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in F r e i s t i l 28.08.2018 09:16
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When Saints rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith picked his jersey number Donte Jackson Jersey , he had a choice between 10 or 18.

The number 10 held no personal significance to Smith previously, but he knew it meant something to fans in New Orleans.

Brandin Cooks, the Saints’ first-round choice in 2014, wore that number until he was traded to New England in 2017. So Smith, never shy about discussing his own high standards, went with that.

”It meant a lot, what he did on the field when he was here,” Smith said of Cooks, who had two 1,000-yard seasons in New Orleans and is now with the Los Angeles Rams.

”It just boosts the expectations of like, what I have to do. Because I know the guy who wore it before me, he was a great player. So, I want to be a great player.”

The 6-foot-2 Smith is one of two receivers who could grow into significant roles in New Orleans’ passing game. The other is Cameron Meredith, a free-agent acquisition who led Chicago in receiving two seasons ago before missing all of last season with a knee injury.

Smith unabashedly endorses the notion that he was one of the steals of last spring’s draft when he was selected in the third round – 91st overall – out of Central Florida.

Saints receivers coach Curtis Johnson said the 6-3 Meredith has the ability to give the Saints some of what they lost when the franchise’s career receiving leader, Marques Colston, retired after the 2015 season.

”When you talk about red zone and third down, one thing you want to do is you want to have length” on the field Ezekiel Elliott Jersey Womens , said Johnson, who also was Meredith’s position coach in Chicago two seasons ago. ”He has the skills to separate in small spaces. For big guys, that’s tough.”

Johnson said Meredith can play out wide, but is particularly adept at executing ”seam” routes down the middle of the field as a slot receiver, particularly against smaller defensive backs.

”There’s a lot of small DBs in the league, and you love to see him match up with small guys, especially in the slot,” Johnson said.

Last season, Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn were the most productive members of New Orleans’ receiving group; Thomas had 1,245 yards and five touchdown catches, while Ginn had 787 yards and four TDs receiving.

Both are back. But if Meredith returns to his form of 2016 – 888 yards, four TDs – and Smith develops quickly, quarterback Drew Brees could find it easier to punish defenses for shading coverage toward a particular side of the field, or a particular receiver.

Smith missed a number of offseason practices with a hamstring injury, but was able to take part in summer workouts Brees hosted in California.

Since camp opened, Smith periodically has been working with the first-team offense, and Brees has connected with him deep downfield already.

”He can run Authentic Claude Giroux Jersey ,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, but offered only measured praise beyond that.

”He’s making some good plays and then all of a sudden he’s having a few plays that he’s got to correct,” Payton said. ”His stance and start still need work, but (it’s) something he’s been focused on.”

Meredith had reconstructive knee surgery a little less than a year ago. He’d been easing his way back into on-field work during the offseason. Coaches are still monitoring his snap count during camp, but when he is on the field, he appears to run routes without limitations.

”I’m out here practicing and felt good, so that’s a good sign,” Meredith said, adding that the opportunity to work with Brees is ”amazing.”

”He’s such a leader,” Meredith said, specifying that he has picked up on elements of Brees’ preparation and work ethic that other players can adopt, regardless of the position they play. ”He’s very detailed about everything.”

Johnson calls Meredith ”smart beyond his years,” explaining that the fourth-year pro ”hasn’t played much, but he’s mature … and having Drew on his side is awesome.”

Even before Meredith got back on the field, he appeared to have made a good impression on Brees.

”I like talking to him. I like his attitude. I like what I’ve seen from his prior film. I like his size and his strength,” Brees said earlier this offseason. ”He fits the system well and I think we’re going to be able to do a lot of things with him.”



SPORTS BETTING

The Supreme Court cleared the way for states coast to coast to legalize betting on sports, breaking a longtime ban and creating a potential financial boon for states and the gambling industry. The first bets could be placed within weeks.

Despite opposition from the major sports leagues and the Trump administration Tremaine Youth Edmunds Youth Jersey , the high court struck down a federal law that had barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. States that want to take advantage of the ruling now will generally have to pass legislation to allow sports books to open. Some, including New Jersey, which brought the case to the Supreme Court, have a head start.

Sports leagues had expressed concerns about any expansion of sports gambling. Their huge businesses could be badly harmed if people thought the outcome of games could be altered by someone who had wagered money on a certain result.

However, the ruling also could be seen as merely bringing an activity out of the shadows that many people already see as a mainstream hobby.

NBA

HOUSTON (AP) 鈥?Kevin Durant scored 37 points and Klay Thompson added 28 to lead Golden State to a 119-106 win in the long-awaited showdown with the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference final.

Starting a playoff series on the road for the first time since 2014, the Warriors trailed by nine early, but had evened it up by halftime and used a big run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to pull away.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.

Eric Gordon opened the final period with a 3-pointer to get the top-seeded Rockets within 4, but Thompson scored the first eight points of a 13-4 run to make it 100-87 with about eight minutes left.

PHOENIX (AP) 鈥?Igor Kokoskov is the first NBA head coach born and raised outside North America, but he reminded everyone at his introductory news conference with the Phoenix Suns that he didn't exactly just get off the plane.

Kokoskov, 46, just finished his 18th season as an NBA assistant coach. He's been with six different teams. Some played slow. Some played fast. He has been on the staffs of seven squads to reach the conference finals. This game is not new to him.

Kokoskov was named head coach of the Suns last week but, as an assistant with the Utah Jazz, he had to finish his work in the playoff series against the Houston Rockets before turning his attention to the desert.

ATLANTA (AP) 鈥?At the start of his first news conference as the Atlanta Hawks coach, Lloyd Pierce looked down at a row filled with four of his new players.

His thoughts immediately turned to his passion: Defense.

Pierce, the former Philadelphia 76ers assistant whose agreement to become the Hawks coach was announced Friday Weston Richburg Jersey Elite , said his first priority will be assembling a staff. Pierce will be looking for assistants who share his passion for defense and his proven ability to connect with young players.

A young Atlanta roster is about to add much more youth in next month's NBA draft.

NHL

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) 鈥?Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 shots, lifting the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-1 series-tying win over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.

Kyle Connor scored midway through the third period to pull Winnipeg within a goal. Marchessault restored the two-goal lead 1:28 later.

Tomas Tatar scored 6:37 into the game for the Golden Knights.

Connor Hellebuyck had 25 saves for the Jets.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

NFL

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) 鈥?Three sports memorabilia collectors who accused New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning of providing bogus "game-worn" equipment that was sold to unsuspecting fans settled their lawsuit against the Super Bowl-winning quarterback days before the case was scheduled to go to trial.

A spokesman for the defendants, a group that included Manning, the Giants, two equipment managers and Steiner Sports, the company with whom Manning is under contract to provide game-worn jerseys and helmets for sale, said Monday night a settlement had been reached to resolve the claims. Details were not given.

Plaintiffs Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown had sought triple the amount of their alleged losses 鈥?which totaled less than $20,000 combined 鈥?for buying two helmets billed as worn by Manning. They also had sought punitive damages, and claimed in court filings they would produce evidence that would "show that Manning engaged in a pattern of knowingly providing items to Steiner Sports that he misrepresented as having been game-used when he knew they were not."

BASEBALL

CHICAGO (AP) 鈥?Ben Zobrist was joined by Chicago Cubs teammates Kyle Schwarber and Steve Cishek in wearing black spikes on Monday despite a warning from Major League Baseball that he was in violation of the sport's uniform regulations.

Zobrist posted a letter from MLB on Instagram on Saturday that cited him for violating regulations requiring at least 51 percent of the exterior of a player's shoes be the club's designated primary shoe color. For the Cubs, that color is blue.

The letter said Zobrist will be subject to discipline, including a fine, if he continued to wear non-compliant shoes.

Zobrist said he planned to contract Joe Torre, MLB's Chief Baseball Officer.


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