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Randall Cobb was able to have a strong run during the playoffs last year. However, that wasn’t enough to hide the fact he had a down 2016 season.

ESPN took a look at the 32 players with the most to prove this season and Cobb made the cut. Here’s what Packers reporter Rob Demovsky had to say about Cobb.

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In the two seasons since he signed a four-year, $40 million contract, Cobb hasn’t come close to his 2014 numbers: 91 catches, 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. A shoulder injury slowed him in 2015, while hamstring and ankle injuries hampered him last season, when he caught just 60 passes for 610 yards and four touchdowns. He showed something of a resurgence with a three-touchdown game in the Packers’ playoff win over the Giants, however. With a $9.5 million salary and bonus structure in each of the next two seasons, that’s the kind of production the Packers will need from Cobb.

Cobb missed three games last year due to the multiple injuries. And when Jordy Nelson went down in 2015, the pressure was on Cobb to be the No. 1 receiver and he struggled.

The Packers are hoping the run Cobb had in the playoffs leads to bigger things in 2017. In the three playoff games, Cobb recorded 18 receptions 260 yards and three touchdowns.

Cobb knows the pressure is on him to have a big season because Davante Adams had a breakout 2016 campaign and he’s entering the final year of his contract. Also, the Packers drafted two wide receivers this year, so Cobb will have to prove that he’s worth every penny the Packers are spending on him.

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Cheap Houston Texans JerseysWhen Deshaun Watson arrived to Houston for his pre-draft visit with the Texans, the quarterback was put through the ringer, answering questions from the entire offensive staff who tested his knowledge of the game, recall of information, and how he handled pressure. Watson was knew that the hour-long session with the Texans offensive staff was a success and when he walked out of the room and that he made a positive impression in the organization.

“I thought I killed it and the end I gave a little smirk to them. He (Bill O’Brien) saw me do that,” Watson said on the Doug Gottlieb Show.

“He (O’Brien) knew that I am a confident player that is smart, knew how to talk football but at the same time was very interested in learning,” Watson said of his visit with the Texans. “I have so much more I need to gain from, so much more not just as a quarterback but as a football player, learn more about the game. There is so much more that I am interested in and willing to work on my game to be able to learn.”

The expectations are growing with Watson landing in Houston but he knows that the noise from the outside regarding him possibly being in line to start this season is just talk. With veterans Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden in the building, Watson is only worried about one thing: getting better each day.

“We are not focused on that, right now we are focusing on trying to get 1% better each and every day,’ Watson said of the potential upcoming quarterback competition. “Whatever happens, that is up to Coach O’Brien and all the staff. Our job is to go out there whenever our opportunity comes, makes each other better, compete, and at the same time, support each other. You are only as good a everyone on the team. If all of us are on the same page and the same mentality then we will be just fine. We will leave that to all the people – that is about us, we just do our job. We are good people in the room, we always have fun and joke around, it is all love.”

Watson is doing everything he can to learn the Texans system and is depending on O’Brien, Savage, and Weeden to watch their work inside the film room and on the field. There is going to be a learning curve that both O’Brien and Watson have already acknowledged with the Texans offense. Understanding the Texans offense is a task itself but with limited time on the field before training camp arrives, Watson knows the spring training opportunities are important for him to build his foundation of knowledge.

“It is going to come with reps in the Spring, it is not really my fault I do not have any experience at the NFL level,” Watson explained of learning the Texans offense. “I am just now getting here. Just being patient, learning the offense, learning the system and controlling what I can control.”

Some of those issues of a new environment will be alleviated with some familiar faces in the building from his former school. Watson is looking forward to playing alongside DeAndre Hopkins, something he did not get to experience at Clemson.

“It is pretty cool how the who situation turned out,” Watson said on being selected by the Texans. “He (Hopkins) is one of the top receivers in the game; him able to help me out and hopefully I can come out and we can do some big things. Two Clemson guys on offense with me and DeAndre and then two guys on defense, Carlos Watkins and D.J. Reader. The Texans are becoming Clemson fans.”

With plenty of eyes on Watson, the young quarterback is staying grounded and he understands there is a bigger picture for him to be successful: keeping the team first and buying into what O’Brien has built over the past three seasons in Houston.

“This is not about me, it is about the Houston Texans,” Watson said. “It is about everyone, all the guys that is part of the team, all the people that support the organization. I am a big team guy. Whatever I can do to help the team win is the ultimate goal.”

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Scott Tolzien is not accustomed to speaking behind a podium as a veteran backup quarterback.

Right now, he’s the guy though in Indianapolis, which brought him to the podium on Tuesday.

Tolzien and the Colts are wrapping up Phase Two of the offseason program, with team activities in OTAs waiting come Monday.

Here’s a look at four takeaways from Tuesday’s media session after the Colts concluded their 18th day of the offseason program:

Scott Tolzien Taking First-Team Reps

A sidelined Andrew Luck means Scott Tolzien is leading the first-team offense right now.

Luck’s rehab from January shoulder surgery has Tolzien taking the reins of the starters during the offseason program.

“It is a great opportunity to be out there with the first-team offense and get comfortable with those guys,” Tolzien says.

With Luck juggling rehab this time of year, No. 12 is still on the field when the Colts head there for work right now.

Tolzien is then in Luck’s ear about the differences in timing between the receivers. A new wideout coach in 2017 (Sanjay Lal) means the quarterbacks will have to deal with a slight adjustment in timing between thrower and catcher.

T.J. Green Working At Strong Safety This Offseason

How will the Colts use T.J. Green is a question in 2017?

Green appeared to answer it on Tuesday.

Saying he’s grown more as a coverage safety, Green will be working at strong safety in his second NFL season.

“Being a strong safety now,” Green said, “I’m being relied on to cover a lot of tight ends, a lot of slots. I think I’ve grown a lot in that area, using this offseason to work on my footwork and technique.”

Coming into 2017, Clayton Geathers was the expected starter at strong safety.

That’s still the case, although Geathers is recovering from off-season surgery on his neck.

During the draft, Chris Ballard said Geathers (neck) was “on the mend.” But the GM still speaks about Geathers like he will be ready to go in 2017.

If Geathers is ready to go come Training Camp, that will certainly alter how the Colts use Green this year.

Green said on Tuesday that he’s made some headway in the mental aspect of the safety position.

The selection of safety Malik Hooker hasn’t impacted how Green views his goals.

“I’m a competitor,” Green said. “Obviously, I’m here to start.”

Route Detail Improving For Phillip Dorsett

As talked about above, the Colts have a new wide receivers coach this year in Sanjay Lal.

The early returns from Lal’s receivers offer a nice endorsement for the new position coach.

Lal’s focus so far in the offseason program falls right in line to where Dorsett sees himself needing to develop in Year Three.

“We work on a lot of route detail,” Dorsett says of the receivers. “I’m definitely improving in that. Coach Sanjay has great details. He slows everything down and makes sure everything is perfect. That’s been a big improvement for me.”

Even though Dorsett won’t publically admit it, the 2017 campaign is a massive one for his NFL future.

Dorsett calls the NFL a “grind.”

It’s one he loves though as he reaches the final years of his rookie contract.

“I want to play until the wheels fall off,” Dorsett says.

How Much Robert Turbin Will We See In 2017?

Chris Ballard and Robert Turbin are both fans of the veteran running back receiving some early-down reps as he returns to the Colts.

They could be coming after Turbin re-signed a two-year contract with the Colts back in March.

Turbin provides a great perspective about his role within a team setting when talking to the media.

No matter just how the reps are divided up between Frank Gore, Turbin and rookie Marlon Mack, the goals are bigger for Turbin after how 2016 ended.

“To be a part of something like that and fall short just wants to make you want to come back and go after it again,” Turbin says. “That was my biggest motivation in wanting to come back. You become family over the course of an entire year and you don’t want to leave family.”

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The Texans picked up Jadeveon Clowney’s fifth-year option recently, comfortably ahead of the May 2 deadline. The option will pay Clowney, the top overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, $13.846 million in 2018 and is guaranteed for injury upon exercise. This fifth year becomes fully guaranteed early next March on the first day of the 2018 league year.

Clowney has answered critics that had been suggesting the Texans drafted the wrong edge rusher in 2014 with the first overall pick. Knee problems sidelined Clowney for 15 of the 32 regular-season games in his first two years and kept him out of Houston’s playoff loss during the 2015 season. Meanwhile, Khalil Mack, the fifth overall pick, experienced immediate success with the Raiders. Healthy for the first time last season, Clowney was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and earned some first-team All-Pro/All-NFL honors. He played a pivotal role in the Texans giving up the fewest yards in the NFL despite losing three-time Defensive Player of Year J.J. Watt to a back injury three games into the season.

Clowney’s stellar play in 2016 has put him in line for a contract extension either this offseason or next year before the start of the 2018 regular season. The Texans have a long-standing policy against negotiating contracts during the regular season. There are challenges the Texans will encounter regardless of whether Clowney is taken care of contractually sooner or later.
The Texans’ pecking order for extensions

DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans’ first-round pick in 2013, staged a one-day holdout when training camp opened last year protesting the Texans’ refusal the negotiate an extension before his fourth year. Hopkins had a point: The Texans had negotiated with Watt and Whitney Mercilus, their first-round picks in 2011 and ’12, before their fourth seasons. Watt’s extension came in early September 2014 in the days leading up to the start of the regular season. Mercilus got his new deal in May 2015 at the deadline to pick up his fifth-year option.

Hopkins is entering his contract year. General manager Rick Smith indicated that the Texans intend to re-sign Hopkins when he addressed the media at the NFL combine in early March. A new deal for Hopkins isn’t imminent.

The Texans run the risk of alienating Hopkins if Clowney is treated in the same manner as Watt and Mercilus before his own contract is extended. After expressing displeasure with his contract situation last offseason, Hopkins would likely view the Texans signing Clowney first as disrespectful and make him willing to test free agency in 2018. At the very least, the Texans should engage in meaningful contract discussions with Hopkins before turning their attention to Clowney. If the Texans were to reach an impasse with Hopkins, Clowney getting a new deal at this juncture should be less of an issue for the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Clowney’s contemporaries

Proactive NFL teams make a practice of extending the contracts of core players well in advance of free agency. Early extensions can allow teams to lock up very good to great players for a number of years at more affordable rates than if their contracts had expired.

Two fellow 2014 first-round picks that could receive extensions in the coming months might have an impact on Clowney’s next contract. Aaron Donald should get a new deal in 2017 no later than the middle of September if the Rams adhere to the same timetable they did for first-round picks Tavon Austin, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn.

Donald, the 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year, has quickly become the NFL’s most disruptive force from the interior of a defensive line. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), his 82 quarterback pressures (combined sacks, quarterback hurries and quarterback hits) were the third most in the league last season and led NFL interior defensive lineman. Donald took the top spot in PFF’s top 101 players for the 2015 season. He was second in PFF’s 2016 rankings. A consensus first-team All-Pro the past two seasons, Donald has an excellent chance of becoming the NFL’s first $20 million per year non-quarterback with at least $75 million in guarantees. That is if Mack doesn’t beat him to it.

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Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has won cheap jerseys China the Professional Basketball Writers Association’s 2016-17 Magic Johnson Award, the organization announced today.

The award, which has been given annually since 2001, honors a player who “best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.”

On the court, Lillard, 26, just completed the best season of his five-year career. He posted 27-point, 5.9-assist, 4.9-rebound averages and led the Blazers to the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, where they fell to the Golden State Warriors in four games.

Off the court, he’s become known as one of the more approachable, accessible stars in the league, both with members of the media and fans.

“It comes with the job,’’ Lillard said recently, per CSN Northwest. “There will come a day when people won’t want my autograph … and there will come a day when the media doesn’t care what I have to say. So I think you have to appreciate it, and that’s what I try to do. I don’t take either for granted.’’

In addition to Lillard, finalists for the award were DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Draymond Green and Paul Millsap.

Past winners of the award are listed below.

2000-01: Ray Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
2001-02: Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers
2002-03: Jalen Rose, Chicago Bulls
2003-04: Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana Pacers
2004-05: Antawn Jamison, Washington Wizards
2005-06: Grant Hill, Orlando Magic
2006-07: Shane Battier, Houston Rockets
2007-08: Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers
2008-09: Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
2009-10: Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
2010-11: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
2011-12: Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
2012-13: Shane Battier, Miami Heat
2013-14: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
2014-15: Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
2015-16: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors