Both the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks will take a calculated risk on special teams when the two kick off the NFL regular season on Thursday night. The Packers plan to use dynamic wide receiver Randall Cobb and starting safety Micah Hyde on punt returns, while two-time First Team All-Pro safety Earl Thomas will field punts for the Seahawks. You can watch the game live on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5 at 8:30pm et/5:30 pm pt. Cobb, the Packers starting wide receiver opposite Jordy Nelson, missed 10 games last season with a broken leg suffered while making a reception against the Baltimore Ravens. He returned to play in the Packers season finale and lone playoff game, but was not featured on special teams. In 2012, Cobb led the NFL in all-purpose yards, including 954 receiving yards, 132 rushing yards and a 75-yard punt return touchdown. He returned three punts for an average of 7.7 yards with a long of 16 yards last season. Hyde beat Packers first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in training camp for the starting free safety position. He returned 24 punts last season for an average of 12.3 yards and a 93-yard touchdown as a backup cornerback. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday the team simply need to allow their best playmakers to have an opportunity to make plays. "We need to get back to giving special teams the proper resources to be successful," McCarthy said, defending the decision in his news conference. Led by Hyde, the Packers ranked seventh in punt return average last season, but finished last in the league with an average of 20.3 yards on kick returns. This year, the Packers will employ running back DuJuan Harris on kick returns. Harris missed all of 2013 with a ruptured patellar tendon. McCarthy noted he has no fear of risking injury for Cobb on special teams after the wide receivers injury last season. "I think Randall has come off his injury excellent," McCarthy said. "Hes had an excellent offseason and training camp. Hes ready to go." Seahawks coach Pete Carroll went into less detail describing his decision to start one of the leagues premier defensive backs on special teams. When asked if the three-time Pro Bowler would return punts, Carroll simply replied "Yeah," and moved on. Thomas has no history of punt returns in his regular season NFL career, however, he returned a punt 59-yards against the Chicago Bears in Week 3 of the preseason. Thomas said after that Week 3 contest that he was glad to have the opportunity to impact the game. "I dont have any fear. Im just happy to be back there and I want to make something happen," Thomas told ESPN. "Thats why I rarely will fair catch." Though Thomas is excited to see extra playing time, not all of his teammates share his enthusiasm. Strong safety Kam Chancellor, who starts opposite of Thomas, was noted in the preseason as not wanting Thomas on special teams due to injury concerns. Special teams has long been known for the injury risk associated with kickoffs and punt returns and with the exception of returners, the coverage groups consist almost entirely of backups. In order to lower the number of injuries on kickoffs, the NFL moved kicks up five yards from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line prior to the 2011 season. The rule change led to more touchbacks and less returns, leading to less injuries. However, the Seahawks dont appear to fear the risk of injuries of punt returns as fellow two-time First Team All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is listed as Thomas backup on special teams. Whether either decision pays off or has any impact at all will be seen Thursday night. Matt Calvert Blue Jackets Jersey
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. Globo TV and other news outlets said early Monday that Scolari will not remain as coach after the national teams failure to win the World Cup at home.Frustrating. Sloppy. Forgettable. Choose your adjective. Toronto FC was poor in a 2-1 home loss to the New England Revolution. The play on the field resembled the dark and dreary day by the lake in downtown Toronto. The Revs may have come away with all three points, but they were no better than the home side. Two absolute gifts were the tangible difference on the day. An overall disappointing display and now three straight losses for Toronto FC. Head coach Ryan Nelsen said afterwards it was a "really good" performance by his team. Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder. Toronto FC out-possessed their opponent for the first time all season, which is progress. It should be noted there is a tangible difference between positive and negative possession. The attacking play was all too narrow and lack of cutting edge or decisiveness in the attacking end is a significant concern. Many will point to the 82nd minute penalty as Toronto FC reverting back to their old ways, conceding late. In truth, the full 90 was concerning. A fully healthy squad meant, for the first time all season, Nelsen had his full compliment of weapons. Coming off a bye week, playing at home should have given ample time for rest, recoup and regeneration. Instead, 50-50 balls were won by New England (56.5 per cent) and mistakes were more noticeable than sustained, meaningful build-up. Canadian mens national team head coach Benito Floro was in attendance to see three of his internationals feature in Toronto FCs starting XI. His analysis of the Canadian contributions had to be similar to the rest of the Canadian team: a work in progress. A late right leg/ankle injury to Jonathan Osorio left the Canadian international on crutches. If England manager Roy Hodgson were watching, he would have seen a rather anonymous performance by Jermain Defoe in his return from a long-term hamstring issue. Defoe played the full 90 (a positive) but lacked his typical sharpness. Service from the midfield remains an issue and certainly contributed to the non-descript afternoon. There is only so much he can do on his own. Here are my five thoughts on the 2-1 loss: 1) Shapes of the Midfield - Alvaro Rey was kept out of the starting XI in preference of Kyle Bekker and/or Osorio, however you want to look at it. Bekker was deployed in a holding role, which seems to be Nelsens preference, allowing attack-minded Osorio and all-action Michael Bradley to get forward. The outside left position is an interesting one for Osorio, giving him freedom to roam, checking in and out of the middle of the field. The question is whether the team is better off using a more traditional 4-4-2 with natural wing players or having Osorio in a freer role. All too often, the attack was too narrow and predictable, easy to play against. If this is the way Toronto FC wants to play, they need more overlapping runs from the wingbacks to make it work. And whether Bekker is ready/able to be a stabilizing defensive midfield player is highly debatable. Nelsen acknowledged he was happy how his new-look middle four worked. To the critical eye, it needs work. 2) Oh Henry - Centre-back Doniel Henry returned from a five-week absence (left knee sprain) and the early returns didnt flatter. It was a struggle throughout, with Henry the culprit for both goals conceded. In the first half, Henrys careless, errant pass straight up the middle went right to Revolution midfielder Daigo Kobayashi. A quick pass to Patrick Mullins and a powerful strike from distance beat Julio Cesar for the equalizer. Credit Mullins, as he still had much work to do. Henrys distribution and decision-making must improve for him to take the next step. Remember, hes only 20. With a physical maturity beyond his years, its the mental maturity that is a step behind. Hes a beast in challenges and will continue to be a frustrating asset for the time being. The final blow on a gut-wrenching day for the defeender was his handball in the box, leading to the 82nd minute Lee Nguyen penalty winner.dddddddddddd A controversial retaken corner kick and Justin Morrows ensuing poor clearance obviously played a role. All too often, Henry slides recklessly inside the 18-yard box and this time, he was punished with the ball hitting his arm. There was no argument whether it was a penalty. Henry will have better days. Hes still the starting centre-back for this team. That should not be debated. 3) In Bloom? - It remains somewhat a surprise Mark Bloom is the preferred option at right back. Bloom has done little wrong to start the season. Hes proven himself to be a valuable squad player on an incredibly team friendly contract. But is he the best option? Bloom provides little getting forward in attack. There were numerous opportunities to get forward and overlap, yet he stays put, falling deep in support. When he does get forward, good things happen. But hes not programmed to be that free-flowing outside back that is preferential in the modern game. Bradley Orr, on the other hand, has more to offer. The Englishman was outstanding deputizing at centre-back with Henry out through injury. Orr is a natural right back however, and seems a better fit to take over the position. Bloom should and will continue to play a role. But Nelsen may do better with Orr as his regular. 4) Action Jackson - The Brazilian midfielder was all over the field, in the middle of good and bad all day long. Jacksons goal was fortunate, taking a nasty deflection off AJ Soares, freezing goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Its Jacksons goal for now, but a case can be made for an own goal. The rest of the day was hardly a Picasso. The Brazilians work-rate is his biggest asset. A controlled temperament is not in his arsenal. Jackson has been involved in numerous questionable challenges on the year. In the 43rd minute, he was involved in the worst of any to date. Jackson failed to control and went in high and late on Chris Tierney, catching the midfielder with his studs up to the chest. Jackson was shown a yellow but he should have been sent off. A little more restraint is needed in a league where more times than not, hasty decisions are made. He needs to be more in control: of the ball, in his decisions, and positioning. 5) Failure to Launch - Nelsen pointed to missed opportunities as being a disappointment. Misfiring Gilberto hit the post twice and still looks a step off and rather uncomfortable in his surroundings. Henry had a header on the far post go wide. And Defoe was crafty in manufacturing a chance late, putting a left-footed strike just past the left post. Its fair for Nelsen to point to the inability to take their chances as reason for defeat. Its also fair to say New England, despite only having 40 per cent possession, missed opportunities as well. Both teams were similar in attempts on goal (15-14), so its how Toronto FC uses possession thats the bigger issue. Bradley continues to be a powerhouse going forward through the middle. But on a day the opponent is content to sit back and welcome pressure through the middle, its all too predictable and easy to defend. Toronto FC needs to spread its tactical wings, developing layers of attack and giving more options through natural team movement. If they are unable to do so, they will remain best as a counter-attacking team, relying on the likes of Defoe to take whatever limited chances fall their way. This, perhaps, is not the best way to utilize millions of dollars of talent. Once again, this is a work in progress for all. Progress is essential over the next month leading into the World Cup break. There is still good reason to think this can all come together and work efficiently. Next up for Toronto FC is a date with the Vancouver Whitecaps in the opening leg of their Amway Canadian Championship tie, Wednesday (7:30pm et) at BMO Field. @WheelerTSNgareth.firstname.lastname@example.org Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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