He completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season Mike Hughes Jersey , averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating.

Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.

San Francisco scored on an NFL-best 56.6 percent of their drives after Garoppolo took over as starter and ranked in the top five in the league in scoring offense (28.8 points per game), yards per play (6.1) and yards per game (409.6).

That all came with Garoppolo barely knowing the offense, learning just pieces each week as he scrambled to get up to speed. This offseason he was able to start from scratch and has a much deeper understanding of the scheme and his teammates that he hopes translates to even more success on the field.

”The situation I was in last year was so difficult because you’re preparing for a defense that you’re learning in a week, but at the same time, you’re learning brand new calls Derwin James Youth Jersey , new verbiage, all that stuff,” he said. ”So, it was combining all of that into one that made it so difficult. Being able to start from the ground up and learn the why’s of the offense, how it all ties together, how one play helps dictate the next play, it just makes more sense.”

The Niners made other upgrades this offseason, adding an explosive running back in Jerick McKinnon Vontaze Burfict Bengals Jersey , beefing up the offensive line and signing cornerback Richard Sherman to upgrade the secondary.

San Francisco also was one of the youngest teams in the league last year and hopes to see natural improvement from all the rookies who got extensive playing time in 2017.

”That’s the expectation,” second-year safety Adrian Colbert said. ”We just have to continue to get better. We can’t get stagnant. We can’t decrease in our production. We have to continue to go. That’s our standard.”



The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to trade eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for center Timofey Mozgov and two second-round draft picks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Hornets will get the Nets’ second-round pick Thursday night (45th overall) and a second-round pick in 2021, the person said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the teams have not announced the trade and the league cannot approve the deal until the trade moratorium ends on July 6.

The 32-year-old Howard played only one season for Charlotte, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He is due to make $23.8 million this season, the final year of his contract.

Brooklyn will be Howard’s fourth team in as many seasons. He had pushed for a trade from Orlando to the Nets during the 2011-12 season in hopes of joining Deron Williams, then changed his mind and recommitted the Magic, who instead dealt him to the Lakers that summer.

After later spending three seasons with the Houston Rockets Jason Witten Jersey , Howard was acquired by his hometown Atlanta Hawks in 2016 as a free agent and signed a three-year contract. But he wore out his welcome after one season and was dealt to Charlotte. The Hornets, in the midst of a major organizational shake-up, having already replaced their general manager and coach, could be on the verge of shaking up their roster, too.

Howard struggled to mesh with guard Nicolas Batum, and the Hornets failed to make the playoffs despite what former coach Steve Clifford considered the team’s most talented roster in half a decade.

This is a reunion of sorts for Mozgov. Recently hired Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak signed Mozgov to a four-year, $64 million deal in 2016 when both were with the Los Angeles Lakers.

While the move allows the Hornets to unload Howard’s contract and save about $7 million under this year’s salary cap, it is a bit of a gamble because Mozgov has two years remaining on his current deal at $16 million per year.

Mozgov’s numbers pale in comparison to Howard’s.

He played in only 31 games last season for the Nets Dante Pettis 49ers Jersey , averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. Acquired along with D’Angelo Russell, Mozgov began the season in the starting lineup but quickly fell out of the rotation entirely on a team that preferred to play small and shoot 3-pointers.

The 7-foot-1 Mozgov has not played a full 82-game season since 2013 and has averaged in double figures only once during his eight-year NBA career. By contrast, Howard has averaged 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and two blocks per game since joining the league in 2004.

His rim protection should help what has been a poor defensive team and he could help in the pick-and-roll with Russell and Jeremy Lin, but the biggest incentive to the Nets is likely for salary reasons with Howard’s contract expiring after next season.



AP Basketball Writers Tim Reynolds and Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.



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