New coaches get off to rough starts in 2018
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
Tuesday, September 18
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden was welcomed back to Oakland as a returning hero when he got hired for his second stint as coach of the Raiders.
There was a party he hosted for fans at a local sports bar, loud ovations in the preseason and a heightened level of excitement that Gruden could get the Raiders back to being the consistent winner they were during his first stint that started two decades ago.
The reality has been far different after two weeks. Fans are frustrated by the trade of the team’s best player, Khalil Mack, the crowd booed at the end of a lopsided, season-opening loss, and an 0-2 start have raised questions about how long it will take to turn the Raiders into a winner.
“We’re going to keep building our football team. Whether that translates into one win or four wins or any wins, I’m not going to make any predictions,” Gruden said.
“I want to continue to play good, hard-nose football. Keep improving. Keep improving and good things will happen. I’m not going to sit here and make any predictions about anything other than we’re going to play hard and provide the best effort we can.”
Gruden’s not alone when it comes to getting off to slow starts in a new tenure as coach. All seven new coaches lost on the opening weekend for the worst debut performance in NFL history for a new class of coaches.
There was some improvement in Week 2 as Indianapolis’ Frank Reich, Chicago’s Matt Nagy and Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel all got into the win column for the first time in their head coaching careers.
“It always helps to win,” Vrabel said. “When you’re trying to explain things to a team, or trying to get a message across, there has to be some tangible evidence to say, ‘Hey, when we do these things we give ourselves a chance to win.’”
The other three new coaches are in the same boat as Gruden, searching for that elusive first win and facing questions about whether they were the right choice for the job.
The New York Giants have looked listless on offense in their first two games under former Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, scoring only one TD in the opener and not making it into the end zone until 1:27 remained in a 20-13 loss to Dallas this past week.
It’s the defense that’s been the problem in Detroit under former New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. The Lions have allowed 78 points in losses to the Jets and San Francisco, the third most in franchise history after two games.
“I certainly understand their frustration and we’re doing everything we can possible to make sure we get this turned around,” Patricia said of Detroit fans who have celebrated just one playoff win in the past 60 years.
“I expect to win every single week and go out and we work extremely hard to make sure we get that done, and we have to keep pushing forward.”
The Cardinals have been perhaps the worst team of all under Steve Wilks, getting outscored 58-6 the first two weeks against Washington and the Rams and failing even to cross midfield until the next-to-last play of the game in Sunday’s 34-0 drubbing against Los Angeles.
There are already questions about coordinator Mike McCoy’s status in Arizona and about when rookie quarterback Josh Rosen should take over from Sam Bradford.
“We all need to look in the mirror and check ourselves and figure out, ‘What can I do to help this team win games?’” Wilks said.
“I don’t think your actual long-term vision changes and your expectations, but you have to be able to adapt in this league. We’re looking to make changes. We’re looking to make this thing better and make it right.
“So, to say that we’re satisfied, (to say that) I’m satisfied to where we are right now not scoring a touchdown in two games and having a lack of production on the offensive side of the ball, no. We’ve got to make some changes.”
One of the problems for these new coaches is the reason they were hired in the first place was that something was wrong with their franchises. The Titans are the only one of the seven teams to make the playoffs in 2017 and the Lions are the only other that had a winning record.
The Cardinals are in a major transition after the retirement of coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer, while the Raiders, Giants and Colts combined for just 13 wins a year ago.
With those recent struggles and coaches who are bringing in new assistants and systems, there is also the usual roster turnover that comes with a new regime.
Implementing that is even harder now than it was in the past because of limited practice time in the offseason and a league-wide move to cut back on playing time for regulars in the exhibition season.
“Everybody’s learning, every week we’re going to learn and get better and make improvements. That’s what we have to do,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning said.
“When you have a new offense, new players, new guys coming in, there is a learning curve to it so we’ve just got to keep grinding and keep preparing and don’t get down. Have the desire to get better.
“If we all want that, we all have that, and we’ve got to make the improvements that the coaches are giving us, and that will give us a better opportunity to win the game.”
AP Pro Football Writer Teresa Walker and AP Sports Writers Bob Baum, Tom Canavan and Noah Trister contributed to this report.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
What the season of fall – and science – teaches us about life and death
Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Samer Zaky does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University of Pittsburgh provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
I was launched as one; and ended up being trillions of them. The cells composing my body are amazing micro-machines; one hundred of them can fit into the period at the end of this phrase. Regardless of my awareness, each of these teeny tiny units strictly performs its own intricate duties: breathing in oxygen and secreting out carbon dioxide, multiplying by splitting into two, migrating around or idling for a while, and ultimately maturing to lay down the specific type of supporting structure known as matrix. The matrix surrounds the cell and sustains its specific function – like soft matrix for skin and hard matrix for bones or teeth.
A cell even has its own brain or, if you will, control panel: the nucleus. This nucleus contains the instructions for building a cell and an entire individual. This four-letter code, known as DNA and measuring 2 meters long from a single nucleus, dictates every single programmed task the cell performs during its life.
Interestingly, the function of a cell does not end at maturation or when it finishes secreting the matrix. The cell’s function is only complete after its final task which is, amazingly, to die: programmed cell death. The term “programmed” describes the organized, planned and careful dismantling of the cell’s components rather than a sudden unpredictable ruination.
Carefully dismantling life
The planned process could be compared to the careful disassembly of a Lego castle. In contrast to the instant gravity-driven wreckage on the ground, pieces are taken off and organized back into their original slots to be eventually reused and reassembled into another complex construction. This organized and programmed “ending” of the life of a cell was sensibly given the biological term “apoptosis” – from Greek “apo,” which means off/away, and “ptosis,” which means dropping, referring to the falling leaves.
What is more intriguing than the apoptosis process itself is the analogy behind its name. During autumn, leaves dry and fall off the tree. Despite leaving an obvious leafless and seemingly lifeless structure, it is only by shedding its leaves that the tree can survive the windy and sun-deprived winter, when sudden gusts could blow down a tree laden with a large surface area of leaves.
In other words, dismissing its leaves before winter, the tree prepares to reduce wind resistance and to save energy to re-blossom in the spring.
The death of the part – the leaf – as sad as it may seem, is for the sake of the life of the whole tree. If leaves do not leave (is that where their name comes from?!), the whole tree will die, taking with it the lingering leaves. Similarly, the apoptosis of a cell is a necessary sacrifice to preserve the life of the whole body.
Life goes on …
Taking our bones as an example, the balance between the newborn and dying cells is the key to the natural turnover for our healthy skeleton. In fact, about 10 percent of our bone mass is renewed every year with cells dying and new ones taking their place. When the balance of this process is disrupted, disease results. Too many dying cells leads to the loss of bone mass, such as in a condition known as osteoporosis, which means porous bones. Too many new cells leads to bone tumors. Having their programmed death gone awry, cells multiply indefinitely and uncontrollably – a condition known as cancer – which sets the whole body to an eventual death.
On different scales – the leaf for a tree, the cell for the body, the individual for the society – what we perceive as death is actually an act of carrying on life. Mourning the separation from our beloved inevitably, and rightfully, overrides our understanding – or rather the inability to understand – death, life’s plainest and most puzzling fact and inescapable fate.
All of us will eventually drop off the tree. In fact, birth could ironically be regarded as the primary predisposing factor for death; the only guarantee not to fall off is not to get seeded in the first place.
Before it is too late
Having experienced wet eyes, I am not trying or daring to make the departure of our beloved ones into a soothing scientific technicality or underestimate the associated feelings. Indeed, despite what we can learn from trees, we are not trees: Feelings are an integrated part of our existence and are what makes us human.
Ruth McKernan, a British neuroscientist who studies how our brain functions, having struggled through the moments of her father’s agony and endured the grief of separation, puts it this way in her book “Billy’s Halo”: “That is science and that is real life. At the moments of separation, all the theory doesn’t make it easier to bear.”
This fall, while contemplating the panoply of the fall colors and the leaves dropping, let us remind ourselves to cherish our seniors while they are around. Acknowledging that our comfort and joy are not synonymous, let us serve them with appreciation for what they have contributed in our lives.
Remembering who have passed, let us celebrate their legacy that paved the way to new blossoming generations; and certainly we shall mourn our beloved who have prematurely left. Let us decide to do the best we can, wherever and whenever we can for our family, friends, coworkers and all our fellow “leaves” in society as long as we are still connected to its branches.
Nike Says ‘Believe in Something.’ Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
The company has made millions off Colin Kaepernick’s message. That money should go right back to the cause that message supports.
By Jessicah Pierre | September 19, 2018
Nike’s latest “Just Do It” ad campaign includes a number of A-list athletes: LeBron James, Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr. — and most controversially, Colin Kaepernick.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Kaepernick — who played quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers — famously knelt during the national anthem before NFL games to protest police brutality toward African Americans. The blowback from his protest led to him being blackballed from the NFL.
Kaepernick’s activism was audaciously displayed on a larger platform in Nike’s multi-national ad campaign, featuring a video and image of Kaepernick with the tagline: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Nike’s bold move led to more uproar from Kaepernick’s critics. Some white customers even ceremoniously burned their Nike apparel and called for a boycott of the company. But for Nike’s core customers — millennials and young urban men — this ad sent a strong message of solidarity.
Consumers and celebrities alike are now supporting Nike for giving Kaepernick that platform. In less than 24 hours after announcing Kaepernick as the face of their new marketing campaign, the sportswear company received more than $43 million worth of mostly positive media exposure, one report estimates.
Since then, that total has only grown.
“What can I do that’s meaningful?” asked Blackish star Jenifer Lewis as she donned a Nike sweater on the Emmys red carpet. “I’ll wear Nike. I’ll wear Nike to say thank you. Thank you for leading the resistance! We need more corporate America to stand up also.”
According to Forbes, the company saw a 31 percent increase in sales just a few days after the ad became public. And while Nike’s stock initially dipped following the promotion release, it not only recovered but surpassed all stock records for 2018, trading at an all-time high of $83.90 a share.
This has caused a number of people, including myself, to question Nike’s motives. Guardian writer Arwa Mahdawi accused Nike of the latest capitalistic trend, “woke-washing” — that is, using “progressive values as a marketing ploy, appropriating social activism as a form of advertising.”
This wouldn’t be the first offense by a major corporation.
Not long ago Pepsi pulled a controversial ad they said was meant to “project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding” after it borrowed imagery from Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson. (But unlike Nike, this ad received strong backlash from police brutality protesters who accused the ad of being tone deaf.)
Is it possible for a company to support racial justice without exploiting it for profit? Yes.
Actually, there’s an easy way for Nike to prove that their latest ad isn’t just a form of woke washing: It can give the revenue from their “Kaepernick bump” right back to the cause they’re supposedly taking a stand for. The company can start by matching Colin Kaepernick’s own pledge to donate $1 million to organizations working in oppressed communities.
Let’s applaud Nike for taking this very important stand. But we also need to challenge corporations who use progressive messages in their advertising to put their money where their mouth is.
Jessicah Pierre is the inequality media specialist at the Institute for Policy Studies. Distributed by OtherWords.org.
AccuWeather Global Weather Center – September 19, 2018 – Forecasters are calling for an excellent fall foliage season in parts of the Northeast this year, thanks to ideal weather conditions over the summer.
Leaf peepers are most likely to find vibrant autumn leaves in the corridor stretching from southern New York to southern New England.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido said: “In this region, rainfall has not been as extreme from the summer months and near- to below-normal autumn rain is expected.”
“There is a greater likelihood for the dry, cool nights and sunshine-filled days that enhance leaf vibrancy,” he said.
The remainder of the East will struggle to develop to its full potential, with warmer and wetter-than-normal conditions in the forecast.
Vido said: “Across much of the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and southern Appalachians, the long-range team is anticipating warmer and wetter conditions than normal.”
SR 347 between SR 4 and SR 31
3 PM TODAY: SR 347 will OPEN today (Sept. 19) by 3 pm between SR 4 and SR 31. The work by ODOT forces to install seven new culverts has been completed.
OHIO HOUSE DISTRICT 67 CANDIDATE CORY HOFFMAN ON OPPONENT KRIS JORDAN’S CONCEALED ASSETS & PRECIOUS METALS SALES TAX EXEMPTION
Provided By Friends of Cory Hoffman
Monday, September 3, 2018
Over the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, Cory Hoffman – the Democratic Nominee for Ohio’s 67th House District – was asked to comment on Kris Jordan’s efforts as an Ohio Senator to craft a special sales tax exemption for purchases of gold, silver, and other precious metals while secretly buying $200,000 worth of silver for himself. In response, Hoffman provided the following statement:
“First and foremost, I’d like to express my condolences to Kris Jordan and his family that aspects of their personal affairs are being aired in public again – such is the nature of public life – and when it’s all said and done, I wish them happiness.
As to the revelation that Senator Jordan has been hiding precious metal assets even while he sought special tax treatment for them – at my firm’s tax practice, we often joke that the reason some businesses pay sales and use tax while others don’t is because some businesses have better lobbyists than others.
Sadly, that joke has not only come true in this instance, but the lobbyist is our own State Senator. It is apparent that Kris Jordan was carving out special provisions in the tax code that would benefit himself instead of looking out for Delaware County residents and businesses.
Senator Jordan has a reputation as a legislator who votes no on everything – and yet, it just so happens that the one special interest policy he is for is the one that would substantially benefit his personal investments?
Even if we give Senator Jordan the benefit of the doubt and suppose he believed a special-interest sales tax exemption like this was good public policy – the honorable thing to do would have been to recuse himself from voting on the issue and explain why – that he had a conflict of interest.
But instead, he’s using his power to subsidize his own personal investments and he’s hiding it from the public and even his own family. If he can’t be open and honest with his own family on something like this, how can we expect him to be transparent with us – the people he’s supposed to represent?
Unfortunately, this is just another example of Kris Jordan and a corrupt faction of the Ohio Republican Party that has gone off the rails – abusing their power and failing to represent the people who put them in power.
It just goes on and on – from diverting public education dollars to a fraudulent e-school in exchange for campaign contributions, killing bipartisan payday lending reform in exchange for illegal kickbacks, to now, carving out special tax exemptions to protect their own secret investments at the expense of ordinary Ohioans – The Ohio Republican Party has started to look like the sort of racketeering frauds I came across as a securities fraud enforcement attorney.
It’s a racket being used for graft & personal gain posing as a political party and defrauding voters. In my humble opinion, there’s nothing conservative or traditionally Republican about any of this behavior and the only way the Ohio GOP will respect those traditional values again is if the voters get rid of legislators like Senator Jordan who have betrayed their trust.
Delaware County voters will have a chance to respond this fall and hold him accountable in the voting booth.”