Eric Adelson

  • Reality setting in on Jameis Winston's huge hurdles in rookie season with Bucs

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    TAMPA, Fla. – It may be a long time before we learn how good Jameis Winston really is.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive line caved in around the rookie quarterback on Saturday like a torn umbrella, leaving Tampa's No. 1 pick to limp off the field on a sprained ankle and leaving offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to lose sleep after a 31-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

    "Bottom line," Koetter said Monday, "we stunk."

    According to Pro Football Focus, Winston was pressured on 40 percent of his drop-backs, and had a quarterback rating of 0.0 when pressured. Now Koetter and head coach Lovie Smith have to decide whether to risk hurting Winston's ankle further in a meaningless fourth preseason game against Miami this week or risk sending him out against the Tennessee Titans in the season opener with no further experience in game situations.

    As if all that wasn't bad enough, the Titans play the same 3-4 defense under Dick LeBeau that Winston saw on Saturday against the Browns. Koetter promised it would be a "pressurefest."

    Oh, and rookie offensive lineman Donovan Smith also has an ankle injury, and didn't practice Monday.


  • Draft sleeper Ameer Abdullah gives Lions long-awaited multi-threat RB

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bankers, accountants, attorneys, pharmacists, journalists, teachers. These are the professions Ameer Abdullah lists when asked what his siblings do for a living. The Detroit Lions' rookie rusher is the ninth of nine children in his family to get a college degree, and for an NFL player he has a lot to live up to.

    He has called himself "the failure of the family."

    "I've learned sometimes it's best to keep my mouth shut," Abdullah said Friday, "and watch the people in front of you."

    The people in front of him now include wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, and Abdullah has spent considerable time this summer learning route-running from them.

    "Sometimes they take the initiative and they see me struggling with a certain route," Abdullah said after the Lions beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in a preseason game. "They'll tell me, 'You may need to time this down a little or up-tempo more.' I'm like a sponge right now, anything they can throw at me."

  • Can Jags' big free-agent catch Julius Thomas thrive without Peyton Manning?

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A lot of people had the same thought when Julius Thomas decided to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, moving from Peyton Manning's target to Blake Bortles'.

    Enjoy oblivion, big fella.

    The telling stat: Thomas had 12 touchdowns last season and Bortles threw 11 total in his rookie year. It doesn't take a stat guru (or Eric Decker) to figure out what leaving Denver means for a pass-catcher.

    And it didn't help when Thomas fractured a bone in his right hand in the first preseason game. He's tentatively scheduled to be back for Week 1, but here on Tuesday, he was running routes at practice with a huge cast on his injured hand, catching red zone passes with his left. "There's always something you can work on," he said with a smile. "Never know when it's gonna come in handy." 

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    How handy will Thomas be in this town?

    Very, he says.

    Thomas signed a five-year deal, reportedly valued at $9.2 million per year with $24 million guaranteed.

  • Even NFL's progressive rookie symposium can't hide warts of ugly culture

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    The NFL took down a video from on Sunday that should have never been up. It imparted a message to 2014 rookies that they should never have heard. It featured a "life lesson" that should never have been given.

    Now the question is: what "life lesson" is the league, not the rookies, going to learn about this video.

    In the video, former NFL great Cris Carter, standing in the gold Hall of Fame jacket every rookie aspires to someday wear, spoke about the need to find a "fall guy" to take the heat and perhaps the jail time when a player in the league runs afoul of the law.

    "If you all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew," Carter told the new NFL players last year. "If you all have a crew, one of those fools got to know, he's the one going to jail. We'll get him out."

    A place in the NFL requires an elevated sense of accountability, not a scapegoating scheme. Designating a "fall guy" not only places a false value on a player's worth, but it devalues the worth of a friendship. It turns an athlete into a commodity; it turns a relationship into a transaction.


  • Kicker Andrew Franks hopes to put engineering career on hold for Dolphins

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    DAVIE, Fla. – Andrew Franks wants to spend his life helping to repair football players.

    On the way, he might help repair the Miami Dolphins.

    Franks, who grew up in California, chose his college based on medicine rather than sports. "I want to be a doctor," he said after a training camp workout earlier this month. "I don't really want to go to school for 20 years, so biomedical engineering was a way to do both."

    He went to tiny Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., known as RPI to those in the know (and anyone who has followed the college careers of hockey stars Adam Oates, Joe Juneau and Daren Puppa). He figured he could play football while he studied.

    "I wanted to make materials for hip and joint replacements, prosthetics that go inside the body," Franks said.

    He majored in biomedical engineering, which is one of the many engineering-related fields at RPI. (George Ferris, who invented the Ferris Wheel, went to RPI.) Franks said the best part was studying "tissue, biomaterial interaction, extracellular matrix."

    (As for his understanding of the science, Rizzi jokes, "I'm a state school guy.")

  • Ernie Els' school for autistic children 'a dream come true'

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – For Ernie Els, the real championship was on Monday.

    The four-time major winner and former world No. 1 golfer flew back to Florida after the PGA Championship to open the Els Center of Excellence, a 26-acre campus for autistic children which he and his wife, Liezl, have been funding and building for eight years.

    "Unbelievable, really," Els said here Thursday. "It's a dream come true."

    Autism, which is a range of neurological disorders characterized by social impairments and communication difficulties, affects two million individuals in the U.S. When Els' son, Ben, was diagnosed, the family realized how difficult it is to get good information and good schooling for children on the autism spectrum. Els wanted to donate money to science, but Liezl's idea was bolder: build an entire school.

    "For us it was a thousand times easier because we could travel to other places and find the expertise we needed," Liezl said. "I saw the need out there and how much you can suffer if you don't have the all the services and therapies."

    When asked if he wanted to be known for golf or for this school, Els said he didn't care.

  • Jason Day's PGA triumph leaves Jordan Spieth in awe

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – He did not have to pull out his driver.

    Jason Day had a three-shot lead with eight holes left, he was 18-under par, he could play safe and win his first major.

    He pulled his driver.

    "I had hope," Jordan Spieth said, thinking that maybe the guy next to him on the 11th tee box would make a mistake doing this, and set in motion a stumble that could give him a sniff of a chance to win the PGA Championship.

    Then Day swung, and in Spieth's words, "hope was lost."

    The drive seared through the lakeside air and bounced to a stop. The final pairing of the day walked down the fairway and Spieth saw the distance on his opponent's drive.

    "Holy [expletive]!" he said.

    It had gone 382 yards.

    Day turned to Spieth, smiled, and flexed his bicep.

    Day kept pulling driver, again and again, and kept obliterating the ball. Spieth called it "a stripe show."

    Day took out a 4-iron and fired it onto the green. Birdie. Checkmate. Spieth had come into the final round thinking 3-under would earn a playoff and 4-under would win it. He shot 4-under … and lost by three shots.

    There was nothing that the world's best player could have done.

  • Jordan Spieth is starting to look Tiger-esque

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Jordan Spieth stomped off the 10th green in a huff. He had just left a 15-foot birdie putt short and, as he put it bluntly after his round, "I was pissed." Jason Day was bolting ahead, in the midst of a mid-round tear that would vault him from 10-under to 16-under and the lead of the PGA Championship. Spieth was idling.

    "Walking to 11," he said, "it was now or never."

    It turned out to be now.

    Remember that sense of inevitability that hung in the air around Tiger Woods during his prime? That feeling that no matter what happened on Thursday or Friday, the weekend would bring some magic?

    Saturday here at Whistling Straits brought that same sense. There was a feeling as Spieth charged up the back nine, out there by the lake and the big boats lolling on the waves, that the Year of Spieth would not conclude without another dose of his drama.

    And here it came: birdie on 11, birdie on 12, birdie on 13.

    Birdie on 16.

    So in order to see a shot at that pin, people have to jump.

    The ball landed and the fans erupted.

    Birdie on 17.

    Birdie on 18.

    It's just beginning to feel that way.


  • From fire-knife dancer to PGA Championship contender

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — There is nothing for him to fear. Not the other players on the leaderboard at the PGA Championship, not the world watching his every swing, not the pressure of millions of dollars on the line.

    Not when you consider the scars on his arms and the one on his heart.

    Tony Finau, who finished Saturday's third round of the PGA Championship tied for sixth, was a child (4 or 5 years old) when his mom taught him the fire-knife dance. When he was 8 years old, he learned to attach sharp knives at both ends of a stick, light them ablaze, and twirl them like batons. He would spend Friday nights doing the dances at weddings or birthday parties. He earned $50. He needed it.

    "We used to do the show on Friday," says Finau's dad, Kelepi. "Saturday, he goes and plays [golf]. We didn't have anything, and you gotta pay your entry fee. You gotta pay $150 or $200. My wife said, 'We'll find a way.' "

    [Related: PGA Championship leaderboard]

    So he improvised.

    "Tony was Mommy's boy," Kelepi says softly.


  • Dustin Johnson lets his fast start at the PGA Championship slip away

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

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    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Again with the bunker.

    Dustin Johnson looked primed for another weekend run at that long-sought major championship when he tattooed a drive along the left side of the 11th fairway here on Friday in Round 2 of the PGA Championship. He had just made a lovely 28-foot putt on 10, after a scorcher of a 300-yard drive. He had it going.

    Then his ball landed in one of the thousand sand mines here at Whistling Straits.

    Johnson blasted at it and watched it careen off the front lip and high into the air. A fan who had been filming it with her cell phone gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.

    The shot went 44 feet.

    Johnson had to play out into the fairway with his next shot and then fire his fourth at the green on the par-5 hole. He ended up with a bogey, and things started to unspool.

    All of that only took about an hour, but the damage to Johnson's hopes might last the weekend. He's been passed not only by Day, but Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose. Majors aren't often won from behind, but now that's what Johnson must do.