The price Saints pay in the Eagles trade could point to QB in the draft

New Orleans effectively sent future first- and second-round picks to Philadelphia for a mid-round pick in that year's first round, raising questions about what the Saints' endgame might look like. (Author: Gardener)

SaintsWhen all is said and done, who will the Saints' pick be with the extra first-round pick they won in this year's draft? With more than three weeks until the start of the NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles traded a major pick on Monday. In most of the deal, the Saints essentially acquired an additional first-round pick at a significant cost to future draft capital. * Saints earn 16th pick, 19th pick, and one sixth-round pick (194th overall) in this year's draft * Eagles earn 18th pick, one third-round pick (101st overall), and one the seventh round (237th overall) in this year's draft, as well as the Saints' first-round picks in 2023 and second-round picks in 2024, Philadelphia retains the 15th overall pick it already had in this year's draft, meaning it's three first-round picks this year has gone to two, going from one first-rounder to two in 2023, with a pair of second-round picks in 2024. The team now has a lot of flexibility to potentially move more in this year's draft. New Orleans recently added veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, with new coach Dennis Allen indicating that the former Cincinnati Bengals starter, who recently spent stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, will support Jameis Winston. At the same time, Allen said occasional quarterback Taysom Hill will be moved to tight end, which appeared to pave the way for Winston, but the latter only returned to the Saints after they reportedly went after Deshaun Watson. It's entirely possible that New Orleans isn't done remodeling its quarterback room, and it's well-positioned to field one of its first-round players against a quarterback dropping out of the top 10. What the trade may give the Saints is the ammunition to climb into the top five, which is where they may need to end up if they covet a top quarterback like Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett. Using an updated version, via, of the NFL's traditional draft value chart, New Orleans could climb as high as fourth overall by grabbing 16th and 19th picks. Coincidentally, the fourth pick belongs to the New York Jets, who are almost certainly not interested in a quarterback this year after drafting Zach Wilson for second overall last year. A move up to fourth-ranked or No. 5, currently held by the New York Giants, would also see the Saints past division rival Carolina Panthers, who sits at No. 6 and is widely believed to have a quarterback in mind has compete with Sam Darnold. Of course, it's entirely possible that New Orleans didn't make that trade to end up walking away with a quarterback. For example, the Saints could be looking to fill a need with one of the several highly regarded wide receivers expected to be available midway through the first round. Again using the draft value chart, the deal can be split into two parts, one with New Orleans using third round selection to move up from 18th to 16th place. That leaves the 19th first and second round picks, in addition to an exchange of sixth and seventh rounds. To do that at a reasonable price, the Saints would need to do well enough this season -- i.e. win a game or two, considering that draft picks in future years aren't worth quite as much as picks this year postseason -- to push those picks deep into the first and second rounds. For what it's worth, the team's total predicted win total is around 7.5 (via Pro Football Talk), so bookmakers don't see New Orleans as a likely playoff entrant. To put it another way, the Las Vegas Raiders paid essentially the same price last month to acquire star wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers. If the Saints were to use their draft pick at a wide receiver, they'd be getting a much younger and cheaper player than Adams, but also one with little chance of becoming as effective a weapon as the ex-Packer and five-time pro bowler. In summary, the amount of draft capital the Saints just parted with is best justified if it results in a quarterback being drafted this year who then turns out to be a differentiator. The Eagles appear determined to give Jalen Hurts another year to prove he should be their long-term answer at quarterback. With Monday's trading, they could move up aggressively in the first round of 2023 if they look to get away from hurts and land a highly respected quarterback prospect. A notable level of trade comes from the fact that Philadelphia acquired the 16th pick from the Colts after Indianapolis traded for quarterback Carson Wentz last year and then gave the former Eagles quarterback enough playing time to pick the draft pick sent in return to thrust from a second all-rounder to a first. The Eagles hold the 15th pick thanks to a trade last year with the Miami Dolphins, who advanced to sixth pick in the 2021 draft and selected Jaylen Waddle as a wide receiver from Alabama. Philadelphia used the picks it received in exchange to complete another trade before landing another Crimson Tide wide receiver, DeVonta Smith, in 10th overall. The Eagles were once again linked in draft speculation this year with an Alabama wide receiver -- in this case, Jameson Williams.


Video: Elias returns to WWE RAW as Ezekiel

Elias has returned to WWE RAW with a new clean-shaven look and a new gimmick after being away from WWE for months. (Author: Gardener)

WWE RAWElias has returned to WWE RAW with a new clean-shaven look and a new gimmick. At today's post-WrestleMania 38 edition of WWE RAW, Kevin Owens came to the ring and admitted how good WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin was at WrestleMania Saturday. Owens kept ranting about how awesome he was until the music hit and the former Elias came out. Owens recognized Elias, but the man introduced himself as Ezekiel, Elias' younger brother. This confused Owens, but he insisted that he speak to Elias while the former Elias reiterated that he is actually the younger brother of the former WWE Superstar named The Drifter. Owens eventually marched out of the ring without physical action. Ezekiel watched Owens walk to the back with a grin on his face and that was the end of the segment. WWE began airing several vignettes for Elias' re-branding last summer, but the final vignette aired on August 23, and that was the last we've seen of Elias so far. It was later reported that WWE had no final plan for the vignettes and that WWE only filmed them to kill off Elias' musician gimmick. At one point, Elias had a new look in the works, rumored to be similar to the look we saw on RAW tonight, but it was said that WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon scrapped it because he felt it was too obsessive WWE Hall of Famer Randy Savage looked . Elias, or Ezekiel, hasn't wrestled since his loss in Symphony of Destruction to Jaxson Ryker on July 19th edition of RAW. Stay tuned to learn more about Ezekiel. You can see related footage from today's reboot below: Name is Ezekiel, @FightOwensFight. #WWERaw “I'm NOT Elias. I am the younger brother of @IAmEliasWWE.” #WWERaw So Elias' younger brother Ezekiel arrived on #MondayNightRAW and I am extremely confused. #WWERaw


Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes are among those celebrating WrestleMania victories

Reigns and Rhodes experienced two of the biggest moments of a massive two-day WrestleMania 38 (Author: Gardener)

WrestleManiaThe day after the two-day WrestleMania 38 event, WWE stayed in Dallas for the post-WrestleMania edition of Raw. That Raw is generally one of the biggest nights of the year as WWE begins to move into the next phase of its annual schedule. Those stars included Cody Rhodes, who returned to WWE at WrestleMania after a stint with AEW, and Roman Reigns, who defeated Brock Lesnar to unify WWE and the Universal Championships in the WrestleMania Main Event. Cody Rhodes opened the show with an emotional promo. Rhodes vowed to win a World Championship in WWE, something his legendary father "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes never did. Seth Rollins, the man Rhodes beat on his return at WrestleMania, stepped in at the end of the promo and shook Rhodes' hand. Roman Reigns, The Usos and Paul Heyman closed the show with an in-ring promo. In the brief segment, Heyman detailed The Bloodline's business successes and achievements in the ring. Reigns then vowed that he would not rest on the accomplishment of beating Brock Lesnar to unify the WWE and Universal titles and would turn up on SmackDown to discuss next steps. Nonetheless, Rhodes and Reigns both get moving as two of WWE's biggest stars roam the post-WrestleMania landscape. Judging the show as a whole, this was a show well above average. Grade: A* Sasha Banks & Naomi defeated. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan via pinfall as they facebuster Morgan in the knees of Banks. Later in the show, Ripley told Morgan that she convinced WWE officials to give them a title fight next week despite losing, and the two embraced. * Elias returned as Ezekiel, interrupting a promo by Kevin Owens. Owens said the loss to Steve Austin only happened because Owens came in with a back injury. * The Miz-def. Dominik Mysterio via pinfall with a skull crushing finale. * Veer Mahan's debut came when he stormed the ring and attacked both Mysterios after Dominik lost to Miz. * Bianca Belair celebrated winning the Raw Women's Championship from Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. Belair, who got a nasty black eye from the match, said she's ready to defend against anyone and everyone now that she's back on top. * NXT Championship - Bron Breakker defeated. Dolph Ziggler (c) via pinfall to win the title with a military press powerslam. Breakker fended off interference from Robert Roode before managing to claim the win and regain the title. * MVP turned on Bobby Lashley by attacking him from behind when Lashley was confronted by Omos. MVP was upset Lashley said he didn't need him to beat Omos at WrestleMania. MVP and Omos then continued to knock Lashley down. * Queen Zelina attacked Carmella after blaming Carmella for her team losing the women's tag titles. * Austin Theory & The Usos def. RK-Bro & Finn Balor via pinfall when Theory hit Balor with the ATL. AJ Styles ran to the ring and attacked Priest but was eventually knocked out by Edge and Priest with superior numbers. Alpha Academy via pinfall in a Texas Tornado Tag match.


Winners, news and post-WrestleMania 38 notes

WWE Raw Cody Rhodes debuts as Veer after Mania. (Author: Gardener)

post-WrestleMania 38WWE Raw promoted Cody Rhodes' first live promo to WWE since 2016, following WrestleMania 38, the long-awaited return of Veer and the impact of WrestleMania 38, including Roman Reigns vs. Rhodes made an emotional impact in his first promo since returning to WWE his intentions clear that he wanted to win the WWE Championship to honor his late father, Dusty Rhodes. After the fiery promo, Seth Rollins shook Rhodes' hand and said, "Welcome back." WWE Raw averaged 1.979 million viewers last week. There was more love and support for Cody Rhodes in his Raw After Mania promo than in his entire senior year on AEW. The story of Cody Rhodes in AEW was that he would never fight for the AEW World Championship. At WWE, the WWE Championship is his whole purpose for being there. He wants to win the world title his father never won and I expect that to happen by SummerSlam if not sooner. Seth Rollins went out to shake hands with Rhodes and welcome him back. I expect their feud will continue in some shape or form before Rhodes turns his sights on the WWE Universal Championship. It's never too late to tell the story of Morgan chasing her first championship in WWE, even if it has to be in NXT 2.0. Rhea Ripley later announced that she and Morgan will receive a tag team championship match next week. Needless to say, Rhea and Liv were fun while it lasted. It wasn't until he started speaking that I realized it was him. I wasn't alone. Elias trying to re-introduce himself as Elias' brother Ezekiel has built-in heel heat, so he's already on his way. There was still chatter from Logan Paul throughout this match, and WWE is insane if they think Miz will be heel in this match. With Dominik Mysterio booked tonight, you'd think he was in heat. He shot clean in a very fast match against The Miz, only to be mauled by Veer Mahaan's debut (finally!). WWE nailed it with this monster heel. The fans booed him at the end, but he didn't have the heat I expected after such a long build-up period. Bianca Belair had a glow in her left eye after Becky Lynch accidentally kicked her in the face while delivering a senton splash. Not everyone was happy with Belair's victory over Lynch as a crowd of fans chanted for Becky. Belair did a great one eye promo and once she's fully healed she plans to be a great champion on Raw. It should be a long time before she loses. I still disagree with Dolph Ziggler Bron beating Breakker at NXT Stand and Deliver, but Breakker's victory in front of the biggest Raw audience of the year is nice consolation. Dolph Ziggler paid homage to Seth Rollins by yelling at Breakker, "Welcome to the big leagues!" This match didn't get nearly as hot as NXT Stand and Deliver in front of this crowd. These fans got restless and sang the Seven Nation Army chant, but Breakker and Ziggler stuck with it and won the crowd in the end. Bobby Lashley received a huge babyface reaction, even though the crowd tried to "what" him a couple of times. A manager like MVP is just what Omos needs if he wants to make it in WWE. For me, Roman Reigns' progression looks like losing to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania Backlash, to Bobby Lashley at WWE Hell in a Cell, to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, and finally to Cody Rhodes at SummerSlam. After that segment, Queen Zelina Vega and Carmella waited for their opponents - who I thought would be a big surprise return like Asuka and Bayley - but instead they got into a fight and Corey Graves ended up making out with Carmella. The fans chanted the "Seven Nation Army" chant again to piss off Austin Theory. This was easily the best match of the night up to this point, over two hours away from a mostly listless Raw After Mania. Austin Theory has beaten Finn Balor multiple times now and I would pick him to win their next match which will likely be for the United States Championship. The ring announcer introduced Edge like he was narrating a horror movie. At one point, Edge called fans sheep, inspiring a "We are sheep!" chant. Edge was careful to use the word "punishment" (for the guilty) when introducing Damian Priest. The fans started chanting, "We don't care!" as Damian Priest edited his promo. Damian Priest recovered by saying there was a time when that bothered him. Edge called the fans losers, inspiring a "We're losers!" chant. Poor priest didn't even touch AJ Styles when he tried to hit the leg sweep-spear combo with Edge. The fans really wanted the table and the finish got them when Ford hit a frog splash on Chad Gable. Real or not, Roman Reigns continued to sell his shoulder injury. Paul Heyman listed all of WWE's commercial achievements in the Nick Khan era and paid tribute to Roman Reigns. The three hour build up of this promo was easy for Roman Reigns to get credit for. This Raw After Mania crowd had to wait until SmackDown. One of the least happening Raw After Mania I can remember.


Raw after WrestleMania

Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes are scheduled to appear on this year's Raw after WrestleMania. (Author: Gardener)

WrestleManiaThe Raw after WrestleMania 38 takes place tonight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. In the main event of WrestleMania 38 night two on Sunday, Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar to become the undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Reigns will make his debut tonight as a unified champion and "appeal to the WWE Universe." Cody Rhodes returned to WWE at WrestleMania 38 Night One, defeating Seth Rollins. After making his first appearance for WWE in six years, the former AEW executive vice president will appear on Raw tonight. Rhodes has promised that he will make clear his intentions for returning to WWE. Bianca Belair became the new Raw Women's Champion by defeating Becky Lynch on the first night of WrestleMania. We should find out what's next for Belair tonight. Also, after months of hyped videos, Veer Mahaan will finally arrive on Raw. The lights went out and people sang for Cody Rhodes before his music hit. Rhodes soaked up the crowd's reaction and received a big fireworks display. As he entered the ring, the crowd continued to cheer and shout "Welcome back." Rhodes said it's been 47 days since he became a free agent and he's heard all sorts of stories about him. He mentioned he had signed a multi-year deal and the crowd chanted, "You deserve it." Rhodes said any doubts he had were dispelled on Saturday as he rose through the stage and one of the best in the business, Seth Rollins, defeated. Cody pointed to a picture of Dusty Rhodes at Madison Square Garden on September 26, 1977. Cody choked and said that's not just his father, that's his hero. The crowd sang for Dusty. Cody mentioned that Dusty wore the same belt that Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and many other greats later wore. (He deliberately paused before mentioning HHH.) The same belt wore him up to his very last day. When he was young, he asked his father, "I didn't know you were a champion like Hulk Hogan." Dusty explained to young Cody that he didn't take home the championship belt that night because he failed by counting have won. By the time he was eight, Cody knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to win that championship belt. He wanted to put it in the hands of Dusty Rhodes and tell him that nobody can take it away from him. Cody admitted that dream died. "That opportunity is over—or is it?" Cody knew he couldn't put the belt in the hands of the American Dream, but he could put it around the waist of the American Nightmare. The crowd cheered and shouted "You can do it". Rhodes chuckled. He would do it for his family, for himself, for the fans, and for the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Seth Rollins interrupted. Rollins laughed, shook his hands and said, "Welcome home." During the match below, there was a random graphic that plugged in a match between Dolph Ziggler and Bron Breakker for the NXT title tonight. Ripley gave Naomi a delayed vertical suplex early in the match that appeared to last at least 20 seconds. The teams traded jumps and Naomi escaped in control. Ripley happened to be in control after the break, but Naomi came back with a disaster kick. They both traded off and Banks gave Morgan a Meteora for two. Morgan parried them and used a double team powerbomb for two. Naomi threw Ripley out of the ring before she and Banks used their combo glam slam/codebreaker finishers on Morgan for the pinfall win. A frustrated Ripley left Morgan after the match. Kevin Owens' hit music and he walked in when Ripley left. Owens admitted his plan for Steve Austin may have been a mistake. Owens got Austin to wrestle again, but he may have tricked himself for having a bad back before the match. Owens injured his back lifting weights the day before and you could tell by the way he walked to the ring. Owens said he should have just gone home, but the WWE fans needed him and he sacrificed himself for them. He said Austin's record book win should be wiped from the records. (He looks a bit like Hugh Jackman.) Owens narrowed his eyes and said, "Elias?" and the crowd laughed. The crowd softly chanted "walk with Elias." Owens didn't buy it. Owens said he hates liars and Elias said he must hate himself for lying to Austin and being stunned. The crowd chanted, "You were stunned." Owens said he never liked Elias and he likes him even less now. Owens asked "Eric" to leave his ring. Owens counted down from ten, but Elias didn't move. Owens marched off. Veer Mahaan stepped in after the match and attacked the Mysterios. Belair thanked the fans. She said she's standing here with only one eye tonight but wanted to thank Becky Lynch because after losing at SummerSlam she realized how much better she could be. Belair didn't cheat or hurt her opponent to get what she wanted. Lynch did everything he could to knock her out, even aiming for her eye. Fans expected more from their champion, so she got better herself. She said no woman in the back had what it takes to beat her because she was even better after Saturday. She suggested Lynch use this time off to find out exactly who she was without the belt. S.T. and the new Raw Women's Champion. Fireworks went off as she held up the belt. Ziggler hit Bron before the match started. Bron used an early suplex, but Ziggler outsmarted him to take control. He talked and said, "These are the big leagues, you idiot." Bron avoided a kick and countered a leapfrog with a great looking body slam. Ziggler regained control after dropping Bron off the top rope, and he maintained control through a pause. Ziggler went for a fameasse, but Bron countered with a powerbomb. Bron followed with running shoulder tackles, an overhead suplex, and a clothesline. Bron obliterated Roode with a flip dive, but Ziggler hit him back in the ring with a fameasser for two. Ziggler hits Bron in the eye and superkicks for a near fall. Ziggler prepared for another Superkick, but Bron killed him with a spear. Bron followed up with a military press powerslam for the pinfall win. Breakker is NXT champion again. The crowd was quiet throughout the game, but they cheered the win. MVP nailed Lashley's win over Omos and said he did it even without him. The crowd sang for Lashley. Lashley called Omos the strongest man he'd ever been in the ring with and he was beginning to doubt himself, but he knew if Omos made a mistake that's all he would need. Omos interrupted. Omos didn't bother grabbing a mic to tell Lashley he wanted a rematch. MVP pounded Lashley and slapped him across the face. Omos continued to attack while the crowd chanted "You suck." MVP gave Lashley a running boot in the corner and posed with Omos. Morgan approached Ripley from behind. Ripley said she spoke to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and convinced them to give their team another tag title match next week. Morgan was glad to hear that and said it made up for Ripley's past behavior. Ripley thanked Morgan for being on her side and was looking forward to winning the titles next week. They announced this match, but it didn't happen. Zelina blamed Carmella for her title loss at WrestleMania. She said Carmella was too self-absorbed and called Corey Graves a fool for dating her. Carmella blew her mind saying that nobody cares that she won the queen's crown. Carmella said if Zelina still wanted to go to her wedding, she could be the flower girl. Zelina attacked Carmella, who escaped from the ring and jumped into Graves' lap. Theory lit himself and told them he was planning to drop Finn Bálor tonight. Six-Man Tag Match: US Champion Finn Bálor & Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton & Riddle vs. Austin Theory & Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos


Tiger Woods is looking good for the Masters, but who are the top 10 favorites?

Tiger Woods seems ready to return to ANGC, but who are the favorites to win the Masters tournament? (Author: Gardener)

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods appears set for a shock return, Jennifer Kupcho captures her first Major, JJ Spaun earns final Augusta National invite, this author makes his list of top 10 Masters favorites and more in this week's big edition of Monday Scramble : It's been so long that we almost missed the whole wants-he-or-not-he? Though Woods claims he's still a "gametime decision" to come back at the Masters, all signs point to him playing in the first major of the year. He arrived in Augusta on Sunday to continue his preparation, was slotted into the schedule for the pre-tournament press conference (Tuesday, 11 a.m. ET) and made his way to the tournament practice area for a quick warm-up session. Woods moved seamlessly through the pocket for about 20 minutes, showing plenty of pop and speed and varying his trajectories. As he approached a cart waiting to take him to the tournament ground for an afternoon practice round, he had only a slight limp. He played the back nine during Sunday's practice session but what he looked like is a mystery - the court was closed to the media. The media blackout gave Woods a chance to assess his game and fitness without every step being scrutinized. (As for those steps: He was spotted in FootJoy shoes on Sunday.) It's not a question of his desire; that he hasn't officially committed yet suggests he's still unsure if his rebuilt leg can endure seven days of six-mile walks on one of the game's hilliest courses. If (or if) he declares himself fit to play, that means Woods believes he can seriously compete with the best in the world. Woods signed up for the PNC championship last December with little notice because he knew he could still score (he and son Charlie finished second). He would sign up for the Masters for the same reason. Jennifer Kupcho made one final dive into Poppie's Pond and put her game on cruise control at Sunday's Chevron Championship to win her first Major (and first LPGA title). It was a moment that came full circle for Kupcho, who became the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur champion three years ago. That year she made the rare decision to defer full LPGA status so she could complete her collegiate career at Wake Forest and compete in the first-ever women's event at Augusta National. Kupcho, 24, has played well throughout her young career, including at the 2021 Solheim Cup when she set a winning record as one of only three Americans. It all came together during the final big round at Mission Hills, when she opened up a seven-shot lead early in the final round and easily withstood seven Sunday bogeys to win by two points against Jessica Korda. With the win, Kupcho became the first American to win the Chevron since Brittany Lincicome in 2015. “Being a big winner is really special, and jumping last into Poppie's Pond here in Mission Hills is all really special. ” Spaun broke out of a crowded leaderboard and recovered from an opening double bogey to capture his first PGA Tour title at the Valero Texas Open. He won by two shots over Matt Kuchar and Matt Jones. For Spaun, 31, it was a much-needed breakthrough for a player who has endured a few lean years. He'd only had one top 15 finish in 16 starts this season, but at least he was feeling good - as this story recently detailed, he was wrongly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (he was actually type 1), which puzzled his health spin. Last year, Spaun said he was "lost" and unsure if a golf career was the right path. "I just played badly," he said on Sunday evening. “I didn't know where my swing was. I did not know, what I should do. That was the thing – I put so much into my game and got nothing in return and just played worse.” Spaun lost his Tour card last summer but found it a blessing – he regained it at the first event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and boosted his confidence. Now he has job security with a two-year waiver and a spot at Augusta National this week. 16-year-old Anna Davis was the youngest upset winner of the Augusta National Women's Amateur. For the second straight year, Augusta National produced the kind of second-nine drama The Masters has long been known for. In 2021, it was Rose Zhang who made a triple bogey on the 13th hole to turn what is arguably the most prestigious title in amateur golf into a mad scramble. This time it was LSU junior Latanna Stone, who squandered a two-shot lead with two holes to play to hand the title to Davis, a 16-year-old left-hander who isn't old enough to get her driver's license or officially to speak to college coaches. The Californian has already attracted a lot of national interest after winning the Girls' Junior PGA last year and playing on the Junior Ryder Cup team. Here are a few stories in case you missed them: Mine on Stone and the pain of getting so close to Augusta; and colleague Brentley Romine on the latest ANWA winner. 1.) Jon Rahm: He may have been deposed as world No. 1, but he still has the broadest skill set in the game - and going into the first major of the year as the top rider on the Tour. Four consecutive top 10 finishes in Augusta and looking for more. 2.) Rory McIlroy: Here's another chance for a career grand slam, and Rors' game is infinitely better place than he was this time last year (even if he's coming off a missed cut at San Antonio). The key: get off to a better start. Since 2011, he has only started his masters once with a round in the 60s. 3.) Justin Thomas: Very odd that he has only a single top-10 in six career Masters starts (and that was during the November 2020 issue), but then again, his overall record hasn't been great lately. JT is the game's standout hitter, hitting the kind of towering iron shots that play so well in Augusta. Unlike last year, Spieth doesn't roll into town with much confidence (despite posting a 67 Sunday without a bogey in San Antonio); He has only challenged once this year at Pebble and was unusually sloppy on and around the greens. Fire him at your peril, though: one win, two second places and two third places in eight Masters appearances. 5.) Scottie Scheffler: There's little reason to believe the world No. 1 and hottest player in golf won't continue cooking in Augusta, where he has top-20 finishes in his only two appearances. Booms tee shots, fires his irons in the air, fills them on the greens. 6.) Xander Schauffele: It's been a quiet year for X so far, with just one top 10 finish. Still, he's 26 under par on his last three trips through Augusta and has proven he's a primetime player even without the Ws. 7.) Cameron Smith: I haven't seen the Players champion in a couple of weeks, but it's unlikely he's suddenly forgotten how to chip and putt. Also in his favour: the Aussie has had three top 10 finishes in his last four attempts at Augusta. 8.) Dustin Johnson: The 2020 champion's game seems to be coming on form at the right time, first with the record 63 at Sawgrass and then with a deep run in match play. 9.) Brooks Koepka: No one has been better in the majors since 2016 than King Koepka, who, like DJ, is having an encouraging week at match play. Barely could walk at last year's Masters, but before that he had 10 consecutive underperforming rounds here. 10.) Will Zalatoris: Augusta has evolved into a ball forward competition, not a putting competition, and that plays straight into the hands of Zalatoris, last year's runner-up. He's been brawling lately, only firing a round at Augusta once in eight rounds in the '60s. The most surprising stat of the day: Patrick Cantlay only has two career top 10s in majors. So does Matt Fitzpatrick, if firmer and faster (perhaps unlikely with forecast storms earlier in the week): four top-10 finishes in his last five starts overall. Crazy to think world No. 11 Sam Burns is a Masters rookie. With three wins last year, it shouldn't surprise anyone if he's in the mix. If there's any positive news here in a week where he's been shooting rounds of 73-76, it's that he's gone through another week without an injury setback. But from a performance perspective, there's little reason for optimism. At the Texas Open, he hit just 10 of 28 fairways and half the greens, ranking outside the top 125 shots won: tee to green. that won't play at Augusta National, one of the most demanding courses in the world and a place where the great Bryson fought even in good health (no better than T-21 as an amateur). Unfortunately, it feels like a lost year. Hey, Spieth absolutely nailed it at TPC San Antonio, taking first place in the field for strokes won: tee to green. "It was the worst thing I've ever putted in a professional event," he said. In fact, his nearly seven shots lost on the greens were the worst of his career -- by almost three shots. "I have to find a feel that I'm comfortable with anywhere," he said. On the eve of his Masters title defense, Matsuyama withdrew from the Texas Open, citing a neck injury, the same problem that has plagued him for the past few weeks (including at The Players). It's an unfortunate turn of events for the Japanese star, who has enjoyed one of his best seasons to date, winning both the Zozo and the Sony Open. Hopefully a few extra days of treatment can set him right for this particular week. We saw him at the tournament's practice ground on Sunday afternoon. A two-time winner last year, English is still recovering from his hip surgery in February. His WD put the Masters field at 90... A week late: Richard Bland. Ah, what could have been for the 49-year-old Englishman who finished just inside the top 50 in the world at the Masters. (He was 53rd last week of qualifying.) Well, he's now in the top 50, a week late after the T-29 pushed him to 48th in the Valero. He'll have a couple of avenues to earn his first Masters invitation in 2023: maintain that top 50 position for the rest of the year or win a tour event. Not much has been going on lately for one of the game's most consistent players, who was close to falling out of the world top 150 ahead of the Valero Texas Open. But on his 500th career start on tour - no small feat! – he stirred the Echos and won almost for the 10th time. Kuchar chased Spaun to the end and needed an eagle for the last one, Kuchar's long approach found the water. He finished second - his first top-5 in a stroke play event in 26 months. While the Hall of Famer isn't retiring, she will drastically reduce her broadcast schedule, beginning with the final lap around Mission Hills. Here's a nice piece the show did about her career in case you missed it: Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Corey Conners. The 2019 Texas Open champion had a marathon week at match play when he won the consolation game. Apparently he ran out of gas in San Antonio and carded a 75 in the third round to drop down the leaderboard. He ended in a tie in 35th place, but we still value the sweet swinger's chances of a high Masters finish.


City hall and other government buildings open from Monday

WBAL Radio 1090 AM - City Hall and other government buildings open Monday (Author: Gardener)

MondayAll Baltimore City government buildings will reopen to the public beginning Monday morning after a two-year closure due to COVID-19. This also includes the town hall, which has been closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic. People can now attend public city meetings in person, but masks are required at public meetings and visitors must undergo a health screening to enter the building. In January, Mayor Brandon Scott originally announced there would be a hybrid opening of City Hall. On March 4, Scott C4 and Bryan Nehman shared that City Hall needed to be updated to allow for social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols. City Hall reopens today and our first in-person council meeting is tonight at 5pm. Masks are compulsory within the chambers. The council meeting will be broadcast live on Charm TV Baltimore and streamed at for those unable to attend in person. — Office of the Baltimore City Council (@BaltCouncil) April 4, 2022


Five NY Rangers thoughts on Andrew Copp, Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko and more

It's about Andrew Copp's influence, Artemi Panarin's will to win, Kaapo Kakko's placement upon his return, and Justin Braun's odd lack of Ice Age. (Author: Gardener)

Andrew CoppAndrew Copp's 34 playoff games in the NHL is relatively modest overall, but not compared to the rest of the New York Rangers active roster. Only the veterans Justin Braun (100), Ryan Reaves (84), Chris Kreider (80) and Barclay Goodrow (65) appeared more often, which puts Copp in a unique position with his new teammates. The 27-year-old forward has wisdom to share about the strength it takes to thrive in the postseason — and he wasn't shy about sharing it after Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. "Losses feel heavier in the playoffs," he said. “Being able to mentally reset ourselves and just clear our heads and be ready for the next game – whoever can do that best wins the Stanley Cup at the end of the day; who won't let one loss become two or two 3. Rangers have yet to secure a berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with 12 games remaining, making discussing the "p" word taboo Head coach Gerard Gallant prefers not to assume a result, even if it's his The team held a comfortable 21-point lead over the Islanders in ninth place on Monday dislike," he explained, stressing that being able to regroup and turn the page quickly is "a lesson we need to learn." He stressed the point after seeing the disappointment of the 3-0 draw -Friday's defeat by the Isles in Sunday's poorly played first half left the line between adapting and speaking up for a player who's only been here two weeks, but it seemed a good gele opportunity for the former University of Michigan captain to make a name for himself. Copp's influence was evident on the ice too, with Sunday's decisive goal earning him eight points (three goals and five assists) in his first seven games for the club. But the standout No. 1 against Philly was Copp's linesmate Artemi Panarin, who seemed hell-bent on breaking his team's rut. The stats jump off the page, with the 30-year-old forward registering 15 shot attempts in 23:19 on the ice. It felt like he was single-handedly trying to get Rangers to score and end their 100+ minute drought. He shot without hesitation and danced with the puck to create looks for his teammates, meandering from one zone to the next, all for just a freebie in the process. In fact, it was Panarin who finally put them on the board at 1:22 of the third period, expertly deflecting a Jacob Trouba shot past Flyers goaltender Martin Jones. He also had the primary assist left on Copp's goal at 4:20 to force overtime. It's also worth noting that he will be without right-hand man Ryan Strome, who has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. The one constant in his line was Copp, with Jonny Brodzinski and Dryden Hunt taking turns as out-of-place top sixes. That should change soon as Strome is close to returning and Kaapo Kakko is expected to train with the team until the end of the week. Based on Gallant's recent maneuvers, he seems inclined to keep Copp and Panarin together. In 73:07 shared time on the ice in five-on-five, Copp and Panarin beat their opponents 4-1. They also topped them by a wide margin, 42-23, while creating 16 high-risk scoring chances and conceding just six. On Sunday, Copp explained how to learn how to complement the experienced and unpredictable Panarin - and the importance of not strictly bowing to him. "Obviously that's the hard part, but I can't distract to him all the time," he said. The more I play with tempo, the more I dictate, he also finds the areas where I find him in the seam. We're still trying to figure each other out, but I feel like we're going to continue to grow over time and I feel like we're (about to) catch fire." If Strome is ready to return for Tuesday's game at 7 p.m. in New Jersey against the Devils, expect Copp to slip onto the right wing but remain the point of contact for that line. And if they keep clicking, that will likely mean a reincarnation of the "kid line," once Kakko is back in the lineup. We've seen Rangers try different combinations of young forwards in the third row in recent seasons, but it never seems to work out as planned. In 144:36 TOI together - admittedly, especially last season - Kakko, Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafrenière scored only five goals together. They were shot out with 64:75, with an even worse ratio of dangerous chances for and against (19:28). was a much-improved defensive player prior to his upper-body injury, while Chytil and Lafrenière have been significantly better in defense in recent weeks. What particularly struck me is watching them play with speed and determination. "They're playing really well," said Barclay Goodrow. "Their play with the puck was great. They make plays there. You can see the confidence is pretty high on both of them. They're both very experienced players who have the ability to make plays and find people on the ice to doing all the things that top end guys do - and it shows in their game. They were nice to play with. Some might think the need for a veteran presence on a certain line is overstated, but I" I'm not sure. Chytil and Lafrenière seemed to benefit from having Goodrow as the tone setter, urging them to do the right thing without the puck and working hard to create space for them when they had it. Goodrow dropped to fourth line Sunday in what felt like an anticipation, as Gallant knows there will be no place in the top 9 for him when Strome and Kakko return, but Copp brings many of the same hardworking and leading elements, which makes me wonder Lafrenière and Chytil would be better off with him on right wing than Oppo. That would push Kakko up with Panarin and Strome, where he had notable successes earlier this season, while achieving a better overall balance. Each of the top 3 lines would have a healthy mix of veteran and youth, skill and defense, allowing Gallant to roll his lines more evenly while reducing the temptation to cut young players' minutes late in games. As previously outlined, there are obvious reasons to keep Copp and Panarin cooking together, which appears to be Gallant's plan. It's also worth noting that Kakko might not be ready for the top 6 minutes after a 28-game absence and counting. There's a lot to think about with only 12 games left to experiment and solidify. Braun made his second appearance since the close on Sunday and was limited to 11:24 TOI against his former team. He's been a healthy scratch in the last five games and could soon return to the press box in favor of rookie Braden Schneider. When Rangers took over the veteran right-hand gunner there was a belief he would get some reps down the left flank, but that has yet to happen. It seems they are content to stay on the left with Patrik Nemeth while Braun and Schneider battle for time on the right. But isn't there at least a chance that Braun and Schneider are the fifth and sixth best defenders in the squad? And aren't the Rangers doing themselves a disservice by not giving them at least a few games together to see how it goes? And if he's unlikely to play, it's reasonable to ask why the deal was made in the first place. Mercogliano is the New York Rangers' beat reporter for the USA TODAY Network. Read more about his work at and follow him on Twitter @vzmercogliano.


stay in the moment

Motivational speaker and former Pittsburgh Steeler Arthur Moats has some advice on staying present in the moment. (Author: Gardener)

Pittsburgh SteelerNBCWith his stand-up tour in New Jersey this weekend, Chris Rock must have been tempted to drop by his old haunt to talk about what happened to Will Smith at the Oscars just six days ago. But instead, it was left to Weekend Update co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che to come to his defense.


Support for Louis Van Gaal after cancer diagnosis - Sporting Society on Monday

We look at some of the best examples of April 4th social media. (Author: Gardener)

Louis Van GaalMuch support was shown to Louis Van Gaal on Monday (Adam Davy/PA) - PA Wire Sports stars and clubs around the world continue to give a glimpse into their lives on social media. Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the best examples from April 4th. Louis Van Gaal has been supported after announcing his cancer diagnosis. We all have your back ♥️— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) April 4, 2022 Our thoughts and prayers go out to former Barça manager Louis van Gaal who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stay strong Louis and get well soon. 🙏— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 3, 2022 We are sorry to hear the news about your health. Stay strong coach 🙏🏾🤘🏾❤️ – Ashley Young (@youngy18) April 4th, 2022 Sending our love and support to Dutch coach Louis van Gaal after he publicly announced that he is against fighting prostate cancer. — Cádiz CF 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@Cadiz_CFEN) April 4, 2022 Leicester remembered too soon the man who was taken from them. Today we celebrate Chairman Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's 64th birthday. Happy birthday boss. Always in our hearts 💙 - Leicester City (@LCFC) April 4, 2022 Congratulations to Australia, they were the standout team of the tournament and deserved their win. Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way ❤️ #CWC22 - Anya Shrubsole (@Anya_shrubsole) April 4, 2022 We fought for everything in this tournament, but it wasn't to be. Congratulations Australia we lost to the better team but we're coming back We heard you ❤️After 100 days it's time to come home and see family 🤗🥰 - Kate Cross (@katecross16) April 4, 2022 Well done Kate. 💫— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) April 4, 2022 It was wonderful to play against you. The way you've reinvented yourself over the years to fit in is an inspiration to any young kid who wants to be a cricketer. – Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) April 4, 2022 👏 – Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 4, 2022 😃 It is 𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙒𝙚𝙚𝙠 down under 🤙🇦🇺 CDZQD1j42O— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) April 4, 2022 It feels like forever since we last raced at Albert Park 🇦🇺#HaasF1 #AusGP – Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) April 4, 2022 Why wasn't I at Wrestlemania? They all fear me, that's why. — Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 4, 2022 I'm going to break my head with this. Add it to the list of heads.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 4, 2022 🥇 Today it's official and I want to give myself, my family, my team and my partners a moment to celebrate and rejoice. — Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) April 4, 2022 Wonderful match to be a part of but absolutely disappointed for John. He was unlucky and I had to win a 1/10 pot to stay in the pot or he would have won. See you in Sheffield😁 - Neil Robertson (@nr147) April 4, 2022 From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate, The Independent has a variety of free newsletters to suit your interests correspond. Click here to find the stories you want to read and more in your inbox.