ht even be nitpicking considering the Jaguars rank second in

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ht even be nitpicking considering the Jaguars rank second in

Postautor: elaine95 » 18 paź 2018, o 07:35

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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NOTE: The stories slugged Black History-Game Changers are part of AP’s coverage during Black History Month of how African-American athletes have used their platforms during the last 100 years to influence social and political change. Please see the Black History Month advisory for more details on the series.



FRIDAY, Feb. 2

BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-KAEPERNICK

Colin Kaepernick knew he was sending a message when he first refused to stand during the national anthem, before a preseason game in 2016. He probably never would’ve guessed the price he would pay. Because of the efforts of the now-unemployed quarterback, the days of excluding politics and social issues from sports appear to be over, and those who have followed Kaepernick’s lead are feeling more and more empowered to use their platform for something other than mere fun and games. By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos and video by 3 a.m. Friday.

BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-BLACK ATHLETES

Sports and race have been intertwined in America’s journey to become a more perfect union, and black athletes have often found themselves at the center of the struggle for racial progress. From Jack Johnson’s defiance outside of the boxing ring, thumbing his nose at segregation and challenging notions of black inferiority to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel silently during the national anthem ahead of NFL games that many point to as the reason he is now out of the league, black athletes have protested for generations in ways large and small in an effort to highlight injustice, expose hypocrisy and move the country forward. Often met with hate by fans uninterested in mixing sports and social issues, many have taken stances that risk their careers, choosing race over the games they love. Where does that leave us? By AP National Writer Errin Haines Whack. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos and video by 1 p.m. Friday.

MONDAY, Feb. 5

OLY–SBD-SHAUN WHITE

Shaun White says there were times in the weeks after he slammed his face into a halfpipe in New Zealand and had to be helicoptered off the mountain when he wondered what was to be learned from it all. To outsiders, the answer is simple. The accident served as a jarring reminder of the hurdles White was willing to overcome to make it back to the Olympics – and this time, to leave with a third gold medal. By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 900 words Chris Kreider Jersey , photos by 3 a.m. Monday.

TUESDAY, Feb. 6

BKN–MAVERICKS-DIRK’S 20TH

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki made peace years ago with the reality that spending his entire career with the Dallas Mavericks would likely mean little or no chance to win a second championship. The most accomplished European player in NBA history never seriously considered leaving the franchise that courted him as a teenager in Germany and drafted him five days after his 20th birthday in 1998. Now in his 20th season, Nowitzki is comfortable with the idea that he led the Mavericks to their first championship and can try to help a younger core build toward making Dallas a title contender again. By Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.

THURSDAY, Feb. 8

BLACK HISTORY-GAME CHANGERS-JOHNSON

There was no more potent or more closely guarded symbol of white domination at the turn of the 20th Century than the title of heavyweight champion of the world. Then 32-year-old Jack Johnson stepped into the ring. By AP Sports Writer Kareem Copeland. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos and video by 3 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Feb. 8.



Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.

Thanks,

AP Sports

Jacksonville’s vaunted defense suddenly seems vulnerable to big plays.

The Jaguars (10-6) have allowed nine scoring plays of 25 or more yards – and several more that led to points – in the last six games. It’s a negligible but noticeable nuance for a unit that is among the NFL leaders in nearly every defensive category.

”We’re really good in the red zone, so we try to give up the long ones,” defensive coordinator Todd Wash joked Thursday. ”We’re excelling at that.”

Wash actually sounded more concerned than his players, pointing the finger at himself for trying to get the defense in the ”perfect call” and giving his players too much to think about before and after the snap.

”There are some things we’ve got to get cleaned up,” Wash said. ”We’ve got to just let them play. I think the other team gets paid, too. I know we’re not the only team in the league that gets paid. You’ve got to give credit to them also, but we need to eliminate the long plays and just get them down.

”If there’s a blade of grass, we have to do a good job of defending it.”

Jacksonville’s recent defensive trend has been problematic. The Jags limp into Sunday’s wild-card game against Buffalo (9-7) having dropped consecutive games for the first time all season and three of their last six.

In all three losses, explosive plays against Jacksonville’s defense proved costly:

– Tennessee’s lone touchdown in a 15-10 victory last week came on a 66-yard screen pass from Marcus Mariota to Derrick Henry in the second quarter.

– San Francisco scored on a 30-yard run in a 44-33 victory the previous week.

– Arizona connected on TD passes of 29 and 52 yards in a 27-24 victory in late November.

”When we do it right, when we have everybody doing the right thing, nobody gets big plays Authentic David Desharnais Jersey ,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. ”When we make mistakes, a big play happens here of there. We just know we have to be more disciplined and everybody has to be accountable for their assignment. If we do that, we’ll be successful.”

Even in Jacksonville’s last three victories, the defense has been lax at times:

– Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins had catches of 45 and 25 yards in a span of four plays against Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey in mid-December, the second one going for a touchdown .

– Seattle’s Russell Wilson torched the Jaguars with TD passes to Doug Baldwin (26 yards), Paul Richardson (61) and Tyler Lockett (74) in the second half the previous week.

– And Indianapolis’ lone touchdown in two games against Jacksonville this season came on a fourth-and-2 play in the third quarter in early December when T.Y. Hilton got behind the defense for a 40-yard score.

”Luckily we not letting them bite us in the (butt) too hard,” defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. ”But from a defensive standpoint, if that’s the only thing that’s keeping us from being in that No. 1 spot, then it matters. Then again, if we’re not losing, then we can live with that. But it’s not a good thing.”

It’s definitely a concern for a team built to play stout defense and take some pressure off an inconsistent offense.

It might even be nitpicking considering the Jaguars rank second in the NFL in points allowed (16.8 a game), yards allowed (286.1 a game), sacks (55), takeaways (33) and interceptions (21).

Regardless, it’s a tendency the Jaguars hope to end to open the postseason.

”We want to somehow get to the perfect game,” Wash said. ”I don’t think it’s ever happened in the 24 years I’ve been coaching. But that’s what our expectations are, so when we do give up some chunk plays and we don’t play well, not only is the staff upset, the players are upset. We want to play the perfect game, and that’s the expectations that we have each time that we go out.”

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