Panthers Won’t Announce Starting Quarterback

The Carolina Panthers have been a big story this offseason. Particularly when it comes to which quarterback will be announced as the starter for Week 1. There is going to be a pretty heated duel between Sam Darnold and the newly traded for Baker Mayfield. However, head coach Matt Rhule stated that he doesn’t plan on picking a starter for the season opener anytime soon.

Rhule said, “I’m not putting a timetable on the quarterback position until after we get back from the Patriots week. The Patriots week is a true litmus test for us. That will really show us where guys are.” To give this some background information, the Patriots game he is referring to is their second preseason matchup. Given how the preseason hasn’t begun yet, we have a couple of weeks before that decision gets made.

Panthers Keeping It Up For Grabs

Rhule has been transparent about the process though. He admitted that there isn’t a clear frontrunner at the moment. Rhule also wasn’t very happy about a recent practice for either signal caller, with each throwing interceptions. He said, “We’ve got to protect the football.”

This will certainly be an interesting topic to pay attention to as the preseason marches forward. Darnold got the start for the Panthers last season and started out 3-0. That was until they began to quickly lose games down the stretch of the season and miss the postseason entirely. Darnold also didn’t perform well whatsoever. Baker Mayfield on the other hand was pushed out of Cleveland after battling through injuries all year. Some could say that it was completely unfair what was done to him.

Personally, I believe that Mayfield is going to emerge as the winner of this competition. He’s shown in Cleveland that he can be a winner for a struggling franchise, Darnold on the other hand hasn’t done that yet.

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Best Summer League Players Of 2022 So Far

With the NBA Summer League officially underway, we are going to take a look at the best performers of the early games. Starting off with the first overall selection in the recent draft, Paolo Banchero.

Paolo Banchero

Banchero just participated in his first game against the Houston Rockets, and he was incredibly impressive. The six-foot, 10-inch forward displayed his scoring and playmaking ability throughout the night. He had 17 points and six assists in a Magic victory, 91-77. He had actually scored eight points in the first quarter and 13 by the end of the first half. Even though he slowed down a bit towards the end, it was clear that when he gets going, he’s hard to stop. He’s going to match up with the Sacramento Kings in his next game out.

Caleb Houstan

Another player to perform well so far was Caleb Houstan. Houstan was on the Rockets while they lost to the Magic. Even though the team lost by double digits, Houstan was a notable performer. He had made five out of his nine three-point attempts to finish with 20 points on the day. There was no doubt that he was the best shooter on the floor throughout the game.

Kenny Lofton

Kenny Lofton deserves some respect after the masterclass he put together on the number two overall pick, Chet Holmgren. Lofton was undrafted and recently signed onto a two-way contract five days before his game. Suddenly, he could end up pushing his way onto the final roster. He finished with a game-high 19 points along with six rebounds and three assists. The entire game saw him attack Holmgren in the paint and use his physical strengths to create loads of separation. There wasn’t anybody pushing him around on the floor.

Chet Holmgren

And finally, Chet Holmgren himself deserves a mention. While yes, he didn’t do great against Lofton in his second Summer League game, he still was phenomenal in the first. He dropped 23 points during his first Summer League matchup. Along with that, he had three blocks and three three-pointers in just the first quarter alone. He later on poured on seven rebounds and four assists. Oh, and he wound up ending with six blocks on the night.

These are just a handful of the players that have showed out in the Summer League throughout the first couple of days. Who else is going to be taking that next step in their development?

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CS:GO Pros Left Unpaid After Improper Funding

A lot of CS:GO professionals were left without pay after some funding issues occurred during a recent tournament. The HCG Season 1 just started, and they promised their players a prize pool of €180,000. However, the event has left upwards of 40 players and organizers without any pay. On top of that, the tournament is moving to an online style event.

The company put out this tweet after some backlash, “Due to problems within the company, HCG Masters Season 1 will be completed online. Exact dates will only be available once required conditions have been met. We apologize to our freelancer staff, teams, partners and fans. There have been a number of problems caused by people outside the company that have led to this issue.”

They continued later on by talking about how one of their primary sponsors backed out randomly. They were then forced to request more money from one of their key investors. In return for the money, the investor asked to receive more equity, which HCG refused. Hence the funding issue came into play and got the tournament postponed.

CS:GO Tournament Getting New Investor

Since all of this has become public, their executive director Ferenc Kern said that a new investor will be joining soon, bringing €300,000 with them. This will allow all of these unpaid professionals to receive their money.

A lot of competitors have been voicing their frustrations with the company over being left in the dark. As some were forced to sign contracts after the event ended while others haven’t even been contacted. Plus, even the ones that did receive some sort of payment, didn’t end up getting their full collections costs that they were supposed to receive. It’s going to be interesting to see where this all goes from here.

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Colorado Avalanche Win the Stanley Cup

The Colorado Avalanche are officially world champions. The team was able to take down the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 to close the series out on the road. It’s been a long journey to get here, and their current general manager almost didn’t accept the job at first.

Joe Sakic was offered the job of general manager and executive vice president of hockey operations back in 2013. At the time of the offer, Colorado had missed the postseason three straight years. This consistent failure caused him to shy away from the job at first. However, he wound up opting in and here they are almost a decade later, champions.

How Did The Colorado Avalanche Get Here

Colorado was the number one seed in the Western Conference and won their division with a 56-19-7 overall record. They faced almost no competition in the first round of the playoffs, sweeping the Nashville Predators. They advanced to play the St. Louis Blues, a team that they beat in six games. Then finally, they went on to play the Edmonton Oilers in the Conference Finals before sweeping them as well.

This couldn’t have been made possible if it weren’t for a handful of horrible seasons. After all, there was a reason that they were able to build up so much talent in the draft. For example, they drafted Cale Makar with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. They also grabbed Bowen Byram with the fourth pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and then Nathan MacKinnon with the first selection in the 2013 draft. All of these guys were crucial pieces to their championship run.

Sakic himself said it best, sometimes you have to endure the bad years in order to build something special like this. Colorado certainly hopes that they can be back here again next year. The Lightning are a team with that same expectation after a tough loss.

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Figuring Out Crowded Position Groups In The NFL

There are a ton of crowded position groups in the NFL today. Which is why we will be going over a couple of them to figure out who can shine the most. These positions range from quarterbacks to wideouts and even some running backs.

Teams And Their Position Groups

New York Jets

The Jets have a stacked running back room. It is made up of Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson. Now looking at this group last year, it was very obvious that Carter was the best and most explosive back that the team had. However, there have been reports coming out that Breece Hall is expected to get the lion’s share of the carries.

Hall was taken in this past NFL draft during the second round and has great size and patience for the running back position. Don’t be alarmed about Carter though, he won’t disappear in the offense by any means. After all, New York needs all the help they can get on offense. Plus, he ran for 639 yards on 147 carries, evening out to 4.3 yards a touch. If you’re the Jets, you can’t fizzle him out of the offense.

Miami Dolphins

We got another loaded running back room here in Miami. It’s currently made up of Raheem Mostert, Sony Micheel, Chase Edmonds and Myles Gaskin. It was very clear that they desperately needed help at the position last year. They were ranked 30th in the league in rush yards per game. Their new head coach seems to want to establish a strong rushing attack and utilize the new assets they brought in. Mostert is currently the favorite to lead the group in touches, but he’s been injury prone lately. He hasn’t had a full season since 2019, missing half of 2020 and getting just two carries in 2021.

If he can stay healthy, he’ll win the job. As for Michel, he is going to be more of a goal line type of worker. He’s got great power but not the most explosive runner on the field. Then we have Edmonds, the prototypical pass catcher out of the back field and third down back for the Dolphins. The real question mark of the offense is Myles Gaskin. On the surface, it doesn’t look like he fits anywhere here. He’s going to have to work his way into a role or else he might not last the offseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Let’s talk about some quarterback rooms now. The Pittsburgh Steelers seems to be in position to smoothly transition from Ben Roethlisberger. Mitchell Trubisky looks loaded up to start for the team in Week 1. He’s been getting all of the first team reps and honestly deserves another shot at a starting role.

The team is likely going to jump on any opportunity to replace him with Kenny Pickett though. Fans usually demand that the rookie first round quarterback starts at some point in the year. Especially if they aren’t winning as much as they would like. The same situation will be applying here. Unfortunately, Mason Rudolph doesn’t really figure into any of this. He’s likely not going to be on the field much and isn’t even set to be a backup. It’s looking like he’ll be a healthy scratch most of the time unless he has a stellar offseason.

Carolina Panthers

The next quarterback room is the Carolina Panthers. Their head coach Matt Rhule said that if the season were to start today, Sam Darnold will be their quarterback. There is still a lot of time left between the start of the season and now though. He is in a tough battle with rookie Matt Corral and P.J. Walker. Darnold has been known as a streaky quarterback with a turnover prone style of play.

Meanwhile, the same situation will apply here as it did Pittsburgh. Fans will want to see Corral in action if Darnold can’t perform well for the second straight year. Unfortunately, this puts Walker on the outside looking in. However, the Panthers could be so desperate for a consistent starting quarterback that he might find the field at some point.

Green Bay Packers

Finally, we are going to talk about a wide receiver room. The Green Bay Packers are a mixed bag of talent. Especially since Davante Adams left to go to the Las Vegas Raiders. Green Bay has Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers and Sammy Watkins currently. Before we talk about these guys, it’s worth noting that Adams had more receptions and yards than all other Packers receivers did combined last year. It’s hard to replace efficiency like that.

Green Bay seems to love Watson in this group after trading up to draft him this offseason. Watkins on the other hand is hard to figure out. His injury history is brutal and the consistency hasn’t been there. Though he’s had flashes of greatness in the past. Then we have to two veteran targets tahat always factor in with Aaron Rodgers. Lazard and Cobb have great chemistry with Rodgers and should be on the field quite a bit moving forward.

Later down the line though we could see them shifted out of the offense a bit more in favor of the young guys. Lastly, we have Doubs. Doubs is a fourth-round rookie that could easily slip up into the number two wideout spot if he keeps on impressing. Green Bay has a lot of choices at their disposal, but nobody looks like a great choice in terms of fantasy unless you aim high with Watson or Doubs.

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Giants Hoping To Gear Offense Around Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones has had quite an eventful first couple of seasons in the NFL. At times he has looked promising. Other times he has looked like he shouldn’t be starting. Nevertheless, the New York Giants are giving him one more opportunity to show that he belongs as a starter. The organization has brought in a brand-new coaching philosophy to help turn things around and apparently, the goal is to start with him.

Now, let’s quickly recap how bad this offense has been the past two years. They ranked 31st in both points scored and yards in each of those seasons. The Joe Judge strategy simply wasn’t working. The Giants have since brought in Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka to ease the trouble. Daboll was the offensive minded coordinator on the Buffalo Bills, one of the best offenses in the league last year. Then Kafka spent five years with the Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid, another phenomenal offense.

Speaking of Kafka, he has a clear goal in mind to help Jones succeed. He said, “He loves having so much flexibility at the line of scrimmage with the protections, with checking stuff at the line of scrimmage, just with the ability to get on the same page with the receivers. Receivers have some flexibility with routes, you know, be able to work in different voids and spaces.”

He continued, “I’m not big on putting guys in a box. So, I like giving them some freedom, giving them some baseline guidelines to work within, and then letting those guys work it out because at the end of the day, you know I’m staying on the sideline. I’m in the press box or whatever it is, and those guys are the guys on the field. They gotta go play so they got to make sure that they’re on the same page.”

Could This Work for Daniel Jones and The Offense?

This seems to be a positive for Jones and the rest of the Giants fanbase that is hoping to see some improvement out of them. Kafka seems to like Jones at quarterback so far. Plus, one of the biggest things he mentioned was flexibility. Both on the offensive line and on the routes from the receivers. Having a more diverse offense while simultaneously giving Jones more freedom could help him take the next step in his development.

After all, training camp is rapidly approaching. With these offseason workouts already underway, the Giants want Jones to work with the wideouts as much as possible. It’s been reported that they haven’t had much time together so far in the offseason. Players like Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard in particular. The rookie Wan’Dale Robinson could be another much needed piece to the offense himself when he gets accustomed to the playbook.

Do you think that this new scheme and mentality is exactly what Jones needs to succeed? Or will this just be another reason now to hold onto Jones moving forward?

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Takeaways From Game 3 Of The NBA Finals

With the NBA Finals wrapping up Game 3 of the NBA Finals, it’s only right that we take a look to see how everything is unfolding. For this most recent game, the Boston Celtics got the better of the Golden State Warriors. The recent victory gives them a 2-1 cushion in the series with Game 4 being played in Boston as well. There were a few things that caught my eye here but let’s cover them individually.

Klay Thompson Breakout

Starting off with Klay Thompson. Thompson has been virtually invisible in this series before his breakout Game 3 performance. In Games 1 and 2, he had only made four total three pointers. Looking at Game 2 individually, he shot 4-19 from the field. In Game 3, Klay shot 5-13 from behind the arc and ended up tallying 25 total points. It was a brilliant time for the sharpshooter to come alive as it forced Boston to stretch their defense out even further. However, he is going to have to prove that he can keep this shooting going. After all, the rust he is feeling is likely still there even with the last few months of play.

Warriors Running Out Of Ground

Next, we have to talk about Golden State potentially being in a lot of trouble. Game 4 means a lot to them if they want to win this series. If they are to drop Game 4 in Boston, then coming back from a 3-1 deficit seems almost impossible. If there’s anything for them to be positive about moving into this critical matchup, it’s that they played horrible until the second half and still found a way to get the lead late in the game. Still though, this is a make-or-break game for this group.

Steph Curry’s Injury

Then we have to cover the Steph Curry injury. He was diving for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter when a few bodies crashed down on him. It was the center Al Horford that did the most damage, falling right on his leg. You could see that he was visibly in a lot of pain instantly after Horford fell and he limped off to the sidelines. Reporters have been consistently asking about his status for Game 4, to which he has said with certainty that he will be out there playing. However, his injury is something to monitor in this game as even a slight tweak could reaggravate it much worse.

Draymond Green Gets Outmatched

Lastly, the size difference and trash talk were on full display. Draymond Green was trying to do his usual style of play. Get in the heads of the opponent with relentless trash talking while simultaneously playing physical. It was working to a degree in the first two games, but Boston matched it in Game 3. Grant Williams was going back and forth with Draymond all night. Plus, other big men like Horford and Robert Williams were harassing him down low in the paint. So much, that the Celtics scored 52 points in the paint themselves. Green only managed four rebounds and 1-4 shooting from the field. On top of that, the Celtics fans cheered when he fouled out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Boston looks solid right now. They aren’t changing their game plan too much and their players are going out there with so much intensity. Golden State on the other hand has been acting like they aren’t worried all series long. At some point though, they have to look themselves in the mirror and figure out why they lost two games already. Otherwise, the Celtics could clean this series up quick and win the NBA Finals.

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Diablo: Immortal Severely Underwhelms Fans

The new Diablo: Immortal game got released on June 2nd, yet it has been bashed relentlessly by fans. The new Blizzard game fully embraces a pay to win mechanic that people aren’t taking kindly too whatsoever. Some had high hopes for this new release after the news broke about Microsoft buying out the company. As it stands right now, Diablo: Immortal has a user score of 0.5 out of 10 on Metacritic. You read that correctly, 0.5.

The free to play mobile game/PC beta has some decent game play mechanics though. Streamers were usually talking about this as the positive for the game when it first released. Even the graphics look strong given how low the bar was for mobile devices. The only problem it, the game relentlessly pushes you to spend money.

Why Diablo: Immortal Is Failing

Obviously, when you are playing a game like this you want to be good at it. Being good requires a strong, maxed out character to play with. In order to get yourself a maxed-out character, you would need to spend $110,000…on a mobile game. Doing so will get you the best item in every equipment slot. It doesn’t take a hardcore gamer to understand that this is just ridiculous. Especially because the game ramps up the offers it gives you as you spend money. For example, you are offered a massive deal for $1 when you first load into everything. After that, it increases.

With the entire Diablo community up in arms over the situation, the chances of Blizzard going ahead and fixing this is very little. In all reality, the only thing we will be seeing them do is lower the prices a small bit. The game will remain ridiculously expensive for a free to play game, but for now it doesn’t look good.

So, do you all think that Diablo: Immortal will realize how poorly this was seen by fans and make the change? Or do you think they’ll just keep it how it is and roll with it anyways?

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DK Metcalf Absent from Mandatory Minicamp

The Seattle Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf wasn’t present for the start of mandatory minicamp. It was reported that he is choosing not to attend due to ongoing contract talks with the organization. Metcalf doesn’t want to play unless he is given a new deal, but negotiations have stalled for the time being. Metcalf may not have been attending at full health anyways. He is currently rehabbing from foot surgery that he received back in Los Angeles.

Metcalf had reportedly attended voluntary workouts with the Seahawks a few weeks ago. This recent decision to skip minicamp has been thought of as a strategic move for a new deal. He is seriously banking on that money coming through, otherwise he has to be ready for a large number of fines for skipping. That is, unless Seattle gives him a reasonable excuse not to be there.

He still happens to be on his rookie contract. This means that his base salary in 2022 is slated to be $3.986 million. Unfortunately for Seattle, other wide receivers received a ridiculous amount of money during the offseason. Christian Kirk, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown all getting massive paydays. It’s safe to assume that Metcalf will get money in this range.

DK Metcalf Following a Trend

It’s not entirely surprising anymore to see superstar players skip parts of the offseason in the hopes that they can get a new contract. In fact, there are multiple young wideouts with the hopes of getting paid this upcoming season. Guys like Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin are just a few of them. Metcalf seems to be following the trends of star players with this strategic move, and only time will tell if he gets rewarded for it. After all, Seattle could shy away from a large deal even more now that he isn’t present for minicamp.

With Seattle trading away their franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, there were rumors that Metcalf could be on the move himself. Though it doesn’t appear that the Seahawks are hoping to full on rebuild at this stage. Locking Metcalf into a new deal should confirm that. DK has played three full years in Seattle to start of his NFL career. Throughout those years, he has compiled 3,170 yards on 216 receptions with 29 touchdowns to go along with it.

If you were the Seahawks, would you be willing to give Metcalf this amount of money? Would you even consider trading him away at this stage in his career for trade assets?

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Kane Unavailable For Oilers As They Try To Stay Alive

The Edmonton Oilers already found themselves in a hole to start this series. Now, that hole has gotten even deeper with Evander Kane being suspended for Game 4. The Colorado Avalanche and the Oilers have played in three games so far, with Colorado taking all three of them. One more win and they move forward into the Stanley Cup Finals. As for the Oilers, one more loss puts them into the offseason.

Edmonton is going to have to find other offense now without Kane available for them. For those that didn’t know, Kane was suspended after a cross check on Nazem Kadri into the boards. Kane attempted to appeal the suspension, to which their head coach remained optimistic he would win. However, that one game suspension still stands.

Evander Kane usually gets placed on the top line alongside Connor McDavid. Kane leads the playoffs so far with 13 goals in 15 games. It’s safe to say that his absence will most certainly be felt. McDavid himself leads the postseason with 30 points in those same 15 games. He will now be asked to carry the offensive load even more in Game 4.

Oilers Struggling, But Not Out Yet

This recent turn of events now leaves them with yet another guy out of the lineup. Kailer Yamamoto was already ruled out with an injury after he got hurt in the middle of Game 2. Facing a 3-0 deficit with two important players out of commission seems like a near impossible task.

As for the players themselves, they have said that every game will be a Game 7 for them moving forward. There was a resounding answer from the players that they have to take each game one at a time if they want to succeed. The Oilers have still been outscored 16-8 in the series and 8-2 in their last two games. There needs to be an entire mindset change if they want to keep on pushing forward.

One quote that really stood out was this, “Everybody’s kind of counting us out, so there’s no pressure on our end. All the pressure flips to Colorado; they’re expected to win now, being up 3-0. So, for us, it’s just about getting one and then go from there. We’re a team that’s faced adversity; we’ve talked about it all year long. We’re a confident group still. If there’s ever a team that could do it, I believe that this is the team. It starts with one.”

What do you think? Will we see the Oilers force a Game 5 in this series? Or will they still be swept away in the Western Conference Finals anyways?

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