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    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Despite analytical data to the contrary, the Falcons believe they have laid the foundation for what will become a solid defense. Also, the special-teams units had a breakthrough season in 2022 and signaled that they’ll be a major part of a turnaround as the Falcons will try to move on from their fifth consecutive losing season. The defense didn’t finish in the top half of ...

      After Mike LaFleur and the team “parted ways” a couple of weeks ago, Jets coach Robert Saleh interviewed more than 15 candidates for their vacant offensive coordinator position. But there was one name Saleh kept returning to during his search: former Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett. “Went to college, went to different schemes and talked to different people,” Saleh said. “A lot of really good ...

        The Philadelphia Eagles are heading to the NFC championship game on the strength of wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Brown had 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, while Smith finished his second NFL season with 95 catches, which are the most by a wide receiver in team history.

          As writers covering the Cowboys, we don’t run the risk of tearing an ACL or leaving the press box on a stretcher for any reason beyond having eaten too many nachos. But we do bang our head against the wall a lot. And this is another day where we mostly settle for that. Some columns sound a call to action. Last summer when the Rangers fired Chris Woodward, a man most local sports fans wouldn’t ...

            In a pitch-black 2020 song called “Murder Most Foul,” Bob Dylan wrote, “What is the truth? Where did it go?” Fair questions right now in the age of New York congressman-elect George Santos fabricating his way to office shamefully, but, even worse, shamelessly. Many of us seem to find the truth to be bor-ing, in need of jazzing up. Just as actual news is no fun because A) you have to wait for ...

            When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field in the middle of the “Monday Night Football” game in Cincinnati on Jan. 2, Carrie Hastings, half a continent away, understood what she needed to do — and right away. “I had a few guys that I sort of immediately knew I should check in on,” said Hastings, the Los Angeles Rams’ sports psychologist and mental ...

            Before the torn tendon in his groin that kept him out of the Eagles’ final two regular-season games. After he had suffered his third diagnosed concussion since entering the NFL in 2013. After he missed three games last season because of depression and other mental-health issues. After the injury to his ankle, one that led to surgery to repair his deltoid ligament and that caused him to miss 13 ...

            When the Chicago Bears narrowed their search for a new president and CEO, general manager Ryan Poles sat down for conversations with the finalists to evaluate how they would work and communicate with one another. In Kevin Warren, Poles found someone with an impressive background and presence who values people and shows humility in his everyone-contributes approach to working toward a ...

            A.J. Brown can’t be satisfied. The Eagles’ star wide receiver held court Wednesday for the first time since cameras caught him visibly frustrated on the sideline Saturday during his team’s playoff rout of the New York Giants. Brown had three catches for 22 yards and was shown on the broadcast being consoled by coach Nick Sirianni in the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ 38-7 divisional-round win. ...

            Jalen Hurts arrived at his press conference Wednesday afternoon in his usual stoic fashion. Hurts had spent the morning attending meetings as the Eagles prepared to host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game Sunday. The 24-year-old quarterback was apparently so deep into his preparations that he wasn’t aware he had been named a finalist for the Associated Press Most Valuable ...

            SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Three of the 49ers’ top offensive weapons — Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell — won’t participate in Wednesday’s initial practice for the upcoming NFC Championship Game. Samuel surfaced on the injury report with an ankle issue that, according to coach Kyle Shanahan, has been hindering the 2021 All-Pro, presumably dating to last month’s sprain against ...

            Ten years after Adrian Peterson became the last non-quarterback to win NFL MVP honors, another Vikings player has a chance to beat out a QB for the award — and make history at his position. Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson is one of five finalists for league MVP honors alongside four quarterbacks: the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, the Bengals' Joe Burrow, the Bills' Josh Allen and the Eagles' ...

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            ATLANTA — Stetson Bennett, Georgia’s two-time champion quarterback, is pursuing an NFL career. Wide receiver Adonai Mitchell, playoff hero, returned home to play at Texas. Another top pass-catcher, transfer Rodarius Thomas, is suspended by UGA as he waits for his day in court following an arrest on accusations of domestic violence. Two starters on Georgia’s offensive line declared for the NFL ...

            BOSTON — In Bill We Trust. O’Brien, that is. The other Bill — Belichick — is still teetering on the edge of being trusted given some of his curious decision-making in recent years. At least he got the right guy to be his offensive coordinator, and gave him the actual title. While Belichick’s a year late with this hire, it’s better late than never as the saying goes. Landing a coach who has a ...

            Jonathan Gannon still has vivid memories from his last experience coaching in a conference championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. On Tuesday, the defensive coordinator recalled the 2017 NFC title game between the Eagles and Vikings, when he served as a Vikings assistant defensive backs coach. The Eagles handily defeated Gannon’s former team, 38-7, to advance to the Super Bowl. Gannon is ...

            The Ravens returned to the playoffs but fell well short of their bigger goals as they finished another season with quarterback Lamar Jackson on the sideline because of injury. Debates over Jackson’s future will dominate the offseason, but the Ravens also have plenty to build on as they look ahead to 2023. Here are five things we learned from their 2022 season. The Ravens have reached another ...

            The Kansas City Chiefs could have paid Tyreek Hill handsomely and gone all-in on another championship run. Instead, they dealt him to the Dolphins for a package of draft picks and some financial flexibility. In doing so, they took a championship window that might have lasted a few years and extended it by several more. It was a difficult choice, though, and one their opponent in Sunday's AFC title game will soon face. 

            PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles lost two games without their starting quarterback, then plodded to a win in the season finale against the Giants’ backups. They saw themselves drop to the No. 4 favorite to win Super Bowl LVII despite having won 14 games, tied for the most in the NFL. Were the Eagles a fraud? Did the 14 wins even matter? The players felt the hate. After they routed the Giants, 38-7, ...

            Been watching these 49ers lately, thinking that they look awfully reminiscent of something. Reminiscent of a team that came from the same division nine years earlier and completed what may be the most celebrated season in Seattle sports history. The 2013 Seahawks aren't just the standard-bearers for what an athletic organization should look like in the Emerald City; they may be the most iconic ...

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