The Falcons were pressed up against the cap this offseason, which caused starting nose tackle Dontari Poe to join the Carolina Panthers in free agency.

For the most part, third-round picks aren’t supposed to be immediate starters in the NFL. However, either Senat or post-draft signing Terrell McClain will be starting at nose for Atlanta’s defense.

Since their hands were tied, they’ll now have to rely on a mid-round rookie or a late free-agent signing to address the position.

A bit of a one-year wonder in a Group of Five conference, Senat has not spent years dominating against NFL-caliber offensive linemen like the other starters on the defensive line do. If he wins the job, he may have to take some bumps and bruises early.

As a rookie, Shaq Lawson had to recover from shoulder surgery before setting foot on an NFL field in late October. Last year, he finished the season on injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in early December.

First of all, he’s super smart, quarterback Jared Goff told NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest on Wednesday’s edition of NFL Total Access. He knows what he’s doing. At the same time, though, I think he’s got absolutely no ego and is just trying to help us win.

Obviously he’s done a tremendous job so far, and so far this offseason you’ve seen his want to push it even further. And we’re right there with him. It’s an exciting time.

It’s no secret that McVay is exceptionally bright. When Dan Orlovsky arrived at Rams training camp last summer, the former Lions backup quarterback recently relayed on Good Morning Football, he turned to Goff and said, Bud, you have no idea how lucky you are. This guy’s brilliant.

The key that unlocks the Holy Grail of championship-level football is a quarterback possessed of coach-like powers of perception at the line of scrimmage. Going back nearly a full century to the golden days of Notre Dame’s fabled Four Horsemen backfield, legendary coach Knute Rockne had established the platonic ideal of offense with quarterback Joe Stuhldreher functioning as the head coach’s alter ego out on the gridiron.

the Yankees were 10 wins short of the pace of this year’s club with a 40-32 record after 72 games.

Last season’s Yankees also went through a few tailspins, some lengthy. They were 38-23 at one point, then lost seven in a row and nine of 10. They also lost eight of 12 from Aug. 1-13 and dropped five of seven from Aug. 24-30.

The 2018 Yankees still haven’t lost three in a row, which might be their most amazing stat considering we’re now officially into summer.

We’re strong, catcher Austin Romine said. It’s no secret that we’re strong. We’re pretty deep one through nine in the lineup and the bullpen’s been lights out for us and the starters have been giving up six-seven innings every time they’re going there. You can’t really ask for much more when it’s all rolling.

I think it just speaks to what we believe our team is capable of, and the confidence these guys have no matter who the opponent is.

The Yankees to a man said in spring training that they were hungry to achieve more this year than the 2017 club, and thus far we’re seeing focus, determination and talent coming out almost every day.

We know where we rank in the league and we’re excited about it, Romine said. Every day we come to the field, we expect to win.

I knew quickly during my interview and visit to Piscataway that this is the community, family and program I want to be a part of, Butler said in a release announcing her hire. Pat’s vision, enthusiasm and goals for the softball program and the athletic department are what inspired and encouraged me to take the position. I’m excited to be a Scarlet Knight and to join the Big Ten, where a top-of-the-line academic experience is just as important as the high level of competition.

Associate head coach Jay Miller had been serving as Rutgers’ interim head coach following Nelson’s dismissal, but his status with the program going forward is unknown at this point. Butler’s husband, Marcus, has extensive softball experience and is expected to serve as a volunteer assistant on the Rutgers staff. The couple has two young children.

We are proud to announce Kristen Butler as the next leader of Rutgers softball, Hobbs said. Kristen is a proven program builder, but what most impresses me are the countless reports of best-in-class student-athlete experience under her guidance. She was a decorated student-athlete and a standout professional, so the young women at Rutgers are in great hands.

Kristen Butler led Toledo to a 35-23 finish this past spring, her fourth as head coach. It was the Rockets’ first winning season since 1996, and their first 30-win season since 1995. Toledo won a share of the Mid-American Conference West Division title, its first league championship since 1992, and played in the National Invitational Softball Championship, college softball’s version of the NIT.

Will Gholston slimmed down after awful 2017 season

The Buccaneers made a commitment to defensive end Will Gholston in 2017 by signing him to a five-year, $27.5 million extension, but the 2013 fourth-round pick did little to make that look like a wise decision.

Gholston had no sacks and four tackles for loss while playing a prominent role on a defense that struggled in all phases during what Gholston aptly describes as an awful, crappy year. Among the ways Gholston is trying to turn that around is by playing at a lighter weight.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said that the team thought Gholston was too heavy last year and Gholston agreed with that assessment.

As for his message to the team before it broke camp, Shurmur said It’s not time off, it’s time away.

We’re always talking to them about being a good citizen, and we say New York Giants pride for a reason, Shurmur said. So, be very smart. Be good husbands, good fathers and be good citizens. … I think it’s just part of something we do and we encourage them to do the right thing in every area of their life.

If there was ever a question the Yankees would chase starting pitching before the trade deadline, owner Hal Steinbrenner stomped it out.

Steinbrenner told reporters it was a need and that it would be an area general manager Brian Cashman and his scouts would be looking at while at the Major League Baseball owners meetings in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Expect Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ to get consideration.

The season gets so long, and it can be very demanding, especially in times of struggle, Davidson said. So we just try to get away from it a little bit and have some fun.

On the Cubs, Ben Zobrist and three of his close friends have a podcast called Show and Go, named after how they approach each episode.

Basically we’re just showing up with the topic, and we’re like, ‘How are we going to talk about it?’ Zobrist said.

Saints, Chargers to practice together again this summer

The Saints and Chargers held joint practices ahead of a preseason game last year and it went well enough that the two sides will be doing so again this summer.

Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the two teams will work out together ahead of their August 25 game in Los Angeles. The two teams will hold their practices on August 23 and 24 at the Chargers’ facility in Costa Mesa.

Jenkins has become the public face of the Players Coalition, a group of NFL players seeking solutions to social and political challenges facing African Americans. The 30-year-old was a key part of the NFL’s decision to spend up to $89 million over seven years on grassroots initiatives to fight racial inequality and social injustice.

Defensive end Chris Long and tight end Zach Ertz lambasted Fox News after the network used photos of Philadelphia players in prayer during a segment about anthem protests. The network later apologized for the error.

Green, who died in July 2016 at the age of 67 due to complications from cardiac arrest, coached the Vikings from 1992 through 2001. He complied a 101-70 record over 10 seasons and finished with the second-most wins in franchise history behind former coach Bud Grant (178).

Dennis Green’s impact on the Minnesota Vikings, and really the entire NFL, is still felt to this day, Vikings president Mark Wilf said in a statement. In addition to being widely regarded as one of the NFL’s top coaches, Denny was also known as a great mentor and leader by all who had the fortune of being in his presence. We’re extremely honored to forever memorialize Denny and his family in the Vikings Ring of Honor and we’re looking forward to the induction in September.

Relentless. Relentless in every form of the word. So relentless mindset, relentless physicality, relentless effort. A guy that when he leaves the building, he’s always trying to still prove himself. When he leaves the building, he’s gonna make sure that all of his t’s are crossed and his i’s are dotted. And he’s not gonna leave any margin for error for his game.

A guy that when he goes out and plays the game, he’s not worried about a call, he’s not worried about overthinking it, he’s worried about when the ball is snapped, playing as hard and fast as he can, as long as he can.

Trading for Jay Cutler in 2009

The Chicago Bears almost have too many miscues to pick from. 

And hell, even if he had panned out, there was a chance he wouldn’t have been worth that. Star receivers don’t typically push teams over the top, as we’ve seen recently with Beckham, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson. 

But the icing on the cake is that Evans and Beckham were both available in that No. 4 spot, and that the Bills could have stood pat, drafted OBJ ninth overall and kept their 2015 first-round selection.

When they were on the clock with the 28th pick of that year’s draft, the receiver-needy Panthers had plenty of high-potential targets to choose from. Marqise Lee, Davante Adams, Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Paul Richardson, Cody Latimer, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry were all on the board. 

The Panthers selected Benjamin, who went over 1,000 yards and scored nine touchdowns as a rookie but hasn’t been the same since tearing his ACL prior to his sophomore season. He missed that year, caught just 53.4 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2016 and was traded at the 2017 deadline. 

At least the Panthers got third- and seventh-round picks from the Bills in exchange for Benjamin, but it’s gotta be tough for Carolina fans to think about how much better quarterback Cam Newton could have been with a Pro Bowler like Adams, Robinson or Landry in that receiving corps.

Reportedly, when the Yankees and Pirates were discussing a potential deal for Gerrit Cole last offseason, three top prospects — outfielder Estevan Florial, starting pitcher Justus Sheffield and third baseman Miguel Andujar — were off limits. Andujar has made himself even more valuable with his huge rookie season in the majors and Sheffield and Florial are still considered high-level talents.

Any time that you’re a young player coming into this league, especially a quarterback, it’s going to take time,” said Haley. You have a lot of different things that you’re dealing with at that position. For him, a guy that has been in the (shot)gun 99% of the time, in this division you have to be under center some. Whether it’s running or play action, those are some of the things that he has really had to work hard at.

A Buffalo radio producer said he’d quit if the Bills picked Josh Allen. So he did.

Josh Allen is drawing rave reviews in his first practices with the Buffalo Bills — not that surprising for a 6’5 quarterback who can throw a ball close to 90 yards — but he’s already cost one person in Buffalo a job.

Last week, Browns coach Hue Jackson followed through on a promise to jump into Lake Erie for somehow not improving a 1-15 team. In April, a Cleveland radio host said he’d eat horse poop if the Browns drafted Baker Mayfield — something he still hasn’t done and really shouldn’t. Just don’t eat poop, please.

But a career change might be the most significant promise we’ve seen someone follow through on. You have to respect Gates’ integrity, but the moral of the story here is to stop making sports guarantees, especially ones involving the NFL Draft.

We’re here today, got OTA practice. I’m focused on these next couple days, getting through and then onto training camp. So that’s where we’re at.

But media members in attendance couldn’t just let that stand as Pederson’s only comment on the situation. One person asked the coach about the allegations from the White House that the Eagles had chosen to abandon their fans by not planning to attend the ceremony as a full squad.

Pederson replied: What you’ve seen and what you’ve heard is enough, and I’m not discussing it. I’m not discussing it because we’ve got two OTA practices, I’ve got a mandatory minicamp next week, and I’m focused on that.

Pederson said neither the canceled trip nor Trump’s criticism toward the team, which included his stance that all players should stand for the national anthem rather than take a knee in protest — even though no Eagles players knelt during The Star-Spangled Banner last season — hadn’t been a matter of discussion during team meetings.

Several current and former Eagles on Tuesday voiced their displeasure with the accusations of anti-patriotism hurled at them by Trump and his supporters. But Pederson said no division has sprung from that or the fact that all but roughly 10 players planned to skip the ceremony.

Tempers flare as Yankees settle for DH split with Tigers

A terrible day, he said after the Yankees’ lost the nightcap 4-2. (But) that’s the beauty of baseball. I get to wake up and it’s fresh new at-bats. Just get ready for (Tuesday). That’s the only thing you can do.

Bears Chairman George McCaskey: New NFL rule ‘will return the anthem to what it should be’ More Bears Chairman George McCaskey addressed the media Thursday regarding the NFL’s new national anthem policy, the team’s stance and President Donald Trump’s involvement in the issue. The first players to take a knee during the national anthem did so to bring attention to two issues — police misconduct and social inequality.

Commissioner Goodell said it very well, and it bears repeating — it was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. The players’ actions were characterized by some and perceived by some as disrespectful to the flag, our country and our military, and what should be a unifying moment for our communities and our country has become in some instances another source of divisiveness.

Yeah, they’re talking a lot, Rodgers said. So I’m going to dice them up a little bit once we get down to it. Alexander, drafted in the first round out of Louisville, and Jackson, taken in the second round out of Iowa, haven’t faced any quarterback close to as talented as Rodgers. He’s one of the greats, and he’s definitely hungry after missing most of last season with a broken collarbone. Alexander definitely has a healthy respect for his new quarterback.

You can’t ask for better practice as a rookie than facing Rodgers. The key for Alexander and Jackson will be to not lose confidence when Rodgers inevitably shreds them in practice. After all, we’ve seen what a hungry Rodgers looks like before. It can get very ugly for defenses very quickly when he decides to turn on the afterburners and pick a defense apart.

Pederson issued what he called a blanket statement that he had been looking forward to the White House visit but was now focused on football and didn’t want to say any more about it. What you’ve seen and what you’ve heard is enough, Pederson added.

The Tigers were playing their 18th game in 17 days.

jets_029Tigers: C James McCann was scheduled to get Sunday off after catching 12 innings Saturday night, but was also dealing with flu-like symptoms. 2B Dixon Machado would have caught if something had happened to Hicks. . RHP Zac Reininger was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game, but the Tigers did not announce a corresponding move. If McCann is still sick on Tuesday, Detroit will bring up C Grayson Greiner from Toledo.

Nobody’s happy with what’s going on, he said.

Stanton’s 15th homer this season was the 22nd of his career at Citi Field, the most among visiting players, and the big league-high 100th home run of the season for the Yankees.

We’re going to hit way more than that, Stanton said.

I am very sorry — I don’t know what happened, Edelman posted on his Instagram page. I’ve taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened. I apologize to the Kraft family, my coaches, teammates and fans. As this matter is being appealed, I can’t say anymore but no matter what, I will be ready to play and pursue another championship with our team and for Patriots fans around the world.

If he were suspended for four games, Edelman would forfeit $470,588.20 in base salary. The Patriots’ first four games are against Houston, at Jacksonville, at Detroit and home against Miami.

Edelman, who has been a regular participant in the team’s offseason program, organized team activities and minicamp, is returning from an ACL tear during the 2017 preseason that forced him to miss the entire season. He turned 32 years old last month and is entering his 10th season in the NFL.

Wide receiver isn’t a position at which the Patriots are loaded with experienced, quality depth. After losing Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks this offseason, the Patriots’ receiving corps consists of Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and sixth-round draft pick Braxton Berrios.

Archie Bradley (2-1) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to set up Arizona’s fourth straight win.

jets_032It kind of fired us up there, Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin said of Owings getting hit. I think winning the game is going to sting more for them.

Musgrove was sharp early against the Diamondbacks, working out of jams in the second and sixth inning without allowing a run. His night came unraveled with the plunking of Owings. Musgrove gave up the single to Ahmed was lifted after a throwing error by third baseman David Freese put runners on first and second with no out.

Musgrove allowed three runs two earned on five hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

You play the game and you protect your teammates. It has been going on for 135 years, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. You can’t control what other people are going to think. There was a ton of pitches after that, that we weren’t able to make.

Muncy homered in his third straight game, Logan Forsythe and Enrique Hernandez also connected, and the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2 Sunday.

Muncy’s 12 home runs match the total he hit last year while spending the whole season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He hit a solo drive in the fifth inning to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 4-2, and drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

The Cowboys locker room isn’t quite the same this offseason with the departures of wideout Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten. But instead of reminiscing about what those two brought to the team during their prime, everyone in Dallas is being forced to evolve.

It forces the coaches — not to say they ever slacked off — but it forces coaches to be innovative and work hard to make it fit for everybody, center Travis Frederick told USA Today when discussiing the team’s offense. It’s easy when you have a guy like Jason Witten, and you can ask him to do anything and he will do it. It’s hard to be that caliber coming in, year two or three. But it’s good for everybody, because it makes everyone really zero in on the basics.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said the loss of Bryant and Witten is most noticeable not when the action happens, but in the meeting room or during down time in practices.

Sometimes, with our young guys it feels a little quiet, because they’re all waiting for some older guy that doesn’t exist to step up, he said.

Linehan hopes a mix of old receiving options (Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams) and a few new ones (Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Michael Gallup) make the absence of Bryant, who Linehan referred to as I guess what is considered a true No. 1.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif graduates medical school

jets_033The Kansas City Chiefs officially have another doctor in the house, but not necessarily on the official medical staff.

Starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif graduated Tuesday morning from McGill University in Montreal, where he earned his medical doctorate.

The newest graduate from the Faculty of Medicine at McGill took to Twitter to proudly announce the occasion with a photo of him wearing a jersey over his gown with DR Duvernay-Tardifacross his back.

From the age of eight to the age of 30, Lewis channeled negative energy into a cold-blooded blend of power, speed and abandon.

Pretending to talk with a wad of dip in his mouth, Lewis imitates longtime Raven Bennie Thompson’s words of warning about his reckless style of play. He’d always say, ‘Boy, you better get your ass out of bounds and stop taking all those damn hits!’ I’m like, ‘What would I do that for? Every yard counts!’ If I get hit at one yard, I can get five more.

And this style, in the 2000s, was unparalleled.

His new-look lineup on Monday didn’t work – the Yankees lost 5-1 to the Houston Astros in a Memorial Day matinee – but there was a lot of thought going into his decisions to drop slumping shortstop Didi Gregorius to No. 7, which is as low as he’s been all year. Boone also moved rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres from his usual No. 9 spot to fifth, which is as high as he’s been.

First off, the lineups usually are sketched out the previous day so regulars getting off days are notified and subs can begin mentally preparing for a start. Of course, game-day scratches due to a pre-game injury or illness can arise.

Boone says he makes out his next-day lineup in his office after games with bench coach Josh Bard at his side, offering suggestions. Boone says he runs possibilities through GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ analytics staff.

I just kind of casually kick things around all the time with coaches, Cash, analytic people, Boone said. I’ll throw things out there all the time to get people’s thoughts or reactions. But generally speaking, the way I do it is, I’ll go in after a game and usually Josh will come in with me and, ‘All right, is there anyone we want to give a day (off) to (tomorrow)?’ So that kind of starts it. ‘Now who are we playing?’