Digging It: Bills Unveil New Wrinkle In Opening Against Jets

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Bill Wippert/BuffaloBills.com.ORCHARD PARK — The day Stefon Diggs has been waiting for since March has finally arrived. It’s time for the receiver to make his debut with the Buffalo Bills.“It’s time for a new beginning,” Diggs tweeted on March 16, a day before Buffalo a cquired the sixth-year player in a trade with Minnesota. Nothing has changed since.“I would say since I got traded, I haven’t stopped thinking about playing ball,” Diggs said as Buffalo prepares to open the season by hosting the New York Jets on Sunday.“Definitely something I’ve been carrying a big chip on my shoulder,” he added, before explaining this is no different from any other season for a dynamic play-maker who still feels slighted for being selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. “I’m looking forward to it, especially with a new journey, a new challenge each and every year. I’m eager. I’m ready.” For a team considered to have an early season edge in returning mostly intact following a coronavirus-altered offseason, the Bills gave up a first-round draft pick to land Diggs to add a spark into a Josh Allen-led offense that struggled to score points.Buffalo managed 20 or fewer points 11 times last season, including a 22-19 overtime loss to Houston in an wild-card playoff.Diggs, who has topped 1,000 yards in each of his previous two seasons, provides Buffalo an established trio of receivers, rounded out by 2019 free agent additions: John Brown and Cole Beasley.The Jets, by comparison, feature numerous questions marks in opening against the Bills for a second straight year.New York’s offensive line has been reshuffled from a season ago. Their group of receivers are limping. And the Jets defense — one of the few bright spots last year — is without linebacker C.J. Mosley (opted out) and star safety Jamal Adams, whose contract complaints led to him being traded to Seattle for safety Bradley McDougald.General manager Joe Douglas opened the week aware of the knocks directed at a team in the midst of a nine-year playoff drought.“We see the things that are said. We see the things that are written. You know it angers a lot of people,” Douglas said. “I know that there’s a lot of hungry guys that want to go out there and just prove a lot of people wrong.”SHUFFLE UP FRONTNew York is the fourth NFL team since the 2010 season to start five different players on the O-line in Week 1 from the five who started the opener the previous year.Center Connor McGovern, right tackle George Fant and right guard Greg Van Roten were all signed in free agency, and left tackle Mekhi Becton was taken with the No. 11 overall pick in the draft. Left guard Alex Lewis is the only holdover, but he didn’t start right away.MEMORIESAllen is far more comfortable preparing for his second season-opening start than he was a year ago, when Buffalo overcame a 16-0 deficit in a 17-16 win at the Meadowlands.Buffalo’s opening two drives ended with a fumble and Mosley returning an interception for a touchdown. Allen sealed the win with a 38-yard TD pass to Brown with 3 minutes left.“I wouldn’t call it night and day, but I do feel really good about myself going into the game,” he said, emphasizing a need for a better start.MEMORIES PART IISam Darnold, who like Allen was one of five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2017 draft, had a different take on last year’s opener. The Jets combined for four first downs and 54 net yards on their final four possessions, and Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis a few days later.“Thanks for reminding me,” he said with a laugh, noting he’s reviewed the game film. “I think it was good because you look back and see all the improvements we made throughout the year. … I am going to take that experience and run with it.”GORE STILL GOINGFrank Gore is on the other side of this AFC East rivalry this year, now with the Jets after playing with the Bills last season.The 37-year-old running back, the third-leading rusher in NFL history has impressed his new teammates with his work ethic. He’s routinely at the facility long before most of the other Jets players.“I can’t really go into each and every detail what he does because I’ll be here all day,” fellow running back Le’Veon Bell said. “Just know he does a lot for me. I don’t think he knows or realizes all the things he does.”Gore finished with a career-low 599 yards rushing, and eventually lost playing time to rookie Devin Singletary last year.RE-UPPEDBills cornerback Tre’Davious White, last weekend, joined coach Sean McDermott and left tackle Dion Dawkins in signing contract extensions this summer.“I’m feeling blessed, but it’s behind me now.,” said White of a four-year, $70-million deal that locks him up through 2025. “Honestly now, I want to focus on the Jets and try to have the best season yet.”last_img read more

World number one Pliskova survives scare to advance at U.S. Open

first_imgNEW YORK (Reuters) – Karolina Pliskova showed the steel of a world number one as she fought off a match point to claim a riveting 3-6 7-5 6-4 comeback win over Zhang Shuai in the U.S. Open third round on Saturday.Pliskova, runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year, would have lost her world number one ranking had she been beaten on Arthur Ashe Stadium but instead moved another step closer to a first career grand slam title.Chinese Zhang was the more aggressive player from the start, frequently rushing to net and stepping into the court to attack Pliskova’s second serve on an unseasonably cool day in New York.The strategy paid off as she broke Pliskova in her first two service games to take a 3-1 lead and captured the first set with an emphatic overhead smash.She continued her fiery play into the second set but on match point tightened up and hit an errant backhand, disappointing a New York crowd that had been rooting for the underdog.Pliskova won the next three games to close out the set.She was also undone by the tall Czech’s biggest weapon – her powerful serve.Pliskova finished with nine aces and just one double fault while Zhang hit two aces while committing five doubles.Pliskova needed an injury time out to attend to a sore arm between the second and third sets, which she said she hopes will not bother her when she faces either American Jennifer Brady or Monica Niculescu of Romania in the fourth round.“I will have to improve in the next one,” the 25-year-old Pliskova said in a courtside interview.“Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and I’ll be ready for my next match.”Pliskova said that while she may appear stone-faced on the court there are plenty of emotions running through her veins.“I don’t really feel calm,” she said.The contest was 25-year-old Zhang’s best showing against the tournament’s top seed but she is now winless in five matches against Pliskova.Zhang did not roll over, however, and broke Pliskova to take an early 2-0 lead in the third but Zhang’s mistakes soon started piling up.Zhang ended the contest with 46 unforced errors to Pliskova’s 38.last_img read more

Sabres add to defensive depth, acquire Henri Jokiharju from Blackhawks for Alexander Nylander

first_imgNHL free agency: Complete list of all 31 teams’ top free agents and their destinationsFollowing his NHL debut with Chicago during the 2018-19 campaign, he registered 12 assists in 38 games for the Blackhawks. The 20-year-old Finn split last season with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) and had 17 points in 30 games in the minors, good for 0.57 points per game on average. The 6-0, 192-pound blueliner also impressed on the international stage, winning gold with Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and men’s world championship.On the two-man advantage, Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Henri Jokiharju scores his first goal of the tournament and the season. 1-0 Finland. #WJC2019 pic.twitter.com/GrPgmnaAex— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) December 29, 2018″Henri is a young, mobile defenseman who has shown he can compete at the NHL level,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said in a press release. “His international success last season only furthered his development and we are excited to add him to our current group of defenseman.” The Buffalo Sabres decided to improve their defensive depth on Tuesday by acquiring defenseman Henri Jokiharju from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Alexander Nylander.Jokiharju was taken 29th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and is developing into an offensive-minded, mobile right-handed blueliner. Following the draft, he put up 71 points in 63 games with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks and finished his junior career with 119 points in 134 WHL games before making the jump to the pros last season. The 20-year-old Finn joins an already-deep Buffalo defense corps, which features Jake McCabe and Rasmus Dahlin on the top-4 right side. With this move, the Sabres are able to bolster their blueline and add more scoring on defense — which could indicate that Rasmus Ristolainen could be on his way out as well.The Blackhawks will benefit from the addition of Nylander, a promising young forward who went eighth overall in the 2016 draft. The 21-year-old is still working on making the full-time jump to the NHL and had four points in 12 games with Buffalo last season and netted 12 goals and 31 points in 49 games with the Rochester Americans (AHL).Chicago may have lost a promising defensive prospect, but in return, they get a versatile winger who can play the left or right side and is still developing his all-around game; he is expected to become a secondary scorer with a lot of upside.last_img read more

Weather Eye Temperatures will start to cool down soon really

first_imgIt was another hot day Monday. You keep hearing us weather guys telling you about a cool-down in high temperatures and yet it remains at 90-plus degrees. Want to trade places?Okay, get your favorite beverage and let’s chat a few moments. Make mine iced tea, please. It will, I promise, cool down this week to more comfortable levels as marine air rushes in later today and tonight. Still, it will be above normal today but much more tolerable the rest of the week. Yes, we still anticipate those pleasant morning clouds to make their appearance.No rain on the horizon and I still think we get back in the hot category Sunday and beyond, although it may not last for too many days this time around. We’ll see.While the West swelters in summer heat thanks to an area of high pressure over the Rockies, it remains cooler than average for the eastern half of the country. In the northeastern states, overnight lows have been reported in the 30s in some locales. August, really? They’ll get a few hot days, but the persistent western high pressure ridge directs cooler air down into the eastern portion of the country along with rain showers. Lucky them.The only hurricane activity we see continues to be in the Pacific southwest of Baja. On the flip side, the Atlantic hurricane action is slow. Dry Sahara Desert air pooling west of Africa accounts for a lack of favorable conditions for tropical storms to develop. Good news on that front.last_img read more