y.BIG PICTURELa Salle: The Explorers were playing outside of Philadelphia for the first time this season -- it had four home gam

#1 von dasg234 , 14.06.2019 04:24

OXNARD, Calif. -- Chris Maragos cant imagine an NFL without kickoffs.The Philadelphia special teams ace admits to sounding like a lobbyist when he said he never feels safer during a play that the league keeps altering in an effort to reduce high-speed collisions, backed by statistics that show most injuries occur on kickoffs.With competition committee member Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys suggesting that safety is more important than players making a living covering kickoffs and punts, Maragos is quick on the counterpoint.Yeah, things are moving fast and youre running down the field. But I never feel like my safetys compromised, at all, said Maragos, who is going into his seventh year as mostly a special teams player. From what people look on the outside in, it looks like a chaotic play. But the guys who are really mastering it know what theyre doing. Its pretty under control.Five years after moving the kickoff to the 35-yard line from the 30 to reduce the number of returns, the NFL is trying something else to encourage more touchbacks by putting the ball on the 25 instead of the 20 on a one-year trial.There is still plenty of dialogue, too.Senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino held a conference call with special teams coaches during the offseason.Among other ideas being discussed are eliminating the running start for the coverage team and pulling players on the receiving team closer to the kickoff line so that theyre moving more in the same direction as the kicking team, making it more like blocking for a punt return.Blandino said he doesnt think the kickoff will be eliminated.Its a big part of the game, he said. Its an exciting play.But the league increasingly sees it as a dangerous play, particularly with so much attention on concussions. And thats where Jones isnt swayed by the idea that it might mean fewer opportunities for players who arent good enough to be stars on offense or defense.At the end of the day the players health and safety is the No. 1 priority in this league, said Jones, the executive vice president of personnel for the Cowboys. If that comes at the expense of something else thats not as high a priority, then we certainly have to accept that.One of the most noteworthy plays of 2015 was actually a punt return, when Dallas safety Jeff Heath blocked Ricardo Lockette when the Seattle coverage man was in full stride and didnt see him. It was a legal play, but the resulting neck injury ended Lockettes career.While Heath has twice as many tackles on defense as Maragos in half the number of years, he still fits the special teams profile: part-time defensive player, full-time chaser of opposing kick returners. And he believes there will always be a need for that.Youre covering a lot of ground and youve got to be fast, said Heath, who is going into his fourth season. Theres a lot of skill that comes into it as well. Those type of guys tend to do well wherever they play. Defense, offense or special teams.Maragos would argue that kickoffs and punts are gateways to stardom, too. Among his peers, he points to Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker, his teammate in San Francisco when Maragos was a rookie. He says special teams helped keep Walker on the roster, and now Walker is coming off a Pro Bowl season in Tennessee.Minnesota receiver Adam Thielen was undrafted out of Division II Minnesota State Mankato and spent a year on the practice squad before becoming a key special teams contributor for the Vikings. He blocked a punt for a touchdown in 2014 and last season ran a fake punt 41 yards in the NFC North-clinching season finale at Green Bay.Thielen said the key to safety in kick coverage comes on the practice field.Every day, its technique, technique, technique, he said. I really dont think its more dangerous than an offensive play. You could get hit on a crossing route over the middle a lot harder than on a kickoff.Maragos grew up in Wisconsin rooting for the Green Bay Packers, who beat New England 35-21 in the 1997 Super Bowl. The thing Maragos remembers most is the anticipation of the opening kickoff. And by the way, Desmond Howard had a 99-yard kickoff return and was the games MVP.You talk about speed down the field, athleticism to avoid blocks. You talk about a heart, a grit, a determination, an inner desire, Maragos said. To me, it embodies everything that an NFL football player should be. And really what the game is about.---AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell in Minneapolis and Stephen Hawkins in Dallas contributed to this report.---Online:AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler Cheap Kings Jerseys .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. Rob Blake Jersey Large . Booth picked up 65 caps after making her national team debut in 2002 at the age of 17. She most recently played for Sky Blue FC of the National Womens Soccer League. "It just felt like it was my time to move on," she said in a phone interview from her hometown of Burlington, Ont. http://www.customnhlkingsjersey.com/ . -- Bobby Ryan helped the U. Wholesale Custom Kings Shirts . Kuznetsov, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has been playing for his hometown team Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL. Custom Kings Jerseys . PETERSBURG, Fla. MIAMI -- Trey Mourning was the last Georgetown player to get into the game, as well as the last player to leave the court after posing for plenty of photos and hugs with friends and family.Best of all, his team got a win.L.J. Peak scored 24 points, Rodney Pryor added 19 and Georgetown closed with a flourish to beat La Salle 93-78 on Saturday in the Hoophall Miami Invitational. It was tied at 67 with 8:44 left, before the Hoyas finished on a 26-11 run.We have a happy plane ride back to D.C., Mourning said.Jessie Govan scored 19 points and Jagan Mosely had 14 for the Hoyas (6-4), who won their fourth straight. Georgetown shot 53 percent for the game and 58 percent from 3-point range.We had a pretty good week of practice, working with different offensive situations, Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. And I think the week of practice showed up. We got out ... they tied it up, and then I think our guys really locked in and focused at both ends of the court, to be honest.Jordan Price scored 23 points for La Salle (4-4), which got 19 more from B.J. Johnson and 10 from Pookie Powell. The Explorers were outscored 36-22 from the line, getting there 10 fewer times than Georgetown.We just lost control of it, La Salle coach John Giannini said. My kids are good players and they work hard. I just have to figure out our defensive problems. Our defensive results are not good and we have to figure that out.The last substitution of the night came with 23.2 seconds left, when Mourning got into the game -- a homecoming moment.He was a Miami Heat kid, once worked as a ballboy for the team and getting on the floor in the arena that his hometown team calls home had a certain significance. He spent some time working in the NBA visiting locker room, the one Georggetown used Saturday.dddddddddddd. The Hoyas even sat at the end of the floor where his father Alonzo Mournings No. 33 sways from the rafters as one of the numbers retired by the Heat.Its just good to be home, whether its at the hotel or dinner with my parents or on the court or on the bench, said the younger Mourning, who wears No. 33, just like his dad did for Georgetown and with the Heat. We dont get home very often. And to have it intertwined with the basketball season, it worked perfectly.BIG PICTURELa Salle: The Explorers were playing outside of Philadelphia for the first time this season -- it had four home games, one at the famed Palestra, and played Temple and Drexel on the road. ... La Salle still leads the all-time series against the Hoyas 15-10, though the programs have met only twice since 1965.Georgetown: Alonzo and Tracy Mourning sat courtside, and some of the proceeds from the event will benefit their Mourning Family Foundation. ... This was the only game the Hoyas have between Dec. 4 and Dec. 17. ... Moselys season-high coming into Saturday was six points, done on three occasions.HALL OF FAMERSA handful of Basketball Hall of Fame members were in attendance -- Mourning, of course, along with former Heat assistant Bob McAdoo and Heat President Pat Riley were among those present Saturday. When Riley was introduced, the de facto anthem for Miamis three NBA championship teams, Bruce Springsteens The Rising, blared through the arena.UP NEXTLa Salle: The Explorers get a week off, before hosting Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 17.Georgetown: A great rivalry gets renewed on Dec. 17, when the Hoyas visit Syracuse. ' ' '

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