Errigal in the snowOdds on Donegal having a white Christmas have been slashed by bookmakers.The county, along with Belfast and Dublin, are now 5/2 to have a white Christmas.The chilly conditions are being blamed on the coldest Atlantic temperatures since records began 80 years ago. The winter chill is due to a cold 1,500-mile wide swathe of the North Atlantic.The tranche of ocean is the coldest since records began before 1935, and forecast to cool Ireland’s usual mild westerly winds.Met Eireann will not make an official forecast until much closer to December 25th.But bookmakers including Paddy Power have slashed their odds on a white covering to be on the safe side. SNOW ME THE MONEY! BOOKIES SLASH ODDS ON DONEGAL WHITE CHRISTMAS! was last modified: October 20th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CHristmasdonegalsnow
Coach Greg Chappell with Rahul DravidThe Indian team’s theme for this World Cup was called, “Let’s Win Together.” In Trinidad, the man on the street has his own theme. India, they sigh, shaking their heads and smiling crooked smiles, “plenty licks, man, plenty licks.” On the morning of match against,Coach Greg Chappell with Rahul DravidThe Indian team’s theme for this World Cup was called, “Let’s Win Together.” In Trinidad, the man on the street has his own theme. India, they sigh, shaking their heads and smiling crooked smiles, “plenty licks, man, plenty licks.” On the morning of match against Sri Lanka, Marvan Atapattu looked across at a bystander. “If we make 220, it’s enough, we’re through.” The bystander, an Indian, asked how could the Lankan could be so confident? “Look at their faces,” Atapattu said, “For them, 220 is like 350.”In the last 11 months, India’s batsmen have failed to bat out a full 50 overs in 12 of 17 ODIs outside home. Is this really what the world thinks of our cricket team? The envy that a strong India generates has given way to something approaching the ranks of tongue-clucking sympathy in the Caribbean and scorn in the Anglo-Australian cricket world. Former West Indian captain Richie Richardson admits to disappointment, “I thought India had the best batting line up on paper. We all wanted India to go a little bit further. I can’t work out what went wrong, lack of confidence maybe, or internal problems.” It’s like Indian cricket has been struck over the head with a blunt instrument and is trying to regain consciousness and comprehension. The questions are short, sharp and seek meaning from the muddle: What the…? But why? Now what?Team IndiaWhat the…? The Indian team’s training sessions at the Cup were two-faced: one, a spurt of enthusiasm in Jamaica for the warmup games, the other, a few ho-hum sessions in Port of Spain. Like all other teams, India were allotted only two and a half hours, but their sessions looked like they were men on borrowed time.”You practise like you play,” said one Indian player, indicating that younger players needed to go into nets with a purpose. May be the Indians did play like they practised: flat, perfunctory, with no urgency. Former West Indian fast bowler Ian Bishop has seen a trend over the last season: “Their fielding is un-athletic and that is just based on those matches I saw.”advertisementThe Australians, who set the benchmark in the field, have hired former American baseball pro Mike Young as their fielding coach. Their sessions work around improving ‘balance and vision’. Sri Lanka, constitutionally, temperamentally much like the Indians, put in a minimum of an hour of fielding practice in every training session, concentrating on what captain Mahela Jayawardene calls, “the small things” in one-day cricket, every run-out, every half-chance taken puts you a step closer to winning.”Sharad Pawar to take a drastic stepBut let’s not be harsh: the Indians did try, and not just the boring stuff like fielding practice. After losing to Bangladesh there were apparently attempts made to straighten out kinks in the cricketers’ ‘auras’, to rid them of ‘negative energies’. In keeping with the principles of pranic healing, the men in blue stood around a bowl of water where their bad vibes were flung in; they even tried collective prayer. It worked against Bermuda, but the gods needed more appeasement against Lanka. Okay, what the hell, let’s be harsh: maybe what cricketing deities really wanted, guys, was more fight with the bat, ball, more signs of spirit and sweat on the field.There’s a view that Dravid and Chappell should continue while four ‘difficult’ senior players must go.But why? Captain Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell have said it repeatedly: “We didn’t play well. Yes, but why not? Here comes Indian cricket’s now de rigueur fig leaf, hastily put into place after every big loss: our system stinks, you see. On the surface of it, a soothing explanation: the Indian team has no permanent manager, no media manager, no medical back up at home, its itinerary is far too crowded, selection is a minefield, players have not been paid their dues for more than half a year. Words that matterSir Vivan Richards “Your team has a lot of ability, but lacks mental strength. They are babies in the mind.” SIR VIVIAN RICHARDS WEST INDIAN CRICKET LEGENDJohn Buchanan “India is one of the excitement machines that heighten competition. As a coach I’m glad they are not here.” JOHN BUCHANAN COACH, AUSTRALIAN TEAMDilip Vengsarkar “Every debacle has a silver lining. We have a young team and I have tremendous faith in them despite everything.”DILIP VENGSARKAR CHAIRMAN, SELECTION COMMITTEEIan Bishop “I did not feel from what I saw with India last year that I fancied them doing well away from home.” IAN BISHOP FORMER FAST BOWLER, WEST INDIESadvertisementSharad Pawar “Even England, where cricket originated, has not won the Cup but their players didn’t face mindless protests.” SHARAD PAWAR PRESIDENT, BCCIRichie Richardson “India had the best batting line up. We wanted India to go a little bit further. I can’t work out what went wrong.”RICHIE RICHARDSON FORMER CAPTAIN, WEST INDIESBut the system is merely the backdrop; it is not central to the plot of why India’s team bombed in the World Cup. India bombed because they didn’t hit the ground running. Dravid believes the 2003 format gave teams time to hit their stride unlike in 2007. Four years ago, despite putting up their best impersonation of struggling fish on a line of hooks, once the Cup began, India beat the teams they were expected to beat, losing only to Australia.In the last 11 months, India’s batsmen have failed to bat out a full 50 overs in 12 of 17 ODIs outside home. They have won only three of those, beating West Indies twice and Bermuda once. Bishop saw it coming. He didn’t rank India amongst his pick of four potential semi-finalists before the event: “I didn’t feel from what I saw with India last year in the West Indies, Malaysia, Champions Trophy and South Africa that I fancied them doing well away from home.” Former Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Ranjit Fernando stands back from making the linkage between systemic malaise and specific results. Whenever Sri Lanka loses, he says the same arguments are proffered. “What does a system have to do? At the very basic, produce three-four players a generation who can play for the country. Our systems-India’s, Sri Lanka’s- are far from perfect, but every generation, they produce those threefour players.”Between May 2006 and the West Indies World Cup, despite a notoriously fractious Board, Sri Lanka ensured that its team played all its ODIs away from home. The one tournament scheduled on the island was washed out. Of course, the BCCI needs to overhaul how they run domestic cricket and how they manage the Indian team. But does the BCCI’s blinkered inefficiency explain why India couldn’t dismiss Bermuda for less than 156 and take 43.1 overs to do it? Or, heck, why it lost to Bangladesh?Now what? Now is when the mills of Indian cricket begin to churn. Insiders say that the next man who takes over will have to start from scratch, which means the team is back to where they were just before 2000-splintered, insecure, on the edge. One distinct murmur emerging from team management centres round Sourav Ganguly’s low strike rate and the failure to rotate the strike in his three innings in the Cup. Another backed by the powerful in the BCCI, name Sachin Tendulkar as Dravid’s successor. A third point of view insists that the BCCI wants Chappell and Dravid to continue in their respective positions but the team needs to purge the ‘spoilers’-Ganguly, Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh.A player said, “I feel for Rahul, it’s hard when the team loses, even more so as captain. Rahul really tried to keep the team together, but it didn’t work out.” In the post-Lanka press conference, Dravid walked on the edge of composure, saying quickly that his tenure ended with the World Cup, so he was, in fact, no longer the captain. After an India defeat, Chappell had once produced this Zen-like epigram, “Nothing’s a disaster.” Specially called into the press conference, Chappell stonewalled questions with, “We just didn’t play well,” until an exasperated Caribbean journalist asked, “Coach, by saying that all the time, aren’t you trying to shirk responsibility?” Halfprotecting his own position, half-extending sympathy to his players, Chappell, who has aimed to coach and spread his gospel through the written press, tried to spread accountability and blame around, like it were marmalade on toast.advertisementWhat could rescue Dravid’s captaincy is the fact that there is no clear choice over his succession. Dravid understands and can internalise Chappell’s philosophies but their intellectual compatibility has not found resonance with the rest of the team. It may well be the players’ own weaknesses and inadequacies, but a cricket match is not a steeplechase race in which the captain can run alone. Everyone has to be pulled along, which the team of Dravid and Chappell have been unable to do.So Indian cricket has three choices: Plans A: Dravid and Chappell stay and four ‘difficult’ players go. Plan B: Chappell goes, Dravid stays and tries to reconnect with his squad and take another shot at the job with a coach who is more of a backroom worker and less of a ruckus-magnet. Plan C: Dravid and Chappell go as team leaders, India gets a new captain and the entire churning begins again.To many, Plan A might seem like the way forward: get rid of the old, the deadwood, start with the new. Going by the Dravid-Chappell record in man management, even if the selectors get rid of the spoilers, consistency or growth is not guaranteed. The players who the two men seem to prefer have either come undone (a la Irfan Pathan) or have been undercooked at the international level (Suresh Raina). This means one of them will have to go.At the moment, Dravid is far more valuable to the team than Chappell is; whether he is valuable as captain still or if he can rescue his leadership away from the looming presence of his first coach, is a call the selectors must take. What could rescue Dravid’s captaincy is the fact that his succession is not as clear cut as it could be. Dravid’s deputy and the front runner for the job, Tendulkar faces the wrath of public disappointment. Sehwag’s return to form is tenuous and the outsider Yuvraj Singh is seen as too callow. There is, of course, another man, who has done the job before with some success, but declared since that captaincy doesn’t excite him. Sourav Ganguly doesn’t smile much these days, but surely the thought enters his head: what goes around, comes around.
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 12: Sports media personality Mike Golic attends the Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)ESPN radio host Mike Golic will attempt an interesting feat Thursday morning. Golic, in response to a bet from Jon “Stugotz” Weiner over at The Dan Le Batard Show, will try to eat 36 mini-doughnuts in an hour, live on-air during Mike & Mike. Stugotz accomplished the feat in a three-hour time period last week, but had a rough time in the process. Tomorrow, @espngolic will attempt to eat 36 powdered mini donuts in ONE HOUR! Retweet if you think he will do it. https://t.co/x9qtyV0uaC— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) November 11, 2015Wondering just how big these doughnuts are? Here’s a shot of Stugotz’ plate before he started chowing down.Happy Thursday from the @LeBatardShow!!! pic.twitter.com/KMf6a53O2F— Charlie Hulme (@charlie_hulme) November 5, 2015The stakes? Should Golic finish the doughnuts in an hour, Stugotz will have to shave his head. If Golic cannot get through them, he’ll have to do something on the Le Batard Show’s “Grid Of Death.”Will he pull it off? We’ll find out tomorrow morning.
Women’s Fitness – Junior Placing Competitor First #1 Faith Bock Men’s Bodybuilding – Middleweight Placing Competitor First #2 Jason Keller Men’s Bodybuilding – Light Heavyweight Placing Competitor First #33 Justin Rille Second #2 Jason Keller Men’s Physique – True Novice Placing Competitor First #5 Brian Simpson Second #4 Robert Doucette Men’s Physique – Novice Placing Competitor First #3 Shaun Swanson Men’s Physique – Junior Placing Competitor First #6 Jerry Wiens Men’s Physique – Masters 40+ Placing Competitor First #4 Robert Doucette Men’s Physique – Medium Placing Competitor First #6 Jerry Wiens Second #5 Brian Simpson Men’s Physique – Tall Placing Competitor First #3 Shaun Swanson Second #2 Jason Keller Women’s Physique – Novice Placing Competitor First #7 Sheena Heaton Women’s Physique – Short Placing CompetitorFirst #7 Sheena Heaton Women’s Figure – True Novice Placing Competitor First #7 Sheena Heaton Second #10 Amber Lindley Third #8 Jackie Chartier Fourth #9 Lynette Cordonier Women’s Figure – Novice Placing CompetitorFirst #11 Cenia Bock Second #7 Sheena HeatonThird #1 Faith Bock Fourth #8 Jackie Chartier Fifth #9 Lynette Cordonier Women’s Figure – Teenage Placing Competitor First #1 Faith Bock Women’s Figure – Grandmasters Placing Competitor First #11 Cenia Bock Second #10 Amber Lindley Women’s Figure – Masters 35+ Placing Competitor First #12 Amanda Rathburn Second #13 Melanie Stephens Third #11 Cenia Bock Fourth #10 Amber Lindley Fifth #8 Jackie Chartier Sixth #9 Lynette Cordonier Women’s Figure – Short Placing Competitor 1 1 Faith Bock Women’s Figure – Medium Placing Competitor First #11 Cenia Bock Second #7 Sheena Heaton Third #10 Amber LindleyWomen’s Figure – Tall Placing CompetitorFirst #12 Amanda RathburnSecond #13 Melanie Stephens Third #8 Jackie Chartier Women’s Bikini – True Novice Placing Competitor First #14 Faye Anstey Second #15 Daya Barclay Third #16 Samantha Hender Fourth #17 Barb Mather Women’s Bikini – Novice Placing CompetitorFirst #14 Faye Anstey Second #15 Daya Barclay Third #22 Stacey Gruen Fourth #23 Karri Stoppler Fifth #17 Barb Mather Women’s Bikini – Grandmasters Placing Competitor First #11 Cenia Bock Second #17 Barb Mather Women’s Bikini – Masters 35+ Placing Competitor First #26 Brandee Stewart Second #25 Chrystal Jones Third #11 Cenia Bock Fourth #24 Tammy Chapman Fifth #13 Melanie Stephens Sixth #23 Karri Stoppler Seventh #17 Barb Mather Women’s Bikini – Class A Placing CompetitorFirst #25 Chrystal Jones Women’s Bikini – Class B Placing Competitor First #26 Brandee Stewart Second #16 Samantha Hender Women’s Bikini – Class C Placing Competitor First #29 Rebecca Topol Second #11 Cenia Bock Third 15 Daya Barclay Fourth #21 Sydney GrantWomen’s Bikini – Class D Placing CompetitorFirst #14 Faye AnsteySecond #24 Tammy Chapman Third #22 Stacey Gruen Fourth #23 Karri Stoppler Fifth #17 Barb Mather Men’s Classic Physique – Novice Placing Competitor First #33 Justin Rille Men’s Classic Physique – Class C Placing Competitor First #33 Justin Rille FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 2019 Northern Classic Naturals was held at the North Peace Cultural Centre, Saturday, July 20th, 2019.The following are the results from the show;
New Delhi: Wayanad, which could soon become a VVIP constituency if Congress President Rahul Gandhi decides to contest the Lok Sabha election from there, has been a Congress safe seat. In the last two Lok Sabha elections, in 2014 and 2009, M.I. Shanavas of the Congress won the seat, defeating the Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala’s predominantly bipolar electoral politics. In that sense, picking Wayanad as Gandhi’s constituency is a careful choice as is the calibrated demand to have him contest from a southern Indian seat apart from Amethi where he faces Union Minister Smriti Irani. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency is newly formed and was created following fresh delimitation of seats in 2008. The seat has been vacant since last year following the MP’s death. For the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the total number of electors in Wayanad was 11,02,097. Shanavas got 410,703 votes, which was 49.86 per cent of votes polled. He defeated Advocate M. Rahmatullam of the CPI, who got 257,264 (31.23 per cent). In that election, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s C. Vasudevan Master got 31,687 votes which was a mere 3.85 per cent of the votes polled. He came a distant fourth in the contest. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday K. Muraleedharan of the Nationalist Congress Party did better than the BJP candidate, coming third with 99,663 votes (12.10 per cent). Compared to 2009, Shanavas had a tough time winning the seat in 2014, scraping through with a little more than 20,000 votes over the second placed CPI candidate to become one of the 44 Congress MPs in the last Lok Sabha. In 2014, Shanavas got 377,035 votes or 30.18 per cent of the votes polled compared to CPI’s Sathyan Mokeri who got 356,165 votes or 28.51 per cent. However, that election saw the BJP placed third with its candidate P.R. Rasmilnath bagging 80,752 votes (6.46 per cent). The others in the race, all bit players, fared as follows. Independent candidate P.V. Anvar got 37,123 votes (2.97 per cent), SDPI’s Jaleel Neelambra got 14,327 votes (1.146 per cent) and WPOI’s Ramla Mampad got 12,645 votes (1.01 per cent). NOTA votes figured seventh on the tally — 10,735 or 0.85 per cent. PPA Sageer of AAP got 10,684 votes, which was 0.85 of votes polled, Sathyan Thazemangad, an independent candidate, got 5,476 votes or 0.43 of votes polled. The Wayanad Lok Sabha seat comprises seven Assembly segments. Three of these are from Wayanad district — Mananthavady (ST), Sulthanbathery (ST) and Kalpetta. One is from Kozikode district (Thiruvambadi) and three are from Malappuram district — Ernad, Nilambur and Wandoor (SC).
RABAT – A Cameroonian immigrant plunged to his death when police raided his fourth-floor apartment in Tangiers, raising tensions in the Moroccan city after a similar death in October, activists said Thursday.Backup forces entered the Cameroonian’s apartment on Wednesday afternoon, in the suburb of Boukhalef, and he fell from the roof of the building shortly afterwards, rights activist Boubker El Khamlichi told AFP by phone from Tangiers.Hundreds of immigrants then marched towards the police headquarters in the northern city, carrying the victim’s body, to protest “crimes” against them. The official MAP news agency said members of the security forces arriving at the scene were pelted with stones — and two injured — by “illegal immigrants wanting to exploit the incident, by improvising a march in the form of a funeral procession”.It did not give the identity of the victim or say how he died.Khamlichi, a lawyer who coordinates a network of human rights associations known as Shabaka, said the Cameroonian who died was about 18 years old andgave only his first name, Cedrick.“We don’t know if he jumped or was pushed. There needs to be an inquiry into what happened. But the inquiries carried out by the authorities are compromised,” he added.Moroccan NGO Gadem, which campaigns for the rights of immigrants, said the police who carried out the raid immediately left the area after the incident.Moroccan security forces have come under fire in for their treatment of illegal migrants, amid rising fears among the estimated 20,000 sub-Saharans residing in the country of racist violence, including by the authorities.In October, a Senegalese immigrant fell to his death in Tangiers after police raided his fourth-floor apartment and beat him, according to witnesses, with the authorities calling the fall “accidental”.In late July, a Congolese university professor living in Tangiers reportedly died after a police officer pushed him from a bus deporting him to the Algerian border.Morocco is the closest African country to mainland Europe, and is one of the key smuggling routes for illegal migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean.Rabat announced a new immigration policy in September, pledging to individually review cases according to specific criteria, after King Mohamed VI voiced concerns about the treatment of sub-Saharan Africans in the country.
Taroudant, Morocco- Three FEMEN activists interrupted an Islamic conference held Thursday March 20 in Berlin in the framework of the Berlin Islam Week event, according to the Dailymail.The same source said that the FEMEN activists “charged into the hall with slogans attacking ‘religious oppression’ and Sharia law daubed on their bodies.”The images showed three topless protesters on stage before the speakers of the conference with anti-Islam messages written on their bodies and waving with banners above their heads. The security forces intervened immediately and dragged the protesters out of the conference hall while a veiled woman was recording with her mobile phone.“Although [the protest] was intended as an act of deliberate provocation, we did not defer to it,” a spokesman for Berlin Islam Week told MailOnline.‘The audience, mainly from the Muslim community, reacted to the disturbance appropriately, so that we all were very quickly able to eventually continue the program of the Islam Week,’ the spokesman added.Founded by a Ukrainian, FEMEN claim that, through their naked protests, they fight against “religious oppression, patriarchy and gender inequality.”Berlin Islam Week, which aims to promote religious dialog, is open to all religions including atheists.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Tampa Bay2572811441664 Jacksonville20315525630 NEW COACHNEW QBEITHER Dallas Cowboys2014 Record: 12-4 | 2015 Proj. W: 9.3 | Playoff Odds: 62.2%Off. Rank: 4th | Def. Rank: 17th | S.T. Rank: 23rdCowboys owner/general manager/Senior Senator from Naboo Jerry Jones has a meddler’s reputation for a reason: In a given season over the past quarter-century, Dallas was either breaking in a new quarterback or a new coach 48 percent of the time. But for the last four years, that hasn’t been the case, as coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo have brought an uncharacteristic amount of leadership stability to the franchise.Continuity of that sort matters in the NFL. Among teams since 19906When the NFL playoffs expanded to 12 teams. that had both the same head coach and leading passer as the previous season, about half went to the playoffs. Meanwhile, teams that were breaking in a new coach or a new QB in a given season made the playoffs only 30 percent of the time, and teams that changed both only reached the postseason 22 percent of the time. CATEGORYMADE PLAYOFFS For every 16 games over that span, the Giants also averaged about 8.5 wins, which is pretty typical of a franchise that spends most of its time being neither great nor bad. Coach Tom Coughlin is perpetually described as being on the hot seat, but that might be the opposite of true. Given New York’s resistance to change and Coughlin’s own pattern of solid seasons punctuated by the occasional Super Bowl run, his seat could very well be flame-retardant asbestos, as coarse and ancient as Coughlin himself.There’s reason to think the Giants will seesaw back toward the realm of decentness in 2015. No team was more severely crippled by injuries in 2014, according to adjusted games lost (AGL), a metric derived by Football Outsiders to account for which teams statistically suffered the most from benched and injured players. Jason Pierre-Paul’s missing finger aside,9And if you ignore the team’s ongoing health catastrophe among safeties. heavily injured teams tend to be healthier in subsequent seasons, because there’s very little relationship between a team’s AGL from one year to the next.In other words, look for another solid season from an uneventful franchise that works like clockwork. Maybe there are better situations than being a stagnant-by-design team in a division where two teams are on the rise and the fourth can’t fall any further. Then again, if this team is truly like clockwork, it’s destined to win the Super Bowl every four years — and this is that year. TEAMSEASONSCOUNTPERCENTCOUNTPERCENTCOUNTPERCENT Indianapolis257285201040 Denver25416624832 Green Bay25416312624 Carolina20315840945 Miami2572811441248 San Francisco255208321144 Buffalo2562411441352 New QB, Same Coach30.8 NY Giants25416728728 San Diego257289361248 New QB, New Coach22.1 Chicago2541615601768 While some of that is a mix of correlation and causation — good teams, if given the choice, tend not to abandon their coach/QB combinations — more continuity is associated with greater success even after controlling for a team’s existing talent level. A logistic regression on all NFL teams since 1990 shows that an average team7In terms of its Simple Rating System (SRS) score the previous season. loses 6 percentage points of playoff odds when it changes head coaches (but keeps the same QB), 11 percentage points when it switches the QB (but keeps the same coach) and 17 percentage points when both are swapped out.This suggests that constant leadership shake-ups take their toll on a team, with instability at quarterback exacting almost twice the cost (in terms of playoff probability) as a head coach shake-up. And say what you will about Jones as a meddler, but lately he’s erred on the side of ditching coaches, not QBs. While Dallas has gone through three head coaches over the past decade, Romo has been a constant under center throughout (aside from the year he missed 10 games due to injury).So by resisting the media pressure to churn through new faces at coach and (especially) quarterback, the stability of a fifth straight Garrett-Romo season puts Dallas in a comparatively strong position. New England25520624832 Same QB, Same Coach49.5 Pittsburgh2528728936 Seattle2552010401248 New Orleans255209361144 L.A./St. Louis259366241560 Washington2583212481560 Minnesota2552014561872 Dallas256248321248 FiveThirtyEight is previewing the 2015 NFL season ahead of the first game of the year. Check out our coverage of every division » Baltimore19211842842 Cleveland2283613591673 Houston13215%215%323% Philadelphia2541613521352 Houston/Tennessee2541613521456 Phoenix/Arizona2572816641872 Kansas2562411441248 Cincinnati2541610401352 L.A./Oakland25114413521664 In preparation for the 2015 NFL season, FiveThirtyEight is running a series of eight division previews, each highlighting the numbers that may influence a team’s performance (including projections and rankings based on ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index). Up today: the NFC East. It may not always be the best — or even the most competitive — division in football, but it’s always the NFL’s most visceral, featuring four teams that aren’t so much rivals as mortal enemies. Beneath the violence, though, the East is also about contrasting levels of continuity, and perhaps never more so than in the wake of the Eagles’ startling offseason makeover. Atlanta256249361040 Detroit2562414561872 Philadelphia Eagles2014 Record: 10-6 | 2015 Projected Wins: 9.4 | Playoff Odds: 63.6%Offensive Rank: 7th | Defensive Rank: 16th | Special Teams Rank: 3rdCoach Chip Kelly is running the Eagles like the Ship of Theseus. If a team is the sum of its parts, and a ton of those parts change, is it still the same team?During the spring, Kelly jettisoned his starting quarterback, Nick Foles, for a promising QB with balsa-wood knees, Sam Bradford.1Fans want the pope to bless the knees when he is in town; in fairness, that may be a rational reaction when the alternative is Mark Sanchez. He sent Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo in exchange for an injured linebacker. He ditched a whole slew of veteran standbys.2To name just a few: LB Trent Cole, CB Cary Williams, G Todd Herremans, TE James Casey and WR Jeremy Maclin. He guaranteed $21 million to running back DeMarco Murray within days of signing RB Ryan Mathews for $5 million guaranteed. He went on to spend a guaranteed $95.1 million more in free agency. Also, Tim Tebow now plays for this team.In other words, the overarching theme of the Eagles’ offseason was chaos — far more so than would be expected of a team coming off a 10-6 campaign.To measure the continuity (or discontinuity) of a team’s roster, we tracked the percentage of its players’ Approximate Value3Pro-Football-Reference.com’s way of measuring a player’s overall contribution to his team. (AV) from one season that returned to the team the next year. Since 1970, the average NFL team has kept about 78 percent of its AV from the previous year, with the other 22 percent departing in the league’s cycle of life — players retire, get traded, leave in free agency, etc.Teams as good as Philly was last season tend to retain more talent than average. Since the Eagles went 10-6 a year ago, we’d have expected them to bring back 82 percent of their AV, which would rank 11th-highest in football this season. But all that chaos means that Philadelphia’s projected continuity percentage4Based on its 2015 roster as of Aug. 21. for 2015 is merely 68 percent, good for fourth-lowest in the league.Only the San Francisco 49ers had a larger negative disparity between their expected and actual continuity rates, and the Niners might have just suffered through the worst offseason in NFL history. By contrast, the Eagles’ moves were largely by choice: Kelly turned this roster upside down as part of his grand plan to bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia.If he succeeds, though, he’ll be bucking four and a half decades of NFL history. Even after controlling for their Simple Rating System (SRS) scores the previous season, teams that had as much roster turnover5As measured by continuity percentage relative to the league average. as the Eagles tended to win about a half-game fewer than would be expected if they’d posted an average rate of continuity.As we said in March, Kelly might be some sort of lunatic savant. But it remains to be seen if his Ship of Theseus is seaworthy enough to get the Eagles back to the playoffs. New York Giants2014 Record: 6-10 | 2015 Proj. W: 7.7 | Playoff Odds: 27.7%Off. Rank: 11th | Def. Rank: 26th | S.T. Rank: 27thNew York’s obnoxious devotion to its own history is also realized in its player management strategy: The team typically treasures continuity to the point of boredom.8At least in terms of actual football moves — if there’s a Giants roster shake-up in the offseason, it probably requires a visit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. But consistency at the expense of dynamism has generally paid off for the Giants — two Super Bowls during the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning years ain’t shabby.Over the past 25 seasons, the Giants were breaking in a new coach or a new quarterback just 28 percent of the time. Only Green Bay and Houston (a franchise that’s only been around for 13 seasons) have had a lower coach/QB turnover rate. Washington2014 Record: 4-12 | 2015 Proj. W: 5.7 | Playoff Odds: 5.7%Off. Rank: 27th | Def. Rank: 22nd | S.T. Rank: 12thWashington is, as always, a disaster. The team’s Elo rating hit its all-time10Or at least, since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. nadir in mid-November of last season, and Washington promptly built on that to set new record lows each of the next four weeks. It had the worst passing defense in the league last year by multiple metrics. Former starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is, when healthy, one of the worst in the league. Coach Jay Gruden will sit him in Week 1 in favor of backup Kirk Cousins … who also is one of the worst in the league.Did we say “disaster”? This is a cordoned-off federal Superfund site. And it all starts with toxic mismanagement.In a given year since 1990, there was a 1-in-3 chance that Washington was breaking in a new coach, and no quarterback has been the team’s top passer for more than three consecutive seasons since Mark Rypien in 1993. The team’s longest-running coach-QB collaboration was Rypien and Joe Gibbs, which lasted four years.In the 16 seasons since Daniel Snyder, noted bastion of team-owning excellence, bought the franchise in 1999, Washington has churned through eight head coaches and nine passing leaders. Under Snyder’s watch, there’s been a 69 percent chance that at least one of those two key personnel positions was changed in a given season. Other teams — Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota — have been slightly more chaotic over the same span, but all it would take for Washington to grab the lead would be Cousins losing his starting job at QB or Gruden getting fired. (Neither of these things is particularly unlikely.)Washington’s most significant offseason move was hiring a GM, Scot McCloughan, who spent last season living on a farm. But, for once, that’s not the punch line — McCloughan is an acclaimed talent evaluator. And Washington also boasted a slightly above-average level of roster stability this offseason, with 79 percent of the team’s 2014 AV projecting to return to the team in 2015. In a strange twist, the franchise known for its volatility has the highest continuity rate of any team in the NFC East.11The Giants also checked in at 79 percent, a few decimal points behind Washington. The ongoing preseason RGIII drama suggests that Washington’s days of dysfunction are far from over, but there are at least some signals for hope that the team won’t be defined by tumult and misrule forever. NY Jets2583213521768 New Coach, Same QB30.4%
Among the stranger storylines this NBA offseason is the near-constant Thibs Watch, which lights up like a Bat Signal whenever a former player of the Timberwolves coach becomes available on the free-agent market.The legend grew a bit more Monday when Luol Deng, who played for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, reached an agreement to rejoin his old coach in Minnesota, pushing the total number of former-Bull Thibs disciples to four before training camp even starts.We’ll come back to the questions about whether this is actually a good thing, but it’s worth noting that Thibodeau and the Wolves are flirting with NBA history.With four of Thibodeau’s former players on the roster,1The Timberwolves also had four former Thibodeau pupils last year, when they featured Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks. the club again sits in a second-place tie for the largest collection of former pupils that a coach has ever accumulated.2Larry Brown and the 2009-10 Charlotte Bobcats also had four. The record for ex-players being reunited with a coach is five, set by Kevin Loughery and the Washington Bullets in 1986-87, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Thibodeau could tie this mark if center Joakim Noah — reportedly on his way out of New York, perhaps through the stretch provision — eventually ends up joining the Timberwolves, too.Of course, the key difference here is that Thibodeau, unlike Loughery, also serves as Minnesota’s team president and has final say over personnel matters. None of the four TimberBulls were on the roster before Thibodeau joined the organization3Charles Jones, Dan Roundfield and Ennis Whatley had all been on the Bullets before Loughery was installed as the head coach there. in 2016. Butler was acquired via trade, while Gibson, Rose and Deng were all picked up in free agency.And to an extent, what Thibodeau is doing makes sense. Minnesota transitioned somewhat quickly from being an upstart with a pair of young, talented players to having very real expectations after the trade for Butler. Having familiar veterans around can potentially flatten a young team’s steep learning curve. In trying to change the team’s culture — especially the way Thibodeau goes about establishing his — it’s helpful to have people in place who set the tone at a previous stop. Thibodeau’s standards on defense and in practice sessions are well-known, yet not everyone is prepared to give the effort that he requires on a daily basis. Deng understands that better than most.“I came in here, and I thought no one was here,” Deng told ESPN’s Nick Friedell years ago about a practice in Chicago. “And I tried to get some shots up, and then he came down [from his office]. He put me through one of the toughest workouts I’ve ever done. That’s when I knew [that playing for him] was going to be no joke.”Deng’s comment touches on an inherent problem with the sort of continuity Thibs is keeping: The coach appears to be drawn to players he knows he can push to the limit physically.4This isn’t to blame Thibodeau for the injuries many of his key players have suffered. There isn’t any evidence to draw a direct correlation between his coaching style and the injuries of those players.This stood out to me a year ago when I was in Minneapolis for T-Wolves media day. Thibodeau was asked whether he planned to dole out minutes more conservatively, and he reeled off these numbers: Minnesota was going into the 2017-18 season with five of the NBA’s 17 players who had appeared in all 82 games the year before. His response may have been read as suggesting that he doesn’t need to dial back certain players’ minutes because they’ve shown before that they can handle the workload. (Point guard Jeff Teague, one of those who had played all 82 the year before — and then missed time with an injury this past season — was on record saying he felt the Wolves’ bench needed to play more and that Minnesota starters got tired.)Beyond that, there’s also the question of whether some of Thibodeau’s former players really fit together on the court anymore. Almost no one would turn down an opportunity to have Butler or Gibson on their team, obviously. But Rose, despite being a bright spot during the playoffs, was a controversial signing, and he took playing time from Tyus Jones, who is one of the more efficient players in the entire league. The dynamic is obviously different than it was in Chicago; this is clearly Butler’s team. But Rose and Butler never truly jelled in Chicago, and ball movement wasn’t particularly crisp in the limited moments they shared this past season. (Minnesota reversed the ball less than once per 48 minutes when that pair played together — down from almost 13 reversals per 48 minutes when Butler played without Rose, according to Second Spectrum.)5In fairness, the Timberwolves did produce a whopping 20 net rating in that limited 32-minute sample that Butler and Rose played together, according to NBA Advanced Stats, perhaps providing some hope for next season.There’s reason to believe in the Deng signing — regardless of his history with the coach — as he fills a positional need and has suffered limited wear and tear on his body the past two seasons, since the Lakers hardly used him. Deng may not be a particularly solid scorer anymore, but the Timberwolves — top four on offense but bottom 10 on defense — can likely do without his offense if he has anything left to give on D. It would seem harder to advocate for a Noah signing, should he and the Knicks part ways in the coming weeks. While the former defensive player of the year could potentially mentor Karl Anthony-Towns, who still has much to learn as a rim protector, there isn’t as natural a spot in the rotation for him, given that Towns, Gibson and Gorgui Dieng can all play center.In any case, if Noah becomes a free agent in the coming weeks, don’t be surprised if Thibs’s Bat Signal lights up the sky. At this point, it would be more surprising if it didn’t.
OSU senior forward Marc Loving (2) fistbumps with a fan during the Buckeyes’ game against Northwestern on Jan. 22. The Buckeyes lost 74-72. Credit: Nick McWilliams | Sports EditorIt’s been a rough season for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, and it could get a lot rougher after the team’s next game.The Buckeyes were embarrassed by then 11-10 Iowa in their last game, dropping a winnable game 85-72 in a contest that could have pointed the program in the right direction. OSU picked up a big win against Minnesota at home, but lost all momentum against the Hawkeyes.Simply put, the loss to Iowa was a low point for OSU. Even though the worst loss in terms of score came at the hands of Wisconsin, the Buckeyes looked totally outmatched by an Iowa team missing its leading scorer, Peter Jok. Now, with a 3-6 conference record and just nine games left to salvage anything from a season littered with missed opportunities, the Buckeyes must find a way to beat the Big Ten’s best team — Maryland. And given how OSU has played thus far, there is little to convince Buckeye fans of a possible win on Tuesday. Following the team’s loss to Northwestern, junior center Trevor Thompson expressed his views as to why the team was losing, and losing in such ugly fashion. “We have to play for Ohio State,” he said. “We have to play for the university and for each other. What happens is we start to play for ourselves and were not thinking about the team. We have to be selfless. That has to be consistent.”The Terrapins are 19-2 this season and have won six straight conference games. Highlighted by a tough defense and the dynamic scoring ability of junior guard Melo Trimble, Maryland is one of the toughest matchups OSU will have this season. After Iowa, OSU coach Thad Matta was straight to the point about what went wrong.“We’ve got to try harder,” Matta said. “We did some things defensively tonight that I’ve never, ever seen us do. And give Iowa credit, my god did they play well. We just couldn’t get the stops that we needed.”Against Maryland, OSU will have to get stops. The Terrapins are a team that might not light up the scoreboard with points, but will limit an opposing offense to an average of 65.8 points per game. By contrast, the Buckeyes average 73.4 points per game, but have suffered from a lack of output from upperclassmen like senior forward Marc Loving and redshirt junior guard Kam Williams. Although each have averaged 11.4 and 10.3 points per game, respectively, both have been wildly inconsistent.Both players have the lowest plus-minus mark of the OSU starters, as Loving has posted a 3.7 on average, while Williams averages a meager 2.9. Thompson has been one of the lone bright spots for the Buckeyes, averaging 10.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this season in his starting role. However, against Iowa, he failed to score in 13 minutes, and fouled out in the second half. Although a rebound for Thompson is likely against Maryland, OSU will need stronger output from Williams and Loving for the rest of the season if anything is to come for the Buckeyes. After the loss to Northwestern, Williams stood up in the locker room, and addressed the team. “We need everybody, going into a basketball game, to have the same, positive, common goal to win the game,” he said. “Not stats, not how many rebounds I can get or how many points I can get. The ultimate thing we are trying to achieve is to win basketball games. That’s why it’s a team game.”Williams might be standing up,expressing his views vocally and trying to rally the troops, but OSU has little hope if play does not improve. Maryland rolls into Columbus on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Schottenstein Center.Prediction: Maryland 83, Ohio State 69.