After opening slight favorites, the Denver Broncos are now underdogs against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Denver Broncos had opened 2.5 point favorites over the Los Angeles Chargers last week, but after an impressive comeback win over the Oakland Raiders by Los Angeles and an impressive choke job by Denver at home to the lowly New York Giants, the script has flipped.
Denver is now a 1.5 point underdog to the Chargers.
Frankly, that is fine by me. This team tends to thrive when they are underdogs and struggles as favorites.
The Broncos knocked the Chargers on the heels early in their Week 1 matchup on Monday Night Football, but with a 24-7 lead in the fourth quarter they failed to generate any offense and the defense began to show cracks in their No Fly Zone.
Philip Rivers made a few big plays scoring two touchdowns in the quarter to close the gap. That failure by the Broncos to generate any offense has now expanded to a multi-game stretch, which should be cause for major concern heading into this game. [...]
The Broncos came out of Sunday’s loss to the Giants battered, and appear set to make multiple transactions. According to Mike Klis of KUSA, the Broncos are releasing veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin and putting offensive lineman Billy Turner on injured reserve. Rubin was a 16-game starter for the Seahawks last year, and signed with the Broncos in Week Two. [...]
... ason with a proper goodbye. Scenes from a Finale, Pt. 2 Glad to see the last Rapids goal at DSGP in 2017 was celebrated with a FIFA18 video-game-quality celebra ... [...]
Join us at the Celtic on Market on Wednesday, October 18 for the official Denver Nuggets watch party presented by Budweiser. [...]
The Broncos made a series of roster moves Tuesday. [...]
Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders posts his Rockies Mailbag every other week on Tuesdays during the season and once per month during the offseason.
Pose a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies Mailbag.
I have been attending Rockies fantasy camp since 2001. It is normally held two weeks before the start of spring training, and for the first time this past year, almost every player on the Rockies roster was there working out, weeks before they needed to report. I believe it is this dedication that led to a strong 2017.
My question is this, why don’t the Rockies offer Carlos Gonzalez a contract similar to Greg Holland? I love David Dahl and Raimel Tapia, but Dahl is very injury prone and Tapia needs to get stronger. A fair-valued CarGo is still a better option. This team has amazing chemistry and it would be a shame to let it go.
Also, resigning catcher Jonathan Lucroy must be the first priority. The Rockies have an amazing core of young pitchers under team control for a few years, but they need a leader.
Signing Lucroy to a four-year deal sounds crazy, especially since he will probably not be a starter for all four years. As a catcher he probably has a WAR slightly over above average, but I believe he would add at least a +2 games to each of the starting pitchers on the staff versus Tony Walters or Tom Murphy.
— Michael, Miami, Florida
Michael, you certainly threw a lot at me, so let’s handle this pitch by pitch.
1. I agree with your contention that the Rockies’ offseason workout program at Salt River Fields is a huge benefit to the team. All of that winter work had helped bond the players. Many of them – including Nolan Arenado — now live in Scottsdale during the offseason, so it’s become very convenient for the players.
Despite Troy Tulowitzki’s contention in 2016 that Salt River Field is a “country club,” I believe the Rockies’ top-flight facility has been instrumental to building a stronger organization.
2. Your question about the Rockies’ offering CarGo a “Greg Holland-type contract” is an interesting one. By that, I assume you mean a contract loaded with incentives?
On paper, that sounds interesting, but I don’t think CarGo would sign a deal that is so heavily weighted on reaching incentives (Holland more than doubled his salary to $15 million by reaching his in-season goals for innings pitched, saves, etc.)
I think the Rockies’ only shot to bring back CarGo is on a one-year deal with a club option for a second season. I can’t imagine any team offering CarGo a lucrative, multi-year deal.
There is a chance the Rockies will offer Gonzalez a $17.4 million qualifying offer for 2018, which would allow the Rockies to receive draft-pick compensation if he were to sign with another team. However, I don’t think the Rockies will make that offer to CarGo.
If Dahl does not look as if he’ll recover from his lingering rib/back injury, the chances of CarGo returning increase a little bit.
There remains a lot of mutual affection between the Rockies and Gonzalez, but I really doubt he will ever play again in Colorado purple.
3. I agree that signing Lucroy should be Colorado’s top free-agent priority. I think he’s invaluable to the development of Colorado’s young starters, and I think we saw that during the last six weeks of the season. Lucroy also started to hit in September (.311 average, .429 on-base percentage), though he’s not showing the power he did during his playing days in Milwaukee.
This was the best season the Rockies have had that I can remember, both as a team and individually. What can we do as fans to make sure Mr. Dick Monfort keeps the core of Charlie Blackmon, Arenado, Trevor Story, Mark Reynolds and DJ LeMahieu together for another season or two, letting the pitchers mature?
— Rita Richardson, Arvada
Rita, I suppose I could say that your campaign to keep the core together starts with this question to my mailbag. However, it might be presumptuous on my part, because I have no idea if Monfort reads anything I write.
You could always email Mr. Monfort (try using firstname.lastname@example.org).
That said, the reality of contemporary baseball is that it’s an ever-changing business. I feel pretty certain that Arenado, Blackmon and Story will remain. I can imagine the Rockies approaching Blackmon with a three-year deal, bypassing his final year of arbitration and fending off free agency at the end of 2018.
I love LeMahieu, but with the coming ascension of prospect Ryan McMahon, possibly at second base, LeMahieu could become part of trade discussions. LeMahieu, like Blackmon, is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018 season.
It would not surprise me at all to see the Rockies bring Reynolds back on another one-year deal, but they would have to give him a significant raise from the $1.5 million he earned this season.
The following is an inside look at Chaparral and Rock Canyon ahead of their Mount Evans showdown 7 p.m. Friday at EchoPark Stadium in the Post Preps Game of the Week. The action will be live streamed on DenverPost.com as well as the Denver Post Preps Facebook page.
Rock Canyon (4-3, 0-2 Mount Evans)
Brian Tinker’s first season as the Rock Canyon head coach has been marked by a few missed opportunities — including close losses to ThunderRidge on Sept. 21 and to Cherokee Trail last week — but in all, the Jaguars have already taken steps forward from last year’s 3-7 campaign.
“I think we’ve left a couple W’s on the table in some close games,” Tinker said. “But it’s just a process — the kids have to learn how to win and how to compete all the time — and I think they’re getting there and we’re starting to put it together.”
Prior to arriving at Rock Canyon, Tinker led Fossil Ridge to two straight playoff showings in 2014 and 2015 — the only 5A postseason appearances in the program’s history — only to not have his contract renewed.
Poudre School District was tight-lipped about the dismissal, although it was clear the dispute over the Sabercats’ desire to put the names of fallen soldiers across the back of the team’s camouflage uniforms — a request PSD had denied — likely played a role in Tinker’s contentious exit from Fort Collins.
Fast forward two years, and Tinker believes he’s found a new longterm home on McArthur Ranch Road, where he’s also a P.E. teacher.
“I was looking to build that foundation at Fossil Ridge, but obviously ran into a wall,” Tinker said. “So now I’m restarting once again, and I’m looking to plant my roots — I’ve got a young family and we’d like to really grow with this program, and hopefully take it to the level of competing for a state championship in the next three, four years.”
Tinker’s been pleased with the talent he inherited — he notes senior tailback Alec DeRose, senior defensive end Vincent Curci, senior defensive end Tanner Stopkoski and senior middle linebacker Zach Hanna have been crucial — but says that in the age of open enrollment, he and his staff must work extra hard to make Rock Canyon an appealing football destination.
“I think the location’s great, and there’s a lot of good athletes around if I can talk them out of going to Valor,” Tinker said with a laugh. “We can see Valor from our practice field, and when you have so many great programs around you, you’re going to have to compete for kids.”
To do that, Tinker put the program through “a complete overhaul”.
“We changed up just about everything — our practice schedule, the way we do things over the summer, the weightlifting, all of it,” Tinker said. “We even brought in an MMA coach and a yoga coach, so the kids learned how to breathe under duress, mental toughness and balance.”
That mental toughness will be key Friday night against Chaparral, a team that flattened the Jaguars 52-32 last fall.
“It’ll be a test,” Tinker said. “But I think our guys are prepared for it, and our confidence had continued to grow even though we’ve lost our last two games.”
Chaparral (5-2, 2-0 Mount Evans)
While Rock Canyon (29th in the latest RPI) needs a win to revive its postseason hopes, a victory on Friday for Chaparral (13th) would go a long way in shoring up the Wolverines’ playoff positioning.
Fourth-year coach Rod Dobbs knows his team has a formidable task ahead in the Jaguars, and emphasized the Wolverines must stick to their ‘everything counts’ mantra in order to prevail.
“We have to really minimize the mistakes that put us at a disadvantage, and we have to continue to improve on the things that we can control,” Dobbs said. “That’s an aspect where I feel we’re really starting to hit our flow.”
Despite high turnover at the quarterback position — junior Kurt Gallup was initial starter, but injuries to him as well as sophomore backup Konnor Ruth now has senior Peyton Ross under center — junior running back Dylan Smithwick and his mates were able to light up the scoreboard for 74 points combined over the last two weeks.
“We’ve suffered some ill-timed injuries on offense, and we’ve been without a number of key players on offense,” Dobbs said. “Yet, we’ve been able to hang in there, and that’s a credit to (offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach) Bruce Speegle and his coaching staff, because this offense is very adaptable.”
The Chaparral defense, too, has been doing its job during the Wolverines’ four-game win streak.
In particular, seni [...]
Michael Malone’s eyes widened when he saw — and heard — Will Barton fall to the ground in pain while playing 1-on-1 following the Denver Nuggets’ Monday practice. But Malone’s mood quickly flipped to relief when the coach went down to the locker room and saw Barton joking around with teammates.
Turns out Barton simply rolled his ankle. He practiced fully Tuesday and is “ready to go” for Wednesday’s season opener at Utah.
“It was a little scary when it first happened, but I’m fine,” Barton said.
Barton, who averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game last season, will be one of Denver’s first players off the bench in 2017-18.
No Jameer, No Jefferson: Two players who were not at Tuesday’s Nuggets practice: Jameer Nelson and Richard Jefferson.
Jefferson is close to signing a one-year contract with the Nuggets, league sources confirmed to The Denver Post Monday night. And it was reported by ESPN that Nelson would likely be waived to make room for Jefferson on the 15-man roster.
Because the transaction is not yet official, Malone could not speak specifically about Jefferson joining the Nuggets. But Malone coached Jefferson when he was an assistant with the Golden State Warriors and called Jefferson a “consummate professional.”
“Anytime you can be around a player that has a resume like Richard does, I think you’re better off for it,” Malone said. “I wish Richard the best of luck wherever he lands.”
Malone added he has “tremendous respect” for Nelson, who emerged as the Nuggets’ starting point guard during last season’s playoff push.
“His ability to mentor and help young players is something that probably people didn’t hear enough about,” Malone said.
Lyles returns to Utah: Trey Lyles has never been inside the visitors’ locker room at Vivint Smart Arena in Salt Lake City.
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But thanks to a scheduling coincidence, Lyles’ first game as a Denver Nugget will be against his old team, the Utah Jazz.
“It’s an exciting moment for me,” Lyles said. “Just to be able to go out there and to play against former teammates and guys that I was with for two years.”
Lyles was set to meet with Nuggets coaches Monday to provide insight on Utah’s play calls, personnel and playing style. Lyles expects the Jazz to remain “really functional” as one of the NBA’s top defenses, but to look “a lot different” on offense after star Gordon Hayward left Utah to sign with the Boston Celtics.
Lyles is competing with Kenneth Faried for the Nuggets’ backup minutes at power forward after joining Denver in a draft-night trade.
Barton on the season opener: “It’s like Christmas almost. Everybody goes to sleep early the night before, getting ready to wake up and get those presents.”
DENVER AT UTAH, 7 p.m. Wednesday, ALT, 950 AM
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press fileIn this Oct. 2, 2017, file photo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, left, dunks on Sydney Kings center Isaac Humphries (0) during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City.
Spotlight on Rudy Gobert
Denver’s new inside tandem of Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap will get a stiff test right off the bat, as Gobert is now the face of the Jazz after Gordon Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics as a free agent. Gobert averaged a double-double last season (14 points, 12.8 rebounds per game) and will be asked to become an even greater offensive threat in 2017-18. The 7-footer also averaged 2.6 blocks per game, anchoring a Utah team that led the NBA in scoring defense (96.8 points allowed per game) last season and ranked second in opponent field-goal percentage (44.3) and third in defensive rating (102.7). [...]
CLEVELAND — Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward had to be carted off of the court in the season opener with a broken left ankle.
Hayward went up for an alley-oop pass midway through the first quarter and fell to the court awkwardly after a small collision with Cleveland’s LeBron James. A hush fell over the Cavaliers arena as Hayward lay on the floor with his leg bent severely. Several Celtics teammates huddled near the bench in prayer. Hayward had his leg wrapped in an air cast as he exited the arena.
New Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, who threw the pass, and veteran Marcus Smart were among those visibly distraught at the injury.
Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million max contract in July to make the Celtics the chief competition for the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
pray for gordon hayward 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/yvEFC9egAq
— Grind of Athletes (@GrindOfAthletes) October 18, 2017 [...]
ALAMEDA, Calif. — With a strong-armed quarterback, one of the best pass-blocking offensive lines and a pair of talented receivers on the outside, the Oakland Raiders have all the ingredients to stretch the field with the deep pass.
That has been far from the case so far this season and is a major reason the Raiders (2-4) have struggled so much offensively during a four-game losing streak.
Oakland is tied for the fewest deep completions this season with just two, a development that surely would have irked late owner Al Davis, who believed strongly in the value of throwing deep.
“We definitely want to be able to do that,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Now does that mean we’re going to do anything differently or trying to force things? Absolutely not. That’s where you get in trouble. That’s something that I’ve learned in my career. You can’t force it. You just have to work hard and let it happen.”
It hasn’t happened much yet as Carr has completed just one of eight passes — a 64-yard touchdown to Johnny Holton in Denver — that was thrown at least 20 yards downfield, according to SportRadar. Backup E.J. Manuel also has one deep completion but it’s a far cry from a year ago when Carr was 25 for 52 on deep passes that helped fuel Oakland to a 12-win season.
With Marshawn Lynch adding power to the running game and Jared Cook offering a strong receiving target at tight end to complement receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, the Raiders figured to be even better offensively this season.
They appeared on that track when they scored 71 points and committed no turnovers in winning the first two games. But Oakland has gotten nothing going the past few weeks, failing to top 17 points or 300 yards in the four straight losses.
“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks,'” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. “We all own this together. There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between.”
Carr was supposed to be the person to carry this offense. He emerged as a star in 2016 in his third year in the NFL and signed a contract worth $125 million in the offseason that briefly made him the league’s highest-paid player.
But his production has dropped in almost every category this year. The only exception is he is completing a career-best 68.3 percent of his passes. Much of that improvement is a result of Carr getting rid of the ball quickly and relying almost solely on short passes.
After throwing nearly one-third of his passes at least 10 yards downfield a year ago, Carr has thrown less than one-quarter that far this season. His average completion has been caught 4.6 yards down field, down significantly from his 6.0 mark a year ago and second-lowest in the league.
“When you turn the film on, you look at the plays and you know you’re taking check downs and those are going for 10 and 12 (yards). How can you be mad at that?” Carr said. “If that’s what they’re giving you, you have to take it. I could sit back there and force a lot of throws and that’s not something that I’ve ever done. I try my best not to put our team in harm’s way.”
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Carr and the offense will try to reverse the slide Thursday night when they face a Chiefs defense they have struggled against in recent years. Kansas City has won the past five meetings between the teams and Carr’s 68.1 passer rating against the Chiefs is his lowest against any team he has faced more than once in his career.
But Downing remains confident he has the right players and right schemes and sees a breakthrough coming soon.
“We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product,” he said. “Stats aren’t everything, but they are often an indicator in areas that you might be struggling a little bit. We know that there are some areas that we’ve identified that we want to get better at quickly.”
NOTES: Second-round S Obi Melifonwu (knee) returned to practice for the first time since being placed on I [...]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Avalanche rookie defenseman Andrei Mironov hasn’t played since opening night, when he logged 11 minutes, 24 seconds in a shaky NHL debut at the New York Rangers. The 23-year-old Russian will be a healthy scratch for the sixth consecutive game Tuesday when Colorado takes on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
So why is Mironov still with the Avs, instead of developing for their American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio?
With the Avs, Mironov is surrounded by three fellow Russians in forward Nail Yakupov, defenseman Nikita Zadorov and goalie Semyon Varlamov. They help him understand how to play on the NHL-size rink — particularly Zadorov, who plays the same position. Mironov, who played the last five seasons in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League, speaks very little English.
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“With ‘Miro’ he’s in a little bit of a unique situation because he’s coming over to North America for the first time, he’s playing on the smaller ice for the first time. So I think he continues to get better every day, even in practice,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said Tuesday after a morning skate at Bridgestone Arena. “But we certainly want to have him playing some games here, too, so we may explore some options to get him in. There’s different things you could do. We could play seven (defensemen). He has the availability (waiver-exempt) to go to the minors and play. We’ll see. We’re going to need all these guys when it’s all said and done so we want to keep them all going and try to keep improving every day as individuals and as a group.”
The AHL Rampage only has one Russian on its team in rookie forward Klim Kostin, who is property of St. Louis Blues. But Kostin also is in his first year in North America. So the Avs believe Mironov is learning more with a deep support group with Colorado.
“We talked to Varly about how much Miro is understanding and I think every day he’s understanding more and more what we’re saying,” Bednar said. “He’s got the translators there to ask questions, too, in his teammates. He’s got guys around him that know what he’s going through. And Z (Zadorov) is a similar guy that plays a similar style.”
Footnotes. Rookie defenseman Anton Lindholm will replace Patrik Nemeth (shoulder injury) and partner with Tyson Barrie on the second pairing. Lindholm has been a healthy scratch in the last three games. Zadorov remains on the top pairing with Erik Johnson, and Chris Bigras and Mark Barberio make up the third pairing. … Forward Matt Nieto will be a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season. Center Tyson Jost, who missed the last two games with a leg-bone bruise, returns to the lineup and will play on the fourth line. [...]
A game that looked like a meaningless game between mediocre teams now looks like a game of significance with the winner getting into the thick of the AFC playoff picture. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans look to capitalize on a slew of losses by AFC playoff contenders in Week 6. The winner of this game will move to .500 and keep pace with a big chunk of the conference.
Marcus Mariota will play in this game, which should give the Titans a slight edge at home. The wild card will be Jacoby Brissett who could be a big factor for the Colts if they are to win this game.
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