Come On and Take a Free Ride: Sixers Vs. Bobcats in Charlotte

Come On and Take a Free Ride: Sixers Vs. Bobcats in Charlotte

You should never get too cocky in this league, and it's not like the
Sixers have been lighting the NBA on fire the last week or so—in their
last three games, they've lost to the Spurs and Clippers, and went into
cruise control in what probably should have been a blowout win against
an undermanned Cleveland team. Still, it's hard not to feel about as
confident as possible in a win going into tonight's game against the
Charlotte Bobcats. Them dudes is 3-24 for the season, with zero wins in
their last 14 games—miserably short on professional-caliber basketball
players and seemingly destined for one of the highest of lottery picks.

There's no real point in talking matchups here—if the Sixers can't take
care of business, it'll be due to some sort of team-wide malaise that
causes them to do bad all the things they normally do good—but let's
look at a couple things with the Sixers themselves that might be worth
focusing in on:

1. Can Evan Turner reclaim his minutes? What started out a dynamite
second year for the Extraterrestrial has gone a little south, with Coach
Collins cutting his PT (no games over 25 minutes since Feb. 1st) and no
clear reason why. Granted, Turner does one or two things a game that
cause Coach Collins to shake his head (dumb fouls, missed assignments,
getting fancy with the ball and turning it over), but he's still a
fairly consistent producer, and a key to the team's future. We've been
warned about Collins' tendency to grate on younger players, and if he
keeps giving ET the stick, it's not hard to see their relationship
souring in the not-too-distant future.

2. Can Jrue continue to get to the line? It was heartening to see our
young point guard actually rack up the FTAs in Saturday's game against
the Cavs—a season-high eight shots at the line, after six the game
before against the Clippers, both well above The Damaja's 2.7/game
average. We need someone besides Sweet Lou to draw fouls on this team,
and Jrue's shown the craftiness around the basket to convert as well, so
it's a trend we'd like to see stay up.

3. Who's playing center? If Hawes is still out—and we're starting to get
legitimately worried about our center's ability to stay healthy this
season—can Nik Vucevic hold down the position in his absence, without
getting out-muscled under the basket and failing to properly guard the
pick and roll? At the very least, we'd like to see him regain the
outside touch he showed earlier in the season—Nik is just 10-24 in his
last four games.

7:00 tip from Time Warner Cable Arena. If we lose this one, there will be no recap, trust.

NFL Notes: Andy Reid doesn't believe costly hold on Chiefs was worth flag

NFL Notes: Andy Reid doesn't believe costly hold on Chiefs was worth flag

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs coach Andy Reid doesn't believe the holding penalty on left tackle Eric Fisher that cost Kansas City a tying 2-point conversion against Pittsburgh on Sunday night should have been called.

After watching film of the decisive play in the Steelers' 18-16 playoff victory, Reid said Monday that "I don't want to be fined any money, but I'd lean a different way."

Fisher appeared to hook Steelers pass rusher James Harrison on the conversion attempt with less than 3 minutes left in the game.

But the play was not cut-and-dried: Harrison dipped especially low and may have been losing his balance, and he likely would not have gotten to the quarterback anyway.

Still, the flag negated the successful 2-point conversion. And when the Chiefs tried again from the 12-yard line, Alex Smith's throw fell incomplete and the Steelers were able to run out the clock.

PATRIOTS: McDaniels staying on as OC
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels expressed appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the San Francisco 49ers but says for now he will remain in New England.

He said during a conference call Monday that the decision was what's "best for my family and myself" and that he will stay with the Patriots to focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the season "however it turns out."

McDaniels, who was a head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2009 and 2010, interviewed with the 49ers during the Patriots' bye to open the playoffs. He also interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Both McDaniels and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have been candidates for teams with open head coaching jobs this offseason after helping lead the Patriots to 14-2 regular season.

New England beat the Houston Texans 34-16 in the divisional round and will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's AFC championship game.

SEAHAWKS: Carroll says Sherman played with MCL injury
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on his radio show Monday morning that cornerback Richard Sherman played the second half of the season with an MCL injury in his knee.

Carroll told KIRO-AM that Sherman's injury was significant and it was "stressful" for Sherman to play with the injury.

Carroll did not specify which knee was injured, but said it was similar to Russell Wilson's sprained MCL suffered early in the season in that Sherman could play with the injury.

Sherman was not listed on any injury/practice report this season with a knee injury.

Any practices he missed were listed with the "NIR" -- not injury related -- designation with the exception of Week 12 against Tampa Bay when he was listed with an ankle injury.

Carroll said he had a "big meeting" with Sherman in regards to a tumultuous season for the cornerback that included two sideline blowups during games. "He has some regrets," Carroll said.

TITANS: Former Temple coach Jackson hired as WR coach
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have hired Frisman Jackson as their new wide receivers coach and Craig Aukerman as assistant special teams coach.

The Titans announced the moves Monday.

Jackson joins the Titans from Temple where he was passing game coordinator this past season and wide receivers coach the past two seasons. Jackson also coached at North Carolina State, Northern Illinois, Akron and Western Illinois.

Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie also coached Jackson when he was a wide receiver for four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Aukerman spent the past four seasons coaching the Chargers' special teams, the most recent as special teams coordinator, and has coached with the Jaguars and Broncos. He also coached at Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Western Kentucky and Findlay.

Source: Phillies have agreement with free-agent OF Michael Saunders

Source: Phillies have agreement with free-agent OF Michael Saunders

The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.

When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.

Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.

Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.

With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.