COSTA MESA Darian Thompson Jersey , Calif. (AP) The first workout in pads during training camp usually belongs to the defense, but Los Angeles Chargers center Mike Pouncey was ready to bring his own level of physicality.
Pouncey traded blows with Chargers defensive linemen Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget on Monday, showing a ferocity he rediscovered because of how his time in Miami ended after seven seasons.
”It just lit that fire again in me,” Pouncey said. ”I never thought I would play with anybody but the Dolphins, but once they released me, it made me want to be an even better football player. It made me want to prove everybody wrong, and I’m excited to be here. I can’t wait to help this run game out, help this football team do something special.”
Pouncey signed a two-year contract with the Chargers in March, inspired by the chance to play with one of the game’s top quarterbacks in Philip Rivers.
His time in Miami saw Pouncey working with a host of journeymen before helping first-round draft pick Ryan Tannehill transition to the NFL. Rivers is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of talent, experience and understanding of the game. It didn’t take long for Pouncey to recognize Rivers’ comprehensive mastery of the position.
”I just like that he knows everything that is going on each and every play. When we go up, he’s the guy that points out the Mike (linebacker). He knows when blitzes are coming, so he puts us in the right protections and he gets us in and out of plays. When a bad look is there and we don’t want to run that play Reuben Foster Jersey , he switches the play,” Pouncey said.
”To be able to play with him, I don’t take it for granted. I feel like it’s something that I lucked up into, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
The chance to play on a team with viable Super Bowl aspirations was just as important for Pouncey, who reached the playoffs once during his time with the Dolphins, as the Chargers are the only team in the AFC West that returns its head coach, both coordinators and starting quarterback. The professionalism displayed by his new teammates during their brief time together has convinced Pouncey the Chargers can deliver on their growing expectations.
”Every year in the league I’ve always wanted to win,” Pouncey said. ”That’s the goal every year you go into training camp is to try and win something, win the Super Bowl. For me right now, at the point in my career, I’m excited to be on a football team that has a chance. They finished top of the league in offense last year, and our defense is unbelievable Lawrence Guy Jersey , so I feel with me coming here it can only help.”
Pouncey wants to make his presence felt in the run game, where the Chargers tied for 25th after averaging 3.8 yards per carry last season. He looked up to the part in practice, creating holes for Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. But Pouncey also felt the familiar push back from the likes of Mebane and Liuget on the interior.
Chargers defenders had been looking forward to the chance to hit again, and coach Anthony Lynn said their energy was evident.
”That’s kind of why you had to hold them back a little bit. You don’t want the excitement to go too far,” Lynn said.
The back and forth during the morning session was fine by Pouncey.
”First days of pads is always the funnest day,” Pouncey said. ”I feel we had a really good day as a football team on both sides of the football, and we can only get better from here.”
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — If you’d like to make the Vegas Golden Knights–Winnipeg Jets Western Conference final a little more interesting, go all-in on the expansion franchise.
Since 1973, the team that has captured a 2-1 lead in the semifinal has gone on to take the series 87.5 percent of the time, winning 35 of 43 encounters. After Wednesday night’s 4-2 victory, that puts the Golden Knights in the cat bird’s seat.
And the team that takes a 3-1 lead has gone on to win more than 90 percent of the time.
So Randy Moss Jersey , yeah, you could say Game 4 on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena is pretty much must-win territory for the visitors.
If the Jets are to have any chance of pulling this series out, they’re going to need some scoring from somebody not named Mark Scheifele. The No. 1 center has scored 14 of his team’s 50 goals thus far in the playoffs, a 28 percent clip, including both goals on Wednesday.
Scheifele would have had a hat trick if it weren’t for a couple of spectacular saves by Marc-Andre Fleury in the Golden Knights’ net. Scheifele’s 11 goals on the road are an NHL playoff record.
Forwards Patrik Laine, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry have been a shadow of their regular-season selves. Laine, who had 44 goals this year, has but four in the postseason and has hit a half-dozen posts.
Ehlers, who had 29 goals, has yet to notch one in 13 games and was a mysterious scratch on Wednesday night.
Little has one goal in 15 playoff games after producing 16 this season, Perreault has just a single point and Lowry hasn’t scored since December.
Scheifele Michael Hoomanawanui Jersey , the Jets’ first No. 1 draft pick since relocating in 2011, wasn’t pointing fingers, choosing instead to praise the Golden Knights.
“We’re in the conference finals. They’re a good team, too,” he told The Winnipeg Sun. “They’re going to have their games, we’re going to have our games. We can’t sulk on this too long. We’ve got to pick ourselves up.”
If nothing else, it should be comforting to the Jets that home ice hasn’t been quite the advantage that most people assume it is. Road teams are 38-35 in these playoffs. On the flip side, the Golden Knights are 5-1 at home in the postseason.
There’s little question that Fleury has been the star for the home side. In addition to 33 saves on Wednesday, he also took part in a scrum in his crease.
But instead of planting his blocker in somebody’s face, he gave Jets captain Blake Wheeler a “wet willie” by sticking his finger in his ear.
“I did that?” Fleury said at his locker afterward. “There are cameras everywhere.”
The three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins has a 10-3 record and a sparkling .945 save percentage in the playoffs.
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