Conservatives still working on candidate harassment policy promised this year

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are still working on an anti-harassment policy that would apply to candidates in the coming election campaign.The party promised a code of conduct for its candidates in response to a report on how former Conservative MP Rick Dykstra remained on the ballot in 2015 even after the party learned he was accused of assaulting a woman who worked for another MP.Dykstra, who lost his seat in the southern Ontario riding of St. Catharines in the 2015 election, denies doing anything wrong.The Conservatives hired lawyer Carol Nielsen to investigate how they handled the allegations, and earlier this year she recommended changes to human resources policies, which the party promised to make.Party spokesman Cory Hann says the Tories expect to have the policy ready by the time the campaign officially begins.Hann says the party has already strengthened its candidate vetting procedures, brought in more thorough police record checks and completed harassment training across the country.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

US Interior chief wants smaller monuments but not at home

first_imgBILLINGS, Mont. – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has closely followed his boss’ playbook, encouraging mining and drilling on public lands and reducing the size of national monuments that President Donald Trump called a “massive land grab” by his Democratic predecessors.Except, that is, in Montana.In Zinke’s home state, the former congressman who has long harboured higher political ambitions is recommending Trump create a new national monument out of the forests bordering Glacier National Park, to the disappointment of a company that wants to drill for natural gas there.A couple hundred miles away, where rocky bluffs line the Missouri River, he decided to leave intact a 590-square-mile (1,528-square-kilometre) monument that for 16 years has stirred the kind of impassioned local opposition that Zinke cited in justifying changes to monuments elsewhere.And he wants to curb mining along Montana’s border with Yellowstone National Park. That could discourage development of two proposed mines that supporters say would offer higher paying jobs than tourism.The decision was based on Zinke’s belief that “some places are too precious to mine,” his spokeswoman said last month.Zinke, a rumoured candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018 or governor in 2020, appears to be carving out an exception for Montana from Trump’s agenda to open more public lands to natural resources development. Whether it stems from Montana pride or political ambition in a state where conservation has bipartisan appeal, the results have rankled both sides in the debate over managing millions of acres of public lands in the U.S. West.“It’s totally favouritism,” said Land Tawney, president of the conservation group Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.Tawney is a friend of the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his group threw its support behind Zinke’s nomination last winter. But he said the Interior secretary’s recommendations to scale back four large monuments in the West, including Bears Ears in Utah, represent a “sellout to industry” that’s putting public land and wildlife at risk. Zinke also called for shrinking two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean.“We’re happy he recognizes the importance of the Badger Two-Medicine,” Tawney said, referring to the 203-square-mile (526-square-kilometre) area south of Glacier that Zinke recommends be a monument. “Places that are very similar in fashion, like Bears Ears, he’s not quite protecting. … You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth.”Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift declined to comment on how he came to recommend a monument designation for Badger-Two Medicine or whether he was treating public lands in Montana differently than elsewhere.Of the 27 monuments that Trump in May ordered Zinke to review, the Interior Department so far has publicly identified six that would not be modified in some fashion, including the one in Montana and monuments in Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and California.Zinke’s recommendations for smaller monuments include a second site in Utah and locations in Nevada and Oregon. He also would allow logging at a Maine monument and more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.In his recommendations to Trump, contained in a recently leaked memo, Zinke noted that the Badger-Two Medicine area is sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.Zinke also suggested monument status for two other sites: Camp Nelson in Kentucky, a Union supply depot and hospital where black troops and others trained during the Civil War, and the Jackson, Mississippi, home of slain civil rights figure Medgar Evers.Badger-Two Medicine has been the subject of a long-running dispute between the Blackfeet Tribe, which has a reservation next to the proposed monument, and a Louisiana oil and gas company, Solenex, which wants to drill on the land.Zinke’s recommendation for the area presents an “optics problem” at a time when the Trump administration has criticized the use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to create monuments, said William Perry Pendley, president of the conservative Mountain States Legal Foundation, which is representing Solenex.“It’s terribly disappointing,” Pendley said. “What the secretary ought to be sending to the president is a recommendation to repeal the Antiquities Act, to put an end to this issue.”Pendley compared Zinke’s actions to those of President Bill Clinton in 1996, when he halted a gold mine near Yellowstone, and of the Obama administration last year, when it proposed to end new mining claims on 30,000 acres near the park, which Zinke now supports.Zinke has made no secret of his political desires. In his first term in the U.S. House, he raised his hand to become speaker but didn’t get chosen after Ohio Rep. John Boehner resigned. Last year, Zinke became an early supporter of Trump and publicly stated his desire to be picked as vice-president.In Montana, he’s been viewed as a potential contender against U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat up for re-election next year whom Republicans consider vulnerable. Analysts say it’s not too late for Zinke to jump in.Another possibility arises in 2020 when Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, reaches his two-term limit.Residents in the tiny ranching community of Winifred were disappointed by Zinke’s decision to leave intact the nearby Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, which they have fought since Clinton designated it in January 2001 in one of his last acts in office.When Trump and Zinke arrived in Washington, they seemed to promise the changes the community long sought, said Ron Poertner, a rancher and member of the group Missouri River Stewards.“We thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, somebody has finally seen the light and is going to get this monument business right,’” Poertner said.“But there’s just one person per mile over here and these liberals and big media can out-organize us in a heartbeat,” he said. “If there are any political aspirations, you don’t want to tick off where the strength of voting is in Montana.”___Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/matthewbrownap .last_img read more

Nevsun Resources says Lundin offer ignores fundamental value of the company

first_imgTORONTO – Nevsun Resources Ltd. says a renewed takeover offer by Lundin Mining Corp. ignores the fundamental value of the company.The company urged shareholders to take no action in response to Lundin’s announcement, noting that no formal offer has yet been made.Lundin Mining says it plans to make a restructured $1.4-billion cash offer for Nevsun Resources after a previous attempt fell through.In May, the company partnered with Euro Sun Mining Inc. on a roughly $1.5-billion takeover offer that was a combination of cash and shares in both firms.Nevsun rejected that offer because it said it overvalued Euro Sun’s shares and because the company’s involvement raised other uncertainties.The company says the latest offer of $4.75 per share in cash is less than the $5 in cash and shares in an expression of interest by Lundin earlier this month.Shares in Nevsun, which operates the Bisha Mine in Eritrea and the Timok project in Serbia, closed down nine cents at $4.21 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.Companies in this story: (TSX:NSU, TSX:LUN, TSX:ESM)last_img read more

Meng Whanzous rise through the ranks at Huawei

first_imgNEW YORK — Before her dramatic arrest in Canada, few in the U.S. had heard of Meng Wanzhou.Meng is chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman of the board of Chinese telecom company Huawei. The 46-year-old woman now faces extradition to the U.S., reportedly on charges of trying to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese military engineer. She’s likely his heir apparent. While personal details are scant, Huawei says she is married and has a son and a daughter.Meng started in a low-level position at Huawei in 1993 when she in her 20s and rose through the ranks in finance and accounting positions as Huawei grew. The company is now the world’s biggest supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies.Mae Anderson, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Recycling all that crap

first_imgThe latest data on rural sanitation from the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) has said that more than 99 per cent of India’s rural households have been covered by toilets. The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey of 2018-19 points out that around 38 per cent of the toilets are attached to some kind of septic tank. Officials from MDWS say the septic tank is the most popular option for people, who have a tendency to move towards it as an option for on-site sanitation. Also Read – A special kind of bondThis raises a concern — what will happen to the huge of amount of faecal sludge sucked out of these tanks? Subhash Kirpal, a resident of Linga gram panchayat of Nagpur district in Maharashtra says communities that are well-off prefer septic tanks. In Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj district, the toilets in the Umrada block constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission are attached to box-like containment structures wrongly termed as “septic tanks”. Kirpal explains that faecal sludge in the septic tank (or the box in some cases) is emptied by honey suckers and dumped in agricultural fields. The villagers struggle with the raw faecal sludge in the fields. There have been studies to show that dry faecal sludge can be mixed with organic wastes and used for crop production successfully. Countries like India and Bangladesh have implemented some of these projects. Also Read – Insider threat managementAccording to Olufunke Cofie, International Water Management Institute, Africa Regional Office, Ghana, inorganic fertiliser is not sufficient to add nutrients to the soil for crop production. Cofie says that excreta contains valuable nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and organic matter. Municipal solid wastes (MSW), which are also dumped without planning, contain phosphorous, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and carbon. Co-composting of faecal sludge and MSW complement each other and provide missing components to each other as per Cofie. The microbial population in the final product is reduced enormously says a 2009 study by Cofie. The study says that the final product complies with the 2006 standards of the World Health Organization for the safe reuse of faecal sludge. A study published in 2017 in the International Journal of Recycling of Organic Waste in Agriculture shows that de-watered faecal sludge mixed with agricultural wastes like oil palm, empty fruit bunches or cocoa pod husks is a good fertiliser. An experiment had been carried out at the University of Ghana at the Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre. The researchers point out that Ghana produces around 3.5 million tonnes of human excreta based on the average production of 400 grams per capita per day. Similarly, the country also produces 3,135,000 tonnes of empty fruit bunches and 550,750 tonnes of dry cocoa husks. This leaves a lot of human and agricultural wastes in the environment, which are dumped in landfills. According to the authors, co-composting of dried faecal sludge and agricultural wastes can be used as an alternative option for managing these wastes and to produce a suitable soil amendment. The Rural Development Organisation Trust, a Tamil Nadu-based non-profit that has been working in the Nilgiris since 1980, has put up three faecal sludge treatment plants (FSTP). The compost from here is blended with kitchen waste compost. About two tonnes of co-compost is produced every day, says Raj Kumar, the Chief Executive Officer of the plant. Kumar explains the Ketty Town Panchayat in the Nilgiris has developed an FSTP a year-and-a-half ago. There are 68 villages here, with 40 to 50 households in each village. The toilets are either connected to leach pits or septic tanks. The tanks are emptied by honey suckers and brought to the plant. The Town Panchayat has a resource recovery park and the FSTP has been developed as a part of this. The manure is tested at a laboratory in Chennai every month before being distributed to farmers at a subsidised price of Rs 5 per kilogram. The revenue is collected by the Town Panchayat. According to Kumar, the cost of the FSTP comes to Rs 50,000 per kilolitre per day. (The author is the Programme Manager, Water Programme. She is a geologist by training and works on the policy related issues of water management and sanitation. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Trump delays decision on auto tariffs for up to six months

first_imgWashington: President Donald Trump on Friday announced a six-month delay in imposing steep tariffs on auto imports, seeking to pressure Europe and Japan into bargaining table concessions on trade. The decision marked a temporary reprieve from what would have been a sizable escalation in Trump’s multi-front trade wars. Trump’s threat targets a major chunk of global economic activity with profound disruptions. Hundreds of billions of dollars in autos are manufactured, shipped and sold internationally every year. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report In a proclamation, the president directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to update him within 180 days on the outcome of negotiations with the EU, Japan and “any other country” Lighthizer deems appropriate. By leaving the threat of tariffs hanging, Trump’s move raises the temperature in European capitals already angered by the imposition of punishing US duties on steel and aluminum last year. Trump’s decision also preserved a truce declared last year with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in which both sides agreed to cease trade hostilities while efforts continued to resolve the trade dispute. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests Despite the decision, Trump continued his attacks on EU trade policy. “The European Union treats us, I’d say, worse than China — they’re just smaller,” Trump said at an event. “They don’t want our farmers, they don’t want our cars… They send Mercedes-Benz here like they’re cookies,” Trump said, adding that “they take advantage of us on trade.” “We all love Europe but it’s not fair.” In response to the US metal tariffs, the EU last year imposed stinging duties on American exports like motorcycles, orange juice, whiskey and blue jeans, and threatened to retaliate further should the auto tariffs be imposed. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed an existing offer that “the EU is prepared to negotiate a limited trade agreement including cars.” The six-month delay had been expected this week as industry sources confirmed media reports that Trump would hold off — delighting markets which had feared sharp economic consequences of such a move. In his proclamation, Trump described the US auto sector as facing decline due to unfair foreign competition. A report by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross concluded that America’s shrinking share of the auto market jeopardized its research, development and manufacturing — all “vital to national security,” according to Trump. In a conclusion likely to invite challenges from manufacturers and industry analysts, Trump said America’s defense industrial base relied on the domestic auto sector for technological advances essential to US “military superiority.” Citing Ross’s conclusions, Trump pointed to a doubling of US imports over the last 34 years but accused Europe and Japan of raising “significant barriers” to accepting American exports in return. In that same period, the domestic market share of American-owned manufacturers fell to just 22 percent from 67 percent, he said. “In light of all of these factors, domestic conditions of competition must be improved by reducing imports,” Trump said. Reacting to the announcement, Dieter Kempf, head of the German industrial federation, said “cars do not threaten the national security of the United States.” Japanese automaker Toyota, which has factories and research centers in the United States also strongly rejected the notion. “Today’s proclamation sends a message to Toyota that our investments are not welcomed, and the contributions from each of our employees across America are not valued,” a statement read. “If import quotas are imposed, the biggest losers will be consumers who will pay more and have fewer vehicle choices.” Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, said that by jacking up tariffs on 200 billion worth of Chinese merchandise last week Trump had shown Brussels his tariff threats were not idle. “I think it’s a signal to everybody that he means business,” Chesbrough told AFP. “I think in general it’s a good news story in that it buys the industry a little more time to try to get the president to change his mind about the tariffs.” The United States imported almost 200 billion worth of autos in 2017, according to the proclamation. But, while foreign-branded cars are popular in the United States, many automakers have championed their US-based manufacturing operations in places like Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina.last_img read more

Travis Henry Reinstated To NFL After Drug Charges

Travis Henry, known more for his unconscionable amount of children more than his prowess on the field, was reinstated from the suspended list and is free to sign with an NFL team that might be interested, according to Scout.com.Henry, a 33-year-old running back that played 90 games in the NFL, has not played since 2007. A few months after being cut by the Denver Broncos, Henry was arrested by federal drug agents in October 2008.He pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and was sentenced to three years in prison for financing a drug ring that moved cocaine between Colorado and Montana.Henry has said that at the time of his arrest that he was struggling to keep up with child support payments. So instead of working on getting on with another team, Henry decided to become a drug dealer, which speaks to where his head was.Perhaps that’s the residual that comes with having 11 children with 10 different women. That is not a misprint.His story could be such a feel-good thing. He rose from a childhood of poverty; his single mother picked oranges for a living. But Henry made it happen on the football team, becoming a record-setting running back at the University of Tennessee.He was drafted in 2001 by the Buffalo Bills and joined the Broncos in 2007 after two seasons with the Tennessee Titans. It was all set up for him to create the life he wanted.But one season into a four-year, $22.5 million contract, Henry was cut following allegations of drug use and a perceived lack of commitment.His income gone, Henry turned to the drug trade in part to cover mounting child support payments, according to court documents and testimony.Henry has rushed for 6,086 yards and 38 touchdowns in 90 NFL games. Latching on a team after five years out of the league promise to be a tough chore read more

2015 NFL Preview The Texans Jaguars And Titans Will Try To Rein

In preparation for the 2015 NFL season, FiveThirtyEight is running a series of eight division previews, each highlighting the numbers that may influence a team’s performance (including projections and rankings based on ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index). Today we turn to the AFC South — perhaps the most imbalanced division in football. Andrew Luck’s Colts are potentially the league’s best team; the Texans, Jaguars and Titans are just hoping to keep things competitive. Bruce Gradkowski20.14-934.42-5 FIRST 13 STARTSREST OF STARTING CAREER Indianapolis Colts2014 Record: 11-5 | 2015 Projected Wins: 10.5 | Playoff Odds: 84.0%Offensive Rank: 2nd | Defensive Rank: 20th | Special Teams Rank: 17thSteadily, the Indianapolis Colts are climbing toward the Super Bowl. In Andrew Luck’s first two seasons under center, the team went from out of the playoffs to the wild card game in 2012 and then to the divisional round in 2013. And in 2014, a third straight 11-win season yielded a trip to the AFC Championship game. Now, the Colts enter 2015 with the AFC’s best chance (25.6 percent) of making Super Bowl 50, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).But as much as that probability attests to Indy’s progress as a team, it’s also an indictment of the rest of the AFC South. Luck is the division’s only top-tier quarterback, the Colts are its only top-15 preseason FPI team, and Indianapolis is projected to play one of the easiest schedules in the AFC. So while the Colts have the NFL’s best odds to win their division (73.4 percent) and make the playoffs (84 percent), merely getting to the postseason out of a weak division is no longer enough.And in order for the team to reach the next stage in its ascent, Luck needs help. Last season, he was asked to do more than any other quarterback in the NFL, as the Indianapolis offense passed on 67 percent of its snaps. Saddled with that workload, Luck ranked first in touchdown passes but also 32nd (out of 33 qualified quarterbacks) in turnovers, with many of those miscues resulting from Luck trying to do too much.To take the pressure off of Luck, the Colts need to improve their running game. Last season, Indianapolis ranked seventh1According to TruMedia’s proprietary data, which I accessed as an employee of ESPN. in passing expected points added (EPA) per game but 29th in rushing EPA per game — the biggest such rankings disparity of any team in the NFL. The addition of running back Frank Gore is an upgrade over Trent Richardson,2Really, just about any running back would have been an upgrade over Richardson. but the offensive line, patchy at best (with 11 starting combinations) a year ago, needs to open more holes after ranking 22nd in yards before contact per rush.3A stat that quantifies both O-line run-blocking effectiveness and RB vision by measuring how far, on average, the ball carriers behind them make it before making first contact with a defender.As long as the Colts have a quarterback and the rest of the AFC South does not, they’ll have a successful season. In fact, with 10 games against what FPI considers the two weakest divisions in football (the NFC South and the rest of the AFC South), don’t be surprised if Indy earns the AFC’s No. 1 overall playoff seed.4A feat that FPI gives them an NFL-best 29 percent chance of achieving. But if the Colts want to keep rising ever closer to the league’s summit, they can’t rely on Luck alone. Kellen Clemens24.24-943.14-4 FiveThirtyEight is previewing the 2015 NFL season ahead of the first game of the year. Check out our coverage of every division » QUARTERBACKTOTAL QBRW-LTOTAL QBRW-L Tennessee Titans2014 Record: 2-14 | 2015 Proj. W: 5.7 | Playoff Odds: 5.3%Off. Rank: 29th | Def. Rank: 32nd | S.T. Rank: 5thGood luck finding a 2015 Tennessee Titans preview that doesn’t focus on the No. 2 overall pick in this past spring’s draft, quarterback Marcus Mariota. After a disappointing 2-14 season in which the Titans started three different QBs,18Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger — all of whom posted a below-average Total QBR. the Titans and their fans are counting on Mariota to step in and revive the offense.At least one projection system (full disclosure: it’s the one developed by my colleagues in ESPN’s Stats & Information Group) expects Mariota to be the top quarterback in his class by 2018, but there are bound to be growing pains as he adapts to the NFL. And even if we pretend Mariota has no trouble transitioning from the spread offense he operated with Heisman-winning efficiency at Oregon to Ken Whisenhunt’s more vertical, pro-style scheme, who is he going to throw to? And how will Tennessee’s rushers help take pressure off Mariota and the passing game?Fantasy rankings have their flaws (for instance, a team might have two good players at the same position), but they can serve as a decent proxy for evaluating individual offensive talent. And they build a pretty convincing case that the Titans possess the least-talented group of non-quarterback skill-position players in the NFL.For starters, Tennessee’s top-rated fantasy player — running back Bishop Sankey — ranks 95th in ESPN’s Fantasy Rankings,19All rankings are as of Sept. 3. 27 spots lower than any other team’s highest-ranked player. The rankings also assign a dollar value to each player (with replacement-level players20In fantasy football terms. receiving no value), and Tennessee’s entire roster of fantasy-eligible players21Including defenses, kickers and offensive skill-position players. is worth a whopping nine bucks. That’s the lowest of any team in the league — and $46 less than the value of Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, the most expensive player in ESPN’s rankings.After ranking 30th in offensive EPA per play22Again, including an adjustment that reduces the effects of blowouts. (and 29th defensively) last season, the Titans would truly need a “Super Mariota” performance to elevate this group into playoff contention. So though Mariota is getting all the headlines, the true determinant of Tennessee’s success may be whether any other player can step up to take some pressure off of its rookie QB. John Skelton28.98-511.00-4 There’s also no doubt that Bortles needs help. Last season, Jacksonville’s top pass catcher (Allen Hurns) ranked 67th in receiving yards, its top rusher (former quarterback Denard Robinson) ranked 30th in rushing yards and its offensive line ranked 29th in pass protection.16ESPN’s pass protection metric measures the percentage of pass plays in which the offensive line controls the line of scrimmage.Maybe the aforementioned Jaguars defense can come to Bortles’s aid. It ranked 17th in the NFL in EPA per play17This includes a weighting adjustment that downplays the effects of blowouts. and held opponents to the league’s 14th-lowest Total QBR last season. But even if the defense ascends into the NFL’s top 10, the offense will still likely be too much to overcome. That’s why FPI predicts that Jacksonville’s cycle of high draft picks will go unbroken, assigning the Jags a nearly 50 percent chance of picking in the top five for a fifth consecutive season. Jacksonville Jaguars2014 Record: 3-13 | 2015 Proj. W: 5.5 | Playoff Odds: 4.2%Off. Rank: 32nd | Def. Rank: 18th | S.T. Rank: 9thIt’s been four painful seasons since the Jacksonville Jaguars finished with a .500 record (they went 8-8 in 2010).10In fact, they haven’t had a .500 record at any point in a season since Week 2 of the 2011 season. During that span, the team has the worst record in the NFL (14-50) and hasn’t won more than five games in any season.Unfortunately for the Jaguars, that record cannot be attributed to bad luck — they also produced an NFL-low 15 pythagorean wins11A better measure of how many wins a team “deserves” after stripping away the luck of winning close games. — or a lack of draft picks. Despite Jacksonville picking in the top five of a record four consecutive NFL drafts, and having had at least one top-10 pick for eight years running, the talent gap between the Jaguars and the rest of the league continues to grow. And it isn’t likely to decrease in 2015: first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. has already gone down with an ACL tear, while prized free-agent tight end Julius Thomas may be out until Week 4.Jacksonville’s defense isn’t awful (more on this later), which might offer hope. But as any football fan knows, today’s NFL is all about the quarterback, and in order for the Jaguars to take steps toward respectability, they need Blake Bortles to improve on the NFL-worst 25.2 Total QBR he put up in 2014.Based on an admittedly small sample, quarterbacks who start their careers as badly as Bortles has rarely get better. Going back to 2006,12The first year in which Total QBR can be calculated. there have been eight passers13Among the names on the list is Jacksonville’s previous first-round quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. (other than Bortles) who produced a Total QBR of 30.0 or worse through their first 13 starts.14Using data from only games in which the quarterback was his team’s starter. After such rough debuts, the octet combined for a winning percentage of 38.1 and an average Total QBR of 29.7 in their subsequent starts; only Mark Sanchez started more than 16 additional games.15In fairness, these guys’ careers aren’t uniformly over, so they may start again someday. But only Geno Smith and Bortles were projected to be starters going into training camp, and Smith’s status as starter was short-lived. Houston Texans2014 Record: 9-7 | 2015 Proj. W: 8.5 | Playoff Odds: 43.2%Off. Rank: 23rd | Def. Rank: 4th | S.T. Rank: 21stThe Houston Texans are so defined by their best player that the latest edition of “Hard Knocks” should have been renamed “The J.J. Watt Show.” Last season Watt, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, became the first player since 19825The season the NFL began to officially tally sacks. to post multiple 20-sack seasons in a career, and his impact goes beyond just pressuring the quarterback.Watt led the league in batted passes,6Based on ESPN’s video tracking. fumbles recovered and tackles for loss. Add in five total touchdowns (the most by a defensive lineman in a season since 1944), and it’s not surprising that Watt led the entire league in Approximate Value (AV), Pro-Football-Reference.com’s cross-positional player value metric. He’s also produced more AV through his first four seasons combined than any other defender since the common draft era began in 1967.In other words, Watt might be the best player in football today. And with the Texans adding Vince Wilfork and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney to line up alongside him, Houston’s defense could be even more dominant than it was last season, when it ranked second in defensive EPA.But will any of that matter if Houston’s quarterbacks can’t pass the ball?While developing FPI for the NFL, ESPN’s Stats & Information Group needed a way to estimate each team’s quarterback quality for the upcoming season in order to account for QB injuries when making predictions. The solution: for each starting quarterback (and his backup), FPI generates a per-game EPA projection based on his past performance.7Adjusted for age. In Houston’s case, starting quarterback Brian Hoyer ranks 27th out of 32 expected starters in projected EPA.8Only Josh McCown, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles and rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are lower. Compared with an average starter, Hoyer is expected to cost the Texans about 2.9 points per game. To put that in perspective, if he were an average QB instead, the Texans would rise from 16th overall in preseason FPI to seventh (and fourth in the AFC).There is good news for Houston, though: FPI projects its schedule to be the AFC’s easiest, with interconference games against the historically awful NFC South. Last season, the AFC North drew that division and ended up placing three teams in the playoffs.9It went 12-3-1 versus the NFC South and 26-22 against other divisions. With that schedule and Watt spearheading the fourth-best projected defense in football (according to FPI), Houston might get back to the playoffs in spite of its poor quarterbacking. Mark Sanchez27.46-736.831-26 Read more: 2015 NFL Previews Blaine Gabbert21.03-1024.02-12 JaMarcus Russell23.33-1017.64-8 Blake Bortles24.73-10—— Brandon Weeden29.75-818.90-8 Geno Smith27.76-751.95-11 read more

Buckeyes look to bounce back after tough series at Western Michigan

Crunch time. Do or die. Win or go home. Whatever sports cliché you can think of for needing to win, the unranked Ohio State men’s hockey team is at the point of using it. “It’s getting to that time of year where points are really becoming important,” said junior forward Cory Schneider. “The league standings are pretty tight, so this is a huge series for us.” Under the weight of the series, even OSU coach Mark Osiecki jumped onto the cliché bandwagon. “It’s starting to get down to crunch time,” he said, “and people are looking for points.” The Buckeyes have won six of their last eight games — including a sweep of then-No. 7 Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 7–8 — and will look to continue on that track this weekend against No. 8 Notre Dame. The series between Notre Dame (15-8-3, 12-5-1) and OSU (12-9-2, 7-7-2) will be the Buckeyes’ third straight against a team ranked in the top 20. But they aren’t complaining about it. “It’s fun,” Osiecki said. “I think it’s great for our guys.” Osiecki said his players don’t let the tough matchups mess with their heads. “They’re pretty focused,” he said. “You don’t have to say much during the week — they know what’s coming at them.” Osiecki said he also knows that to beat the Fighting Irish, his Buckeyes can’t stray from who they are and begin to worry about the other team. “If we started to worry about what Notre Dame is doing,” he said, “we’re in trouble.” This week’s series is especially important because of the team’s performance against Western Michigan last weekend. The Buckeyes left “that state up north” with a 4-2 loss Friday and a 2-2 tie Saturday, which they clinched, 2-1, in a shootout. Senior forward John Albert said the team didn’t play as well as it should have, despite pulling off a shootout win, but that it shouldn’t dwell on its subpar effort. “We can’t look back at last weekend and be down on ourselves,” he said. Osiecki agreed, focusing on the team’s improved effort Saturday. “We did not play well in the first two periods Friday night. Certainly it was not our best effort,” Osiecki said. “We certainly played a lot better on Saturday.” Osiecki said that rather than focusing on whom they’re playing, the Buckeyes are focusing on how they’re playing leading up to this weekend’s series. OSU will face off against Notre Dame at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Klopp planning to bring some players in summer

first_imgIt was already announced that Naby Keita from RB Leipzig will join Liverpool in the summer as the Reds decided to pay his release clause and signed a new deal with him.However, Jürgen Klopp insisted that this midfielder won’t be the only player who will come to strengthen his squad and he is planning to bring more players when the summer transfer window will begin.The German coach spoke about his transfer plans as he said, according to ESPN:“We already have Naby Keita coming and that is really good and we will probably sign a couple more players because that’s how it is.”divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“We have to strengthen, first of all, the squad. To bring in players who are 200 percent better than the players we already have will be quite difficult, but we still need to do a few things to have more depth in the squad. That is very important.”“We had a weak problem in the winter. Phil left and Adam Lallana was not here then, which would have been a perfect replacement but he was not involved. And then Emre Can disappeared with an injury.”“That was our problem, so we need to prepare as good as possible so that it will not happen again.”last_img read more