FLOWERY BRANCH [url=http://www.steelersfootballauthentics.com/le_veon-bell-jersey-authentic]Youth Le'Veon Bell Jersey[/url] , Ga. (AP) Ricardo Allen began listing the weapons on the Atlanta Falcons‘ offense and shook his head.
Wide receivers Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley. Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Quarterback Matt Ryan.
The safety said facing those playmakers is like a bad dream he must revisit every practice. But Allen also smiled because that’s good news for Atlanta’s 2018 outlook.
”Oh, man, you’ve got Julio, you’ve got Sanu, you’ve got Ridley on the field at the same time and you’ve got those running backs,” Allen said Saturday. ”Who do you match up against? Who do you put your best players on? It’s like a matchup nightmare.”
The front office has taken action to make those playmakers happy – and safe.
Ryan has a new five-year, $150 million contract extension. Jones was given an adjustment to his five-year, $71.5 million contract and a promise the deal will be renegotiated after the season. Left tackle Jake Matthews agreed to five-year, $75 million extension on Friday, and the team’s top offseason acquisition was right guard Brandon Fusco, adding more stability to the offensive line.
Ridley [url=http://www.ravenscheapstores.com]Youth Baltimore Ravens Jerseys[/url] , a wide receiver from Alabama, was the team’s first-round draft pick .
Ryan is 33. Jones is 29. Coleman can be a free agent after the season. The Falcons are attempting to seize this opportunity to take full advantage of this offense – most of the unit led the league in scoring two years ago.
”To go up against it every day, I personally don’t think any other offense that has this many weapons from sideline to sideline to give us that much pressure,” Allen said. ”Then you’ve got Matty Ice out there putting the ball anywhere he can. It’s a hard matchup and every day is a challenge and that’s a good thing.”
The Falcons led the league with 33.8 points a game in their 2016 Super Bowl season with former coordinator Kyle Shanahan, now San Francisco’s coach, in charge of the offense. In Steve Sarkasian’s 2017 debut as offensive coordinator, Atlanta fell back to 15th in scoring, at 22.1 points per game.
Center Alex Mack says the Falcons are starting faster in their second year with Sarkasian.
”I just see it as a way to start fast and build,” Mack said Saturday. ”As an offense in training camp, you can start at a more advanced point than you started the year before, so you can get into the details and work on the little things and be really on the same page.”
The Falcons opened training camp with Freeman and Jones at full health.
Jones played every game but dealt with a long list of injuries last season. Freeman missed two games with his second concussion of the year, including one last preseason [url=http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com]Browns Game Jerseys[/url] , and also was slowed by a knee injury at the end of the season.
”It is awesome to see Free back, feeling like himself,” coach Dan Quinn said. ”His aggressive nature always comes out and he’s off to a great start.”
Quinn said the familiarity that comes with the offense’s second season with Sarkasian is crucial.
”I think anytime you’re around guys for more than a year, he has such a clear vision of what guys can do,” Quinn said. ”As small as that may sound to you, it’s a big deal.”
NOTES: DE Takkarist McKinley left practice with an apparent right shoulder injury. He has had surgeries on both shoulders the last two years. Quinn said Saturday’s injury is not believed to be serious. … The Falcons have sold all 60,000 tickets, at $5 each, for their practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday. It will be the team’s first practice in pads.
Alex Ovechkin knows the Washington Capitals have plenty of fans back in Russia.
”Over there lots of friends, lots of people watch the games,” Ovechkin said of his countrymen. ”It’s been huge.”
He is also huge in Barrie, Ontario [url=http://www.officialpenguinsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-derick-brassard-jersey]Derick Brassard Jersey[/url] , where projected top-five draft pick Andrei Svechnikov has been watching Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov serve as inspirations for young Russian players and fans on this run to the Stanley Cup Final. The native of Siberian city Barnaul got to meet his fellow Russians on Monday morning and got an up-close view of their dominance in Game 4 that night.
”(Ovechkin) and Kuzy and Orlov, these guys just famous in hockey world,” Svechnikov said. ”I am very happy.”
Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov are making plenty of young Russian players and fans happy. They are just one win away from winning the Stanley Cup. Svechnikov admired smooth-skating, high-scoring Hall of Fame winger Pavel Bure growing up, and now watches in amazement at what Kuznetsov does on the ice with his skill – not to mention his bird-flapping celebrations.
”Great skater. Every time wants to be involved, hungry every time. Very smart player. A lot of skill,” Svechnikov said of Kuznetsov, who leads the playoffs in scoring and added four assists in a 6-2 win over Vegas. ”He just like star, you know? He can do whatever he want.”
The joy of Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov is being watched closely not only in Washington but back home where they’re big fan favorites.
”A lot of people watching it because three Russian players in Washington and obviously Ovi big superstar in the world and everybody follow [url=http://www.lionscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-sylvester-williams-jersey]Sylvester Williams Jersey[/url] ,” Orlov said. ”A lot of fans, a lot of kids enjoy his game.”
The Capitals could have the most Russians on a Cup champion in the salary-cap era. The 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning were backstopped to their first franchise title by Nikolai Khabibulin, and the Detroit Red Wings’ Russian Five in the 1990s shined a spotlight on all the talent coming out of the old Soviet system.
After Evgeni Malkin was the only Russian player on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ back-to-back Cup champions the past two seasons, this is another showcase of this generation of talent. Playoff leading scorer Kuznetsov and leading goal-scorer Ovechkin are also the top candidates to follow Malkin as just the second Russian to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
”Ovi has been a staple since he’s come into the league. Kuzy is a little newer,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”People don’t really know him as well as Ovi. You’re seeing the talent of Kuzy. You’ve seen the greatness of Ovi over the course of his career to this point. I think Kuzy is just getting better and better.”
The 26-year-old Kuznetsov is reluctant to talk about himself or any other individual player, but he knows this is special for Ovechkin, who is 32 and has been waiting 13 seasons for this with nine previous early playoff exits to his name.
”Every Russian guy back home pretty happy for him because that’s huge,” Kuznetsov said. ”That’s a long time.”
Ovechkin wished Svechnikov good luck later this month at the NHL draft, where he was the No. 1 pick back in 2004. A short conversation at a morning skate was enough to leave Svechnikov beaming.
”Just famous guy – everybody knows him and everybody watch him,” Svechnikov said. ”It’s just an honor to have met with him.”
More Stanley Cup coverage: [url=http://www.officialusafootballs.com/jacksonville-jaguars]Youth Jacksonville Jaguars Jerseys[/url]
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|