Mens Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson Nike College Navy Game Jersey

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Four days after that loss at Green Bay, where the Seahawks opened this season without scoring a touchdown, offensive-line coach Tom Cable addressed the media with a gripe. Straying from its traditional strategy, Seattle called runs on just 15 of its 48 plays, prompting Cable to express discontent.

“Fifteen is not near enough,” said Cable after that 17-9 defeat. “Can’t win in this league running the ball that many times.”

Three years ago, this would have made perfect sense coming from a Seahawks coach. Unfortunately, this was two weeks ago. And three games into the season, the question is worth asking: Should the “Seahawk way” be a thing of the past?

Seattle once again struggled to run the ball in its 33-27 loss to the Titans on Sunday, gaining 69 yards on 22 carries. It is 18th in the NFL in rushing this season, after finishing 25th last year.

Moreover, if you subtract the 100 yards Russell Wilson has amassed on his 21 carries, the Seahawks are averaging just 3.4 yards per rush. That’s not a run game so much as it is a team running itself into the ground.

There was a period, of course, when Seattle boasted what might have been the NFL’s most formidable rushing attack. From 2012-15, the Seahawks were among the league’s top four running teams every season.cheap wholesale jerseys free shipping

Then again, they also had more capable offensive linemen and a running back named Marshawn Lynch. To not be run-first in those days would have been flat-out irresponsible.

Things are different, though. Much different. Consistent run-blocking has been absent since 2016, as has a reliable ball-carrier.

Impressive as Chris Carson was in the second half against the 49ers in Week 2 — a good chunk of his 93 yards came on a couple bursts toward the end of the game. Plus, well…it was the 49ers. There’s no track record with Carson yet — and like Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael before him, he very well could fizzle out despite an eye-popping performance or two.

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On the other hand, Wilson does have track record. He led the NFL in passer rating in 2015, has become one of the game’s better pocket passers, and threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns Sunday.

Sure, he misfired on a handful of throws early — just as he did throughout the Week 2 win over San Francisco — but once he found his rhythm, he reminded everyone why he was considered a preseason MVP candidate by some NFL pundits.

The truth is, the Seahawks are better when they allow Russell to let it fly. It’s how they set franchise records in 2015. It’s how they beat the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., last year. And it’s how they can reach the playoffs and rack up a double-digit win total for a sixth consecutive season.

To be fair, it’s not as though the Seahawks have been afraid to use their quarterback. Wilson’s 49 attempts Sunday were a career high, and his 115 attempts this season are the fourth-most in the NFL.

Considering he has gone from 25th in attempts as a rookie, to 12th in 2015, to 10th last season, it’s safe to say Seattle’s offensive philosophy has evolved. But it also seems as though coach Pete Carroll still wants the offensive identity to be based in the run game.

No need.

The best coaching staffs let their personnel dictate their style as opposed to forcing a style on their personnel. You might have a craving for a certain meal, but you can’t cook it without the proper ingredients.

Offensively, the Seahawks bear no resemblance to the one that went to consecutive Super Bowls. They have a vastly improved quarterback in Wilson, a vastly improved No. 1 receiver in Doug Baldwin and one of the game’s most athletic tight ends in Jimmy Graham. They should embrace that.

Running the ball down opponent’s throats? Protecting the ball at all costs? Wearing down foes one bruising rush at a time? Yeah, that was the Seahawk way.

Emphasis on “was.”

Men’s New England Patriots Tom Brady Nike White/Navy Blue Game Jersey

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It’s not easy being Tom Brady. Even after he throws a touchdown pass — or tosses one to the other team — there’s always another job to do.

Sunday in New Orleans, without a nickel of extra pay, Brady had to help referee the game, too. Stretching the striped jersey over his shoulder pads would have been a bit of a struggle. But he just could not trust the officials on the field to make the calls, could he?
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Twice, on potentially game-changing plays, the referees initially got it wrong. Brady set them straight.

To pro football fans everywhere, particularly in the 44 states where the Patriots are as admired as pickpockets, there was great irony in watching Tom Brady school N.F.L. officials on the rules of the sport.

And the officials, this time without months of appeal, agreed.

On Sunday, 10 days after a bumbling season opener, Brady threw for three touchdowns and completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards in New England’s 36-20 rout of the Saints.

And still he was not happy. His tight end, Rob Gronkowski, dropped a potential fourth touchdown pass in the end zone. Brady threw his hands in the air.

Somewhere, perhaps Gisele Bündchen repeated the most incisive football wife comment of all time: “My husband cannot throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”

But back to the officials and how Brady rescued the league from another Patriots-versus-the-N.F.L. contretemps.

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The first incident came with the Patriots leading by 13-3 in the final minute of the first quarter. Brady tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Hogan, who was remarkably uncovered as he collected Brady’s throw near the goal line.

But a yellow flag had fluttered to the turf: offensive pass interference. Pointing, shouting and running toward the conferring officials, Brady was not pleased.

Tony Romo, the former Dallas quarterback who was a color analyst with CBS for the game, offered that Brady “was good at winning arguments, too.”

A sideline microphone picked up Brady’s plea: “He was blocked on the line of scrimmage.”

He said it twice. An official tried to lead Brady away, but the quarterback did not appear interested in retreating.

After the game, a reporter told Brady that he had looked like he was being very persuasive.

“Did I?” Brady said with a smile.

Hogan and his fellow receiver Brandin Cooks had crisscrossed on the play, with Cooks planting a sturdy shoulder block on P. J. Williams, the New Orleans defender covering Hogan, allowing Hogan to run away unaccompanied.

It was a classic pick play, one that often results in an offensive penalty.

Except, as referee Craig Wrolstad soon clarified — echoing a loud voice that must have been ringing in his head — there could be no penalty because the defender had been blocked within one yard of the line of scrimmage.

The Patriots led, 20-3.

Romo, with a faint snicker, then suggested that there was “always a little gray area,” when it came to the rule’s enforcement. It was a comment that summed up the way the Patriots have tiptoed along the borders of the rule book for more than a decade.

At the same time, the play was another small illustration of the Patriots’ genius that drives the rest of the league mad. It was about knowing the rules precisely and understanding how to use them to your advantage.

There is little doubt that the New England coaches, in their game preparation, had noticed New Orleans lining up in the tight formation along the line of scrimmage and knew how to exploit the situation. So, obviously, did Brady, who reacted appropriately as soon as he saw the flag.

Two quarters later, with New England leading by 30-13, Brady appeared to make the kind of ill-advised play that had fans wondering last week if he had suddenly slipped into middle age. A wobbly, aimless pass down the sideline was effortlessly intercepted by Saints safety Marcus Williams, who returned the football to the Patriots’ 2-yard line.

The Saints, it seemed, might rally yet.

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Not so fast. The officials had yet to consult with Brady, who was already dashing toward them.

As a group, they gave him a tired “What now?” expression.

As Brady jogged, he held aloft the index finger of his left hand and a peace sign with his right hand. It was not a very complex code.

Put them together, and you have a “12.” As in, one more than the legal number of players a team can have on the field for a play.

“I didn’t see a flag, and I said, ‘What the heck?’” Brady said after the game. “I saw the 12th guy. But the officials said they were going to review it.”

Albeit much later than Brady had, the officials counted 12 Saints on the field. The interception was nullified. The Patriots actually gained 5 yards with the penalty.

“I wish they had thrown the flag right away and took away the drama,” Brady said.

Three plays later, Brady threw another interception. This time the officials avoided a rebuke by Brady, immediately tossing a flag to the ground for defensive holding.

For Brady, it all added up to a redemptive victory. His 447 yards were the most by a 40-year-old player in league history, and the third-highest total of Brady’s career. It was the 52nd time he had thrown three or more touchdowns in a game without an interception, which was an N.F.L. record. Peyton Manning did it 51 times.

Brady acknowledged after the game that he was aware some fans had been questioning after last week’s loss whether he had somehow precipitously declined since winning the Super Bowl seven months ago. One stat provided a stark answer: The victory over the Saints improved Brady’s record in games following a Patriots defeat to 43-10.

“I’m expected to lead us into good plays and to get us playing better when we need to play better,” he said. “Whatever that takes.”

All part of the job(s).

Men’s Cleveland Browns Joe Haden Nike White Elite Jersey

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Joe Haden’s route to the first opening-week win of his career was a strange one. It involved getting cut, signing with his former team’s rival and hanging on against a young, improved team.

“Got the game ball, man,” Haden said following the Steelers’ 21-18 win at FirstEnergy Stadium “They heard this was my first season-opener win since I’ve been in the league, so they gave it to me.”

Haden wasn’t particularly noticeable on Sunday. He ended the game with six combined tackles and a sack of quarterback DeShone Kizer. It capped a tumultuous 12 days for the former Pro Bowler. He was released on August 30 and signed with Pittsburgh shortly after. That meant learning new teammates, a new playbook and, oh yeah, facing his former team in Week 1.
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“It’s been a little rollercoaster,” Haden said. “I had  my son’s birthday planned out here. Then I get cut and then I get picked up by the Steelers, learning a new playbook and everything. It went kind of fast, but I feel like the adjustment went pretty smooth. We got a good group of dudes over here.”

The Browns showed Haden on the video board during the game. The reaction was a bit mixed from the crowd — some cheers but also a smattering of boos.

“It was smooth. They weren’t too crazy,” Haden said. “When I was down there at the Dawg Pound, they were just screaming stuff out, but that’s to be expected.”

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The best news for Haden is now, after getting this game out of the way, he has an opportunity to put the events that led him to Pittsburgh in the rearview mirror. Once he found the visitors locker room — “I didn’t even know where this locker room was,” he said — everything was relatively normal.

It also means his teammates can move past the entire situation, too. Jason McCourty acknowledged it was strange seeing Haden in opposing colors.

“Yeah, very,” McCourty said. “Got a chance to talk to him for a quick second before the game. Obviously, for me, I just got here, so I didn’t have a ton of time with him. But I remember just being on my visit, he was one of the reasons it made it an easy decision for me to come here. To see him Week 1 on the other side is definitely a weird feeling.”

Cornerback Jamar Taylor called Haden wearing a different uniform “old news.”

“Like I said earlier this week, I know Joe-Joe’s going to have a good year,” Taylor said, “that’s good for him but I’m worried about us.”

For Haden, it’s on to his first home game in Pittsburgh. First, though, he’ll get to enjoy something he never has: Being 1-0.

“It felt good. It felt good to be able to get out there and play with my new team and be able to get the win.”

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The poor guy hadn’t eaten cheese in weeks, so maybe the self-deprivation was starting to get to him.

“I played at Wisconsin,” Russell Wilson said on a recent afternoon, and before long the Seattle Seahawks quarterback was letting his mind wander. “The best fried cheese curds.”

But that was the old Russ, and at least for now, that Russ is gone. This new version, slimmed down and fired up, is talking about unusual things.

Things like going months and maybe years without eating gluten or dairy. And, to make matters more absurd, wanting – as he enters his sixth season in Seattle – to play 20 more years.

If Wilson thinks hard enough he can see cheap jerseys China it: A 48-year-old quarterback, probably with bad knees or ankles, shuffling off the field for the last time to great applause following the first 25-year career in football history.

“Hopefully I’ll have that hair like George Clooney and I’ll be able to dance out there on the football field still,” Wilson said in a recent interview. And loopy or not, it’s clear he hasn’t just thought about this. He believes it.

This is Wilson in a single conversation: Eye-rollingly optimistic, borderline corny and occasionally over the top, smiling and determined to prove this isn’t as strange as it sounds.

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And sure enough, through five seasons and 28 years, Wilson doesn’t seem to play by ordinary rules. He is the same player who’s both a sub-6-foot starting quarterback – one of the true outliers in modern professional sports – and a three-time Pro Bowler; the man who once claimed (without medical evidence) that a sports drink whose company he’d invested in could heal concussions; the young husband and father who, before all that, publicly claimed God told him to avoid premarital sex when he started dating the singer Ciara, who is now his second wife. This is the same teammate whose limitless belief in himself and those around him has led the Seahawks to two Super Bowls in Wilson’s five years and – as outlined in an ESPN article this offseason – rubbed certain teammates the wrong way.

Regardless, two things seem to follow Wilson: drama and success. The Seahawks, from the time Wilson was drafted by the team in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, have come to accept that the things he says might not be rooted in reality – but that, however they might sound, he does believe them.

With that in mind, how else could Wilson look at the scoreboard during the 2015 NFC championship game, Seattle trailing by 12 points and a little more than five minutes to play (Green Bay had, at that moment, a 99.9 percent chance of winning, according to Pro Football Reference’s win probability chart), and lead a thrilling win in overtime? How, a season earlier, could a second-year quarterback sidestep the enormity of the Super Bowl – to say nothing of Peyton Manning – and lead a 43-8 beatdown of the Denver Broncos? And how, despite struggling last season with knee and ankle injuries, could Wilson keep lining up behind the NFL’s worst offensive line and reminding defenders that, injured or not, he is the league’s finest escape artist?

If Russ wills it, the Seahawks have learned after reaching the playoffs following each of Wilson’s five seasons, it is no dream.

“I believe,” he said, “that anything is possible.”

All this optimism pours out of him, even after the most challenging season – and offseason – of Wilson’s young career. He was, despite the footwork he perfected as a middle infielder for two seasons in the Colorado Rockies organization, sacked 41 times (tied for the second-most in 2016, behind only Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor) and suffered the two worst injuries of his career. He found his team’s dirtiest laundry, details of emerging fissures in what had once been seen as a locker room rich with team chemistry, revealed publicly and in head-snapping detail.

“A lot of stuff happened in the offseason,” Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said during a training camp news conference, “and we couldn’t wait to get back to the locker room and kind of formulate our family, our tribe again, if you will, and put our heads down and get to work.”

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When Wilson reported for training camp in this Seattle suburb, teammates found that he had not changed much about his attitude. He was still rosy and determined. His public remarks came off as well-rehearsed and safe and straight out of a motivational guidebook.

“You try to do as much as you can to allow yourself to be at the highest peak of being successful as possible,” he said after a morning practice in early August.

He became more vocal about his goal of playing deep into his 40s. Last season, he revealed to Coach Pete Carroll, following a ferocious hit by Miami’s Ndamukong Suh led to Wilson spraining his ankle, that this was how he’d be hobbling around during the 2034 season. By this past spring, he was sharing his plans with anyone who asked.

“I do have a vision,” he said.

And that vision led to one noticeable change. After the Seahawks’ season ended, Wilson watched New England’s Tom Brady – winner of five Super Bowls and eater of avocado ice cream – hoist yet another Vince Lombardi Trophy. Brady, Wilson noticed, was thinner and more flexible than he’d been a decade earlier; if a defender plowed the Patriots’ quarterback into the ground, Brady – who hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2008, the year he was lost to a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in the season’s first week – would pop back up.cheap chinese football jerseys

If Brady could do it, Wilson wondered, why couldn’t he? And so, given that if Wilson does play 25 seasons, it won’t be because the Seahawks have given him so much help on offense early in his career, he willed it. Gone were dairy and gluten and extra sugar, as they had been jettisoned from Brady’s diet; into Wilson’s tank went chicken and fish and vegetables.

He ate nine meals per day, according to a separate ESPN profile of Wilson published earlier this summer, and consumed somewhere around 4,800 calories. Extra body fat disappeared, and so did the jabs from teammates who kept reminding him of how well-marbled he looked during a trip with his family to Disneyland in spring 2016.

“We always made fun of him: Sometimes he looks a little chubby,” Baldwin said. “Comes with old age.”

Wilson reported to Seahawks camp lighter and more nimble and, yes, with more belief than ever that nothing was out of his or the team’s reach.

“Listen,” he said, and when he’s this passionate, it’s hard not to see the world as Wilson does. “We’ve been [to the Super Bowl] twice in four years, been in the playoffs every year the past five years. I believe we’ll get there again. The ball will bounce our way.”

Somehow, yes, he can see himself jogging onto a field at 48, though his friends and teammates ask him why on earth he’d want that. Championships, he tells them, and accolades and comebacks and challenges and fame.

Is fried cheese, even from Wisconsin, better than that?

“I may not be able to move as quick,” he said, “but hopefully I’ll be able to do all the same things and make all the same throws.”

True or not, Wilson believes it, and though it’s impossible to know now where Wilson will be in 20 years, he envisions it in the most Russell Wilson way possible.

“I’m just focused on 28 right now,” he said, “and try to be the best that I can be today. . . . I’ll do that this year and the following year and the year after that. Then we’ll go from there.”