From Comcast SportsNetGREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Still seething about a controversial , decisive call that went against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle, Aaron Rodgers used his weekly radio show on Tuesday to dismiss the NFL's explanation for the replacement officials' decision.The MVP also questioned the league's priorities in an ongoing labor dispute with its regular officials.Speaking on Milwaukee's ESPN 540 AM, Rodgers said the NFL's willingness to use replacement officials who aren't up to the task is a sign that the league cares more about money than it does about tarnishing the game.Rodgers apologized to the fans, saying the NFL apparently isn't willing to do so itself."I just feel bad for the fans," Rodgers said on the show. "They pay good money and the game is being tarnished by an NFL who obviously cares more about saving a little money then having the integrity of the game diminish a little bit."Replacement officials ruled that a last-second scrum in the end zone resulted in a touchdown to Seahawks receiver Golden Tate -- when Rodgers, his teammates, Packers fans and much of the football-watching public saw a clear-cut interception by the Packers' M.D. Jennings in Seattle's 14-12 win on Monday night.Rodgers said fans deserve better."Our sport is generated, the multi-billion dollar machine is generated, by people coming to watch us play," Rodgers said. "And the product that is on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control."Rodgers spent part of Tuesday's show reading an NFL-issued statement on the air, poking holes in the league's official explanation.Rodgers dismissed the statement's assertion that "officials" determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball.And the quarterback also scoffed at the notion that replacement referee Wayne Elliott determined that there was no indisputable visual evidence to overturn the call on the field through instant replay."I mean, come on, Wayne, that's embarrassing," Rodgers said. "This is the NFL here saying they should have called pass interference and saying that the refs got it right in the end zone. Unbelievable."Packers coach Mike McCarthy continued to take the high road Tuesday evening, but did acknowledge that he thought the play "clearly" was an interception. And his colleagues around the NFL apparently thought the same thing."I received more text messages and e-mail s than I did after the Super Bowl," McCarthy said. "I can tell the impact this made."But McCarthy said the team needs to move past the incident and focus on Sunday's game against New Orleans at Lambeau Field."We're not going to get any help," McCarthy said. "I know this is going to be a story that everybody wants to continue to talk about. And frankly, I'm not going to act like it's not there. This is a play that I'm sure we'll see on TV as we move on in our lives. That's the facts of our business."
SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain.
For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.
A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season.
Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons.
It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that.
“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”
For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass.
“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”
Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”
“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer passionately defended goaltender Martin Jones following San Jose's 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. For the eighth time in his last 14 starts, Jones allowed four goals, but DeBoer tried to take a look at the bigger picture.
POSTGAME REACTION: Head Coach Peter DeBoer on Martin Jones.— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 19, 2018
"You guys like to grab little pictures of things that work for the story you're writing...He's having a great year for us. Our goaltending has been excellent all year." #sjsharks pic.twitter.com/90REdcEV3v
"You guys like to grab little pictures of things that work for the story your writing," DeBoer told reporters in Denver after he was asked about Jones' recent struggles.
"It's 14 games. You can go back six games and write whatever story you want. He's having a great year for us. Our goaltending has been excellent all year."
If you look at his save percentage, Jones is not having a great season.
His save percentage in all situations (.9097) is the lowest in his three seasons in teal, and ranks 22nd out of the 34 goalies that have played 1000 minutes in all situations, according to Corsica Hockey. His five-on-five save percentage (.9147) is also the lowest of his teal tenure, and sits 26th out of 30 goalies that have played 1000 five-on-five minutes.
But save percentage doesn't always tell the whole story, as it doesn't take into account shot quality. As we've written previously, Jones has played behind a loose defense this season.
Among those aforementioned 30 goalies, Jones has faced the highest percentage of high-danger shots, the second-highest percentage of medium-danger shots, and fourth-lowest percentage of low-danger shots.
Luckily, there's a metric that does take into account shot quality: goals saved above average (GSAA). GSAA works much like Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in baseball, and considers how well a league-average goaltender would do "based on the shot danger faced," according to Corsica's definition.
Jones has been better than his save percentage would indicate. His 0.54 five-on-five GSAA ranks 17th out of the 30 goalies that have played 1000 five-on-five minutes, and his all situations GSAA (8.69) ranks 11th out of 34 goalies that have played 1000 minutes in all situations.
GSAA has the same downside as WAR, in that it's an accumulative statistic, and favors players that have played more. In order to equalize for playing time, we can look at GSAA/30 shots faced.
Jones ranks 17th and 10th in five-on-five (0.03) and all situations (0.31) GSAA/30, respectively, among goaltenders that have played 1000 minutes in such circumstances. In other words, Jones has been about average during five-on-five play, and one of the league's better goalies across all situations, at least based on the kind of shots he's faced.
That's not neccessarily "great," but Jones has been better on the whole than his recent play would indicate. Of course, he's also been outplayed in his own crease.
Backup goaltender Aaron Dell not only boasts a higher save percentage than Jones, but his GSAA/30 in five-on-five situations (0.15) and across all strengths (0.44) are also higher than Jones'. Every 30 shots on the penalty kill, Dell (2.05 GSAA/30) saves nearly a goal more than Jones (1.06).
DeBoer also acknowledged that Dell will have to play more out of necessity, with the Sharks halfway through a stretch of eight games in 13 days. That includes a difficult back-to-back this weekend, hosting the Penguins Saturday and facing the Ducks in Anaheim on Sunday.
The coach was on to something on Thursday. Yes, Jones has been better than his recenty play, and his season-long save percentage, would indicate.
But that doesn't mean he's been "great," nor does it mean he's San Jose's better option in net right now.