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Browns VP: RG3 could be more than just a short-term solution

All that is, of course, easier said than done. Griffin sure looked like the long-term answer in Washington for a year, but a serious knee injury, struggles with a changing offensive system (and the head coach who installed it), and the performance of Kirk Cousins (in 2015) led to his leaving the team this offseason. The turmoil he’s gone through during his short career led Brown to compare Griffin to … well, the Browns.

“He’s a little bit the mirror image of us, where he’s got a chip on his shoulder, there’s a lot of noise about him on the outside, and he’s a tremendous teammate, really passionate about football, wants to learn and get better, wants to be coached hard, wants to be the best he can be,” Brown said. “He’s proven that. He’s done it before, but he knows also that he’s proven he’s got a lot of growth left for him to become the consistent player that we need him to be and he wants to be.”

The 2015 Denver Broncos had the best defense in the NFL. They led the league in total yards allowed, yards allowed per play, yards allowed per drive, and points allowed per drive. They also led in more advanced statistics like Pro-Football-Reference’s expected points contributed and Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which adjusts performance for down, distance, and opponent). They were the eighth-best defense in Football Outsiders’ entire database, which goes back to 1989. Basically what we’re trying to say here is: they were really damn good.

So when a player on another team says that his defense can be as good as the 2015 Broncos, he’s making quite a claim. And that’s exactly what Raiders star Khalil Mackdid on Saturday.

“The 49ers organization has been incredibly supportive throughout my journey and I cannot thank them and the support staff enough. I am especially grateful to the strength and conditioning coaches, trainers and medical staff, equipment guys, public relations crew, chefs, logistics, and merchandise staff for their countless hours helping me in many different ways, so I could focus on football. Thank you to the fans from down under, as well as those around the world, who stood behind me and supported me along this amazing journey. I also want to thank the boys, especially my running back brothers, for their help and support in my transition to the NFL. I wish the team nothing but the best for the upcoming season.

Based on this chart, we can pretty safely say that Gronk will not retire as the all-time leader in catches as a tight end. His career high in catches for a single season is 90 (set in 2011) and he’d have to average more than 14 additional catches per year on top of that for the next 11 seasons in order to catch Gonzalez. Considering Gronk has played an average of 13.3 games per year so far in his career, he’d have to raise his catches per-game average from 4.8 to 7.8 in order to reach 104.1 per year. That’s almost definitely not going to happen.

Receiving yards is a tighter battle. Gronk has so far average 925.8 receiving yards per season in his six years in the league. If he kept exactly that average, he’d catch Gonzalez during his age-37 season (2026). That would be pretty poetic, but it’s also likely that Gronk will average more receiving yards per season than that over the next few years, because that average includes a season in which he played only seven games. In the five seasons that Gronk has played at least 11 games, he’s averaged 992.6 receiving yards per game. That kind of average would put him on track to break the record early in his age-36 season (2025). It’ll be tough, but it’s possible.

49ers general manager Trent Baalke also released a statement:

“We would like to thank Jarryd for his contributions to the San Francisco 49ers organization and our community over the last year. Jarryd is a tremendous example of what can happen when you commit to a goal and do everything in your power to make it a reality. He earned the right to wear a 49ers uniform and compete alongside the best in the game. We fully support Jarryd’s decision to pursue another dream – representing the Fiji Rugby Sevens team in this summer’s Olympic games. We look forward to watching him in Rio and wish him continued success.”

Of course, Gronk’s pace will also be affected by the presence or absence of Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer has been the QB under center for every one of Gronk’s games so far, and Gronk’s statistics will undoubtedly take a hit if and when someone else takes over. Luckily for Gronk’s sake, Brady has stated his intention to play 10 more years, which would mean he’d stay under center until 2025.

Cubs Tie Team Record With Win Thursday vs. Diamondbacks

The last time that the Cubs won a dozen games in a row away from home was in the 1945 season, which also just happens to be the last time that the team made it to the World Series.

During their current 12-game road winning streak, the Cubs have outscored their opponents 72-25, with 29 of those runs coming over their last three games. According to Christopher Kamka of Comcast SportsNet, that 29 run total is the Cubs’ best start to a season on the scoreboard since the 1954 campaign, when they racked up a staggering 41 runs in their first trio of games.

Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks will not only provide the Cubs with an opportunity to break the franchise record for longest road winning streak, but will also give the team a chance to join some incredibly exclusive company.

According to Baseball Reference, the Cubs are one of only 10 teams to win their first three games by five or more runs. If they do that again on Friday, they will join the 1976 Cincinnati Reds as the only teams to accomplish that feat in the first four games of a regular season.

Moments after NFL fans learned which teams would be playing in the Super Bowl, counterfeiters took notice of the winners and began sending knock-off NFL merchandise to Chicago.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a large number of fake NFL jerseys and other gear has been seized by trained officers since Sunday.

Zobrist and the Cubs couldn’t solve Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, losing 2-1 on Sunday in front of 40,814 fans at Wrigley Field.

It was the Cubs’ first loss to the Pirates in the last eight games dating back to last September.

Cole was absolutely brilliant, allowing three hits (one of which was a sun-aided double by Dexter Fowler in the first when Pirates infielders lost track of the ball) and didn’t walk a batter, striking out seven.

Lester admitted it was hard not to notice he had something special brewing, but “it doesn’t matter now,” he said.

Lawrie also skipped a throw in the first inning that Jose Abreu couldn’t scoop, which allowed the first batter of the game (Jacoby Ellsbury) to reach against Miguel Gonzalez. Ellsbury later scored on a Beltran sac fly that made it a 1-0 game.