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Ward: NFL rules forced me to tackle low
2013-12-09

It was a decision I made to make a tackle on a big man, Ward said.
So Ward hit Gronkowski low, and the timing of the play meant that Wards shoulder drove into Gronkowskis right knee as Gronkowski planted to run.
Gronkowskis knee bent in a way it is not supposed to bend, and he flipped in the air before landing. It was evident immediately that Gronkowski had a serious knee injury, believed now to be a torn ACL.
Ward thought he hit Gronkowski in the quad and didnt realize the seriousness of the situation until 20 seconds later, when a teammate told him the tight end was down. Ward took a knee.
I honestly prayed for him, Ward said.
And when Gronkowski was carted off, Ward approached him to shake his hand.
My intention is never to hurt anyone, Ward said. Thats not what this game is about. Thats not how I play. I hate to see guys go down with any kind of injury. I just wanted him to know, whether he accepted it or not, it wasnt an intentional hit. We have to play this game. We have to play the way that they force us to.
Which means avoid a high hit. Browns defensive back Jordan Poyer can vouch for that fact. His hit to the shoulder of Julian Edelman after a late touchdown was flagged as unnecessary on a defenseless receiver. The resulting penalty helped New Englands field position when the Patriots recovered the onside kick.
Had Ward made a similar kind of hit, hed have risked being fined, especially if Gronkowski had ducked or flinched.
Its kind of being caught between a rock and a hard place, he said. Its a decision you have to make, but you have to follow the rules at the same time. Gronks a big dude. Hes not small by any means, so already he has that height. It just makes it difficult. I made a tackle. Unfortunately he got hurt. If he would have got up, there would have been no discussion about this right now.
There used to be an unwritten rule among players never to hit an opponent in the knee or from behind. But those unwritten rules have been trumped by the new ones from the league. Ward predicted last season that the emphasis on eliminating hits to the head would result in more low tackles and knee injuries. He repeated that position on Sunday.
When they set the rules, everyone knew what was going to happen, he said. This can happen if you have those type of situations. Its pretty much inevitable. And they force our hand with this.
Ward could have tried to hit Gronkowski at the waist, but hes giving up seven inches and 65 pounds to the tight end. If he tries to make a high tackle and misses it, he loses his job.
Ive been fined three times, he said. And I dont like playing for free. You can ask anybody in this league, would they like play for free? No. ... [And] I cant risk [suspension]. I wont risk that. Ive got to play within the rules.
And the way the rules are written, there seems to be nothing illegal about a hit like Wards.




Manti Te'o falls off one team's board for 2013 NFL Draft
2013-04-24

"We've kind of taken him off the board," one scout told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday. "He doesn't have enough ability to put up with all that. Why fool with it? Try-hard, smart (Wonderlic of 23) guy. This was the first year he's really gotten himself in shape. Some of his teammates think he's kind of a phony."

Opinions vary wildly on Te'o, like they do for most prospects. We believe he is on the board for most NFL teams despite a relatively common skill set. Other scouts noticed that Te'o's playing speed is faster than his timed speed. He has drawn comparisons to Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. In a survey of scouts taken by McGinn, Te'o ranked as the second-best 4-3 middle linebacker prospect behind LSU's Kevin Minter. Te'o ranked as the top 3-4 inside linebacker prospect, edging out Minter.

Te'o and Minter both are lucky because many teams with picks toward the end of the first round are looking for inside linebackers this year. The Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens all might be looking for linebackers.
http://www.nfl.com


March Madness Bracket
2015-02-15

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Here’s a breakdown of the prizes:
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Sunday Night Football Preview, Patriots visit Steel City
2010-11-12

Sportsbook.com Patriots vs. Steelers Betting Lines: Pittsburgh -4.5, Total: 45

Two of the NFL’s best teams meet up in the Sunday night game. The Patriots have been winning with good situational football, but their offense lacks the kind of big-play threat (like Randy Moss) that can capitalize against a Steelers D that is excellent, yet susceptible to giving up the big play.

The Pats young defense is in disarray, exploited by Peyton Hillis last week for 184 rushing yards and two scores in the 34-14 loss at Cleveland. During the Ben Roethlisberger era, Pittsburgh has had success against Bill Belichick defenses that had more talent, averaging 25.4 PPG in the past five meetings. New England got a scare this week as QB Tom Brady missed Wednesday’s practice with a sprained foot, but he is expected to start Sunday night.

New England has lost back-to-back games only twice since 2003. In 21 games following an in-season loss, Brady has been excellent, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing for 42 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. This equates to a gaudy 105.4 passer rating. Brady has also dominated Pittsburgh in six career meetings with five wins, 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions. But Brady has lost some of his luster after Randy Moss was traded, throwing for only five touchdowns in four games. The team put up 32.8 PPG with Moss and is averaging a mere 22.0 PPG after he was traded.

This doesn’t seem to concern Sportsbook.com bettors as 66 percent of the early Patriots vs. Steelers point spread action is on New England.

Brady should be able to throw the football on Pittsburgh again, considering the Steelers have allowed 273 passing YPG this year. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve this week (quad), so New England replaced him with Shayne Graham who has made over 85 percent of his FG attempts in his career.

Pittsburgh continues to lead the NFL in scoring defense (15.4 PPG) and run defense (58.3 YPG). However, on the other side of the ball, the Steelers’ offensive line is beat up with OT Max Starks placed on injured reserve (neck) this week. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey (leg) and G Chris Kemoeatu (knee) are also both hurting, but both expect to play Sunday night. Pittsburgh must be more careful with the football based on its six turnovers in the past three games.

The Patriots are 6-2 ATS in their last eight trips to Pittsburgh. Additionally, here are three more NFL betting trends uncovered at Sportsbook.com that indicates New England is the way to bet.

Play On - Road teams (NEW ENGLAND) - off a road loss, in November games. (41-11 over the last 5 seasons.) (78.8%, +28.9 units.

Bill Belichick is 29-9 ATS (76.3%, +19.1 Units) after having won 4 out of their last 5 games as the coach of NEW ENGLAND. The average score was NEW ENGLAND 24.9, OPPONENT 16.3.

Belichick is 9-0 ATS (+9.0 Units) in road games after scoring 7 points or less in the first half in 2 straight games as the coach of NEW ENGLAND. The average score was NEW ENGLAND 29.7, OPPONENT 17.3.

To bet on the Patriots vs. Steelers game or to check out the rest of NFL Week 10 betting odds, head over to Sportsbook.com now.