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|When Saints star running back Alvin Kamara walked out
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|الكاتب:||zhangzk [ الأربعاء أغسطس 07, 2019 5:53 am ]|
|عنوان المشاركة:||When Saints star running back Alvin Kamara walked out|
METAIRIE , La. (AP) —to Thursday’s minicamp practice wearing reserve quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s red practice jersey, teammates including Drew Brees were amused.They also found it fitting, given the dynamism and versatility Kamara has come to embody in his prolific first two NFL seasons.“He’s definitely a guy that could probably get out there and do it; that’s the scary thing,” Brees said of Kamara playing quarterback. “He’s such a phenomenal athlete — and he always talks about wanting to throw the ball.”Kamara rules out very little when it comes to what he might do next to provide a new wrinkle to New Orleans’ already prolific offense. He also sounds very open to trying new things — whether in his training, diet or on the field.“That’s where the anxiety comes from with me; it’s not a bad anxiety, but a good anxiety — like, I’m anxious to see: What else?” Kamara said. “Where else could I line up? What else could I do? How else could I be successful?”Kamara has been one of New Orleans’ top two rushers and receivers in each of his two pro seasons since the Saints made him a third-round draft choice out of Tennessee. He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017, when he had 1,554 yards and 13 touchdowns from scrimmage (728 yards and eight TDs rushing, 826 yards and five TDs receiving) to go with a 106-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. And there was no sophomore slump. Last season, he gained 1,592 yards and scored 18 TDs from scrimmage (883 yards and 14 TDs rushing, 709 yards and four TDs receiving).Improving on that kind of production year after year is a challenge, but Kamara says he’s determined to adopt offseason goals that give him a chance to do so — and to evolve as a player.“Anything new, anything one of my teammates has to lend me, like some advice or somebody with some experience in the field of nutrition or strength or training — I try to take little gems from everybody,” Kamara said. “Changing diets and looking for new things to get faster, stronger, get in better shape — I’m looking for all of it.”Certain unusual elements of Kamara’s offseason workouts have become sensations on social media.This offseason, he could be seen catching a three-pronged HECOstix with each hand while standing on a BOSU ball .Kamara describes his balance as “pretty elite,” and that was a workout designed to keep it that way.During the 2018 offseason, there was a popular video of the 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara pulling a Jeep attached to a harness around his waist while balancing weights on his shoulders.Meanwhile, Kamara has sought to emulate his record-setting quarterback’s mental approach to the game.“My rookie year — everybody says it was easy — I’m like, ‘Man, look, there was sometimes I was out there, I didn’t know what was going on,'” Kamara said. “I kind of took a step back and was like, ‘All right, well, if I want to be the best, then I got to know what the best knows , and I think Drew is probably one of, if not the smartest people playing football right now.”Brees calls Kamara “inquisitive.”“There’s a level of awareness with him that I think that’s unique,” Brees said. “He picks up on things very quickly. I think that’s unique. And so then combine that with exceptional athletic skills and you get the player that he is.”Saints coach Sean Payton touts Kamara’s “real, real, exceptionally high football IQ” and even gave the running back a fidget spinner as a funny, friendly way of saying he realized Kamara might need something to occupy himself while coaches are explaining things to his teammates.“He can get bored with it, and that’s why we give him one of those,” Payton deadpanned.Perhaps this season, coaches could have Kamara spinning footballs instead.Payton, known as one of the NFL’s more inventive play designers, affirmed his belief in Kamara’s throwing ability, recalling a touchdown pass the running back threw at Tennessee out of a “wildcat” formation.The throw was “like a tight end pop pass that was pretty good,” Payton said.But the coach also stressed there’s good reason to avoid too much tinkering with the running and receiving plays Kamara has executed so well the past couple of seasons.“Some of the stuff he does extremely well now — that still sells,” Payton said. “That’s still really, really good.”Notes: Brees said missing two voluntary practices last week and one mandatory practice this week to testify in his lawsuit alleging fraud against a San Diego jeweler was “Very tough.” Brees added, “Obviously I’m quarterback of his football team and I want to be with the team, but unfortunately there were things that were a bit out of our control that we had to take care of. So take care of that and take life as it comes.” MINNEAPOLIS — For the fourth time in the past five years, the Chicago Bears will visit the Minnesota Vikings in the last game on the schedule.For once, this matchup has some meaning.The Vikings, having already ceded the NFC North title to the Bears, have yet to secure a spot in the playoffs. The Bears could still improve their seed and snag that coveted first-round bye, if they win and the Los Angeles Rams also lose at home to San Francisco.More Vikings coveragePhotos of the Week: 7/21/19 – 7/27/19Rookie Bradbury is central figure to Vikings’ overhauled offensive lineVikings depth at cornerback being tested, Hughes still not clearedPlayers to watch at Minnesota Vikings 2019 training campTop Tweets: Vikings WR Diggs makes push for All-NFL Style TeamIf not, the Vikings (8-6-1) would be the likeliest opponent for the Bears (11-4) in the wild-card round next week.“We understand what’s at stake. There’s no magic formula. There’s no button you can push or hours you can put in to suddenly snap your fingers and guarantee a win,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “You do all you can, give everything you have.”Last season, though the Vikings needed the victory to secure the second seed in the NFC and the first-round bye , they had clinched the division two weeks earlier while the Bears were bound for last place in the division.The year before that, the biggest drama was the pair of repelling oil pipeline protesters who sneaked past security to climb up a truss connected to the roof and unfurl a large banner as they lowered themselves from the ceiling. Both the Bears and Vikings had already been eliminated from contention.In 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings wrapped up their first of two years outside during the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium with a win over the Bears that determined they’d finish third in the NFC North and not fourth.The two teams did this play-out-the-string thing twice in recent memory at the Metrodome, too. Both teams were eliminated before the 2011 finale, too, when the Bears stopped a five-game losing streak to finish at .500. In 2005 , with the Bears resting most of their starters with the division already clinched, a victory by the Vikings wasn’t enough to keep coach Mike Tice from being fired after the game .Well, finally, these rivals have entered their 2018 season closer in the right positions for a tension-filled game on Sunday.“We’re going in there really focused,” Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky said. “We know we’re going against a really good team.”Here are some other key angles to follow:SCOREBOARD WATCHINGThe NFL arranged the schedule to minimize the anticlimactic outcomes, moving the Bears-Vikings game to the late-afternoon slot so it would be played simultaneously with Eagles-Redskins, Cardinals-Seahawks and 49ers-Rams.The Vikings are guaranteed the last wild-card spot if Philadelphia loses at Washington. They would get the No. 5 seed and a first-round game at Dallas with a win and a loss by Seattle at home to Arizona. Their long-shot scenario is starting the postseason in Los Angeles, if they lose to the Bears and the Rams and Eagles lose, too.“All the hypotheticals or where we would be at or what we are going to be based on the results of this weekend, I know that we’re playing this game to win,” Trubisky said.“We’re going out there with our starters, and we’re competing. For me, it’s an easy mindset. Coach says, ‘Go,’ and we’re going.”7<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:Upon Further Review: Vikings at LionsNO PAYBACKThe Bears said they’re not seeking payback for Vikings safety Harrison Smith, whose hit on a sliding Trubisky late in the game in Chicago on Nov. 18 drove the second-year quarterback’s throwing shoulder into the ground and wound up sidelining him for the following two games.“I really put it behind me,” Trubisky said. “I didn’t even consider it illegal or anything malicious of that nature.”Last week, 49ers safety Marcell Harris delivered a late hit on a sliding Trubisky, setting off a skirmish that resulted in the ejection of three players.“We’re not about being revengeful or getting back to anybody,” coach Matt Nagy said. “Nothing. None of that.”MACK ATTACKBears linebacker Khalil Mack, who was picked for his fourth Pro Bowl, reached double-digit sacks for the fourth straight year. He has 12½ sacks, with 4½ in the past four games. He’s tied for the NFL lead with six forced fumbles for the Bears, who have 36 takeaways for the most in the league.BETTER PROTECTIONMack and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks helped make the previous matchup, a 25-20 victory by the Bears, miserable for Minnesota’s offensive line. Cousins took only two sacks, but each of them lost 8 yards .Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray combined for only 18 rushing yards on 13 attempts. The Vikings have blocked better in the past two games, and the improvement down the stretch by rookie right tackle Brian O’Neill has been particularly visible.“We knew at some point it was going to happen,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s just such a good athlete.”NO PLACE LIKE HOMEThe Vikings are 18-6 in the regular season and postseason at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Bears haven’t won in Minnesota since that final game on the 2011 schedule.“Our team feeds off the crowd and what they bring,” Cousins said. “It’s just a great place to play an NFL football game, and I can’t say enough good things about the venue, the locker room , the facility and the way our fans spur us on.”9<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:PHOTOS: Vikings at LionsAP | Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved.—CHICAGO (11-4) at MINNESOTA (8-6-1)Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST, FoxOPENING LINE — Vikings by 6½RECORD VS. SPREAD — Chicago 11-4, Minnesota 8-6-1SERIES RECORD — Vikings lead 60-53-2LAST MEETING — Bears beat Vikings 25-20, Nov. 18LAST WEEK — Bears beat 49ers 14-9; Vikings beat Lions 27-9AP PRO32 RANKING — Bears No. 3, Vikings No. 13BEARS OFFENSE — OVERALL (21), RUSH (14), PASS (20)BEARS DEFENSE — OVERALL (4), RUSH (2), PASS (8)VIKINGS OFFENSE — OVERALL (17), RUSH (30), PASS (10)VIKINGS DEFENSE — OVERALL (3), RUSH (11), PASS (3)STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — This is third straight season and fifth time in eight years with Bears and Vikings matched up in Minnesota in Week 17. 116th all-time meeting between Bears and Vikings, including wild-card round playoff win by Bears in Minnesota in 1994-95 season. Strong possibility that Vikings and Bears face each other next week in wild-card round. … Bears have lost six straight games in Minnesota. … Bears are only team in NFC to hold second-half lead in every game this year. … Matt Nagy is first Bears coach with winning record in debut season since Paddy Driscoll went 9-2-1 in 1956, when George Halas took two-year hiatus. … QB Mitchell Trubisky is 63 for 89 (70.8 percent) for 755 yards (251.7 per game) with six passing TDs, one rushing TD and two interceptions for 109.5 passer rating in last three games vs. NFC North foes, all wins. Trubisky and Texans QB Deshaun Watson are only players in league this season with 95-plus passer rating and 400-plus rushing yards. … Bears have had 16 players with at least one TD, tied with Saints for most in NFL. … Chicago has held opponents to six or fewer first-half points in eight games this year. … Bears OLB Khalil Mack has 4½ sacks and forced fumble in last four games. … Vikings are 18-6 at home in regular season and playoffs since U.S. Bank Stadium opened. … Vikings RB Dalvin Cook has topped 100 total yards in consecutive games for first time in career, with 209 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards combined over last two contests. … QB Kirk Cousins, who has matched career high with 29 TD passes, needs one more to join Warren Moon (1994), Daunte Culpepper (2004) and Brett Favre (2009) as only players in team history with 4,000-plus passing yards and 30-plus TD passes in single season. … With one TD by WR Adam Thielen and six catches and one TD by Stefon Diggs, Vikings would have second set of teammates in NFL history with 100-plus receptions and 10-plus TDs in same year, joining Colts WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark (2009). … Vikings lead NFL with 50 sacks, third most in franchise history behind 1992 (51) and 1989 (71). … Vikings have allowed fewest TD drives (25) in league for second straight season after giving up 23 in 2017. … Fantasy tip: Trubisky, who has 25 career starts, has posted three of seven lowest career passer ratings vs. Vikings. Vikings’ defense has 43 points allowed and 23 sacks in last three home games.
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