MLB starting 2020 season without fans in attendance becoming stronger possibility, report says

Major League Baseball, like many sports leagues around the world, has been shut down indefinitely because of the growing threat that is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Spring training has been suspended and Opening Day has been pushed back to at least mid-May, and that remains subject to change as the situation develops.

MLB and the MLBPA resolved several important shutdown-related issues last week. One of the issues they did not — and could not — resolve is the regular season schedule. The two sides agreed to make a good faith effort to play as many games as possible this year, but ultimately, the schedule can not be set until COVID-19 is contained the required amount, whatever that is.

In an effort to play as many games as possible, MLB and the MLBPA are considering a variety of things, including

Grading 2020 NFL offenses: Six teams at the bottom that aren't set up for success

More and more in recent seasons, it’s become clear that the most important thing in the modern NFL is offensive infrastructure. Offense has been more important than defense for a while now, and the personnel involved in crafting that offense matters a great deal when it comes to determining its success. 

Who is your quarterback? Who is protecting him? Who does he throw to? Who does he have next to him in the backfield? Who’s scheming those players open? All the pieces matter. The degree to which they matter varies greatly, of course, but each plays a role in making an offense hum at peak efficiency. 

All of this brings us to the following project: ranking the offensive infrastructure of all 32 NFL teams. To go about this, we used a weighted grading system where each team was given

Kevin Durant, Trae Young among stars to partake in televised 16-player NBA 2K tournament Friday, per reports

The NBA has suspended all physical games in an effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak, but nothing can stop the behemoth that is NBA 2K. With sports fans confined to their homes and video games taking on an important place as a distraction during this pandemic, the NBA has decided to take advantage of the platform to offer fans some semblance of live basketball. Beginning Friday, ESPN will air an NBA 2K tournament featuring 16 players over a 10-day period, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. 

Two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant headlines the list of names who will be competing, with Trae Young and Hassan Whiteside rounding out the top three seeds. Seeding of the tournament is based on the player’s 2K ranking, as well as the number of years they’ve been in the league. 

The full list

Todd McShay’s latest 2-round mock has the Steelers going QB in Round 2

Washington v Oregon StatePhoto by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers actually take a QB in Round 2? And if so, would they take this particular QB?!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made strategic moves in free agency which have given them some much needed flexibility with the 2020 NFL Draft quickly approaching at the end of April.

No longer does the team need the best player at a specific position, but can now go after the best playmaker on the board when they pick No. 49 in the second round with their top pick. With that said, predicting what position the Steelers will target, and what prospect best fits their system at that pick, is a difficult task.

This is where the so-called experts come in. ESPN’s NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay’s just released his latest mock draft which is a complete two round mock up of how things will play out when the picks start flying off the board. Being a two-round mock draft means Steelers fans get to complain about who McShay has them slotted to select.

And this pick will certainly ruffle some feathers, just take a look who he has the Steelers taking at No. 49:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Ben Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger, and last season showed us that the other quarterbacks in Pittsburgh’s system aren’t the future. Eason has some developing to do, but there’s no denying his raw arm strength and terrific measurables. Learning behind Roethlisberger for a season could help him find success at the next level.

This pick would likely go over Steelers Nation like a lead balloon, but there are many who are reading this who dont know much about Eason at all. If you fall into that category, check out the information below from his NFL Draft Profile:

Overview

His elite size and arm talent are reminiscent of Carson Palmer, but issues with pocket poise and getting through progressions cleanly are more reminiscent of Brock Osweiler. Eason is fun to watch when he’s ripping throws around the field and taking deep play-action shots, but a lack of mobility inside and outside the pocket is troubling, considering his ineffectiveness when pressured. He’s relatively inexperienced and should continue to develop from the pocket, but poise is hard to fix, and handling exotic blitz packages is not a given. He’s a pro-style, play-action-based quarterback with average starter potential and an average backup floor.

Strengths

  • Strapping pocket-passer prototype
  • Has frame and arm strength to excite evaluators
  • Accuracy is his working default on most throws
  • Can step and rip it between two levels of defenders
  • Velocity helps mitigate average anticipation
  • Arm strength to challenge secondary anywhere on field
  • Deep-ball accuracy on play-action shots
  • Alters trajectory to outpace trailing coverage deep
  • Big hands secure the football through contact
  • Willing to hold and throw through edge pressure
  • Disguises screen intentions

Weaknesses

  • Deep dropbacks hurt his pass protection
  • Setup for quick outs and slants takes too long
  • Inconsistent timing on intermediate throws
  • Needs to trust the route runner and avert gaze early on
  • Was highly ineffective under duress
  • Fails to expedite his process when pressure mounts
  • Shows tendency to drop eyes and panic against the interior blitz
  • Below-average escapability and running talent
  • Takes sacks rather than getting rid of the ball
  • Needs to improve footwork and discipline for full-field reads
  • Circles up and out of the pocket if half-field reads aren’t open

What would you think if the Steelers selected Eason with their top pick? Do you feel he could be the quarterback of the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Why the Steelers do not need to add another running back to their 2020 roster

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore RavensPhoto by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

It’s an unpopular opinion, but I believe running back is a position of luxury and not need for the Steelers in the 2020 draft

The NFL draft is less than a month away! Of course, it is the season for mock drafts, discussion of team needs, and all kinds of debates dealing with who the Steelers should take to enhance their 2020 squad. With no first-round draft pick for the first time since 1967, Steelers’ fans have to dig deep with their discussion of who the first player will be selected in the 2020 NFL draft.

There are a wide variety of positions fans feel the Steelers should go with their first overall pick, but a lot of people are beginning to come around to the notion of actually taking the best player available. On the flip side, there are still some that are stuck on certain positions the Steelers should take with their top pick. While I have a list of positions I feel the Steelers should enhance at some point in the draft, I trust that they have a firm idea of what they want to do with that topic when the time comes.

Still, I see an awful lot of chatter both and Behind The Steel Curtain and on social media about how the Steelers HAVE to take a running back in round two. While I’ve noted on several podcasts how this idea baffles me, I would go as far to say is that I don’t even feel the Steelers need to take a running back in the 2020 draft at all.

Yes, the running game was pretty terrible for the Steelers in 2019. But, I think the “pretty terrible” notation could be designated for pretty much the entire offense for the season. While every aspect of the offense may not have been as bad as what it seemed, it was not what Steelers’ fans have grown accustomed to and therefore was a major disappointment. Yes, it was also the first time since 1967 where the Steelers did not have a 500-yard rusher. So if the running game was that bad, why am I thinking the Steelers don’t need to look at the position as their number one choice to draft come the last weekend in April?

For me it is simple: I don’t feel the problems the Steelers had with the running game in 2019 had everything to do with the person carrying the ball.

James Conner led the Steelers in rushing with 464 yards on 116 attempts for an average of 4.0 yards per carry. Unfortunately, he only appeared in 10 games in 2019. Rookie Benny Snell Jr. was close behind Conner with 426 yards on 108 carries for an average of 3.94 yards per carry. While the rushing yards look terrible, the yards per attempt were honestly not all that bad. The biggest problem with either player racking up too many yards was due to the fact 2019 was by far the lowest rushing attempts by a player to lead the Steelers in a 16-game season. The only year that came anywhere close was 2012 when Jonathan Dwyer had the most carries for the Steelers with 156 in a season which also saw Isaac Redman with 110 attempts. Otherwise, it is a fairly rare occasion for the Steelers player who lead the team in rushing attempts to be below 200 as it has only happened seven times in 41 seasons in which the NFL played 16 regular-season games.

Of course, one of the biggest reasons fans feel the Steelers need an upgrade at running back is the durability of James Conner. Had he played more than 10 games, he obviously would have had more than 119 carries. It’s pretty hard to argue against this point.

But what about Benny Snell who was just behind Conner? Snell missed three games in 2019, and it was very unfortunate that they were also two of the same games Conner missed. As for the third game, Conner came back too early against the Cleveland Browns and only had five carries on 13 offensive snaps.

There were four games in which Snell played when Conner was out, two of which he started. In all four games, Snell had 293 yards on 71 carries for an average of 4.13 yards per carry. The other four starts at running back in 2019 went to Jaylen Samuels. Only seeing double-digit carries in two games the whole season, Samuels is much more of a receiving threat out of the backfield. But the Steelers probably are not too easy to forget his performance in Week 15 of 2018 against the New England Patriots when he ran for 142 yards. Or maybe they are.

The other two running backs from Steelers roster in 2019 were Trey Edmunds, who had the longest rush on this season, and Kerrith Whyte Jr. who had the highest yards per carry average for the Steelers in 2019 at 5.1 Y/A.

When it comes to 2020, the Steelers already have five running backs which finished the season on the roster in 2019. While it is highly unlikely all five of them will make the roster in 2020, having another running back simply means another one of these players will most likely be let go come September.

If the Steelers are going to draft a running back in 2020, it would need to be of the game-changing variety. And will there be a game changer-available at the 49th overall pick? It is highly questionable. But if the Steelers use their top pick on a running back and both James Conner and Benny Snell Jr show their capabilities to start the season, it might be difficult for the rookie to even find many offensive snaps. While it would be a good problem to have, there are other positions which also need upgrades for depth as well.

Personally, I’m not ready to give up on the 2018 Pro Bowl rusher at this point. Yes, he has a history of injuries. But I’m also optimistic about Snell, especially looking at his 91 yards on 19 carries from Week 17. Why? When it comes to offense, it all starts with a quarterback. And with the quarterback play the Steelers had in 2019, it’s really hard to evaluate everything else. Were the receivers weak because of quarterback play? Or the tight ends? Even the offensive line has been thought it will improve with the return of Ben Roethlisberger. But for some reason, many believe that the running backs show no sign of hope. Forget that the threat of a passing game will keep teams from crowding the line of scrimmage and actually open up holes. The perceived lack of production by the running backs is completely on them.

In the age of the NFL when high-priced running backs are not something teams are looking to invest in, constantly refreshing young running backs on their rookie contracts is a good philosophy. Do the Steelers want to do that this year, or would it be better in 2021 if they move on from James Conner? What if Conner has another Pro Bowl season and is deserving of another contract? Throwing another running back in the mix, particularly with a high draft pick, is not going to help answer these questions.

I am a firm believer that the Steelers need to take the best player available on their board when it is their turn to pick with the 17th choice of the second round. If the Steelers believe they can get a game-changing running back as their best option, I can live with it. Even while writing this piece I’ve come around a little more to the idea should the right player be there and other positions are not. But to say that is the direction they have to be looking I don’t feel helps them as much in 2020 as maybe some other places.

Even if the Steelers do decide to draft a running back high in 2020, I’ll still cheer loud and strong for said player on game day. I guess I trust more in the Steelers’ opinion of their running back room than those of us outside the organization. Maybe I have too much faith in the players the Steelers already have on their roster. I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks exactly the team’s mentality.

Larry Hughes Q&A: 'Injuries kept me from being the best I could be'

By | March 31, 2020

Former NBA player Larry Hughes was recently a guest on The HoopsHype Podcast to discuss his 13-year NBA career, what it was like playing alongside Michael Jordan and LeBron James, battling injuries, how raising his four children changed him and much more. Listen to the interview above or read a transcribed version of the conversation below.

Growing up in St. Louis, when did you start playing basketball?

Larry Hughes: I started playing school-yard basketball probably around fifth grade. You had your pick-up games, your “21” games. Then, I got into organized basketball during my sixth-grade year, when I was about 12 years old. From there, that was really my starting point of organized basketball and I fell in love with the environment, the competition, and it was something that I was naturally good at so I was able to

Keep reading this article on HoopsHype - NBA.

5-on-5: The greatness of MJ, Scottie, Phil and the Bulls dynasty

8:43 AM ET

“The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary event featuring the untold story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls championship season, is now coming to ESPN on April 19.

Due in part to the coronavirus pandemic that has suspended the NBA season and caused shelter-in-place measures across the country, the documentary has moved from the original launch date of June 2.

Leading up to the premiere, our NBA experts look back at the magical run by Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and the NBA’s team of the 90s.

MORE: Latest updates on ‘The Last Dance’

1. What’s the greatest legacy of the Bulls’ dynasty?

Marc Spears: The dominance was extraordinary, memorable and special. There were some other great teams at that time, but it didn’t matter. To be so dominant with two different supporting casts led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen through two runs was