Happy Thursday everyone! It’s Shanna McCarriston here giving you all the sports news of the day. I am currently in Dallas and yesterday I went to AT&T Stadium for the first time. It was just as massive as I expected and has so many amenities. I got to see their elaborate suites, head into the locker room and go on the field. For a football nerd like I am, I loved it all.
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Now to the matters at hand. Today we will discuss the latest Mets drama — trust me, there’s a lot to talk about there — Mac Jones and much more.
Let’s get to it.
📰 What you need to know
1. Breaking down the Mets’ bizarre week ⚾
If you’ve been able to keep up with all the Mets drama lately, I’m giving you a thumbs up (see what I did there?)
The team, and their fans, have experienced a lot in the last week or so. From the players booing fans, to apologies and much more. Here’s everything that’s gone down:
- Sunday: Javy Báez homers, gestures and explains it all — You’ve heard of fans booing players, but have you seen players boo fans? Báez gave a thumbs down gesture to the crowd and later explained that he was giving fans a taste of their own medicine and letting them feel the hate players often feel
- Tuesday: Players’ apology tour, Báez plays hero in win — After backlash, Báez said he never meant to offend anyone and that he loves the fans. Francisco Lindor also apologized for the gesture. Then during a game against his former team, the Cubs, Báez scored the game-winning run and lost his earring in the process
- Wednesday: GM Zack Scott’s DUI arrest — Acting general manager Zack Scott was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Scott attended a fundraiser at owner Steve Cohen’s house in Connecticut on the night of the arrest. The Mets released a statement saying, “We were surprised and deeply disappointed to learn this morning about an alleged DUI involving Zack Scott. We take this matter very seriously.”
This has been a wild week for the Mets … and the week isn’t even over yet.
2. Why the Patriots think Mac Jones is ready 🏈
The last rookie quarterback to start for the New England Patriots was Drew Bledsoe in 1993 (which was before I was born). Come Week 1 of this season, we will see it once again. Even when the Patriots took quarterback Mac Jones in the first round, Cam Newton was presumed to be the starter, but things change quickly in the NFL.
Now Newton is off the team and Jones is getting that starter position. Jones impressed in training camp and clearly head coach Bill Belichick sees him not just as the future, but as the now. The young quarterback outplayed his competition and it helped his case that Newton missed time due to a misunderstanding over the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels discussed why Jones got the job and shared his thoughts on Newton:
- McDaniels on Jones: “When you look at the whole body of work since he’s gotten here, he’s been well-prepared each day to come in and do the things we ask our players to do … He’s improved. He’s generally taken care of the football.”
- McDaniels on Jones:: “Really feel confident about [Jones’] approach. [He] tries not to make the same mistake twice. He’s really shown a strong aptitude at a young age to put those mistakes behind him.”
- McDaniels on Newton: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player, as a human being. He knows how I feel about him. He did everything he could to try and help us win.”
Last season, Newton went 7-8 as a starter and recorded 10 interceptions and only eight touchdowns.
Now, the question is whether Jones can do better, especially in a city that is used to having a quarterback that can lead them to championships.
3. Possible landing spots for Ben Simmons 🏀
Ben Simmons has basically demanded a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers and told the team he does not intend to report for training camp. Simmons’ future with the team has been in question for some time. We went over this yesterday, but we aren’t fully done with this story yet.
As Chris Bengel wrote in the Wednesday newsletter, Daryl Morey has demanded a lot in the past. But now that Simmons wants out, that could change. CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney wrote about the current situation and said the 76ers need to “get realistic with their demands.”
Here are six teams that could work for Simmons, if he chooses to embrace a role more tailored to his abilities:
- No. 1: Portland Trail Blazers
- No. 2: Golden State Warriors
- No. 3: Atlanta Hawks
- No. 4: Denver Nuggets
- No. 5: Minnesota Timberwolves
- No. 6: Memphis Grizzlies
- No. 7: Cleveland Cavaliers
For commentary on why each team could be a landing spot for Simmons, click here.
4. Will an NFL team go from worst to first? 🏈
The NFL is unpredictable. A team could be good one year and terrible the next.
Pretty much every season, there’s a team that goes from worst to first, so don’t fret if your team is coming off a losing season — this time around could be better. Even you Jets fans!! OK, maybe not with the AFC East competition, but you guys get what I’m saying here.
The Washington Football Team is the latest team to go from the worst to first in their division, though they only needed seven wins to be the division champs. In the last 15 years, 13 teams have done what Washington pulled off last year and since 2006, 18 teams have pulled it off, so there’s statistically a large chance it happens again this year.
Let’s take a look at which teams are most likely to pull this off, with No. 1 being the most likely and No. 8 being the least likely. Here’s a look at the list, along with their record last year:
- No. 1: San Francisco 49ers, 6-10
- No. 2: Philadelphia Eagles, 4-11-1
- No. 3: Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-16
- No. 4: Denver Broncos, 5-11
- No. 5: Atlanta Falcons, 4-12
- No. 6: Cincinnati Bengals, 4-11-1
- No. 7: New York Jets, 2-14
- No. 8: Detroit Lions, 5-11
For full commentary on each team, as well as the odds for each team to win the division, click here.
As far as their competition goes, I think the Eagles have an easy path with such a weak division. The Chiefs, Buccaneers and Bills likely won’t give up their No. 1 spot, which means a division championship is most likely out for the Broncos, Falcons and Jets. Even if those teams do slip, I can’t see these three beating out the other teams in their division.
The Browns and Steelers will likely be fighting for the division title next year over in the AFC North, so even with Joe Burrow back I don’t see the Bengals getting past those two.
📝 Odds & Ends
- The Dodgers are back in first place for the first time since April
- According to reports, the Bishop Sycamore football team was accused of writing bad checks to an Ohio hotel
- Here are the best bets to make for Super Bowl LVI
- Former New England Patriot Asante Samuel says Bill Belichick is “just another coach” without Tom Brady
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Red Sox vs. Rays, 7:10 p.m. | TB -160 | TV: MLB.TV
⚾ Marlins vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. | NYM -182 | TV: MLB.TV
Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅
Our Fantasy Football Today Draft-a-Thon took place yesterday and it featured six hours of advice from experts while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As of right now, over $35,000 has been raised and you can still donate here.