The NFL Likes Running Backs Again Kinda Sorta

It’s no secret that running backs have been falling out of favor on draft day since the NFL’s pre-1980s ground-and-pound era. The amount of draft value invested in the position1As defined by a pick’s expected approximate value in his first five seasons. has declined continuously over the last half-century. This reached a low point in 2014 when not a single running back was taken in the first round for a second consecutive season.Things have changed a bit over the past few years. In the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, two rushers — LSU’s Leonard Fournette (who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (picked by the Carolina Panthers) — were taken among the top eight picks for the first time since 2005. This came after the Dallas Cowboys picked Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in 2016, to great success. And in 2015, two running backs were chosen in the first round.Clearly, a running back renaissance is in the works. Right?Well, sort of. While it’s true that teams haven’t sworn off stud running backs completely at the top of the draft, they’re also being more selective. After McCaffrey went at No. 8, the class of 2017’s other first-round hopefuls — such as Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara and Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon — were all still available at the end of the night. It’s been five years since a team has taken a RB in the second half of the first round.A lot of this has to do with the economics of the position, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote on Wednesday. Because the rookie wage scale pays high picks well and running backs are being devalued across the league as a whole, highly drafted RBs are instantly among the highest-paid players at their position before they ever take a snap in the pros. That means teams better be damn sure about a running back before spending a first-rounder on him (lest they end up with the next Trent Richardson). The problem: teams can’t be sure about much on draft day. Only the elite of the elite check off enough boxes to make that kind of investment feel worthwhile.Adding to the risk, running backs also age differently from the rest of the NFL. Unlike, say, quarterbacks — who improve steadily during their early-to-mid 20s and peak right before age 30 — a running back’s shelf life is much shorter. Depending on the research you look at, RBs peak somewhere between the ages of 24 and 26, with the majority of their most productive seasons front-loaded early in their careers. So if you do manage to snag a game-changing runner, you’re most likely getting the best he has to offer before his rookie contract even has a chance to expire.Because of this, a team willing to invest a high pick on a running back better be in a position to win immediately, otherwise his best years could be squandered. For all the talk about the “Zeke Effect” — that Elliott’s high selection and subsequent performance in Dallas would spur increased investment in running backs on draft day — Elliott fell into a tremendous situation as a rookie with the Cowboys. Dallas’s mammoth offensive line paved the way for Elliott to lead the NFL with 999 yards before first contact.2To be clear, Elliott is a tremendous player; he was also second with 632 yards after contact. That’s a luxury Fournette won’t have in Jacksonville, where he’ll run behind an O-line that ranked sixth-worst in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric. (Maybe he should call 2015 No. 10 pick Todd Gurley, who has had to run behind a patchwork Rams line, for advice.)The Jags are betting that Fournette’s ridiculous ability to break tackles and run away from defenders in the open field will render that point moot, and maybe it will. But that also underscores just how talented a running back needs to be to justify a high draft pick these days. For those who possess that skill level, things are looking up compared with a few years ago. But for the rest, they’ll still have to wait to hear their names called at the podium. read more

The Warriors Dynasty Is Different

CLEVELAND — After three titles in four seasons — two straight with Kevin Durant winning Finals MVP — it seems fair to begin questioning where Golden State sits in the conversation about the best teams of all-time. But the more compelling thing to analyze now might be whether the Warriors are better positioned to win at this level for a longer amount of time than the other modern-day dynasties the league has produced.And in looking at the vast array of things that make Golden State so dominant — from the club’s versatility and balance on both sides of the ball, its unselfishness on and off the court and its largely magic touch from a managerial standpoint — that feels like a real possibility.“Sometimes you come across those dynasties where you’re just outmatched, and it’s just their time,” Cavaliers guard George Hill said after his team had been swept on its home court.Stylistically, it is so difficult — arguably impossible — for anyone to truly replicate what the Warriors do. Even before the addition of arguably the league’s best pure scorer in Durant, Golden State possessed a point guard with the sort of 35-foot range that most players would only see in a practice setting. In the same backcourt, the Warriors had another guard who was arguably an even more accurate shooter, with a release that is the quickest in basketball — so fast that he doesn’t even need to have his feet set before he shoots.Put another way, this is the best shooting team the sport has ever seen. Golden State breaks defenses regardless of how well positioned or prepared they are. The Warriors were the best jump-shooting club in the NBA when left wide open this past season. And a closer look at the numbers shows the Dubs were also the best jump-shooting team in situations where a defender was draped all over them. Because of that, there really is no surefire way to guard this team.More often than not the Cavaliers, like the Rockets in the round before them, sought to use switches on defense to blanket Golden State’s offense. But in Game 2 of the Finals, the Warriors countered that predictable gameplan (and then changed things up in Game 3 in anticipation of a counterpunch), by using dump-off passes to spring give-and-go opportunities, or to set up lobs for JaVale McGee and Jordan Bell, who were often left all alone in the paint.The latter highlighted how the Warriors, in Bill Belichick fashion, have quietly been a chameleon of sorts by relying far more heavily on their bigs than most observers realize — even as they continue to be viewed as a club that relies solely on its dynamite 3-point shooting.Because of that constant evolution and comfort playing with different styles, the challenge of dethroning the champs could become even more difficult for challengers like the Rockets, who are so heavily vested in a singular type of play that it’s too difficult to adjust to something different if that style stops working in the middle of a postseason series.While the young average age of Warriors’ core would seem to be a plus in their quest to become the best team of all-time, they’re actually not all that unusual when it comes to how young they are when compared to modern NBA clubs that have won three titles in four years. TeamYear of Third Title WinTop Four Players By Win ShareAVG. Age Source: Basketball-Reference Lakers1988Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, A.C. Green26 Bulls1998Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Toni Kukoc33 Warriors2018Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson28 The Warriors aren’t as young as you thinkTeams that won three titles in four seasons by the age of their core players in the last title season, 1976-2018 Lakers2002Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher29 Bulls1993Michael Jordan, Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen, B.J. Armstrong27 If there’s something that makes this team different — and gives it better odds of winning for a greater amount of time — it’s that this group of highly talented players doesn’t seem as likely to be torn apart by the retirements, contract issues and jealousies that trouble other clubs in this spot.The Lakers of the late 1980s began running out of steam when then-coach Pat Riley resigned, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired and then halted entirely when Magic Johnson abruptly left the game following his shocking HIV diagnosis. No one knows how many consecutive titles the Bulls might have won had it not been for Michael Jordan’s retirements from the Bulls. And the infamous infighting between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant shortened what likely could have been a longer run of success with the two Los Angeles superstars in the early 2000s.By contrast, the Warriors have already become the new-age San Antonio Spurs, as a number of their players have acted in the best interest of the team by taking much smaller deals than they could have. That attitude, illustrated by Durant, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala1Iguodala did this with his initial deal to join the Warriors. This past summer, he actually maneuvered to have the Warriors pay him more than what they initially expected to fork up. and Shaun Livingston, makes some of the long-term salary math more feasible in a league where these sorts of things can create strain on a star-laden club. (With Curry having just signed a five-year deal last July, and Durant saying he’ll stay with Golden State this summer, the next key player to look at is Thompson, who is slated to be a 2019 free agent. But even that may not be a concern, as he’s reportedly spoken with the Warriors about the possibility of taking a deeply discounted extension that would see him leave up to $50 million on the table.)The players’ willingness to often take less than market value, even for bit pieces like Zaza Pachulia, has allowed the Warriors to improve the roster on the margins each year — sprinkling in specific attributes that the team lacks. With McGee in particular, Golden State took a minimal risk by signing (then cheaply re-signing) a player who had a less-than-stellar reputation around the league, but was incredibly long and athletic — two things the Warriors lacked in a traditional center. Fast forward to this year’s Finals, and the one-time castaway was pestering LeBron James, the best player in the world, anytime he sought to get to the basket.James, whose own upcoming free agency could play a role in nixing the Warriors’ dominance the next few years, pointed out another advantage Golden State possesses: Brainpower. “Everyone’s trying to figure it out: How do you put together a group of talent, but also a group of minds, to compete with Golden State and compete for a championship?” James asked.Ascending teams may not like the idea of waiting out Golden State’s reign. Aside from how young the team’s core is, the players who compose it don’t depend much on raw athleticism. It’s likely they will age gracefully, given how well they shoot from outside and play off the ball.Injuries are a different story, and they can always come into play; particularly with Curry, whose presence has always been a deciding factor with this club. But short of that, the team is full of two-way talent and should be fine on D as long as it’s anchored by Draymond Green and long, versatile wings that make it possible to switch the way the Warriors do. (Still, Golden State would be wise to try to start the process of locating a younger, less polished version of Iguodala, given how different the Warriors looked at times without the 34-year-old this postseason.) The club has ranked in the top 10 defensively each of the past four seasons it reached the Finals.Coach Steve Kerr has made no secret of the other factor that could eventually catch up with his team, which at times struggles with complacency. Specifically, he’s talked about the weight of expectations, and the toll that comes with taking every opposing team’s best shot for years on end. And this season, Kerr said, was the toughest playoff run he’s overseen with Golden State.“I remember sitting in this room three years ago, and it seemed like a dream. This feels more like reality,” Kerr said Friday, perhaps a realization of the fact that titles are now expected as opposed to being hoped for. “And I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. It’s just that the talent we have, and that’s the experience we’ve gained.”There are any number of things that could turn out to be the Warriors’ downfall. But Golden State also has a handful of factors to hang its dynastic hat on for the time being.— Neil Paine contributed research. read more

Womens Soccer Ohio State falls 40 to No 21 Penn State in

Ohio State senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr (1) prepares to take a goal kick in the second half of the game against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorThe Ohio State women’s soccer team took a 4-0 loss to No. 21 Penn State in University Park, marking back-to-back losses for the Buckeyes after falling 1-0 to Florida Gulf Coast last Friday. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 3-4-0 overall this season. The first goal for Penn State came from freshman forward Kim Dubs in the 32nd minute, putting the Nittany Lions in the early lead after a 8-yard shot off the left post.Eight minutes later, Penn State senior midfielder Charlotte Williams added another goal from eight yards, making the score 2-0 for the Nittany Lions. Sophomore midfielder/forward Frankie Tagliaferri marked an additional goal with just over five minutes to go in the first half, upping Penn State’s score to 3-0 just before halftime. Finishing from six yards, sophomore defender/midfielder/forward Kerry Abello tallied one more goal for the Nittany Lions, increasing their final score to 4-0.  In this matchup, Ohio State totaled four shots and four saves, holding a 6-4 edge in corner kicks over Penn State. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions recorded 12 shots and three saves. After coming off of a 1-2 loss at home against Virginia, the Nittany Lions clinched the victory against the Buckeyes at Jeffrey Field, improving their overall record to 5-3-0 on the year.  The Buckeyes will stay on the road to face off against their next opponent Illinois on Thursday at 8 p.m. read more

Fiscal Changes with New Fiscal Year

first_img Cabinet launches consultation drives Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 31 Mar 2015 – No new taxes, but some expensive changes will take effect tomorrow and it impacts businesses, including employees. We learned today that minimum wage is postponed to May 15, 2015 but last week, the public was informed of changes to the Immigration Regulations which will see work permit fees increased by over 100% in some cases and the NIB informed on March 17th that payments will be increased as the wage ceiling is raised; that change also comes into effect on April 1st, 2015. There will be some savings… business licenses are cut by 50%; there will no longer be the 7.5% Customs Freight Insurance Tax; the FIT is gone in what Finance Minister Washington Misick called a rationalisation strategy. The Domestic Financial service tax and a wide range of bank service fees will no longer be charged but to transfer money out of the Turks and Caicos will more expensive; no longer at 10%, now 12%. Pensioners likely welcome the news that during a recent Cabinet meeting it was decided that, and I quote now, “TCI National Insurance Board pension regulations will be changed to ensure that monthly retirement pensions will be based on the ‘best five years of contributions’ of the past ten qualifying years. Pensioners will then receive a pension calculated on the 5 years of their highest total amount of insurable earnings.” Even better news is that the new policy takes effect retroactively from 1 January 2015. Recommended for you Bahamas to hold historic Cabinet Meeting outside of Capital Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp TCI begins loan re-financing talks Related Items:cabinet meeting, fiscal year, immigration regulationlast_img read more

Rep Kahle welcomes Lenawee Christian basketball champs to state Capitol

first_img State Rep. Bronna Kahle welcomed the Lenawee Christian School girls’ basketball team to the Capitol. She was honored to meet with the students and escort them to the House chamber where they were recognized as the MHSAA Class D basketball state champions.“It was a privilege to have these young athletes join me for the day,” Rep. Kahle said. “Their dedication and hard work will serve them well.”The team concluded their extraordinary season with a 26-1 record, making them the first Lenawee County team to win a state championship in over four decades. Coach Jamie Salenbien led the Lenawee Christian Cougars through another successful season, for which he received the 2018 Lenawee Coach of the Year award.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Bronna Kahle presents Coach Jamie Salenbien and the Lenawee Christian School team with a tribute on during their trip to the state Capitol in Lansing. They were joined by state Sen. Dale Zorn. Categories: Kahle News,Kahle Photos 10May Rep. Kahle welcomes Lenawee Christian basketball champs to state Capitollast_img read more

Selfdriving vehicle strikes and kills pedestrian in Arizona Update

This March 19, 2018 still image taken from video provided by ABC-15, shows investigators at the scene of a fatal accident involving a self driving Uber car on the street in Tempe, Ariz. Police in the city of Tempe said Monday, March 19, 2018, that the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when the woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit. (ABC-15.com via AP) A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle—a crash that could have far-reaching consequences for the new technology. In this Dec. 13, 2016 file photo, an Uber driverless car waits in traffic during a test drive in San Francisco. Uber suspended all of its self-driving testing Monday, March 19, 2018, after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles. The testing has been going on for months in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology. Uber’s testing was halted after police in a Phoenix suburb said one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian overnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) The fatality Sunday night in Tempe was the event many in the auto and technology industries were dreading but knew was inevitable.Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The testing has been going on for months as automakers and technology companies like the ride-hailing service compete to be the first with cars that operate on their own.The Volvo was in self-driving mode with a human backup driver at the wheel when it hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she was walking a bicycle outside the lines of a crosswalk, police said. She died at a hospital.Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed condolences on his Twitter account and said the company is working with local law enforcement on the investigation.The National Transportation Safety Board, which makes recommendations for preventing crashes, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which can enact regulations, sent investigators.Tempe police Sgt. Ronald Elcock said local authorities haven’t drawn any conclusions about who is at fault but urged people to use crosswalks. He told reporters at a news conference Monday the Uber vehicle was traveling around 40 mph when it hit Helzberg immediately as she stepped on to the street. A vehicle goes by the scene of Sunday’s fatality where a pedestrian was stuck by an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode, in Tempe, Ariz., Monday, March 19, 2018. A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed the woman in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Tempe police Sgt. Ronald Elcock speaks during a news conference Monday, March 19, 2018 after a pedestrian was stuck by a Uber vehicle in autonomous mode Sunday night in Tempe, Ariz. The vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when a woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit. Uber suspended all of its self-driving testing Monday after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) In this Dec. 13, 2016 file photo, an Uber driverless car heads out for a test drive in San Francisco. Police in a Phoenix suburb say one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles has struck and killed a pedestrian. Police in the city of Tempe said Monday, March 19, 2018, that the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when the woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg,File) Neither she nor the backup driver showed signs of impairment, he said.The public’s image of the vehicles will be defined by stories like the crash in Tempe, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies self-driving vehicles.Although the Uber vehicle and its human backup could be at fault, it may turn out that there was nothing either could have done to stop the crash, he said.Either way, the fatality could hurt the technology’s image and lead to a push for more regulations at the state and federal levels, Smith said.Autonomous vehicles with laser, radar and camera sensors and sophisticated computers have been billed as the way to reduce the more than 40,000 traffic deaths a year in the U.S. alone. Ninety-four percent of crashes are caused by human error, the government says. Peter Kurdock, director of regulatory affairs for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in Washington, said the group sent a letter Monday to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao saying it is concerned about a lack of action and oversight by the department as autonomous vehicles are developed. That letter was planned before the crash.Kurdock said the deadly crash should serve as a “startling reminder” to members of Congress that they need to “think through all the issues to put together the best bill they can to hopefully prevent more of these tragedies from occurring.” California is among states that require manufacturers to report any incidents during the testing phase. As of early March, the state’s motor vehicle agency had received 59 such reports.Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey used light regulations to entice Uber to the state after the company had a shaky rollout of test cars in San Francisco. Arizona has no reporting requirements.Hundreds of vehicles with automated driving systems have been on Arizona’s roads.Ducey’s office expressed sympathy for Herzberg’s family and said safety is the top priority.The crash in Arizona isn’t the first involving an Uber autonomous test vehicle. In March 2017, an Uber SUV flipped onto its side, also in Tempe. No serious injuries were reported, and the driver of the other car was cited for a violation. Tempe police Sgt. Ronald Elcock speaks during a news conference Monday, March 19, 2018 after a pedestrian was stuck by a Uber vehicle in autonomous mode Sunday night in Tempe, Ariz. The vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when a woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit. Uber suspended all of its self-driving testing Monday after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Citation: Self-driving vehicle strikes and kills pedestrian in Arizona (Update) (2018, March 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uber-self-driving-car-pedestrian-death.html In this March 1, 2017 file photo, people enter the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Uber suspended all of its self-driving testing Monday, March 19, 2018, after what is believed to be the first fatal pedestrian crash involving the vehicles. The testing has been going on for months in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology. Uber’s testing was halted after police in a Phoenix suburb said one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian overnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Herzberg’s death is the first involving an autonomous test vehicle but not the first in a car with some self-driving features. The driver of a Tesla Model S was killed in 2016 when his car, operating on its Autopilot system, crashed into a tractor-trailer in Florida.The NTSB said that driver inattention was to blame but that design limitations with the system played a major role in the crash.The U.S. Transportation Department is considering further voluntary guidelines that it says would help foster innovation. Proposals also are pending in Congress, including one that would stop states from regulating autonomous vehicles, Smith said. Explore further Self-driving cars with no in-vehicle backup driver get OK for California public roads “We should be concerned about automated driving,” Smith said. “We should be terrified about human driving.”In 2016, the latest year available, more than 6,000 U.S. pedestrians were killed by vehicles.The federal government has voluntary guidelines for companies that want to test autonomous vehicles, leaving much of the regulation up to states.Many states, including Michigan and Arizona, have taken a largely hands-off approach, hoping to gain jobs from the new technology, while California and others have taken a harder line. Autonomous vehicles don’t drive drunk, don’t get sleepy and aren’t easily distracted. But they do have faults. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more